I went to Ginza today with a few distant relatives from China. Ginza's the kind of place that makes you feel poor. At first, you tend to think that the extra few 0's at the end were added by accident.

I can't afford any of the stuff there nor do I wish to buy them if I had the money; I'm not into fashion. What surprised me is that these relatives from China are rich. A better term might be nouveau riche. The tendency to spend, and especially display wealth is typical of the newly rich, and it is an epidemic here (referring to Japan, China, and Korea). People here have to realize that wearing $6,000 worth of Burberry and Louis Vuitton doesn't make you a better person. I think that if one is indeed blessed with fortune, one should use discretion and show a little subtlety. Conspicuous consumption is a social problem with implications that may be difficult to see.

Over-consumption is a social norm here. It's basically expected that one has at least a few brand names on their person. This is doesn't apply to guys as much, but the girls here certainly feel pressure. Sure, there are many wealthy people, and yes, they buy many brand name goods. The sad part is that the average Joe - probably Jane in this case - is expected to do the same. What happens? They wear a few grand, looking like they are the daughter or wife of a multi-millionaire, and have basically nothing in savings.

It's a fact that many girls (and some guys too) in Tokyo are very materialistic. This is why I'm very glad to have met a few girls here that do not prioritize making and spending money.

So there goes my anti-materialism rant. I'm not against great brands, rather I'm against the notion that one must wear brand names to fit into society.


Kevin said...

See...guys don't worry so much about branding because we follow something called practical branding.

Computer parts, computer games that we favor, personal electronics.

But at least our branding is more practical. Like AMD is better than Intel in performance, and iPods suck in terms of sound quality.

Bao said...

I think I was near Ginza, I forget. I was at the Dai-Ichi Hotel, you know of it?

Anyway, if you haven't checked my blog lately, I've posted pics from my asia trip.

Jason Yu said...

Yeah, go AMD! =)
iPods are good for the style (cuteness) factor..

I looked at your Asia pictures Bao, and I must say Singapore seems like a pleasant place to visit!

transcendent said...

I've always thought that we Asians were good at saving money. I guess that doesn't always apply (at least to our generation). :P

Ambrose said...

Asians may be good at saving money, but they are also better at flaunting it around.

I don't think there are nearly as much counterfeit brand name clothes/bags/fashion items in North America as there are in Asia.

The reason for this, I think, largely has to do with the Asian cultures' strong need to save face/not be a disgrace to the family name. So whatever society deems to be the status quo, people flock to it.