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This happened towards the end of a takoyaki cum edamame cum cold tofu party with a couple of friends. A prank video involving explosives and a screaming mascot was playing on YouTube for a while. Naturally, the outcome had been nothing short of disastrous. I was left completely in stitches which then prompted a few more video clips of the same mascot to further agonise my funny bone. Apparently, the best pal's husband is a huge fan of it. The best pal later suggested that I could perhaps draw some inspiration for my next article. So here I am, dedicating this piece to all existing, new and future fans of the mascot in question. From Funabashi, Chiba, I bring to you...Funasshi.

♪ Fu fu fu fu funasshi...Funasshi originated from Funabashi, a city in northwestern Chiba and the seventh most populated in Greater Tokyo (Shutoken). It is also a wordplay on 'nashi' which could mean 'nothing' or 'pear' in Japanese. Yes, the mascot takes the shape of a pear but it is never identified by gender since it is just a pear (and hence its name). Funasshi first appeared as a print illustration via social media in November 2011, however not much is known about its creator except that he or she is a Funabashi native. A kigurumi was created in March 2012. Following that, a YouTube channel was created and the first video of Funasshi premiered in April 2012.

There is a little cute story behind Funasshi's family history. Funasshi's parents are ordinary pear trees, and Funasshi is the fourth of 274 children! As of this year, Funasshi is 1876 years old. Its birthday is on July 4th. Apparently, Funasshi isn't its birth name. Its full name is Funadius IV. Peaches and heavy metal are some of Funasshi's favourite things. Personality wise, Funasshi quickly steers away from the average mascot due to its frequent, outrageous behaviour. The typical Japanese mascot is usually more laid-back and kawaii, but the appearance of Funasshi has constantly challenged the norm. I've got to say that it really takes time getting accustomed to Funasshi, for it alternates between comedy and downright annoyance which surprisingly is just a dangerously thin line.

Even though Funasshi has garnered a lot of popularity which is proven by the various events, television appearances and merchandise including a CD single, it is unfortunately still an unofficial mascot of Funabashi despite being awarded a certificate for its contributions by the local office. The rejection to have Funasshi recognised as an official representative in turn provides free will and independence when activities are concerned. Earlier this year, Funasshi even had the opportunity to be interviewed by CNN during an event.

Honestly, I'm in awe of the wide array of Funasshi merchandise available. For stationery, there are stickers, memo pads, folders and mechanical pencils. Others include pouches, face towels, (at least) five different types of plushies, cider and curry mix! There is also a line of T-shirts and trainers. I'm sure that there are more Funasshi products out there which aren't featured as part of the regular line. Anyway, I recall that the best pal's husband has his eyes on one of those T-shirts. Oh, if anybody is interested to find out more, here is the official website.

While I can't say for certain that I'm loving Funasshi, there is no doubt that its presence will continue to linger a spirit, I guess? Incidentally, Funasshi is also known as the Funabashi Pear Fairy. Oh wait, that is a different thing. Anyway, I hope that somebody gets the drift!

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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