Monday, January 29, 2007

Tokyo's Bananas



My high school mascot was a vanguard. Our enemy school was “the spartans,” another was “the warriors,” and yet another was “the knights” (they were the rich kids).

If high school mascots are any indication, it would seem that we Americans like to pretend we’re fighters of the most epic sort. (Minus Santa Cruz U. which has the banana slug, and wussy Stanford, which has a color: cardinal.)

But Tokyo has gone a different route in picking its mascot: behold the Tokyo Banana!

It may look like a Twinkie, sponge, or sex toy, but this baby is pure banana cream cake.

Ask any Tokyoite why there’s such a thing as the Tokyo Banana and she’ll likely admit that not only does she have no clue as to the etymology of her city's banana mascot, but also that she’s never even tried one.

Why did Tokyo pick a banana as its emblematic fruit? Well...

Bananas are yellow and long and do pretty well in the fruit chain hierarchy. You can also eat them year-round. They’re good in smoothies, are associated with the concept of going crazy, and in England they wear pyjamas.

And if you leave the skin on a green banana they can make for some pretty dangerous missile-like weapons.

So maybe the Tokyo Banana isn’t so different from our American mascots after all.

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