We can think of several variety goods shops to hit up for weird Japanese stuff and unique souvenirs. Village Vanguard is always great, so is Loft, likewise Tokyu Hands, ditto Plaza. Do a Japan haul, and you’ll end up visiting most of those on the way.
Another amazing source of fun, strange items is Kitan Club. The ‘kitan’ bit means ‘mysterious story’ in Japanese. It’s a popular kawaii brand in Japan – September 2015 was the 10th anniversary.
Many of Kitan Club’s cutest, weirdest goods are gacha (gashapon/gachapon) prizes. Those mini figures and toys that come out in Kinder Egg-sized plastic balls. It’s fun (and kinda addictive) putting coins in, turning the dial and seeing whether you got the toy you wanted. They’re hard to win: every ball that tumbles out is random.
And even in Japan, only select shops have the ‘right’ gacha on display with the figures you’re looking for. In the whole of Osaka prefecture, for example, just 2 shops have Kitan Club machines inside. Still fancy your chances?
Instead of coming all the way to Japan to win (or buy) a prize toy, check out places like Amazon, Rakuten and Yahoo online.
Fuchiko, tiny balancing Japanese princess
If Kitan Club had a mascot – like everything else in Japan does – it’d be Cup Fuchiko.
Fuchiko’s a typical Japanese office lady, in a smart uniform with matching shoes. Except she’s super athletic. The ways this woman hangs off the rim of a glass will have you signing up for gym membership.
To celebrate 5 years of Fuchiko in 2017, Kitan Club created special anniversary ranges within certain stores. From mid-February to mid-March, it was in… Niigata. Not the first place that comes to mind, unless you’re an NGT48 fan.
The next most popular Kitan Club figure range after Fuchiko is Putitto (styled PUTITTO), a bunch of other characters that hang off the edge of cups. Seems like KC really wants you to accessorise your glassware.
So many Japanese anime, video game and variety characters have been turned into Putitto cup hangers already. Osomatsu-san! Kirby! Pikachu! Chibi Maruko-chan! Funassyi!
Sea life from Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium…? Yeah, that happened.
Aquariums have become a bit of a Kitan Club theme by themselves. The Sunshine Aquarium in Tokyo and Mie prefecture’s Toba Aquarium have also got their own Putitto ranges. If you want a frog or a seal staring you down while you drink, track down an aquarium Putitto.
Characters that can’t stop saying sorry
One thing that not many Putitto can do is bow. Here’s a new Japanese word for you: dogeza. The most humble, apologetic bow you can do. There’s a trick to getting it right, just like the perfect handshake. And it’s becoming a weird kind of extreme sport.
As if to prove it’s a trend, Kitan Club’s got figures and miniatures doing the dogeza pose. We think the Street Fighter dogeza figures were made just to create Dhalsim. Look at it.
Interesting random Street Fighter trivia: “Dhalsim got his name from an Indian restaurant in Osaka near Capcom’s office (Dhal is lentils, shim is Hyacinth beans).” Hey, Osaka’s where we are! And we know exactly where the Capcom building is. Looks like we’re going out for Indian food sometime soon.
They’re not the only characters to bow down and have keychains attached to their butts. Not by a long shot. Check out Kinnikuman doing the same pose.
Impressive how he’s holding 2 bowls of gyudon upright perfectly like that… The Kinnikuman dogeza range includes Meat-kun, Geronimo, Sunshine, Buffalo Man, and Altantis. Not that you can tell with half of them, because you can’t see their faces. Check the item descriptions on each product page to be sure.
Moominmania on a mini scale
Here at DEJAPAN, we’ve got a soft spot for Moomins. They’re not Japanese, but Japan is Moomin mad.
On the Kitan Club product list, Moomins get a category of their own. Next to the various Putitto figures, you’ll spot sets of Moomin mascots and magnets. These don’t need a cup to balance on. And almost every character gets a figure. Even Stinky, the Hattifatteners, and Too-ticky.
All you need is a Moomin house to display them in. That’s a bit big to find in a gacha machine, but you can always order one separately.
Put your smartphone in sleep mode
Figures are honestly just the start of Kitan Club’s massive range of kawaii figures and random stuff. With a handy ‘smartphone futon’, your phone can sleep as comfortably as you do.
They’re made in a couple of sizes – phones are getting bigger again. A soft pillow supports the smartphone’s delicate camera end. And when you get your phone out of bed, the futon cover wipes the screen at the same time.
Pants for bottle butts
When your water bottle looks a bit chilly, give it some underwear. Like the woolly knickers from the ‘Bottle Pants 3’ selection. (Hey, it was only a matter of time before we got to something like this.)
Buying pants out of a machine feels weirdly Japanese. That this is the third range of mini bottle bum covers should tell you everything.
The picture even shows you how cold and lonely your bottle will be when it goes commando. As if those frilly purple or the skimpy cherry pattern ones would make any difference.
And then, there’s the really unexplainable things
Some of the novelty goods from Kitan Club are literally bananas. Cute ‘moe moe’ bananas in adorable poses.
We’re sorry. We wish we could unsee this. If we have to know moe bananas exist, so do you. We’ll never look at a fruit bowl in the same way again.
Join the Kitan Club
By now, if all of this weird stuff from Japan hasn’t got you interested, then you have no soul.
Search ‘Kitan Club’ on our website to find Japanese figures, toys and prizes from outside Japan.