Is Japan cool? That is the question. Well, it’s the question Japanese carrier Nippon Airways are asking. Its special website plays a jolly introductory video showing stock scenes from Japan such as sumo wrestlers and rush hour commuters, before you land on s page displaying a grid of ‘cool’ Japanese things. You then click on an item to find out more (for example, capsule hotels, or karaoke), through a short video, illustration and description, and vote whether it is cool, or isn’t (or ‘not so cool’ as it is tactfully worded).
The votes are displayed, and the items ranked in order, so you can see what visitors to the site think is the coolest thing in Japan. But we won’t give that away. What we will say is that all of the 33 (at the time of writing) features of Japanese life are fascinating. For example, that one can ‘play trifling games’ with the waitresses dressed in Victorian-meets French maid costumes, who address customers as ‘my lord’ or ‘my lady’ and will, on request, write amusing messages in ketchup on one’s omelette.
Art very much imitates life – it’s an effortlessly funky little feature, neat, smooth, orderly, colourful, understated but effective. While you’re unlikely to book a flight with Nippon Airways as a direct result of visiting the site, it is sure to boost their standing in the coolness stakes, and does a great job for the Japanese tourist board. It is worth checking out, even if you have no interest in visiting Japan, although after having been distracted by reading about high-tech toilets and sushi-shaped USB sticks for an hour, you probably will.
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