Monday, February 17, 2003

Think Ewan McGregor looked bad with that rat's tail in Star Wars? Well, he looks even worse - like Mr Cheese himself - in the ads for English language company Aeon. Hollywood stars are well known for selling their souls in Japan, appearing in the corniest ads and pocketing bucketfuls of yen. Beckham is currently in about a million ads, including one where he gazes lovingly at a chocolate almond. (Actually, you can't escape Becks at the moment - his picture is on the automatic ticket barriers at train stations on the Odakyu line. No-one here cares that England lost to Australia or that Man U have just been knocked out of the FA Cup.)

In Japan, pop stars have no sense of 'selling out' - they're all happy to endorse, well, anything. Indeed, Ayumi Hamasaki, the queen of J-pop, endorses everything, from Boss coffee to Tu-ka telephones. It seems that pop stars here have to be all-rounders - a bit like S Club, really - with their own TV shows to go with the singles. One member of SMAP - like Westlife but with more wrinkles - hosts an English-learning programme which is hugely popular. Can you imagine 'Learn French with Gareth Gates'? Anyway, if you want to watch Hollywood celebs disgracing themselves on Japanese commercials, checkout Japander.

Just in case you were wondering how Butter was after her accident, she's OK - but covered in bruises, and finds it hard to lift her arms. People keep saying she should have got the driver's address so we could sue him!