Saturday, January 30, 2010

Japanese Commercials + Cats = Hilarity

The Japanese sure do know how to use animals in commercials. One of my favorites is Otosan, the Akita Inu featured in the SoftBank commercials . . .

. . . and uribo, Mitsui Sumitomo's wild boar.

Thanks to Japan Probe, I now love Nyaran!

It's brilliant. The commercial is for Jalran, a Japanese travel company. The cat's name is Nyaran, which is a play on words with Jalan. Whereas Westerners think cats say meow, to the Japanese, cats make the sound nya. Nya replaces the first syllables of words when the Japanese make cutesy things with cat references. For example, Nyan Nyan Nyanko, a set of characters in the San-X franchise, uses nya or nyan for all of their words.

Anyway, back to Nyaran! Nyaran is a salaryman, and he's very Japanese. In this commercial, he is going on a business trip, or shucchou (出張). Like most Japanese who travel, Nyaran takes the bullet train, or Shinkansen (新幹線), and enjoys a green tea and a boxed lunch, or bento (弁当). He presents a fish-shaped business card, or meishi (名刺), to his clients and gives a presentation to sell his "beef sphere manju," or nikukyu manju (肉球まんじゅう). After an exhausting day, he passes out in a business hotel, the reservations for which were made through Jalan.

Curious about Jalan, I clicked the link on Japan Probe's site and found even more commercials with Nyaran. I love the one where he's at a hot springs, or onsen (温泉). Each commercial depicts how the Japanese travel and what they do when they go on day trips.

There's an explanation of Nyaran's "beef sphere manju" on the page as well. I don't understand everything, but it sure is cute! I need to figure out what his blog says so I can follow Nyaran!


Marc said...

Nyaran-san is less awkward in Japan than me... I'm jealous.

shrinecastle said...

Well, he should be less awkward than you in Japan. He is Japanese, after all. (=^•^=)

mkhs said...

All of my family love those commercials for Jalran.

shrinecastle said...


When did the Nyaran commercials first begin airing? Are they new, or have they been around for a while? Also, do you know if the "Nikukyu Manju" is real? The website makes it look as though it's an actual product. My Japanese isn't good enough to understand.

Thanks for commenting on this post!

mkhs said...

Hi shrinecastle,
I'm not sure but Nyaran series TV commercials started around summer, 2008.
And as far as I know, "Nikukyu Manju" is not real, at least at the present time. ;-)

Thank you, too.
mkhs / mo*ih*ko ku**ta

shrinecastle said...

You're very tricky, mkhs! (^_^)/