Want to go to the least popular prefecture in all of Japan? Of course you do! Pack your bags, you’re going to Shimane!

Though Shimane is home to Izumo Shrine, one of the most significant shrines in all of Japan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the indescribably beautiful Oki Islands, this particular area of the Chugoku Region gets overlooked by most of Japan. In fact, year after year Shimane is ranked as Japan’s most forgotten and least identifiable prefecture.

But not to worry, that’s where Yoshida-kun, Shimane’s brutally honest mascot, comes in. We’ve seen this fellow before, pointing out Shimane’s shortcomings and proclaiming the area to be the the 47th most famous prefecture in a country that only has 47. Well, he’s back at it again with the Shimane x Takanotsume Super Deluxe Masochism Calendar 2014! Now with 20% more snark.

Our reporter came across these calendars in a small souvenir shop near Izumo Shrine and immediately had to have one. Actually, he bought two: a wall calendar and a desk calendar. The entire office had a look at them once he got back from Shimane.

▼ The wall calendar all rolled up next to the desk calendar.p1120997

Even the front cover had us laughing…

▼ “Congratulations, Mount Fuji! by Iwami Ginzan, chosen as a World Heritage site before you” p1120993

It’s true, Iwami Ginzan, a silver mine in Shimane’s Oda City, was chosen as a World Heritage Site in 2007, a whole six years before Mount Fuji, arguably the symbol of Japan. Take that, Fuji-san!

Anyway, moving on…let’s take a look at the cover page of the wall calendar:

▼ “In 2200, Shimane bid!”p1130006

The message is not as clear as the desk calendar box cover, but with last year’s announcement of Tokyo’s successful bid for the 2020 Olympics, the message starts to become clearer. Here’s to the 2200 Olympics in Shimane!

With covers like that, we’re sure you’re ready to get to the calendar pages themselves. Here are a few of our favorites:

▼ January : “Shimane has already exerted itself”p1130014

The January calendar page kicks things off with extra sarcasm and a picture of a lounging bear. The words “Don’t give up! Shimane Prefecture” appear in small letters on the far right side as encouragement and a sort of apology for the jab.

▼ April (graduation season in Japan) : “This isn’t a class photo. It’s the entire school.”p1130016

Not only is Shimane the second least populous prefecture, it has the largest percentage of the elderly. It’s not uncommon to find classes of five or fewer students.

▼ July : “Even typhoons ignore us.”p1130024

Although quite hilarious, the comment is actually true. Every year, many typhoons that look set to come directly over Shimane make a sharp easterly turn up the main island of Japan, sometimes completely missing Shimane altogether.

▼ “Bands who have said ‘We’ll come back again!’ have never returned a second time”p1130028

Come on, guys! Let’s show Shimane some love! And with all those people, both Japanese natives and tourists alike, there’s plenty of unfamiliar Japan to be explored. Having lived there myself, I might just be biased, but there really is something special in the air over in Japan’s least popular prefecture, masochistic mascot put-downs aside.

Images: RocketNews24