There’s a great “Making Of” video on the new Funassyi Calendar site (previously). It is full of Japanese cultural references though, so here’s a quick explanation of what’s going on. They show the shoots for the first six months.
January: Funassyi is doing a kakizome (書き初め) or ‘first writing’ of the new year, where you are supposed to write out, preferably with a brush as he does here (the plastic body protector is optional) a meaningful phrase for the year. Here Funassyi writes out 梨飛 - “A pear (can) fly”, and insists that it is to be read as Nappi-. He also has a photo shoot with some chickens (he’s dressed in formal montsuki hakama), since 2017 is the year of the rooster.
February: In the first part, Funassyi and Funagoro are posing with ehou maki or ‘good luck direction’ long sushi rolls. This is a Kansai region tradition which has spread around the country in recent years thanks to the concerted efforts of convenience stores to get another ‘must-buy something’ occasion going. (Here’s an article I wrote years ago with more about this tradition, plus how to make your own ehou maki). The lucky direction in 2017 is north-north-west by the way - or around 11:30 if you think of the compass as an analog clock.
In the second part, Funassyi is dressed up as an oni (鬼), a kind of ogre that appears a lot in Japanese folklore, and the three Pears are playing mamemaki (豆まき) or ‘bean-throwing’, a ritual that occurs on Setsubun, the first day of spring. (I wrote about mamemaki and Setsubun for the Japan Times some years ago, but it’s disappeared from their archives - fortunately (I guess?) someone has copied the article in its entirety.) The can-can dance is not very traditionally Japanese.
March: The theme is ohanami (お花見), cherry blossom viewing. Funassyi plays the part of a typical drunk salaryman - getting drunk during ohanami is well, very traditional I guess - complete with a bottle of sake and bad attitude. The two small Pears manage to revive him enough for another line dance though; note how Funyassyi thoughtfully gets rid of the sake bottle. Then Funagoro engages in a bit of taiko (太鼓) drumming, which is not that specific to March but is traditional.
April: April is the start of the new year for school as well as people who have just graduated from school and have started working. Funassyi is acting out the shinseikatsu (新生活) of a newly minted graduate in his starter apartment. He attempts to eat breakfast, and also lies down because his new life is so exhausting.
May: It’s spring, so the theme is baseball (the season starts in April). For some reason Funagoro and Funyassyi engage in a small tussle before the actual shoot. Later on, Funyassyi as the umpire strikes a manji (卍) pose, which looks like a swastika but has an entirely different connotation in Japan of course.
June: Another not-so-traditional theme - they’re in a fantasy forest, with Funassyi dressed as a fairy (I love Funassyi in girly outfits). The three Pears eat mushrooms.
The video ends with a message that a portion of the sales proceeds from the calendars will go to the Michinoku Mirai Fund, Funassyi’s favorite NPO (non-profit organization), who gives scholarships to children who lost one or both guardians in the 2011 earthquake.
Details about the 2017 editions of the wall and desktop Funassyi calendars have been announced on a brand new dedicated website. The photos, which Funassyi has been posting regularly on his Twitter, were shot in a studio this time rather than outside, and involve Funagoro and Funyassyi along with the Main Pear.
The desktop calendar (bottom photo) is the same format as in previous years - a week per page, with a quote from Funassyi at the bottom. The wall calendar (top and middle photos) is different this time - it’s smaller (A2 size) and is spiral bound so that you don’t need to rip off the page each month, with the bottom part having space to write in (the middle photo shows an example page) rather than a big photo with just the dates. If you use a calendar for keeping your schedule this is good news - although if you’re like me and keep your schedule electronically, the smaller photo is kind of a loss (the photo part is just A3 size, vs. the big poster size of previous years). I’m still going to get both though - the pictures look adorable.
The wall calendar will retail for 2,500 yen plus tax, and the desktop calendar for 2,200 yen plus tax. They can be preordered on the Funassyiland web store starting on September 3rd, with delivery scheduled for early October. They’ll be in the physical Funassyiland stores on October 1st, and in bookstores nationwide (including Amazon I’m guessing) in the first half of October. If you buy the calendars at the Funassyiland stores, online or physical, you get a bonus gift of a special Funassyi (and Funagoro and Funyassyi) -design tenugui (a thin cotton hand towel).
There’s also a “making of” video on the calendar site…I’ll have more about that in a later post.
Funassyi and some of his friends at Osaka Jo Hall. Back row, from left to right: Sunplaza Nakano-kun; Aicchy; Chicchai Ossan; Pokota (official LINE chara); Iisa King; Mayu Oneisan (Mayu Ito). Front row from left to right: Kappa no Kotaro; Koakkuma; Funagoro; Funassyi; Funyassyi; Akkuma.
The Nassyi Fes concert at Budokan which took place last week will be shown on the BS Sukapaa (BSスカパー) premium channel around the end of October - early November. This means that overseas fans will not be able to see it unfortunately, but if you live in Japan and missed out on the Nassyi Fes concerts live, keep an eye out on the TV schedule. (I will too, of course, and post any updates here.)
Funassyi is in Osaka, getting ready for his Osaka Jo Hall concert tonight. The announced guest lineup is as follows - some unannounced ‘surprise guests’ will show up too, as at Budokan last week. *Starred guests were at Budokan too.
- Toshiko Takamizawa from The Alfee*
- Sanpuraza (Sun Plaza) Nakano-kun
- Shigeo Takahashi from the comedy due Sabanna (or Savannah)
- Mayu Ito*
And the following gotouchi chara:
- Chicchai Ossan*
- Iisa King
- Koakkuma and Akkuma
…plus of course, Funagoro and Funyassyi.
The MC will be Aicchy (Ai Yokoyama) again.
