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Capybaras in Japan are Reading Celeste!

Harry the Capybara

I was so excited when my friend Neighboring Wild (@nbwild) sent me a link to his blog showing capybaras and other animals reading my book, Celeste and the Giant Hamster! Look how cute little Harry is in the photo above. He even has a little tuft of hair on his forehead just like I do! Of course he’s still a baby so the zookeeper has to read the book to him. Plus it might be scary a little for a baby capybara to read alone.

The blog is in Japanese but even if you don’t understand the words, the photos are priceless.

Don’t forget to pick up your own version of Celeste and the Giant Hamster either on Amazon or here.

Meet Noah, Spokescapy for Toyota

Hi everybody who is supposed to be a capybara lover,

My name is Noah, a boy capybara residing in Japan. I’ve just debuted as a Toyota car commercial film character, playing a pet capybara of a Japanese family which owns the car. The car is the Toyota Noah—but I’ve not got any reimbursement from Toyota and I have nothing to do with selling this car to you—I’m not being bribed.

Check this out!

http://toyota.vo.llnwd.net/e1/toyota/noah/index.html

Oops, of course, it’s written in Japanese, which I understand perfectly. For the people who have a problem with Japanese, I’ll try to explain the Website page by page in English.

When you get in the URL above, you’ll see me sitting in my room with a laptop computer. Please come in, but make sure you take off your shoes before entering my house. It’s a Japanese custom to separate outside and inside by taking the shoes on and off. You’ll notice that my room is in typical Japanese style—I can sit on the floor that is covered with tatami mats, which are made of straw-like plants…you can tell that I’d really love that! At the right corner of the room, I laid my futon and pillow folded neatly. Japanese people unfold this kind of futon on the tatami mats when they sleep. It’s kind of nice as we can save space compared to the case in which we use a bed. Formally, the futon is supposed to be stored back in the closet to its right. That way, the space is absolutely empty during the day. The doors to the closet are sliding doors, which are also space-saving. The table is really low, which is suitable for those sitting on the yellow sitting pillows on the floor (called zabuton, which means “sitting futon”) while drinking green tea from the tea pot and cup on the table. You can notice that somebody is hiding in the closet and making noise—that is a famous baseball coach, who actually did my voice this time.

If you drag the mouse onto me, there is a caption says “click here and there in my room” and you can do it. There are 7 places that you can click: #1 the calendar, #2 the TV, #3 the radio, #4 the books, #5 the computer, #6 the window and the last, #7 the sliding door.

First, click the calendar for today’s twittering—I twitter on things every day, so if you click on a certain day on the calendar, you will play a video with my twitter for that day. Sorry, that is in Japanese and it’s too much to translate so I will skip this…

Second, click the TV, which shows you the making of the TV commercial in which I am featured, in four parts. The upper left part is how I observe my owner’s family; in the video I am pushing the busy family to go on a trip by giving them the car key. The upper right shows how I acted during the making of the commercial. The lower left is an interview with the actress who played the mother in the family. The lower right is an interview with a baseball coach who did my voice.

Third, click the radio, which plays a radio commercial with my voice.

Fourth, click the books, and my profile will be displayed. To the left there are my pictures, which can be displayed in larger form by clicking on the thumbnails. To the right is my detailed profile. For the people who don’t understand Japanese, I will try to translate. It says that my age is a secret, my gender is male, and my profession is a commercial film character named Noah. It also says that: my hobbies are bathing in a hot spring and feng shui; my talent is twittering; my favorite thing is going out on the weekend; and my voice is played by the coach of a famous professional baseball team. The pentagon is an analysis of my character. From the top of the pentagon and clockwise are: level of preference for the outdoors; promptness; obesity; sense of humor; and degree of wicked tongue. You can tell the degree of each by the number.

Fifth, click the computer, and you will see and hear the mother of the family explaining why the mother of the family decided to buy the Noah (the car, not the capybara). You need a Flash player for this.

Six, click the window, and there will be a page in which you can enter text to boast about your family, your Toyota Noah, etc. If this is well written, you have a chance to get a stuffed capybara character, Kapibara-san, from Toyota. However, this is mostly for Japanese users.

Seven, the sliding door will show you the famous baseball coach—Katsuya Nomura—who did my voice, as I told you above.

