Cute Cthulhu has a brand-new name and a fun new gig in Japan!
Loose character/floppy mascot* “Araippe”
Oarai city in Ibaraki Prefecture has a problem. The city is down the coast (Google Maps)) from the continuing Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster. Needless to say tourism is way, waaaay down in Oarai, and they are hoping their new mascot “Araippe” will boost the number of visitors to the area.
According to various Japanese press releases such as the Asahi Shimbun (2013 Oct. 17–Google Translate), their new mascot “Araippe” is made up of the local seafood specialties. As shown below, Araippe’s “charm point” is his coat of whitebait (one of my favorite Japanese delicacies) that hangs his body like hair. Araippe’s mouth is a clam another local delicacy, and his tail is a clam rake.
Araippe is further described as a vivacious boy who loves fireworks, and who shakes around all the time as he is so happy.
However, Japanese social media is not so positive about Araippe. The reaction on Twitter Japan is that Araippe looks like a “mass of tentacles” or “Medusa” and is “creepy” and “gross.” Even the mayor of Oarai city said that Araippe, “looks like an old mop.”
“Whitebait” is the immature fry of fish that are 25 and 35 millimeters long. In the market here Japan, I buy trays (see left) of whitebait called “Shirasu” for a reasonable price, 300 to 500 yen–about $3 to 5 USD. Typically Shirasu/whitebait is blanched in salt water and served on top of rice as shown below. (Wiki)