Friday, September 17, 2010

Oahu-An example of deterritoralization and cultural hybridity

In John Sinclair's, "Global, supranantional institutions and Media", the concept of synergy/hybridity of culture and "glocalization" are no more present then in Oahu, Hawaii. A prime tourist spot, Hawaii brings up a fathum of images including: waves, beach, hula dancers and Leis (all cliches' aside). What often is not known is the hybrid of culture that exists, due in partial to many of the deterritorialization concepts defined by Anjun Appadura. Foreign investment from Japan is a primary example especially its economical impacting force in the late 80's and even now with the down turn of the dollar and the rise of the yen, which has induced a host of new business structures and culture adaptations.

The first example, is the catering of / and to tourism- charters and trolleys once used for travel between local cites and especially to Hilo Hattie's main store (a local proliferate of stereotypical Hawaiian gear )has been transformed into a booming network of JTB and Oli' oli' tour lines-creating a private set of trolley lines for Japanese speakers and tour groups. Stores like Shirokiya, Q-pot, Matsumoto's Shaved ice, Don Quiotes, Karaoke bars, ABC stores and Store 88' have been proliferated and revamped to focus on this sector of tourism alone. Where even the yen is as accepted as the dollar.

Stores like the newly opened Q-pot and the long known and internationally famous 88' stores. These stores are some of the most culturally isolating stores in the area but they represent a growing number of similar stores that instead of catering to their landscape's culture they choose to stand out as different. For example Q-pot is utterly void of local influences and primary focus is on Japanese clientele and those in the know in Japanese "cute" jewelry fashion with a focus on "sweet" jewelry (ie. jewelry in the form of sweets). 88'store is its predecessor with an almost all Japanese clientele, with its claims to be a famous local entity. But ask around and you will find that it is only popular with those from Japan or with Japanese ancestry yet, these stores and ones similar have been increasing in areas of Hawaii and have made a fundamental change in that they no longer wish to blend but stand out as culturally different in the landscape.

Then along side this are stores like Shirokiya and Don Quiotes who are direct imports from Japan but their identity have changed. No longer do they carry only Japanese goods, they have become host of synergy or "glocalization" with local tastes and Asian origins mixing to make up what could be said to be entirely opposite of their original intents. Don Quiotes has gone through constant reconstruction in Hawaii from being a store of mixed media full of mostly useless gadgets and assortment of tourist focused items in its home land of Japan, into a grocery store where it blends its Japanese product lines and local appeal together to market not only tourists that are familiar with the name (Japanese)but gaining the attention of locals as a trust-able grocery chain with local roots.

Thus, local shops, grocery, department stores and transportation have began to focus on tailoring products to meet the hybrid culture over time with such things as: bento lunches, spam musubi, taro mochi and green tea and chopsticks being as available and used as much as Coca cola and a fork. This isn't to say that deterritoralization is a negative thing but that its often not even noticed as unique or representative of a highly influential culture but just a way of life/ a part of the culture local individuals have grown up with.

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