Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oh my God-zilla!

Some Bangkok cabbies prefer plastic toys to bronze Buddha statues. Why not pray to a Godzilla action figure? In fact, many Thai people worship all things Japanese. In Bangkok, you can find franchises of Japanese-style restaurants in every shopping mall, Japanese cartoons dubbed in Thai on TV, food and beverage products with Japanese-sounding names made by Thai companies, teenagers listening to "J-Pop" music, Thai fashionistas copying Japanese hair and clothing styles, and you can even get packaged sushi in local traditional markets.

When I first arrived in Thailand over five years ago, I was surprised to find that so many Thai people are crazy about Japanese food, fashion, and entertainment. I wondered why people from a place with such a rich culture like Thailand would revere another culture so much. I've since concluded that wherever you go, people admire things from abroad. I guess, as long as Thailand doesn't lose it's own identity, it's OK. Pass the sushi, please!