A new ad on British TV sees an oriental woman reaching up to a box on a high shelf in the photocopying room of an East Asian country. She thinks it would be a good idea to climb on top of the photocopier to reach up and so kneels on the glass copying surface. She inadvertently presses the 'make a hundred copies' button and her knees spread apart just as a man walks in. She is of course reaching up for Mikado, the brand new chocolate covered biscuit snack that would seem to have come from Asia, hence the Asians in the ad and the overtly sexual nature of the ad should tell you which Asian country these snacks originated from.
You might, if you live in Korea know Mikado better as Pepero. I instantly recognised them as the delicious biscuity snack that also happens to be so beloved by Koreans that they even have their own day, the 11th of November (you see when you write the numbers 11/11 it looks like sticks of Pepero, clever isn't it) I wanted to tell someone, to let them know that this amazing new snack innovation was not in fact new at all, it was from Korea. Well they aren't really from Korea at all, they are in fact Japanese and are called Pocky.
Lots of my students know that they come from Japan and fortunately have no problem with this, which isn't always the case with Japan and Korea. Pocky came into being in the 1960's and eventually found their way across the Korea strait to take hold in Korea before making their way around the world and landing in the UK. On my most recent trip to the UK I was intent on bringing back a box to show people but couldn't find a single box in any of my local supermarkets, such is their popularity.
As I mentioned Pepero have their own day in Korea, a marketing coup whereby the 11th day of the 11th month is transformed into a day when men, women and children go mad for these little biscuit snacks and by them by the basket load. I just hope the cultural advisor, if such a role exists, to the Mikado people don't try and install a similar tradition in the UK. It was tried in Japan but didn't take off but I feel it would be very badly received in the UK (and other commonwealth nations) as the 11th of November already has a special significance, it is Remembrance Day, a day that commemorates the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War. However delicious Mikado/Pepero/Pocky are, and they are very, they do not have a place on the 11th of November.