In January this year I visited Japan – something I’ve always wanted to do. It was great. And it wasn’t quite as culturally ‘wacky’ as I think is often portrayed in the media and on the web. There’s definitely a lot of quirky stuff to enjoy, but I think it’s easy to get a distorted view of Japanese culture here in the West – especially if you’re a nerd.
I want to begin with that caveat because, inevitably, I am now going to focus on precisely the kind of wacky stuff that gave me the wrong impression in the first place.
Ahem. You’re no doubt familiar with Hello Kitty, a Japanese collectable brand that’s gone global. Hello Kitty still seems to be as big as ever in her homeland, but there are plenty of other, stranger characters that haven’t made it elsewhere just yet. So here are three of the most interesting collectable series I spotted in Tokyo shops, like Tokyu Hands and Kiddyland, which might not catch on over here…
Introducing: a personal trainer who happens to be an egg, a courtesy turned into a collectable, and what I can only describe as what would have happened if David Cronenberg had invented Pikmin.
The display below caught my attention in the corner of Kiddyland (click the image for the full picture), mainly thanks to the cheesy music emanating from it.
The music turned out to be coming from the video below. I was immediately intrigued. Without a proper translation it’s difficult to truly understand the purpose of Tamami Eggman, but what I have ascertained is that he’s a camp personal trainer, and he’s an egg. And with the help of his besideburned friends Bella and Maggie, he’s encouraging everyone to “eggcise”. See what you make of it:
My favourite part is where his crotch-shell cracks from all the strain. Surely being an egg is not suited to any kind of demanding physical activity.
But never mind the impracticalities – just look at all of the wonderful Tamami Eggman nicknacks you can buy! Like this tissue holder (not something we go in for much in the UK):
Or these notebooks for keeping track of your eggcise routines:
I got one of those for my friend. You can see all the other items on the manufacturer’s website. I wonder how many lives Tamami has changed?