Your Friend in Japan

Exploring Cultural Bridges in Japan, plus Celebrating Panties Day!

Written by HotAnime

I’m interested in the idea of “cultural bridges” between Japan and the rest of the world, and the way certain areas of popular culture create good bridges — fun snack products that appear in anime, cross-marketed properties like Pokemon, certain ero doujinshi I could think of — while others, such as Touken Ranbu, the Nitroplus game (and soon-to-be anime) that takes the most famous swords from Japanese history and turns them into hunky bishie guys, might not be that accessible to Westerners who lack knowledge of Japanese history. Sometimes the things that become cultural bridges can be surprising. I’ve observed that for some odd reason, the various board-and-party games of Milton-Bradley, from the Game of Life to Monopoly to Twister, are all well-known here in Japan, thanks to them being introduced here back in the 1960s by Takara-Tomy. Another surprising cultural bridge is H. P. Lovecraft, whose works are well-represented in anime, from Haiyore! Nyaruko anime to our very own Deus Machina Demonbane and Song of Saya, which are both outstanding Cthulhu-mythos compatible visual novels we recommend a lot.

The Japanese are big fans of designating certain days as special. May 4th is Ramune Day, commemorating the launch of the now-famous Japanese soft drink way back in 1872, and October 10th has been designated as 萌えの日 moe no hi or “moe day,” because the date written in kanji (十月十日) looks like the kanji for moe (萌) when read in vertical writing order. Tomorrow (August 2nd) marks パンツの日 pantsu no hi or “pantsu day,” a day for celebrating everything that’s wonderful about shimapan and other kinds of underwear, which was chosen because the number 8 can be read as pa and the number 2 is pronounced tsu in Japanese. (These sound-to-number conversions are easy for Japanese people, but terribly hard for us gaijin, so don’t worry if you can’t see why 8/2 means pantsu.) If you want to celebrate the joys of underwear with J-list, we have some great styles in stock in various sizes for cosplay or other use!

The Back to School season is coming, and we thought we’d help everyone out by having a big sale on all stationery (notebooks, awesome Japanese pens and more), Japanese study items (including the Genki textbook series), and related products. We’re also having a sale on bento boxes, bento accessories and cookbooks. Get 10% off instantly on all these products — no coupon to enter. Make an order now!

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