There are many obvious things which differentiate the UK from Japan. Our languages, our preferred pizza toppings and our respective attitudes towards commercial whaling are just the tip of the cross-cultural iceberg.
Another, which is just a little more hidden, is the cultural prominence given to all things cute in the far east - it's not just consumed by pre-pubescent girls but all sections of society, giving rise to some interesting sights.
Gangs of angry looking young men smoking and swigging beer on street corners appear a lot less intimidating when you notice that they're actually carrying Hello Kitty man-bags, for example, or that they're carefully extinguishing said fags in Pokemon-branded portable ash trays.
On another occasion, Sneak spotted a local council notice urging citizens to pick up their dogs' waste; a charming cartoon in which a sweating, terrified canine desperately beckons its ignorant owner to come back and clean up its mess.
Of course, in the UK we also use 'cute' to sell things, but not usually technology. Case in point is a new advertising campaign from WiMAX provider UQ Communications, which Sneak spotted on a recent trip to Japan.
Using the 'haite iru?' ('is it inside?') tagline, it depicts an assorted number of cats trying to climb, jump or claw their way inside various small spaces - boxes, drawers, empty beer cartons etc - presumably looking for the elusive WiMAX functionality. Pfff, cats eh?
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