From today’s Funassyiland Nagoya opening event.
Funassyi doesn’t seem to make a lot of live appearances in Tokyo these days - possibly because he’s trying to spread his cheer all around Japan. He will be making another appearance at the Gotouchi Character Festival in Sumida Ward, Tokyo, held around Tokyo Skytree, again this year however. He’s appeared at this festival the previous 2 years. Besides Funassyi, a whole host of gotouchi and corporate yuru chara will be there including Skytree host characters Teppenpen (a penguin), Sukoburuburu (a blue dog) and Sorakarachan (a girl with a star shaped head). Many other popular gotouchi chara will be there too, from Chicchai Ossan to Barysan to Goya Sensei and many more. Iisa King, despite being from Kagoshima prefecture in southern Kyushu, seems to be popular enough now to warrent his own printed senbei (rice cracker), which will be available during the event.
The event is scheduled for May 28th and 29th; Funassyi will be appearing on the 29th only, at 10:00 (at Oh-Yokokawa Sinsui Park) and 14:00 (at the 4th floor Sky Arena in Tokyo Skytree Town). He’ll be appearing on stage only, not mingling with fans like most of the other chara. This is understandable, since the photo above is what happened when some fans spotted him trying to make his way to the stage last year at this event.
Gotouchi Character Festival in Sumida Ward 2016: PDF (Japanese) brochure
A friend was wondering out loud on Facebook, why the kanji characters for fugu (pufferfish) are 河豚. She was pondering the use of 豚, the second character, which means "pig", but the first character 河 is a mystery too, since it means river - and the fugu that we know and eat today (or get all het up about how dangerous it is, depending on where you are from) is an ocean fish.
The pufferfish that the Chinese used to eat centuries ago were found in large freshwater bodies of water such as the Yangtze River. Apparently when they were caught, they made a wheezing sound that sounded like the oinks of a pig. Thus, the name 'river pig' was applied.
"But...but", you student of Japanese are saying, 'river 河’ and 'pig 豚’ aren't read as 'fu' and 'gu' at all!" True. This is a bothersome and very common thing that happened, and to an extent still happens, in Japanese called 'ateji' - where kanji are applied and forcibly read a certain way, regardless of grammatical rules and the like. Pufferfish were called 'fugu' in Japan anyway, so someone decided to just use the Chinese hanzi characters and read them as 'fugu'. Never mind that the fugu the Japanese ate came from the sea. (I've never wrestled with a live fugu, but I have seen them on TV a few times and they do make a kind of "boo, boo" sound.)
There's also another kanji for fugu which is seen occasionally, 鰒. This one makes a lot more sense since the left side is a radical that indicates fish (sakana-hen), and the right side is a radical that is part of 腹 - stomach or belly - which can be read as fuku. An even older kanji for fugu is 布久 - fuku - which is even more of an ateji than 河豚.
There are other, regional names or nicknames for the pufferfish. In Osaka it's sometimes called a 鉄砲 or てっぽう - teppo, meaning pistol. This is because, like a pistol, sometimes a fugu, if it's not properly broken down to remove the poison, can really hurt you. Osaka-ites have a rather sarcastic sense of humor.So how did a poisonous fish become legal?
Fugu was actually banned in Japan for a long time (as it was in China for some periods). During the Edo period (1603 -1868), eating fugu was regarded as a very unpatriotic, disobedient thing to do, especially for samurai, who were supposed to reserve their lives for their lord. Fugu continued to be eaten secretly in some areas of Japan though, especially along the coast in Choshu-han, current day Yamaguchi prefecture.
Legend has it that Hirobumi Ito, who became the first Prime Minister of modern Japan in the Meiji Period and who was from Choshu-han, had some fugu for the first time as an adult and was amazed at how toothsome and delicious it was. He subsequently worked on the laws to make it legal to serve fugu, provided you knew what you were doing. Hirobumi Ito was a fascinating, complicated character; in his younger days he made his way to England on a British ship with a friend, neither of whom spoke a word of English or had every been outside of Japan, and came back fluent and was intrumental in writing the first modern Japanese constitution, using the British and Prussian consitutions as models. And on the other end, he was assassinated by a Korean nationalist. In between, he had an extremely colorful life which included lots of affairs (which his ever-patient wife tolerated, only getting angry at him if the woman he had seduced ended up hurt or pregnant), and was a famous gourmet and dandy, not to mention a skillful politician. Because we share the same family name, although I'm sure there's no relationship (Ito/Itoh 伊藤 is like the 4th or 5th most common family name in Japan), I've always been a bit fascinated by this larger than life man with more than his share of controversy. He was also pictured on the 1,000 yen bill in my youth, which imprinted that face with the big frizzy beard on my mind.
