On one of my visits to the Jackson Corner at Takashimaya in Yokohama I was surprised
to find the main floor had been dramatically changed. The selection of
merchandise was the same, but the appearance was fresher and lighter. The walls
were now paneled and the sales fixtures made of maple, a type of wood not grown
and very expensive to import.
During my routine call on a store executive, I remarked how
handsome the first floor looked. With what could have been either a smile or a
grimace, he nodded in agreement and then explained.
Bowling had become a popular sport in Japan. Hundreds of centers were
built. Takashimaya's Yokohama
store was the major importer of the fine maple required for the alleys.
Suddenly, public interest in bowling waned. Unfortunately, their maple buyer
wasn't aware of this. Large shipments of the wood kept arriving. Frustrated
with what to do with their vast inventory, the store decided to use it in
The buyer was assigned to a less demanding job.
This reminded me of a visit Lulu and I had made to Taipei. In an unusual fit
of candor, I told her of an earlier call I'd made to Peitou, Taiwan's
center of sin and sex. Hopefully, she believed me when I explained I had just
visited and not participated.
At any rate, she insisted we visit Peitou, which is just a short
drive from Taipei.
I thought it better if we went in the afternoon. I was surprised how innocent
it all looked in daylight. The streets were still filled with bicycles but the
riders were children and older people, not aggressive and naughty ladies. Lulu
wanted to go to the infamous hotel I had so foolishly described. Upon entering
the lobby, we heard young, excited voices coming from downstairs. We followed
the noise; and, to our amazement, youngsters were having a bowling tournament.
"So this is your center of sin!" said Lulu.