The Giant Rubber Duck Hunt

Yesterday I went on a duck hunt. A Giant Rubber Duck hunt. I heard a rumour on the interwebs that Florentijn Hofman’s art project, Giant Rubber Duck, would be making a brief appearance in Osaka, so I grabbed my camera and hit the road.

For those of you who are unaware, I am a huge rubber duck fan. Much to my husband’s chagrin, I have a rather invasive collection of ducks. To his relief, Japan does little to fuel this habit: if my weakness was for cats, owls or racoon-dogs we’d likely be drowning in them by now, but there are few duckies to be found. So naturally, news of the Giant Rubber Duck’s arrival in Osaka got me pretty excited. Information about this project is hard to come by on the internet – I think the artist likes to keep the duck’s schedule a pretty well-guarded secret – so you have to be ready to drop everything and go when you hear it’s in town for only a few days!

We set out for Osaka a little before lunch, and arrived a few hours later, at the duck’s rumoured location, the Old Namura Shipyard, ready for some giant-sized rubber ducky awesomeness.

Duck car

The first thing I saw was this car. The Duck crew is here, we’re in the right place!

rubber ducky pylons

Duck construction pylons led the way to the modest souvenir shop where Giant Rubber Duck paraphernalia was sold out of the back of a quack-tastic van.

We were definitely in the right place. The souvenir stand would still be there after, though, so I resisted its quack and pressed on in search of the giant (over-10-metres-tall) star of the show. I’ve waited so long for this day, ever since I discovered the existence of Florentijn Hofman’s project. Not only is the Giant Rubber Duck awesome on its own, but I love the rationale behind the choice of a duck:

The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn’t discriminate people and doesn’t have a political connotation. The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve mondial tensions as well as define them. The rubber duck is soft, friendly and suitable for all ages! -Florentijn Hofman’s website

So many good reasons to love the duck! To see the giant rubber duck is my dream! So… where is it, anyways?

deflated duck

It should be right there… oh wait…

The duck was… deflated. It apparently sustained an injury during its transfer between its first location in Osaka and this one. How. Could. This. Happen.

The band was all set up to play, but the music was a little... flat.

The band was all set up to play, but the lead was a little… flat.

This is the face of disappointment.

This duck is the opposite of genki. And so am I.

I bought a T-shirt, anyways, to wear next time I try to see the duck. Ducks are resilient, after all, “water off a duck’s back” is an expression for a reason. I heard a rumour from the merch lady that the duck will make another appearance in Osaka this December… To be continued?

Check out Florentijn Hofman’s website for lots of awesome pictures of the (usually-not-deflated) Giant Rubber Duck project!


3 thoughts on “The Giant Rubber Duck Hunt

  1. How can the duck be in Osaka when it is at the Point in Oittsburgh PA? For its final day of a three week stay?

    • I was surprised too, but it sounds like there is more than one! It’s a little disillusioning because I kinda pictured them guiding the duck across the ocean, but more ducks = more happiness for everyone!

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