Here to remind us that “almost” can be a wonderful thing.

The year was 2014: everyone started using the word “fleek” and the music world mourned the loss of Gwar founding member Oderus Urungus. This was also the year that Kanetetsu Delica Foods launched their Hobo Kani (Almost Crab) imitation crab sticks.

These sticks of fish meat with the texture and aroma of crab would go on to sell 70 million units nationwide, and as a symbol of thanks, Kanetetsu Delica has built a shrine in its honor.

▼ Hobo Kani Shrine preliminary designs

On 1 April, the Hobo Kani Shrine opened in front of Kanetetsu Delica headquarters in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture. The date and unorthodox style of the shrine may have led many to believe this was a prank, but the makers of Hobo Kani felt it was perfect since deception is at the heart of this product’s success.

The shrine features a large statue of a crab eating an imitation crab stick, in a depiction of the god Hobo Kani Sama. According to legends passed down from generation to generation over dozens of weeks, a snow crab in the distant northern seas saw a commercial for Hobo Kani.

The crab then set out on a long journey in search of it. This trek led it to Kanetetsu Delica HQ where it found a single imitation crab stick.

The snow crab lifted the stick into the air, and in that moment a bond that transcends space and time was forged. These two souls committed to bringing happiness merged to form the deity Hobo Kani Sama. Their union symbolizes that the perfect and imperfect are but two sides of the same coin.

It also doesn’t hurt that the Japanese word for crab, “kani,” and word for god, “kami,” are “almost,” the same for a pun as delicious as a mock crab omelet.

The thousands of shrines across Japan often have individual themes, such as being a place to pray for money, success at school, or motorcycle safety. According to Kantetsu Delica, Hobo Kani Shrine is meant to be a place for those going through rough patches to seek solace and to remind everyone that “it doesn’t have to be perfect, because almost is good enough.”

In that spirit, Hobo Kani Shrine also sells omamori lucky charms, just like other shrines do. There are four types of omamori, three of which sell for 800 yen (US$5.30) each.

This charm hopes for victory as an open crab claw makes a V-sign.

This one helps those chasing their dreams so that they may grasp them with the vise-like grip of a crab claw.

This omamori is to help those end a bad relationship by severing ties with the mighty pinch of a crab claw.

It’s also available in a two-pack for 1,000 yen ($6.60) to symbolize the forging of a new relationship between two people like a pair of sturdy claws on a crab.

The omamori are sold in the Tecchan Workshop, where visitors to Kanetetsu Delica’s headquarters can experience how imitation crab is made. However, if you’re not able to get to Kobe, it’s still possible to celebrate Hobo Kani’s 10th anniversary by entering their contest to win a 500-yen gift certificate by purchasing one of five mock crab items and presenting the receipt to the Kanetetsu Delica official Line account.

So, let’s all come together in celebration of this new holiday on 1 April and remember that “close but no cigar” is perfectly fine, because who smokes cigars anymore anyway?

Source, images: PR Times
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