Never alone at the Moomin Café

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At the Moomin Café chain, which is dedicated to a series of popular picture books from Finland that are also very popular in Japan, it is apparently the policy to seat a large stuffed animal at the tables of unaccompanied guests.

The Moomin characters are cute and hippopotamus-like, and the cafe is decorated in the style of the book series. The characters are awfully damn cute, and have names like Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma, Sniff, Snufkin, and so on. It’s a little as if you cross-bred the Teletubbies and the characters from Babar the Elephant.

A user recently visited the Tokyo Dome City LaQua branch, and as she awaited the arrival of her food order, a staff member informed her that someone would like to sit with her, if she didn’t object. It soon emerged that this was a reference to the Snork Maiden, girlfriend of Moomintroll. “The waitress had such a big smile on her face, I couldn’t say no,” she recalls. “But it was also so cute!”

The policy of providing solo patrons with mute, inanimate (albeit cute) partners is neither new nor exclusive to this branch; the policy has been in place since the café opened in 2003. “Guests to Moominhouse are welcomed by the Moomin family,” according to a spokesperson from the company’s PR department. As RocketNews24 reports, the service is “also available at the Moomin Cafes at Solamachi entertainment complex at the base of the Tokyo Skytree, and also the Canal City shopping center in Fukuoka.

Stuffed versions of Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma, and Snork Maiden are standing by at all three locations, and the roster grows to six at Tokyo Dome City where the oddly-named characters Sniff and Stinky are also available to share your table with.”

Only in Japan would they invent the practice of supplying you with a temporary friend named “Stinky” to make you less self-conscious! via RocketNews24.

Here’s the opening sequence from the Japanese animated TV series of Moomin, to give you an idea of what it’s like:

‘Sushidols’ serving songs with wasabi!

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It’s hard making it as an idol group in Japan. In this business, thousands of girls and boys are struggling to find their niche, be it with snaggleteeth, clean towels or chainsaws.

This time Rocket News would like to present a girl group who have taken a more fishy road to success, by pitching in at their local sushi shop. Every Sunday, you can catch up-and-coming Idol Class do a free concert then sell you some octopus after the show, in what they call Sushidols.

A beautiful cross-promotional marriage, Nagoya-based spacious sushi restaurant Goichi produced Sushidols to bolster sales, and it seems to be working. At the same time, Idol Class has been building a solid resume of TV and event appearances, culminating in the video of their newest song Hold Onto Your Dream.

On top of that, recently Victor Music Arts Inc has announced their decision to publish Idol Class’s first official release, “Beginning Story.” To celebrate, they will perform a commemorative “debut” concert at Nagoya City Performing Arts Center’s Grand Hall on August 11.

Meanwhile, you can get a taste of these sushidols via their regularly updated video blogs or by buying one of their made-to-order CDs and DVDs from their website.

So let that be a lesson to all you would be idol groups just starting out. The quickest way to a fan’s heart is through their stomach. Source: JT

The Japanese Lady Gaga

By J-Box 4 Comments

Kyarypamyupamyu is a Japanese fashion model and singer who has been popular since 2009. She is sometimes referred to as the “Japanese Lady Gaga”.

Known for her funny faces, she made her musical debut with “PONPONPON” in July and released her debut mini-album “Moshi moshi Harajuku” on Aug 17. One of the songs from “PONPONPON” is on YouTube and has been viewed 3.8 millions time as of Tuesday.

Kyarypamyupamyu is on the hit charts in other countries. Her popularity is immense on the South Korean portal NAVER. In one video on YouTube, a man named Yusef watches the PV and starts dancing and putting on a horse’s head. He says, “The only thing I can say is ‘Japan,’ just ‘Japan.’ Nothing else.”

Other comments include “Cute and crazy”, “She is the Japanese Lady Gaga and her song and video are addictive”, and “I listen to it everyday … like taking drugs”.