My son is currently visiting the San Diego with some friends from university in Tokyo, taking time off to enjoy the sunshine in California and visit the original Disneyland. One thing my son’s friends noticed is the high number of buildings in downtown San Diego that sport large American flags from their roofs. They also noticed the extremely patriotic images printed on my son’s American passport, which might make an American break out into spontaneous song about purple mountains’ majesty and amber waves of grain. While we all assume most countries will have a reasonable amount of patriotism and love of their country, for the Japanese this a dicey situation, due to their nationalistic past, which is very much like North Korea today. To loudly celebrate a love of country complete with waving flags would not only bring up images of Japan’s dark past, but also the current right-wing groups who drive around in loudspeaker trucks playing pro-WWII songs that embarrass everyone. (Note that the Emperor himself is very much against these annoying groups.) In general, the Japanese flag is rarely seen, only displayed on government buildings, schools, and naval installations…and in the schedule books of girls, where it’s become shorthand for, er, “Sailor Moon’s Day” (the Japanese love their euphemisms).
One fun group of Japanese words consists of a single word repeated twice, which makes the words more charming and kawaii. For example, the word moe describes the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when contemplating your favorite anime character, but repeating the word — moe-moe — adds an extra ingredient that makes the new word more playful. Some other repeating words include puri-puri, the softness of a cute girl’s cheek (or elsewhere) when you poke it; tsubu-tsubu, any candy or food with bits of fruit inside; pika-pika, meaning brand sparkling new or in the case of Pikachu, crackling with energy; “love-love,” which describes a couple of “normies” in love with each other; and my favorite caffeine gum, Black Black.
September is terrible! We have to go back to school and/or work, and there’s lots of stress that makes us feel bad. Why not take away all that stress with a great Visual Novel from J-List? We’re having a big sale on all English-translated VNs, from Sonico to Flowers to Seinarukana, plus all import VNs for PC and PSVita/PS4 as well. Stock up ASAP!