Chapter 16

Chapter Annotation
Prepared By Farrah Stephanie C. Uy (073572), Com12-A

GOING MOBILE

Chapter 16 entitled “Going Mobile” is one of the most interesting chapters in Pattern Recognition because there is a lot that is going on. As the title of the chapter suggests, we can see here that Cayce Pollard is already starting working on her “mission” in Japan, which she has been able to do by having continuous exchange of messages with Parkaboy as to how she would be able to meet Taki to get the number that was watermarked in footage #78. We can see here the power of new technologies to influence every sphere of our lives. Technology is something that we have already absorbed; we bring it with us. When technology accelerates, it also makes us capable of moving through. Technologies allows us to transcend boundaries of time and space. This is seen in this chapter where Cayce Pollard has been actively using her laptop and cellular phone to be able to communicate with Parkaboy and to work wherever she goes. We can also see here how Parkaboy feels that he has been occupying two different time zones, as if he is also in Japan— although only virtually.

JAPANIZED WESTERN BREAKFAST AND MA-1 FLIGHT JACKET

In this chapter, it is important to discuss the issue of globalization. We define globalization as a phenomenon in which there is an observable increase in the integration of societies around the globe, transcending the boundaries between nations, as it standardizes the cultures and commodities around the world. Sometimes, it is also considered synonymous to “Westernization” or “Americanization”. Interestingly, in this chapter, we get a glimpse of how globalization works and how people deal with it. In the beginning of the chapter, Cayce Pollard had her breakfast and notes how “high-end Japanese hotels interpret Western breakfasts the way the Rickson’s makers interpret the MA-1” (p. 138, Pattern Recognition). This line connotes the idea that Japanese are perfectionists. The ‘perfect’ breakfast that Cayce Pollard had was compared to MA-1 flight jacket because the Japanese has imitated it in such a way that they have improved every single detail to make it ‘perfect’. The imitation of the original, of a flaw, has been changed according to their tastes to reach their standard and make it feel more real. It shows here how the Rickson’s, as well as her breakfast, has been reinterpreted and Japanized. This gives us the idea that in globalization, people does not simply copy the original idea or commodity as it is. People actively interact with the new ideas or commodities and integrating it into their existing culture to fit into their way of life.

In relation to how Japanese seek perfection, this is how the buzz rickson’s jacket is described by the official distributor in USA. These pictures show how the MA-1 flight jacket manufactured in Japan is intricately and ‘perfectly’ done to match the standards of the original one.**

flickr:3388687919

William Gibson in his Buzz Rickson’s MA-1 flight jacket

Take note of these authentic features:

Copy of original maker’s label design produced on a vintage shuttle loom

•Custom manufacturing of the correct weight and weave Black nylon outer and inner lining shell to precisely match 1957 USAF specs. and treated to repel water
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Correct USAF spec. inner lining of warm wool fiber filling sandwiched between the outer and inner shell lining

•Two snap-down exterior pockets lined with warm 80/20 wool-rayon fabric precisely matching 1957 USAF specs.
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•Two snap-down interior pockets lined with heavy 100% cotton twill fabric precisely matching 1957 USAF specs.

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Exact copy of the heavy-duty 1953 Crown® zippers on sleeve pocket and jacket front, with zip tape made of 100% cotton HBT fabric, not incorrect poly-cotton

•Heavy all-cotton zipper pull tab designed for easy functioning with gloves

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•Heavy wind flap protector located behind zipper closure

Correct USAF spec. leather pull tab on sleeve pocket

•Custom manufacturing of the correct, two-ply, 100% worsted wool knit collar, cuffs and waist skirt in Black

•Heavy parachute harness nylon in Black correctly sewn to left front chest for attaching oxygen mask retainer clip
flickr:3389499940

•Two snap-down tabs (one on each breast) for retaining headset and microphone wiring leads, exactly as on original 1957 MA-1’s

•Zippered pocket on left sleeve outfitted with four pen/pencil slots and two anti-puncture pencil caps made of 1945 spec. USAF brass1

** pictures from http://indigofan.com/indigofan/2007/03/buzz-ricksons-black-ma-1-long.html
The description above were fromthis site
Some words above were in bold to emphasize my point of how the Japanese seek for perfection

