My name’s Hiraku, and I’m the mascot for the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, or JCMU for short. You can learn more about me on my bio page here.
With this being my very first blog, I wanted to properly introduce myself to you. I had a lot of fun writing this post, and I hope it helps you get to know me a little better!
Hey there! My name’s Hiraku. I’m JCMU’s mascot, and I’m here to tell you a little about myself.
First off, I’m a tundra swan from Japan. And from Michigan. I guess you could say that I’ve been a study abroad student my whole life, since I migrate all the time between my two homes. Just don’t ask me to pick a favorite!
When I’m in Michigan, I live in East Lansing at the JCMU office, where I get to relax and watch everyone work. When I’m in Japan, I live in JCMU’s Hikone office, on the desk next to the window, where I also get to relax and watch everyone work. But hey! I’m not a slacker! I take care of JCMU’s Snapchat account all by myself, and I work pretty hard to answer everyone’s questions. I can tell you everything about the dorms, the application process, the program’s history… Sometimes I feel like I’m in two places at once.
In my spare time when I’m not telling people all about JCMU and study abroad, I like to drink tea, hang out in onsen, and travel. I’ll go anywhere there’s a festival, fireworks to watch, or bikes to ride! And did you know that you can do all those things in Michigan and in Shiga?
Since I started working for JCMU, I’ve been getting a lot of the same questions. What’s with the hat? How do your shoes stay on? Why do you only have one eyebrow?? Okay, you busybodies, I’ll tell all!
First of all, my hat is awesome! You ever look at the roof of a castle and think “That would make a cool hat?” That’s basically what happened. The hat is a castle. Right in the same city as JCMU’s Shiga campus, there is a historic landmark called Hikone Castle 彦根城 that we love. Castles are cool, hats are cool, why not both?
My shoes are also pretty awesome! They’re actually called tengu-geta, and they’ve been worn in Japan by normal people and mythical creatures for centuries! Does that clear things up?
Regarding my eyebrow: that’s one (1) more eyebrow than most swans have, you know.