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Arashi_Leonhart
August 30th, 2011, 09:08 AM
Index
Section I: The Traditional Japanese House (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/963-Arashi%C2%92s-Amateurish-Guide-to-Japanese-Life-and-Culture-and-How-it-Applies-to-Fanfiction?p=301231&viewfull=1#post301231)
Section II: School Life (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/963-Arashi%C2%92s-Amateurish-Guide-to-Japanese-Life-and-Culture-and-How-it-Applies-to-Fanfiction?p=305981&viewfull=1#post305981)
Section III: City Life in Fuyuki and Misaki (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/963-Arashi%C2%92s-Amateurish-Guide-to-Japanese-Life-and-Culture-and-How-it-Applies-to-Fanfiction?p=323122&viewfull=1#post323122)
Section IV: The Church Executors and Ryuudou Monks (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/963-Arashi%C2%92s-Amateurish-Guide-to-Japanese-Life-and-Culture-and-How-it-Applies-to-Fanfiction?p=337480&viewfull=1#post337480)
Section V: Shirou is Sexist (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/963-Arashi%C2%92s-Amateurish-Guide-to-Japanese-Life-and-Culture-and-How-it-Applies-to-Fanfiction?p=398338&viewfull=1#post398338)
Section VI: Food and Cuisine (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/963-Arashi%C2%92s-Amateurish-Guide-to-Japanese-Life-and-Culture-and-How-it-Applies-to-Fanfiction?p=785230&viewfull=1#post785230)
Section VII: Snowing Nights, Blossom Mornings, Sunflower Afternoons, Falling Leaf Evenings (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/963-Arashi%C2%92s-Amateurish-Guide-to-Japanese-Life-and-Culture-and-How-it-Applies-to-Fanfiction?p=798206&viewfull=1#post798206)
Section VIII: The Universal Language (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/963-Arashi%C2%92s-Amateurish-Guide-to-Japanese-Life-and-Culture-and-How-it-Applies-to-Fanfiction?p=1107705&viewfull=1#post1107705)
Section IX: Main Versus Harem, Romance in Japan (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/963-Arashi%C2%92s-Amateurish-Guide-to-Japanese-Life-and-Culture-and-How-it-Applies-to-Fanfiction?p=1190101&viewfull=1#post1190101)
Section X: Even the Japanese Can't Into Keigo (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/963-Arashi%C2%92s-Amateurish-Guide-to-Japanese-Life-and-Culture-and-How-it-Applies-to-Fanfiction?p=1332331&viewfull=1#post1332331)

Future Sections:
That Standard Line You Always Hear, Common Phrases
Head Tilting Really? Actual Habits
There's Something About Blondes, Foreigners in Japan
Superstitions and the Supernatural
Fashion and the Young Crowd, Modern Life


I said I'd do it. I'll try and update periodically.

For the express purpose of reference in writing fanfiction, particularly Nasuverse stuff, for people that might be otherwise unfamiliar with Japanese culture and say characters do something that, really, a Japanese person wouldn't. Also, great justice. I'll try to include some other examples that a person can look into if they're well versed in anime.

Section I: The Traditional Japanese House

The Emiya house is, by all appearances, a significantly traditional Japanese home and Kendo dojo. We’ll talk about the traditional home elements here for now.

Note that this specifically focuses on a traditional home. Many Japanese homes nowadays are highly Westernized.

Genkan: The entryway to the house, with a sliding door. A genkan is a recessed portion of the house where shoes are left and temporary guests—say, a deliveryman—may enter but not leave the confines of. One removes shoes in the genkan, stepping up onto the floor of the house without their feet touching the floor of the genkan, and then an orderly person will turn around and turn their shoes back around to face outward, ready to be put on when one is heading out. Note you can see a clear break from that in the FSN anime, when Rin tries to block Sakura from entering the house and she rushes in, leaving her shoes behind in a mess. On the flip side, I recall you can see a shoes-turned-outward in Clannad: After Story, when Ushio faceplants into the genkan while playing.

On the deliveryman note: packages in Japan are not signed with a pen. Instead, everyone has a stamp that is unique to the person or family. Stamps are registered devices and used in the place where a person in the West would put down a signature. Said stamps are often kept with bankbooks and often near the entryway for the express purpose of package signoff.

