Back when I was still engrossed in the wonders of Japanese pop culture and had no major financial responsibilities, I often used my spare money to splurge on Nendoroids. Those little balls of overpriced plastic joy were my “friends” back in the day. I took them out on photo hunts and I was proud of my pictures with them.
Then I stopped. Simply because they were getting too expensive and had no value in return.
I admit Nendoroids are fun. You can pick them up and carry them wherever you go. Found a great spot to take a photo? Open up the case and assemble the Nendoroid, fire up the camera and let the shooting begin. I used to have many curious eyes on me in public when I did that. Not one bit of shame coursed through my body; instead, I was proud of myself for sticking out like a sore thumb — and I’m an introvert. I could also mix-and-match their parts to make original characters. That was fun as well. Also, the social aspect to Nendoroids, the gatherings with fellow freaks. We would share our Nendoroids and figures and take turns taking pictures of them.
That was all back in my heyday, when I was free and disoriented college student. Now I feel no more passion for this hobby, this hobby of collecting miniature figures of cartoon characters.
Perhaps the first reason that has driven me stop expanding my collection was because Nendoroids have gotten ridiculously expensive over the years. I remember back when with only IDR 400K, I could get a decent Nendoroid. Now, I have to fork over at least 600K just for one. And that’s not even for a character I like. What the fuck is Good Smile thinking? Those corporate money-milkers! The most expensive Nendoroid in my collection is my Magical Snow Miku 2014, which set me back a hefty IDR 800K. And because of its major price tag and many small parts, I think twice before taking it outside. I’d rather take my Miku 2.0 (IDR 360K) outside because it’s more sturdier.
Which led me to think, why am I spending so much money on something I would never use? I’ve only played with my Snow Miku twice. She’s been collecting dust in my Nendoro-Box for ages now. I’m even thinking of selling her off. It came to me that I was doing this wrong. I wasn’t meant for the collector’s life, no matter how people glamorize it online. It was simply, for me, a life without value; a life where you buy lots of plastic, but only admire it from afar. What’s the use of a life like that? I know that you can sell off the Nendoroids later on, but I tend to get attached to my stuff, especially if I bought it with my own money. Nope, those Nendoroids are staying, but they’re not multiplying.
Instead, I’ve decided to splurge on something I feel is more valuable: books. Especially literature. I may come across as a snobbish son-of-a-bitch who’s asking for a pounding, but I have my reasons.
You must be familiar with the concept of Return on Investment, or ROI. If not, it’s basically a concept in finance that tells you how much profit you’ll get from an investment in something. In daily life, I like to use ROI to determine whether I should spend money on something. For example, if given the choice to either purchase cheap Hestia sandals at the market or more expensive leather sandals at a department store, I’d choose the latter because I’d get more mileage on the footwear. As for Nendoroids, the ROI is insufficient to justify a purchase. Sure, they can be sold again, but at a fraction of their price. And IF you find a buyer. The fun that I subjectively experience is mediocre compared to the price I paid. So, I stopped investing in Nendoroids.
Instead, I now choose to splurge on books. The benefits of reading more far exceed the investment I put in them. The obvious no-brainer is: it raises your Intelligence and Wisdom stats. The other benefits are it allows you develop more writing skills and the good philosophy books helps you stay sane. Or go insane, especially if you read Nietzsche. Also, you get more admirable bragging rights. Someone would seriously respect you more for having read the entire Harry Potter series, compared to having 300 Nendoroids in a glass case. The latter would get you labeled as a freak in real life, though you could be considered a god in the weeb life. Whatever floats your boat.
And even though I could just simply download books, because I’m a traditionalist, I would rather have a book in my hands rather than reading off a screen.