My Favorite Things About Japan - 狸(tanuki)
The first thing is the tanuki, or raccoon dog.
Most people are probably familiar with this hilarious and elusive beast through it's inclusion in Super Mario Bros. 3. I just think they look goofy as all hell. You can find stylized statues of them outside of all Japanese-style pubs or "izakaya." Just look for the horrifying little monster with giant testicles.
A bowl of soba noodle soup served with miso and bits of tempura fry is known as "tanukisoba." Also the tanuki are famed for their "belly drumming," though I'm not entirely sure if this is true.
And that's the tanuki in a nutshell. Stay tuned for more.