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World Cup 2007: Vabo chan attracts the crowds

Japanese volleyball pin-up Yu Koshikawa joins cuddly mascot "Vabo chan" and staff outside Fuji Television's FIVB World Cup 2007 shop in Harajuku, Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan, September 13, 2007 - The bustling Takeshita Dori in the trendy Tokyo district of Harajuku came to a standstill on Thursday afternoon – thanks to Fuji Television’s cuddly volleyball mascot, Vabo chan.

Crowds of shoppers and curious Tokyoites on their lunch break gathered round Vabo chan for the opening ceremony of Fuji TV’s official shop for the FIVB World Cup 2007.

Also on hand was one of the stars of Japan’s men’s national team, Yu Koshikawa, who signed a board for well-wishers inside the ground-floor shop. As well as the colourful merchandise on display, the “Vabo chan Only” shop also boasts a giant TV screen showing volleyball action and interviews and a machine for producing personalised stickers.

Outside, fans can test a World Cup computer volleyball game called “Venus Evolution”, which goes on sale on October 25 and can be played on PlayStation2.

A giant pink Vabo chan, and staff handing out World Cup fans on a hot and humid day, attracted people to the shop, where the volleyball theme song, “Stand up for the champions”, added to the atmosphere.

Fuji TV presenter Reiko Endo provided details of the World Cup before giving a demonstration of the “Venus Evolution” game.

The opening of the shop came 50 days before the opening of the World Cup, which starts with the women’s tournament from November 2-16. The men’s event follows from November 18-December 2.

Twelve teams, including the five continental champions, will compete in a round-robin competition over four phases at two sites. The top three teams will qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.




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