Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bikkuri Kuma Debut

I teach at an elementary school in Japan and one of the popular cartoon characters is a bear called Rirakkuma. Rirakkuma is a portmanteau of relax and the Japanese word for bear. As the name suggests, Rirakkuma spends his time relaxing. Bikkurikuma is on the opposite extreme. He's always on edge because bikkuri is Japanese for surprised.

The other character is Doku Hamu Chan. Doku Hamu Chan came about through a need to release tension when trying to get students to speak English. Doku Hamu is basically another portmanteau to mean poisonous hamster, hence the fangs. Anyhoo when asking the first graders, "What animal do you like?" I like to give examples in English... I like dogs; I like tigers; I like cats; I like poisonous hamster, which usually gets a laugh and helps the kids relax. The voice of Doku Hamu Chan was done by my daughter who is bilingual but a little better in Japanese than English which is why she sounds a little bit like BMO from Adventure Time. This was also her first time to try and record a cartoon voice and my first time at trying an original animation so we both hope you enjoy.

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