(Thanks to Chie Gough, who translates Capybara Madness into Japanese, for conducting this wonderful interview with Noah Capybara!)

(PS: I wonder how I can become the US Spokescapy?)

(PPS: I think Noah is going to steal my title of “World’s Most Famous Capybara.” I guess I’m okay with that.)

(PPPS: Even though Noah says his name is a secret, I estimate he is about four months old. Those who read this blog can probably make a similar estimation based on Noah’s apparent weight and the fact that his nose is very pink.)

Japan Loves Capybaras

Me sharing my salt block with Kapibara-san

Me sharing my salt block with Kapibara-san

Sometimes I wish I lived in Japan. Here in Texas no one even knows that capybaras exist, let alone that we are the kings of all rodents. But in Japan things are different. In Japan people appreciate capybaras.

Here are some of the wonderful capybara things in Japan:

  1. They have Kapibara-san, a cartoon series that stars a capybara! See photo above and also capyblowg for examples. Capyblowg is actually a blog written by two Kapibara-san toys. Imagine.
  2. The capybaras roam freely at zoos in Japan, not trapped in small pens or enclosures, and people can interact with them. Check out this video, Capybara Approach from CapybaraCamera. Actually, you need to check out all the photos on CapybaraCameras blog. She gets some really great shots and you can see people interacting with the zoo capys.
  3. The Japanese have a strange art form made out of (in my opinion edible) paper called origami. You can make anything in origami. Even a capybara! That is so cool! I wish my owner were talented enough to do that.
  4. Back to toys, there is a giant, life-sized stuffed capybara toy in Japan! I kid you not! Life-sized! Actually, I think it is even bigger than I am. This blog entry from CapybaraCamera shows what one looks like.

Japan seems like the place to be if you are a capybara or a capybara lover. At least for everyone except my owner who needs to stay right here with me all the time. She doesn’t need to go to Japan because she has access to a capybara all day every day.

So why is she going? She says it’s for work but is it really? Is she really just going to see those othe tame capybaras? Is she thinking of trading me in for a kinder, gentler model? And now I found out that Siatama–that’s where CapybaraCamera took photos of capybaras in a hot bath–is close to Tokyo, that’s where my owner is going. Maybe she is going to replace me with a life-sized stuffed animal capybara!

It is making me very upset so I’m just not going to think about it.

Kapibara-san gifts from Japan

Don’t know how many of you know this, but Japan is the center of capybara culture. We are worshiped in Japan, as we should be worldwide. This love has been cultured and nurtured by the Kapibara-san cartoon.

Kapibara-san does not actually look much like a capybara. Sure, they got the big head right. And maybe our cute ears and little mouth. And I’ll have to grant them the big eyes. And we are all nose. But other than that, Kapibara-san doesn’t even look like a capybara. Specifically, I am referring to the legs, of which Kapibara-san has none. That animal could not swim if its life depended on it (although there is a good chance its life wouldn’t depend on it since it looks like it would float).

That doesn’t mean that I don’t love Kapibara-san. I do! He’s the greatest (next to Capyboppy). And so you can only imagine how excited I was when my twitter friend @kotaro, known as Kotaro Yokoyama on FaceBook, sent me these amazing Kapibara-san artifacts.

Plush Kapibara-san dangly

Plush Kapibara-san dangly

Look how cute that thing is! I could just eat him up!

Kapibara-san phone dangle

Kapibara-san phone dangle

Phone dangles are very big in Japan. My owner said that she went to a big business meeting and all the engineers had dangles on their phones. Why hasn’t that caught on in the US? I hear the iPhone doesn’t even have a place to hang a dangle.

I can’t figure out what the capy is eating though. Is it a pick tomato? Do they have those in Japan?

My own Caplin/Kapibara-san phone dangle!

My own Caplin/Kapibara-san phone dangle!

I saved the best for last. Look at this! A Kapibara-san phone dangle with my name on it! How did he get that? Look, it came in its own little package. Is Caplin a common name in Japan? Then why isn’t it in Japanese script? No, it has to be just for me! Amazing.

It does leave one perplexing question…why is Kapibara-san drinking a martini? Do Japanese capybaras drink alcohol? And why isn’t it sake then? I think I would like that better. This is a real mystery to which we may never know the answer.