Japan is overflowing with mascots.
I wasn’t even prepared when I visited, as every activity and location, from warnings about creepy airport shadow denizens who steal your stuff to anti-littering campaigns, have creatures. Prefectures (districts) in Japan have their own location mascots too, and now Iwate (found on the northeast portion of Honshu, the “main island,” about two hours train ride from Tokyo) has an official tourism ambassador: Geodude.
Yes this is a licensed shindig, approved by The Pokemon Company and everything. Geodude sprouted legs so that the real life version of him could move around (despite the fact that his evolutions have legs), and he’ll be joining Wanko (Iwate’s mascot that champions their famous noodles) to spread the cheer of tourism. The reason for his checkerboard leg pattern is so you can easily Photoshop it out (clever).
You can listen to Geodude’s very punk rock (oi oi!) tourism theme below, which contains a heap of Pokemon cameos. It’s animated!
Geodude [YouTube via Siliconera]