Osaka Jo Hall is bigger than Budokan, so the staging may be different. Several nashitomo who went to Budokan are going to the Osaka Jo Hall show too.
Some same-day tickets are still available - just go to the same day ticket sales booth by 17:00. (Info source: Sacocci)
Andy and Cindy are diehard Funassyi fans in Hong Kong. Andy posted these photos of their amazing customized Suzuki Hustler in our Funassyi Facebook fan group. The car has been completely redone in a Funa Metal Rock theme - even the roof! The interior has been customized too; the accessories fit the theme perfectly, and 90cm Funassyi looks very comfortable up front.
Many thanks to Andy for giving permission to post his photos!
Kapal, a gotouchi chara from the city of Shiki in Saitama prefecture and a long time Friend of Funassyi (he’s the green one with duck lips in the back row in the photo) was one of the chara at the Budokan concert last night. He tweeted that Funassyi, the star of the show who had managed to “transform Budokan into Pear Colors”, had insisted on being in the same resting/dressing room as all the other chara instead of his own separate ‘star’ room, just like the old days.
Kapal is a philosopher in his own way, and went on to muse about the state of the gotouchi chara world, and how some were saying the ‘boom was over’ and so forth. In his view, the organizations or individuals who were just in it for the money or notoriety may have disappeared or quit the show, but the ones who sincerely wanted to use the chara to promote their local towns or make people happy were still going strong.
Read here about how Kapal and his organization gave Funassyi one of his early breaks.
Photo source (and the first of Kapal’s tweet musings)
Here’s a video posted by the Jiji Press news service of the pre-concert press conference held by Funassyi, with the Kishidan members (in black) and Toshihiko Takamizawa (in a shiny suit in Funassyi colors). It’s great to see the easy rapport both parties have with the Pear. They call him the “Beatles of the yuru-chara world” - a pioneer, and tease him about aiming for a Tokyo Dome (capacity: 55,000) concert next. They also insist that Funassyi have a major role at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, although they aren’t sure which major character he can push out to take his place. Funassyi quips that he’ll aim for the “yellow character role”, and they warn him that he’ll have a hard time since that position at the moment is occupied by Pikachu. They’re all kidding around of course. It’s nice to see them all so relaxed before the main event. It be that both Kishidan and Takamizawa, being veterans of Budokan concerts, were trying to keep Funassyi from becoming too nervous.
I’d seen some fan tweets about this yesterday but didn’t want to post about it until an official source confirmed it. You can’t get more official than The Pear himself coming out onto the stage at Budokan dressed in a McDonald’s uniform, not to mention showing a ‘backstage video’ with a phone conversation with the manager of his neighborhood McDonald’s . ^_^ So here it is - starting on September 16th and lasting until they run out, the toys included in McDonald’s Japan Happy Sets (what Happy Meals are called in Japan) will be Funassyi-themed! There will be 8 different toys, two of which include Funagoro too.
The image above is not the best (it’s one of several that fans have uploaded) but you can see what the toys look like. I’ll post more news when it’s up on the McDonald’s site and so forth.
During the Budokan show, Funassyi announced to the crowd that his appearance fee as well as the royalties from sales of all the merchandise sold at the Budokan concert as well as the upcoming Osaka Jo Hall concert will be donated to Kumamoto earthquake relief. That means that essentially, he is donating all the income he would have gotten from the events. What a Pear.
Funassyi normally doesn’t publicize his charitable donations and activities, but he seems to have made an exception this time because he wanted to thank the fans at Budokan for ‘doing their part to help’.
There’s more Budokan news to come - stay tuned!
(Photo source - via Akkuma, who shared the stage with Funassyi for the Pear’s new single, Naru yoh ni narushingu (Whatever will be, will be nassyi - roughly translated))
It looks like Funassyi debuted another Pear Suit yesterday for the Budokan concert. This will be Pear Suit no. 5. (See Funassyi’s Multiple Pear Suits for descriptions of Suits 1 through 4. There’s also a Suit no. 3.5, which is a replica of no. 3 that is built for more strenuous activity.) As you can see from the screenshots above from TV news coverage this morning of the pre-show press conference he held as well as the concert itself, Suit no. 5 has a slightly more childish look than the previous suits, with the eyes and mouth closer together and perhaps a bit bigger. It may take a little while to get used to this new suit, but hopefully it is better ventilated than the previous suits so that the inner Pear is more comfortable.
In any case, according to all the press and TV coverage about the show as well as fan reports on social media, the concert was a big success. Funassyi himself seemed ecstatic about it after the show, as he tweeted many thanks to the many guests who appeared as well as the stage crew, not to mention the 12,000+ fans who attended. Hopefully the 2nd show in Osaka will go just as well.
A gotouchi chara festival will take place in Kumamoto City on September 3rd and 4th, and Funassyi will appear on both days! The event has the backing of the Gotouchi Chara Association, who also back the big annual gotouchi chara events in Hanyu, Saitama and Hikone, Shiga. Details as follows:
- Place: Kumamoto Castle Ninomaru Park
- Dates and times: September 3-4, 10:00 - 17:00
- Host chara: Higomaru (the official chara of Kumamoto Castle) and Kumamon
The specific times and places of Funassyi’s appearances haven’t been listed yet. Other chara who will be there include Iisa King, Kapal, Sanomaru, Kappa no Kotaro, Goya Sensei and his wife Mama Goya, Shinjo-kun (who is currently leading the Yuru Chara Grand Prix 2016 vote) and many more.
As Funassyi tweeted yesterday, just 3 and a half years ago in April 2013, he uploaded this video of himself er, playing (banging on a guitar with a PET bottle) while he er, sang his theme song, Funa Funa Funassyi. He had just begun to become famous at this point - but who knew he’d be able to fill the hallowed Budokan just a few years later? May the Pear continue to thrive and bring happiness to us all.