Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Yuru kyara stalker
We had our local festival the other night. We trotted off down to the park with Amelia wearing her yukata and DH even put on his jinbe, too. About half of the neighbourhood was there which is a lot of people.
We had the highlight of watching a local jangara performance. Jangara are a tradition here in Iwaki. They go around the houses of family's that have had a bereavement in the last year and play and dance to show respect for the person who died. It's very interesting. This year the local team had a few decent looking "Oniisan"(Older brother) members. Excellent. Amelia was pretty interested watching them, I thought at one point she might try to make a run for it into the middle of their performance though!
For Amelia the highlight of the festival was getting to see "Fukumi" chan. The image character of the Social Welfare Office, here in Iwaki. As soon as she saw Fukumi chan, she ran over and spent a good half an hour harassing her. Luckily she is only 2 and a bit and her "harassing" was harmless, but she was certainly the most excited kid in the whole park about seeing Fukumi chan.
You might by now be wondering what a "yuru kyara" is. They are these characters designed to do PR work for their area or specialty. Every prefecture in Japan now has one I think, almost every business seems to have one and now the social welfare office here seems to have one, too. The most popular one has been "Kumamon", the character from Kumamoto prefecture. Here is a story about the Yuru Kyara Summit held last year. The winner was Barisan. I personally quite like one of Iwaki City's official characters: Hula Ojisan. He kind of takes the mickey a bit, but is still kind of loveable.