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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Japan National Tourism Organization Uses Cute AI To Capture YouTubers

I have to admit that I detest the term “YouTuber”… people making videos - shouting all the time like its some kids television show, discussing plenty about nothing.

My kid loves this stuff, and it’s because of that, I had to get more bandwidth, as he was, on a monthly basis, using up all that we had, providing me with excessive Internet bills.

YouTube is a decent enough tool, but I can’t fathom why anyone would want to watch it constantly. I suppose it may have something with me NOT being 12-years-old.

Anyhow, because there’s nothing too stupid that someone won’t try to capitalize on… really… you can get rich creating YouTube videos that garner you millions of subscribers?

Is anyone actually clicking on the ads? Who are those people? Real solid leads, are they? Whatever…
Anyhow,

You may have heard of Kizuna Ai, the virtual YouTuber whose introduction to the world at the end of 2016 became an instant hit. Her channel now boasts more than 1.5 million subscribers, and, despite not being a living human, her whole image and personality are crafted to seem like she is a real person, just in a different world. She is often cheerful, very expressive, and is always out to prove that she’s not just a picture on a screen. Her videos are also subtitled in English, which means that almost everyone can enjoy her funny antics.

Here’s a self-introduction of Kizuna Ai… I think the creator purposely did sharp cuts in the video to make it seem more “robot-like”… like a Max Headroom (see bottom of story) kindda thing:



Yes… Japanese people do talk as quickly as that… just like you do in your language… it’s why after two years, I gave up trying to learn Japanese and just let the women pick me up.

Now… the high-pitch voice is a put-on… it’s meant to show subservience… and is used in retail settings by female clerks, and in elevators by female elevator operators… it’s ridiculous and annoying, so why wouldn’t it be used by the Japan National Tourism Organization?

The “Come to Japan” is aimed at U.S. citizens, since, while Japan is a popular destination for people from Asia, for various reasons Westerners are less inclined to travel there.


Here's the first video: Let's Learn About Japanese Food!


Uh-huh… you know that the AI character is dressed up as a Japanese high-school girl, except that she has those lacy arm coverings… it’s all supposed to look both cute and sexy at the same time… though I’m unsure how any toon not named Jessica Rabbit is going to get me to do anything...    

As part of this whole promotional gig, Kizuna Ai has released her fist “Come to Japan” promotional video, in which she talks about the three types of Japanese food: sushi, ramen and Japanese sweets.
Say what? there’s only three type os Japanese foods… and one of them is “sweets”?

WTF Ai?

The video does have its good points… while Ai describes what these food types are, she/it (say the two words quickly ;) also tells us how best to eat them, as well as providing some fun food facts.

Did you know there is apparently some proper order top eating your sushi? Apparently everybody not Japanese has been doing it incorrectly since Black Ships first appeared on the horizon.



The second video has also been released: Amazing Technologies From Japan... or at least it was as of Monday, March 12 2018... but it was taken down - with a Coming Soon message replacing it. Hmmm:


Whatever... you can click HERE and check out things for yourself. 

If you were going to create a marketing campaign to encourage people to come to Japan, what would you do?

Sexy men or women? Regular men and women smiling and happy? Stewardesses?

Maybe have Godzilla sit cross-legged at an outdoor Japanese cafe having a spot of green-tea?

Oh… hello. My name is Godzilla, the so-called King of the Monsters.
Hawrr-hawrr-hawrr!
I always get a kick out of that.
As you know, I am Japanese, or rather am a creation of the Japanese people… whatever. As a globe trotter, I always find myself drawn back to Japan for a vacation.
Whether it’s eating, er, meating… c’mon… meeting new people, seeing the sites, or just walking around enjoying myself, Japan has always been a great place to kick off my shoes and just relax.
The place has everything, from exotic foods, tremendous architecture both modern and futuristic, and there’s always some traveling too, should my kid wants to do something besides hand around an arcade playing Stomp-Stomp Dance Revolution. 
Oh… and it’s safe! Japan is renowned for how safe it is…
Sure it has earthquakes, volcanoes and the odd tsunami, but that’s just nature having a hissy fit and has nothing to do with anything Japan has done… except for maybe that nuclear thing that created me and irradiated a prefecture a few years back.
Like electronics? There's Akihabara.
Like fashion and theater? There’s Ginza.
Like soap land massage parlors and prostitutes? There’s a section for that too… or so I hear… (ahem).
They even offer hotels were you can pay for the night or pay by the hour depending on whether you are married, single or cheating on someone. What a country!
The theater is awesome! There’s Noh, Bunraku, Kabuki and Sumo!
And if you are into sports there’s baseball, and soccer… and even a form of professional ice hockey… though maybe you should just stick to the first two.
Oh  and the people! You know that stereotype of all the men wearing navy blue suits, wearing glasses and carrying briefcases 24/7? You can see that too!
But don’t expect to see an geisha, ninja or samurai. 

... okay... enough of me...  I do think the concept of a pretty young AI character attempting to influence foreigners to come and visit Japan is interesting. Personally, I just hate that super high voice. It would make me NOT want to go.

Maybe it's just me. Even in real women, I prefer a bit of a huskiness to the voice. Not enough for me to confuse anyone with Lola, like in The Kinks song, but a sultry huskiness.


It's one of those reasons I loved Kathleen Turner who voiced Jessica Rabbit in the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? movie or in Romancing The Stone... the movie may not age well... but Turner's voice certainly does.

Kanpai,
Andrew Joseph
   

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