The mascot is a flying squirrel that lives in Shinjuku named Tobe. The name combines the Japanese word “fly” (飛ぶ) and the English word “to be” signifying personal expression.
From the Japan Times:
the fairy lives in Yoyogi Park and its hobby is to water flowers and put on makeup.
I love how in Japan, or at least Shibuya, putting on makeup qualifies as a hobby! The name Airissun combines the meanings of “love” and “iris” while also drawing on the sound of the English word “listen.”
Doesn’t the pharmacy owner realize that this mascot is scaring away the customers?
I was surprised to discover recently that Pipo kun, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police mascot, comes in many generations. Normally he’s the youthful character with open mouth and clothed only in a belt and shoulder strap (center image). But as I discovered on a rare visit to Roppongi in the evening hours, he can also be seen as a baby with a bottle, a girl, a housewife, a salaryman, grandma and grandpa with a cane. I am not sure how much protection all these characters offer, but I guess they are cute.
Japan always provokes odd questions. Is construction related cuteness superior to construction related bowing in apology? What do you think is more awesome?
Above is the lit-up sewage mascot announcing construction in Ginza, and seemingly suggesting that your waste will immediately contribute to the world, or at least Asia-Pacific.
Below is a sign apologizing that one of the two elevators is out of order. The outage probably lasted not much longer than it took to hang the sign on all ten floors. I love the apology for the even slightest inconvenience.
Only in Japan do the police have a super-cute mascot, Pipo-kun (ピ-ポくん). On my first day of my prestigous fellowship, outside of corporate headquarters in Marunouchi Tokyo, I had to go up and shake his hand.
In a city that most foreigners consider super safe, the mascot and his human companions were promoting safety by handing out mesh bags for bicycle baskets and paper tissues.
Ah, Nakano Broadway! You have your own mascot Pipi, just like the Police, the Post Office, and every other institution in this lucky nation. While your showing your age, more or less the same as this author’s, your low-ceilings, lack of windows, and hundreds of tiny shops catering to local, national and international otaku (nerds) make me happy to call Nakano home. You never fail to provide an abundance of shopping, from boy-band memoriabilia to fujoshi comics, costume shops, and the home-roasted coffee from the always immaculate sisters. And the crowds you attract make me feel down right understated.
Do you have any new year’s resolutions? My number 1 resolution is to get fat. I’m also trying to improve my Japanese, learn some more about ceramics, and explore the many charms of Nakano.