View Full Version : I love wacky Japanese items! Suggestions on wacky American items needed!
06-15-2002, 02:46 AM
I just got a care package a few days ago from My Japanese Friend(tm), and so I'm going crazy over all the cool stuff inside. (We send pop culture things to each other periodically to demonstrate our respective countries' current weird obsessions.)
Here is what she sent me this time, with a few explanations, and some links so you check this out for yourself:
-a Mashimaro keychain! This is a little plush one. Mashimaro is a fat, white, rather sullen-looking rabbit wearing a yellow knitted beanie hat. I believe the name is a pun on the English word "marshmallow", since the rabbit looks like one, but I can't be sure.
-two Koge Pan keychains- one is the famous Koge Pan, who is a depressed slice of burnt bread, and the other is his little friend, Ichi Pan, a jovial slice of strawberry bread with a large, bumpy head.
-a Tare Panda cushion. Tare Panda is a squashed and lazy panda who eats a lot of fruit and cannot be bothered to walk, and so instead rolls to wherever his destination is. Also, a notepad featuring Tare Panda.
and the obligatory Japanese snacks, including the wonderful Pocky, a cookie stick dipped in cholocate and other flavorings.
So I got some Purin, or pudding-flavored Pocky, which tastes like tapioca and caramel. Also some Lotte-brand Sweetie Gum, which is incredibly good. Tastes kinda like grapefruit and orange mixed together.
You can find out more about this stuff, and even buy some of it, at the following places:
www.dreamkitty.com thanks to sublight for this link
Here's what I sent over in my last package. Does this seem representative of wacky American stuff?
-some Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones trading cards
-a box of Cap'n Crunch cereal
-a "Cat In the Hat" keychain
-some watermelon Bubbalicious bubble gum
-one of the 9/11 Rescue Dog Beanie Babies (the German Shepherd)
-a Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine keychain
-a little pink T-shirt that says "Princess" on it. (Yeah, I hate these things and refuse to wear them, but they're super-popular and ultra-expensive in Japan)
So whaddaya think? I just had this compulsive need to share this info with all of you. I've been pretty depressed lately, but a care package, a long letter from a good friend, and of course, my fellow Dopers, have done a lot to cheer me up. :)
So I'm putting together another package- can anybody give me some suggestions for wacky American pop culture stuff? (that would be unavailable, hard-to-get, or super expensive in Japan) I'm starting to run out of ideas!
06-15-2002, 03:06 AM
Nice list. Needs a bobble-head of an overpaid sports star, though.
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
06-15-2002, 06:32 AM
A low-priced Lava Lamp?
Star Trek junk?
An Osama Bin Ladin "Dead Man Walking" t-shirt?
American comic books?
And, of course, Brittany-Brittany-Brittany.
06-15-2002, 08:55 AM
WWF (or is it WWE) paraphenalia (campy)
9/11 tribute t-shirt (respectful and probably not easily available in Japan)
National Enquirer, Star, Globe
One of those foam Statue of Libertly crowns
Tacky snow globe from your city
06-15-2002, 09:38 AM
A giant foam "We're #1" finger from your favorite sports team.
06-15-2002, 09:49 AM
As a Japan resident - the #1 finger sounds good. :)
06-15-2002, 03:56 PM
Rocket Water - I don't know if you have this in your area, but as far as I can tell, it's some kind of juice, sold in an extremely phallic bottle.
along the lines of what Lola said: Weekly World News.
A Jesus or Mary nightlight
06-15-2002, 04:17 PM
::note to self::
Buy Rocket water
06-15-2002, 06:24 PM
In my experience young Japanese folks are apeshit crazy for T-shirts with english writing on them, especially stuff with interesting graphics.
When I went to Japan I brought with me about twenty assorted shirts of obscure bands, tattoo parlours, weird products, Harley Davidson, etc. When I left I don't think I had a single one left. Not stolen Per-Se, but rather that unique Japanese concept of "Borrowed with the option of return".
I don't think it matters to them what's written on them either. I saw a little boy wearing a "Bull Dyke Bar & Grill" shirt and a girl wearing a Fleet Enima shirt.
A few thoughts.
