December 9, 2011 by agooddaytoyou
I friggen love Japan. I’ve been there a few times now and daydream about living there one day.
Growing up in Australia Japanese TV was always presented as this ‘anything goes’ ‘free for all’ of wacky, dangerous and absurd behaviour.
When I finally got to Japan (in 2008) I didn’t find this to be the case – primarily because shows like Takeshi’s Castle had by then been aped and duplicated for Western audiences by the likes of Fear Factor and Wipeout (and even It’s A Knockout). And, in truth, most Japanese TV is actually just people cooking or eating things with other people watching on in little super-imposed Picture-In-Picture windows.
The Commercials, however, are awesome. And completely different to our own. For me that wonderful bizarre cultural difference is still present there, between the shows on Japanese TV.
So here are my three favourite Japanese ads, I recorded them using a video camera while I was over there in 2008, but I’ve lost the footage. Luckily: YouTube.
CM Carat Tasty Cat Food
This ad has a cat in it. Better than that – it’s a Scottish Fold – Japan’s most popular cat (I have no real evidence to support this). But the best part – it’s catchy as hell. I spent so long wandering around in Japan going:
CA CA CARATO CACACARATO
*crunch crunch crunch*
TOO TOO TASTY TOOTOOTASTY
Suntory Boss Rainbow Mountain
Remember those shows that focused on Commercials – they’d always have one with Arnold Schwarzenegger doing an ad in Japanese – and it was always weird seeing this western SUPERHERO in such a compromised position (figuratively and literally) while they shill some weird Japanese product.
Well in 2008 that product was Boss Coffee (canned vending machine coffee) and that superhero was Tommy Lee Jones.
This ad was actually part of a series of ads, where an Alien comes to earth, assumes the form of American Actor Tommy Lee Jones and integrated into Human life, only to become infatuated with us, and ultimately love us.
However without subtitles, or any other ads (there are a bunch) it was just confusing and amusing. Also Tommy Lee Jones’ face was plastered on most of the vending machines around the place.
Kewpie: Tarako Pasta Sauce
I believe this is a sauce made up of fish roe. I love this ad for two reasons. The girl looks as confused as we might be by the marching Cupie Roe (note in the mid-shots of her, that they aren’t actually visible to the naked eye, making their march across her plate into her face a little more disturbing). and 2 – the song. That haunting choir sung battle-chant. Especially at 26/27 seconds – the notes/keys in the music they use send chills down my spine – I’m not trained in music properly but I suspect they might be using Tritone or The Devil’s Chord or at least something related (thank seeing Bill Baily live for my knowledge of that). It’s probably just a flat note, I don’t know, but I know it’s coming for me, those little babies want my soul.
Turns out everyone loves the song, because they made a FULL VIDEO CLIP.
(Thursday wants the girl on the right’s hat).