Monday, November 28, 2005

Women: Japan Has Some More

It's been too long since I expounded upon the joys of living in Japan, home of the best-maintained women on earth. In my last look at the fairer sekkusu, I expressed my enthusiasm over Inoue Waka, Ueto Aya and Matsushima Nanako. That was way back in June! Few things stay popular with Japan's fickle public for such a long period, and as such, here's an updated look at the females who constantly usurp my attention.
Ito Misaki
Ito Misaki, 28, has enjoyed increased popularity lately due to starring roles on two very successful TV series: Densha Otoko (Train Man), the story of a nerdy guy who meets the love of his life by saving her from imminent groping on a commuter train, and Kiken na Aneki (Dangerous Sister), the story of a nerdy guy whose annoying sister comes to live with him while she moonlights as a club hostess. It's worth mentioning that, while Japanese TV is often annoying without trying to be, even a Japanese TV series about an annoying sister is watchable if that sister is Ito Misaki. Also boasting endorsement contracts with Vodafone and Shiseido, Misaki is charging headlong towards the precarious, termite-ridden, highly flammable bridge that is TV stardom in Japan.
Just the other day I was in Ginza Subway Station and I saw a big promotional display for Kiken na Aneki, with a life-size cardboard standee of Ito Misaki. The importance of the security guard patrolling the display was obvious.
Ito Misaki's Official Website
Yamaguchi Moe
To be honest, I don't know that much about Moe (two syllables: "Mo-eh"), also 28. She falls into the catch-all category of "talent," a celebrity who makes tons of guest appearances on variety shows and in TV commercials (thanks to support from her promotion agency, which is also home to Shibasaki Kou), but does not yet quite have enough "celebrity capital" to be in high demand for dramatic roles.
Ms. Yamaguchi has won the hearts of men all over the country with her soft voice, which walks a fine line between adorable and deplorable. To anyone who doubts the power of a cute-sounding voice, please witness Moe's endorsement of the anti-diarrhea medicine called Stoppa, in which she appears in a thought balloon above the head of a distressed businessman and reminds him that his Stoppa tablets are in his right pocket. Moe's appeal has also recently been used to promote such unsexy products as ham and vegetable juice.
Yamaguchi Moe's Official Website
Ogura Yuuko
I could claim that Yamaguchi-san's too-cute-for-TV voice was a unique quality, but I'd be doing a disservice to Ogura Yuuko, 22, the best possible Japanese facsimile of a ditzy blonde you'll ever find. Yuuko is an "idol," which is Japanese for "model/singer/sex object." She can be seen in countless DVDs, prancing around in a bikini while her voice-over explains that she loves rabbits and pandas and that her grandparents are so very important to her. Yeah, important, but not so important that she would throw away her career in order to save them the embarrassment of seeing their granddaughter [VOICE="David Brent"] bandied about willy-nilly [/VOICE].
Yuuko's voice, while cute, is most definitely NOT the reason I find her appealing. If I were her high school teacher I would always be saying to her, "Are you asking me, or telling me?" She talks like a child trapped in the body of a slightly older child. Rather, what I like about Yuuko is her eyes, which are ever so slightly crossed most of the time. (I have this weird thing for girls who eyes aren't quite right. Hence, my worship of Lucy Liu.)
CORRECTION: I previously stated that Ogura Yuuko appears in a pachinko commercial. I was mistaken; it's actually a commercial for the amusement hotbed known as Joypolis. My "hail to the king baby" joke, however, stands.
Ogura Yuuko's Official Website

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