July 7th, 2012

kodama

The pursuit of cute

Last year, the Japanese spent more money on character goods than they did on books. It is indeed a huge industry -- every town, region, historical landmark and company has their own mascot. Or they pay Sanrio to make a special edition of Hello Kitty, like that time that we saw a Hello Kitty version in Hakone that was styled like the eggs that were prepared in the solphators (boiling sulphuric mud)...
When we're somewhere, I always try to find a pin of the local mascot. I have quite the collection but unfortunately not every mascot is on a pin -- it's all about the phone-straps, apparently.

(Also, make sure to check out the photos with the article. I liked the one of the boy posing with his head in between the teeth of the 'melon bear'. Most mascots don't have 'threatening' features such as tusks...)
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Readman

Public finances

This strip by Wondermark illustrates the state of the debate about public finances. It's all about not "stealing the taxpayer's money" and politicians are all crooks and liars. Some people seem to think: "Well, I don't need this particular subsidy/service/security, therefore it is a complete waste of money!"

It saddens me that we seem to have somehow slipped down Mastov's pyramid so that we're only thinking about ourselves again.