As if it were needed, here’s more evidence that I’m fairly clueless about current pop culture. I can watch a TV series like Life on Mars and know every song on it, including all the words. I can remember clearly when Shoop Shoop Hula Hoops, Super Balls, and Pet Rocks were new.
But Pokémon completely passed me by. And the first time I heard Paris Hilton’s name, I thought they were talking about a hotel in the French capital. Really.
And so it was when I saw the sign over there on the right (click for full size). Why, I wondered, are Japanese erasers different from those from any other country? And why should I be excited that the store now had them? And how many people need erasers any more? Don’t we do everything on computers?
Happily, Google now erases (um, sorry) all ignorance. A quick search produced this page, among many others. Indeed; one doesn’t use these erasers, at least not to erase anything. One collects them; one treasures them. Consider this gem, from the aforelinked page:
There was a time when one dollar cannot buy much of value, but now that one dollar can be a best quality Japanese Iwako eraser, a little pocket pet to be with you 24 hours a day. You don’t need to be rich or powerful, all it takes is one dollar to have a true friend to be with you wherever you go. You can save up another dollar to get a new companion for your little eraser pet.
A new companion. You wouldn’t want just one, lonely eraser, would you? That’d be... heartless.
I can, though, connect all this stuff about erasers back to my own cultural awareness, through the lyrics of Bill Horowitz, and make those much younger than I go running to Google for a history lesson:
If I had a friend like Miss Rosemary Woods,
How simple my life would be.
I’d just give all my problems to Rosemary Woods
And she would erase them for me.
 Yes, yes, I know better now, though I rather wish I didn’t.