A Japanese living in London writes anything about everyday life in UK – cafe, restaurant, design, stores, politics, news, events, art/museums, films, food, fashion, travel etc. イギリス暮らしもかれこれ10年。カフェ、レストラン、デザイン、お店、政治、ニュース、イベント、アート／美術館、映画、食、ファッション、旅行等々、ロンドンでの日常生活や、英国に関する情報を思いつくままに綴ります。
The campaign was launched in January 2009, playing on the similarity between the words “Market” and “Meerkat” and with Orlov’s catchphrase ‘Simples’. It has achieved a great success since then and also has contributed to a commercial success for comparethemarket.com to become the UK’s 4th most visited insurance website, and the site’s overall sales doubled. By 2010 the site had increased its market share by 76%. As of today, Aleksandr has more than 800,000 Facebook fans and around 55,000 followers on Twitter, as well as his Flickr gallery for family portraits. The adverts are quite funny, so check out the videos on YouTube’s channel of comparethemeerkat.com.
Here is Jamie, the king of food, again. He is all over the place, from TV program and advert to his spurning restaurants. He will be leaving Sainsbury’s advert with his last appearance for this Christmas, after 11-year partnership with the supermarket chain. But he already found a new partner, Young’s seafood, so you won’t miss him.
Jamie’s frozen fish range, came out in September, have been on offer and I purchased some to try. His first range of branded frozen seafood makes up of 9 products at this moment; 5 fishcakes, 1 fish fingers, and 3 fish pies. The selling point of the range is that those have been sourced from sustainable and under-utilised alternatives to traditional haddock and cod, including pollock and whiting. Goody-goody Jamie who is obsessed with healthy eating, preaching people in UK as well as USA to eat well, is doing another good deed; sustainable and healthy. OK, his ambition is great, but the tastes were rather disappointing. Bland. No flavour, no taste of fish. Small price but small size. To make a good & healthy food for cheap doesn’t seem to be easy, even for mighty Jamie.
昨日、ボリス・ジョンソン市長とTransport for London （TFL）は、夏にスタートする市の自転車レンタルシステムを前に、自転車利用者の安全と事故減少を目指し、新しい「Cycle Safety campaign（自転車安全キャンペーン）」を発表した。このキャンペーンでは、ピーク時のトラック利用の自制や死角の少ないTrixi mirrorsのトラックへの取り付け等トラック業界との協力、パンフレットや講習等自転車利用者への啓蒙・教育活動、警察と協力しての違法行為の取り締まり、ロンドン検察局と共同での自転車事故の刑事訴追プロセスの強化、Cycle Superhighways（自転車専用ルート）の建設のほか、特に問題となっている、トラックが左折する際に直進する自転車との衝突（過去エントリー参照）を防ぐため、赤信号でも自転車が左折できるよう検討することなどが含まれている。上のビデオはTVや映画館で流されているキャンペーン広告。銀行強盗に成功した一団が、まさに車で逃亡しようというところで、自転車に気づかず事故を起こしてしまうという、なかなかインパクトがある広告で、ドライバーに運転の際は自転車に注意するよう呼びかけている。
Yesterday, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TFL) announced a new Cycle Safety campaign for improving cycle safety and reducing the number of serious cycling accidents, before the launch of the Cycle Hire Scheme this summer. This campaign includes additional funding for cycle training, working with the Police and the London Criminal Justice Board to tackle irresponsible behaviors on the road and to strengthen criminal justice procedures for dealing with cyclist deaths and serious injuries, distributing safety mirrors such as Trixi mirrors to fleet operators and working with the HGV industry to avoid deliveries at peak times, constructing Cycle Superhighways, and possibility of allowing cyclists to turn left at red traffic lights, particularly to avoid collisions with lorries and trucks (see also my past entry), which are responsible for more than half of London’s cyclist deaths each year. The video above is a campaign advert on TV and in cinemas across London, encouraging drivers to look out for cyclists on the roads. It is funny but shocking – a group of bank robbers fail to notice a cyclist as they escape in a car.
As a cyclist himself, the Mayor is a enthusiastic promoter of bicycle and safety of cyclists, spending a record £111 million in 2009/10 and promoting the controversial Cycle Hire Scheme, inspired by theft and vandal-ridden Paris’ Vélib. However, as a cyclist, I want the city to spend more money for making more bicycle lanes throughout the city, that are fully protected from obnoxious drivers, like the ones in northern European countries. I would think educational brochure and cycle training teaching us just common sense are more or less waste of money, except for children – many cyclists know the rules but just ignore them to travel faster. Planned Cycle Superhighways connect London and its suburb (see the routes), not within the city, and it is no use for me as a central London resident (well, at the edge of it). By the way, there are a lot of ‘crap’ bicycle lanes throughout the city and UK, and you can check those on photo-sharing Flickr group “the world’s worst cycle lanes,” organized by the Guardian,” as well as the book “Crap Cycle Lanes“.
