Saturday, June 12, 2010

Full Circle

A few decades ago a journalist whose name I've forgotten, wrote an article for a magazine whose name I've also forgotten, in which he observed an interesting fashion trend amongst urban Japanese citizens while on a visit to Tokyo.

He described seeing many people wearing clothing that had 'nonsense' english sayings on them. Something along the lines of:

Mighty Vacation Fury


Salute to Stigma

or some such. Of course, it did not matter to the garment wearers what the words on their clothes actually meant, all that mattered was that the idea of having English language words or pronouncements on your clothes was a cool fashion statement.

We (in the English speaking world) laughed.

OK, so flash forward to last week during which I noticed this peculiar hand bag being worn by the pedestrian in front of me.

Well, this handbag has nice Chinese characters printed on it.


You see, words are not quite right. As any person who can read the most elementary Chinese can see, the characters don't look right until you hold the bag up to a mirror and read them from there. Yes, the characters are completely mirror image 'backwards'

Of course, this condition likely didn't matter one bit to the person 'holding the bag', all that mattered was that the characters, readable or not, were making a cool fashion statement.

East and West have come full circle around each other !

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