On our third day in Osaka, Jake and I ventured to Dotonbori. It was here that we stumbled (quite literally after a couple of beers) across a Sega mega arcade. Tipsy as we were, we were drawn in by the fairytale-esque music and bright flashing lights of the UFO machines. My experience of UFOs, or “grabbers” as we affectionately call them in my family, consists largely of the pier in Weston Supermare, and the time my Mom heroically spent a lot of time and change to win me a Dipsy doll. My inner child popped right out at the sight of the magical, mystical machines offering all kinds of mysterious Japanese toys for me to take home and love. Being a man, the responsibility obviously fell to Jake to win such a prize for me. In England, “grabbers” are just designed for you to lose over and over again, eating up your change and upsetting your children, but in Japan it is a completely different story. The more people win, the more the crowds watching are drawn to try themselves, resulting in a difficult but not impossible game. Excitedly, I changed a 1000 yen note into coins and we looked around for our best chance of winning. Our attention was captured by a strange egg-like creature sitting upon a stick. His rubber ring had already been shifted by another unlucky player so we leapt at the opportunity. After a few attempts, Jake managed to knock the ring loose and “Egg” fell into the prize pit. After a lot of whooping and cheering, we collected our prize, bagged him and went to find the train home. On the metro I decided to research the strange creature who had quite literally fallen into my life, and my love for Gudetama was born.
Gudetama, or “lazy egg” in Japanese is a character created by Sanrio, who also developed the hugely popular “Hello Kitty”. If you’ve had a bit of a bad day, or you just love things that are disgustingly cute, just pop Gudetama into your YouTube search bar and settle down for an hour or so of giggles and awws.
Since we’ve been in Japan, I seem to have accumulated quite a collection of Gudetama goods, and I wanted to share them all with you. I’ve had a lot of Gudetama fans asking where I got things on Instagram so, here is a selection of my items and where to find them!
First off, there is a TBS store in Tokyo Station. Exit out of the Yaesu Central gate and follow the signs to the shops on BF1. There is a massive variety of kiddy type stores here, and if you’re an overgrown five year old like me, you are guaranteed to love it! From this shop, I tried to stick to more “sensible items” IE things I could use and not just stare at lovingly. I ended up with a November 2015 – July 2017 planner, a pen and a wallet with a stretchy strap to attach to your bag (very useful for spare change and Passmo / Oyster cards.)
The next place I found a supply of Gudetama goodies is a magical store called “Kiddyland” in Harajuku. This shop is incredible and has everything from Snoopy to Star wars. It is also the most reasonably priced place to buy Gudetama goodies in my opinion, although to be fair, not many things should reasonably cost you over £5 anyway. From here I got some amazing Latte Art stencils to float in coffee. I also picked up a Gudetama bed shirt which was on sale, and my first Gudetama key chain!
Around Japan and particularly in Tokyo, there are a lot of Gashapon or “twisty” machines aas I fondly called them. These are basically tiny vending machines with goodies from your favourite character inside (think twenty-pence bubblegum machines and similar.) I can’t tell you the exact location that I picked up all of these as I have been to many, but they are absolutely everywhere and you should have no problem finding them if you are looking. Insert your 100 yen, twist, and cute Gudetama keychains / stickers / other will be yours. All of these keychains were from “twisty” machines, except for the Halloween themed Gude which was free from 7-Eleven!
The last and very best Gudetama souvenir I have also came from Kiddyland. I nearly cried when I saw him and genuinely could not restrain myself from picking him up and paying for him. He is a Gudetama Christmas angel, complete with crown and tutu, to put at the top of my Christmas tree this year!
And so concludes my Gudetama haul! If you need any help locating your lazy-egg goodies, leave me a comment below! Do you love Gudetama as much as I do – or more?!