Last weekend I ran into a couple of regional mascots by chance in Sangenjaya, Tokyo. Minamo, the mascot of Gifu Prefecture, and Kitokito-kun, the mascot of Toyama Prefecture, were both there at a joint promotional event for their hometowns.
Tag: Mascots (Page 1 of 3)
An exhibition of pictures and memorabilia related to Kumamoto Prefecture’s beloved bear mascot, Kumamon, is currently being held in Tokyo’s Matsuya Ginza Department Store. The exhibition is free and will be held until December 28th. Items on display include illustrations and life-size models of Kumamon, photographs from his recent tour of France, and several costumes worn by the photogenic bear. I went along today and enjoyed it immensely.
Tokoron, the lovable of mascot of Tokorozawa City in Saitama Prefecture, celebrated his seventh birthday last weekend. Tokorozawa is the home of aviation in Japan and was the site of the country’s first airport, and thus Tokoron is a human/plane hybrid.
Last month I was lucky enough to witness the spectacle of Tokoron exuberantly dancing in a parade. An incongruous but entertaining part of Tokorozawa’s otherwise traditional annual festival is the samba parade, so Tokoron was dressed in a flamboyant carnival costume. I salute whoever danced for hours in that cumbersome costume.
A big festival was held last weekend in trendy Koenji, Tokyo, part of which was a gathering of mascots in a small park. Hosting the event was Koenji’s own Psyche Delhi-san, a glowing-eyed yuruchara in a turban. This was a fun event, because a lot of obscure and unusual mascots were present. Bad weather cut the day short, but I managed to see a encounter a few unique characters.
Today in Tokyo, several mascots got together to play soccer near Osaki station. Osaki’s mascot, Ichiban Taro, was there, as was reigning Yuruchara Grand Prix champion, Shinjou-kun the extinct river otter.
It was more of a penalty shootout than a match, with mascots pairing off to compete against each other until a winner could be decided. The eventual winner was the local TV station mascot, a yellow dog named Shinagawan. At one point an anthropomorphic tomato slice named Tomato Ningen missed the goal and the ball hit me. This is a high-risk hobby.
An environmental-conservation-themed event took place today in the picturesque Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. The event was called the GTF Green Challenge Day, and various eco-friendly mascots showed up to lend their support, including spherical yellow Fukushima mascots Kibitan and Yuzutaro.
Here are the yuruchara I managed to encounter:
Today, under the shadow of an incoming typhoon, thirty mascots from Saitama Prefecture came together in Kumagaya Sports Culture Park (in Kumagaya, Saitama). They came to celebrate their native prefecture, outside a football stadium where Saitama’s FC Omiya Ardija were playing Gamba Osaka. Ardija means squirrel in Spanish, and the team’s squirrel mascots were present. The match was a draw (2-2).
Each of the characters had a QR code on its person for you to scan on your phone, each of which revealed a word. After getting six words you could add them all together to make a question, which you then had to answer in order to enter a raffle to win prizes. The question was an obscure one—about an Omiya Arija striker’s goal scoring record. Luckily a beer stand barman helped me out with the answer and I could enter the raffle.
Eventually it began to rain and the yuruchara waddled away.
Here are a few of the mascots I met:
*Edit: One week later I received a package in the mail. I had won a prize in the raffle. A box full of Saitama mascot goodies!
On September 8th and 9th, several mascots from the Bitchu area of Okayama Prefecture paid a visit to the Tottori/Okayama Antenna Store in Shimbashi, Tokyo. They were there for the Okayama Bitchu Marche, promoting goods and produce from the area, and encouraging tourism.