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.

Advertisements

Softbank curry, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, The Return of Summer Heat and more

Good afternoon! Eduardo here!

There were a few happenings the past week in Japan that got international attention, but also a few things that called my attention. This time I would like to sum them up in a single post in a mix of both cute and serious news.

 

1. Softbank Curry

Recently, Softbank was on the news since they beat NTT DoCoMo as the Mobile Phone company with the highest profit. Even though it is unlikely there is any connection with their last campaign, I am absolutely in love with it and maybe I won’t be able to eat it since it’s too cute. Just by going to any Softbank store, showing your cellphone and answering a simple questionnaire (took me 1 minute), you’ll get one box of this limited edition curry. I saw many people getting it. You know, Japanese curry is one of the most beloved dishes here. Some articles report that an average person eats it 68 times a year. 2 months of curry everyday if you wanna see it that way!

Cutest curry ever

Cutest curry ever

 

2. Successful fireworks, at last

After many days of sudden, strong rainstorms that even cancelled some firework festivals, as I wrote in a previous post (The worst fireworks season in years?), firework festivals scheduled for last weekend could be held without any drawbacks since there was no rain. Itabashi, Edogawa and Tachikawa fireworks in the Tokyo metropolis area gathered lots, lots of people. If you tried to take a train that day I’m sure you noticed many children, men and women wearing yukatas.

I saw the Tachikawa fireworks and they were amazingly good. Never had I seen fireworks from that close! As I was paying attention to them, I didn’t really take any good pics.

Tachikawa fireworks

Tachikawa fireworks

 

3. Scorching hot summer is back

So now that the rain and very cloudy days are gone, intense heat has spread all over Japan again. Temperatures of over 32 degrees are expected everywhere in Tokyo and similar and even higher ones elsewhere in the country. Be sure to drink plenty of water, avoid going outside for long period between 10 am and 3 pm and all the usual advice.

Weather forecast for Setagaya, Tokyo

Weather forecast for the upcoming days in Setagaya, Tokyo

Source: http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20130807p2g00m0dm075000c.html

 

4. 68th anniversary of the first Atomic bombing in world history

If you are reading this blog, I am absolutely sure you are familiar with the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only two cases of nuclear weapons in war. The Atomic bombing of Hiroshima occurred on August 6th, 1945, followed by the Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9th the same year. This bombings marked the end of WWII and the start of a new, “peaceful” era in Japan.

Every year, a ceremony takes place in Hiroshima. White doves are released into the air, float paper lanterns are floated down the river and many survivors (currently most of them were children or teenagers at the time of the bombing) talk about what their saw, leaders ask for an end to nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, the latter because of the still recent Fukushima nuclear plants issues and more. It is a very touching moment for people everywhere in Japan.

Source: http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20130806p2a00m0na003000c.html

 

5. The largest Japanese warship since WWII

Very ironic and contradictory for most foreign press, Japan’s largest warship was unveiled the same week of the Atomic bombing anniversary. While I understand that due to the recent territorial and basically military tensions with China and Korea the unveiling of strong self-defense ways is important, they could have waited a couple weeks, right?

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/06/izumo-warship-japan-largest-since-world-war-ii_n_3712405.html

 

That’s it for this week!

 

Eduardo H.

Japan’s favourite police officer, “DJ Police,” strikes again; this time, a hanabi festival

The Katsushika Noryo Hanabi Taikai, a popular fireworks event (hanabi means fireworks) took place recently in Tokyo. To pre-empt spectators from creating a disorganized chaotic mass of people, police officers were dispatched to the scene in order to sit everyone orderly. However, spectators were amused by the rather witty and sarcastic tone in which they were being ordered about—an officer whose mannerisms and frank phrases gained him the moniker of “DJ Police” (think of a hip hop DJ) by Japanese netizens, was the one in charge of the operation.

 

DJ Police urging Japanese gentlemen to aid their damsels in distress

DJ Police urging Japanese gentlemen to aid their damsels in distress

Some quotes from DJ Police:

“Gentleman, please gently escort out the as-beautiful-as-hanabi, yukata-wearing (summer kimono) ladies.”

“Sir, I advise you, seeing as how you are the father and [thus the] leader of your family, to take them to the open space to the right. Your family will be proud of you.”

“For the sake of the important and special hanabi [photos], do not run out of data storage space in your cell phone cameras, please.”

 

Despite the event being eventually shut down due to rain, hanabi attendants did not seem upset, precisely because of the presence of Japan’s soon-to-be favourite public servant. In the words of one “as-beautiful-as hanabi, yukata-wearing” lady: “Because I could see DJ Police, I was happy!”

DJ Police's number 1 groupie: a as-beautiful-as hanabi, yukata-wearing lady

DJ Police’s number 1 groupie: a as-beautiful-as hanabi, yukata-wearing lady

Japanese fans – うちわ

Hello guys! The summer solstice occurred last week so we can officially say the Northern Hemisphere has entered summer! Although, as Elie A said in his last post, Japan is in the middle of the rainy season, it gets HOT when it’s not raining. One of my favorite ways to relieve the heat when I’m out is using Japanese fans, better known as うちわ uchiwa. 

Uchiwa are actually very traditional. Some drawings dating from the 19th century already depicted women using them.

Seiki Kuroda's "Lakeside"

Seiki Kuroda’s “Lakeside”

Nowadays, uchiwa are rather easy to get. They’re usually made of plastic and have pictures advertising products, events and more on them.

ad

I know they’re not an engineering wonder, but trust me, they do make you feel refreshed when walking in a sunny, hot day.

I don't really know what it advertises, but I've been using this one recently

I don’t really know what it advertises, but I’ve been using this one recently

They also come in small and large sizes, but the ones with ads on them are usually medium sized. Large ones can be found in “100 yen shops” and other stores. Traditional, wood ones are also easy to find, but I have a feeling plastic ones are more effective.

And of course, they make very good souvenirs!

Eduardo H.

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.