Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Pan-Japan Deodorant Conspiracy

Japan . . . deodorant . . . . What the heck?!! What’s going on here?! I left Japan for good when I was seventeen years old, so I had forgotten that I used to wear girly, roll on deodorants such as Ban before I went to boarding school in the Philippines and discovered manly deodorants like Brut and Wintergreen. I live by a simple code of personal hygiene: if it’s not stick deodorant, it’s not real deodorant. And it’s official—real deodorant is not to be had in Japan. I would not call myself a procrastinator, but I do procrastinate habitually; that is to say, I put off doing things on a regular basis. So as the one stick of Old Spice I brought to Japan with me dangerously dwindled I just told myself: “it’s going to be okay—if you need it, it will come.”

But it didn’t come. No new deodorant came to me, and this morning I was reduced to desperate measures, and desperate measures drove me to venture forth on a great deodorant hunt.

At the Home Centre I found one type of ladies’ roll on, and three types of ladies’ spray.

I think that’s some more of the girly deodorant spray for ladies at Circle-K.

This is the best selection I found out there: roll-on Ban for men and some girly sprays disguised in man colours.

Same store, ladies’ section. One roll on option and many spray options. I didn’t bother to take photos in the toiletry sections in stores THAT HAD NO DEODORANT—not even of the fake and wimpy variety.

Good old Ban and the Eroica Skin Milk for Men

"Nudy" Dual Cologne and Gatsby's "Shower Fresh"
Taking all these photos made me feel a little self-conscious, especially in the cosmetics department where the superfluous clerks kept looking at me. Did they think I was hentai? That’s not fair. It was the “deodorant-less” reality being photographed that was warped, not me, the photographer. Nevertheless, I asked one of them whether there are any other kinds of deodorant in Japan, and she said that in the summer they have deodorant cream (??!!) but that for the rest of the year there is only roll on and spray. I confirmed this deodorant conspiracy on the internet once I got home. This is the only good news I found out there. Obviously I can’t go to Costco since I don’t live anywhere near Chiba, but Jacob and Autumn Witt did tell me the other day about The Flying Pig which is the web page of a couple of guys who moved next door to Costco and started buying stuff to resell to gaijin over the internet. Problem: the only stick deodorant they list is Mennen Speed. I never bought Speed when I was in North America because I thought it was effeminate, but it looks like I’m just going to have to adjust.