a little east of reality

Friday, May 06, 2005

saisho guu, janken pon!

So you've got an art collection that is going to fetch a HUGE price at auction ($US17m), but you've checked out both Christie's or Sotheby's auction houses and they seem about equivalent in merit. What a dilemma! How are you going to decide who can best market and auction your very valuable items?

Of course! Just like Takashi Hashiyama, you'd resort to a good ole game of rock, scissors, paper, right? I thought so.

The funniest thing about this story is that it is just so true. The Japanese take 'rock, scissors, paper' (janken) to a whole 'nother level. I've not only seen it in the school where I used to teach, but right through the rest of society, too. They have variations on the theme as well, like guu-pa (rock and paper only), which is used to decide teams or otherwise split up a group of people quickly. One of my colleagues there told me there was a grand final soccer match that ended in a tie and they used janken to decide the winner. Crazy stuff.

I sometimes use such methods when I cannot make a decision," Hashiyama told The New York Times.

As both companies were equally good and I just could not choose one, I asked them to please decide between themselves and suggested to use such methods as rock paper scissors.
As a side note: I think I could have identified him as Japanese just from his English, even without knowing he'd decided a multi-million dollar deal using janken.

And in case you were wondering...Christie's chose scissors, defeating Sotheby's paper.