Halls: Hall floors are usually made of wood and can, in socks, be very fun to slide around on. During the Fall-Winter-Spring months especially though, one usually puts slippers on at the genkan to keep feet warm and whatnot. Houses often have a large number of slippers for guests if they are affluent enough: K-On!’s Ui is introduced to the rest of the club as a polite girl when she readies slippers for them upon coming over to Yui’s house.

Major rooms: In a traditional Japanese house, the floors are made up of tatami mats. Tatami are made up of straw and give a little when stepped on, lending to a sort of cushioning feel; Judo, Aikido, and other contact martial arts, before the advent of modern cushioning, used tatami as padding and some schools still use them for aesthetic purposes. Traditional house rooms are often measured by the number of tatami mats as opposed to the Western equivalent of giving length and width dimensions. Tatami are also removable and regularly replaced when they lose color or, in apartments with them, when an old tenant has left and a new one has come in. Kenshin uses tatami at one point to block poison darts from an Oniwabanshuu member in Rurouni Kenshin. Additionally, Western lounge or dining furniture is not usually placed atop tatami, so no heavy couches, chairs, dining tables, or the like; if Western furniture is present in the house, it would be in a room with carpeted or wood floors. Note in smaller apartments and houses, though, tatami and Western furniture mix and mash a lot more due to space constraints.

Doors and sometimes walls are made up of shouji and fusuma. Shouji are latticed wood or bamboo with washi or rice paper—or modern equivalents—which allow light in but offers some sense of draft protection from the elements. Japanese aesthetics prefer very brightly-lit rooms and shouji help keep things open. Additionally, during the summer months, shouji keep heat from being trapped in compared to Western walls and doors, so air flow is generally better. On the flip side, winters are often drafty; Usagi Drop’s Rin comments on that very issue. Like tatami, shouji are regularly replaced, and children often poke out the rice paper in that case, much in the same delight as popping packaging bubble wrap.

Fusuma are plain-paneled doors without the lattice structure but otherwise similar in make to shouji. They often divide a “large” room into smaller spaces; Shirou’s bedroom is divided with fusuma, thus the “room” next to his where Saber sleeps is actually part of a larger space but given a clear divider. Small apartments are also often just one large space given fusuma to define the space: Taiga pierces a fusuma with her bokutou upon her first incursion into Ryuuji’s place in Toradora! To differentiate, shouji usually separate exterior from interior in a house (or rooms from hallways that run along the outside edge of the house) and fusuma divide interior rooms.

http://pics.livejournal.com/zekk_skywalk/pic/0003g634

In the place of furniture, people often sit on pillows (traditionally zabuton) or completely on the tatami floor regularly. Living room tables (chibudai) are low to accommodate that. During wintertime, a kotatsu table may be carted out in the place of the table. Kotatsu are tables with a comforter-like skirt surrounding the table and a heater in the center. A person puts their legs under the skirt to keep warm while at the table. Ouran High School Host Club’s Tamaki is obsessed with them upon first coming to Japan, and the entire K-On! cast falls asleep while lounging in one during New Years Eve.

http://pics.livejournal.com/zekk_skywalk/pic/0003hsyk

A traditional Japanese house might have a couple of “living room” spaces. One may be completely dedicated to be a children’s play area. Another may be a parlor, and in a smaller house that parlor may double as a guest room. In an updated house, a parlor may be Western-styled while the living room is Japanese-styled, or the other way around, to serve for different purposes.

Furo: The bath. Separate from where the toilet is. With a traditional furo, you have a sink and vanity separated. The furo itself is a deep bathtub, often deeper than it is wide. You actually wash yourself outside of the bath, soaping and scrubbing and rinsing yourself over a drain that is usually at the center of the room. One then enters the hot bathtub, which is more for the purpose of pore cleansing, like a sauna. Since one is theoretically clean upon entering the furo, the water within is kept and many people will share the same bathwater; Kenji of Summer Wars comments on “the bathwater Natsuki-senpai bathed in.” Public bathhouses in Japan are essentially larger versions of this same process.

Toilet: Separate from the furo washroom. Often one is located right near the entryway genkan for the convenience of a guest. Maybe I’ll talk about the hilarious toilet devices one has in Japan, such as the Otohime, in another entry.

