We ask, and sort of get answers to, the questions this “super cool” tracksuit begs.

You might not guess it from how much stuff he buys at Daiso, but our Japanese-language reporter Go Hatori also has a taste for the finer things in life. Unfortunately, Go’s plan to win the lottery (using company money) and live like a king didn’t pan out, so he’s forced to continue living modestly, keeping his eye out for luxuries he can afford.

Just such an opportunity seemed to fall into his lap the other day when he spotted this ad while surfing the Internet.

“Super cool,” says the ad’s text, before tripling down on the cool-factor by adding “Comfort and coolness.” The set was priced at 5,680 yen (US$49.90), a very low price for a Puma zip-up athletic shirt and pair of jogger pants. Go was almost completely convinced to pull the trigger, but he couldn’t help noticing the image was kind of blurry.

“Does that say ‘Puma,’ or something else?” wondered Go.

Hoping to get a clearer photo if he clicked on the ad, he gave it a shot, and thankfully the order page had a much clearer photo, in the sense that the image was sharp.

But what still wasn’t clear was what exact brand of tracksuit they were selling. That sure looks like the font and logo for Puma, but that’s not a U after the P.

Still, the clothes seemed to have a lot going for them. They come in six different colors, and the site boasted that they provide the wearer with a “beautiful silhouette.”

Another supposed selling point is “the exquisite tailoring designer fashionable mainstream.”

▼ We’re not sure exactly how the grammar is supposed to parse there, but those are some pretty nice adjectives.

The listed customer reviews were also pretty good, with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. So Go decided to give the clothes a shot, but on one condition. On the order form, there’s a box where you can ask the seller questions, and Go decided to ask “This is the real product, right?”

▼ Go’s question, underlined in red.

His phrasing is a little cagey, but he figured he was more likely to get a response this way than he would with “Is this a knockoff?” He didn’t want to come off sounding too accusatory, since when he looked at the ad again, he realized that it never once uses the word “Puma” in its text. Go’s soft-touch approach paid off when he got a response from the seller, whose email account displayed his name as “Hashimoto.”

▼ 橋本 = Hashimoto

So what did Hashimoto have to say?

“Thank you for contacting us.
This is a pama product.
If you have any other questions, please let me know.”

Ah, OK, so it’s not a Puma tracksuit, it’s a pama one. Thanks for letting us know, Hashimoto…

Wait a minute! Who’s this “Momo?” The email account says “Hashimoto,” but the actual email is signed by someone else?

Still, at least Go now had confirmation that this was, in fact, not a Puma tracksuit. But if that was the case…

why is there a picture of a puma on it?!?

Since Hashimoto/Momo had said to contact them if Go had any more questions, he sent a second inquiry. “Thank you for answering my first question, and I understand that it’s a pama tracksuit. By the way, what is the meaning behind the logo? What kind of animal is that?”

This time, Hashi-Momo’s reply was much less illuminating:

“Thank you for contacting us. We do not know either. I am sorry for the trouble.”

▼ こちらも知りません。 = We don’t know either.

With no one to help him unravel the mystery, Go went back to examining the logo by himself, and that’s when he spotted something else strange.

▼ Does this really say “pama?”

Those don’t look like lowercase as, and if they’re capital As, they should have connecting lines in the middle. If anything, this should be “pnmn,” right?

As we all know, nothing is worse than thinking you’re ordering a pama tracksuit and ending up with a pnmn counterfeit instead. So Go once again fired off a question to Hashi-momo, asking “I just noticed this now, but are you sure it’s ‘pama’ and not ‘pnmn?’ From the photo, it looks like ‘pnmn’ to me. Which is correct?”

Unfortunately, Hashimoto (who had now dropped the “Momo” part of their correspondence) continued their slide into unhelpfulness.

▼ “Thank you for contacting us. Please understand.”

But that was just the thing. Go didn’t understand, and he figured that if he wanted an answer, he was going to have to pull out the big gun. “pnmn or pama, which one is it?” he asked in yet another email. “If I can’t get an answer, I will refuse delivery of the order.”

Sure enough, Hashimoto suddenly became a lot more talkative in their next response…but not in the way Go had expected.

“Thank you for contacting us.
Regrettably, your order has already shipped, and cannot be cancelled or altered at this point. If you would like, after receiving the item, you can exchange or return it.
If you truly do not want it, when the package arrives, we will understand if you refuse delivery directly.
We apologize or the inconvenience.
Thank you for your understanding.”

▼ This time Hashimoto’s email ended with “Sent from TOKEI’s Windows,” suggesting that they might be a sort of Cerberus-like three-headed customer service rep.

Go wasn’t expecting them to call his bluff in anything close to such a cordial and accommodating manner. Really, he’d only made the threat as a ploy to pry the information he so desperately desired out of Hashimoto Momo Tokei, and so he decided to give it one last shot, appealing to the seller’s apparent good nature. “Why won’t you answer if it’s pnmn or pama? Hashimoto-san, didn’t you yourself initially say this is a genuine pama tracksuit? Please answer my question. At this point, I feel like you and I have become friends.”

Go’s faith was rewarded when his “friend” wrote back:

“I apologize for the inconvenience. This is a pama product.

If you refuse delivery of the package, there will be no service charges. If you accept delivery, then there will be charges in the case of a return.

Thank you for your understanding.”

▼ Oh, hey, Momo’s back!

Of course, now that he knew he really was getting a pama tracksuit, Go was determined to keep it, and when it arrived, he accepted the package then quickly opened it up to admire…

…the “exquisite tailoring?”

And is this silhouette really “beautiful?”

Honestly, Go feels like the 5,680-yen pama tracksuit is overpriced by about 4,000 yen, given its actual quality. Maybe he really should have been looking for a pnmn one the whole time instead?

Looking on the bright side, it’s at least sewn together well enough that he didn’t immediately tear the arms off while testing it. Plus, through his interactions with Hashimoto/Momo/Tokei, he got to make, in his mind, at least one new friend, and possibly three. They seem like a good person/people, and Go hopes that one day they find work selling more straightforward products.

Photos: SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]