Moomin On Up!
Prior to my arrival in Japan, I had never heard of ムーミン (Moomin )and his cast of characters. But because they're cute little Hippos, Japan is all over Moomin-mania.
But over the years, I too have acquired my fair share of Moomin goodies, some of which I have given away as Christmas presents but much of which has been stockpiled in my ever-growing mound of crap. I also gave this lovely napkin set to Akari for a house-warming present. (Don't tell her that I picked it up at a Rummage sale for about 50 yen!)
I had initially ignored this little premium given away with Evian water. I mean, who really wants a tiny Evian bottle to hang on your cell phone? (Ever notice that Evian is Naive spelled backwards?) Then I looked more closely and, lo and behold, inside were wee Moomin critters trapped in the bottles. Dang, I wish I had noticed them sooner but I came across them near the end of the promotion.
Of course, Lawson has had those "buy a random scratch card for 500￥ and win some cheap or cool crap" offers containing Moomin merchandise in the past, and they are pretty irresistable. For example, I got 2 out 4 of these shell-shaped plates.
And 1 out of 2 of these ニョロニョロ (Nyoro-Nyoro) or Hattifattener spoon sets.
KFC is one of the few non-McD fast food outlets that has Happy Meals. They call them "Smile Sets" and this is half of a Moomin towel treat.
I also use this soap dispenser daily. There's something about soap oozing from a hippo that makes you feel clean all over.
FYI: As per Neil Gaiman's blog, I've learned that there are collections of Moomin comic strips and, wow, are they charming. (You can always click on the link in Bully's mention of Moomin to buy your own copy.)
Finally, here's the opening and closing themes to the Japanese TV show:
Had enough yet? No? Well then, try out these Moomin games. They may be a bit tough to master with no knowledge of Japanese, but I think you'll catch on.