I had always wanted to go to Seattle.
Not for Starbucks or Microsoft but for Archie McPhee.
This is where I purchase my Pigeon Masks.
I always buy it online but I had always wanted to go to the physical store.
This month my dream finally came true. I got to visit Pigeon Mask's hometown.
What is Archie McPhee?
Located in Seattle, Archie McPhee is a general store, which makes and sells strange items that may not be called "miscellaneous goods."
Its official site with nothing but funny goods, which are all original.
I learned about their Pigeon Mask in early 2013. Since I bought it, I have gradually turned into a pigeon as I appeared wearing the Mask on Google Street Google View and hosted an event called Pigeon Night.
So I have to report to the store that I have turned into a wonderful pigeon.
Seattle is 9.5 hours from Tokyo
After hosting the bill bath event in San Francisco, I headed for Seattle skipping visits to local IT companies etc.
Taking bus from downtown Seattle to Archie McPhee.
About 20 minutes by bus. I found the store which I had seen so many times on Street View.
To psych me up I put on the strangest t-shirt I could find in my wardrobe.
This is the home of Pigeon Mask. There was even a painting of Pigeon Mask on the wall. This is my home even though I have never been here before.
There is no place more fitting to wear Pigeon Mask than here. I would draw attention no matter where I wear it, but it's just expected here. I tremble with excitement as I find myself in the place of destiny (I'll tremble more again later)
I was welcomed
I decided to go inside
Welcome Hayashi Yuji!!!
There is a welcome board.
I had informed them of my upcoming visit beforehand through Facebook. Even so, I was surprised to be welcomed this way.
Delighted. I'm a bit worried that if my smile ever reveals my delight.
Judging from the photo, I was not able to contain my joy
Me with brown eyes
This painting of me wearing a turban was based on a photo taken as a jest after drinking beer at home at night. The skull on my forehead was my wife's broach.
I had never imagined to see this in Seattle, beyond the Pacific Ocean.
David, who emailed me back
David, who gave me a heartfelt welcome, said he had read articles on Street View and Pigeon Night through Google translate. He doesn't understand them well, but he reads them anyway (I think that's what he said).
As souvenirs I gave him a YouTube clear file and fake bills with my own portrait. Then I showed him the photos from the bill bath event, explaining to him that people had bathed in them in San Francisco.
I attempt to tell him what I did in San Francisco, more or less.
When David saw the photos of the bill bath, he said he also had it. Really? Then he showed me a bathtub on display at the store.
It has many tentacles. At times small hands (both are toys you wear on your fingers)
What is this? I have never seen such a tub - probably it's the only one in the world.
A tub with bills works as a parody of the filthy rich, but one with octopus tentacles has no reason besides being funny. It's a genius. This is a great store, after all.
Nothing but 10,000 kinds of funny goods in the store
In addition to the octopus tub, the store is filled with extraordinary items. According to David, it features 10,000 kinds. I admire that they are intended to be funny rather than useful.
There are other masks besides pigeon
Does this mean that I don't find it gross?
New raccoon mask
Anniversary that scared Obama
The one David holds in his hand is the Yodeling Pickle
Press the button on the pickle and it yodels.
Pickle and yodeling have nothing to do with each other. But I was impressed by the fact that they combine 2 unrelated things into 1 item, mass produce it, and sell it. It's not that they made one piece for a joke.
I feel the willingness to be funny. How awesome!
Finger monster. Only 75 cents.
This finger monster and the hand pants are currently the most popular items. Please see the hand pants on the official site as I forgot to take any photo.
I was impressed with the U.S. when I was told that these items sell well there.
Zombie finger which glows in dark
Large latex lobster
A huge devil head, which is not for sales
The devil head, which was left unattended outside the store, was once stolen. However, it was found abandoned and returned safe and sound when a local radio station asked for help.
It's a good story, but it's so bizarre that it doesn't even sound like one, which is wonderful.
Funnily enough, getting along fine
Opposite of the hand pants, here is the largest pants in the world.
Waist 100 inches: giant underpants
You can wear like this to attend the US-Japan summit meeting
When he showed me the pants, I was able to communicate by just saying, "Together, together!" while gesturing. By communicating non-verbally, the two of us ended up wearing this enormous pair of pants.
Looking at the photos afterwards, I see that David and I were perfect together, striking poses, whenever the camera was on us.
2 playing horse
Founder and CEO Mark joined us there. Please think of him as the Steve Jobs of Archie McPhee.
A great man who has been making novelty goods for over 30 years
The finger monster was designed by Mark as well.
This is how the interior of the store looked like...
I want them to know more about me in addition to being a pigeon masked man. I showed them the YouTube clear file and the 5-meter selfie stick. And I pulled out my iPad casually, but I had a presentation prepared in English.
Explaining in English
David commented that what we do was very similar.
Yes, I thought so, too. I'm delighted to convey this. I respect Archie McPhee and I'm happy to find like-minded people in a faraway country.
That's what I wanted to tell them, but I didn't know how, so I just said, I think so, too.
Here comes a question from David
He wanted to know if pigeon night was art or humor. Of course it's the latter.
I want to make people laugh 100%. It's not art at all.
I feel awkward if people ask me if what I do is art. As he went directly to my dilemma I was quietly moved.
It's humor, baby!
Spent roughly 200 dollars
I spent 1 hour in the store and approximately 200 dollars on goods. Mark gave me his book about the history of the store and goods so far.
When I read about each ridiculous item I feel courage welling up inside.
The stylish book is titled Who Would Buy This?
He autographed the book for "pigeon man."
Lastly we took a photo outside the store (after taking many inside).
David crouched a bit so that our shoulders were leveled
We also hugged
Finally he lifted me up
CEO and I pretended to be kidnapped
We were supposed to take photos outside the store, but the three of us kept playing around with no end in sight.
I love this type of looseness.
While I was doing funny stuff online, I found a store selling funny things in Seattle. When I visited there in person, funny people there welcomed me with open arms.
I was able to expand my horizon through the passion of making funny stuff.
I feel still happy even more than a week has passed.