Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A is for Advertising, Part Two

Introspective-moment time!
You know that moment when you see something WEIRD in a public place... something ODD... and you do a double-take? And then you quickly side-glance to see if anyone nearby is having the same reaction as you... in an attempt to socially justify your reaction? Then you realize that you're the ONLY PERSON who thinks something's a little off about that situation, so you stifle that feeling... and carry on with your life?

Well... I don't do that.

In those moments of oddity, I do one of three things. I...

A: Stare poignantly at the thing in question, so that it attracts unwarranted attention from other people.
Look at that THING! Over THERE!

B: Audibly draw attention to the thing by giggling or making crude snorting sounds.


C: Take really obvious pictures of said odd thing with my incredibly loud camera-phone. I say "incredibly loud camera-phone" because... qu'elle surprise! In Japan it's ACTUALLY A CRIME to have a phone that has a silent function. And for good reason. Google "chikan" or "train perverts" to see why. Heck, I can show you the freaking posters.

If you take pictures of a girl's skirt inappropriately, prepare to have your teeth knocked out. it's that simple.
Moving on.

A couple weeks ago, I asked a bunch of friends of mine to start taking pictures of the random crap (read: advertisements) they saw in their daily lives in Tokyo. Keep in mind- I only asked a certain kind of people, who I knew would produce a certain kind of WEIRD. The last post about advertisements was... let's say; OVERWHELMINGLY RECEIVED.
 So here's the next installment of ads in Tokyo.

Poorly photoshopped sweat.. or something else...?

Taken in a unisex bathroom... looking for "suspicious packages"...

This is just simply amazing and cannot be ignored.

Let's play "guess which one's a dude"... (unless you can read kanji, and then never mind). My guess: the guy with blue feathers- totally asking for it.


Only being able to read this in Japanese makes this funny. There's a joke about being bald... and something about how shiny christmas lights are in comparison.  Ha.

Kim J-gof*ckyourself. On his unicorn. Google it if that doesn't make any sense.


And then there was... shrimp?

DINOSAURS! ...Obviously!

What? No! No thank you! Why would you offer that information??? Seriously! Gawd!

Hah! Fart.

For those moments when you're still drunk from the night before... (sadly, this is actually a thing).

America! F*ck yeah!

Want a hair-piece reasonably priced? Available now, with second-hand sports cars...

*cannibalism* it's what the cool kids are doing!
  This crap never ceases to amaze me. It's quite frankly one of the best parts of living in Tokyo. That "WTF was that" look is one of my favourite things to both witness and experience.
However... Please enjoy responsibly.

Why did he do that? What the hell is going on????
Side-effects may vary.

Oyasumi de gambatte.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jane Gets a Degree

I've been playing with the idea of a children's book in my head for a while now. Let me know what you think.

Part one: This is Jane...
Jane with her money.
Jane has a good job!
Jane likes her job!
Jane is realistically good at her job!
Yay, Jane!

Jane has worked really hard for 2 years. Jane has tried REALLY HARD to save money, because society says that saving money is important! Yay, Money! Look at all the money Jane has saved.

Part two: Jane has a sudden life-altering crisis...
Jane is worried!

Jane has hit an economic ceiling! Uh-oh!
She can't create a financially stable future with what she currently has!
What is she going to do?!?!
Think, Jane, Think!

Jane has to make changes to her foreseeable career path in order to make more money! Whatever will Jane do to make more money?

Part three: The well of education...
Jane meets the Well Of Education

What's this?
This is the Well Of Education!
Everyone says that if you put money down the Well Of Education, your future will be AWESOME!

Jane conforms to societal pressure and considers the Well Of Education as a possible solution for her financial problems. Good for you, Jane!

Part four: Feeding the well...

Jane feeds the Well of Education

The Well Of Education needs lots of money to work it's magic!
Jane shovels all of her money into the Well Of Education to make it work!
Shovel, Jane, shovel!

Part five: Jane gets an education...

The Well Of Education has given Jane a DEGREE! 
Look at the degree Jane has been given!
It must be great, since so much money and effort has gone into getting it!
Now you can have a great job! 
Good for you, Jane!

Part six: Jane has a degree...

Hang on. Everybody has a degree? 
This piece of paper doesn't make Jane special AT ALL?
Then why does Jane need one of these? 
Why, Jane, Why?

