You might think that Japanese advertisements are all Hollywood celebrity endorsements or surreal tales of busty schoolgirls with nose rings, but when it wants to, Japan can make commercials that yank on the heartstrings as strongly as anywhere else in Asia. Getting the waterworks flowing today is Toyota, asking the question, “Do you care about your parents as much as they love you?”, and while the video is short on cars, it makes up for that with plenty of tears.
We here at RocketNews are a soft bunch at heart. We’ve been affected by tear-inducing, feel-good videos from countries like Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand, and now it’s Singapore that’s got us by the feels with a touching new clip.
Based on a true story, this commercial plays more like a short art film, with atmospheric shots and superb acting that seems too real to be rehearsed. Come with us as we take a peek into the life of a graduating high school girl who looks after two younger siblings and her widowed, wheelchair-bound father, as she sacrifices her education and future for her family. Oh, and bring that box of tissues with you – you’ll be needing it!
We all know marriage and live-in-partnerships have a lot going for them. From constant companionship to support when you’re stressed with work or family problems, the idea of cohabiting with that special someone is powerful enough to sweep even the most jaded singleton off their feet.
In Japan, where pre-marriage cohabitation is still considered somewhat taboo, married life is a serious commitment with traditional roles that involve self-sacrifice and obligation, not only to one’s partner but to their extended family. So what do the single men of Japan think about marriage versus the bachelor life? A recent survey reveals the moments men are glad they’ve never put a ring on it and the interesting reasons why.
With a history that stretches back some three generations, Toyota is one of the most recognized car manufacturers around. The company offers numerous family friendly vehicles, and their newer models include additional features like “Safety Sense” automatic braking technology, all designed to keep passengers as safe as possible.
That may explain why Toyota decided to release this commercial, just in time for Father’s Day in Japan, which documents the many car journeys one father and daughter take together, from the day Dad brings his little girl home from the hospital right up until she has a child of her own.
Why did the chicken cross the road? We don’t know, we don’t speak Chicken. But we do know why the ducks in Kyoto cross the road. To get to the Kamo River!
Don’t be mistaken, we don’t speak Duck either, but that’s what the ducks have been doing for the past decade or so, and this year they’ve completed the procession again with a record number of baby ducks in tow!
Mothers. They’re the amazing beings who carried us in their tummies and brought us into this world. Some of us live with one, some of us can’t wait to move away from one. Some mums are fashionable and love parties, some can’t send a text message without messing up a few words every time, some tend to nag too much, and some bake the best cookies in the world.
The bottom line is, every mum is unique in her own way, and they’re lovable for all their strengths and flaws…especially when they have their own hilarious methods of doing things, like the mums of these Japanese Twitter users!
One of the many duties of parenthood is to watch and listen enthusiastically as one’s offspring perform in plays, concerts and recitals. We’re used to the image of proud parents, amazed and moved by what their children can achieve. But sometimes, that dynamic gets flipped on its head, like in this clever commercial by music school TOSANDO, which brings us the story of one father’s mission to surprise his son on his wedding day with a moving musical performance.
Japan has a lengthy protocol for the proper way to exchange business cards. There are rules of etiquette that govern how to hand to over your own card, how to respectfully read your counterpart’s, and even how long to wait before putting it away.
Outside of the business world, you might think you’re safe from this troublesome trapping of corporate culture. Recently, though, some mothers in Japan have started making personal name and contact cards to give to other moms they meet through their kids’ school and extracurricular activities, and are discovering that being outside the office doesn’t make things any simpler.
Since March is the month for graduations in Japan, the final part of this series will focus on the character bento mom’s “Countdown to Graduation” bentos made for her younger daughter in high school, along with another round of familiar characters! (If you missed the past two posts, you can find them here and here).
As the telltale cherry blossoms get ready to bloom, and as young folks all around Japan prepare to close a chapter in their lives so that they can embark upon a new one, Kaori cooks up lunches that are full of not only protein and attitude but also parental advice for the future! We’ll also share some information on her book, her last thoughts regarding the immense project, and—wait, is that a token of appreciation from her laconic yet demanding daughter?!
Do you remember last month’s piece which chronicled single mom Kaori’s three-year character bento spree? On the surface the project seemed to be about harassing her kyaraben-hating teenage daughter, but we learned that in the end, it was an incredible (not to mention eye-catching!) feat of parental love and dedication.
In Part 2 of this series, we’re going to put the spotlight on more of Kaori’s entertaining creations in tandem with some of her thoughts. And next week in Part 3, we’ll wrap up with the mom’s reaction to her long-awaited book, her “Countdown to Graduation” bentos, and a surprise from her daughter. So, before we get to this devoted mom’s moving, seaweedy words of wisdom and love, let the drool-fest begin! And keep your eyes peeled, you may even find your favorite character!
There’s something about a home cooked meal that, even if it’s not Michelin-starred fare, is incredibly delicious. It may be because every bite was prepared with love or perhaps it’s just the nostalgic flavor from your childhood. For many Japanese people, miso soup is one of those comfort foods. While it’s an everyday staple for many, the taste of your mother’s or wife’s (or other favorite cook’s) miso soup is second to none.