The two photos below are the “Ghost Bikes” placed on the fatal accident locations across UK, paying tribute to dead cyclists. Two cyclists’ death by being hit by a truck, were reported in the last two days in London (article 1、article 2).
This is a TV commercial I see sometimes on TV recently. It is cute that the colorful clay puppet gets panicked by finding out that he has ‘tire’ around his waist (→ click here to see other videos). Western men seem to get fat around their waist, as in the video, so called ‘tire’ or ‘love handles,’ comparing with Oriental men who tend to get fat on their belly but not their sides. M is also worrying about his tire and now he religiously goes on diet and works out at a gym few times a week, tracking his weight on his iphone app weightbot.
Change4Life, which made this TV ad, is England’s national social marketing campaign to promote heathly weight, began in January 2009. It aims to prevent people from becoming overweight by encouraging them to eat well, move more and live longer, and supports the overall Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy. According to the article of the Guardian in October 2009, about a million people in England are morbidly obese with a BMI of more than 40. One in four adults is obese (a BMI of 30+), and government statistics estimate that the number will go up to 41% by 2025, and will be more than half, astonishingly 9 in 10 including ‘overweight’ with a BMI of 25〜30 by 2050. Kids are not exception either – 10% of six-year-olds are clinically obese, and the number of obese children has tripled over the past 20 years.
The average size of a british woman is British size 16 (American size 14), and average height is 163.7 cm (5′ 4.4″). I don’t see many overweight people in London, but more in the countryside. However, you mostly see ‘size zero‘ models on catwalks or a fashion magazines, contrary to the average size of women in UK. The fashion industry is often criticized because of this trend, as it creates unrealistic pressures for young women and the high incidence of eating disorders. Although many young women are obsessed about diet and loosing weight, the Fabulous Body Survey 2008 reveals that the women’s size that men like is 2 sizes bigger than the women’s ideal size. Also in Japan models of men’s magazines are more voluptuous (they especially like big breasts) than the stick-thin models in female magazines. Supposedly men prefer the female figures with bigger breasts and hips because of biological reason: so that the women can give a birth as many of their offsprings as possible. At the end of the day, I think women’s ideal body image is a result of a rivalry among women, and to increase their self-esteem that they can fit in a smallest size possible, like muscles do for men.
Today, the 186 year-old British confectionery and beverage company Cadbury agrees to £11.9 billion takeover deal by American food giant Kraft Food, after 4 months of negotiation since September 2009. The Cadbury board once dismissed an initial £10.5 billion as too cheap, but they couldn’t resist when Kraft raised their offer to 840 pence a share. British manufacturing, once made the nation prosperous after the Industrial Revolution, has been declined in recent years. Therefore, a takeover of Cadbury by a foreign company, one of the few globally competitive manufacturer left in the country, is another blow for many British (except investors). Kraft will borrow £7bn ($11.5bn) to finance the deal, and there are some fears over possible cost and job cuts at Cadbury’s UK operations with 4,500 workers. I don’t like Cadbury’s chocolate as it is too sweet for me and leave me some aftertaste – therefore the deal doesn’t affect me (see my past related entry). But Europe’s biggest chocolate eater British people’s love and attachment towards Cadbury is very strong, and many groups against the takeover have been formed over the internet such as facebook and other SNS during the process. The Evening Standard article reveals that Cadbury CEO, who had been highly critical of Kraft as an unsuitable partner with low growth prospects, is expected to walk away with a payout worth £7 million, and the article gives an impression that he agreed the offer for his own personal gain (and it is probably true).
Unlike the countries with a tendency of Economic Nationalism such as Germany, France and Italy, this labor government has pursued “open door” policy, letting many British companies fallen to foreign managements in recent years: Tata Motors of India obtained Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford, and no more Rover cars currently in production. Our electricity supplier changed from London Electricity to EDF Energy, UK subsidiary of the French state-owned EDF SA, without realizing it. BMI (British Midland Airways) was taken over by German carrier Lufthansa in 2009. British banks Abbey and Bradford & Bingley (once nationalized due to the credit crunch) has been rebranded as Santander, Spanish owner of the banks, from 10th of this month, and Alliance & Leicester will follow Abbey and Bradford & Bingley later this year (click here for BBC article). BBA (BAA Airports Ltd), the owner and operator of several airports domestic and worldwide, is now owned by an international consortium led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group.
While I was searching about Cadbury, I thought about this cute and funny Cadbury TV ad, “Eyebrows“, two children moving their eyebrows up and down to the beat of the song. It has a cult popularity, and it has been talked a lot among bloggers last year, and had been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube and other sites in its first 3 weeks.