 End scene.

 ... And the moral of the story is... higher-level education is a sham! Yay, shams!

Sweet dreams, children!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A is for Advertising

Remember when I said that I'd post again in a couple days? Yeah... that was a lie. A dirty, dirty lie. But in the spirit of progress, let's move the f*ck on!

I was not-so-recently introduced to a person who knew "of" me. Let me explain. He had no idea who I was, except HE HAD BEEN READING MY BLOG POSTS AND RECOGNIZED MY FACE. Some random dude. In Japan. Recognized me. Ergo- I'm kind of a big deal.
I have many leather-bound books.
That encounter kinda creeped me out... but it was still flattering in a weird "construction worker whistling at my sexy intellect" kind of way. But did it encourage me to start writing more? It did not! You can't rush these kinds of things... even if they're poorly written random things. But I digress.

Today's blog is brought to you by the letter A... A is for Advertising. If you live in a city like Tokyo, you will be bombarded by advertising at every waking moment of your life. After a while, I started to notice a pattern...
I see what you did there...


Ads in this country break down into very simple categories. I've been gathering random pictures of them for over a year now, and I just started realizing the consistencies.
For example!


Fun fact: most Japanese people have actually no idea who these people are. When someone from North America sees an advertisement with Leo Dicaprio 'lip-servicing' a watch, or Charlize Theron dry-humping a pair of shoes, we think "Hey, I know that person! They were in (blockbuster movie)! I should totally buy (x) because they think it is also cool." Japanese people have none of that thought process. They see "famous foreign person who has a lot of pictures of themselves on the internet." That fact alone automatically makes "famous white guy" more popular. And by that logic, this guy should also be famous in Japan.
Allow me to demonstrate:
Tommy Lee is actually huge here- although most people have no idea who he is. He's just the guy who sells phones and coffee and cheese and...
Willem Dafoe selling Prada
Tommy with his coffee

Nothing makes me want to buy a watch like WHATS-HIS-FACE.
These ads always bring a slight smirk to my face when I see them... the first time. The second and third time (and fourth) it just gets sad and kinda inappropriate.

You see, once upon a time, before the internet, celebrities used Japan as a way to make a quick buck without getting shamed for it back home. There were non-disclosure agreements stating that if the content (read: embarrassing videos) ever reached American audiences, the celebrities would get a fat check. So Japan kept quiet. Now- they don't have to! All you have to do is youtube Japan+(celeb of your choice) to see some of the hilarious crap out there. There's too much to even link to in this blog. Do it yourselves, people!


I think this is a pervasive concept in almost every single culture. But it's a theme! So it's included:
Just point to the right! And... paycheck!
Ok... so truth be told- a significant portion of the "hot chick" ads in Tokyo can't actually be posted on the internet. They're genuinely NSFW. And these are the ads JUST ON THE SUBWAY. Literally hanging out there for everyone to see. And by the way, children take the subway unsupervised all the time. Welcome to Japan.


Japan is big on mascots. I'll give you a minute to truly absorb that information before I introduce you to this next concept. Ready? Probably not.
Rule number one of Japan: Never ask Why.


Marathon Octopus!

He 'blued' his pants.
There's a mascot for EVERY. THING. EVERYTHING. Most (read: all) of them are creepy and have little to do with the original reason they were created. Yet they are loved. I have no idea why this is. Let's just walk away from this slowly and pretend it never happened...


To be honest, a great deal of these don't fit into any category. Or they do, and I just don't care to make the effort. So here goes- observe and do with it what you will:
Even after translating this, I'm still not entirely sure what this is for. Environmental something or other...

Fuzzy black bear is the "ethics police" on trains. The cutest passive aggressive assh*le ever.

I have no idea. "Comfortable space of oneself"???


For a slightly less fatter you.

Robot Hookers! (This is actually a thing).

Say no to drugs! Or suffer the consequences of an enlarged hand!


This is a gorilla. Telling you to sing Karaoke. Do it, before he gets mad.


Imma gonna kill your family! Yay :D:D:D:D

No. Just. NO.

How Japan thinks of American Baseball.

"Strange Love." Well... alright then.

So there you have it. I'm sure I'll add more to this later, or maybe I won't. Grad school is totally kicking my ass these days- but I have a huge backload (giggle) of pictures to unleash on the internet... so let's see what happens.