Saturday, 4 May 2013

Noppon Brothers, mascots

The Noppon Brothers are the mascots of Tokyo's landmark Tokyo Tower. I interviewed them in November 2006 by email. My questions were translated into Japanese and their answers were translated into English. The whole thing was edited to make it look like they had been interviewed face-to-face. YNB is the younger Noppon brother (red) and ONB is the older one (blue).

CBL: What is your job?

YNB: We are the Tokyo Tower mascots. Our duties are to let as many people as possible know that Tokyo Tower is a fun and nice place.

CBL: Is it true you are both twins?

YNB: Yes, that is true.

CBL: So, apart from wearing different colored clothes, is there any other way of telling you apart?

YNB: As you can see, my older brother has a band aid on his forehead.

CBL: You both seem very tall. How tall are you exactly?

YNB: We are 2 meters and 23 centimeters.

CBL: How old are you?

YNB: We are 10 years old.

CBL: Isn’t that a little young to be working full-time as a mascot for Tokyo Tower?

ONB: It has nothing to do with the age. The heart is the most important.

CBL: Do you go to school?

ONB: Tokyo Tower is like a school. We learn many things from the visitors every day.

CBL: You both seem to have a very odd shape. Is this an entirely natural shape or is it the result of plastic surgery? 

ONB: Are you kidding? Of course this is natural. How could this be plastic surgery?

CBL: How can I get to look as cool as you?

ONB: Coolness is in the heart, not how you look. The feeling of caring about others is important.

CBL: What is your favorite attraction in Tokyo Tower?

YNB: I like the glass floor on the 1st floor of the observation deck. Every time I look down my knees shake.

CBL: What is the greatest thing about Tokyo Tower?

YNB: From the opening 48 years ago to this day, Tokyo Tower has been the tallest free-standing iron building. Also, as of this year, September 29, the number of visitors reached 150 million, which means, since the entire Japanese population is about 120 million, almost everybody has visited Tokyo Tower at least once.

CBL: What will the Noppon brothers be doing this Xmas season?

YNB: Taking commemorative pictures around the Christmas tree and welcoming visitors by shaking their hands.

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