Meeting Fukaya’s Mascot, Fukkachan

A while back, a friend and I went to a festival in Fukaya City, Saitama Prefecture.

Little did I know that I would meet one of the most popular “yurukyara” in Japan there.

First of all, you may ask, what exactly is a yurukyara? Basically, a yurukyara is a mascot created to promote a city or prefecture. In the past few years, Japan has seen a yurukyara boom, and now tons of cities have them.

Fukkachan: Fukaya City’s Mascot

In 2012, the 3rd annual Yurukyara Grand Prix was held and 5th place prize went to none other than Fukaya city’s own Fukkachan — and I was lucky enough to meet him before he became such a celebrity!

Fukkachan and Soysauce

Fukkachan and Soysauce

The cute little statue should have been a hint that something great was going to happen. The soy sauce has a whole other story of its own.

First, we wandered around the station and saw some lovely Tanabata decorations.

Tanabata Decorations

Tanabata is a Japanese holiday celebrating two legendary lovers

 

The festival was much like any other in Japan as far as I could tell. The countless food items, fun games, and crowds of people mixed together to create that pleasant “omatsuri” atmosphere that I love so much.

There were other hints that I would soon meet the mascot himself.

Fukkachan and One Piece

Fukkachan next to Chopper from the anime/manga One Piece

Then, before I could take a bite of my chocolate banana, I saw him.

Fukkachan.

Fukkachan

THE Fukkachan

The hiragana on his hat says “fu,” which is short for either “Fukkachan” or “Fukaya” — I’m not sure which. He also has “negi,” or “spring onions,” a specialty of Fukaya, on his head.

What do you think? Although not quite as cute as the Grand Prix’s first place, Barisan, I think he deserves higher than just 5th place. I guess this just means I’ll need to be more proactive about voting next time!

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