Aho Girl Can Teach Us About Japanese Society
I continue to enjoy Aho Girl, a short series based on a 4-koma manga about a really dumb girl named Yoshiko who has a childhood friend named
Kyon Akkun, and the many adventures they have together. In one recent episode there’s a cute scene where Yoshiko’s classmate is trying to work up the courage to pierce her ears because she wants to be popular and get a boyfriend. I found the scene funny because my daughter, being haafu, never had to follow the same tight social rules that Japanese young people do, and got her ears pierced at the age of 5 in the U.S. As a result, Japanese girls were often surprised and full of envy that a child could wear pretty pierced earrings, since it’s generally not allowed here until the age of 18. (Yoshiko’s classmate in the episode would have to hide her contraband pierced ears from school authorities.)
Though not every gag in Aho Girl is a hit, most are quite amusing and enjoyable. The show also has some great voice actresses in it, including Yoshiko (voiced by Madoka seiyu Yabusaki Aoi) as well as the perverted Fuuki Iinchou, who’s in charge of public morals in the school, and loves to sit for hours outside Akkun’s window to make sure he’s not being immoral. This girl is voiced voiced by Uesaka Sumire, who also does Dekomori from Chu2koi and Anastasia from Cinderella Girls. I noticed that Sumire-chan has a 2018 calendar this year, the first time I can remember an anime voice actress getting a calendar. Hey, I have an idea! Let’s all buy her calendar to show the company that we want lots more seiyu calendars in the future!
One of the great joys of living in Japan in the 21st century is the availability of Costco, the American membership store, located all around Tokyo and in our home prefecture of Gunma. Costco is like a magical portal that lets me teleport back to my home in San Diego to pick up some steaks and some of that heavenly pretzel bread, and the “bucket of Tiramisu” they sell here has become legend. The experience of being in the U.S. is total: all the beef is USDA graded, the stop signs in the parking lot are in English (not kanji), and the toilets are American Standard rather than Toto, and don’t wash your butt. I wrote recently about money and the economy in Japan, and how there’s almost no inflation here, which sounds great until you realize it also means wages almost never rise, too. However, Costco is doing more for Japan than providing them with delicious pizza and American beef: they’re forcing wages up. Most basic jobs in Japan start at around 900 yen, currently US$8.13/€6.82/£6.05, with harder jobs or jobs with late hours paying more. Costco starts employees at 1250 yen, or US$11.30/€9.47/£8.40, which causes other businesses to raise wages in order to compete.
We love to bring you wonderful products from Japan. And now we’ve got good news: those incredible full-sized oppai mouse pads from Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 are coming back for a brief time, and you can preorder them now! these mousepads are all hand-made in Hamamatsu Japan by the SoftGarage corporation, and are truly amazing icons to put on your desk. Browse them on the J-List site, or see the Mousepad.moe official page!