|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Colorful cowboy strums suicidal tendencies away with his song 2008,05,28
Sunday Mainichi 6/8 By Ryann Connell
A Japanese cowboy wearing rainbow-colored trousers and a shining golden hat has made it his life work to travel around the country urging people not to commit suicide, according to Sunday Mainichi (6/8).
Over a period of 212 days last year, Paul Touten traversed Japan's 47 prefectures last year, putting on street performances in front of railroad stations everywhere and plugging his message to stop bullying and opposing suicide.
Touten has become something of a minor celebrity performing his "Mountain Song" under a banner that reads: "Always make your heart a mountain." The climax of his performance is his famous "mountain pose," where he squats down and raises his arms to form a triangle with his head in a manner supposed to resemble a peak.
Most people pass by his street shows with nary a glance, but some stop and do the "mountain pose" together with the performer, often raising a smile as they do so.
Touten started his trek toward the end of 2006 following a barrage of media reports of children committing suicide.
The 32-year-old colorful cowboy gave up his job as a cable TV reporter to go on the odyssey.
"I just think suicide is a really stupid way to die," Touten tells Sunday Mainichi.
"I wanted to do something that would get people feeling positive."
Touten started out performing in live houses, but gave up that gig for the streets, where he was more likely to come into direct contact with the young people his message is directed toward.
One young girl who has a tendency to slash her wrists is certainly grateful for his performances.
"I've been bullied before, so I'm really happy to know there are people out there like him," she tells Sunday Mainichi.
Having completed his journey around Japan, Touten's most recent milestone was playing outside every one of the 29 stations on the Yamanote Line railroad track that loops around central Tokyo.
It was a tour that made him plenty of new fans.
"We've had some bullying at our company," one "office lady" who saw Touten perform says.
"I'd love him to come and put on a show at our office."
Touten, meanwhile, says he's ready for anything if it means getting his message across.
"I'll gladly go to schools or companies to give lectures and show up at any sort of event. Rather than hurt each other over trifling matters, there's a mountain more enjoying stuff in life. I want to find happiness by being happy." (By Ryann Connell)