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Tommy Lee Jones is BOSS (Natsukashii Series)


In Japan, there is a popular canned coffee brand made by Suntory called BOSS.

You can get it in vending machines and convenience stores pretty much everywhere - the former will dispense both hot and cold versions.


In the same unlikely way that Bill Murray was the (fictional) ambassador for Suntory's Hibiki Whiskey, Tommy Lee Jones is the (all too real) face of Suntory's BOSS Coffee.

Apparently, these are known as japanders.


I've been to Japan three times now, and it's got to the point where it doesn't feel like I've arrived properly if I don't catch a glimpse of his craggy features on a billboard somewhere.


I'd be in a village on the outskirts of Osaka, where life seems as rural as can be, and I'd suddenly turn the corner, and there he would be - on a vending machine, looking stalwart and true.


In his wonderful book Sushi and Beyond, the author Michael Booth even mentions Mr Jones in a description of Tokyo:
"Emil clung to my thigh for the first few minutes until it became apparent that the crowd was remarkably well-ordered, its streams of commuters, shoppers and fun-seekers avoiding each other through the use of some kind of sonar, flowing in calm streams towards their destinations. Meanwhile, above us, a cliff face of liquid crystal broadcast the incongrous face of Tommy Lee Jones enjoying a canned coffee drink in alarmingly grizzled detail".


And back in England, whenever we see TLJ on the telly, my husband and I will sigh and say "Aww, that takes us back to Japan".

I don't know if he's still used to advertise Boss coffee, but I do hope so, and I'm looking forward to finding out.

Yes, there's a series of commercials too - 19 in total:

NOTE: I will be writing a few posts about Japan over the next month or so. I've called it the Natsukashii Series, because natsukashii is a Japanese adjective to describe something that triggers a fond memory - it's explained much better here.

Donate to the Red Cross for Japan Tsunami Relief


Kavey said…
I adore Tommy Lee Jones.
And I adore tinned coffee... I usually go for pokka.
But now I will have to find Boss.
Find me Boss coffee, Meemalee!!!!!
Looking forward to more of this series, MiMi :) I don't remember seeing TLJ around, but I certainly remember those vending machines. And very welcome they were, too, especially on warm days when tramping around. One of the many things I loved about Tokyo.
PDH said…
I love how impassive his face is, slightly confused at times!

Wonderful post MiMi! X
The Grubworm said…
Boss rocks! I remember seeing him on the vending machines - made me double-take at first. But how cool! All we need now is for Bill Murray to advertsie something in a life-follows-art-follows-life sort of thing.

I'm sure I remember hearing that Tom Cruise advertised shower gel or something once. Mind you, nothing he does will ever surprise me.
meemalee said…
@Kavey - I've never seen Boss in the UK - only Pokka :(

@aforkfulofspaghetti - Thanks H! Oh, yes - the vending machines were sometimes heavensent - and dirt cheap too. And somehow even the energy drinks are rather lovely. Even if they have names like Pocari Sweat.

@Pavel - He is a baffled rock. Thank you x

@The Grubworm - We once got a can which came with a tiny gundam. I need to look at that Japander site properly - there must be a real Bill Murray ad.
@stuovenden said…
Grizzled indeed. Great post.
Hilarious - gotta be the inspiration for Bill Murray's character in the wonderful Lost in Translation. Did you see Brad Pitts Japanese ads for Edwin jeans?