Today happens to be the 19th anniversary of my arrival in Japan, and this seemed like a good opportunity to reflect on how the country has changed over the last two decades. I came to Japan way back in Heisei 3, er, 1991, a time before the Internet had seeped into the consciousness of the public at large. The Tokyo land bubble — which saw Japan’s capital become more valuable than all the land in the United States on paper — had officially burst a few years before, but the Japanese hadn’t really begun the slow process of coming to grips with the changes they now faced. Japan at the time was very much closed to new ideas, and finding exotic foods from home like Doritos, Pringles or root beer would have been unthinkable. (I’d been inadvertently prepared for doing without familiar foods by living in New Zealand for a year in the 1970s, back when there was one channel on TV and one Pizza Hut in the entire country.) Of course, Pringles and root beer are not important at all, though you’ll crave them if you can’t get them. No, it was general attitude of Japan as being resistent to outside ideas that was hard to deal with, but when the Internet showed up a few years later, all that started going out the window. Now, things are much more open and international, and many more ideas and products and services flow in from the outside. And now there are many interesting flavors of Doritos made just for the domestic market, including the new pepper bacon flavor…?
19 years ago there were no bacon-flavored Doritos in Japan.