Archives by Tag 'Japanese culture'

Ikumen marketing

By Alisa - Last updated: 火曜日, 5月 1, 2012

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I was running out of hair conditioner so I went to the grocery store to buy some when I spotted this refill bag with the the yellow and green Papa Furo (papa bathtime) marketing campaign logo. On the top of the logo it says “we support bathtime with kids and dads!”

I understand that for some countries it’s strange for kids to take a bath with their dad but all I can say is that it is a bonding experience in Japan like a bedtime story. I think it is fine since the kids only do this when they are very young. However, that still did not explain why the line of shampoo and conditioner was specifically targeting dads. It’s the beginning of May right now and Mother’s Day is coming right up but we still need to wait a bit for Father’s Day.

Then I did some research and found out they were targeting the new generation of “ikumen” or child rearing men. I know it’s silly to need a term to make child rearing hip for men but it represents a new generation of Japanese fathers that are taking a more active role in raising their children. This conditioner I bought is on the affordable end of the market aimed at families so it makes sense that they are targeting this product to these new families with their “ikumen” dads. Finally the campaign made sense.

I wouldn’t say that the “mouretsu” or fierce salaryman from the 80s who mindlessly worked like a madman has completely disappeared from Japanese society but these marketing campaigns come to show how much Japan has changed in this generation. My Japanese husband and I still don’t have kids but I’m pretty sure he’ll become a good “ikumen” too or I wouldn’t have married him in the first place. I sound a bit threatening you say? Either way, thank goodness times have changed.


Alisa Sanada, (@asanada) web localization consultant for Karakururin and co-organizer for Nagomi Kitchen, is a former Texan currently residing in Kawasaki. She went from craving fresh jalapenos while working 7 years in the web industry in Tokyo and Osaka to craving fresh tofu while traveling across the globe for a year in 2011 as a full time nomad. Alisa hopes to bring together her passions, the web, travel, and food through her work.

1つ星2つ星3つ星4つ星5つ星 (2 投票, 平均値/最大値: 5.00 / 5)
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Rockin’ at arafo

By Alisa - Last updated: 金曜日, 4月 27, 2012

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Japanese television is famous for being loud and crazy, but it sure is not just that or else it would drive me insane and I honestly wouldn’t be watching it if that were all true. Jounetsu Tairiku, one of my favorite documentary shows on basic local Japanese television recently featured an old all girl Japanese pop-rock band. Princess Princess was a famous band during the 80s and early 90s but disbanded in 1996 so I was wondering why they were being featured on television 16 years later. Apparently they had reunited in order to help with the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami recovery efforts. I’m sure those of you who are more up to par than I am when it comes to Japanese music might be yawning at me for talking about a band of your parents generation but writing about recent Japanese music trends in not my point here.

I actually did not know this until after watching the documentary, but it seems like Princess Princess did a lot for women in the music industry during the 80s and 90s in Japan. Although it seems like their career decisions were not made with any feminist intentions, and I also wouldn’t consider their music edgy in anyway, they were a breakthrough for female artists during an era where idol groups dominated the market and could not even style their own hair. They wrote and played their materials and made their career decisions. A generation later, all band members are in their 40s and some are mothers. Although they were all singing old songs from the past in their recent concert, it was refreshing to see these women rocking away because it is not everyday you see a Japanese band made up of all what people here call “arafo” or “women around their 40s.”

Don’t get me wrong. Although there are many foolish Japanese women and of course men who really think female lives just go downhill after they turn “misoji” or the big three-oh, it’s actually finally starting to become a good time for women in Japan. Despite some people’s images of the Japanese music industry flooded with underaged idols, there is a strong presence of over 40 female songwriters that can actually sing, have influence, and have control over their careers and lives. However, unfortunately it is not everyday you see a group of moms and older women strumming their guitars and bases and beating the drums. Maybe just a few keyboard players? So although I honestly never was a hardcore fan of their work until now, I do find myself humming to a lot of their songs so maybe I might want to go to their concert at the end of this year to get some 90s infused girl power.


Alisa Sanada, (@asanada) web localization consultant for Karakururin and co-organizer for Nagomi Kitchen, is a former Texan currently residing in Kawasaki. She went from craving fresh jalapenos while working 7 years in the web industry in Tokyo and Osaka to craving fresh tofu while traveling across the globe for a year in 2011 as a full time nomad. Alisa hopes to bring together her passions, the web, travel, and food through her work.

1つ星2つ星3つ星4つ星5つ星 (2 投票, 平均値/最大値: 5.00 / 5)
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Just My Japan and Nothing More

By Alisa - Last updated: 水曜日, 4月 4, 2012

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I used to run a tiny site called Real Japan back when I was in high school in Texas. It was supposed to be a site about what I thought was the real Japan. It actually wasn’t completely “real” but it was the best I could do back then being a Japanese-American kid growing up mostly in the US. But I was still quite happy that the website got featured in a few magazines and newspapers like Wired Magazine. More importantly, I was able to get a lot of people hyped about Japan. I actually know that a few fans ended up traveling or living in Japan partly because of that site.

Fast forward, I am currently a 30 years old Alisa Sanada who has lived and worked in both the Kanto and Kansai area for more than 8 years, have traveled across 6 continents and over 60 countries, and now back and working in Tokyo as a web localization consultant and co-organizer for a Japanese food tourism program. My view of Japan, both from the inside and out, has drastically changed since those years I was in high school. It’s no longer just a language or culture I know very well. It is part of my life. I actually live in it day in and day out.

When it comes to describing how it is to live in Japan or to explain anything Japanese for that matter, it’s now much more complicated. I cannot analyze and explain Japanese culture in black and white like an Asian Studies professor. I’ve seen so many things and met so many people that I see too much diversity now. Plus it’s hard for me to simplify Japan’s image to whatever is promoted by the Japanese government at any moment whether it is pop culture or traditional culture because most of the time I just don’t know anything about those latest trends or subcultures. I just know what I know. Basically what I experience in my own life in Japan, like the time when my Japanese mother-in-law asked me how people take baths in the States or about the sharing movement that is becoming popular in Japan.

So yoroshiku from now on and enjoy the journey through my “real Japan!”


Alisa Sanada, (@asanada) web localization consultant for Karakururin and co-organizer for Nagomi Kitchen, is a former Texan currently residing in Kawasaki. She went from craving fresh jalapenos while working 7 years in the web industry in Tokyo and Osaka to craving fresh tofu while traveling across the globe for a year in 2011 as a full time nomad. Alisa hopes to bring together her passions, the web, travel, and food through her work.

1つ星2つ星3つ星4つ星5つ星 (3 投票, 平均値/最大値: 5.00 / 5)
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