Japanese Schoolgirl Watch
In my recent trip to Japan a couple of weeks ago, I imagined to be seeing girls in short skirts, automatic dispensers with soiled girl's underwear in it and tons of cosplay babes and hunks.
Was I disappointed with my trip?
Well, what gave me this impression, you ask? Perhaps it was the very intriguing movie, Lost In Translation, that gave me this very morbid impression.
Since my return from Japan, I've started to have an interest in this island.
One thing for sure I didn't see was the soiled underwear dispenser (and yes, if you were wondering, I was pretty darn disappointed!) But to my amazement, there were cigarette dispensers everywhere!
This shocked me quite a bit because knowing that the legal smoking age in Japan may be 20, schoolgirls in need of a nicotine fix should find easy workarounds. Vending machines can't tell if you're 16, so how can a country like this stop illegal underaged smoking and purchasing of cigarette packs?
The ubiquitous dispensers have long sold packs of Marlboros and Mild Sevens to anyone with the yen, and they never asked for ID — until now. Earlier this year, the Tobacco Institute of Japan began issuing "taspo" (short for "tobacco passport") age-verification cards, which must be scanned at newly installed smart vending machines before a purchase can be made.
The integrated circuit-embedded cards will also be equipped with an electronic money function that lets custo-mers buy stuff with a simple swipe. In keitai-crazy Japan, where phones can be used like credit cards, it shouldn't be long before taspo-capable mobiles begin to appear — for gals 20 and over.
High school girls will just have to find some other way to look cool and sophisticated -- and I don't mean anything to do with smoking....
But really, I was simply Lost in Translation!