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