Kitchen: A thing to note is that even in the huge Emiya house, the kitchen is decidedly small in comparison, and this is not uncommon; if you live in an apartment, you’re lucky if the kitchen is anything more than a recessed portion of one wall. Because of the small sizes of their kitchens (and the small size of any refrigerator/freezer/icebox/ect), it is common for a Japanese person to shop for groceries frequently, if not daily. This also means good things for the traditional Japanese diet, as fresh foods are more often purchased and used; leftovers frequently go into lunch bentos for the next day. Another thing is that, culturally, the leader of the house at home—the wife, usually—can get very finicky about guests inside the kitchen and it is not common for such a person to ask for or even accept help in preparing food.

Bedroom: The bedrooms of the Emiya household are traditional in makeup, with tatami mat floors and fusuma doors. As noted above, many of the bedrooms could be considered one large space divided by fusuma. Shirou sleeps on a traditional futon, which is rolled out for bed and stored in a closet again during the day. Futons are also regularly aired out, which can be seen in Carnival Phantasm, and even many nontraditional apartment beds are little more than a platform with a futon or comforter over it; Touma airs his out at the beginning of Toaru Majutsu no Index only to find Index has taken over his balcony railing.

http://pics.livejournal.com/zekk_skywalk/pic/0003kaka

Outbuilding: While not exactly common, in a house like the Emiya’s, it isn’t uncommon. Said outbuilding implies that the Emiya house proper doesn’t have a parlor/guest space per se and that the separated outbuilding serves the same purpose. It is Western-styled with Western bed and desk and could possibly have a small living room space of its own, depending on how decked out Kiritsugu or Shirou made it.

Sherrinford
August 30th, 2011, 09:09 AM
Teach us, Arashi-sensei!

Arashi_Leonhart
August 30th, 2011, 09:18 AM
:P Not sure what the next entry will be. Probably food or something.

Mike1984
August 30th, 2011, 09:26 AM
Another thing is that, culturally, the leader of the house at home—the wife, usually—can get very finicky about guests inside the kitchen and it is not common for such a person to ask for or even accept help in preparing food.

Hmm, this somewhat explains Shirou's attitude to cooking (and, also, demonstrates how much he trusts and cares for Sakura...).

Arashi_Leonhart
August 30th, 2011, 09:27 AM
And how much he fears Rin. Also explains his "righteous fury" when Rin steals food in UBW.

Sherrinford
August 30th, 2011, 09:27 AM
Shirou's the wife?

LOL.

Keyne
August 30th, 2011, 09:28 AM
Hmm, this somewhat explains Shirou's attitude to cooking (and, also, demonstrates how much he trusts and cares for Sakura...).
He's just too kind to outright tell her to get the fuck out. :3

Mike1984
August 30th, 2011, 09:30 AM
Shirou's the wife?

LOL.

Wasn't that already obvious...?


He's just too kind to outright tell her to get the fuck out. :3

Nah. He taught her to cook in the first place, remember. In his very own kitchen....

Arashi_Leonhart
August 30th, 2011, 09:31 AM
Shirou's the wife?

I'm pretty sure we've established this fact long ago. All three route heroines and Illya probably wear the pants more often than he does.

Cascade
August 30th, 2011, 09:52 AM
Do you know anything about business culture and their economy we should know? XD
(I bet I'm the only one who will ask about that.)

Arashi_Leonhart
August 30th, 2011, 09:56 AM
Not really, not more than general information about the economic bubble burst and some of the way businesses treat employees and whatnot. Not a ton related to a bunch of teenage orphans, really.

Aladar
August 30th, 2011, 10:14 AM
I suggest that the next entry is on high school life and stuff. Pretty relevant, no? And besides, I'm sure many of us can help out with the bits we known of if need be.

Heroslayer
August 30th, 2011, 10:24 AM
It would probably be a good idea to get a solid view on school. God knows how many assumptions there are about it in fanfics.

Sherrinford
August 30th, 2011, 10:34 AM
Japanese schools are some of the most terrifying places on earth.

God knows what creatures attend to those...

Arashi_Leonhart
August 30th, 2011, 10:37 AM
Magi, half-demons, immortals, and trained assassins, to name a few.

Techlet
August 30th, 2011, 10:39 AM
Magi, half-demons, immortals, and trained assassins, to name a few.

