Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Megane Suupaa Rap Craze

A few months ago I noticed that the hawker standing in front of the Megane Suupaa eyewear shop in front of the Electric Town exit of JR Akihabara Station was freestyle rapping about glasses. His ad lib Japanese rhymes contained goofy lines such as, "Check out the third floor, yo!" and "It's hard to see at night! Get some corrective lenses, yo!"

I'm not exaggerating or trying to be funny. He really did suggest corrective lenses to help with night-time driving, and he really did say "yo."

Today I saw the hawker rapping again, although I can't be sure that the guy I saw today is the same guy I saw a few months ago, because -- check this out, yo! -- it turns out that numerous Megane Suupaa hawkers at locations across Tokyo are using this atypical sales strategy these days. A quick search of YouTube reveals a treasure trove of videos of rapping hawkers, most of them working at Megane Suupaa. The Akihabara guy even uses a little boombox playing a hiphop beat to help him bust it out fresh, yo! He also uses the "faux gaijin" pronunciation style that is popular with Japanese rappers, who desperately wish they were foreign.

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