I was in my hometown recently and finally someone put information I’ve been craving in front of me. The local news media had an article on the nearby Asian Market.
I’ve been wanting to go into this one, or the ones previous, for years. I hated Chinese food as a little kid and never tried it again until my 20’s. Then it was a lot of catching up. Expanding into trying not only Chinese, but Japanese, Mongolian, Thai, Vietnamese, and everything else. Sushi was a revelation to me. Add in my pop culture obsessions like comics and wrestling – which also have their own dominating corners in Asian countries – and I was obsessed. An Otaku? Maybe. But I think there was a difference. A difference that prevented me from going into this store for years.
I don’t belong here.
Yup, because I’m not of any Asian descent I felt like I did not belong in these stores and should not go into them. Looking back, I have no idea what my fear was. What I thought might happen. Would I be yelled at? Kicked out? Wait for the police to arrive? I don’t know. Deep down I felt like I’m intruding in someone’s house. Someone’s safe space. This is your store and your community and it would be rude of me to intrude.
It sounds ridiculous to put the thoughts out there. What store doesn’t want more customers spending more money?
There was also the concern over what would I buy once inside? I don’t want to buy something I end up hating. Nor did I want to look stupid and buy the wrong things. Like I said, there was a lot of unnecessary anxiety I placed upon myself.
But there was the article talking about the success of the store and all of the product they’re trying to keep in stock. Thanks to TikTok I follow Americans living in Japan and I became familiar with a couple of products I wanted to try. Also, near 15 years ago now I went into the Hershey’s store in Manhattan and bought green tea Hershey bars. One of the best snacks I’ve ever had in my life. That alone, or something like it, would be worth any uncomfortable feelings I might have once inside.
Come back tomorrow to hear all about my time inside the store. Then come back in the days after as I review all of the food I bought. I spent way more money than I was planning.