In addition to these, I also found a forum where the people were talking about where to find this jacket in Japan. One of them said that he/she happen to find a store called Phantom in a basement somewhere between Shibuya and Harujuku that advertises the ‘Pattern Recognition’ jacket with William Gibson’s card in it. Interestingly enough, it seems that the store is actually getting profit from selling the jacket.
To read the forum click here

Also, since William Gibson has been using products produced by Buzz Rickson’s, Buzz Rickson’s have introduced the William Gibson Collection of Classic Military Jacket Styles produced exclusively all in black (2008 Fall and winter collection) .
To see the collection click here

These pictures show how the Japanese have been really crazy over the U.S. Military garments shown in this Catalog Book of Buzz Rickson’s sold in ebay

flickr:3388688229flickr:3389500686

For more photos click here

MUJI

In this chapter, we also see Cayce Pollard becoming paranoid after reading Parkaboy’s email “I hear, o Mistress Muji.” Because there is a feeling that she is being followed, but she calmed down after having the idea that Parkaboy must have just told this because he knew that Cayce Pollard is allergic to brands.

Muji is a no-logo, no-brand store that sells a wide variety of consumer and household products. The store claims that it is not a brand and emphasizes minimalism. It received global recognition by the simplicity of its products and its commitment to environmental preservation through recycling materials that also allows them to produce low-priced yet quality products. It now operates 181 stores and has several international retail outlets in countries such as UK, France, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Turkey, US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, China and Thailand.

“The Philosophy
Muji is not a brand whose value rests in the frills and ‘extras’ it adds to its products.
MUJI is simplicity- but a simplicity achieved through a complexity of thought and design.
MUJI’s streamlining is the result of the careful elimination and subtraction of gratuitous features and design unrelated to function.”2

The philosophy of Muji is really interesting and points out to the idea of complexity vs. simplicity
Many people are having debates over what is more difficult to do, the complex objects or the simpler objects?
In line to Muji's philosophy, it is really important to observe the reversing trend in style/art, showing a movement from complex forms back to the simple, minimalistic ones. For example, minimalistic homes are now viewed as neat and stylish, and were appreciated by many.

"We often think of the simple as being easy, and it is when you have nothing complex to accomplish. But if the artist is intent upon the awe and respect afforded to complexities, making such things simple is not easy - it's hard. Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying, "I'm sorry this letter is so long, I hadn't time to write a shorter one." Perhaps Albert Einstein said it even better; "Anyone who really understands his work should be able to explain it to an eight-year-old." A television set is an incredibly complex piece of electronics. I'm still in awe every time I make one blink to life. But that same TV would be of absolutely no value if some engineer hadn't taken the time, energy, and had the intellect to make operating it simple. By the same token, painters who have the ability, on their own, to make complex things simple deserve our respect. Those who expect their viewers, or some writer, to struggle to unravel the complexities in their work, or to invent them, in order to discern meaning (assuming there is any), and thereby gain respect, have fallen short. In closing, I should note too, however, that Einstein also said, "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler."3

**Muji Store and some of the products they offer, showing how something simple/minimalistic is not simply done. The products were amazing and seems that they were painstakingly done.

flickr:3388687891
Muji-Bangkok
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Muji Speakers
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Muji modern coffee maker

**pictures from http://www.muji.com and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muji

JAPANESE MAKE-OVER

It is also funny how Cayce has received a Japanese make-over, feeling that she is in “some paradoxical state between sleek and tousled. Anime hair, rendered hi-rez.”….
An event where a Caucasian had an Asian make-over only shows how the traditionally known boundaries are being blurred at this day and age, and how we treat it as something normal as the world slowly flattens out as we come to absorb the different cultures.

