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Mini erasers in the shape of desserts. Scarves with designs to resemble trash around your neck. Furoshiki business card holders. These are few of the many eclectic, generally useless items on offer in the MoMA Store's Destination: Japan collection. At first glance, the few tables of cutesy trinkets are appealing and even entertaining, until you look at the yo-yoing pricetags.
Granted it's all imported, but the majority of the products are plastic with little or no useful value, unlike MUJI. We found the collection to be full of cheap thrills, such as the $10 "mochi" toy from Kid Robot (which bear a striking resemblance to the digital pet Tamagotchis) and the $12 mini robots you assemble...of paper. Shocking was the $75 squid-shaped memory stick with only 512 MB, with no redeemable qualities save its squid shape. The collection is a veritable dollar store which delights for a moment, but requires a stretch to imagine purchasing anything.
Among the post-it notes and avante-garde teapots, we did find some instances of truly inspiring, Tokyo-pop design. A real stand-out is the $33 clear Slit Bag designed by an Issey Miyake collaborator as a humorous, futuristic take on the classic French netted market sack. The $45 Patisserie Rings, sporting faux sugary treats, were also quite tempting.
Since the Destination: Japan collection is brought to us by a museum, we figured we should learn something from the products, and we did: there is a serious market for itsy bitsy, anthropomorphized sushi toys. Skip the MoMA selection and instead hit up Toy Tokyo on the second floor of 121 Second Avenue by St. Mark's Place.
· MoMA Destination: Japan [Official Site]
· Can We Get a Hell Yes?!: A Sneak Peek at the New Museum Gift Shop [Racked]