Gaijin are from Earth, Japanese People are from Planet Vulcan
Living in Japan for so many years has given me many opportunities to observe the Japanese people around me, including my students back when I was an ESL teacher, my wife and her family, and the staff of J-List today. One observation I’ve made is that foreigners generally come across as more emotional, fawning loudly about the things we love and showing open disgust for whatever we hate. One of the stereotypes of foreigners that we speak Japanese using the intonation of our native languages, bringing the strong emotions we feel when geeking out about something we saw in Akihabara to the usually flat, tonelss Japanese language. The way foreigners seem to be on a slightly different wavelength from the Japanese around them can be seen in anime, too, for example Dino, the blonde-haired proprietor of the Blend S cafe, or Nagi Rokuya, who hails from the fictional Northern European country of Northmare and has come to Japan to become a famous idol in IDOLiSH7. The way foreigners always seem to be open with their emotions while Japanese people hide them has made me draw parallels to humans and Vulcans on more than on occasion.
Several years ago there was a popular trivia show in Japan that taught us such important information as, “All gorillas have type B blood,” or “The glasses worn by the the statues of Colonel Sanders in front of every KFC in Japan are made with the actual prescription the Colonel wore when he was alive.” They also informed us that the distance from the Earth’s surface up into space is equal to…. [long pause] taking the train from Tokyo to Hakone, a mere 62 miles / 100 km. That’s sort of the theme of the new anime Sora Yorimo Tooi Basho / A Place Farther Than the Universe, about a girl named Mari who encounters a slightly frigid girl named Shirase who has an odd dream: to go to Antarctica, a place farther from Japan than outer space is, because that’s the place where her mother went missing. I think the anime is definitely worth your consideration because of it’s fresh story (how many anime series are there are about Antarctica?) plus interesting characters and fun slice-of-life comedy. Plus it’s made by Madhouse, an animation studio that never steers us wrong. So give A Place Farther Than the Universe a try!
Remember, there’s a new season of Dagashi Kashi, which means we’ve stocked lots of great traditional Japanese snacks from the Showa Era, which all Japanese love. We even brought back the Limited Dagashi Boxes which let you taste the exact snacks introduced in the Dagashi Kashi manga and anime. Order fast as we’re only making 50 of each box!