Something happened when I was out shopping. I came upon a group of what I thought were Chinese tourists at a clothing store I often visit. Since the outbreak of the island dispute, the number of tourists from China has dramatically decreased, however there was no indication of that at this shop.
They cheerfully examined each and every item and purchased one item after another. I was interested in these girls, but they also seemed to be interested in me, a local, as they picked up the same clothing and accessories that I was looking at. They chose some of them and of course there were some they did not select.
Because I was in the same area as these girls for a fairly long time, one of them asked me, “Do you like this brand?” but they only spoke Chinese and weren’t able to have a conversation. Afterwards, one of the shop staff told me that this same brand was nearly three times as expensive in China and that there were many customers who came to Japan and purchased large quantities of the goods. Also, many of these girls liked new items and it seemed that they tended to purchase the latest products. They were purchasing 2 or 3 of the same item to give to friends and family as presents.
As I was looking at a bag, a Chinese person in the back of the shop told me in a loud voice, (what I think was) “That’s in fashion.” According to the shop people, they were looking at tortoise shell and dragon and snake scales, items seen as good luck. I’ve been using the same brand of bag for many years, but I’ve never thought about that at all.
The shop people were told that if you buy something, silver is a good color. When asked, “What about gold?” the shop people were told, “Right now, silver is popular with young Chinese people.” After this, someone asked me with a wry smile, “Excuse me, but you are Japanese, aren’t you?” I gave the same forced smile back.
The group of tourists left the store first. Apparently, they were off to the same brand’s next store. Although the same store, it seems that this was so they could buy 2 or 3 items.
I’ve been buying this same brand for over 10 years and have never had this kind of experience. The reasons why it’s loved are different, but it is strange that there is a mutual feeling for the same brand. I was reminded that an unintentionally created new meaning for the brand is an essential part of creating the story.
The thing that was the most interesting was that even for a short time, the power of the Chinese tourists seemed to turn the shop into China. Because I was the only Japanese in the shop, maybe I was pulled into this “quantity.”