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Bottom Biting Bug Mania

The Bottom Biting Bug may have a rather unappealing name, but his mission is to improve society, and according to a Sankei Shimbun article (J) it seems to be working.

NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, first aired the unassuming anime character on “Minna no Uta” (“Song for Everybody”), a long-running 5-minute program showcasing a variety of songs. The show’s general audience is children, though people of all ages do watch it.

The husband-and-wife team “UrumaDerubi” dreamed up the helpful little critter and produced his entire debut song and dance number on their own—design of the Bottom Biting Bug, animation, songwriting, and singing. The idea was simple, if a little unusual: They feel that people in Japan these days just aren’t nosy enough, and wanted to do something about it.

In their opinion, people keep to themselves so much that nobody butts into the business of others anymore. They feel that encouraging people to be more nosy—and thus more connected to those around them—will do the world some good.

Because of this, the Bottom Biting Bug was born. The character is “kimo-kawaii” (icky-cute), the melody is simple and horribly catchy, and the plan seems to be working. As soon as it first aired in June, the song spread like wildfire among kindergarden and young elementary school students. Then their moms started noticing, and before long it was everywhere.

According to NHK, the cell phone ringtone has racked up over 11,000 downloads, more than anything else on the site. July 27th saw the release of a CD and DVD, picture books are in the works, and there’s talk of producing character goods.

For those wondering about the bug’s background, here’s the story: The Bug Biting Bug is a sort of fairy who is 18th in a long line of butt biters. The family line began in ancient Assyria (Iraq). In The Age of Geographical Discovery Bottom Biting Bug’s parents traveled to The Golden Country Zipang to bite gold butts. He speaks in a Kansai dialect because that’s where his parents were when he was born.

As for how his bites bring people together, apparently when he bites someone they feel the same sort of excitement as when they strike up a conversation with someone they don’t know. By reminding folks of the fun of spontaneously butting into others’ business, the Bottom Biting Bug does his part to help people connect.

We supplied some subtitles to the rather nonsensical lyrics (note that the lines that really don’t make sense are Japanese puns), so you can have a look yourself. Be warned, though: It’s maddeningly catchy, so it may be stuck in your head for quite a while.

10-Year-Old World Whistling Champ In Concert

FNN and Asahi.com (J) are running stories on a world-champion child whistler from the Kansai area who recently gave a concert.

For 10-year-old Chihaya Kosugiyama, whistling is an art. Inspired, she told FNN, by her grandfather at the age of two (asking “How do you talk like that?”), she stuck with it even after stopping for a while after classmates told her it was uncouth or would attract snakes. (In Japan, common superstition holds that whistling after dark will attract thieves, snakes, or other unwanted attention.) She got so good at it that this April she traveled all the way to the US to attend the 34th International Whistlers Convention (E) in South Carolina and compete against some of the best young whistlers in the world.

Chihaya ended up taking first place in the Children’s Competition, so she can now boast of being the best young whistler in the world. She certainly has confidence and poise far beyond her years, demonstrated in a recent concert whistling along with Strauss’ Tritch Tratch Polka (it appears toward the end of FNN’s video report). She told the cameras afterward that she was more excited than nervous, and that she wouldn’t mind doing another hundred concerts.

In addition to professional whistling, she’s also studying how to play the piano and flute, and has recently gotten interested in the ukulele. Apart from music, she’s also studying ballet, and in fact came up with some ballet-esque moves to accompany her whistling during the concert. According to Asahi, she hopes one day to become a veterinarian who can whistle and dance, as well as an author.

Although without subtitles, here’s the video. Whistling is, apparently, an international language.

And, in fact, Chihaya wasn’t the only Japanese winner; Japanese whistlers also took first place in the teen and female adult categories. Here’s a YouTube clip of the teen champion (also without subtitles, but with plenty of impressive whistling).