Full disclosure, I lived in Tokyo, Japan for 11 years of my life before unfortunately moving back to the United States in March of this year (Great timing, am I right?). In 2019, Japan began to install Pokemon-themed manholes around the country giving particular pocket monsters a spotlight in such a strange place. But as of the other day, Machida City installed 6 new ones Serigaya Park, and that officially brings the total to 100 Pokemon Manholes throughout the country.
Decorative manhole covers are nothing new in Japan. For the longest time, artists would bring extra flavor and pizzazz to their cities and towns by providing gorgeous works of art that would show off the highlights of the area in such a way that native Japanese would immediately understand the placement of that manhole cover just by sight alone.
Now the country is adding to that with these 100 Pokemon Manholes. To the untrained eye, these Pokemon-themed lids simply look like they are paying homage to the video game series. But in actuality, it is a long and arduous process to decide what Pokemon and what locale are to be featured on the manholes. Japan is quite particular about these things, but that is what makes this monumental occasion so fascinating. The country is clearly moving more towards embracing its new cultural pieces and learning how to bring them together with its historical ones.
Last year, my family was going through some difficult times, and my son and I randomly decided to go to Yokohama to attend the Pokemon GO Fest Yokohama, even though we were not invited by Niantic (*shakes fist*). Upon arrival at Sakuragicho Station, the Yokohama-themed manhole with the two Pikachus greeting each other in front of the Ferris wheel welcomes you and brings a huge smile to your face. It was no different for me and my son. Despite the hard times, this memory of us in Yokohama will forever be one of my best memories as a father.
Culturally, it is awesome to see Japan spread the Pokemon love and enjoy one of their country’s greatest contributions to the entertainment world. Manholes may not seem like the appropriate way to show respect to the franchise, but if you ever visit Japan, you will understand just how amazing these are, especially the plethora of Slowpoke ones.
Thank you for stopping by Nintendo Link for your cultural lessons and Pokemon-related topics. What do you think about these manhole covers (ポケふた in Japanese)? Would you like to see these in your country? Let us know in the comments below! Happy gaming, everyone.
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.