Greetings from J-List. I’ve made the hop from Japan to San Diego, as we prepare to have the biggest Anime Expo ever. Will you be at the show? If not, make sure you take advantage of our AX 2016 sale on the site!
Quick, what’s the square root of five? I have no idea, but my wife knows: it’s 2.2360679. How about the Periodic Table of Elements? My wife can recite the first dozen or so. Do you know what year the Kamakura Bakufu, the first military government in Japan, was established? She tells me that it was the year 1192. This isn’t because she’s especially smart — like all Japanese she has a tendency to be self-effacing and regularly calls herself baka — but because of the way Japanese memorize information using mnemonic tricks. To conjure up the square root of five in the example above, she calls up a phrase that translates as, “at the base of Mt. Fuji, a parrot cries” (Fuji-sanroku ni ohmu naku). Sometimes knowledge can come from other sources. Once we were talking about European history for some reason, and she demonstrated deep knowledge about Maria Theresa, a legendary female ruler of the Hapsburg dynasty of Austria in the 18th century. I thought it odd that she would have knowledge on such an esoteric subject, then I realized it came from the 1970s anime Rose of Versailles, which she grew up with. (Maria Theresa was the mother of Marie Antoinette.)
There are certain things the Japanese just seem to really like for reasons that are difficult for foreigners to understand. Like the Monkees song Daydream Believer, which is hugely popular, and is the official theme of the Seven-Eleven convenience store chain. Or bad Steven Seagal action films from the 90s, which seem to be on every night (my father-in-law loves them). Another thing the Japanese like a lot is…mayonnaise! They put it on salads, on traditional Japanese dishes like Takoyaki, and even on pizza and french fries. A person who loves mayonnaise is known as a mayoler in Japanese, and this is a joke that pops up in anime from time to time.
Anime Expo is almost here, and it’s going to be BIG. We’ll have a huge booth this year (#2624) as well as a panel on Saturday at 11 pm. The panel will have original free stuff for all attendees, brought from Japan, plus lots of news about current and upcoming games. Hope you’ll be there! If you can’t make the show, we’ve got a great consolation for you: a sitewide AX Sale now, with 5% any order of $75 or more using code AX2016. Get shopping!