IWATSU Japan Athens

Image by Dimitris Hall

IWATSU Japan – A sign from a different (?) time

There’s this rusty old ad on the side of a building on the beginning of Thiseos Ave, just where Kallithea, Petralona and Koukaki meet. It reads: “IWATSU Japan: Private business call centres”. There’s a picture of a rotary dial telephone like the one my grandma used to have; at this point, these apparatuses are only symbolically associated with phones — you know, like floppy disks are persistent symbols for “save file” but there are plenty of young adults who’ve never even seen a floppy disk, let alone saved something on one. It’s only a matter of time before other symbols will come to replace our current, outdated ones.

This sign always catches my eye as I drive down Thiseos from Koukaki. And I always think the same thing:

“It’s probably referring to internal call centres in businesses: ‘press 1 to call the HR department; 2 for reception; 3 to call the boss’ or whatever. I wonder, though… could it be referring to what we understand today as call centres? You know, Teleperformance and all that jazz?’

This play at 20th-century archaeology, the very thought, makes me the GenY-millennial equivalent of today’s kids who’ve never seen a floppy disk.

Ads like this, vestiges of the past, recontextualize everything around them, and make me think. I hope nobody takes it down, just so that many more generations of kids will come to wonder what the hell that thing on the sign is.

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Details about this spot



Leoforos Eleftheriou Venizelou 2, Athens

Opening Times

24 hours daily


Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)