Finding Savvy in the Mundane
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มีช่วงนึงเขียนถึง Zakka บ่อยๆ แล้วเพื่อนบล็อกคนนึงถามว่า Zakka คืออะไร? พอดีไปเจอบทความอันนึงที่ให้คำนิยาม และอธิบายเทรนด์นี้ไว้อย่างละเอียด เลยอยากเอามาให้อ่านกัน เป็นบทความจาก นสพ. International Herald Tribune ตีพิมพ์เมื่อปี 2001 (ตอนเห็นทีแรกตกใจมาก เพราะไม่นึกว่า เทรนด์นี้มีมาตั้งแปดปีแล้ว ก็เราเพิ่งมารู้จักเมื่อไม่กี่ปีมานี้เอง อิอิ) อ่านแล้วรู้สึกใช่เลยว่า Zakka คือ The Art of Finding the Savvy in the Mundane บทความยาวนิดนึง :)
More Than a Consumer Fad, It's the Art of Finding Savvy in the Mundane : Japan's Zakka: What's in a Word?
By Kaori Shoji
Published: TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2001
TOKYO: For once, the Japanese word for a fashion phenomenon sounds as hip as it deserves to be: zakka. It's the term for everything and anything that spruces up your home, life and outlook.
It could be a wooden clothespin by an obscure company in New Hampshire, it could be an empty tomato-paste can saved for planting basil. Zakka is the art of seeing the savvy in the ordinary and mundane; it's also the act of paying hard cash for such things as can openers in "skeleton pink" (think iMac translucence), just so one's friends will know they're dealing with someone who pays extra for a minor sensory pleasure.
On one level the zakka boom is just another in a series of consumer fads, but on another it's plugged into something spiritual. The Japanese are not into self-expression, but the zakka boom shows they are quite willing to let floor cushions do the talking for them: expensive floor cushions, made by a particular manufacturer, selected with loving attention and displayed just so.
The zakka market is estimated at ¥2 billion to ¥4 billion ($1.6 million to $3.2 million). Its elusiveness is defined by the fact that it's often hard to define a zakka item from mere household sundries. For example, a plastic ashtray will not qualify as a zakka but a plastic ashtray picked up in a flea market in Paris with "Pernod" inscribed on top, is zakka at the maximum level. The dividing line is often nothing more than a teenage customer going "ooooh," but that line is more difficult to cross than it looks.
Tadao Kushimatsu, an analyst at the Hakuhodo Inc. advertising agency, says: "Cute is not enough. To qualify as a zakka, a product must be attractive, sensitive, laden with subtexts. The competition is getting stiffer all the time and that means the consumers are getting smarter. I'd say that the zakka market is currently one of the most challenging in the fashion industry."
Kushimatsu has a point about competition. Spurred on by the boom, Japanese designers have jumped on the wagon to come out with zakka products of their own: cell-phone straps, makeup bags, even portable sock drawers. Comme Ca Du Mode launched its flagship zakka outlet called Mono Comme Ca, where the wares are all color-coded and categorized by texture and shape.
The entire shop resembles something out of the dream of an android; exactly the kind of subtext shoppers look for in zakka a sensory experience that will, somehow, enrich the act of shopping. At the Comme des Garcons boutique in Aoyama Tokyo, the designer Rei Kawakubo took this feeling even further: She encased hundreds of beautiful kitchen wares (vases, kettles, tumblers, etc.) in beige cloth bandages and used them as shop decor. "Unfortunately, they're not for sale," explains a shop clerk. "But people ask to buy them all the time."
For a similar elevated zakka experience, head on over to Zakka, in Harajuku, the favorite haunt of fashion stylists looking for pointers and inspiration. Zakka is shop, café and gallery, but the kicker is that nothing looks like it's for sale. The staff members take turns working at an antique sewing machine installed in the entrance space, there's a shelf of sorts that shows linen towels and a few soaps, plus a couple of metal chairs nestled against battered wooden desks.
Only when you pick up one of the towels to goggle at the price (¥1,500) do you realize that this is a specialized zakka zone, sacrosanct from anything as crass as mere "shopping" this is a place to fall silent, bask, perhaps pray a little. Never mind that the straw baskets (there are only three of them) hanging from the ceiling can be bought at half price in any Tokyo supermarket, these carry the tiny Zakka logos sewn into the handle, stitched by hand. It should be noted that groups of girls have been denied entrance, lest they make too much noise, and are asked to visit in discreet pairs or alone.
Nanako Kuwata, 19, says: "I never know why I go there. It's not as if they have great stuff or anything. But I can never tear myself away." She says that Zakka taught her two important things in life: "that silence is soothing, and bright lights are awful."
Now, the emphasis is shifting away from what kind of a zakka to buy, to where to buy it and how.
Aware of the fact that the value of a zakka is also measured on the atmosphere of the shop where it was bought, Tokyo zakka boutiques now call themselves "select shops" with nifty and complicated names: "Edit.for.Lulu," "Deuxieme Classe" and "heart of a boy" are among the most popular, and it's impossible to step into any of them and not feel transported into an extremely posh and private museum. Accordingly, about the only things one will be able to afford are wooden clothespins and can openers in skeleton pink
ป.ล. ถ้าแปลตรงตัว (ตามดิค) Zakka หมายถึง สิ่งของเบ็ดเตล็ด
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