Eiga chirashi – the cheapskate’s best choice for a souvenir to give his mates when coming back from Japan

Eiga Chirashi

Fukuoka, Japan. Friday, the 27th of March 2015. I popped into a cinema and plonked down 1,300 yen for a ticket to see the new live-action Ansatsu Kyōshitsu (“Assassination Classroom”) movie. Nothing more to say about that here, except that I might – or might not – bother to write a review in due course.

Before the appointed screening time, I wandered about in the cinema lobby…

…and struck gold.

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Forget the goose that laid the golden egg – bears are better at minting money

I’ve recently put the finishing touches on my plans for a six-day holiday in Kyūshū, scheduled for a couple of weeks from now. One of the stops on the list is Kumamoto, which I last visited nearly two years ago but didn’t explore quite as thoroughly as I’d have liked.

The reason I brought this up here is because I’ve just come across an article in the Asahi Shinbun which reported that sales of products plastered with the image of Kumamoto Prefecture’s official mascot, Kumamon, raked in the equivalent of over half a billion dollars last year (higher than the previous year’s figure).

Kumamon, Kumamon … now where have I heard that name before…

Interestingly, it wasn’t during my 2013 visit to the prefecture that this black lump of fur calls home – in fact I wasn’t even aware of its existence at the time. The name probably first entered my consciousness when Kumamon was drafted into last year’s marketing drive to promote the live-action Rurouni Kenshin films.

Sure, he might not be the cutest yuru-kyara I’ve come across – that honour firmly belongs to Hiko-nyan … but an anime-ish connection? That’s good enough for me.

I’ll keep my eyes peeled for this pudgy black bear when I pass through its home turf later this month. And since I’m there anyway, I may as well start adding to its 2015 merchandising haul by picking up a Kumamon souvenir or two; perhaps a plushie to befriend the stuffed Hiko-nyan I brought home years ago.

Either that or the actual Kumamon itself. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to see a man about a hunting rifle…