Graphic designer Takamasa Matsumoto created a very colorful poster to discourage Tokyoites and people across Japan from hoarding toilet paper, gas, rice and the other essentials of daily life, urging everyone to share in consideration of people who really need supplies. The poster which he put up on his twitter feed @stam_mats2 has become a social media hit. Some bloggers have quibbled with his numbers but the sentiment is a heart-felt one and something to keep in mind. Personally, I brought mega rolls of toilet paper from the US before coming back to Japan, so I haven’t felt a need to hoard it here. It’s a little mysterious why toilet paper becomes such an object of desire in the midst of post-earthquake life but the hoarding of gasoline is not so surprising; it really is in short supply and causing problems. Thankfully, when we really need it, the vice-mobile (our nearly dead vintage black Mercedes Benz) runs on high-octane fuel which is available in ample supplies. Of course, the down-side of driving around in that gas guzzling monster, besides environmental guilt, is that we get pulled over by the police twice as often. There are disadvantages to employing an ex-yakuza boss as your bodyguard and driver when you’re riding in the stereotypical yakuza car. He’s still a yakuza on the official police records. At least the police are generally very courteous when they stop us.
Here is the original Japanese poster.
Here is my English version of the same poster. Pardon the crudeness; I am not a graphic designer.
Of course, it would be a shame to flush away the opportunity to comment on the silliness of hoarding toilet paper. WilliamBanzai7 (twitter @williambanzai7) was kind enough to give us this illustration which makes the point so eloquently. Snake, come back! Tokyo needs you.