Ayako Maura is collecting world records, not of an athletic kind but of a quirky sort, in an attempt to inject pizzazz into her area.

The 38-year-old graphic designer set up a citizens’ group called the Tokachi World No. 1 Project in her quest to energize the Tokachi region in southeastern Hokkaido by organizing events to set Guinness World Records.

In June her group held an event in Obihiro, the area’s main city, to win Guinness recognition for the “world’s biggest comic foreground.”

Rallying behind the offbeat bid for global fame, 289 people stuck their heads through holes in a 280-meter-long wall decorated with images of tourist spots in Tokachi, such as the Kofuku (Happiness) railway station, and of local specialties like “buta don,” a bowl of pork and rice.

“More people came together than I expected just for the sake of sticking a head through a hole,” Maura said with a look of disbelief.

In August the foreground was recognized by Guinness World Records. It was the first time Guinness had recognized an achievement in this line of effort.

“The participating people’s love for Tokachi and sense of humor have moved the Guinness World Records company,” Maura said.

It was the second Guinness honor for the group. Last year, it created the “world’s largest toast mosaic,” a work nearly 15 meters by 11 meters composed of around 16,500 pieces of toast made from wheat grown in Tokachi. Around 200 people took part in that undertaking, completing it in three hours.

On Aug. 30 this year, Maura had a go at earning a third Guinness citation and is waiting for endorsement.

This time her group created a mosaic measuring about 500 sq. meters using some 2.5 tons of multi-colored beans grown in Tokachi. The theme was based on “Silver Spoon,” a manga about the lives of students at a farming school in Hokkaido.

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