Thursday, June 09, 2005

Women: Japan has some.

Embarassing, but true: A lot of male English teachers in Japan admit (is it still called "admitting" if it's done proudly?) that their primary motivation for moving to Japan is women. I, on the other hand, can triumphantly say that one of my major motivators was not women, but a woman. But enough about why I moved here. Now that I'm here, here are some women with whom Girlfriend battles for the title of Queen of My Heart.
Waka Inoue
Waka Inoue hails from he Japanese "idol" agency known as Yellow Cab, whose talents are mainly famous for two reasons. I'll give you a hint what those two reasons are: one of them is LEFT BREAST. Waka's breasts have secured her a place on many a TV program, as well as an ad contract with the loan company Promise.
The first time I saw a Promise commercial, I reacted unfavorably to Waka. She sang the jingle ("pu, ro, mi-su!") and shot the camera a smile I can only describe as sheepish. I remember saying, "Who is that woman? She looks positively sheepish!"
A year later, after realizing that Waka Inoue is actually really beautiful, I saw another commercial (a TV ad for a door manufacturer, I think) in which Waka was actually dressed in a cute little sheep costume.
Aya Ueto
Speaking of cute animal costumes, consider Aya Ueto. With even more commercial credits to her name (including a few for Sompo Japan where she is dressed as a panda), she is currently riding a tall wave of fame. That fame began when she won a nationwide teen beauty pageant a few years ago, which somehow launched her career as a pop singer and an actress.
I don't care for her singing, and as an actress she's nothing great. But how can you say no to a commercial with Aya dressed as a panda? Or Aya slapping at her ears and saying, "wa-wa-wa-wa-wa" to avoid hearing the outcome of a soccer game she recorded for later viewing? Or Aya eating yakiniku ("Ichi mai, ni mai! Umai!")? Aya Ueto is a veritable CM queen. NOTE: "CM" is Japanese for commercial. "Queen" is Japanese for, well, it's like a king, only female.
Nanako Matsushima
This lovely lady became famous in 1998, when a cursed video tape caused the death of her ex-husband. After that, she became the spokeswoman for Namacha bottled green tea. As a result, I now drink fifteen liters of green tea every day. Admitedly, she never appears in any commercials dressed as a fluffy animal, but she did enjoy wild popularity as a result of a Namacha commercial in which she walks around in snow shoes and manipulates a panda puppet.

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