Monday, November 09, 2009

Webster comes to Japan: the City Connection

I ran across a rather odd but interesting tidbit the other day - do you remember that show Webster with Emmanuel Lewis (the perpetual kid) from back in the 80's? No? Well if you're too young for that then first off thanks for making me feel old, but not to fret. That's what South Park is for! He's at the end as the spokesman for Webster's Dictionary. South Park, bridging generational gaps for 13 years and going (ok, maybe not quite).

So anyway, what does Emmanuel Lewis have to do with Japan? Well, I just found out that he, like many a celebrity from the 80's, made a commercial in Japan in 1981 for Clarion stereo equipment. What's even weirder (cooler??) is that he sang the song for the commercial, which went on to peak at #2 on the Japanese Orikon music charts! How's that for bizarre? At the time in Japan, he was known either as Emmanuel-kun or エマニエル坊や (坊や = little kid).

The name of the song was City Connection, and it goes a little something like this:

Ring ring, 電話が ringing tonight
(ring ring, the phone's ringing tonight)
Dance dance, あの娘(こ)と dancing tonight
(dance dance, dancing with that girl tonight)
City connection, love telephone
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do!

Baby baby baby baby 命掛け (baby baby, my life's on the line)
Papa, mama 僕らを止めないで (papa, mama, please don't stop us)
あの娘(こ)が死ぬほど好きなんだ (I love her more than anything)
今夜は君を離さない (I won't let go of you tonight)

Warning: this song is catchy and may get stuck in your head to the point where you find yourself inadvertently bobbing your head to it hours afterwards! And here's the commercial:

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Halloween in Japan

Well Halloween is now over, and what a wondrous festivity it was this year for me and mine. I sorted out my costume quite a while back, actually, but didn't really sort out where we were going until much later- Halloween afternoon to be precise.

What was I, you ask? Well let's see how well you pay attention:

I've actually written about this guy before:

He is none other than Hokkaido's mirthful ball of excited algae, Marimokkori! Since I brought it up last year, however, I have noticed that the mokkori madness has caught like wildfire all across the nation with local flavors galore. The first of these fellows I ran across was one from Nikko, which is quite well known for its monkeys... which is in turn why I just had to go there. Next I noticed it up in Sendai, where they had a Date Masamune version which I dubbed Date mokkori. Then this past month when I was down in Ishigaki I saw what seems to be the next level of mokkorism. They have taken the traditional Okinawan Shiisa and mokkorified it to bring you: Shiisa mokkori. Old men shiver and look away as babies run in fear from... Shiisa mokkori.

...ok yeah, they tried to make it as cute as they could, but in the end it's still a lion-dragon thingie with a boner.

So anyway, that was Halloween - more pics, as always, can be found at my flickr page. Now that Halloween is over, of course, this can mean only one thing in Japan: it's Christmas season. Back home there's that nice buffer of Thanksgiving between the two commercial juggernauts that are Halloween and Christmas, but over here we are not afforded such a privilege and are thus subjected to pretty much straight commercialism from last month all the way through Valentine's Day, and probably beyond if I think about it.

Luckily for me, I'm too busy with work to focus on it too much... thank God.