Your Friend in Japan

A Great Timeslip Anime, and What I Learned by Not Going to Hokkaido

Written by HotAnime

As the current anime season wraps up, I’m rushing to finish the shows in my queue as quickly as I can. One series I immediately fell in love with is Orange, an awesome “timeslip romance drama” about a girl named Naho who receives a letter from herself ten years in the future. The letter is filled with information about future events, including what she must do to save the life of one of her classmates, a boy named Kakeru. It’s an extremely dramatic and awesome anime, up there with BokuMachi and other “timey-wimey” shows that have become popular in the post Steins;Gate anime world. I recommend the anime and the manga a lot!

One thing textbooks don’t tell you about becoming bilingual in a language is the way you must actually mold yourself to fit the language to a degree, rather than just learning how to conjugate verbs. For Japanese to successfully master English, they must actually develop a new personality that’s more assertive, since English causes you to specify subjects and speak directly more than Japanese, with its omitted subjects and built-in vagueness. Two things that are important in Japan 謙遜 kenson or personal humility, and 調和 chowa which means getting along harmoniously with others, and I learned a hard lesson related to these concepts back when I was in university at SDSU. The city of Hakodate, at the southernmost tip of Hokkaido, wanted to hire eight native speakers to teach English and act as goodwill ambassadors for two months, and I jumped at the chance to go to Japan for free. I’d studied Japanese for two years at that point, and thanks to learning with manga and translating Japanese songs I could speak pretty well…although my kokoro had not caught up with my studies. When it came time to select who would go, the interviewer was impressed with my language skills, but he sensed my pride and “going my way” (as the Japanese say) nature, and I wasn’t one of the candidates chosen. Not being picked for the program was a bitter pill for me, but it introduced me to the above two concepts, as well as 反省 hansei, which means to reflect on your own shortcomings rather than blame others when something goes wrong. Looking back, I’m really glad I was able to learn that lesson.

J-List has some big news for you: we’re taking the wrappings off a new project we’ve been working on, a new monthly box service called J-List Box! Every month we’ll offer awesome boxes filled with Japanese snacks (a basic and a deluxe set), plus awesome limited boxes with figures, plush toys and more, and of course something “naughty” for our adult customers every month. There are no subscriptions to join, just preorder the J-List Boxes you want now! Hurry, the current boxes ship out on October 10!

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