Straya, We’ll See Your Vegemite Chocolate and Raise You with Cough Lolly KitKats

Strewth! It doesn’t get much worse than the latest KitKat concoction to hit Japanese stores, which arguably takes the title of world’s worst chocolate unofficially claimed by Australia when it produced Vegemite chocolate back in June 2015.
KitKat Nodoame flavor is now selling at Japanese retail outlets and is the latest in a line of Japanese KitKat flavors that extends well beyond 200.
It should be noted, that <i>nodoame is the Japanese word for throat lozenge, and that’s exactly what’s been dished up in the latest KitKat…a throat lozenge flavored-chocolate!!!!
For what it’s worth, throat lozenge-flavored KitKat tastes exactly as it sounds, with your average cough lolly covered by waffle and coated in a layer of chocolate.
The Nodoame KitKat is sold in a box adorned by a caricature of soccer commentator Yasutaro Matsuki cheering Japan on to its ultimately successful qualification for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia (which it achieved by defeating Australia’s hapless Socceroos at Saitama Stadium 2002 on August 31, 2017).
The presumed use of Matsuki to promote the flavor is because his shouting for Japan precludes the need for a throat lozenge.
Japanese KitKat Flavors (not a complete list…site in Japanese)
Japanese KitKat flavors page 1
Japanese KitKat flavors page 2
Japanese KitKat flavors page 3
Vegemite chocolate ad from back in the day

Tokyo’s Strange Socceroos

Japan has a strange affinity when it comes to using Australian animals for its advertising.
A number of major Japanese corporations use koalas and roos to plug their products and services.
One with a difference is Hayashi Corporation, a construction company with a history of over 100 years and based in suburban Tokyo.
Hayashi Corporation’s Fuchu branch office entrance is adorned with photos of a family of cartoon kangaroos decked out in soccer gear, just like Australia’s national football team, the Socceroos.
Japan’s next opponent in World Cup qualifying is Australia, but there’s no connection.
What is interesting to note, though, is that the kangaroos had been painted over until quite recently. They were restored after many years and now stand out prominently.
The reason for why this marsupial touch has been added to outer suburban Tokyo remains a mystery, though.

Strange Straya Tucked Away in a Tract in Tokyo

Uluru curry

Ayer’s Rock Cafe is located in a distant corner of Machida, an outer suburb of Tokyo.
Why the cafe located in such a distant tract of Tokyo derives its name from the now non-PC moniker of Uluru is something of a mystery, but it has been operating since 2000 and comes highly recommended by members of a nearby horse-riding club and large private school, so it must be getting something right.
For Aussies, there’s nothing on the menu that really makes it worthwhile making the trek out to the cafe for a need to combat homesickness.
The cafe does serve Bundaberg Rum and is decorated with standard Aussie kitsch like tourist-oriented Indigenous Australian trinkets like boomerangs and digeridoos, copies of Australian road signs, a few items of bush jewelry and assorted items from Carlton & United Breweries.
The one menu item that does play on the cafe’s Australian association is Uluru curry.
This curry is a dried curry served atop a healthy pile of rice and presented in a way that makes it bear something of a resemblance to Uluru.
The curry is served with side dishes of salad and yogurt, and all are tasty and filling.
The curry is mild and its appearance at least gives something of an Australian flavor that doesn’t seem to come from anywhere else served at the establishment.
Other dishes are tasty, but not noteworthy. They will not disappoint the taste buds, but may not please the pocket.
Recommended are the set menus, which include a main meal, a donut from Daddy’s Donuts, which the cafe also deals in, and a drink for around 1,300 yen to 1,400 yen are probably best.
Indeed, the donut was delicious, made with little oil and with a light fluffy taste with a crisp outer crust.
The donut is served with a scoop of ice cream, which can be topped with cinnamon or rum sauce or both, and berries with garnishing of castor sugar.
The dish is excellent and the donuts come in four flavors of plain, sesame, soybean or early grey.
Also recommended is the coffee, which was dark with a rich, satisfying taste and powerful aroma.

