I’ve been so busy this week that I almost forgot it was A-Z of Japan time! This week is R, and it wasn’t difficult to decide what to write about. I did consider ramen (ラーメン), but I can’t eat it because it isn’t usually veggie. Another option could have been rakugo (落語) – a traditional Japanese style of comic monologue. However, I decided that…
R is for… Rilakkuma!
Rilakkuma (リラックマ) quickly became my favourite Japanese character while I was living in Japan, overtaking my love for Hello Kitty. Rilakkuma’s name comes from a combination of the word “relax” and the word for “bear” in Japanese, “kuma”.
Rilakkuma is a lazy bear whose favourite foods include pancakes and dango – something I can relate to.
He has a couple of friends, which you can see in the first picture. The young white bear is Korilakkuma and the smart yellow chick is Kiiroitori.
As I’m sure you can imagine, there are countless Rilakkuma products available in Japan, with more constantly being added. Lawson’s (the convenience store) have some kind of contract with San-X (the company who make Rilakkuma) and often have exclusive Rilakkuma promotions. I once saved up tokens for this cup:
And I was once lucky enough to win this in a sort of raffle:
In Japan, there are Rilakkuma stores, and I had the chance to visit one in Tokyo in April:
You can see a list of stores here. There are lots listed in America, but sadly none in the UK yet. The stores listed in Japan are “Rilakkuma Stores”, but I think the others might be San-X stores which sell Rilakkuma and other San-X characters. I’m not sure though.
It was so hard not to buy everything I wanted in the store in Tokyo! They had such ridiculously cute stuff.
One of my favourite Rilakkuma products ever is this gift I received before leaving Japan:
It’s a teapot with a cup and lid. So cute.
One of the first Rilakkuma products I ever got was this yutanpo (hot water bottle), which I am looking forward to using again soon!
There’s no denying that Rilakkuma is 100% kawaii. He’s definitely my favourite Japanese character now. I wonder, who’s yours?