Funny or Nuts : Some People Walk Their Dogs, This Man Walks His Fresh Produce

It's not every day you get to see people
dragging vegetables on a leash in the
street. Unless you live in Japan, that is.
Over the last year, photos of a well-
dressed man walking all kinds of
produce through Tokyo like they were
pets have been surfacing on various
social networks. Known as "Cornman", he
has become one of the human
attractions of Japan's capital city.
Until recently, no one really knew who
Cornman was or why he was walking
produce on a leash. The first known
photo of him dragging an ear of corn
outside a subway station was tweeted
in May of 2012, and ever since then
people started sharing pics of the
elusive character with all kinds of
produce, from cauliflower to radishes.
There was a lot of speculation
surrounding Cornman and the motives of
his bizarre habit. Some people said he
was crazy, others that he was just
looking for attention, and there were
those who claimed he was the loser of a
batsu game (a competition or a bet
where the loser has to do something
embarrassing), but no one knew for
sure. Then, a few days ago, Cornman
appeared on a Japanese TV show and
talked about himself and his produce
Cornman, real name Masahiko
Naganuma, says he was inspired to walk
corn and vegetables on a leash through
Tokyo's Kanto area after seeing a
foreigner dragging a Chinese cabbage in
his hometown of Tokorozawa in 2006.
For some reason, the image of a person
walking a vegetable made a big impact
on him so he went home to get his own
edible pet and returned to meet the
stranger. Unfortunately he was gone,
and Naganuma never saw him again, but
the habit stuck with him, and he began
walking his produce on a regular basis.
Although Cornman never got to meet his
inspiration, I have a feeling it might
have been Han Bing, the famous Chinese
artist who during the last decade
traveled around the world shooting his
"Walking the Cabbage" photo series.
Contrary to his name, Cornman doesn't
walk just corn ears. He has been
spotted dragging along all kinds of
produce (radishes, carrots, cauliflower,
leeks, etc.) and says walking broccoli
gives him the strangest feeling, for
some reason. Just like he would a real pet, Masahike names all his vegetables,
either by changing their Japanese
names (e.g. his corn is named Tomomi,
after the Japanese name
"toumorokoshi") or by adopting
character names from his favorite
anime like Dragon Ball Z (his carrot is
called Kakarrot). But he does something
no pet owner would ever do.
He eventually cooks and eats all his pet produce, and says the bond that
develops between them after the walks
makes them taste even more delicious.
Masahiko Naganuma claims that when
he's out walking his produce police stop
him up to four times a day, but that it's not enough to stop him from doing what he loves. So if you're ever in Tokyo and see a guy dragging an ear of corn on a leash, don't panic. Just do what everyone else does, smile and take a picture.

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