You must check out Japanese billboards and packaging

I don’t know about you but I get desensitised to adverts at home, that’s big mistake in Japan.

Japan doesn’t really do subtle. Walk the streets of any city and you’ll soon discover if you have any latent epileptic tendencies. TV screens and enormous billboards rage through every imaginable colour and many also have speakers to blast snippets of the latest J-Pop sensation at you. Your attention will invariably be turned towards that kind of advertising first and foremost but you’d be a fool to miss traditional print advertising and the simple pleasure of weird branding.

Japan’s metro station adverts

Close up on the penguin explorer fellowMany of the best Japanese print advertisements can be found in metro stations and on the platforms. Places where screens are usually redundant because of the crush of humanity. It wouldn’t be cost effective when trains are constantly cutting off the sponsor’s message mid-stream. Or when your primary concern is making it off the train before the torrent pushes you back on again (this clip is from China).

Keep your eyes open for these kinds of things:

Suntory Coffee Boss branding on the side of a vending machine in Miyajima

The ubiquitous Suntory Coffee Boss logo. He’s like an Orwellian Big Brother figure. Seen on endless vending machines and also sold on t-shirts and towels…

Butter! advert in Tokyo

Butter is very scary. You never know when it’s gonna get you.

Don't know what this is

Often you’ll find repetition is the key to getting the message across. I liked this one quite a lot.

This reminds me of the whale in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

This reminds me of the whale plummeting to earth in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, voiced by Bill Bailey in the film version. I don’t know why there is an explorer penguin watching.

Agent Sniff on a packet of tissues

You’ll often find people handing out free packets of tissues in stations. I dub this guy Agent Sniff, but I don’t know who he works for. Smell my finger…

The markets of Japan

Markets are great photographic fodder wherever you go, and Japan is no exception. It’s easy to find strange things to buy and you’ll be sure to find them in weird and wonderful packaging.

Weird fancy dress costume packaging in Japan

Fancy dress costumes are a thing of horror in Japan. Stubbly cheerleaders and nurses abound

I don't know what this is

What is this? A wise dog? Whatever, you’ll regularly spot this kind of thing hanging from shop fronts. And I just don’t know why.

I think this is warning you not to leave your penguin babies in your car. Near Okazaki, Japan

Be careful if you drive to your local supermarket. Especially if you have a fevered penguin baby thing and a lack of responsibility. Leaving it unattended might lead to Beanie Hat Surgeon coming for him.

The rooftops of Japan

This category is strangely lacking in my own photographic record. I don’t know why I didn’t take enough pictures of signs far above me. I once read that the developers of Portal claimed getting players to look up and behind them is the hardest thing in game design but I think that applies to normal life as well. I’d notice signs high up but I wouldn’t usually snap them. So here’s literally the only rooftop sign I snapped, partly because I desperately need help identifying the dude with the egg.

Newton, Einstein, Da Vinci, but who is the dude with the egg

Name the egg-man…

Who is he? Flanked by those titans Newton, Da Vinci, and Einstein is some loser holding an egg. Did he finally solve the Big Question describing the chicken/egg priority claim? The only scientist who I know definitely fiddled with egg-shaped objects was Tesla, and that is not Tesla. This is Tesla.

Suggestions in the comments box please…

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2 thoughts on “You must check out Japanese billboards and packaging

  1. The loser holding an egg is Christopher Columbus, he apparently could make an egg stand on its tip.

    • AHA! I searched high and low to work out who this might be so thank you very much for your comment! Seems like a strange choice to stand with these folk but, well, *shrug*

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