Archive for January, 2009

img_0261-11If your wallet is anything like mine then you probabaly have a lot of members cards to various places. It would be nice if all of these points could be accomodated on one card with an IC chip.

Leaving that aside, LABI, Yamada Denki’s large scale electronic stores have a new idea based on the old theme of member point cards. They have installed machines at their store so that when you visit the store you can swipe your card and get an automatic 10 points credited to your account. If you buy something you get further points depending on how much you spend, AND then before you leave the store you can swipe your card again for another 10 points. They also have a slot machine style game playing when you swipe your card for the chance to win more points.

10 free points might not be much, but if you live close by and can visit everyday you could rack up 3,650 points in a year. If everyone started doing that I am sure LABI would have trouble honoring the points earned.

It is nice to see a promotion that doesn’t require you to spend money first. Whoever said “there is no such thing as a free lunch” obviously hadn’t visited LABI.

Yamada Denki point machines in LABI store

Yamada Denki point machines in LABI store

Here is a link to a map on how to get to Shibuya LABI


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Billboard for Chocolate Underground

Billboard for Chocolate Underground

The movie “Chocolate Underground” is set to open this Saturday (Jan 31) at the Shibuya Theater – Tsutaya.

Since Jan 16 the ads have been up in Shibuya promoting the animation movie which is an adaptation from the novel “Bootleg” by Alex Shearer, a British author. On the right is an advert showing at Shibuya crossing.

“The story centers on two 13-year-old boys who live in a country that has banned chocolate and mandated fruits and vegetables for daily consumption. The boys discover a stash of cocoa and sugar and decide to run a bootleg chocolate factory, in complete defiance of the government run by the oppressive Good for You Party. Their misadventures eventually sparks a revolution in the country. The theatrical version will add 20 minutes of new footage and present the entire project in widescreen format. ” – Source: ANN

Yahoo Japan has a preview at:
The official site trailer is here:

Alex Shearer in Japan
According to the official website for the production at http://www.choco-bar.jp/index/index.html Alex Shearer will be coming to Japan and giving an introduction on the first day of screening followed by a talkshow the next day. The dates are:

31st Jan at Shibuya Theatre – Tsutaya, movie starts at 10am, introduction for Alex Shearer at 11:30am following screening and then a second introduction at 12:25 followed by the second screening of the movie for that day.

1st Feb a talkshow between Alex Shearer and the translator Kanehara will be held from 6:30pm.

It looks like you may need to get reservation tickets if you want to attend the talkshow.

Here are some photoclips from the official site:
To see more go to http://www.choco-bar.jp/story/index.htmlchocolateunderground1

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Morinaga Gyaku-choco survey Jan 2009

Morinaga Gyaku-choco survey Jan 2009

Morinaga have decided in order to boost the sales of chocolates around the Valentine Day period, they are going to encourage men to start giving chocolate to women, rather than just having the women spending all the cash. They have launched a Gyaku-choco campaign for their chocolates and have produced a number of tv commercials already promoting it.

In a survey they conducted in January this year covering ages from 10 – 50 years, taking in 400 men and 400 women, they concluded the following:

1. That men think it would be ok to give chocolates to women on valentines day and that if the women threw in a quick “Choco, Hoshii-na!!” (チョコ、欲しいな~)then 90.8% of the men would give them chocolate. I am surprised they didn’t ask the men what else they might want to give the women as a follow up question.

2. 98.3% of the women said if they received chocolate from men they would be happy. 66.7% said they would feel the men were paying attention, 44.3% thought it would be great or fashionable (素敵).

3. When asked if they would think of the male giver of chocolate as someone of the opposite sex, i.e. view them as a male, 20% said yes and 57.5% said “probably, depending on the person”, which Morinaga use as their headline to say

“close to 80% of women would view men giving them chocolates as romantic.”

Statistics don’t lie, but Morinaga might be jumping to large conclusions on this one.

