Two towers of brightly

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Two towers of brightly colored Christmas toys flank the entrance at Olympic, a local discount store.

On the left are the hot pink selections for girls: Hello Kitty kitchen set with a plastic stove and food; a Pengin pudding maker that steams real food; manicure kits with glitter stickers and fake nails.

On the right are the more subtle blues and greys of boys' toys: Shinkansen model trains; tanks that shoot fire; plastic sports equipment.

Strangely, I've seen more adults than children around these astonishing piles of fun. I stopped to play with an electronic doctor game ("Poor Mai has a stomach ache; what should she do?") and although I pushed the buttons for a good five minutes to get Mai to lie down and sleep it off, not a single child came around to look at the toys.

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