Japanese Commercial of the Week: Esthe WAM "The burning Salaryman"

This week's commercial is a gem from a few years back.

This commercial is for the esthetician salon based in the Kyushu-prefecture "Esthe WAM". The commercial is aptly titled "The Burning Salaryman".

Yes, it's a commercial that promotes the esthetician's armpit hair-removal service.
Your pits will be so smooth and shiny that they can reflect the sun to cause mild burns.

He really regrets staring at her boobs now!

The CEO of the company stated that "the main theme was for the audience to be able to envision the end product of our service."

So if you ever want your pits to shoot lasers, I highly recommend you give Esthe WAM a call.


News: Cat urine on fax machines may cause combustion

It has been reported that fax machines of Brother Industries, Ltd may ignite on fire if a cat urinates on it.


There have been four incidents since 2005 where cat owners have found their faxes burst into flames. After inspection from the fire and police forensic department, they found traces of animal urine within the machinery. Upon further investigation, it was found that sodium rich water (such as urine) on the metal terminal of the faxes cause combustion.

Brother Industries, Ltd have offered free inspection of faxes sold between September 2000 to November 2005.

For more information, please contact Brother Industries call-centre 0120-005-320 (Japan only)


Japan's Food: The Corn Potage Soup Popsicle (yeah, you heard right!)

Oh, it's no joke. The Japanese company Akagi, known for its ice-pops, has released a corn portage flavoured Popsicle... with real chunks of corn...

oh dear god...

ガリガリ君リッチ・コーンポーダジュ/ Gari Gari kun Rich Corn Potage

Gari Gari kun is one of the most loved ice pops in Japan. Starting with its original Soda flavour, the line includes various other tastes such as Cola, Lemon Squash, Grape, Mandarin, Nashi Pear, Chocolate chip... the usual Popsicle flavours (so where the hell did this fuckin' curve-ball come from!?)

It was originally sold in September last year, but they had to cease production after 3 days... BECAUSE IT SOLD TOO MUCH!!
Yes, the oddity went viral. Twitter and Facebook went crazy over it.

And as of today... it's back...

Well, I didn't get a chance to have a taste the first time around (partly cos I was shit scared of what it would taste like), so I went down to my nearest convenient store. (Hoping desperately that they would be out of stock to give me an excuse to not have to taste the damn thing)

 Oh, what I do for views for this blog...

Best case scenario, it tastes great and I win a T-shirt

I'm doing this for you guys out there!!

And... as skeptical as I was... as f*cked up the idea is... it's... not that bad... in fact... it kinda works...

You almost won't care about the chunks of corn... almost...
It's sweet. But not overly sweet. The creamy texture of the corn soup sorta matches the light sweetness. It is very creamy, its even more cream than corn. The creamy texture and creamy sweetness kinda reminded of ice-cream.... cream....
You couldn't really guess that the flavour was corn soup from the first bite... oh but then you get the chunks of corn... it's sweet corn, which sorta works with the whole sweet thing... but it just feels weird biting on corn as you eat a popsicle. But I guess that's the whole gimmick! duh!

Overall, despite the idea feeling like a very cold joke that isn't funny, they actually played it pretty safe with the flavour. It works. I recommend you take a chance. Having said that I'm not gonna buy another one.


Preview: HK /変態仮面 (Why it's gonna be AWESOME!)

*Hollywood trailer voice* From the director of 'Kid Cop'... Comes a movie about an ordinary high school boy... who discovered his hidden power... the summer blockbuster you have been waiting for....

HK / 変態仮面
Hentai Kamen! It translates 'Pervert Mask'! Yeah, you heard me right!  


About a super hero that wears fishnet stockings, a borat-style banana hammock, and a woman's undergarment as a mask to hide his identity! Because obviously he has dignity to protect *irony*
With the tagline "Panty bless you", how could it not be awesome!!

Oh... and the way he wears it too...Doesn't it remind you of a certain breathing apparatus of a certain villain of a certain dark knight??


