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Kumamoto! & get $10 off of your next Topatoco purchase!

The last of the travelogue comics for a little bit! We'll be going back to regular strips next week. 

Before I talk about the strip, I want to mention - Topatoco has a new photo submission system! And you can get $10 off codes for submitting! Here's the Photo Hut, and here are the submission rules - check 'em out! 

Kumamon creeps me out a little! But he's cute, too. His name is a pun - it's the Kuma from the region of Kumamoto, which he's the mascot of, but Kuma also means bear. He was designed by Sanrio! He's ubiquitous in the southern part of Japan, check him outtttt:

Here's a real-life shot of Kumamoto castle - Yuko didn't actually break in, she just climbed a wall and then climbed down:

And here are some weird hostess bar ads! I'm fascinated by these, they're set up like a menu? The SEA SIDE one is all mermaids, definitely. 

We're out! Catch you next week!


Hostess Bars are set up like

Comment by Recycle (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:44

Hostess Bars are set up like menus because that's exactly how you pick girls! You are like 'I wanna have a good time with that one' and point to her and it's really sort of weird actually! But so if you are popular enough you build up regular costumers who always want to come back and party with you.

Pic# 3

Comment by Hoopajoo (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 19:22

That third picture reminded me of when I lived in Japan. After work my coworkers and I would go out for drinks. You could see those types of things everywhere when walking through Shinjuku... except sometimes the girls dressed as various anime characters.

sounds like you had a good

Comment by bobob (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 19:35

sounds like you had a good and isn't it fathers' job to get you in trouble.

p.s.switch BACK not switch BLADE less lethal


Comment by Brandon (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:09

Living and working INSIDE a volcano, which then has its own volcanoes?

Sign me up!

Haha, I spent a year

Comment by Anonymouse (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 20:31

Haha, I spent a year studying abroad in Kumamoto! Some of my friends once decided to sneak onto the castle grounds at night and fell into the moat. xD


Comment by mintcricket (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 21:17

What did horse sashimi taste like? Inquiring minds want to know!

Horse Sashimi: The untold story

Comment by Xenonex (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 22:03

Well, I've only had raw horse (basashi) once, but essentially it tasted like chewier, more expensive beef :P

Ride the Whale

Comment by Lyran (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 21:43

Horse Sashimi -less- uncomfortable than Whale Sashimi? I dunno man, if I could ride a whale then maybe I'd agree. Forget that, if I could ride a whale I'd do whatever I wanted - least of all eat a horse.
This comment is now about Whale Riding (As is my life's work).

Have you seen the pictures

Comment by tudza (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 22:06

Have you seen the pictures of the naked foreigner they captured after swimming in a castle moat? They pulled out the metal people capturing forks and everything. I'd only ever seen those in old period Tokyo movies from the Edo period.

You don't want to be that guy.

Whoa, it looks like the US

Comment by Ellen (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 23:02

Whoa, it looks like the US isn't the only place that has a problem with featuring the same body type over and over again!


Comment by ??? (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 23:31

My friend's from there.


Comment by Moss (not verified) Thu, 06/21/2012 - 23:39

Nooo you got peer pressured! XD But umm for the last panel i believe it should be switchback not switchblade. As in a "road or trail connected by a hair pin turn"(Wikipedia).

haha snkt snkt snkt

Comment by nghm15 (not verified) Fri, 06/22/2012 - 00:54

haha snkt snkt snkt


Comment by Deih (not verified) Fri, 06/22/2012 - 03:39

I thought it sounded eerily familiar, and I remembered! I have a friend who's working as an English teacher. He's from England and studied japanese for a couple of years before going over there.

Kumamon is pretty creepy..

Oh man oh man oh man. First

Comment by chino (not verified) Fri, 06/22/2012 - 05:10

Oh man oh man oh man. First Hiroshima, then Kumamoto?! The only thing that would make this travelogue any better would be a stop in Nagano or Gifu. That would have meant that Yuko was in nearly EVERY city/prefecture I've lived in, including where I am now.

Also, in Kumamoto raw horse sashimi is more often called "basashi" or "sakura", though you do sometimes hear "baniku". Never heard it called "uma niku" though I guess that is a misreading of the kanji....


Comment by Xenonex (not verified) Fri, 06/22/2012 - 09:25

Eh, I suppose one could use 'uma niku' as more of a descriptive term ('horse meat') than a proper name for it.

Surreal Moment

Comment by CommodoreCrumpet (not verified) Fri, 06/22/2012 - 08:51

I was in Kumamoto last Saturday, I was so surprised to see it as the subject of the new comic! Kumamon kind of creeps me out though, but he's seems to be everywhere in Kyushu...

It's a shame Yuko didn't get to see the castle though, even in the pouring rain it was pretty spectacular. Not to mention all of the cool guys dressed up as samurai and ninja to take pictures with~ But taking on the wall climb is quite amazing too! As long as you're careful which wall you pick... the ones inside the castle grounds curved back outwards to fend off intruders. (That might be a good challenge!)

Ninja-Proof Walls!

Comment by Pyroclastic (not verified) Fri, 06/22/2012 - 11:34

Kumamoto castle is famous for its supposedly ninja-proof walls. Every couple of years or so, a drunk salaryman tries to climb one and it doesn't end too well. If Yuko climbed one, I think that might be saying a little something about her latent ninja abilities.

Also, Kumamon is a demonic hell-bear whose haunting smile ravages the depths of one's soul.


Comment by cabbagehats (not verified) Fri, 06/22/2012 - 19:32

yay switchback trains! I love the crazy places that people live in for no particular reason other than that they can.

Kumamoto, huh?

Comment by Bdan (not verified) Sat, 06/23/2012 - 05:29

Sexy hostess bar girls?
Thanks for the tip, Yuko!!

I was going to do research

Comment by Kirsten (not verified) Sat, 06/23/2012 - 16:23

I was going to do research for a history midterm
And then I read the entire Johnny Wander archives.

I'm pretty sure I did the right thing.

P.S. climbing walls is always the best option.

Kyushu Rocks!

Comment by Big John (not verified) Sat, 06/23/2012 - 18:04

So did you get to see the shrine where Musashi wrote the Book of Five Rings? I'd heard there was some problems with worrying about people defacing it.

Sudden realization

Comment by Yitzhak (not verified) Sun, 06/24/2012 - 11:50

OMG, Aso is... Lavaridge Town! :O *Has been playing too much Pokémon Sapphire*

Secret ninja family

Comment by Alain (not verified) Sun, 06/24/2012 - 18:45

Paternal invitation to climbing walls? I think you come from a secret ninja family. He hasn't told you yet. But he's slowly encouraging you to pick up the essential skills.


Comment by Shannon M. (not verified) Sun, 06/24/2012 - 20:11

I was the girl who met you guys at MOCCA with the stuffed Kumamon! I was waiting for you guys to make mention of the little guy. Thank you for confirming my suspicions about him being designed by Sanrio! I'm also glad to see the picture Yuko showed me put up there!

Kumamon is a little creepy at first, but he definitely grows on you. I've made a lot of people fall in love with him.

I hope to go to Kumamoto myself someday!


Comment by Kerensa (not verified) Wed, 09/19/2012 - 23:38

You were in Kumamoto and you didn't tell me!? I LIVE HERE. FFFFFFF.


I cand believe it

Comment by date casual (not verified) Wed, 10/31/2012 - 17:05

I just saw this post and can not believe it I missed you at Kumamoto castle