We were all highly critical of the “freaky looking deer-horned Buddha” mascot that was chosen to represent the Nara Heijo-kyo anniversary, and rightly so, but I fear that even he was more appealing than the two characters that front NHK’s “Eigo de Asobo” children’s TV show.
Meet Kebo and Motch
Let me introduce these ambassadors of the English language…
This picture from the cover of an NHK CD actually shows the two characters in good light. I usually find Kebo on the left, far more frightening than he appears here.
Goodness me! What are those things?
I’m not an expert on children’s shows, and have only recently started watching them regularly while on babysitting duty, but I did find an explanation in English on a post by Japanese blogger gyutaku:
There are two main charactors on this program.
The one is “Kebo” whose name comes from a Japanese word ã€Œæ¯›ã¼ã“ã‚Š (ball of dust)ã€.
He looks like a dirty hairy monster for you.
But you will get used to and not mind.
He can speak english appropriately for his age (6 years old).
I’m not so sure I’ll get used to him, but please continue…
The other is “Motch” whose name comes from ã€Œã‚‚ã¡ (rice cake)ã€.
He has white smooth skin.
All people will say “How cute it toddling is!”
Because “Motch” is only 3 years old, he speaks only easy and short sentences.
They play together every day.
Motch likes every funny or yummy stuff.
Kebo is good at everything like ã‚¬ãƒãƒ£ãƒ”ãƒ³.
And, he is so gentle that he isn’t angry at Motch’s mischief.
I don’t know what “Gachapin” is, but I found a really bizarre video when searching that word.
Some people like Kebo and Motch, but…
If the original Nara mascot cost over 500 million yen, I can’t help but feel NHK should have splashed a little more cash on these guys. I mean, look at them… a ball of dust and a piece of old rice cake? I blame those of you who don’t pay your TV license fees! Cheapskates! Think of all the poor children who have to suffer Kebo and Motch because you won’t pay your bills!
Now Jenny on the other hand…
Little Rikuto loves Jenny, the native English speaking guest/presenter on the show. Whenever she does her pronunciation practice and we see a close up of her face that fills my 37″ telly, Rikuto, who isn’t even one year old yet, let’s out a little snigger of appreciation and starts drooling. It’s possible he’s trying to practice his English, but I suspect he’s truly happy to see Jenny after watching Kebo and Motch for so long…If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!