Back to Tokyo

Hello folks,

I’m sorry for not writing anything for over two months. I was in Minneapolis, MN, taking care of my mother who just had a heart operation. She’s going fine now and it was nice being back in my old neck of the woods, sort of speak.

For the last 7 years, I’ve spent most of my time in Tokyo. I have taken multiple trips back to the states since then, but this was the first time for a long time where I could walk around and check out different stores to see what has changed and what hasn’t.

For example, I was struck at just how the CD and DVD sections of Best Buy has shrunk. The inventory at Barns and Noble has been cut back drastically as well. And I’m not only talking about manga and anime, but all titles of all genres of books and music and movies. It’s clear a lot of changes have been afoot.

I’d like to talk more about that some other day, perhaps, but for now I just wanted to let you know that I am still here and I hope to write more in the future.

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One Response to Back to Tokyo

  1. Hi Dan.

    Good to know your mother is doing well. Trips are great but trips of urgency are what they are and it’s always nice when things work out.

    I find this phenomenon rather disturbing and have been painfully aware of it’s crawl to all out sprint for the last decade. I used to work at, both, Borders Books and Music, and Barnes & Noble so I saw this first hand at Borders (was a book/music seller for 6 years there). The same phenomenon that’s pretty much killing choice, and to a larger degree the fabric of this country (we’ll just say the culture of Wall Street but no need to get into that, pretty matter of fact now), was on display working there, simple stock holder coddling bottom line greed. Borders, when I hired in, actually seemed to stand for choice, variety, good customers service, etc all that jazz. You could go to a Borders store at that time and find that utterly obscure book, CD, even VHS/DVD (I started right when DVD was on the rise) and walk out a happy camper. Even more important is the customers regularly VOCALIZED their love of this fact. They were proud to shop there.

    Well… in 6 years I watched that virtue pretty much begin to fall by the waist side as I had to pull stock (a lot of it) due to those obscure titles dragging down the bottom line. What’s interesting about this, beyond the obvious, is (and I kid not) every time I pulled something obscure I thought we should keep, weeks to months later, someone inevitably would come in asking for it. They were never happy these titles were pulled and they knew what was happening as well, the sense the store was changing for the worse (and this was rather maddening for the employees that had to field this phenomenon on the floor). This was only one of many things going wrong with that company and it was all at the top dumping down to us in the trenches.

    The crazy thing is, that was Borders, a store that most people wouldn’t lump in with the Best Buy’s, Target’s, Wal-marts, etc. The problem is, there’s so much voracious greed in these companies to consume raw profit that they simply don’t care what consumers really want anymore. Although mainstream buying habits are responsible for much of this the fact that brick and mortar stores are dying out in the states points more to the corporate cultures behavior more than anything, you can’t support cooked numbers, perpetual company growth, and beating your profits year after year.

    I find it sad that I can’t go to a record store anymore (because most are gone) to get some cool obscure CD I’m jonsin’ to get, right then and there. Even more sad is the Best Buy’s that killed mom and pop businesses don’t even have classic back catalog titles. You know something is wrong when you can’t get back catalog of someone as well known as Peter Gabriel or Pink Floyd and this is pretty much everything now.

    Wrote a bit about this as I find it both interesting, and yes, striking. Lack of choice, guess it’s the internets then… not sure I prefer that as a solution -_-

While I may not be able to respond to all comments, I always welcome feedback. Thank you.

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