These days, most people have two main ideas about Japan: the unique, timeless culture which encompasses things like temples, geisha, tea ceremony, calligraphy, samurai,...and the wacky, weird pop culture we see in things like anime, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu videos, and Japanese advertisements:
As a kind of disclaimer, I'm pretty sure most Japanese people think this shit is bananas (zing!), just like you guys. That being said...I've seen my fair share of weird things in Japan - things I'm concerned about. I'm going to share a few of these strange things with you. and today, we're starting with: characters.
As you may be aware, Japan is a nation obsessed with characters. Nowhere else on Earth is it as acceptable for a full-grown woman to ensure every aspect of her life is plastered with Hello Kitty's face (I'm not describing myself, I swear...) as Japan.
But peoples love of characters extends beyond the realms of Sanrio, Tokyo Disneyland, and Pokemon Centres. In fact every prefecture, and many cities in Japan have their own character/mascot, known in Japanese as yuru-chara (ゆるキャラ). Tochigi's is a very cute, sporty-looking fellow called Tochimaru-kun.
|His head is made of a horse chestnut, which can found all over Tochigi.|
|Miyari turns up at various community events.|
|How could they not have voted for this little guy? He's wearing traditional Japanese hakama pants, and uses fried potato sticks as a sword. Also he seems to have gotten into some kind of mishap with a bowl of ramen, as it's ended up on his head.|
Funassyi merchandise is everywhere, and many people seem to be under the impression that Funassyi is adorable and harmless.
|This display in Tokyo just about ruined Christmas day for me.|
Wikipedia has some more disturbing information about Funassyi:
"Funassyi is the fourth of their 274 children. Its birthday is July 4, and it is 1,876 years old as of 2014. Its full name is Funadius IV (フナディウス4世, Funadiusu Yonsei), and its favorite food is peaches. The character is fond of heavy metal, revealing that it bought Deep Purple's Machine Head as its first album, and is also fond of Aerosmith.
|Questionable tastes in music, to be honest.|
|Funassyi, briefly realising its own awfulness, tries in vain to self-destruct.|