Your Friend in Japan

More Fun with New Game!, and My Trip to Yokohama

Written by HotAnime

I continue to enjoy the New Game! anime, the story of a girl named Aoba who finds her dream job working at a game developer. In a world where so many anime shows are about school life and culture festivals and how can we find a fourth member for our school club, senpai?, it’s refreshing to have a series about the world the majority of us presumably live in, working regular jobs at companies. In addition to random pantyshots, it’s a fun show that offers some insights into what it’s like working inside a Japanese company. I laughed at the episode about the “aircon wars,” something that we have to manage with here at J-List as we struggle to find a temperature everyone is okay with in Japan’s hot summer.

Thursday is a national holiday in Japan, the newly established Yama no Hi or Mountain Day. While it’s ostensibly a day to go appreciate Japan’s many mountains, its proximity to the extended Obon Buddhist holidays is really intended to help Japanese families who travel home — kind of like Thanksgiving in the U.S. — enjoy an extra day with family, and of course spend money, since the government knows that people generate more economic activity on leisure days than while at work. The original religion of Japan is Shinto, which sees kami or god-spirits in natural objects like trees, rocks and mountains, and whenever I climb a mountain in Japan, I know there’ll be a Shinto shrine waiting for me at the top.

The other day I took off work early and headed down to Yokohama, a city I love but don’t get to visit very often, to attend a dinner show and a talk by, of all things, a famous kabuki actor my wife is a fan of. (She brought me along because she knew that I’d stand out, being the only foreigner there.) I’ve always loved Yokohama for its history (the first foreigners to set up life in Japan did so in the city’s Yamate region in the 1870s), though on reflection I realize I love all the port cities in Japan — Yokohama, Kobe, Nagasaki, Hakodate up in Hokkaido — for being doorways of culture into Japan and all-around nice cities to visit. As I always do, I brought back shumai, Chinese dumplings, since Yokohama has the best Chinatown in Japan.

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