Posts Tagged ‘gyaru’

Pulsations (5.18.12)

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

  • Why do gaijin clash on the issue of racism in Japan? (From Loco in Yokohama): The “micro-aggressions” discussion, started by the notorious Mr. Debito, has been tearing up the expat community for the last couple of weeks, leaving some of us feeling like the child of a soon-to-be divorced couple, standing in the middle of the room screaming “STOP FIGHTING!” If that’s you, let Loco explain to you why everybody’s mad.
  • How to dress like Lady Gaga in Tokyo (from Tokyo Telephone): This week Tokyo was graced by the presence of her monster-ness Lady Gaga. No big surprise that she looooves shopping in Tokyo. Tokyo Telephone shopped in her footsteps.
  • Taboo Tattoo: The current state of ink in Japan (from Spoon & Tamago): Osaka’s rebel mayor Toru Hashimoto felt compelled to point out that Lady Gaga wouldn’t be able to get a job with the Osaka government. Of course, Ms. Gaga’s credentials as a bureaucrat are impeccable, it’s just that Mr. Hashimoto doesn’t like her tattoos.
  • Japanese web design: Why you so 2003? (from Tofugu): “Tonight we gon’ be coding like it’s nineteen ninety nine,” sang the designers while they filled their web sites with text.
  • The history of the Gyaru (from Neojaponisme): Yes, we know it’s Friday and you’re a little tired for something long and thoughtful. For now, go check out the redesign at Neojaponisme. You can save the long-read about the history of the gyaru female sub-culture for a lazy Sunday.

Free lunch? Coming right up

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

dashi

Dashi for the taking

Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

Dashi Cafe will open in Yurakucho on Oct. 1 serving free miso soup and onigiri. What’s the catch? Nothing, as far as we can tell, except maybe a little MSG. The place is sponsored by spice manufacturer Ajinomoto, whose flagship product is the flavor enhancer (and Japanese kitchen staple) MSG. They say they are working in cooperation with agricultural and fishing associations to assure high-quality domestic ingredients. The cafe is intended  to create a relaxing environment where women can enjoy all-you-can-eat helpings of miso soup and Japanese broth (rice balls are one to a customer) and relax a bit during the work day.

Tokyo Walker reported that the purpose of Dashi Cafe is to rekindle Japanese women’s interest in cooking these traditional foods. To that end, it will be women-only during hours when nearby office workers might sneak out for a quick bowl of soup, between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and then open to all until from 3 until it closes at 7 p.m.

This is one in a series of unconventional projects by Ajinomoto designed to get women excited about cooking. You’ll recall their gyaru cooking keitai site for making cooking cuter and more fun.

This isn’t the first free cafe that’s popped up in the Ginza area. Harimaya Station opened about a year ago as a free cafe that showcased the company’s rice crackers. Shoppers could have a cup of tea or coffee and try one of each of several varieties of crackers for free, but it has since started charging ¥200 per drink. So if soup is your thing, check out Dashi Cafe before they change their minds.

Gyaru get cooking

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Gyaru mama at the supermarket

Gyaru mama at the supermarket

You’re not the only one who does a double-take at those over-tanned Japanese ladies with the blonde ringlets; advertisers are giving the gyaru a close second look, too.

Gyaru (and their various sub-genres – in parau dresses, in altered school uniforms and loose socks, in white eyeliner that approached blackface . . . ) started grabbing headlines in the mid-’90s and were a staple of “wide” talk shows and weekly magazines.

While the media spotlight might have dimmed, gyaru haven’t exactly faded into the background. In fact, they’ve become a formidable economic force, with their own magazines, cosmetic lines and fashion brands dedicated to their flashy sense of style and their embrace of all things cute and sparkly.

They’ve also had kids, and advertisers aren’t passing up the chance to reach out to growing gyaru families. The gyaru are now getting the CM treatment with a TV commercial aimed right at them. Ajinomoto has teamed up with “I LOVE mama” magazine to promote a cooking site for mobile phones called “mama gohan” (mama’s meals). Ajinomoto is a century-old company whose core product is bottled MSG, a Japanese kitchen staple that you have probably at some point mistaken for the salt shaker. The magazine is a lifestlye magazine for gyaru who are mothers. The keitai site  has recipes as well as solutions to cooking problems. The commercial itself celebrates cooking as a way to connect the gyaru of Japan and intersperses zoomy shots of healthy meals with wide-eyed young mothers, in huge bow headbands, flashing peace signs against blindingly pink backdrops.  The site promises to help add cuteness to every bento for the kiddies and to make every meal more adorable.

According to the press release, since mama gohan went live in April, the site has had hundreds of thousands of page views and lots of recipes uploaded by members. It’s all well and good to cut carrots into cute shapes and stick smiley faces in the rice, but we’d love to know if it explains how to handle kitchen implements with those long, appliqued gel nails.

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