Don't bother with Star Wars stuff, Silly String, gummy rats, Scooby Doo stuff, SpongeBob Squarepants, etc. That stuff's nothing that isn't already available at the local Daiso 100-Yen.
Cap'n Crunch will go over big though! So will the Rescue Dog beanies.
Any American product mascot stuff -- a Cap'n Crunch keyring, Ronald McDonal stickers, a Charlie the Tuna T-shirt -- will be easily identified and considered especially cool, as will anything from your local city. That snow-globe idea of Lola's was right-on-the-money.
06-15-2002, 07:40 PM
Well of course a singing (or insulting) fish on the wall.
06-15-2002, 07:41 PM
And putt-putt golf green carpet for around your toilet. With putter, ball and hole.
06-15-2002, 09:58 PM
Holiday specific stuff, like Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/St Patrick's day paraphanelia, FUNNY T-shirts like "I'm not as think as you drunk I am" or "If assholes could fly, this place would be an airport" Videotapes of some local shows, Saturday Night Live, or more 'visual' comedy stuff might be good
06-16-2002, 12:05 AM
Thanks for all these great suggestions, everyone! I'm writing them down for future use. I know about the t-shirt madness, though. So far, over the past 3 years we've been sending stuff back and forth, I've sent these:
- a "Kiss Me, I'm Irish!" t-shirt
- a "Mr. Bubble" brand bubble bath shirt (this one went over HUGE)
- an NYPD and a FDNY shirt
- one of those shirts with Osama Bin Laden on it with the WTC towers stuck up his ass (obscene, yes, but her friends and neighbors found it incredibly funny)
- a "Make 7-Up Yours" shirt (the pun was lost on her, though)
- some of those baby-doll style t-shirts, with Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, and Rainbow Bright were also a smashing success.
I send her Christmas stuff at Christmas, but they actually have a lot of that stuff in the bigger cities, surprisingly.
A truly American item I sent her last year was one of those unintentionally hilarious "Jesus Playing Sports with Children" figurines. It was the hockey one. It is now a treasured possession of hers, although obviously not for religious reasons.
I'm a Philly gal, so maybe I'll pick up one of those Alan Iverson bobble-heads.
Favored snack items of America seem to be our incredibly sweet and gooey chewing gum, like Bubbalicious. Plus, our breakfast cereals: I remember Cookie Crisp and Count Chocula were much-loved. TastyKake, too, is a coveted American snack- Kaori is very fond of the butterscoth krimpets.
Beanie Babies, too, seem really popular, so I try to send her North American animal ones, like the racoon and the grizzly bear. Her favorite was the alligator, though.
These suggestions are great! Thanks again!
06-16-2002, 01:34 AM
When my cousins from Japan visited, they went crazy over aresol cheeze, pop tarts, goober penutbutter/jelly, made in usa leather cowboy belts, bonnie bell flavored lip gloss, etc.. Actually they thought everything was cute because of the packaging.
06-16-2002, 07:30 AM
IIRC, the video standard between Japan and the U.S. isn't compatible on VHS, so taping programs in the States may not be of any use...just to forewarn you that you may want to include a note saying that you're not sure if it'll work over there.
06-16-2002, 09:04 AM
Actually, videos between the US and Japan are compatible. Thank Dao for that, or I would have gone crazy my first few months here!
Cereal sounds like a good idea, since there really isn't much selection over here.
Jelly Bellys (or any other brand of jelly beans) might also be a good idea. Besides being an enjoyable gift, they're really easy to pack.
PS: I think this is the first time I've ever been mentioned in a thread without posting first. Thank you, ratty, for helping me reach a new milestone!
06-16-2002, 09:31 AM
ratty: Pocky Rules!
06-16-2002, 10:14 AM
Hi Sublight -
Thanks for the info...does that apply to prerecorded (commercial ) videotape only or to home-recorded ones on the NAB standard as well? I ran into a whole bunch of trouble with home-recorded tapes being sent from Australia that should have worked here in the U.S. Not fun...
(I did notice however that the reverse wasn't true...the MST3K broadcast dubs I sent translated just fine in Oz...)
06-16-2002, 10:20 AM
How about a pound of those buttered popcorn flavored jelly beans?
06-16-2002, 04:36 PM
One of those big foam cheese hats.
