In Oregon, Portland has been called the City of Roses and the City of Bridges. In Japan, it could become known as the city of a grinning hairy blue mascot known as "Mr. Dude."
Mr. Dude came to the attention of many Portlanders on Reddit, where imgur user scottstarkiller posted a picture of the dude himself with the caption, "My friends went to a tourism expo in Tokyo. They went to the Portland, OR booth and got a picture with the Portland mascot (?)."
The question mark at the end of that sentence echoed the reactions of some Portlanders. "I don't think Portland even knows about Mr. Dude," another imgur user wrote.
That's no longer the case. On Reddit, over 70 people commented on a post about Mr. Dude. Soon after, another post on Reddit revealed that Mr. Dude stars in a Portland-themed music video, which features several local landmarks (including the Steel Bridge and a Benson Bubbler) and Mr. Dude being lifted toward the heavens by a bird-like creature with a man's head.
Mr. Dude even has his own website. It's in Japanese and refers to Portland as "Odnarotoop" (roughly the Japanese pronunciation of Portland spelled backwards), but after playing around on it for a few minutes, we learned that the site allows you to upload an image of your face so you can star in the Odnarotoop video.
The video, which features music by the Portland band Ages and Ages, whose members don't speak Japanese, was created by Travel Portland. Its use of Mr. Dude is particularly clever since over the years, mascots have become a key part of Japanese culture. According to John Oliver (who addressed the phenomenon on Last Week Tonight), Japan has over 1,500 mascots, which can represent anything from a train line to a prison.
So what's next for Mr. Dude? Say, maybe that Joan of Arc statue could use some company.