Miso and instant miso soup foodstuffs company, Marukome, has come out with some heartwarming commercials that really encapsulate the idea of food bringing people together. While you may not be crying at the end, you’ll at least really want to share some comfort foods with loved ones.
Kakun (家訓) literally means “family precept”, and refers to the principles that an individual Japanese family lives by.
These might consist of a list of rules for children to follow – run-of-the-mill stuff like “treat others as you would like to be treated”, “don’t tell lies”, and “respect your elders” – or, a family’s kakun might be a single defining motto that applies to all family life. Kakun might be written on parchment and framed on the wall; or it might just be a phrase your mother (or father!) yells at you when you forget to put your socks in the wash again.
Japanese site Naver Matome recently put together a collection of Japanese Twitter users’ interesting and unusual family mottos. Here’s our pick of the bunch!
A decade ago, when blogger and single mom Kaori used to work nights at an izakaya (Japanese-style pub) and didn’t have time to spend with her two little girls, they would leave letters by her pillow, telling her about a fight they had with a friend or how school was that day. Fast forward a few years, though, and her cute younger daughter became your regular moody, demanding teenager.
So what did this amusing mom decide to do? Kaori chose to annoy her second-born every day with something she hates: character bento! See mom yearn for a Starbucks, remind her girl to throw out empty bottles, and moan about making bento while hung over—all with the help of an X-Acto knife, some nori seaweed, and dollops of ingenuity.
While it’s impossible to showcase the entirety of her achievements in one article, here’s a “highlights version” that ultimately reveals a heartwarming tale of a hardworking mom trying to communicate with her adorable yet exasperating teen. And if you don’t care about that, then just gawk at the awesome photos!
When we’re kids, we usually don’t realize how much love and support our parents give to us; they’re just being mom or dad. It’s only until we grow up that we appreciate and are able to recognize the many things they sacrifice for our well-being.
A commercial from MetLife Hong Kong featuring the heartfelt letter of a loving daughter highlights one particularly large sacrifice her father makes every day…and it’s sure to bring you to tears.
Compared to some other countries, video games enjoy a fairly high standing in Japanese society. Nintendo’s Mario is seen by many as not only a symbol of wholesome fun, but an example of how innovation and craftsmanship can lead to sustained economic prosperity. The world of Final Fantasy isn’t just a great setting for an epic quest, but for lunch or dinner, and some particularly stylish game characters even go on to leave their mark on real-world fashion.
Still, not everyone in Japan is a fan of video gaming. The Hokkaido Board of Education would rather see kids with schoolbooks or fishing poles in their hands than game controllers, and to that end is calling for parents to institute twice monthly No Game Days, and not just for the kids in the family.
I understand that an important part of parenting is setting boundaries for children. Until they reach a certain age, kids just don’t have the kind of foresight necessary to fully understand the consequences of all their actions, and letting preteens eat as many cookies as they want or stay up as late as they like probably isn’t the best idea.
That said, another important part of parenting is setting a good example. Fail to do that, and your kids are likely to just tune out everything you’re saying. Actually, that might be the best case scenario, since if you’re flagrantly guilty of not practicing what you preach, your kids might call you out for it, like one Japanese elementary school girl who pointed out her parents’ logical inconsistency in lecturing about keeping her video game playing to a minimum, even as they were glued to their own electronic devices.
In the world of fiction, some characters have detailed, complex families and backgrounds made known to us, while others have rather vague and obscure origins, which isn’t totally a bad thing because that gives viewers plenty of room to imagine and fantasize.
Ever imagined Superman as a dad? Or, what if, after being rescued for the gazillionth time, Princess Peach actually marries Mario? Check out these beautiful families of various fictional heroes and heroines after the jump!
It might sound strange, but in a lot of Japanese households, the use of first names tends to become increasingly rare after the arrival of children and grandchildren. Although plenty of parents in the western world will also refer to each other as “Mommy” or “Daddy” in an effort to help their newborn or toddler pick up the words, or sometimes just to be cute, a man calling his wife “Mama” or “Okaasan” even after their kids have long flown the nest is perfectly common in Japan.
But what happens when a husband suddenly starts calling his wife by her first name, just like when they first started dating or had not long been married? Japanese cosmetics company Pola recently conducted an experiment to find out how simply being called by their first name can affect the health and physical appearance of young women who have over the years come to be known simply as “Mama”.
Promo or not, the effect was surprisingly powerful.
For expats in Japan, one thing that takes some serious getting used to is the time difference. With several time zones’ worth of ocean separating Japan and the U.S., for example, a quick calculation of the local time is always a necessity before calling home. Even then, there’s often a twinge of sadness that comes from that vague disconnect of knowing that it might be afternoon where you are, but the middle of the night where the rest of your family is.
But while the times on the clock might never match between Japan and Florida, an American in Japan discovered that there’s one time a day when things are close enough.
For hardcore video gamers, life is a never-ending series of battles as they try to overcome the next boss, unlock achievements, or climb up the online leader boards. And for some of their parents, life is a never-ending series of battles as they try to get their kids to stop doing all that and study.
While more honorable gamers limit themselves to utilizing the best in-game equipment, some give in to the temptation to use hacks to gain an advantage over their adversaries. Recently, one education-minded mother in China adopted the same tactic by hacking her son’s online gaming accounts, then deleting them.