By Kin

T-shirt design finished!

Updated tanuki

The “client” is the rest of the JETs in Shiga; it’s a contest for the prefecture. We had to try and come up with something that really symbolised Shiga.

The figure on the right of my design is a Tanuki (or Raccoon Dog; they look nothing like this, but the figure is modeled after the common Tanuki statue you see everywhere in Japan, especially in Shiga.



A Tanuki statue has to have a few key elements:

1 – A hat, to protect against trouble or bad weather

2- Big eyes, to perceive the environment and help make good decisions

3- A sake bottle that represents virtue (HA! – Gem)

4- A big tail to provide steadiness and strength until success is achieved

5- An oversized scrotum that symbolises financial luck (no, we don’t know either)

6- A promissory note that represents trust of confidence. In this case, I made it blue to represent the pension books that Japanese workers keep; a JET’s accumulates like any other worker, but when we leave Japan, it gets paid out and it is massive.

7- A big belly that symbolises bold and calm decisiveness

8 – A friendly smile

9 – A walking stick because…. well, all the statues have one, so I included it.

And yeah, number five… believe me, compared to some of the statues I’ve seen, those balls are TINY.

The statues themselves, while they’re ubiquitous all over japan, are all made here in this prefecture in a place called Shigaraki, we’ve been there and it was simply incredible (see the above photo).

As a weird coincidence, relative to the lake, the tanuki is actually standing over where Shigaraki would be.

Lastly the big blue shape is Lake Biwa. A Biwa is sort of like a lute and they named it that because they either:

a) Had some weird-arse biwas back then


b) Had never seen the lake from above.

It’s the largest lake in Japan and is simply massive.

I’m kinda worried I’ve overstuffed the design with Shiga factoids, but ahh well. The prize is a free T-shirt if I win, so it’s not all that big of a deal.

What about your area? What says “home” to you?


(bro hug)