Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ranking Japan

Ranked lists and shopping are both popular in Japan, so I suppose it was inevitable that something like ranKing ranQueen would come to pass.

The philosophy behind this Tokyo chain store is simple and compelling. Let us say you wanted to buy nose-hair trimmers. Now why would you settle for just any nose-hair trimmers? You would want to take your pick from the three best-selling nose-hair trimmers in Tokyo. So, analysing sales data from various department stores and research companies, ranKing ranQueen sells only the 3, 5 or 10 best-selling items in a mind-boggling range of products. And not just the usual stuff like best-selling DVDs or mobile phones: think tooth picks, pasta sauce, party masks, bottled tea, hula hoops.

The Japanese fascination with ranked lists extends to tourism, as evidenced by the array of Top 3 lists. There is even a tongue-in-cheek list of Japan’s top 3 disappointments (sandai gakkari), which includes the Sapporo Clock Tower.

I was in Sapporo recently, and of course I had to go and see the tower. I must say that while it wasn’t the greatest thing I have ever seen in my life, I wasn’t disappointed either. The building is quite fetching in an understated way, the chimes are melodious, and the compound has shady trees. Which brings me to the question: If you expect, indeed hope, to be disappointed but are not, have you or have you not been disappointed?

Today is my last day in Japan; I fly back to London tomorrow. I have loved my six months here.

3 comments:

Rick said...

What a paradox!

Rara Avis said...

Last day? :"(

karthy said...

your post reminds me of some book dunno which one though especially the last line.