Through the Lens Thursday: Philosoraptor Lives in Japan

You quickly come to notice just how many characters there are in day to day life in Japan. Pikachu smiles cheerfully from the side of a bus; Anpanman gives the peace sign outside of the local agricultural co-op; Hello Kitty warns you to keep the air clean for everyone and not smoke at the local train station.

Character advertisement is nothing new. Mickey Mouse and his ilk are plastered across the U.S. trying to get people to buy junk, visit the Happiest Place on Earth, and what have you. Here, though, it’s taken to another level. My Japanese teacher put it like this: movies, companies, etc. that have good characters succeed. The rest don’t.”

Which is why you can find the prefecture’s mascot printed on 100-yen shop tissues. It’s why every town you visit offers its own spin on anthropomorphic creatures, ranging from the marine to the avian, the cute to the ridiculous.

Tsuruga, a hub city that connects central Fukui prefecture to the coast, recently upped its character game by installing a riff on the famous “Philosoraptor” at the local JR station. Fukui is quite famous for its important role in dinosaur finds, research, and the like, so the move makes sense.

He or she isn’t called Philosoraptor outright, mind you; might be somebody would have to be compensated for that. Instead, the Hamlet-esque pose is just enough to get those of us who spend too much time on the web thinking.

If you’ve spent some time in Japan, what’s the most interesting or absurd character you’ve come across? Let me know in the comments below! 

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Through the Lens Thursday: Rice Fields at Sunset

I’d been getting bored with the type of photos that fill my digital albums and Instagram portfolio. I’m usually working or writing or otherwise distracted when the sun sets (and until sunrise is after 5:00am, sleeping while it rises). Tired of the saturated blues and greens that I usually love, I made an effort to go out an hour before sunset. This is one of my rewards: still hints of blue and green, but a welcome debut of pink, orange, and red over the rice paddies as the sun lays down for the night.