Get to Japan Day in NYC if you want to meet the meme megastar Domo

A cultural phenomenon sets his furry feet in New York City for this weekend's festival

Japan Day in New York 2013

Japan Day in New York 2013 Photo by Tsuyoshi Toya

The most intriguing stars often seem a little strange at first: Consider Lady Gaga, David Bowie, or Bart Simpson—but their seeming oddness is what sets them apart from the rest of the pack. And so it is with Domo, the official mascot of Japanese TV network NHK, who looks like a grizzly bear crossed with a Pokemon, speaks in grunts, and has been strutting his animated stuff since 1998. A cultural phenom back in Japan, Domo has cute beady eyes, scary sharp teeth and a hit TV series to his name—check out a ‘sode here and be prepared to say awwww.

You may already have encountered this cute critter from his series on Nickelodeon, as the face of ad campaigns from Target and 7-Eleven, or via his onstage performance at last year’s Vans Warped Tour. Either way, New Yorkers will be seeing a lot more of him in Gotham, because on May 11th Domo kicks off Japan Day in New York at the Central Park Bandshell. Pointy teeth ‘n’ all, Domo will be greeting fans at a mini-studio in the NHK tent which has a green-screen set-up—meaning you can try your hand at being a news reporter interviewing Domo.  There’s also a chance to meet Domo’s creator Tsuneo Goda, a big star himself in Japan; Time Out Tokyo interviewed Goda and animator Hirokazu Minegishi here.

And yes, May 11th is Mother’s Day. In case mom isn’t a huge fan of Japanese anime or memes (weird, huh?) there’s tons of other cool stuff going on at Japan Day in Central Park. Try your hand (literally) at origami, slurp up some tonkotsu shoyu ramen or Hello Panda chocolate, get your face painted kabuki style or even take part in the 4-mile fun run (Note: Taking part in every single one of these activities could bring on hysteria). We suggest you let your curiosity run rampant at this lovely event—and at the very least, exchange a grunt or two with Domo himself. 

Japan Day takes place May 11th at the Bandshell, Central Park (212-398-7145). Learn about NHK World's activities at Japan Day here, and check out the full list of activities on offer here.

Domo making sushi

Domo making sushi © NHK-TYO

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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