Japan through erasers

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I buy erasers as prizes for my students. 15 stamps = an eraser or pencil of their choice. 95% of the time they choose an eraser, the stranger (from my perspective) the better. Unlike pencils in the U.S., pencils in Japan often don't come with the obligatory eraser attached at the end; thus, the larger demand for erasers here.
I love the erasers in Japan. They come in all sizes, shapes, colors, designs, and flavors. wait. Flavors?

First, the relatively tame erasers. Strawberry, melon, lemon, pineapple, and grape scented. Seriously, they really do smell like what they say. Often these are disregarded at the bottom of my prize bag.
Next, of course, the cute animal erasers. This is Japan after all, where all things cute find a thriving consumer base. These also happen to smell exactly like bubble gum, which was a bonus surprise for me. At least they didn't smell like wet dog or something. I wouldn't put it past Japan. Surprisingly, for me, these are equally popular between boys and girls.
Aw, now who can say no to cuddly little panda erasers? These are the only erasers I bought today I could actually ever see myself owning. I will position these in the bottom of the prize bag in the hope that they will escape the notice of my students and become mine at the end of the school year.
The big sellers. Cola, shrimp, vegechan, chocolate, and strawberry cream cookie scented erasers. These will be gone within the first week of their debut.
The ramen shaped erasers, sadly? don't smell or ramen. It's their shape that makes them popular. One time I bought PET bottle shaped erasers that had removable tops. I still get students asking for them. Unfortunately, Japan is one of those places where you might see something once and never, ever find it again. This has led me on many binge shopping/eating/drinking experiences. I talk myself into it. "Maybe it's the only time I'll have the opportunity to buy it, try it in my life," I think.
Sadly, I couldn't get a good picture. I hope all is not lost. I arranged them from normal hamster, or Chibi Ham as it's labeled on the eraser, to hamster with a hard hat and pick ax.



Last one, I swear. One of my cousins got this for Christmas. It's a curry scented kneading eraser. One thing about Japan, things are true to their names. If it sounds weird, it's bound to be weird.

Living in Japan never seems to get old.

3 comments:

Amanda Lynn said...

btw. hamsters from left to right: normal hamster, hamster with a nut on his head, hamster in a hat, hamster rolling an egg, angel hamster, hamster on a sunflower, and hard hat hamster with a pick ax.

Beth said...

LOVE IT.

i'm not allowed to give prizes.

i want a panda eraser. this entry makes me want many, many erasers.

aelfwyne said...

The store where I work (in good old Beaumont, Texas) sells Iwako erasers, and a number of customers have mistakenly assumed these are candy. Just sayin'.

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