Tuesday, November 08, 2011


At the risk of making a sweeping general stereotype, I'm going to go ahead and say that here in Japan people have a thing for graphics. By graphics, I mean little cartoons used as visual representation for anything that could possibly be represented by cartoons, like rude manners, or the universal animation of a bowing cartoon lady when you buy something from a vending machine... and in some cases, extends to things that probably shouldn't be cartoonized.

Case in point - this year's medical exam included a picture of how to take a poo sample, as per a drawing of an adorable brown blob (let's call him Mr Poopy) riding a toilet backwards as he excreted his own fecal matter.

You think I kid! You are the lucky ones.

But the point I was trying to make was that ANYTHING is fair game when graphics are concerned here - either as subject matter or medium. So I really shouldn't have been surprised when a gang of motorists cruised down the highway in cars painted in.... anime figures!

...apparently this is a thing here. In fact, cars painted with really embarrassing painted emblems and doe-eyed cartoon girls are called 'ita-shya' - the kanji for which is 痛車; literally, 'painful car'. Check it out, it's got it's own wikipedia article! This hobby is bordering on legitimate! http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%97%9B%E8%BB%8A

So anyways, while most cars driving down the streets are normal and boring, every now and then I'll see a car decorated up the wazoo and will, like a crazy woman, try to chase it down, cell phone camera out. Here are the fruits of about a year of lucky shots! (note, some were inside a car dealership - Toyota was having a 'Full Metal Alchemist' tie-in.)

There is a whole realm of transportation decorating - including trucks (deco-trucks) and ... Did you see? One of them was a TRAIN! It had a retro 70's anime motif. Wow. Come to think of it, ANA seems to have a standing deal with Pokemon and has pikachus dancing merrily on the wings of their Boeing 747s.

Better Pikachu than Mr. Poopy!