06-16-2002, 05:39 PM
Today in the grocery store I saw Patriotically colored/flavored Nerds candy, in red/white/blue for July 4. The little nerds on the box were wearing tricorn hats, playing fife & drum, etc. I immediately thought of this thread! Only 59 cents and travels well!
06-16-2002, 05:49 PM
Originally posted by sandalwood
Now is that ARE-SOL cheese pr
R.S. Ol' Cheese.
06-16-2002, 07:24 PM
Yep, all videos, commercial or home-recorded. Japan, USA, Canada and maybe one or two other countries use exactly the same standard.
ratty, I don't know about your friend, but a lot of people I've met really like Native American-style art/souvenirs/doo-dads. Doesn't have to be expensive, maybe something like a T-shirt, keychain, etc.
06-16-2002, 07:54 PM
Samples of the new super-sour candies.
Has the sour candy fad caught on in Japan? Do they know about it? Up to you whether you want to warn your friend about how nasty this stuff is.
Since she liked "hockey Jesus" she might also enjoy Buddy Jesus (http://ship-of-fools.com/Gadgets/Autos/108.html). (As seen in the movie, Dogma.)
06-16-2002, 11:13 PM
You guys, this is all so great! I went shopping for new shoes today and decided, what the hell, it's a rainy Sunday, I'll get some wacky stuff. So, with many thanks to all of you, here's what I have so far:
- an Alan Iverson bobblehead
- those patriotic Nerds candies (thanks Hello Again!)
- strawberries and cream-flavored Bubbalicious
- a dream catcher (thanks again, sublight!)
- some Froot Loops cereal
Some notes: I've sent Jelly Bellys before. Loved, but somewhat misunderstood, especially some flavors like, well, buttered-popcorn. (I also think that flavor is especially foul, but hey- to each his own.)
heresiarch, sour candy is big over in Japan, apparently- I've received candy called Shigekix Super Sour Hard Gummi, in lemon and cola flavors.
Also, I have a Buddy Christ proudly displayed on top of my TV. :)
OpalCat- I have always secretly wanted one of those big foam cheesehead hats, but you can't get them in PA.
06-17-2002, 02:10 AM
06-17-2002, 02:15 AM
Do they still sell bubble gum that is shredded up and sold in pouches packaged like chewing tobacco here in America? They usually had pictures of baseball players blowing bubbles on the front. You might try that. Do Japanese baseball players chew tobacco? Would you friend get the connection?
A T-shirt with Curious George passed out from opening an ether bottle. I bought several of these as Christmas gifts for family and they were big hits.
Big shiny belt buckles like the rednecks wear. Especially with Confederate flags, monster trucks, or the Hank Williams Jr. "Bosephus" logo on them.
Country music CDs or tapes. Especially older artists like Buck Owens or Boxcar Willie. Or those cheapo collections of trucker songs and hair bands that you see for sell at gas stations.
Those little kid activity/comic/coloring books of the Shoney's Big Boy that they have at the restuarants.
Do they get to see The Osbournes there? Make a tape of that, if not. Would they get the humor or the appeal?
Hemp-related spoofs of popular logos and images on merchandise. Like the stuff they sell at Spencer's.
Day-glow posters and black lights.
Chia pets (the singing fish of its day)
What Would Jesus Do? bracelets and those fish car decals. Send a couple of Darwin ones too.
Jiffy-Pop. Or how about a box of Crunch 'N' Munch?
Bumper stickers, the cheesier the better.
Greek and "Co-ed Naked..." merchandise from local colleges
06-17-2002, 08:59 AM
How about "Big Dog" merchandise?
Old-style "Negro-League" baseball hats.
A Toledo Mud-Hens Jersey
The one-pound size of Oreos or Droxies(Hydrox) cookies
Peanut brittle, pecan logs or pralines
Real MAPLE syrup.
06-17-2002, 09:42 AM
Ya know those key chains with the buttons that swear each time you press a button. Try one of those.
Rocket Water is a good idea :)
Everlasting Gobstoppes, those went over really well--actually just about any of the wierder candy from the Willy Wonka brand.
Check out a Spenser's Gifts and look for strange shotglasses.
Try to find one of those personalized license plates with your sterotypical american name on it. "Bubba or Bruce" might work well.
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