Forty-one years ago today, Japanese food company Nissin introduced Cup Noodle, launching a worldwide craze for instant ramen. We know this bit of trivia because we saw a commercial with three girls giggling over Cup Noodle containers that turn into robots and did a Google search to find out what it meant.
The site AKB48 WrapUp explains that three members of the ultra-popular J-pop singing troupe AKB48 are part of Nissin’s “Robo Cup Noodle Timer Trio” campaign to celebrate Cup Noodle’s birthday. The robots are actually timers that will dance and otherwise entertain the consumer while waiting the required three minutes for the noodles to heat.
Nissin first introduced the robot timer last year to commemorate Cup Noodle’s 40th birthday, giving away the robots to lucky winners who mailed in stickers from instant ramen packages. This year Nissin added curry and seafood to accompany its original flavor and asked the AKB48 girls to choose their favorites.
As regular readers will know, we aspire to become ramen snobs, eschewing the instant varieties for homemade noodles, but if we lived in Japan, we would definitely participate in this giveaway by buying tons of packages of Cup Noodle and hoping to be one of the randomly selected winners. Who wouldn’t want a cute robot keeping them entertained while their ramen heated?