One of the first contests we had in Japanese Plus was the mascot competition. The class was divided into groups and we had to come up with a mascot design to represent the program. However, it had to display different virtues of a Japanese Plus student via a list we had made previously in class. Every group had their own contender in the battle for the best mascot. After a long debate to decide the winning mascot, which we accomplished by taking a vote, we all finally came to a consensus. Despite all the AMAZING creations that we formed from the creative juices of our minds, the winner was a totally KAWAII (very, very kawaii-desu), pink jelly holding two flags, made by Ana Nguyen.
Inspired by the cute mascots from Japan, jello and the Pokémon ditto, punipuni was born. I wanted to make our mascot have a “kawaii” look, similar to the mascots of Japan but also simple so that it’s easy to remember and recognizable. While doodling on homework, I sketched several nameless forms along with a few cats and punipuni was born. Punipuni is holding the DC and the Japan flag in its hand representing Japanese Plus. It’s the only program in DC that offers Japanese to students and the mascot represents how we’re integrating more Japanese culture into DC students. The pink, formless blob represents how this program can take any shape because of the students in it.