The other day Mrs. J-List said to me, “Next year I need to go to the dentist.” Thinking she had forgotten that 2017 had already started, I asked her if she meant this year, and she said, “No, for me, the new year starts on February 3rd.” She was talking about Setsubun, a day when Japanese throw soybeans to symbolically cast devils (generally the father of the household wearing a devil mask) out from the house, shouting oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi! or “Demons out! Good luck in!” Setsubun is a remnant from the days when Japan followed the Chinese Lunar calendar rather than the Western one, which they switched to in 1872, and even today Japanese feel a cultural connection to Chinese New Year. In addition to throwing soybeans at imaginary devils, a cultural tradition from Osaka had been rising in popularity in the rest of the country: eating eho-maki, a long sushi roll which must be eaten all at once from end to end while facing the proper “lucky” direction for that year. If you want eat some makizushi tonight, the direction for 2017 is south-south-west.
My wife doesn’t officially watch anime. Instead, I watch it alone with her sleeping on the sofa, and she wakes up, finds that I’m watching to be interesting, and gets hooked. The show we checked out last night was Fuuka, the currently airing music-drama-romance about a talented and headstrong girl named Fuuka who befriends a boy named him Yuu. Yuu was childhood friends with Koyuki, who went on to become one of the biggest singers in Japan, and Fuuka is a huge fan of her music. When Fukka learns that Yuu knows the famous Koyuki — actually Koyuki’s songs are about unrequited love about Yuu himself — a love triangle ensues. It’s quite fun, especially if you like shows about music and forming bands seeing pantsu. Since I’m so familiar with the tropes used in anime, I was able to call out what was about to happen next most of the time — “the main character will be a transfer student at the school the girl goes to, and they’ll end up in the same class” — which greatly amused my wife, who had no idea how I was guessing the plot of a story I hadn’t seen yet. The series also features Hayama Saori, my favorite voice actress.
We love to stock great cosplay products from Japan, and by customer request, we’ve been able to get in the classic Japanese School Bags, seen in just about every anime ever. They’re great, the perfect size to carry your books or laptop, and they match what you seen in anime perfectly. Why not order one now?