Now, I don’t like to be a snob, but sometimes I can’t help it. You see, I buy my socks at Don Quixote, and when you enter Don Quixote you find yourself marvelling at the state of some people. You discover that Japan does have chavs after all, and they like to gather here.
Don Quixote is an odd land. It is a warren of garish narrow corridors where every turn leads to who knows what. Food and booze, shampoo and detergent, rubber chickens and ‘personal massagers’, adult-sized rabbit and frog character costumes, and lingerie sections which don’t so much say ‘I love you’ as ‘Cheap shit feels dirtier’.
When I go to Don Quixote I am worried I will turn a corner and find myself in a cosplay aisle staring at a schoolgirl’s costume with an accompanying advertising picture of it being donned by an unshaven cartoon man in a blond wig. I am worried because someone I know might see me. But I needn’t worry, for the other customers are not people I usually associate with in Japan. They have orange mullets and wear sweatpants and matching tops with big dragons or tigers on the back. Either that or they wear jeans, in the elaborately embroidered back pocket of which a Luis Vuitton wallet is attached to chain of such weight that it has dragged the waist of the jeans almost to the knees. Those are the men. The women attached to them have hair in every shade of brown or blonde, manga eyelashes, and curious collections of bruises on bare arms and legs. Although they are sometimes far too pretty for any man that has an orange mullet – admittedly not a particularly high bar – many have such a capacity to whine when they speak that you actually feel sorry for the boyfriend. ‘No wonder,’ you think, ‘he is loading up on the happoshu.’
But still, I can’t help but have a soft spot for these chavs. They are so much better than our chavs. Our chavs are scary. If they sense even a hint of my condescension they might beat the shit out of me. Here, even if I bump into one in a narrow aisle in Don Quixote, he might give me a small head-bow and mutter ‘sumimasen’. They look rubbish, but they at least still have some manners. Or maybe that’s just because neither of us wants to cause a scene. Not when we are pretending not to look at a ‘sexy police woman’ outfit.