Monday, October 24, 2011

Mystery beauty product

The joy of going to a market either in a foreign place or, for those of us that could not travel, to the so called “ethnic” markets closer to our homes, is the plethora of products that to a native of the given ethnicity either seem banal or are a reminder of their roots, but to the rest of us look utterly exotic. Such is my fate. And I don’t mind. Suddenly, any product looks more appealing, because the packaging is different and IT is by default different. More often than not, only the first is true.

So here I am, after impromptu foray into Mitsuwa, with a mystery beauty product in my hand. What’s my excuse? As my friend said, “Hiragana even makes warning labels very attractive”, and this one looked innocuous enough. The stuck-on label on the back is in English and tells me that I am holding “Face Milkly Lotion” [sic]. Yes, exactly that, plus the ingredients and warnings about stopping the use if a rash develops, and then a simple use instruction “Apply moderate amount on face”. Period. This shouldn’t be an issue, but in the current beauty market it is customary to have a simple line or two about what the product promises to deliver. That sales line is in hiragana and, I am sad to admit, I cannot decipher it. Internet to the rescue!

Mitsuwa website is kind enough to provide descriptions in English and, although I didn’t find one for my product, they go something like this: “W steadily penetrating deep into the essence of the stratum corneum, the combination of isoflavones, such as elasticity gives the thump and overflowing” or “The burnished skin full of moisture with firmness. The rich feel, latex skin leading to buoyant.” Sure, I should learn hiragana, but… The oft used digital translators may be to blame. They have a long way to go, and I should know. Alternatively, could the “Big Wigs” select the people in-the-know that work for them to do the translations properly because they really can? After all, isn’t that what kids are for, too? It is the privilege of the immigrants, or parents who send their kids abroad, to use those “ungrateful little bastards” to provide great translations in exchange for the new or better home their elders have delivered them into or the education they allowed them to have. Just saying.

Anyhow, I found the exact product description eventually – “This facial milky lotion contains rice ceramide to soften and nurish your skin. Fast absorbing and non-sticky formula. No fragrance, colorant, and mineral oil. General order to use skin care products Cautions: Do not use if you have scars or rashes. If you notice irritation or any other skin problems using this product, stop using immediately and consult a doctor. Symptom may get worse if you keep using it. Do not store in a high temperature of in direct sunlight. Rinse immediately if it gets into your eyes. Keep out of the reach of children.” Thank you! Now let’s see if this is more than pretty exotic packaging with nifty hiragana.

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