In­side the cute poop mu­seum

The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page - Jae C. HONG

YOKO­HAMA, Ja­pan — Ja­pan’s cul­ture of cute makes no ex­cep­tions for poop. It gets a pop twist at the Unko Mu­seum in Yoko­hama near Tokyo.

Here, the poop is ar­ti­fi­cial, noth­ing like what would be in a toi­let, and comes in twisty ice cream and cup­cake shapes, in all colours and sizes.

“The poops are colour­ful and come out nicely in photos,” said Haruka Okubo, a stu­dent vis­it­ing part of the mu­seum de­voted to al­limpor­tant selfies.

“The shape is so round and cute.”

In Ja­pan, lit­tle poop-shaped erasers with faces and other small items have long been pop­u­lar items col­lected by chil­dren, and some­times older folks.

As else­where, scat­o­log­i­cal jokes are pop­u­lar and bod­ily func­tions dis­cussed openly: a re­cent morn­ing va­ri­ety show by pub­lic broad­caster NHK fea­tured tips on how to deal with farts.

Vis­i­tors to the mu­seum get a short video in­tro­duc­tion and then are asked to sit on one of seven colour­ful, non-func­tional toi­lets lined up against the wall.

Mu­sic plays as a user pre­tends to poop, then a brightly coloured sou­venir “poop” can be col­lected from in­side the toi­let bowl, to be taken home af­ter the tour.

A ceil­ing-high poop sculp­ture in the main hall erupts every 30 min­utes, spit­ting out lit­tle foam poops.

The “Un­sta­genic” area of In­sta­gram-wor­thy in­stal­la­tions in­cludes pas­tel-hued fly­ing poops and a neon sign with the word “poop” writ­ten in dif­fer­ent lan­guages.

In another room, play­ers use a pro­jec­tion-map­ping game like “whack-a-mole” to stamp on and squash the most poops they can.

In another game, par­tic­i­pants com­pete to make the big­gest “poop” by shout­ing the word in Ja­panese, “unko,” as loudly as pos­si­ble.

A soc­cer video game in­volves us­ing a con­troller to “kick” a poop into a goal.

Toshi­fumi Okuya, a sys­tem en­gi­neer, was amused to see adults hav­ing fun.

“It’s funny be­cause there are adults run­ning around scream­ing ‘poop, poop,”’ he said.

At the end of the tour, vis­i­tors get a bag to carry home their sou­venir poop.

If they want still more, the mu­seum’s gift shop abounds with more poop-themed sou­venirs.

The mu­seum at­tracted more than 100,000 vis­i­tors in the first month af­ter its open­ing in March.

It will re­main open un­til Septem­ber.

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