Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Moo-stly loved cow from Aizu...

Akabeko is a figure that is famous across Japan. It is a local toy made in the Aizu area of Fukushima Prefecture. Today, let’s take a deeper look into the cute toy.
Before I start, let me ask you a question. What animal is an Akabeko!?

It is a four legged animal but it is bright red! I bet no one has seen such an animal. The answer is…a cow! “beko” means “cow” in the dialect of the Tohoku region (the very east areas of Honshu). 1200 years ago, when a temple was being made in Fukushima Prefecture, a red cow was said to have worked really hard. Ever since then, it has a meaning of “good health for children” and “to keep out the evil”. Thus, Akabeko is very popular as gifts and souvenirs!

The appearance of Akabeko is pretty cute. First of all, the whole body is colored in bright red. There is a small space in the neck which is made to connect the face and the body part together. When the head is touched softly, it bobs up and down which makes it moves in all directions. That is sure an endearing gesture to see.

Now that you have learned about Akabeko, all you have to do is go visit the Aizu region! At stations and almost anywhere you go, you can purchase an Akabeko of various sizes!

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