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!