It turns out that the mysterious ‘walking sausage’ in my previous blog post was not a sausage at all. Thanks to the people who commented on that post, I can now tell you that the ‘mystery sausage’ is in fact a piece of cod roe (fish eggs), called ‘tarako’ in Japanese.
The tarako mascot that we saw in the supermarket was promoting tarako flavoured mayonnaise and pasta sauce. The mascot is called Kewpie-chan and it has its very own theme song. It goes たーらこーたーらこー、たっぷりたーらこー♪ Apparently the song was a big hit a few years ago. In the clips below you can hear the song and see Kewpie-chan in action.
Kewpie-chans making music:
Giant Kewpie-chans marching through a city. At least they stopped for the red light:
An army of Kewpie-chans rising out of the sea:
And last but not least a UFO beaming down a host of Kewpie-chans:
When watching these videos of marching pieces of tarako and listening to the monotonous song, I can’t help but be reminded of a zombie invasion. Actually it is a little bit scary to me, but funny at the same time.
In my experience, Japanese commercials are one of the biggest tokens of the cultural differences between Japan and the West that I have come across. I could spend hours in front of the TV in Japan, fascinated by the commercials. They are just so different from what we have in the West.
Some things that Japanese people might consider cute or funny, will be considered childish or downright weird by Westerners. I would love to hear what Japanese people think of Western commercials. Feel free to put your stories in the comments section!
I really like the music of the first commercial there. Very moving!
Have you tried Kewpie mayonnaise? It is simply the BEST! 😀
I have recently discovered – after the fact – that I have indeed tried Kewpie mayonnaise before. It turns out that the delicious dipping sauce I tried at my calligraphy teacher’s house is actually Kewpie mayonnaise. Yum!
It’s funny that you mentioned about Kewpie-chans stop for the red right.It’s like they are showing Japanese personality,isn’t it?I sometimes still see Kewpie-chans’ toy products for kids or girls.It was a big hit long time ago.
My idea for Western commercials is the long length of them.In Japan,usually commercials are 15-30sec.I guess Western commercials are more than 1min??So,the commercials always have long stories.It’s inetersting to watch!Japanese ones are always show products directly because of its short length.
Obviously,there is a big difference between Japanese commercials and Western ones:D
It is interesting that you mention the length of commercials. I became curious and looked up some Belgian commercials and most of them were around 30 seconds.
Your point about the Kewpie-chans showing Japanese personality is very true. That is exactly what I was thinking when I saw the commercial ^_^ I was thinking ‘how Japanese of them to stop for the red light even in this situation’.
It’s so true that our commercials are different. When we moved to the US in the ’70s and watching TV, I thought, how straight forward (i.e. very spelled out about what a product might do and make your life better) are the commercials whereas Japanese commercials are much more about image, then and now.
Yes, most commercials over here are pretty basic. Commercials for laundry detergent are the worst! But what’s interesting is that when watching Dutch TV, I already notice a big difference with Belgian TV. Dutch commercials are often quite funny, while Belgian commercials often lack imagination.
Next step: go buy some and try it. 🙂
(warning it’s quite salty and you usually eat it mixed with rice or spaghetti)
I’d love to try it after spending so much time getting to know Kewpie-chan. My husband is on business trip in Japan at the moment. I’ll ask him pretty please if he won’t bring back some for me 🙂
I don’t think i’ll ever be able to sleep again… 🙂
Imagine… you’re in your bed at night and suddenly you hear a suspicious sound. You open your eyes and you find your bed surrounded by Kewpie-chans, staring at you with those big eyes and smiling faces. Straight from a horror movie.