Chain Stores employees have gone crazy in Japan

Good afternoon! As I write this article, a thunderstorm has just started not so long ago here in Tokyo. Hopefully it will end quickly so I can go home without getting extremely wet!

However, this is not today’s topic. This time I would like to tell you about a recent “trend”? that has taken many fast food restaurants and convenience store by surprise and owing apologies to their customers; clerks have started to take pictures of themselves in inappropriate poses or situations inside the store, in most cases even still wearing their uniforms. What’s going on? Here’s the timeline.

1. The first freezer incident

Last July, a picture of a store clerk resting carelessly INSIDE a freezer in a Lawson store went viral all over the Japanese internet, before gaining popularity worldwide as well. Of course the picture caused plenty of negative reactions, with many people stating they would never buy ice cream in Lawson from that moment on. Of course, Lawson investigated where the incident happened and decided to close the store since the guy in the pic happened to be the franchise owner’s son. This happened in Kochi prefecture.

Trapped? I don't think so...

Trapped? I don’t think so…

Source: http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/lawson-store-closed-after-employee-puts-photo-of-himself-in-freezer-on-facebook

2. The second freezer incident

Days after the incident in Kochi, a copycat appeared and published his pics as well. The style was exactly the same: Just laying down on top of the ice cream.

Source: http://hamusoku.com/archives/7976703.html

3. The freezing trend goes global

And as the freezer cases became known worldwide, some people in neighbor countries started imitating them. Well, it has been a scorching hot summer, so this is understandable, right?

Source: http://en.rocketnews24.com/2013/08/20/its-an-epidemic-worldwide-freezer-diving/

4. The Burger King buns incident

Does it make a very comfortable cushion?

Does it make a very comfortable cushion?

Then, not so long ago a new case was reported in Burger King! An employee took a picture of himself on top of a big plastic bag full of buns. Many internet users seemed to care more about what that suspicious substance in the basket next to him was, though. Burger King stated that the buns in that bag were about to be disposed of, so customers never ate them. Some news reported that he was not fired, whereas other sources say he was fired right away.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/06/burger-king-japan-buns_n_3714602.html

5. Taco Bell incident outside of Japan

About the same time of the Lawson incident, a Taco Bell worker took a pic of himself licking many taco shells for an internal contest. He didn’t submit the picture, but a friend of his uploaded it to Facebook and eventually it spread all over the web. Gotta be careful about the pictures your friends upload!

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/taco-bell-licked-taco-shells-served/story?id=19328741

6. The recent Pizza Hut dough incident

And finally, last Monday another person decided to make a contribution to the trend, by wearing a mask made of dough. But of course he didn’t do it home, he used Pizza Hut dough and had the pic taken while still wearing his uniform!

You'd better do it home next time

You’d better do it home next time

Source: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/08/20/national/pizza-hut-incensed-by-workers-dough-faced-twitter-stunt/#.UhR9a9KmFWI

So, although I believe this is just a series of silly, immature jokes that won’t last for too long, many people in Japan are wondering, what’s going on among the Japanese youth?? Are they just bored? Are they looking for opportunities to be fired?

Eduardo H.

Japanese summer 2013 commercials

Japanese people have access to a myriad of electronics, sweets, beverages, skin care products, foodstuff and more. Therefore, it is understandable that the Japanese advertisement industry is HUGE. From posters, billboards, TV ads, flyers that come together with tissues, internet ads, etc, it is virtually impossible to stay away from it. I believe I’ve talked about Japanese commercials (known as “CM” シーエム in Japan) in our previous blog (http://profile.ameba.jp/chappe-town/), but I can’t find the link to the article! Anyway, as new commercials are released very often, this time I would like to tell you more about the crazy, interesting or just strange commercials that I’ve happened to see recently.

As summer officially starts tomorrow, June 21st (although it started several weeks ago already in the traditional Japanese calendar), the previous weeks have been loaded with commercials advertising refreshing beverages, sweets, deodorants and more. So let’s get started!

1. Ag+

Ag+ is a deodorant produced by the cosmetics giant Shiseido. It is one of the most effective deodorants in Japan according to some people I know, but until recently it was a women only product (although I’ve personally used it a few times and it was, indeed, very good). Ag+ commercials feature Odorologist Betsy Lyons, an odor veteran who supposedly has over 40 years on the field. This summer season, they came up with a great idea: have her smell the armpits of one of the dancers in the ad. However, she’s actually done similar things before, as proven by the older video below.

For me, it is just IMPRESSIVE.

2. GU Summer short pants

GU is a very reasonably priced clothes retailer. Last year, they decided to have the now kawaii culture ambassador Kyary Pamyu Pamyu as their brand ambassador and since then they started producing creative posters and other forms of advertisement. This summer, they have Kyary Pamyu Pamyu turning people in Singapore into fashion monsters.

Last spring, she did same to people in Paris.

And last autumn too.

She just can’t stop turning people into GU’s fashion, I guess ^^

3. Yuki Onna’s cockroach killer

Yuki Onna is a character in Japanese folkore. She’s a tall, long haired woman that has been represented in literature, manga and more Japanese creations. So, Fumakilla, a Japanese company, decided to feature her in their last TV ad. I couldn’t help laughing out loud the first time I saw this.

4. KFC’s Krushers

Smoothies and milkshakes might not always be healthy, but they’re a nice, refreshing treat for ourselves in a sunny, hot and humid day. KFC has also hired Kyary Pamyu Pamyu as their brand ambassador (this girl is EVERYWHERE). Here she is making weird faces while drinking KFC’s Krushers.

5. Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Election

This one doesn’t really relate to a product, but I was surprised to see how in Japan, governments hire local celebrities and make videos such as this to motivate people to participate in the upcoming election. This time, the beautiful Ayame Goriki reminds Tokyo residents they should vote.

6. Rola’s Metamorphosis

Mukk is a famous character from an old Fuji TV program called Hirake! Ponkikki. TBC, an aesthetic service and products company have been using him and other characters in their ads for a while. How can you use both a hairy monster and the very popular ローラ Rola in an aesthetic commercial? Well, you don’t have to be that creative. Check it out.

Do you also like Japanese “CM”s? Is there any summer commercial I missed? Please, feel free to comment and let me know!

Eduardo H.