Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Hokkaido, Japan decided it needed a new mascot character. Something cute, something that represented the uniqueness of their fine country, something possibly unforgettable. They outdid themselves.

A marimo is a round ball of green algae that grows in lakes in the northern hemisphere. They are well known here in Japan and often sold in souvinir shops just about everywhere. But Hokkaido's Lake Akan is most famous for being the birthplace of the little creatures. That revalation plus a little word play brought about the infamous marimokkori.

These are marimos:

Okay, now we know what a marimo is. Next, the word "mokkori". Mokkori is slang for a "large crotch". You think I'm kidding. I'll let you close your eyes and imagine what you'd get if you crossed a cute little marimo and a well-endowed crotch.

Okay, got it?

There are all sorts of different versions. The most disturbing probably being the uniformed man with his pants pulled to his knees. But no one has come out and railed against them. Children think they are cute while grown women are more upset about the suspicious looking eyes than the tent action going on below.

I asked one of my students, a twelve-year old boy, if they were silly or not and he said, "They're great. Heck, they've got giant crotches!"


I was early for a meeting the other day and wandering around the station when I discovered a Shizuoka version of the marimokkori. He was so darned cute I bought him as a present for my son. See, Shizuoka is famous for its mikan oranges.

Front view:

Side view:

I gave it to J and he politely said, "Thanks, but I think it would look good on your cell phone."

I said, "Hey, what's wrong with it?"

To which his reply was, "Don't you think it's just a little bit TOO mokkori."