Your Friend in Japan

Autumn in Japan, and Some Light Anime by Makoto Shinkai

Written by HotAnime

I was recently casting around for a light anime to watch, so I decided to go with Makoto Shinkai’s The Garden of Words. This is a joke…anyone who knows Shinkai’s films know they’re never, ever light, and I actually approach them cautiously, having spent days recovering from from a certain film about the speed sakura petals fall at. As expected, the film was breathtakingly beautiful, and, as with Your Name, continues the director’s master plan of making the NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building (a sort of modernist love letter to the Empire State Building, located in Shinjuku) the most famous in anime. I like how you can pick up little tidbits of Japanese life from films like this, like the scene in which Yukari does the “shoe weather forecasting” superstition in which she throws her shoe. If it lands upright, it will be good weather tomorrow, if upside down, it will rain, and if on its side, cloudy. In one scene she passes behind Takao and sees the shoes he’s drawing in his notebook, and she stares at his work intensely over his shoulder. I had to laugh: this is something Japanese people love to do, stare over someone’s shoulder at what they’re writing/drawing, something that’s considered unpolite, at least where I come from.

Fall is my favorite time of year in Japan. The weather is nearly always pleasant, and there’s nothing like going for a drive up Mt. Haruna to take in the beauty of the leaves as they change color. Enjoying the changing of the leaves in the fall is almost as important as cherry blossoms to the Japanese, and the TV news publishes reports on where the leading edge of the color change is each week. Certain areas in Japan, like Kyoto and Nikko (a pleasant collection of temples and pagodas north of Tokyo, and the origin of the “see no evil, speak no evil” monkeys) are so popular as tourist destinations in the fall it’s all but impossible to get near. Autumn is known as minori no aki, shokuyoku no aki or “the season of harvest, the season of hearty appetites,” Which is kind of a problem because it can be hard to resist gaining some weight, there are so many good things to eat.

Christmas is not far off now, and we’ve got some great new Pokemon products on the site for you to enjoy, including an “Itazura” Pikachu coin bank, new plush toys, socks, candy and more. Great for giving as gifts, to others or yourself!

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