When I was young, the most popular souvenir seemed to be the Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt. I saw them everywhere. I saw them on old people, young people, men, women, and children. The locations varied from London and Paris to Istanbul and Perth. The first one I had was one from Honolulu.
My thoughts on whether this was the mark of a traveler or tourist varied from day to day, but that didn’t stop me from wanting one. I regret not getting one from the Osaka location. However, I rarely ever went there and would probably consider Murphy’s in Shinsaibashi my Japanese bar.
Then, for a while, I stopped seeing them. I had a theory about this, and maybe some of you out there can back me up on this one. I think the cool tourist souvenir became the Starbucks mug or the Starbucks tumbler. I saw quite a few people collect these things. I even briefly considered getting one when one of the people on the trip dragged me into a Starbucks in Vietnam. I declined when I realized that I was in a coffee producing country and the locals probably had the whole thing covered.
Again, that’s just a theory. Maybe lots of people are still buying those T-shirts and maybe someone’s shelf is not full of mugs from that chain.
If you know, please let me know.
I should note that the Hard Rock in Toronto is now closed. It was the first one in North America and it is gone–a victim of spiraling real estate costs and a lack of rent control. We also lost the House of Lords–the only place to get a true rocker hair cut in the city.
I hadn’t thought of this theory for a while, but today my student came dressed in the Hard Rock T-shirt. Since we were doing a mock exam, I had time to think about the theory. I am not sure this is a Perfect Moment, but it sort of fits in with the nostalgia and the urge to travel that I have been feeling lately.