As my local supermarket is on my way home from school, I actually go there about twice a week — a vast improvement from my San Francisco schedule which was more like once every two months.
For the last four weeks or so, next to the checkout stands, a little TV has been playing this ad for a new drink. Over, and over, and over again. The ad isn’t more than twenty seconds long and it’s a catchy little tune sung while a man with a little frog hat on hops up some stairs. I don’t entirely understand the words but it’s something about “having a body like this” (ie. having a frog head).
Japanese supermarkets are noisy places because nearly every aisle has some recorded voice telling you at high volume about some good deal or other. They seem to have a higher tolerance for noise pollution around here. So as to be clearly heard, this little jingle was playing nice and loud.
The first time I heard it, I thought it was cute, but I was relieved when I finally made it through the line at the checkout stand. When it was still playing the next week, I developed a greater respect for the stoic cashiers who tolerated this twenty second auditory virus, over and over again, non-stop, all day, every day. By the third week, I wept at the humanity of it all and was very careful to be nice to the cashiers for fear that they might snap and start beating anyone in arm’s reach with the drawer of their cash register.
On the fourth week, I was relieved to discover that even the iron will of the Japanese has a limit and that they had turned the volume down.