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.
UK’s department store chain, John Lewis‘s Christmas TV advert 2011 has become a big sensation. This 90-second advert which cost £6 million to make, has been viewed over 3 million times on YouTube so far. Spoof videos have also popped up online, which is more like a piece of horror movie or its trailer, using the same visuals but with scary music such as the theme of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining(the Sun article).
In the advert, 7-year-old Scottish boy Lewis McGowan, who was chosen from 250 candidates, is impatiently counting down the time with frown face for Christmas day to arrive. When it finally comes, the he rushes out from his bed, and runs to fetch the gift he has for his parents, without opening his own presents stucked up next his bed. Yes he is cute, but for me, it is a bit too long and boring. Also the tear-jerking formula, adorable little boy doing a sweet thing, makes me fed up!
The Open University is a distance learning and researchuniversity, founded in 1969 by Royal Charter in the UK and funded in part by the British Government, and it was the first successful distance teaching university in the world. The administration is based in Milton Keynes, but has regional centres in each of its thirteen regions around the country. With more than 250,000 students enrolled, including more than 50,000 overseas students in 75 countries,it is the largest academic institution in Europe by student number and one of the world’s largest universities.
「The History of English – in 10 minutes」, the photo above, is the first cross-platform commission for the Open University’s YouTube and iTunes U Channels. The total of 10 mini-episodes (1 minute each) explain 1,600-year history of English with animated illustrations and typical British humours. Starting from the arrival of Anglo-Saxons after Romans were gone, Christian missionaries brought some religious Latin words and Viking left about 2,000 words. Then 10,000 French words, mainly related to official businesses and culinary, were added after Norman Conquest in 1066. Shakespeare created massive 2,000 words and phrases such as puppy and eyeballs, and the King James Bible, completed in 1611, created terms of metaphor and morality. English of science was needed when science was advanced and the Royal Society set up in 1660. During the British Empire between 1583 – 1914, many local words were brought back, such as barbecue, canoe and boomerang, from British colonies worldwide. A Dictionaries of the English Language was published in 1765 after 9 years of work, and Oxford English Dictionary after 173 years of its predecessor came out in 1928 with astonishing 71 years of patient effort, and the proper spellings and meanings were established. American English has been developed with influences from Native Americans and immigrants from worldwide, and British English has been taking many words from it. In the recent decades, IT terms have been created after computer was invented, and English has become a global language and localised English such as Hinglish (Hindu English), Chinglish (Chinese English) and Singlish (Singapore English) exports some words to original English.
Narrations are quite fast but illustration gives us a good understanding. You can also learn a little bit of British history. After all, these are very cute and funny!
I saw BBC3 documentary “Beckii: Schoolgirl Superstar at 14” today. This program tells the story of 14-year-old Rebecca Flint aka Beckii Cruel, now fifteen, an internet sensation in Japan. Beckii is a schoolgirl from the Isle of Man with only 80,000 habitant. Beckii became famous in Japan after uploading films of herself dancing with Anime song and J-pop on YouTube since 2009. This documentary follows Beckii and her family, and the other British teenage girls who hope to become famous in Japan.
This is another usual program portraying Japan as an eccentric country, though the documentary itself is serious and not makes fun of Japan. There is no cute and innocent low-teen idols such as Beckii, whose fan base is much older adult men. Her Japanese manager said “Lolita in Japan is normal,” but the comment was quite embarrassing. If a middle aged man enjoy watching a very young girl dancing on You Tube or have a collection of his favorite girl’s photography books, like many Japanese Otaku, people think that he is either pervert or paedophile (maybe the same in Japan as well). Also Beckii’s enthusiastic fans give peculiar presents to her such as a big box full of instant Japanese noodles and a base guitar with astronomical postage from Japan.
Beckii’s parents let their daughter do “what she wants”, though they know what kind of people who might like to watch a 14-year-old girl dancing in her bedroom. However, you can sense that they expect some share from their daughter’s success, through their comments and attitudes. Now her father tries to sell her daughter to one of the top producer in UK who took charge of Kylie and Spice girls, to achieve her success in the UK after Japan. Among all these greedy adults, Beckii seems to be the only one who understand the harsh reality – her success may not be long-lived, especially popularity in Japan where a Lolita icon is easily forgotten as she grows old, and studies hard for her GCSE.
The Times Style Magazineに掲載された、日本から「輸入された」ファッション。日本では皆、こんな格好をしてると思われないといいけれど。。。左より、ビジュアル系、芸者ゴス、スィート・ロリータ。
Japanese-inspired fashion (from the Times Style Magazine). Hope no one believes that everyone dresses like these in Japan…From left, Visual Kei, Geisha Goth, and Sweet Lolita.
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.