One day, when Miko the shrine maiden doll was walking with her best friend Kiku through a shopping arcade, she was surprised by something she saw in a large pile of daikon radishes on a trolley. “Look, Kiku-kun!” she shrieked “that one looks just like Boss Panda!”

Indeed, when Kiku looked more closely at the huge pile of vegetables, he could see what she meant. One of the radishes had extra roots that looked like arms and legs and markings that made it look just like their landlord. “It even looks cross and scary like the real thing”, mused Miko.

Kiku smiled and said, “No, Miko, you know what they say here in Japan,” and he recited a Japanese proverb:


(hiragana: おおきいだいこんはからくない)

(romaji: ooki daikon wa karakunai)

“Large radishes are mild in taste?” Miko-chan looked at Kiku as if he had gone quite mad. “I know they are, but what does that have to do with it?” Kiku smiled. “It means that things that seem scary might actually be quite harmless when you look at them more closely…or get to know them, in the case of Boss Panda”. “Oh, I see!” laughed Miko. “I suppose that is true. He always looks cross but has been kind to us from the start. What a clever saying!”

They decided to buy three radishes to take home to the bathhouse for dinner, and bought the one that looked like the big panda – although they agreed they probably wouldn’t show him, in case he didn’t see the funny side!