/ #bears #life 

So why bears?

So what’s the deal with the whole 🐻 thing?

Alright I feel like I should address this, the earlier the better, cause I’ll be making references to bears, and inundating you with terrible bear puns and wordplay. I’m good at neither of those but that won’t stop me from doing so πŸ˜‚.

Beholden to pop-cultural references

You may be expecting a deep, soulful justification for the whole ‘bear’ thing. You may assume that we’re both big, hairy, and gay. Well you’re about to be disappointed πŸ˜†.

Both me and Nancy are big South Park fans. Not so much when it comes to the newer stuff really, that whole serialisation thing they’ve been doing the past few years just doesn’t entertain me any longer. Think South Park back when it was crazy, chaotic, nonsensical, and yet meaningful. Back when Kenny kept dying just cause. Back when the words underpants and gnomes were separated by 0 words. Back before Trey Parker and Matt Stone decided to allow the boys to have mobiles, iPads, and the internet providing simple solutions and making their shenanigans pointless. Ah the good ole days 😁.

Anywho, yes South Park. Us big fans 😬. So when we first met, and really to this day, we tended to use a lot of quotes from South Park and The Simpsons in our conversations. One of the most commonly used phrases was:

  • What do you mean the bar is closing? That makes me a saaaaad panda!
  • You being a sad panda makes me a saaaad panda!

Needless to say, it was annoying to everyone but us πŸ˜†. Come to think of it most of the habits we developed as a couple were, are, and will likely continue to be annoying to everyone else.

When in Japan do as the Japanese do πŸ™

Shortly after we eloped and got married in Brisbane in 2012, definitely a story for another day, we went to Japan for our honeymoon/conference trip. I mean what great marriage doesn’t start with a biomedical conference? Being the practical bears that we are we took advantage of my lab sending me to Kyoto, Japan for the International Congress on Hyperthermic Oncology (ICHO), sounds fancy right?, and decided to extend my stay and have our honeymoon there. Talk about efficiency!

So there we were! Conferencing by day and touristing while singing Turning Japanese with no regard for political correctness the rest of the time. The ‘Sad Panda’ bit was still holding strong and one day we say to ourselves “you know what? we should get panda kigurumis!”. Now if you don’t know what a kigurumi is then you mustn’t be an Anime/Manga fan! A kigurumi is a type of adult onesie meant for cosplay purposes or merely looking funky and declaring your allegiance to Anime characters πŸ˜†.

From 🐼 to 🐻

So after some productive Googling one evening we set out to πŸŽ‰ Don Quijote πŸŽ‰, the chain of stores where weird is normal and normal is not! Btw, have a look at the Don Quijote buildings shown on Wikipedia:

Don Quijote Buildings.

Don Quijote Buildings.

How awful are all their buildings? You’d expect a bit more whimsy right? A little more magic? My theory is that there’s so much of it inside that they intentionally make the exterior mundane for contrast and I base that on absolutely nothing 😝.

So after a 2h walk we arrive to a massive store with several floors of wonder for sale! Now, mind you, I’ve been extremely into anime/manga for over a decade by that point so I was ecstatic! One Piece socks, Naruto mugs, you name it! However, the mission was the mission! We were 100% sure we’d find panda kigurumis in a place as insane and humungous as this!

Alas, we could not 😒. We even approached several non-English-speaking staff to ask with pictures on our phones, body language, and a lot of awkwardness. Nothing! Disappointed but not defeated we decided to compromise. Relationships really are all about compromising and if you can’t find alternative kigurumis then you’re not gonna make it! That’s when we came across these little beauties:

Ever since those blurry photos we were officially mama 🐻 and papa 🐻. Its 7 years later and we still call each other as such and still have those kigurumis despite the looks we get wearing them at non-halloween events such as raves or camping ⛺️. Say what you will but we commit 😁!

Heaps of ❀️, Ruddy 🐻



The bear that is called Ruddy