An Accidental Collection

I’m not significantly curious about accumulating issues, however there’s a type of operating motif in my life: regardless of my primary indifference, objects appear to gather round me. Stacks and stacks of LPs, so many I’ll by no means hearken to all of them; books I’ve already learn and can most likely by no means open once more; a ragtag assemblage of journal clippings; dinky little pencils, so worn down they don’t match right into a pencil sharpener anymore. All types of issues simply carry on piling up.

T-shirts are one among these issues which naturally pile up. They’re low cost, so at any time when an fascinating one catches my eye I purchase it. People give me numerous novelty T-shirts from all over the world, I get commemorative T-shirts at any time when I run a marathon, and after I journey I usually decide up a number of, as a substitute of bringing alongside further garments. Which is why the variety of T-shirts in my life has skyrocketed, to the purpose the place there’s no room in my drawers anymore and I’ve to retailer the overflow in stacked-up cardboard packing containers.

Whenever I’m going to the U.S., after I depart the airport and get settled on the town I invariably discover myself eager to exit and seize a hamburger. It’s a pure urge, however you would additionally see it as a type of ritual I’m going by way of. Either one’s O.Okay.

Ideally, I’m going to a hamburger joint round one-thirty, after the lunch crowd has left, plunk myself down on the counter, and order a Coors Light on faucet and a cheeseburger. I just like the burger cooked medium, and I at all times get uncooked onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles. Plus an order of French fries and, like an outdated buddy I’m visiting, a facet of coleslaw. Critical companions in all this are mustard (it’s acquired to be Dijon) and Heinz ketchup. I sit there, quietly sipping my Coors Light, listening to the voices of the folks round me and the clatter of dishes, attentively imbibing the ambiance of this completely different land, as I await my cheeseburger to emerge. Which is when it lastly hits me that, sure, I actually am in America.

This T-shirt has an easy message: “i put ketchup on my ketchup.” Now, that’s the assertion of someone who’s severely in love with ketchup. It type of teases these Americans who put ketchup on every thing, however I discover it fascinating that one of many corporations that distribute these shirts is none apart from Heinz. Just a little self-deprecatory humor happening right here, however you’ll be able to’t assist feeling the American spirit in it, the optimistic, cheerful lack of introspection that claims, “Who cares about being sophisticated! I’m gonna do what I want!”

When I stroll round city on this shirt, Americans generally name out, “Love the shirt!” The ones who do that often have that “I love ketchup” look about them. Sometimes I really feel like coming again with a “Hey, don’t lump me in with you guys,” however often I simply give a cheerful “Yeah, pretty nice, huh? Ha-ha.” This type of T-shirt communication does so much to liven issues up. You’d by no means discover that taking place in Europe. For one factor, Europeans by and enormous hardly eat ketchup. ♦

(Translated, from the Japanese, by Philip Gabriel.)

This shirt is from the Ventura Surf Shop, in Ventura County, an prosperous browsing mecca close to Santa Barbara. It sounds fairly good, however will going there actually enhance your life? That a lot I can’t say.

I drink Heineken so much at any time when I’m going to the U.S. In crowded, noisy bars, it’s important to shout out your order, and I’ve discovered that the one model I can pronounce reliably is Heineken.

You’ve acquired to be braver than you may suppose to put on a car-related shirt. It’s laborious to say after I’d put on this Shelby Cobra one, however I might see it working with a Comme des Garçons jacket.

This is from the British journal The Economist. The message could be very fashionable, but it surely’s nonetheless a T‑shirt, and it makes me surprise about learn how to react to such a sudden, difficult dictum.

When I attended the Reykjavík International Literary Festival, I spoke at this college. Iceland’s whole inhabitants is simply 350,000, of whom 10,000 are college students right here. A fairly superb share.

I purchased this Ramones shirt from a secondhand retailer referred to as Bookoff, in Kyoto. But I can’t deliver myself to put on it exterior. There are some limits while you’re over seventy.


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