Every year I exit Hiroshima during the ‘Golden Week‘ holidays of early May to escape the foul artificial frivolity of said city’s Flower Festival.
This is where a huge swathe of central Hiroshima becomes a hellish cacophonous mass of screaming infantage while their over-indulgent parents are cajoled by minor mafia members into buying overpriced and unhygienic blobs on sticks for sustenance. Some floats go by, filled with either old crones or tiny girls attempting to perform in the dance medium of their respective eras. Nobody cares.
So, here I am, freshly arrived in Osaka for a 4 night stay, and what an amazing contrast! The streets are lined with poplar trees, bluebirds sing and not a soul impedes my pedestrian’s progress through the thoroughfares of Umeda, the northern hub of Osaka.
Alright, so that’s not strictly true. In fact, it’s just as much a crowded noise-filled hell-hole as Hiroshima, perhaps even more so, but at least it’s alien and anonymous. The fact that it’s not Hiroshima is an attraction in itself.
And here’s a charming little first observation from this non-Hiroshiman conurbation.
Ever seen toilet paper in public lavatories with adverts printed on it? Me neither, but that’s just what I found in Umeda‘s ‘Ing‘ department store.
That’s right, as I pulled off a few sheets with which to clean the appliance in a pre-defecation anti-swine flu manouver, I gasped to discover some commercial slogans emblazoned upon the poo-paper in bright red ink.
Hmm…how to feel about this latest corporate act of shame? Be outraged that the free market has penetrated one of the last bastions of privacy? Or just laugh at the thought of reeking bodily effluent defacing company logos in a gloriously appropriate fashion?