To view a Japanese hairstyle tutorial click here

M-1951 U.S. Army Fishtail Parka and RAF roundel

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//images from: http://www.raf.mod.uk/history_old/hrafround.html and http://www.fishtailparkas.com/m1951_BUY_fishtail_parka.htm//

While at a cafe, Cayce Pollard notices a "silver scooter go past, its driver wearing a matching silver helmet with a mirrored visor and what she recognizes as an M-1951 U.S. Army Fishtail Parka, an embroidered red-white-and-blue RAF roundel on its back, like a target.[…] a British miltary symbol re-purposed by postwar style-warriors, and recontextualized again, here, via cross-cultural echo."(page 142)

There is a feeling of 'weirdness' in this scene because there is "merging" of three cultures in this man. First, the man, supposedly, is a Japanese. Second, he uses a M-1951 U.S. Army Fishtail Parka. Third, the parka has a British Royal Air Force (RAF) roundel on its back. This weirdness is something that Cayce picks out, however, the weirdness felt a little normal for her and she just accepted how these changed according to time or culture.

KIDDYLAND

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//image from: http://www.sanriotown.com/login/img1/wallpaper/set1/02-03/wallpaper1_800.jpg and http://www.animecubed.com/galleries/kogepan///

Towards the end of the chapter, caye Pollard finds herself "in the Hello Kitty section of Kiddyland, to have collapsed into a single moment of undifferentiated Japanese Stuff." Cayce wondering why "Japanese franchises like Hello Kitty not trigger interior landslide, panic attack, the need to invoke the duck in the face?"

She also sees other Japanese franchises such as kogepan and the boneless panda and her cubs and "none of this stuff, purest no-content marketing, triggers Cayce in the least."(page 144)

Cayce may not be interested because these franchises are selling only pure image and are usually targeting the "cute market"— having almost similar items such as purses, bags, watches, hairbrush, etc. However, Hello Kitty's popularity is obviously far beyond kogepan and the boneless panda. Browsing the internet, I have found an interesting site featuring wide variety of Hello Kitty merchandise that do not only cater to girls, but also to boys, like this one:

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//image from: http://www.kittyhell.com///

To view the site click here
This site shows that Hello Kitty, unlike the two other Japanese merchandise, is successfully extending its market scope to include the whole society.

Footnotes:

1http://www.historypreservation.com/hpassociates/detailpop.php?uniqnum=59

2http://lawsofsimplicity.com/2008/08/11/muji/

3http://www.humanitiesweb.org/human.php?s=g&p=a&a=i&ID=1083


060258 COM12 G
Chapter 16 Going Mobile

Blue ant’s Power
In the previous chapters, Cayce Pollard always mentions how hard it is to get on of her MA-1 Rickson’s Jacket. The jacket itself is considered as valuable and hard to get. But amazingly, as hard it is to get, Blue ant WITHOUT any hesitations says that they’ll get CP a ricksons Jacket.

Rickson’s jacket http://historypreservation.com/hpassociates/images/ma1_wg_mont.jpg

Blue ant was also able to get CP a free hot rocks massage, plucking, waxing, manicures, and more! As CP tried to pay with her blue ant card the people waved it off and did not ask for pay.

Cayce Pollard’s New Look

Cayce Pollard had a makeover. Her hair and make-up was very new to her. What’s interesting here is how CP actually describes her look. She uses very accurate Japanese references in describing her look. She describes her hair as anime hair. The moment you hear the word anime, images instantly come into mind and people are easily able to imagine the hair.
e.g http://www.daz3d.com/i.x/shop/itemdetails/-/?item=5840&refid=985302667
http://tommyanimezone.com/2009/02/13/anime-hair-texturizing/

Another way she described her look was using Japanese sushi chefs. Sushi chefs have to practice day and night. Making sushi is an art. Only those who train for years can actually become sushi chefs. She means to say that the detail of her make-up and the expertise shown was those of a person who has in a way mastered the art.

Sushi school : http://www.sushischool.net/ - Just goes to show how making sushi is not simply cooking.

Hello Kitty
In the chapter, CP mentions that she sees an array of HELLO KITTY products. She calls these products “purest no-content marketing”. What’s interesting is that if you look at the products. They actually have no use whatsoever. People just see them as cute. It’s not marketed to be useful, but instead cute. This being cute is once again part of Japanese culture. And this Hello Kitty has spread everywhere. Bags, dolls, watches, even guitars.

e.g. http://www.sanrio.com/

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