Let’s Barbie! Aussie-Style BBQing for the Japanese!

Australia beef is the most visibly successful Australian export to Japan, leaving considerable distance to its closest rivals, which these days are probably Tim Tams, Miranda Kerr and hordes of drunken ocker snow bunnies in country towns like Niseko and Hakuba.
To be honest, Oz doesn’t really enter the consciousness of most Japanese, except for Aussie Beef, which is probably the first thing that comes to mind for many Nihonjin when asked about Oz.
And this year, Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd (MLA) is going all-out to try and convert Japanese consumers to worshiping the barbie in much the same manner that many Aussies do.
MLA is conducting a huge Let’s Barbie campaign to encourage people to use the summer months to enjoy munching away on some good old tucker.

The Let’s Barbie pop-up store in Tokyo’s trendy Aoyama district

And they’re using Strine to do it, too, with part of the campaign involving a pop-up shop placed smack-bang in the middle of Aoyama, one of Tokyo’s trendiest districts, and a huge sign urging passers-by to “barbie!”
The pop-up shop is offering demonstrations of cooking, Strayan-style, and serves up three different kinds of steak and salad “meat parfaits.” There’s Beauty, with lime and ginger, Genki, flavored by chili pepper and garlic, and Let’s Barbie, with lime and mint. All are delicious and served in a cup with salad and mashed spuds.
Part of the campaign is teaching the Japanese about how Aussies barbie. Here’s what the official Let’s Barbie campaign website says about the Barbie…

About the Barbie

What’s a Barbie?
Barbecue Superpower Australia calls barbecues “barbies” and 3-4 times a week, (Aussies) enjoying tucking into thick-cut, Aussie Beef steaks and fresh salads anytime, anywhere. You can relax and enjoy them, and everybody’s all smiles out in the wilds of nature, which brings everybody closer. And the communication tool that brings that about is the Aussie-style barbecue: The Barbie.
Aussie lifestyle is about not putting on airs, and the real thrill of the barbie is being about enjoying communication with your mates and your family.


It’s hard to see what sort of impact the campaign will have. Japanese tend to be great barbecuers, anyway. And while many would gladly abide by the campaigns exhortations to get out and enjoy a good steak with your mates, most are stuck inside the office waiting for the boss to go home before they have any hope of being able to leave.

Related links
Barbie (Strine Strife)
Barbie (Yabai-lingual)
Barbie (Go-cabulary)

Sexism Sells…Aussie Princes and Arresting the Great Japanese Tourist Decline

Japan’s Aussie Prince Campaign website seeking women’s photos of sexy blokes

In this day and age, it would be unthinkable to use taxpayers’ hard-earned money to promote a campaign promising a 1 million yen order-made trip to Australia for a young bloke sending in photos of a sexy member of the opposite sex.
But, when the shoe’s on the other foot, it seems to be all right.
At least, it was until just a few years ago.
For a while in the late Noughties to early 2010s, Tourism Australia worked desperately hard to arrest a drastic and dramatic decline in Japanese tourist numbers.

Japanese Visitors to Australia 2002-2012

Part of those efforts involved a campaign that Tourism Australia conducted in Japan back in 2009-2010. The campaign played on the Japanese homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings) for Aussie (oojii in Japanese) and prince (ouji in Japanese).
The Oojii Ouji Campaign promised a 1 million yen prize to the entrant that provided Tourism Australia with the best story of a visit to Australia. Participants were also asked to send in a photo of an Aussie they’d enjoyed spending time with. The implied wording of the campaign (using “prince” in Japanese immediately implies a Disney-style, good-looking and virile hetero male who can sweep a woman of her feet) and actual use of only good-looking young Aussie blokes to promote the cause in Japan made it fairly obvious the promotion was all about physical attraction.

