Got Questions about Japan or J-List? We Have Answers!
Since we’re in between anime seasons, I don’ have much in my queue to write about, so I thought I’d do another “ask me anything” with random questions about Japan or J-List from our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram followers. So let’s get started with your questions about Japan!
What is the best time to go visit Japan? And where should one visit when they get there for the first time?
October has always struck me as a great time to visit Japan, because the weather is nice and airfares are cheap. While the Kanto (Tokyo and Yokohama) area is nice, there are way more stuff to see down in Kansai (Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe). Late March/early April is good if you want to see cherry blossoms, though you never know ahead of time when they’ll actually bloom.
When it comes to sake, do you prefer hot or cold, filtered or unfiltered?
I rarely drink sake as the potential for hangovers is huge. When I drink it, it’s always atsukan (hot bottles of sake) with J-List’s manga buyer, Yasu.
Why are there so few public trash cans in Japan?
Yes, many places in Japan lack trash cans. I’ll give you two reasons which incidentally demonstrate the concepts of tatemae (social facade) and honne (the actual, raw truth). The first is that Japanese are super polite and consider it good manners to bring their trash home with them from parks, etc. The second, sadly, is that Japanese are only polite if someone happens to be watching them. If no one’s around, they’ll bring several bags of garbage from home and dump them in public trash cans, creating problems for neighborhoods. Back in the 90s, Japan’s greatest shame was how much litter had been discarded on Mt. Fuji — always by Japanese climbers, never foreigners, who worship the site. The country underwent a solemn program to clean up Mt. Fuji and get it listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, which happened in 2013.
Do you see many yakuza?
Because of my affinity for onsen and public baths, I see more than my share, since yakuza love baths/saunas too. One thing I used to do was travel while staying at 24 hour saunas (public bath + sauna and a common sleeping area), which lets you stay for around $30 a night. But I was stupid enough to do this in Kyoto, a hotbed of Japanese mafia, and I was surrounded by scary-looking gangsters who glared at me all night.
Why do so many girls have crooked teeth in such a developed country?
Yes, Japanese teeth can be quite crooked, due to lower orthodontic standards and genetics. Part of the problem is, the Japanese think crooked teeth are charming and cute.
How about hair color?
Japanese have a variety of hair colors, but light brown is the most common. The rise in popularity of actress and model Dan Mitsu caused pure black hair to come back into vogue, though, so great is her beauty.
What are some common fears in Japan?
Other than current threat from North Korea, Japanese seem to worry a lot about stomach cancer and gout, which are big health problems here.
How are “loli” anime like Tenshi no 3p are seen in Japan?
In general anime with loli characters are just a thing that some people watch it and others don’t. Japanese never think as intensely about this kind of thing, and usually just say sho ga nai (“it can’t be helped”) and move on if it’s not their cup of tea.
Some Western fans go a little overboard with their love of Japanese culture. Does the reverse happen?
Absolutely. Many Japanese are huge fans of American and British pop culture, including J-List’s DVD and onahole buyer Tomo, who’s actively angry at the Toshiba EMI producer who introduced the Beatles’ music into Japan in the late 1960s, but who took it upon himself to translate the song titles into Japanese arbitrarily. “‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ is Dakishimetai in Japanese, meaning ‘I want to sleep with you,’ which is totally different. And Norwegian Wood was mis-translated as ‘Norwegian Forest,’ totally changing the meaning for Japanese fans.”
Have you ever seen a real Chunibyo?
The word chunibyo (8th Graders’ Disease) was coined by a comedian to describe the escapist fantasies he had in the second year of middle school. While Rika from Chu2koi and Okabe from Steins;Gate make for interesting anime characters, the internal fantasies of actual Japanese 14 year olds are probably much more boring and vanilla.