Gyaku-Choco (逆チョコ)
The exchange of Chocolate from Men to Women rather then Women to Men is being called Gyaku-Choco (逆チョコ). The survey suggests the name for a guy giving chocolate to a girl should be Chokomen (チョコメン) after the phrase Ikemen (イケメン).

Here are 3 chocolate products that Morinaga have brought out in their Gyaku-Choco series. Note the writing of the product name etc is backwards.

Morinaga's Gyaku-choco series

Morinaga's Gyaku-choco series (pix from Morinaga website)

What about White Day?
Back to the survey, here is the best part; while traditionally White Day was established to get the men to buy something in return for the women after they receive their chocolates on Valentines Day, the survey says 70% of the men think they should get something in return if they give chocolates and 90% of the women said they would consider giving something in return. The moral of the survey seems to be that you have to give to get.

For men giving to women, the average cost of chocolate to be given to a true love was surveyed at 1,672 Yen, whilst chocolate given to others was around 600 Yen. For women giving to men the figure was 1,714 Yen versus 542 Yen.

TV Commercial
Here is a video clip of the latest Morinaga CM for Valentines Day

Quick Poll
What do you think about the chocolate situation on Valentines Day?

I wrote a follow up piece on Valentines Day. Click here to read it.

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Lawson has a promotion on at the moment giving away free packets of Rilakkuma bath salts when you buy some candy. Rilakkuma was created by San-x 5 years ago in 2003, and supposedly was created with the idea of getting Japanese office workers to relax more. The bath salt connection would certainly seem to fit in to that idea. Here are the bath salt package designs. As always with Japanese characters, very cute.


Sakura scent. Note the warning on THIS CAN NOT BE EATEN.


Yuzu scent


Lemon scent

For those who want to get to know Rilakkuma better and stay with him and friends, Royal Park Hotel have a Rilakkuma themed room you can stay in. There is a great article about this at CScout


Jasmin scent

and here is the pack of candy I bought

Green Apple, Lemon and Peach flavours.

Green Apple, Lemon and Peach flavours.

As the tag line says Everyday life with those things you like

and for good measure here is the pack of Potato Chips, I mean Rice Chips that I bought. This is a new product out and the taste wasnt bad, but the look of the chips might need a little more work.
Rice Chips

Rice Chips

Here is the link to Niigata Chips in Japanese. The chips come in 4 flavours, curry, light, seaweed and soya sauce.

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UFO catchers have been around for ages and they never seem to go out of fashion at Japanese game centers. At a local Game Center in Shibuya the UFO catchers are already geared up for Valentines Day with a combination of advertising for the 30th anniversary of space invaders (apparently space invaders earned over $500 million in revenue for Taito in that time) and the 5th anniversary of Rilakkuma. I will follow up on Rilakkuma on a separate post but here are 2 quick links to get you started.

Rilakkuma @ wikipedia
Japanese language main website by San-x


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img_0595Mameshiba is a mascot character series created by Dentsu which has taken off as a series of hit products. There are 20 characters in total. The above picture is a mobile phone holder Mameshiba.

Here is a good article in English about the reason for the character being made and what other products are being made using the character.

Recently there are a number of TV adverts for the character also which is unusual because normally characters are used to back up a product they are promoting, whereas in the mameshiba adverts there is no product. The advert is to promote the character.

Here is the official home page in Japanese for Mameshiba written 豆しば in Japanese.

and the products page with many different mameshiba

Here is another site promoting them

and from YouTube here is one of the adverts

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If you pass through Shibuya then you invariably will see or receive those free tissues offering easy loans or promotion material from those such as the ones i saw tonight from DHC. For those who have not passed through Shibuya here is a quick glimpse of the action on the street.

The DHC girls were out in force tonight giving away something in pink

The DHC girls were out in force tonight giving away something in pink

Almost lost in the crowd

Almost lost in the crowd

Complete with DHC uniform

Complete with DHC uniform

This lady is not sure she needs one but got it anyway

This lady is not sure she needs one but got it anyway

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