Aussie “princes” promoting the tourism campaign

The “princes” Australia sent to Tokyo to promote the campaign were Aborigine Prince Warren Clements, Great Emotion Prince Nick Atkins, Wine Prince Brett Stanley, Beach Prince Shannon Eckstein and Sports Prince Ben Tomkins.
Tourism Australia made no secret of targeting women in their 20s and 30s, a gender-oriented promotion they would not be able to engage in back in Australia.
Actually, it makes sense for tourist organizations to target younger Japanese women. They are less likely to be caught in overtime trap, have more of a chance of building up disposable income (especially if they’re living at home) and can be a bit more adventurous.
Ultimately, destiny made the campaign’s timing disastrous. Before the effects of the campaign could be felt, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck and there were far more serious issues to deal with.

The website featuring “Aboriginal Prince” Warren Clements

Tourism Australia has reverted to a more standard approach to promoting the country in Japan, which no longer has the importance for the Australian tourist market that it held when it was sending 700,000-800,000 people a year Down Under from the mid-1990s to the early Noughties. Hordes of Chinese tourists swooping into Australia have made the need to encourage more Japanese to visit a far less critical issue than it was a decade ago.

Japan’s Crucial Role in Turning “Mad Max” into a Global Aussie Icon

The Japanese movie poster for “Mad Max”

Turning the clock back 40 years, Japan played a crucial role in giving Australia a leg-up toward becoming a player in the global movie industry.
In late 1977, a couple of fledgling Australian filmmakers pooled their meager funds and shot a movie starring mostly unknown young actors and actual motorcycle gang members serving as extras.
Almost two years later, Mad Max opened Australian theaters and became a steady, but controversial hit. The car action movie was immediately banned in New Zealand as some of its motorcycle gang violence resembled actual events in the market most closely resembling Australia’s.
Australia’s movie industry was in the middle of a growing renaissance, backed by a generous government funding program and the emergence of a large number of talented directors and actors. Mad Max was made for a mere pittance in movie terms, costing just $350,000. Backed by the steady performance at the Australian box office, the movie’s first overseas sale was made to Japan, then a country where bosozoku motorcycle gangs were having their heyday.
Mad Max became a massive hit in the world’s second-largest movie market. This Big in Japan success made overseas sales a much easier task and the movie was sold widely across the globe. It would be a slow burner that flared following the phenomenal success of its first sequel, Mad Max 2, released in 1981. The box office for Mad Max would eventually surpass $100 million and for more than two decades it would hold the world record for the greatest ratio between production cost and box office.

“Fist of the North Star”

These sales led to a sequel and opened the door for the actor in the title role,Mel Gibson, to become a global superstar (until he destroyed his career a quarter of a century later in a drunken rant about Jews followed by enraged verbal and allegedly physical attacks on the mother of his youngest child). Further sequels, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, which came out in 1985, and 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road with Briton Tom Hardy playing the titular character.
Mad Max created an enormous legacy that went much further than the sequels and Gibson turning into a Hollywood superstar. The effects were particularly strong in terms of Australia-Japan collaborations. The movie itself benefited greatly from Kawasaki, which donated all the motorcycles used in the film. But there was much more.
Drawing heavily from the Mad Max saga, the enduring Fist of the North Star would become one of Japan’s most successful manga in the 1980s and made stars of its writer, Buronsanand illustrator, Tetsuo Hara.
Akira Kushida would get one of his early hits with Rollin’ into the Night, which played over the end credits of the Japanese version of the movie.
As noted in the accompanying newspaper article from the May 10, 1982, edition of the Melbourne Age, the success of the early editions in the series would spark joint movie production efforts between Japan and Australia.
The article mentions a movie under production and entitled “The Southern Cross.” The first-ever joint Australia-Japan feature film collaboration would eventually come out later in 1982 with the new English title of The Highest Honor (it would remain under its original title in Japanese). That movie was quickly forgotten, but it is notable for being the debut movie of Hitomi Kuroki, still one of Japan’s most successful actresses to this day.

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!)