Big in Japan. There used to be a time when every toy out there was manufactured in Japan or Taiwan or Hong Kong. Be it Matchbox, Mattel or even your Lego blocks – these countries were the usual suspects. The quality was good, the blocks were harmlessly edible and the wheels never left scratches on the floor. And of course Hong Kong was very much a part of cool Britannia. The toy guns fired bullets that neither blinded nor left angry red bullet marks on your body. Kids were safe.
And then came the Chinese invasion. High quality metal gave way to cheap quality plastic. Your Lego or Duplo blocks now tasted funny, probably a result of the smoggy weather and the weird coloured water in Xinjiang province. Hong Kong was ‘liberated’ by China. Your toys now cost hardly anything. And so we bought and bought and broke and broke and babies laughed at weird Chinese lullabies cackling out of their crib hangings. Daisy guns were no longer safe, maybe relics from the People’s Liberation Army. Your clothes now smelt funny and left angry welts on your body. It itched like a insect infested tropical rain forest. Everything looked so tacky.
Japan and Taiwan faded to return to their Zaibatsu’s and the uncertainty of the Formosa strait respectively. It’s hard when you see quality degenerate as you grow up.
I look at the toys lined up in Landmark and they scream out saying “So this is how it feels like to be cheap.” A sad reality if there was any.