The journey to find Rilakkuma
I guess most of you have one or a few favorite fictional characters as Doraemon, Hello Kitty, Pikachu, etc., right? So do I, the fictional character I would like to share in this article is Rilakkuma - Happy life with Rilakkuma.
As you may know, Japan is very famous for manga (comic books) and anime (television animation) industry, which is considered as an entertainment product not only for Japanese people but also for audience throughout the world. Most well-known fictional characters are created from Japan, including Rillakkuma - リ ラ ッ ク マ. It is a fictional character produced by the Japanese company called San-X and created by Aki Kondo. Along with a stop-motion animation series titled "Rilakkuma and Kaoru" on Netflix was launched in April, 2019.
I came accross the notebook by chance and saw Rilakkuma. He was lying down on his yellow pillow in a very indescribably relaxing way. I was so impressed by his cuteness which made me "fall deep in love" with him for 5 years. After the research, I found out that Rilakkuma means "Relaxing bear" (kuma: a bear in Japanese, rilak from "relax" in English). It is accompanied by other characters in the San-X's series including: Korilakkuma - コリラックマ: a small white bear, Kiiroitori - キイロイトリ: Kaoru's pet yellow bird with pig-nose and Chairoikoguma - チャイロイコグマ: a brown honey bear.
I found everywhere in Vietnam to collect Rilakkuma items, but there was very few Rilakkuma shops and many people don't know about Rilakkuma. So when I had the opportunity to go to Japan, I really wanted to go anywhere as long as I could see Rilakkuma.
The first place I visited was KIDDYLAND located in Shibuya, Tokyo. This is a true paradise for Otaku (fans of manga and anime). The name may make us think this is a place only for children but almost all items, souvenirs, teddy bears, models ... of fictional characters are actually suitable for all ages. KIDDYLAND has 4 floors in total with different characters displayed in each floor so that customers can easily find their favorite ones. Because I adored Rilakkuma only, I couldn't wait anymore to go straight to the 4th floor, the paradise area for Hello Kitty and Hello Kitty lovers to meet my Rilakkuma and purchased some items for souvenirs.
Continuing my journey to find Rilakkuma, next place I visited was the Rilakkuma Sabo Cafe and shop in Arashiyama, Kyoto. The easiest way to get there was to take the train from Kyoto station to Sagaarashiyama on the JR Sagano Line, then took a short walk to the main shopping street on the way to the Togetsukyo Bridge. This shop was more special than the first place,I think. In addition to Rilakkuma goods, this store also has Rilakkuma's candies and honey. Aww, it was almost too cute to eat! The ground floor is a souvenir area, the first floor is coffee and ice cream. I heard that the shop also serves the desserts decorated with Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori. Unfortunately, I could not enjoy them due to limited time.
Don’t miss the little courtyard at the back where there are some outdoor seatings and stone statue of Rilakkuma resting in Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Do you know Arashiyama is a natural forest of bamboo with 16 hectares in Arashiyama district located in the western of Kyoto? Since Heian period 794-1185, this area was a popular destination for the Japanese aristocracy to enjoy the breath-taking beauty of the landscape and have a relaxing time. Rilakkuma's stone statue noted as "し あ わ せ の リ ラ ッ ク マ じ ぞ う" roughly translated as "Rilakkuma's happiness" because he even knew the most beautiful place to enjoy his life.
After a very long time, my dream finally came true and the journey to find Rilakkuma has also ended with many unforgettable memories. Definitely, after this trip I bought a lot of Rilakkuma items. I wish Rilakkuma will appear in Vietnam one day so that Rilakkuma's fans like me will find it easy to see him. Do you guys feel Rilakkuma so cute? Through this article, I hope Rilakkuma is much better known and someday, you will like him as I did and always do.
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