Sporadic Happiness (in Japan!)

(formerly) updated every Wednesday

#10 Personified Train Stations

Japan is the land of cute, the land of mecha robots, the land of giant insects, and sometimes the land of creepy.

But sometimes that creepy is boarderline awesome.  Or at the very least, interesting.

Japan likes to personify things.  They do it a lot, and you see it in posters everywhere.  For example, there’s a poster hanging up in the staff room at the elementary school I teach at.  It shows an overloaded outlet that is hot and suffering.

Also you may notice that the microwave, toaster, computer, and various other household appliances are all personified as well.  This is a common feature with posters here.  There seems to be some sort of bird mascot in that poster with a personality as well (though personifying animals happens a lot in the US too).

Then tere’s an awfully cute personification about a soybean that they use to teach about the health benefits of beans in general.

All kinds of beans and nuts are personified in that campaign:

Okay so that above picture is a little creepy.  Those adorable little beans are going to be massacred when they’re eaten.  But remember how I said Japan has things that are borderline creepy and borderline awesome?  Yep.

Should you like this personification (as with many things in Japan), you can buy goods with the image printed on it!

In French class in high school, we were told to draw a comic once, using some target language or other we had studied.  My friend and I decided to make our comic characters inanimate objects.  I remember using school supplies – a stapler, a paperclip, and some other things that all talked and had lines.  I thought it was the best thing ever – so novel!  I was incredibly pleased with myself for thinking up such an idea.  Hence one of the reasons I love Japan and the way it “cutens” up everything.

When my boyfriend and I were in Yokohama over winter break, we made an interesting discovery.

One of the train lines, the “Minato Mirai Line” apparently decided to personify each of it’s 5 train station stops as female anime characters.  We used that line a lot while in Yokohama, so we were constantly running into posters advertising the concept and giant card-board cut-outs of that station’s girl.  One station even had a gift shopping with “goods” of these characters – hankerchiefs, bookmarks, whatever.

Here are those characters, shown according to their stops on the map:

There’s a traditional Japanese girl (in the robes of a temple priestess – white top, red hakama), there’s a girl in a Chinese dress for the China Town stop.  There’s a lolita girl with a giant teddy bear (always gotta have a lolita character thrown in there somewhere).  Then there’s another girl in a sort of Chinese outfit, as well as a girl that looks a bit scary, like she’d hurt you if she could, and enjoy it.

Wish you knew more details about each?  Why, you actually can!  They all have their own unique biographies telling you all their vital stats like birthday, height and weight, blood type, likes and dislikes….Here’s some close up shots of their profiles below.  I didn’t pay that careful attention to whether these pictures would be readable or not when I took them, so do your best if you’d like to try and read them (if you know Japanese).  The Lolita one seems to have come out the clearest.

Sadly I seemed to have missed taking a picture of one of them….there’s only 4 shown here.

My boyfriend and I managed to get photos next to some of the girls.  He felt incredibly embarrassed doing so, thinking people would think he was a creep.  I assured him that because he was there with me it wasn’t such a big deal compared to if it were just him and a guy friend taking the same pictures.

There also seems to be some 6th mysterious character (as Japan loves to do with dating sims – give you 5 choices and then throw a surprise 6th one in the end….or even Sentai shows – have 5 main members and then suddenly a 6th more powerful, more awesome one joins in…).  Also there seem to be two bunnies that go with the group.  Why?  I don’t know.  Japan likes their adorable little animal mascots to be present too.

So there you have it!  Hope you enjoyed today’s post.

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