Turning Japanese…

As things settle back into a normal rhythm here at Gidday HQ, I’m finding some head space to register the curiosities that I come across in my going about in the world each day. This week has seen me ooh-ing at 3D printed food and aah-ing at spray on clothes but the one that really got me going was an injection of fun in the place where I least expected it.

With the amount of travelling I do, one of the biggest bugbears is the wait for luggage (alongside the wait in the immigration queue). Luckily I can get away with carry-on for most trips but when I think of the number of times I have strained to see – amid the proliferation of black – my trusty grey and green suitcase emerge onto the carousel, my delight upon spotting it trundling towards me is often too long coming.

It would seem that the Japanese have understood such a plight and have decided to make the wait more enjoyable by introducing some local character to the baggage hall – literally. 

In Tottori Airport, Medama no Ovaji – the ‘eyeball’ father from famous manga series Kitaro (of the) Graveyard – rides around and around the carousel, welcoming waiting travellers with open arms. 

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Image source: http://en.rocketnews24.com

Now this would really jerk me out of my post-travel stupor. And after wondering whether jetlag had finally done a huge number on me, I imagine I would rub my eyes, search frantically for my phone and upload a quick disbelieving pic to my Facebook circle.

But what’s really great about this scheme is that each airport gets to choose its own theme and so is able to promote its own particular city or region.

Toyama’s Kitokito Airport promotes the area’s fresh seafood…

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Image source: http://en.rocketnews24.com

Okayama takes its inspiration from the local tale of Momotaro who’s said to be born from a peach…

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Image source: http://en.rocketnews24.com

And the loquats (or mikan oranges) at Nagasaki airport stand testament to the region’s proud claim as Japan’s #1 producer.

Image source: http://en.rocketnews24.com

And it’s not just at the airport where the Japanese apply their quirky brand of fun. 

In an effort to inspire children’s interest in the big wide world out there, you can buy a tour through Unagi Travel for your child’s toy(s). Said teddies are sent off for 2-3 weeks to tour a region of Japan, keeping those ‘at home’ updated with Facebook posts, photos and even a postcard before returning home with a bunch of photos on CD and even a video of their grand tour. 


What a great idea. I wonder whether Alfie Bear would be up for a tour? 



Huh? What do you mean it’s only for children…

ps…and in being reminded of Alfie Bear’s first festive foray, I was then reminded to let you know that yes peeps, I counted today and there are 38 sleeps to go until Christmas (37 if you are about to wake up Down Under). Gulp…

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