Mr. Wake

Are you understand?

Location: Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan

Saturday, November 10, 2007

White River, Black Store

I drove up to the Shirakawa house this weekend. I have about 17 minutes of work that I can do at the factory here, and I hadn't actually been to my house in more than three months. In that time my knowledge of kanji has improved enough to notice that the choice of towns the exit ramp gives me mean "White River" and "Black Magnet". I go to White River (Shirakawa).

On the way in I stopped at the Black Store for no particular reason. The Black Store is a large, two-story box painted black roof to road, with the items it sells in plain, white letters. They sell so much stuff, the letters take up most of the surface

Plastic figures:

Collectible cards:

Fake guns:

Fishing poles:

Hemp products:

$800 jean jacket:

In addition I found console games, snowboards, stereos, and comics. And something else.

On the second floor, in the back of the DVD section is a curtain hanging down to about shoulder level. The curtain says something about you. If you go past, you have made an effort to cross a barrier to enter this part of the store. You didn't "accidentally" find yourself here. You made a choice, and here you are. This is the Library of Alexandria of J-porn.

The aisles are narrow and winding, and there are enough of them that I actually got lost. Every corner I turned was a another wall of smiles, uniforms, long silky black hair, and ... other things. There are apparently few restrictions in Japan regarding the visual techniques a producer of DVDs may use on their boxes to encourage sales. And if for some reason the cover leaves you hazy regarding its contents, you can always check out one of the many video screens tucked away in this fleshy labyrinth. I doubled back, retracing my steps, but no. The curtain back to the world of Bruce and Angelina wasn't there, just another wall of videos or comics or photo books.

What's the least erotic music you can think of? Did you pick the theme to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? It twinkles on an endless loop from one of those claw grabber games that are so popular here. But I remembered passing the thing on my way in. It was full of wrapped DVDs, so you don't know what your are going to end up with. I followed the song past the checkout -- a curtain hangs down to just above the counter top, that a purchase may be conducted in secret -- and I was back in familiar territory. Bruce and Angelina. No smiles here. Intensity, disaster, and zombies.

I had done a calculation on the back of a vinyl nurse's uniform I found. 75 units, each with 10 shelves. A shelf could be jammed with 35 videos, but most had a few boxes that let their perky, young performers face the front. Let's say 20 vids per shelf. Show times ranged from 60 minutes to 4 hours (I tip my hat to you, sir). Let's say 90 minutes.

15,000 videos. 22,500 hours. If it was your job to watch, and you worked for 40 hours per week, it would take more than 10 years to enjoy the Black Store's inventory of skin flicks. And that's assuming they stop making the stuff.


Anonymous brad said...

wake, brad bowie here. keep writing! i have read and enjoyed every post so far. i hope all is well with you and your family(loved the halloween costume). expect a visit from me next time i am in tokyo.

2:17 PM, December 04, 2007  
Anonymous Amara said...

Good words.

11:57 PM, November 11, 2008  

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