We’re halfway through Black Friday (the American tribute to consumerism) by now, so I thought I’d share with you the top trendy, must-have items that debuted in Japan this year.
1) The Mega Mac: A recurring menu item, the Mega Mac showed up again on Japanese McDonald’s in January this year. It’s advertised (see left) as being “beef heaven” (ビーフ天国 or beefu tengoku ), which may be a bit of an overstatement, but only a bit. It’s basically just two big Macs stacked on top of each other (+ extra cheese), so you could try recreating it at home if it sounds appealing to you, haha.
Koichi and Viet partook of this Mega meal while we were in Japan; I’ll try to find the video, if anyone’s interested.
Due to the success of this item, McDonald’s has created a few spin-offs which include the Mega Teriyaki, the Mega Egg (メガたまご), and the Mega Tomato (メガトマト), which is actually more like a BLHT (bacon, lettuce, hamburgers, and tomato).
2) Premium beer: as someone who doesn’t particularly like beer, I can’t see the draw, but I’m sure the average salary man could give you a quick overview as to what “premium” beer actually is. Next!
3) Billy’s Boot Camp DVD: You guys know Billy Blanks, right? The Tae Bo guy? Even if you don’t, it seems that most Japanese people do. Out of 400 people polled, 94% knew who he was, and 15% of them were on his Tae Bo program. I find it extremely ironic that a country with its own, original martial arts would embrace this more or less made up one, but apparently the OL/housewife crowd can’t get enough of Mr. Blanks. Here’s a video illustrating the phenomenon:
4) Mango: It’s easy to see why this one made the list. Mango is delicious, and I really don’t know anybody who doesn’t like it. Mango puddings, ice creams, and desserts (such as the McDonald’s Mango Pie) were extremely popular this past year.
5) Wii: Ah, the Wii. Like the Nintendo DS, it was marketed as being friendly and usable for people of all ages, which is true. Say what you like about the game selection and controls; so many Japanese people own Wiis that it’s speculated to be having a significant effect on regular TV viewership. According to the TimesOnline,
The Nintendo machine, which was specifically designed to repackage video gaming as a family-oriented affair, is believed by media insiders to be responsible for an unprecedented decline in early-evening viewing figures for Japan’s top-rated shows.
According to one senior executive of the country’s largest commercial television channel, Fuji TV, families who used to tune in to its colourful diet of soap operas, panel games and comedy variety shows may, instead, be drifting away and choosing to spend the same, economically-critical “golden hour” time playing on their Wii.
His comments come as Japanese television executives are reeling in horror at recent figures from Japan’s audience-tracking firms: last week was the first in nearly two decades where no single show on any commercial station attracted more than a 9 per cent audience share
If you haven’t bought a Wii yet, definitely think about it for Christmas. If we’ve got enough people interested, we may do some sort of Mii-making contest, so be sure to get one before then, yes?
Source: Goo Rankings
This is the end of Top 2007 Japanese Impulse Buys Part 1; look out for Part 2 later this week!