Friday, September 12, 2008

CraveQuiz: AmPop Culture

While western fashion and cheeseburgers have certainly slipped their way onto the big stage, American Pop Culture as whole hasn’t. While the Nihonjin (Japanese) are fascinated by American culture, they haven’t allowed much to seep into their daily lives. Well folks, it’s time for the inaugural CraveQuiz, a new segment where I will axe you some fancy questions. Test your knowledge! Then when your done look below to see the correct answers and enjoy a little educamoocation from yours truly. Cheers!

1.) What is the most widely available American chocolate in Japan?
a.) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
b.) Snickers
c.) Kit Kat
d.) M&Ms

2.) What group of fictional cartoon icons is big in Japan?
a. Batman, Yogi Bear, Captain Planet
b. Winnie the Pooh, Snoopy, Tom & Jerry
c. Scooby Doo, Bugs Bunny, Beavis and Butthead
d. Garfield, Spider Man, Casper the Friendly Ghost

3.) What American sitcom is syndicated locally in Nihongo (Japanese) and Eigo (English)?
a. Seinfeld
b. Roseanne
c. Empty Nest
d. Full House

4.) What perennial treat do the Japanese love the most?
a. Ice Cream
b. Donuts
c. Slurpies
d. Lollipops

1.) What is the most widely available American chocolate in Japan?
c.) Kit Kat

Answer Explained: Kit Kat’s are huge over here. The Kit-Kat wikipedia page reports that the phenomonan may be due to how Kit Kat is similar to the Japanese phrase ‘kitto katsu’ meaning, “You will surely win!” As a result, Kit Kat bars are purchased as a gifts for good luck, much like how lame but cool teachers in America would pass out Smarties before a test. According to the site, there have been a variety of flavours including, maple syrup, melon, vanilla bean, grape, apple, banana, caramel, kiwki, azuki, green tea, and cherry blossom. There is also a knock-off brand called Choco-Wafers ranging from the traditional chocolate to vanilla or strawberry and I’ve heard talk of a mysterious pumpkin flavor. I actually just ate a blueberry Choco-Wafer…not bad actually.

In regards to other American confectionary imports; Snickers, M&Ms, and Crunch bars are scarce but available. Other than that, you’re pretty much out of luck. Shockingly, Reese’s are no where to be found. Peanut Butter is not a big deal over here. Luckily, Jupiter, a nearby foreign food store has Skippy creamy peanut butter in stock. I even snuck in 5 slides in my introduction powerpoint presentation proclaiming my love for peanut butter. Apparently, my new name around school is Mr. Peanut Butter. Sounds good to me!

2.) What group of fictional pop icons is big in Japan?
b.) Winnie the Pooh, Snoopy, Tom & Jerry

Answer Explained: Winnie the Pooh reigns supreme as the king of western merchandising tools. His friends from the 100-acre woods though are rarely seen. Tom and Jerry, the official mascots for Michinoku Bank appear often in Japanese culture. While Snoopy is not as prevalent he shows up once in awhile. Other Disney characters, especially Stitch are fairly common. I also noticed that one of my students had a complete Sesame Street stationary set. I was impressed…and confused. But as far as Scooby Doo, Batman and Spider-Man, from what I’ve seen, or haven’t seen for that matter, you won’t find them in Japan. Shockingly, Hello Kitty appears to be bigger in America than over here.

Tom & Jerry are quite popular in Japan.


Pooh will even hang your clothes. What a gentleman!

3.) What American sitcom is syndicated locally in Japanese and English?
d.) Full House

Answer Explained: Yes, it’s true. Those retards from Full House just won’t go away. There’s a button on the remote that you can press for some shows that will play only English, only Japanese, or both. Sometimes I try watching in Japanese, but then I don’t get the uplifting holistic meaning at the end. The music plays, but the tears don’t shed. It’s probably aired because it showcases universal family values. While America loves Seinfeld, I’m not sure the Japanese would necessarily understand all of the slang and inside jokes.

4.) What classic western treat do the Japanese love?
a. Ice Cream

Answer Explained: They may exist, but I have yet to see any slurpies/slushies or lollipops. You can find smoothies though. While there is the popular Mister Donut franchise, donuts aren’t as popular as they are in the states and can’t possibly compare with the winner: Ice Cream. They love it! Nearly every food court establishment serves up a variety of ice cream, and you can’t walk five steps in a park or at a festival without seeing an vendor dishing out some ice cream. While Dairy Queen withdrew their over 100 locations in 2000, Baskin Robbins is in full force with tempting exotic flavors. They even had the scoops to use the brazen “We make people happy,” as their official slogan. Ice Cream is traditionally sold in a cone. There’s typically one size though for ice cream cones, and yes in Japan one size does feed all. You can also find ice cream wrapped up with a variety of sweets in a crepe. Sundaes exist but not with all the toppings you may be used to. But have no fear, for McDonald’s serves up the McFlurry. Thankfully shakes, floats, and gelati are also available. Best of all though are the Haagen-Daz vending machines! The Japanese scream for ice-cream.

1 comment:

Mike said...

i'm surprised Zinger bars aren't more popular than kit kat