The mystery deepens once you enter this store.

Our Japanese-language reporter Haruka Takagi loves to travel around Japan as it opens her eyes to new sights, and her mouth to new ice creams.

On a recent trip to Hokkaido, however, Haruka came across a sight she’d never seen before, and it baffled her. No, it wasn’t a brewery at a temple — she’s seen that before. It wasn’t a wasp larvae bento — been there, done that too.

The sight that confounded Haruka was waiting for her at the Akkeshi Gourmet Park Conchiglie Road Station in Akkeshi, a town in the eastern part of Hokkaido, and this is what it looked like.

That’s right — Haruka had found a life-sized panel of a man who appeared to be dancing in an unzipped hoodie. “If he had a life-sized cutout dedicated to him, this man must be famous”, Haruka thought, and so she stepped in for a closer look.

Nope. She’d never seen this man before, and even more, she had no idea why he was there. She looked around the panel for a mention of his name, but couldn’t find one anywhere. The only thing she could make out was the sign he was holding in his hand, which was shaped like an oyster and simply said the Conchiglie Road Station had won a satisfaction ranking for 12 continuous years.

▼ What’s your name, mystery foreigner?

This roadside station is famous for oysters, which are a specialty of the area, but what was this mystery man’s connection to it all? Haruka’s inquisitive reporter side couldn’t let it go, so she stepped through the sliding automatic doors to see if she could get to the bottom of the mystery.

However, upon entering, she became even more confused. There he was again, and now it was as if he was taunting Haruka, challenging her to discover his identity.

She decided to head over to the fridge to clear her head with a bottle of water, but…

▼…there he was again!

There was a lot of information about the water inside the bottle, but again, no mention of this guy’s name, nor his connection to it all.

Her curiosity piqued, she stopped off at the bathroom to think about it all, and lo and behold…

▼ …there he was, AGAIN!

▼ Was there no escaping this man?

Haruka exited the bathroom and headed over to the souvenir area, and — yep, you guessed it — there was the mystery man yet again, but this time he was on a screen, placed between rows of oyster soy sauce bottles, dancing up a storm in what appeared to be a commercial for the roadside station.

▼ Now she had him dancing on an endless loop, and this time he was baring even more skin.

Haruka figured he was probably a well-known face to locals, but as she lives on the mainland, this was her first time seeing him. His dancing in the commercial was so lively and intense that even now, when she closes her eyes, she can see his body writhing vividly.

Of course, she thought he was handsome, but her growing obsession with him was more to do with her reporter’s curiosity. Ever since she was young, Haruka has always wanted to get to the bottom of things, and she wasn’t going to let this man’s backstory allude her anymore. So she strode up to the clerk at the counter, where she had this conversation:

Haruka: “Is the male dancer I’m seeing all over this roadside station a dancer from Akkeshi?”

Clerk: “I’m sorry, but we don’t even know who this person is.”

Haruka: “Huh?!?!?!

Haruka couldn’t believe that a totally unknown person would be given a life-sized panel and so much attention at such a big Road Station like this — in Japan, that would only happen for a tie-up with a famous celebrity.

Haruka: “Do you really not know? What do you mean by that?”

Clerk: “I literally have no idea who he is.”

Haruka: “So even though he’s on all these exclusive products around the store…you don’t know who they are?”

▼ Haruka didn’t hold back with her questioning, pointing out all the ads that surrounded them.

Clerk: “I really don’t know.”

Never one to let a dead end stop her from her investigations, Haruka decided to direct her questions further up the ladder, by calling up the company that manages the roadside station. However, according to the PR rep she spoke to, they also had no idea who he was, saying:

“The male dancer is from paid video material selected by the production company, so we at Conchiglie have no information about him at all.”

Well, this really was a dead end. During her investigations, she discovered that this man had appeared in five commercials for the Conchiglie Road Station since 2018, with a new one appearing every year.

▼ Every one features some seriously enthusiastic dance moves…and some bare skin.

If you’re ready to have his moves imprinted on your mind, feel free to check out a few of the commercials he appears in below.

▼ His debut in 2018

▼ A camo costume change for the 2021 commercial

▼ The latest ad

Who the heck is the man behind all those bold and sexy dance moves? Haruka was now more curious than ever, and all this talk of oysters had her hungry for them as well. So she sat down with a cream croquette (180 yen [US$1.28]), an oyaki dumpling (150 yen), and yes — a bottle of that water.

Both the croquette and dumpling contained oysters, and they were absolutely delicious. These were like gourmet versions, and Haruka understood why this Road Station had become so renowned for its food.

What she didn’t understand, however, was the identity of the man who was so prominent at the Road Station. Even as she went to leave, he was there, dancing an endless goodbye.

▼ Before she got back on her bike for the rest of her Hokkaido adventure, though, she couldn’t resist stopping to mimic his pose.

Whoever he is, his dance moves do add a sense of energy and excitement to the place, so much so that Haruka ended up succumbing to his charms in the end. The commercials seem to have gone over well with the public too, with a number of commenters praising them for their impact, and some even saying they’re addictive to watch.

Still, Haruka would love to know who this man is, and whether he knows that he’s the face of a Japanese roadside station. If you have any leads, please let us know, and if you have any leads on the mystery of Suzy, the Yamazaki bread girl, we’d love to hear them too!

Store information
Akkeshi Gourmet Park Conchiglie Road Station / 道の駅 厚岸グルメパーク 厚岸味覚ターミナル コンキリ
Address: Hokkaido-ken, Akkeshi-gun, Akkeshi-cho, Suminoe 2-2
Open: 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (April-Sept); 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. (Oct-Dec); 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (Jan-March)
Closed Mondays (Tuesday if the Monday is a public holiday); Open every day in July and August

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[ Read in Japanese ]