So, that's how fugu got its name, and became legal in Japan.
See also: Fugu: Would you or wouldn't you?
(Note: I'm going to try to write more posts here...if you have anything you want me to write about that's not a recipe (because my recipe-request list is a mile long already), give me a holler, on Facebook or Twitter, or even the comments here. ^_^)Type: feature Filed under: japan japanese culture fugu history fish japanese language kanji rec_no
I’m a little hesitant to post this since I am not sure it’s going to work, but here goes: The live Funassyi event to commemorate the opening of Funassyiland Nagoya tomorrow will be broadcast live on Niconico Douga, and it looks like it will be viewable outside of Japan. There is a caveat though - you have to be a premium member, which means paying about 500 yen for a month’s membership. And again, I am not 100% sure it will be viewable outside of Japan. However, the listing format is different from the Pear Juice Party livecast, which was clearly not accessible unless you 1. were in Japan and 2. paid around 1,000 yen just for the show. If you want to give it a try though, the link is below. The show is scheduled to start at 14:00 Japan time tomorrow, May 6th.
Note: Even if you are in Japan, you still have to be a Premium member to view the event live.
Nassyi nassyi! At Shizuoka Keirin (Bicycle Racing) today. Vine video Nagano Teruo.
An adorable illustration by a Funassyi fan, charting his road to Budokan with 115 days to go. (Via)
As I mentioned previously, recording videos during the Meet Funassyi Pear Juice Party events was prohibited (and according to Nittele Service a DVD will not be released). There are some tantalizingly short videos out there though. The one above is from the fourth and finally session, and taken from the Niconico Douga webcast (which is why you see the comments scrolling over the screen). It shows Funassyi getting a guitar installed inside his Ilusion, whereupon he proceeds to play and sing - well, kind of sing - Mr. Big’s To Be With You.
This early ‘90s hit seems to be one of The Pear’s favorites, since he’s sung it many times before, such as here in this clip from March 2013 where he sings it while on stage with GCB47. (Yes, Early Funassyi looks so different…)
Funassyi mentions during the first clip that the guitar installation procedure ripped his Illusion during the first and third Pear Juice Party sessions. It may be time to get another new Pear Suit…
Incidentally, the Pear Juice Parties were the final Aicchy MC-ed events - she’s now going to take maternity leave. (Correction: She’ll be doing a couple more events this month, at Shizuoka Keirin and the Funassyiland Nagoya opening event.) It will be interesting to see if another host/MC can be found that gets on with Funassyi as well as Aicchy did. (There was another announcer at the Pear Juicy Parties who works for Nippon TV called Mori. He was fine as an announcer, but clearly knew almost nothing about Funassyi, which annoyed some fans.)
Kapal crowns Funassyi with a big floppy cucumber. (Via)
The Meet Funassyi Pear Juice Party events that took place over the weekend were a big success. Despite the fact that he has never appeared in a live event that was more than 30 minutes long before, Funassyi survived the 4 90-minute ‘parties’ (there were breaks in between, and the industrial cooling machine was in use too).
There are no videos unfortunately since taping was prohibited; although the 4th and final party was broadcast live on Niconico Douga, it was only viewable in Japan, and the viewing fee was 1,000 points (1,000 yen). There are a lot of great photos posted though. The top one above shows Funassyi surrounded by the chara guests for the Day 1 parties - Osaki Ichibantaro, Nyajiro, Iisa King and (lying down on the floor) Chosei Tonyukun. The bottom photo is from Day 2, with Kapal, Iisa King again (holding a stick of Funassyi dumplings), Chicchai Ossan and Kappa no Kotaro. All long time gotouchi chara friends of the Pear.
The fans who were lucky enough to get tickets to one of the parties (competition for tickets was very fierce, and at least one was being listed on a ticket resale site for 190,000 yen, or about US $1,780) seem to have been very happy, especially since the small 400-seat or so venue meant that they were able to be very close to Funassyi, who made sure to go all around so that fans could shake his paws and touch him and so on.
I’m not sure if the Pear Juice Party events were meant as a warm up for the big Budokan and Osaka Jo Hall events in August, but at least they probably gave Funassyi and the staff an idea of what to expect and how to pace him so that he doesn’t get totally exhausted.
