Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ew, I Stepped in Guam!

Last week's trip to Guam to get our PADI open-water diver certification was a success. Girlfriend and I are now proverbial diving machines. We know the difference between a Picasso trigger and a dusky anemonefish. We can clear our masks of water at fifteen meters. We can even literally breathe water, like Ed Harris does in The Abyss. (By the way: Picasso triggerfish are jerks. Be advised.)

The thing about Guam is that, by virtue of its location, it's a very popular destination for vacationers from Japan...but not so much for Americans. As such, the island is jam-packed with karaoke bars, rotary sushi diners and Japanese signage all over the place. Girlfriend and I, however, chanced upon one particularly strange combination of popular culture references, in the form of a run-down karaoke lounge called Yonsama:

For one thing, notice how they decided to rip off the Mortal Kombat logo for their sign. I don't think Midway Games should bother hassling Yonsama with a lawsuit, but it's still troublesome from a consumer standpoint. If I see a sign like this, I expect to walk in and see people engaged in "karaoke kombat." Know what I'm saying? Stand up, grab the mic, sing a Peter Cetera song and then push back, back, forward, forward, high punch to make your friend's head explode. Flawless victory.

But that's only half of why this sign is funny. Yon-sama happens to be the cute, honorific nickname given by Japanese people to Korean heartthrob actor Bae Yon-Jun, who is best known as "that serene-looking guy with the scarf" in the Korean TV drama series Winter Sonata:

I can only assume that the owner of this establishment intended to capitalize on Yon-sama's huge popularity in Japan in order to attract Japanese tourists who would (somehow) equate this bespectacled, idyllic-looking fellow with an unforgettable karaoke experience. At the same time, they try to attract Americans -- specifically, American males who were 14 years old in 1992 -- via an indirect association with Goro, the four-armed, half-dragon Prince of Outworld.

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