Thursday, 17 February 2011
Yes, I want a pocket tissue.
When I was in Japan, I never bought pocket tissues.
Pocket tissues were not something you buy but something you were given in a street. They are used as advertising boards just like match boxes 30 years ago.
When I was an university student, I even once did the job, handing out pocket tissues on the street.
We were gathered at Kayaba-cho, Tokyo's biggest financial town, at 6.30 in the morning (!) and instructed who we should give those tissues to and who we should not. On the each package, there was an advert of a major trust bank.
Quite obviously we had to give those away to 'MEN WHO LOOK LIKE WORKING IN THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY' not middle aged women carrying Chinese radishes or leeks sticking out from their shopping bag. So we did, we did give those tissues to men in business suits and did not give them to women unless we were asked for.
OK, tissues have to be passed their target, their potential customers/clients rather than somebody who need them for hay fever. I know, I understand that.
But I feel a little bit left out nowadays since I am not given any tissues any more when I am back in Tokyo. I have to admit that tissues are not around as much as they used be before the recession in late 90s. However, there are still a few about telephone clubs, travel agencies, pachinco shops etc.
Somehow, people can tell I am not their target any more, even though, I do not carry around Chinese radishes or leeks sticking out from my shopping bag. Maybe, I don't look young enough, not pretty enough, not gullible enough, or maybe I don't look Japanese enough!?
Anyway, I still enjoy the privilege of receiving a pocket tissue at a post office counter or till in a shop where it can not be any clearer that I am their customer. Good.