Jingle Victim

If there’s any part of you that can keep up a rhythm, it’s your heart. Whether it speeds up or slows down, it always keeps going. When you go to sleep, rest assured, it’ll still be dutifully beating for you when you wake up. Isn’t that comforting to know? You don’t ever hold the responsibility to flex this muscle indefinitely. Unless you suffer from medical condition, most people can feel fairly certain that when they wake up the following morning, that faithful beat will be there to greet you. But what if you were to hear a different beat? One that clashed with your own and had the potential to cut your rhythm short. Many musicians can be led astray as soon as they hear another tune mid song, breaking their natural rhythm and tainting it with another melodic corruption. A different pace, a sickening tune, ear-splitting screeches echoed in continuous beat. It might be bad enough to interrupt or even stop your own rhythm. Would you risk the chance of letting your heart stop? Read out loud at your peril:


Pia Pia Piago

Japanese businesses and shops love their jingles almost as much as they love their mascots. The mascots might induce nightmares but they’re hardly if threatening. But the jingles on the other hand, have a series of detrimental effects on the human soul and internal organs that medical science has yet to explain. If you are exposed to terrible Japanese jingles on a regular basis, here are some common symptoms you can expect:


  • irreversible madness
  • blackening of the soul
  • extreme pain in the ears
  • blackouts
  • memory loss
  • suicidal thoughts
  • heart-attacks


I’m starting a petition to have all businesses that use jingles to display skull and cross bones signs across their stores in order to fully warn customers of the danger they face by entering. They are resisting the motion as heavily as the cigarette companies did. But we’ll win because of the accounts of real life victims who will speak out against this crime.


My name is Poncho and I am a jingle victim. As a long term sufferer I combat some of the above symptoms on a daily basis. My sensitivity to sound has increased dramatically, I have bouts of madness (including walking out into the snow) and I can no longer rely on my heart to keep on beating. To other victims out there, I assure you, you can fight this. Regularly shock therapy can treat your heart, diaries are a simple solution to memory loss, and I managed to replace my suicidal thoughts with murderous ones instead, which is much healthier. Elodie has been particularly great at helping me with that transition.


How did I contract these conditions? It befell me within my first week in Yokohama. As with most tragedies, it began in the simplest and most regular way possible. A trip to the local supermarket, Piago. It was not only a short walk from the dormitory but also housed a 100yen store above it, making it the most convenient choice for general and food shopping. With my first fateful foolish step inside I heard it. Pia pia piago. The song continued on and on. On and on. I knew immediately it hurt of course, but I didn’t understand just how much damage it was inflicting. After a few weeks of regular shopping trips I couldn’t stand it anymore and checked my ears out in the mirror back home. The blood vessels had burst open from the sound waves, leaving my ears bright red under my mop-like hair. Even someone with no medical experience would know something was wrong. I tried to find Piago alternatives but nothing was as conveniently placed. Besides, there were other jingles out there that I ran into. Nowhere was safe. I had to find a solution.


The simplest way out was the most effective. Whenever I approached Piago I would listen out for the jingle. If it played, I refused to enter. I would wait until the jingle ended before gingerly walking inside, nervous that it might still be playing. But no matter how careful I was, it would always play again when I was left unawares. I’d be lifting a fourth bottle of cc lemon into my basket when suddenly the dreaded tune would start, sending a panicked shudder through my chest. There would only be a brief few seconds before the stabbing vocals would join in. A few brief seconds for me to escape. Depending on where in Piago I was standing, I had two options; the stairs to the 100 yen store or the exit. Whichever was closer didn’t matter. The tune would start and to save myself I would drop my basket to the floor and sprint, dodging customers and vaulting over counters. Most of the time I made it. When I didn’t, I felt my bounding steps touch the floor in time to the jingle, feeling the terrible tune infect my flesh as it vibrated through me. I would end up on the floor outside, hand clutched to my chest as the pressure grew and my heart wavered, threatening to stop altogether.


My symptoms grew worse, making it apparent that waiting until the jingle ended just wasn’t enough. I had to know precisely when the song would begin and end so I wouldn’t be caught off-guard. So with stopwatch in hand, I waited outside Piago and measured the length of the song as well as the interlude between each play through. To protect myself through this research, I played my iPod at full volume, relying on the lead-lined headphones to shield against the bulk of the jingle. It wasn’t enough to fully protect me; I could still hear it through the music and I had to accept that necessary pain for the greater good. But at last I perfected the technique. There was roughly under 2 minutes of jingle-free time between the song’s cycle. 2 minutes to grab food and get out. The only real danger was long lines or the staff behind the counters taking their time. In such instances I would wait and pick my moments to dash.


I thought that I had surpassed all dangers through this ordeal. I had mastered the art food food shopping without the agony of heart-stopping jingles. Until I needed an adaptor plug from Yodobashi camera. Seven flights of stairs and the Yo-do-ba-shi Ca-me-raaaaa on loop. It didn’t matter how fast I ran, there was no escaping. All of my efforts in Piago were for nought when jingles haunted every store. There is no escape.


Sign the petition. We mustn’t let there be any more victims to this needless tragedy. Gone are the days when we needed no responsibility for our heart beats. The rhythm of life is not the powerful beat you think it is when it falters against the Piago jingle.

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