I think a lot of the time weird Japan is weird, weird Japan knows it is weird and weird Japan is laughing about it, e.g.
“We know. It’s OK, go ahead and laugh. We know.”
But sometimes Japan apparently has no idea it’s peculiar and creepy to invent an AI talkbot bear called (I think) Himitsuno Kumachan– Secret Bear?– then have it introduced in a stilted, badly dubbed video by the 100 Yen Shop version of David Duchovny. Remarkably, even I can tell that the Japanese is even more stiff and unnatural than the English.
“Mr J” also visits a coffee shop to have a little chat with his bear, which isn’t a strange and awkward thing for a grown man to do, no, not at all.
Children are presumably the actual intended users for the product, as opposed to 100 Yen Shop David Duchovny. Here we see a genuine human child who is somewhat interested for a good forty seconds before looking around for something else to do. SUPAA FUN!!!
More information here, though like most of these sites it’s quite baffling even if you do read Japanese. Or if you’d like to immediately and decisively cut off the development of your child’s social skills and render them unable as adults to ever look at fake fur or shiny black buttons without an involuntary shudder, you can buy one for ￥10,778 (about €79 / £56 / $88)
From Barnaby: Time for bed stories, a 1974 children’s book that belonged to me when I was an actual, genuine child. As opposed to the many stupid books I’ve bought since, as an adult. It’s still in my library, currently shelved between a book containing numerous photographs of Viking artefacts and a scientific textbook on human colour perception and cognition. QED.
Talking of colours, what a perfectly 70s palette the book’s cover has. And how hilariously gauche is the slogan “A Dean’s happy times book”. “Dean’s happy times” sounds like some kind of Withnail & I euphemism, but Dean is the publishing company, not some fellow who just happened to be having a suspiciously happy time making books for children in the 1970s.
Star Wars fans should also have a good look at Barnaby. You think Carrie Fisher pioneered the infamous Princess Leia do? Wrong. Barnaby was rocking the Danish pastry earmuffs in 1974. George Lucas is such a hack.
A hard-hitting, honest depiction of normal everyday life in Japan, to wit a marriage between a human-sized plastic doll and a hairy-chested doppelgänger of the usual turquoise Mushuda bear, here reduced to an impotent voyeur. Apparently this PVC bride’s dowry consists of an anti-moth product for ladies [sic] called Kaori (“perfumed”), which is also a common Japanese feminine name. Try not to get any Japanese women you meet with that name mixed up with the insecticide product because they certainly won’t thank you for trying to put them in your closet to repel moths.
(Sequel to yesterday’s Mushuda anti-moth SWAT team raid).
And… this. I don’t even know what this is or why it exists, but it does. Nice that she’s still seeing her friends and having a plastic girls’ night in even after her recent nuptials with the bear.