Today I used my journalist super powers to uncover the myserious meaning behind the blue-haired peeing boy.
You know, this kid, from the truck that parked outside my apartment:
According to my expert on peculiar Japanese trucks (a.k.a. my supervisor), this truck is in fact from an emergency plumbing service. The red print you see below the boy says "water emergency." 110 is an emergency number, sort of like 911 in the states, that people call to report crimes or traffic accidents here. So it represents an emergency.
The print to the right of the boy says "Patent applying JCW631 jet stream washing."
Now, the boy himself is known as "shoben kozo" in Japanese, which literally means "peeing boy." My supervisor informs me that Japanese people easily associate images such as this with the famous statue water fountains of peeing boys that we have all seen at some point in time. She pointed out that the boy in this cartoon was peeing white (not yellow) fluid, indicating it is like water, not urine. This particular cartoon didn't seem odd to her at all. In fact, this is a widely recognized cartoon around Hiroshima due to popular TV commercials broadcast by this particular plumbing outfit.
It gets even better. She directed me to a website with pictures of these peeing boy statues that are apparently scattered throughout Japan. They are modeled off a famous peeing boy fountain in Brussels, Belgium. People here dress them up in different outfits throughout the year. There's the fireman peeing boy, Santa peeing boy, Mexican peeing boy... Check it out!
AAAAWESOME! I can't wait to see these! Leave it to the Japanese to come up with something so twisted and cute at the same time.
While I researched this on the web today, I even came across this cell phone charm of a shoben kozo.