Am I underestimating or overestimating the difficulty required in procuring this particular stream of songs from early 80s? And not the “I Love the 80s” 80s, but the past mass hits with zero appeal to later media curators — not lucky enough to make it to punchline status. Like ELO’s “Xanadu” but with less name recognition. Do they make CD collections of this genre? Is there a Usen channel dedicated to it? This must be a high-level management decision, because the bleached-hair pock-marked punk-rock clerks at this “recycle shop” could not possibly be responsible.
Whatever the case, the corporate DJ collective know the perfect ingredients for ambiance. No matter if you are in Mobile, Alabama or Mitaka, Tokyo, there is no better music for browsing used furniture and refrigerators than Juice Newton and her ilk. We were looking for a dresser drawer, but I eventually wandered off to see what kind of overpriced yet cruddy musical instruments were on display and whether somebody had done me the favor of leaving behind the board game Stratego.
Past the rack of dusty men’s sportcoats, but before the endless reams of soiled children’s clothes, there is a big glass case filled with luxury handbags. The ordering corresponds to the unspoken hierarchy of status and popularity in Japan. First comes Louis Vuitton, which takes up a whole vertical section. Then comes Gucci, Chanel, followed by Coach, Prada (ouch!), and “Misc.” You may be tempted to believe that this stock is mostly fakes because of parallels to the suspicious stock of similar stores in countries with more rational approaches to luxury goods, but with somewhere between 40-90% of all Japanese females owning a Louis Vuitton product, imitation goods are unnecessary for making sense of this mini luxury select shop within what is otherwise a mildewed warehouse of refuse.
At Tokyo suburban junk stores, you can buy the same black Chanel bag that Paris Hilton wore to her sentencing last week and also pick up some classic games for your Super Famicon.
The European luxury super-brands almost have it in their interest to send out an army of ground-staff to raid these locations and buy out all of their own products. Because the dolor brought on from these sad, overlit stores — middle-class Salvation Army shops without even the basic appeal of charity and property rotation — overpowers the magic and mystery of any and all luxury goods. These bags are not even afforded the charm of functionality and practicality. No one picking up a half-price Gucci wallet would experience the adrenaline rush of rewarded frugality. The brand images get sucked into the vortex of despair contained with the glass cabinets — a variety of abandoned dreams organized by conglomerate, rotting away in the clothing corner of a thrift shop in the middle of nowhere. LV’s Monogram Multicolore may as well be an old version of Scrabble with the Q and the W missing.