You usually don’t have to play hide and seek with Osomatsu-san when in Japan. They come to you. They’re everywhere. Their big eyes watch you from every shop window, you hear Iyami singing in every Tower Records, you hear the opening themes blaring from the open door of every arcade you pass. It’s their country.
But you thought you were safe at the train station, at least.
That was not the case when I arrived in Roppongi one afternoon, and immediately after passing the turnstile, I was greeted with the dead eyes of my favorite Matsuno brother. Why are you smiling at me like that, I asked to myself, until I read his little signage inquiring if I’d like to play a game for a chance to win a prize. I hastily downloaded the app associated with the game in question, because I will do anything Ichimatsu asks me to do. I had to take a picture of all six Matsuno brothers, I was informed. How hard could it be? I left the train station, nodded an apology to the person trying to shove a sample of tea in my hand, and wandered out.
Nii-chan was easy to find. As I was taking a picture of him, two giddy girls behind me had become enraptured in the same game, so I got out of the way instead of admiring Osomatsu’s smile a moment longer. I turned behind myself and passed a food court, some shops, some apartments, until halting and (delayed) logic informing me there was no chance another brother was this far away. I went back towards Osomatsu and studied him. Does your arrow mean something, I asked in my head. I followed it.
Sure enough, his arrow meant “that way, idiot” and I found Choromatsu. Dude, killer outfit. I actually think he’s probably the best dressed of his brothers. Anyway, there was a rolly garbage basket next to Choromatsu and I pushed it out of the way for the vanity of my own photo. Who the hell put a color-coordinated garbage basket right next to poor Choromatsu? After this, I struggled a little more. I went up two escalators, used the bathroom (half hoping one of them would be in the women’s bathroom), and found the next brother more or less by mistake.
Jyushimatsu was nestled in a corner wielding a hammer and saw in an area that didn’t need his help. I turned around and Karamatsu was right there watching me.
Thanks for making my life easy, friend. At this point I had one brother left. Where could Todomatsu be? I knew this was not going to be easy. I went up another escalator, and here’s where we take a time out. If you’re paying attention, I have gone up three escalators by now. You might be wondering how that is possible, seemingly outside. I can’t describe it, so here’s a scenic photo I took while on the hunt for Totty, where you will see I am high above sea level but still outside. This whole scenario was unfolding in some sort of apartment/business complex. I’m sure tenants and employees really love having girls chase down cardboard cutouts of anime characters all over their premises.
Anyway, I continued the trek for Totty and spotted a playground in the distance with laughing children. I remember when I used to laugh, I thought to myself, having somewhat regretted this journey I started 15 minutes ago. A happy old couple walked leisurely past me and smiled at me as if they were taking pity on my sad, sad life. What has it amounted to? Spending time in Japan looking for pieces of cardboard? And for what? A prize? What could it possibly be?
I nearly gave up, and then I saw him.
Totty, basking in the shade of a tree, because the sun is bad for you, you know? I finally found him! I took his picture. I claimed my prize on the app! It was… it was… it was…
A mobile wallpaper.
I didn’t even save it.
I hate Osomatsu-san.