Who wouldn’t want one of these lovable little dolls staring at you forever and ever…until you die…and maybe even after that.
■ Play with me…
In February, Japan sees an influx of tourists, especially people from mainland China on vacation for the New Year holidays. It is also the time when the Japanese word “bakugai,” or “binge shopping,” is most often thrown around to describe visitors’ voracious consumption.
However, one reporter for Nikkan Gendai went around asking Chinese expats in Japan about things they wouldn’t buy while visiting Japan, and the number one answer was unanimous: Japanese dolls.
Their distaste for Japanese dolls extends even beyond the traditional ones we all know and love from our nightmares to the arguably less creepy Ohinasama and Satsuki Dolls used on the holidays celebrating boys and girls.
▼ Mickey: “Don’t mind me folks. I’m just appropriating some culture, Ha♪Ha♪Ha!”
Those surveyed called the dolls “scary” and “a real downer” with one saying, “I don’t want them to wake up in my room.” A man in his thirties, who hails from Shanghai, said, “I know they’re traditional works of art, but I wouldn’t buy one myself. I wouldn’t want to be given one either.”
■ Enough with the folding fans already
Dolls weren’t the only souvenir on Chinese people’s no-thank-you lists. Although not with the same level of fear and loathing, folding fans and other traditional Japanese items like pottery and lacquered chopsticks were also largely undesired.
▼ That doesn’t apply to everyone though. I’m sure any Chinese Gundam fan would love this Japanese Gundam, er, fan.
To put it in another perspective, Chinese people see these kinds of items much like you might if a Texan visited and gifted you with an exquisite cowboy hat bound with the finest leather and encrusted with jewels.
While accepting the hat, you would, of course, smile at the obvious expense they went to and appreciate the thought that had gone into it. However, in the back of your mind you can’t help thinking, “What the hell am I going to do with this thing?”
▼ Despite the fine craftsmanship and $200 plus price tag, there aren’t many social functions in Japan where this would be appropriate.
In the case of dishes and chopsticks, one 20-year-old male from Shandong said there is also a possible risk of the recipient feeling insulted as if to say, “What? I can’t afford to buy my own dishes?!”
■ What a tourist wants
Most of those questioned said that people in China appreciate things which are well-known but difficult to acquire there. And as a souvenir, such items also ought to be long-lasting so that the person can frequently take them out and think of Japan.
These things tend to be appliances like rice cookers, electric kettles, electric toothbrushes, or even blood pressure machines from popular Japanese brands like Mitsubishi, Zojirushi, or Omron. One person even claimed to have bought over 60 Matsumotokiyoshi nail clippers with magnifying glasses attached as souvenirs for the simple fact that they’re useful and reliable.
Of course, China is a diverse and widely populated country with a range of tastes, so all this doesn’t mean there weren’t some unusual purchases as well. Some people admitted to bringing back dozens of cream puffs from convenience stores or soap-free dish cleaners from 100 yen stores. Nevertheless, these opinions are worth noting when choosing a souvenir from Japan for people in whatever country you may be going to.
Source: Yahoo! Japan News (Japanese)
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