I will admit that, in the primitive times that were early 90’s anime fandom, I did occasionally buy something just because it was Japanese, or just because it featured anime characters – even ones I’d never heard of – just because actually finding anything Japanese or anime related in Eugene in the 1990-1994 timeframe was so mindbogglingly rare as to be noteworthy.
In 1994 or thereabouts, Beaverton got a Japanese bookstore, and I would make periodic pilgrimages up to shop there, so it got a little less unique, and then in 1995 I moved to Los Angeles largely to be closer to Little Tokyo. In retrospect, you shouldn’t move 2000 miles to be closer to shopping when you have self control issues…
But, asides aside, things were pretty rough for the internationally-minded fanboy back then.
By way of contrast:
My father just got back from a month in China, including some time at a panda preserve and breeding center. He bought me a t-shirt from the panda preserve, and it is an awesome t-shirt. It has pandas doing tai-chi on it. It is super cool, and I would put up a picture, but it is unnecessary, because googling “panda tai chi” results in multiple hits from people who are offering to sell the same t-shirt, in child’s or adult sizes, world-wide from China.
This is not to say that I don’t appreciate his hand-carrying this super cool T-shirt back, or that I think it’s any less cool because I could have mail-ordered one, it’s just that, wow, the world seems a much smaller place noawadays.
Also: Let’s Learn Japanese Progress: 9/52