Four years ago, during my first visit to Japan, I passed by a place with a name so instantly recognizable to my eyes that I thought it was little more than a figment of the imagination. It was around 11:30 pm when I saw it, and it was after a long and grueling flight and uncomfortable train rides from Haneda Airport to JR Gifu Station. Four red letters ... the likes of which have inspired countless people to take up scientific pursuits for the betterment of mankind: NASA.
Within a split second of seeing the instantly recognizable logo for America's National Aeronautics and Space Administration I quickly asked my wife (then girl-friend) if there was actually a NASA branch office in Kakamigahara, Japan. The response, however, was not quite what I was hoping to hear: laughter.
Today, after visiting the chiropractor, I was walking to a nearby coffee shop when the trademark-defying games center came into view again ... mocking me with their seductive logo. It's a good thing I don't play pachinko, and an even better thing that I can't convey to the staff of this place just how wrong their name is. If they want to name their games center after an American organization, that's their business. But they should at least have the decency to steal the name and logo of a profitable one.
Do you see pachinko parlors with odd names like this one? Have you ever gotten your hopes up because you thought a company you admired as a kid had a branch office way in the middle of Nowhere Land, Japan?