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Gift Shopping and American Kitsch

September 29, 2011

With guests in town, one must seek the inevitable…

A gift shop.

On Guam, the grandaddy of all gift shops is the JP Superstore.  A block long, JP (I’m guessing Japan) Superstore is a bizarre place – only in that about 20% of the stuff they sell has anything to do with Guam.

Even then, it’s peripheral; Chinese crap with the word Guam stenciled on it.

Yup.  Exact same stuff sold out of Ed Swift’s gift shops in Key West.

Interestingly, this isn’t what the Japanese are here for.  They come for the big ticket, name brand fashion crap.

Over priced costume jewlery?  Nooo probrem.

Von Zipper sunglasses?  (fictional character Eric Von Zipper in Annette Funichello and Frankie Avalon beach movies from the 60’s)

Noo probrem.

Kid Robot?  Even though one traveled 2000 miles to buy something one may buy at home?  Nooo probrem.

$300 deisgner jeans looking all the world like WWI doughboy knickers?

If you guessed noo probrem – you’re catching on.

A postcard?  That’s American.  BIIIG probrem.  Only two left in entire store – really.

Meanwhile, across the street is the last bastion of American culture – the Western Frontier Village.

Otherwise known as a “Bang-bang-shoot-’em-up”, this is a monument to the Japanese interpretation of American culture, and of course,

a shooting gallery.  That’s what we do, right?  TV says so – Bang!  Bang!  Shoot ’em up!

I have a news flash.  The majority of this part of the world does not admire our culture.

They mock it.  JP Superstore?  Filled to the rim with shining happy tourists.  Western Frontier Village?  You could shoot a cannon through it, disturbing no one save a plywood Uncle Sam.

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