October 27, 2011 by sevenbrane
My favorite Kappa
Given that we used to live next to Kappabashihondori
, a shopping street mainly for knives that is perpendicular to Kappabashidori
, which is famous for its shops of restaurant supplies, we’ve seen our fair share of Kappa water sprites
. While it is unclear whether the Kappa of the street name has anything to do with the water sprite, it has become the mascot of the local shops. Today I’ll share some of the best with you.
My favorite Kappa (shown on the left) used to stand in front of a shop selling traditional Japanese textiles (we got our zabuton from there), and he amused me everyday on my way to work. But then, the owners of the shop sold the place, which was slated to be torn down.
What would become of Kappa? I admit I entertained thoughts of abducting him by night to save him. For a while he disappeared and I already worried he’d gone to the trash. But then he reappeared in official function somewhere else on Kappabashihondori – yokatta!
While personally, I am convinced Kappa should be green, he crops up in different colors. But everyone agrees on his duck-feet and the beak (he’s a water sprite after all). And of course the water he carries on his head from which he derives his magic powers.
While Kappa is supposed to eat children, the mascots appearing on Kappabashihondori seem friendly. At least his typical
chilled-out expression with half-closed eyes seems harmless. His only other preferred food choice are cucumbers (ever wondered why the cucumber sushi rolls are called Kappa-maki
Chilling in a barrel of water - Sittin' pretty
Apart from the wooden statues, Kappa also appears on lanterns and wall paintings, often also together with his girlfriend, but the wooden statues are my favorite. Even though they are whimsical, they always cheer me up. Next time you pass through Kappabashihondori, see if you can spot them all!