An Aussie Touch to a Landmark Japanese TV Show

Australia provided an (admittedly unacknowledged) touch to Monster Prince (怪獣王子), one of Japan’s most popular TV shows in the late 1960s.
Monster Prince told the story of Takeru Ibuki, a boy left stranded on a tropical island while a baby when his family is caught in a volcanic eruption and subsequently raised by dinosaurs living there.
Together with his brontosaurus friend, Nessie, Takeru defends the island, and by extension the Earth, from invading aliens.
And that’s where the Australian touch comes in…Takeru’s weapon of choice is a boomerang!
The show ran for two series and was made by Nihon Tokusatsu Kabukikaisha.
The role of Takeru was shared by twins, Yoshinori and Mitsunori Nomura, both of who were prominent child actors at the time, but for who this would be their final role before they both left showbiz.
Monster Prince was plagued by troubles throughout its duration, though its merchandise did brisk sales.
Confectionary giant, Lotte, the program’s sponsor, wanted to pull the plug after the first series, but agreed to extend its backing when the show was sold to the United States.
In-fighting also plagued the program, which was shot in Kyoto but by a crew from Tokyo, and rivalries between those from the ancient and modern capitals were apparently fierce.
Nihon Tokusatsu Kabukikaisha wound up following the end of this series, which came as the tokusatsu boom that had encompassed Japan through much of the 1960s slowly declined from its zenith.

Check out KAIJU OUJI: MONSTER PRINCE, which has an awesome write-up on Monster Prince, a program also known outside of Japan by the romanization of its Japanese title,Kaiju Ouji.

See a subtitled version of the first-ever episode of Monster Prince (featuring plenty of boomerang throwing and an awesome scream to kick-off the opening titles!)

Ramen Cake Will Make You Do Your Noodle!

Ramen cake

Nationwide all-you-can-eat sweets franchise Sweets Paradise make amazing cakes decorated to look like main meals but almost indistinguishable from them until tasted.
Sweets Paradise makes an assortment of foods that look like main dishes but are actually cakes, including bowls of noodles, omelets, katsudon and eel.
What’s more, the prices are extremely reasonable, at around 1,200 yen, which is about half what you’d normally pay for a similarly sized cake anywhere in Japan.
Sweets Paradise has outlets throughout Japan, but also sells its wares online.

Ramen cake

Ramen cake

Ramen cake

Ramen cake

Little Girl’s Story Opens Door to Aussie Animal Boom in Japan

Scenes from Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow

Back in the early ’80s Australia did not command a great deal of attention in Japan (to be honest, it still doesn’t command that great a presence to this day…)

Things changed, however, with the launch of Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow.
Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow was an anime by Nippon Animation that aired weekly from January 10 to December 26, 1982.

The cartoon told the story of Lucy-May Popple and her family, who had emigrated from Yorkshire to live in Adelaide, Australia. The story was based on a book called Southern Rainbow by Australian author Phyllis Piddington. The anime would be translated into numerous languages and aired in many countries outside of Japan.

The DVD cover

The cartoon introduced Japanese audiences to all sorts of Australian animals that were then largely unknown. Among the Australian creatures featured on the show were kangaroos, platypuses, wombats, kookaburras and koalas. There were no koalas in Japan when the cartoon aired, but the marsupials would sweep the country of its feet with their cuteness when the first koalas arrived at the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Nagoya two years later.

Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow was part of the World Masterpiece Theater, a yearlong series that featured an anime adaptation of a famous book. Among those who worked on the series were Hayao Miyazaki, who had already left Nippon Animation before Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow aired. World Masterpiece Theater aired from 1969 to 1997, then resumed after a 10-year hiatus and continues to air now.

A Toast to Fine Electronics

 

Breville sandwich maker

日本は世界中に素晴らしい家電など電気製品で知られているが、オーストラリアもグローバル存在感が大きな電気製品会社があったのは知った?
 それはブレビル社という会社。
 1932年にメルボルン市で設立されたので歴史がそこそこあるが、家電を中心に展開した。
 日本ではブレビル商品に関してバリスタが使うコーヒーメーカーかジューサーが主な商品だけど世界中に発売されている。日本ではお馴染み薄いが、トースターについて英語圏の一部ではトーストサンドが「ブレビル」と呼ばれているぐらい浸透している。
 チャンスがあったら、オーストラリアのブレビルを使ってみてはいかがでしょうか?

カンガルーの玉袋が不足している!

カンガルーの玉袋おみやげ

 オーストラリアの定番おみやげとなっている「カンガルーの玉袋」が不足している。
 この数年、洪水、間伐その他の気候変動によって行っている現象がカンガルーの数に影響を与え、本体が少なくなってれば玉袋も当然稀となる。
 オーストラリアの有数カンガルー玉袋製造者であるジョン・クルーガー氏によると激しい天気になるとカンガルーがもっと安全である内陸へ逃げ狩りづらくなる。
 気候変動による激しい天気の頻度が高くなっている。

Kangaroo Scrotums Are the New Victims of Global Warming(英語)