April Fool's Day is already over in Japan, but we can still appreciate one of this year's pranks: a fake video for the next Apple gadget. No, it's not a particularly novel joke, but it is interesting to see a piece of Japanese satire starring Americans, if only to get a sense of how Americans are perceived.
The video, produced by Japanese cell phone brand au and picked by the Japan Times, starts like any other Apple product ad: a very eager American consumer professing, in front of a white background, their love for the latest phone model.
The phone in this joke is actually a giant bed, apparently a riff on the idea that lazy Americans love to stay in bed all day browsing the Internet on their smartphones. "You know, I usually don't even go outside," he says, pausing to laugh inappropriately, "I'm inside on my bed."
The fake advertisement's character is, based on what I've seen, somewhat typical of foreign representations of Americans and particularly of Japanese views: he is loud, overeager, gregarious and constantly smiling. The American smile, I've found, often baffles foreigners who wonder what we're always so excited about. He laughs constantly and at odd moments.
In other words, he seems really nice but is kind of annoying. That's not necessarily meant to portray the Japanese view of all Americans, of course, but perhaps just a caricature of certain American type.
I'd love to hear from readers who are Japanese or who have spent time in Japan. How does this track with your impressions of how Japanese perceive Americans?
The American in the ad also shows a perhaps-overstated affinity for all things Japan. "Now, I can wake up on time to watch my favorite animes," he says, referencing the Japanese cartoons that have found popularity in the United States.