June 10, 2009

ねえ知ってる?Do you know about Mameshiba?


This is a playlist; it should keep playing all the CMs if you let it.

Perhaps no breed of dog is more common in Japan than the shiba-inu. It's very name can connotate the word dog for Japanese people. Enter the mame-shiba. Mame-shiba are cute little dog-bean crossbreeds that appear in very odd commercials, that stop you in your tracks with their jarring cuteness. The commercials usually have somebody about to each when suddenly out pops one of the mameshiba, who says "ねえ知ってる?" (Hey, did ya know...) and proceeds to relate a kind of gross fact that makes the poor listening character loose their apetite. Mame means bean, and shiba refers to a intrinsically Japanese breed of dog.

Bearing this phenomenon in mind, it was only natural that when I saw a gashapon machine with a Mame-shiba theme, I had to try it. I had no idea what would pop out, I had never bought a gashapon toy in Japan before, and as far as I knew, figurines usually pop out. To my surprise, a small, rather flat pouch was what I got. Inside were a few cute products.

First, this is pistachio-dog in paper-doll form:


And these are a couple trading cards that popped out. The one on the left has pop-out stickers. The one on the right says "Hey, did you know? If you shave a polar bear it turns black I heard."


Here's the back of the card, explaining the trivial knowledge our bean-dog has bestowed upon us. The card also explains that pistachio-dog is a very shy breed of bean dog.

If you live in Japan, keep an eye out for this collectible! I recently ran into them in toy form too; you can see one of the famous commercials playing in the middle of the display.