Not to mention aliens, time travelers, and espers.

Bloble
August 30th, 2011, 10:48 AM
This is looking pretty interesting. I for one have already learned a whole bunch of stuff I didn't know about.

Five_X
August 30th, 2011, 11:09 AM
This was quite useful!

http://nerdmeltla.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/the-more-you-know1.jpg

DreamsRequiem
August 30th, 2011, 11:16 AM
Not to mention aliens, time travelers, and espers.

You forgot clueless bossy reality-bending entities. With yellow ribbons.

Aladar
August 30th, 2011, 11:25 AM
You forgot clueless bossy reality-bending entities. With yellow ribbons.

You meant Gods.

And there are also shamans. And sliders. And whatever else you can think of.

Kotonoha
August 30th, 2011, 11:31 AM
This is pretty neat.

Milbunk
August 30th, 2011, 11:33 AM
^.

lantzblades
August 30th, 2011, 11:46 AM
This is pretty neat.




agreed.

DreamsRequiem
August 30th, 2011, 12:13 PM
Thank God for Arashi, I actually needed this for what I'm writing.

Arashi_Leonhart
September 1st, 2011, 10:14 AM
There's plenty more to talk about, really, when it comes to school life, but I'm not exactly sure what else people would want to know or would even be relevant. Eh.

Section II: School Life

School division: School in Japan is like an odd mix of the American system and the British system, in that it has an Elementary, Junior High, and High School like America but compulsory schooling is not all the way to one’s eighteenth birthday.

Elementary school (Shougakkou, lit. “little school”) is grades 1-6 (ages 6-12), though many kids start with Kindergarten. Schoolchildren wear uniforms and each has leather backpacks that are to suffice them through their entire elementary life. Further good examples on this would be Usagi Drop, which dedicates a lot of time on this, or Strawberry Marshmallow, the elementary equivalent to Azumanga Daioh.

Junior High (Chuugakkou, lit. “middle school”), is the last compulsory form of education in Japan, covering grades 7-9 (ages 12-15). Bakuman. covers the tail end of this, and Toaru Kagaku no Railgun’s main four girls are all in junior high (“Ahh, Biribiri-chuugakusei!”).

High School (Koutougakkou, lit. “senior school” and regularly shortened to koukou) covers grades 10-12 (ages 15-18). It is not a requirement, though significantly important to the culture. The entry into a good high school is as important to a Japanese family as a good university is in the Western world. A good example of this transition process is in Bakuman., where ace student Akito ends up going to a high school “beneath” his stature to be in the same school as his mangaka partner, Moritaka, who doesn’t have the grades to attend at a more prestigious level. There are entry exams for high schools, but once you have been accepted by the school, except for completely dropping out or choosing transfer, they will keep you on-board for the rest of your high school education: see Tomoya Okazaki of Clannad, who entered on scholarship, got injured and could not play, but was kept by the school regardless.

If the Asagami Private Academy where Akiha goes to is prestigious enough, the fact that she can attend there and gets special privilege to commute instead of stay at the dorms is more significant than it is usually harked on…and is also very ojou-sama-ish of Akiha.

Because high school entry is important and going to a prestigious one outside of even the city you normally live in can benefit your future career, some high schools have nearby dormitories for non-resident students, like universities do.

Schools are also sometimes oriented toward certain areas. Some are better equipped to get students ready for a university, while others are better at preparing students for technical jobs. Shiki notes that his school is university-minded. Additionally, students are sometimes arranged into classes depending upon questionnaires they receive in first or second year that orients them into a grouping of students that share interest in the same fields. 3-A might be full of humanities kids, 3-B might be full of mathematics and sciences, 3-C might want to go to technical colleges, ect. Again, this is not universal, but fairly common.

Yearly Schedule: Schools in Japan start in April instead of the August/September route of many in the Western world. They have a summer break of a month or two, though it is shorter in northern prefectures. Summer during junior high and high school often also has a period for students to do extra studying, some because they want to perfect their skills and others because they need the help; such a period is generally not mandatory unless the student is failing miserably. Their Winter break is not centered on Christmas like in many Western countries, though, and sometimes schools meet as late as Christmas; Christmas is not quite the same celebration in Japan, which I’ll talk about in the seasonal entry.