(During the first party on Saturday, apparently there was an accident with Funassyi’s Illusion (his back zipper), which wouldn’t re-close. The staff did some emergency surgery with some yellow duct tape though, which worked fine. By the 2nd party on Saturday the Illusion was fixed.)
Funassyi kicked off a very busy Golden Week* with an appearance at the Cho-Chara Supo gotouchi chara event at the Sapporo Convention Center in Sapporo, Hokkaido. Dosanko Wide, an afternoon news show on a local TV station, was there to cover the event, and staged an epic musical chairs game between 8 chara participants including the Pear. During the game Funassyi got chomped on by Melon Kuma (so what else is new), and licked by a weird local chara called Tagopan, although Funassyi gets his revenge there. The red watermelon like one is another local Sapporo chara called Terebi To-san. Gunmachan, Sanomaru and Barysan were also in the game.
*Golden Week is the biggest holiday period in Japan besides New Years, when a series of national holidays occuring within a few days means a lot of people take the whole week off.
Funassyi gets real up close to sign his autograph on a wall at Funassyiland Sapporo. (Via)
The Pear sure moves in mysterious ways….
From today’s Meet Funassyi! Pear Juice Thanks Party. From all accounts all 4 sessions - 2 per day for 2 days in a row - were a big success. (Via)
This delicate pendant was designed and created by K. Uno to commemorate Funassyi’s upcoming birthday on July the 4th. Limited to an edition of 274, it is 10K gold and costs 29,800 yen plus tax (total: 32,184 yen). It can be pre-ordered now from any of the Funassyiland stores, including the online store. Delivery is in July.
Incidentally, K. Uno is best known for their officially licensed Disney engagement and wedding rings, not to mention other jewelry they make for the Mouse Empire. There’s a Funassyi wedding license form, and the Pear just appeared in the biggest bridal magazine in Japan. Can a Funassyi engagement ring be far behind?
The official Facebook Page of Nassyi Fes has posted a warning about fraudulent listings for tickets to the Budokan and Osaka Jo Hall events in August. The listings on ticket resale/auction sites like Ticketcamp say that these are “insider” tickets issued to people involved in the events. The FB post says that if someone comes to one of the venues with one of these fraudulently listed tickets, they will be turned away. The bottom line is, it’s best to avoid ticket auction sites to be safe.
Funassyi made an unannounced visit to Sapporo Loft a few minutes ago where there’s a limited-period Funassyiland going on right now. He told the delighted fans that he had ramen for lunch, according to Twitter reports. (Sapporo is one of the cities in Japan that’s famous for its ramen.)
Here’s a short promo video for The Legend of Funassyi 3-D holographic movie. The most notable thing about it is that it lists the key voice actors, starting of course with Funassyi in the starring role of a knight in training. Rafran, a female knight, is voiced by popular TV personality Ruriko Kojima (aka Kojiruri). There are also two names that are familiar to fans of the Funabiyori anime series: Lynn, who voiced Guressyi, will be the voice of Grappuru, a purple grape-like character (she can’t seem to get away from pink-purple hued characters ^_^;); and Saki Ono, who was the voice of Funassyi’s cat Nyaossyi, will be playing Carron, a carrot-like character.
This Kodomo no hi (Children’s Day, May 5th) themed card - actually called the Nashi no hi (Pear Day) card - is the current free gift with any purchase made at any of the Funassyiland stores while supplies last, including the online store. Funassyi is dressed as legendary folk hero Kintaro, who was blessed with lots of physical strength. If you look at the small Funassyi standing on the roof of what looks like the Pear Hut, he has a ketsugobo sticking out of his…back pocket. Wait, Funassyi doesn’t wear pants… (Source)
There’s a ‘behind the scenes’ article about Funassyi’s photoshoot for Zexy magazine on their website, with some lovely photos of the Pear, two videos and a short interview with Funassyi too. Among other things he says that he thinks of himself (or “Funassyi”) as being kind of like a good luck charm, so a good fit with weddings; he loved his white wedding dress and thought he looked so cute in it; and since in the Pear Fairy World there are no genders, if he were to get married he’d want his partner to be either Lady Gaga, or Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. ^_^
Funassyi’s views on marriage: “As long as [the couple] respect each other, things should be fine” and “It’s important to think that things will somehow work out. Don’t expect perfection - it’s really better if things aren’t quite perfect.”