Your Friend in Japan

Thoughts on Pasta and Curry, and the Latest Trend in Japan: Nekonomics

Written by HotAnime

Today I thought I’d talk about Japan’s economy, and some recent trends. Japan is the third largest economy in the world ranked by GDP (China surpassed it a few years ago), with various major industries from manufacturing cars to growing rice to services like insurance (the AFLAC duck is very famous here). At the start of the 1990s an unprecedented stock-and-real-estate bubble popped, causing a “lost decade” of near-zero growth that made the 2008-2009 crash seem pleasant by comparison. Currently Prime Minister Abe is doing his best with his “Abenomics” programs, which involve fiscal stimulus with business reforms, but the results haven’t lead to sustainable improvements so far. Recently there’s been a new growth area, however: a huge boom in anything cat-related, from bento and kitchen products to plush toys to cosplay and apparel items. The name for this trend is — I swear I am not making this is up — “nekonomics” — and it’s why you’ve been seeing so many kawaii cat-related products on J-List lately.

I’m interested in the subject of how other countries and cultures can look very different when viewed from far away vs. from close up. I once stayed with an Indian family for a week in New York, and before arriving I looked forward to being fed homemade naan bread and curry every night, but instead I was told, “Oh, that’s what they eat in Southern India. We’re from the north, we’d never eat that.” A friend of my son’s (who happens to look exactly like Yu Darvish, the half-Japanese pitcher for the Texas Rangers) had a similar experience when he went to Northern Italy on an exchange program. He expected to eat what most of us would consider standard Italian food with tomato-based sauce, but instead found that the region he was in was famous for Alfredo-style cheese-based sauces, which he got rather tired of after a year. Naturally, I had many preconceptions before visiting Japan — for expected, expecting that all the cars would be tiny — which of course proved totally wrong when I got here.

J-List carries all the best cosplay products from Japan, really kawaii Japanese socks to anime-style glasses for cosplay. We also stock awesome shimapan, the striped panties that have been so popular since becoming a meme around 2002. We’ve got these panties in many colors, in girls sizes and guys, if you want to get your otokonoko game on. Browse now!

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