Subway Trololo

AHAHAHAHA! No! Seriously?

Packed like sushi into my morning commute train, I didn’t even have enough room to hold my kanji flashcards in front of my nose and flip through them cross-eyed, so I was reduced to watching the endless cycle of ads on the video monitors above the doors. Electric razors…beer…makeup…Broadway musicals with all-Japanese casts…insurance…bead bracelets…WHAT?! <fellow commuters edge away from scary laughing foreigner>

What were they thinking? I can sort of understand the elf-dwarf confusion at Xmastime, but anybody with an English-Japanese dictionary or access to the interwebs should be able to figure out pretty quickly that trolls don’t immediately conjure up images of jewelry-bestowing Prince Charmings. All I can figure out is that they must have hired this famous branding consultant to advise on the name:

Correction: Elizabeth’s comment below informs me that this is not an Only In Japan phenomenon! Apparently, Trollbeads are a global brand! So while it was still highly amusing to be trolled while being surrounded by unsuspecting Japanese commuters, all responsibility for the name rests securely with a Danish version of the consultant pictured above.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

In the wake of a deadly earthquake, fans erupt in a frenzy of mourning when it’s discovered that their favorite pop star is among the dead. But when Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, he finds evidence that suggests the impossible: How could the head priest have been murdered by…read more