Your Friend in Japan

A Year of Memes, plus “Putin-Senpai”

Written by HotAnime

Hello again from Japan. There’s a new Star Wars movie in town, and I’m taking the day off to go see it with my son down in Tokyo. We hope everyone is having a great holiday and/or Star Wars season!

2016 is drawing to a close, and it’s a good time to look back at where we’ve all been. It was a long and hard year, with lots of big surprises and way too many partings. It was also an endless stream of unceasing memes, from Harambe the gorilla to Inappropriate Joe Biden to various U.S. election-related memes, which at times came so fast it was hard to keep up. While the question of what the first Internet meme was is debatable — I’d personally go with the Dancing CGI Baby (sound warning) from the mid 90s — the first to really explode was the wacky “All Your Base are Belong to Us” flash movie from 2000. As more and more of us live online, it seems that memes will only come faster and faster. Maybe it’s somehow related to the trend of anime series like Tawawa on Monday or Oshiete Galko-chan! are getting shorter, with just three minutes per episode? What will the pop culture world look like in another five years? (I’ll be sure and write a follow-up post then.)

Japan has a very famous guest right now: Vladimir Putin of Russia, who is visiting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at an onsen hotel along the Sea of Japan, where they’re discussing Japan-Russian relations. Each side hoped to win something from the other: Putin, to officially end World War II (the Soviets never signed the San Francisco Treaty), and Abe, the return of two islands off the coast of Hokkaido seized by Russia at the end of World War II, though of course progress on such difficult international issues is hard to obtain. Russia’s president is quite a darling of the Japanese Internet, who love to make silly memes about “Putin-senpai” online. He’s also a fixture of Japanese pop culture, and President Putina of Russia is a popular character in our popular game series My Girlfriend is the President.

The J-List staff is working hard, shipping out more than a hundred packages each day. And we’ve started a new sale, for people looking for last minute gifts! From now through Christmas, get 15% off all San Diego based T-shirts and awesome hentai Fuku-bukuro grab bags. No coupon to enter, just enjoy the additional 15% discount when you order!

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