Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Weirdness: Otousan

Nana and I are obsessed with Otousan.

"Otousan" (お父さん) is a big white dog who serves as the mascot for Softbank, our mobile phone company and proud sponsors of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks baseball team.

Seriously, if you go to the Yahoo! Dome (the exclamation point is obligatory), from the rafters above each baseline hangs a three-story-tall portrait of Otousan in a Softbank hat.

As I'm sure you could tell from the above picture, Otousan is a freakishly cute Hokkaido dog. Otousan, it turns out, is played by a particular dog in Tokyo named Kaikun, who is a bit of a celebrity in his own right.

Now, the sharp-eyed Japanese linguists among are audience may have noticed that Otousan's name is also the Japanese word for "father." You see, Otousan is the noble father of the Softbank White Family, featured in the short clip below.

Obviously, like any self-respecting Japanese man, Otousan rules his family with an iron fist.

Notice the symbolic distance between father and son.
I should note now that, in typical Japanese fashion, this whole ludicrous situation is played out with a completely straight face. At no point is there any explanation given for:
  1. Why the Softbank mascot is a cute, white dog.
  2. Why the aforementioned dog can talk.
  3. Why said dog has a human family.
  4. Why the dog's son, um, doesn't take after his father.
(Edit by Nana: Are you suggesting that the daughter DOES take after the father?)

There is no way to play this thing out in your head that isn't supremely bizarre, even when the family is doing something completely innocuous, like cheering on the local baseball team . . .
. . . or posing for an awkward family photo.
But just when you think you've started to wrap your head around this thing, they go and do something like, I don't know, don some head-to-toe leather, get up on stage, and play Queen.

It was around the time that we saw this Nana and I decided this "Oniisan" (brother - seriously, that's the character's name) must be one of the coolest people on the face of the planet.
Yes, Otousan is done up like Paul Stanley from KISS.
Turns out Oniisan, aka Dante Carver, is actually pretty big in Japan as an actor, tarento (professional celebrity), and blogger. Mr. Carver, if you're reading, and you ever find yourself with a couple hours to kill in Fukuoka, you have two amused expats here who would love to express our appreciation with a nice, cold beer.

Today's Lesson:



older brother

little sister



  2. That dog is some crazyness. but I am even more intrigued by black Americans who move to Japan and make it as actors! Fluent in Japanese? Are there any other black people in Japan speaking fluent Japanese besides this guy? I must know!