A beloved mushroom travel companion lost in transit, never to be seen again? Not on our watch!

We all have things that mean far more to us than their monetary value alone. Regardless of how tatty it became, as a kid I kept and wore the same baseball cap for almost a decade purely because of the person who gave it to me. As a 33-year-old man, I have a paper-mache Akebeko red cow—now covered with cracks and a head that falls off if you so much as look at it—that I bought during my first ever visit to Japan in 2006 which has pride of place on my desk.

RocketNews24 reader and Canadian expat Mel has Nameko, a beloved stuffed mushroom toy she bought in Japan. Or rather she had it—Nameko accompanied Mel and her husband on countless journeys both inside Japan and out since they became friends in 2012, but at some point towards the end of a recent flight from Toronto to Tokyo, he disappeared.

And we mean beloved. Nameko and Mel have been all over together:

▼ Nameko at Hirosaki Castle

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 17.07.51

▼ Clearly buzzed about being on the Narita Express

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 17.06.51

▼ Enjoying hanami

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 17.08.07

▼ Going back to his rural roots at Shichinohe

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 17.12.02

▼ Enjoying some okonomiyaki at Dotonbori

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 17.09.43

This little guy has stuck with Mel through thick, thin, snow and sakura. But now, sadly, he’s missing.

Here’s Mel with the details on how she and Nameko became separated:

“I managed to lose him somewhere either on the airplane or in Haneda Airport when I returned to Japan after my recent trip back home to Canada for the holidays. I have felt heartbroken since I realized that I lost him.

I thought I put him back into my bag (which was under the seat in front of me) about an hour before the plane landed, but when I looked into my bag while waiting at the baggage claim carousel, he wasn’t there. It’s possible that he fell out of my bag on the plane, or somewhere in Haneda Airport (likely when I opened my bag just before entering the customs & immigration area to take out my passport and boarding pass).

As soon as I noticed he was missing, I contacted the airport staff and they got the Air Canada staff to check the plane around where I was sitting, but they didn’t find anything. We also asked the customs desk just before exiting the baggage claim area to see if anyone had turned my Nameko in, but they said they hadn’t seen anything like him. I also called Air Canada and Haneda Airport the following day (January 5th) around noon to see if my Nameko had turned up, but to no avail.”

Since then, Mel has posted messages to Air Canada, Haneda Airport, and Beeworks’ (Nameko Saibai Kit) respective Facebook pages in the hope of finding the person who picked him up, but she’s still no closer to finding him, and the days are ticking by.

Sure, there are a lot of stuffed Nameko out there—he’s a hugely popular character in Japan, after all—but this Nameko is special, and he’s dearly missed. We want to help Mel get him back, and we want you to help us.



Beloved stuffed toy, frequent traveller, fun guy to be around

unnamedLast photo taken of Nameko, onboard Air Canada flight AC005 on January 4, 2016 at 15:49 JST

What: Stuffed Nameko toy. About the size of a beer can, but with a winning smile and bags more personality. Also makes a noise when you squeeze him in just the right way.

When: Sometime between January 3, 2016 and 5:05pm on January 4, 2016.

Where: Either sometime during Air Canada flight AC005 (codeshare ANA flight NH6821) or in Haneda Airport upon arrival on January 4.


So do your bit for Mel: make like Mario and let’s save this missing mushroom! Using the hashtag #FindNameko, share this post on Facebook and Twitter, and tweet us @RocketNews24En if you think you may have some information that will lead to the pair being reunited.

Mel and all of us here at RocketNews24 still believe Nameko to be alive and well. He’s out there, somewhere, like Matt Damon in any Matt Damon movie ever, needing to be rescued. Together we can bring him home.

No mushroom left behind!