Your Friend in Japan

Thoughts on “Peaceful” Japan, and How the Japanese Express Love

Written by HotAnime

One unique aspect of Japan is that it’s so peaceful — called heiwa in Japanese — and everyone here is acutely aware that they live in a very special country. They have an interesting word heiwa boke, translatable as “being dull-witted from too much peace,” which describes Japanese who go out into the world assuming that other countries are as calm and harmonious as Japan, then usually get into trouble because of that. In a week that’s seen plenty of upheaval, with protests in South Korea and the U.S., Japan was busy hosting the Ankou Festival in Oarai, located about 100 km north of Tokyo. Famous as the setting for Girls and Panzer, the town has become a Mecca for anime fans in one of the most successful attempts by rural regions to promote themselves through “otaku tourism.” For two days 100,000 fans descended on the town to buy limited goods, see performances by voice actors and take pictures of cosplayers, and everyone had a blast.

When you start to watch anime, you’re likely to come into contact with some Japanese cultural concepts you’re not familiar with, like the first time you encounter the senpai/kohai system or working out how the name suffixes like -san, -chan and -kun work, or what’s up with those “cousins with benefits” in Sailor Moon? Or in episode 1 of K-On!, why does Tsumugi add her french fries to a pile that Mio and Ritsu are eating from rather than just eating from her own tray? (It was to reinforce her new place as an official member of the light music club.) One image that confused me at first was 相合い傘 ai-ai-gasa, roughly translatable as “together under the umbrella of love.” The Japanese consider two people walking under an umbrella together to be very romantic, and children will sometimes draw an umbrella on the chalkboard with two people’s names written under it.

J-List loves Super Sonico, having published her official game in English with limited giant mousepad and carries hundreds of her products over the years. Now we’ve got a new treat: the new giant life-sized Oppai Mousepad of our favorite headphone-wearing idol from SoftGarage, made of the newest M.J.SuperSoft2.0 silicone materials.

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