March 28, 2005 – These movies are just wrong

Since moving to Numazu, I have rented a lot of movies from the giant Tsutaya store north of the train station. It turns out there was a closer video rental shop just down the street from my apartment. Palmer and Azeroth just found out about it, and learned that it was going out of business. They were selling off their entire stock of movies, so the three of us walked down the street to check out the selection.

Unlike Tsutaya, the video rental shop down the street was completely automatic. The entire store was filled with banks of glass walled vending machines displaying a selection of movies. Renting a movie was similar to buying a snack; you enter the letter and number combination of your selection and then swipe a credit card. This prompts a robotic arm to reach out and retrieve your selection. It is pretty cool to watch. The store was open 24 hours a day, and only had a staff member working during the daytime.

Imagine if you will, a video rental store open 24 hours a day where you don’t have to actually talk to any employees. Now imagine what kind of clientele that type of store would cater to, and what kind of movies they would stock.

Yep, lots o porn.

To be fair, the front of the store contained the standard recent Hollywood releases. Most of these had already been sold out, except for a few awful Stallone movies. The rest of the store was filled with a huge variety of porn ranging from conventional to funny to outright disturbing. “Black guys and Japanese obaasans (grandmothers)” was a title that caught our attention and had us laughing out loud.

Japanese porn can be a huge culture shock to people from North America. The censorship rules are very strange; they are not allowed to show genitals, but they can show almost anything else. Some of the cover art alone would have been illegal in North America. I am not going to go into details as I am still trying to repress memories of some of the horrible things I saw, but I can fully understand why these titles would be available in a place where you never have to interact with another human.

Strangely enough, despite the cavalcade of “this can’t be legal back home” porn, we didn’t notice any gay porn at all. I am not sure if the selection had already sold out, or if the owner of the video shop decided that gay porn offended them, but crying tied up actresses dressed as schoolgirls was okay.

In the end, I didn’t end up buying anything (not even Stallone movies), and I am perfectly happy to stick to Tsutaya for my movie needs in the future.

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