The actors mean business as well. Suzuki Ryohei, who was chosen for the prestigious role of HK,  bulked up 15kg (30lbs) for the role! Which coincidentally is the same amount that Tom Hardy put on for the role of Bane! hahaha

Oh, and it just gets better! Check out the trailer:

OH... MY.... GOD!!! A schoolgirl gets punched in the face! HK arrives, and how does he get payback.... BY SPINNING HIS CROTCH IN THE FUCKER'S FACE!!! Batman doesn't have shit on this guy!! That's the sorta shit that a hyperactive 10 year old boy who recently discovered porn would think up!! Pure awesome!

It was originally a manga for Weekly Jump Magazine (known for DRAGON BALL, ONE PIECE, NARUTO, BLEACH and countless other successful manga series).


Unlike its successful brothers though, such as ONE PIECE which is still continuing after 15 years, this series had been cut after one year. Which is why it would work so well as a feature film! Think about it, there's so little content that you could actually condense the story of the entire series neatly into 1 hour and a half! You'd actually have to make up more crazy shit to pad it out! Or even put in character development so the audience empathise with a 90% naked man who wears undies on his head!

And collaborating on the Screenplay is actor Oguri Shun
He is a huge fan of the original comic, and has even interviewed the author on his radio show.
I too like panties

For those of you who don't know Oguri, he is pretty much the Johnny Depp of Japan. An actor known for his substance as well as his style. It's as if Depp had collaborated on something like Kick-ass... with panties...

In cinemas April 13th, it's a must see for anyone in Japan!!

Check out the Official Website (unfortunately, it is all in Japanese)


Meme: Michael Bay's new film

Michael Bay's new film

Like it here!

Meme: 80s High Expectation Asian Father

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Japanese Film Critique: Confessions (告白)[2010] - there will be blood and milk

Production year: 2010
Runtime: 106 mins 
Director: Tetsuya Nakashima
Cast: Matsu Takako, Okada Masaki, Kimura Yoshino
I am not a fan of the Japanese high-school genre in both film and TV drama.
I find that it too often follows an overused formula of: delinquent class, new naive enthusiastic teacher, class hate teacher, class have an epiphany, teacher gets in trouble, class save teacher, and they all live happily ever after  (rinse and repeat over the next 50 years).

Woo! We spent the last two years fuckin' around
but we still got better
Math grades than those white kids!!

But Confessions is one of the most refreshing changes to, not only the genre, but for modern Japanese cinema. Based on a novel by Minato Kanae, the film is a revenge horror story set in a modern-day Japanese high school told through a series of confessions (hence the title). Not everyone will like it. It has many graphically violent scenes, it's not a film for the faint-hearted. It is also flawed by some production choices but it still warrants a viewing for its tenacity.

[Warning: From here on, I highly recommend you see the film first. It may contain spoilers]

The first act of the film is simply stunning and alone is worth seeing the film for. It opens with the quiet mild-mannered schoolteacher/single mother Ms. Moriguchi (played by Matsu Takako) announcing that she will resign from teaching to her delinquent class who care more about throwing milk at each other than her 2 cents. This stark contrast of the out-of-control classroom to the disenchanted calm Ms. Moriguchi is pleasantly unnerving.
She then goes on to confess that her daughter was murdered by two students in the class, whom she refers to as Student A and Student B. Then she continues to tell them that the farther of the child, who was HIV positive, has past-away, and she has injected the HIV positive blood into the milk that they had just drank.

Boy, that escalated quickly...

All this in the first 30 minutes does not feel forced due to the subtle characterization by Matsu Takako. She does not change the tone of her voice nor show any emotion throughout the speech, which makes the unsettling content all the more powerful. Less is more. Good characters in stories make you think about their internal conflict. Is she fulfilling her duty as a teacher to punish mischievous students? Or is she seeking revenge as the mother? Or is she simply a psychopath? She does not give anything away.

Or maybe she is a robot from the future. It's Japan, remember?

