Wednesday 20 February 2013

Travelling & Living: Bangkok...or...Japan?

Masked Rider in Bangkok
Image from Locky's English Playground
There's something very Japan about Bangkok.

You may argue, Japanese culture is almost everywhere around the world and it's definitely more widespread than Chinese culture. True, Taiwan and Hong Kong, for example, both enjoy such cultural merger, but not quite as apparent as Bangkok does.

One Piece packet drinks
Image from Locky's English Playground
First, we don't get drinks with One Piece printed on the packet. Sure you may say there's probably Hello Kitty ones, but we are not talking about cuteness here, it's coolness!

Second, you don't get 1-to-1 ratio Ultraman and Masked Rider from mall to mall.

Third, shops are almost duplicates of what you get to see in Hokkaido or Tokyo too, although the staff still uses Thai as their main language of communication after the not-so-accurate "Irasshaimase!"

Hokkaido ice-cream cafe in Bangkok
Image from Locky's English Playground
Everything including the decor to atmosphere gives you that very Japan-like feeling, makes you want to go in and relax. I wonder how come they can make such amazing copies. Has to be funded by Japanese investors, right? I suppose so, because some massage and spa centres have only got Japanese words on their walls and no Thai or English. If they don't have enough business in Thailand, who will open shops like that?

Image from Locky's English Playground
Fourth, architecture wise, what do you think about the Toyota showroom building as well as the line of Toyota cars in front of the building? I think that's highly fancy, nothing Thai at all!
Toyota Showroom
Image from Locky's English Playground
Let's not forget, there is always some oversized product that sticks out of the building to remind you what is the latest Japanese hip in town.
Care for an EOS-1DX? The guy standing next to the post wants one.
Image from Locky's English Playground
Fifth, is it just food and technology all the way? Nope, even apps have ads here. There are hugely enlarged LINE sticker signs in every large shopping mall I visited, there's no way you can miss it.

Me and James of Naver LINE
Image from Locky's English Playground
Even if you do miss them, your phone will get SMS to remind you that by adding the official account only available in Thailand, you will get Thailand-only LINE stickers. I've got a set from Singha the water/beer company, Vogue and Thai Airways.

LINE stickers from Thai Airways
Image from itallnews
And with this push in LINE stickers joint promotion, you can guess what messaging app the Thai use quite easily, can't you?

Thailand-only LINE stickers
Image from Locky's English Playground

Finally, believe it or not, I have even seen Japanese transvestites on the BTS! Can't get more Japanese than that!

duplicate -- (n) [C] something that is an exact copy of something else
decor -- (n) [S or U] the colour, style and arrangement of the objects in a room
transvestite -- (n) [C] a person, especially a man, who wears the clothes of the opposite sex, often for sexual pleasure

Line Sticker การบินไทย " Line in the Air "@