It is unfortunate that the rest of the film, which hardly involves Ms. Moriguchi, is nowhere near as compelling. There are interesting primary characters who each have a moment to shine. Child A, Shuuya (Nishii Yukito), is a child genius who seeks approval from his mother. Child B, Naoki (Fujiwara Kaoru), is the bullied-loser who just wants to fit in. His overbearing mother (Kimura Yoshino) cannot come to grips with his mental instability. The class leader, Mizuki (Hashimoto Ai), associates herself with a teen who murdered her entire family. The replacement teacher, Mr. Terada (Okada Masaki) wants the class to get along, a clear parody of the overly enthusiastic young teacher of the genre (highlighted in the first paragraph of this critique).
Each character has clear motivations and distinct weaknesses that lead to their downfall. They are performed well and in any other teen movie they would have prospered but when you have spent the first 30 minutes setting up the ultimate psychotic emotionless vigilante character, these characters merely feel like teen angst.

Don't listen to him! You're all special! Each and every one of you!

The problem is that we know too much. Nearly all scenes of the 2nd act play are devoted to backstory. We learn too much of the characters, leaving nothing for the imagination. The reason why Ms. Moriguchi is so interesting, or say how 'The Joker' from 'The Dark Knight' is a way more memorable character than 'Bane' is because of how little we know and how much we are left to assume of the character.
The devotion to character development also comes at the cost of the progression of the story. Time runs out for a few characters, such as Naoki and Mr. Terada, to have the resolution they deserve. Instead, there is a farcical finale revolved around Shuuya's plot for revenge. 

The film is also overly stylised. There are a lot of slow motion flashbacks with a Radiohead song playing in the background. Yes, it does highlight the emotion but it gets old very quickly.
It was almost as the film went on, Director Tetsuya Nakashima had stopped trusting the audience and wanted to make the message as clear as possible or possibly make the film more commercially marketable. But one must think if you're mature and willing enough to watch a film about a teacher torturing her students, you probably don't need Radiohead to understand the emotional development of the characters.

but they do need a song to dance to...

Overall though, I highly recommend the film. As I have outlined above, it does have its flaws. It's not great, but its good.
Due to the decrease in film-goers, the inherent problem of modern Japanese cinema is that it too often plays-it-safe with material, trying to cater for everyone.
So it is refreshing to see a uniquely edgy film that sparks debate after the credits roll.
I have yet to read the original novel (I will probably update this critique once I have read it). But I guess they had some rich material to work with.The film raised controversy for questioning the validity of the Juvenile Law that protects children who commit crime under the age of 14. It is a delicate topic and many conservative Japanese people will be turned off seeing this film, which is a shame. But I personally applaud it for the challenge it took and hope that more mainstream Japanese films would deal with social issues.


Japan Life: Hay Fever, Asian Dust and the fear of PM 2.5

To me March in Japan is runny noses and red eyes. Yes, hay fever season. It is estimated that close to a fifth of the population suffers from hay fever. Many people wearing white surgical masks will queue at the doctors for half a day in order to get medicine. It's the same old story every year.

or maybe they just came to watch an Eric Clapton concert on the 50 inch TV

But this year there was a far greater fear for everyone in Japan...

Everyday when I hop on a train to work, I stare out the window into a blue sky over an urban Tokyo cityscape, even catching a glimpse of Mt. Fuji in the distance. This is my escape from the reality of being crammed in between two overweight middle-aged businessmen.

it's something...
But this one day, I found myself staring at this...

oh shit... Silent Hill just got real....
Yellow fog eclipsed Tokyo. The media claimed that it was a deadly concoction of pollen, Asian Dust, and the particulate pollution PM 2.5. It was originally said that the cause of the dust cloud was pollution from China (oh, that reliable scapegoat). [N.B it was later corrected that the fog had actually been Haze caused by a sudden climate change within Japan]
Tokyo fell into a small state of panic. Surgical Masks began to sell out from pharmacies. The sales of air purifiers increased by 50%

Still, this was a mere hissy fit compared to reactions after the Touhoku Earthquakes of March 11th 2011. But that's a story for another day...

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