Festivals: Schools, high school especially, usually have festivals that showcase things done by the students. There is usually a cultural festival held in the fall and a sports festival in either fall or spring.

Cultural festivals are where students showcase things they’ve learned, practicing organizational and craftsmanship skills. In elementary and junior high, this might be just a showcase of art, essays, and crafts the students have done, but in high school it is often much more elaborate. In anime and manga, you might see students debating over the default choices of café or haunted house if nobody in the class has a particular idea. Toradora! and K-On!! both depict plays the students put on. Clubs also perform demonstrations, which K-On! somewhat revolves around.

Sports festivals are outdoor games students participate in. Some schools run old-fashioned sort of activities that can be somewhat silly in nature—see Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star—but others are just straight-up games of volleyball, softball, track, and the like. These festivals are competitive between classes, as rankings are assigned based on how well each class did in events.

Years: All schools are divided into the yearly classes, and in junior high and high school it is very common for these divisions to occur where each year’s classes are on an individual level of the school. Each class is then divided: 1-A means “first year, class A” and 2-C would mean “second year, class C.” Shiki and Shirou are both 2nd years and both are 2-C in their respective schools. Akiha and Sakura are a year below, Rin, Shinji, Satuski, Arihiko, Issei, and Ayako concurrent, Ciel a year ahead. The image below shows where you’d normally see “2-C” and the like.

http://pics.livejournal.com/zekk_skywalk/pic/0003q9sh

This brings up the senpai-kohai issue: in Japan, seniority is serious business, as age and experience is culturally assumed to be of greater importance than even genius intelligence. One addresses a student in the years ahead of oneself as “senpai.” This carries over into the adult world, where in businesses and companies, anyone who is older or worked at said company longer is addressed as “senpai” if they are of otherwise equal job rank. One usually does not address a younger person as “such-and-such-kohai” though they may reference “my kohai” or the like when talking to a third person.

The senpai-kohai thing is extremely important on a cultural level and can affect relationships significantly. A senpai in any situation to a kohai is always assumed to be the default responsible one, while a kohai is meant to always listen to their senpai. In martial arts, for instance, even if the senpai is of the same “rank” to you, you still listen to their orders if they are a senpai. In return, senpai are often responsible for your behavior or care, and say a bunch of the senpai are going out to dinner together and you the kohai are invited along: a senpai is generally assumed to pay for your bill and to clean up after you if you were to cause trouble or the like. It also often supersedes traditional gender roles as well, so, Shiki not listening to Ciel could be seen as particularly rude.

Also going to bring up something here: one does not refer to themselves with honorifics. Ciel would never refer to herself as Ciel-senpai, even if it is relative to a kohai. If someone asks for an “Emiya-san,” Shirou would not say, “I’m Emiya-san”; he would leave out the –san. Honorifics are exactly that: honor-bearing, and to give yourself one is paramount to being supremely arrogant and self-centered. A common thing that crops up in anime/manga to refer to a very self-important character is for them to say “ore-sama” which is a very casual and arrogant “my esteemed self.” Amidst friends, it could be a joke but in general society, it is a complete no-no. Bak in D.Gray-man refers to himself as ore-sama when talking amidst friends, while Ayane and Chiruzu mock their teacher Pin as an ore-sama in Kimi ni Todoke.

Classes: Students stay in their class for the day (sans gym) and it is the teachers that rotate depending on subject. Homeroom teachers are, obviously, the teacher you start with; Shirou’s homeroom teacher is Taiga and Rin’s is Kuzuki. Depending on the school, lunch can be a mad rush for certain items in the cafeteria; other students bring bento or just eat vending machine food.

There is a class representative and sometimes a vice representative for the class, the former who announces a teacher’s presence so students can stand and bow in respect. Class reps also lead discussions about things like what the class will do for cultural festivals and the like. In traditional senses, the class representative is very much the epitome of the Japanese work ethic, so seeing the sort of “standard class rep” character in anime and manga is pretty common.

Students who talk out of turn, are regularly tardy, regularly unprepared, or are caught doing something wrong are not given “detention” in the Western sense. Instead they are ejected from the classroom and forced to stand outside—old fashioned habits also included them holding water buckets while standing. This is connected to a cultural issue in Japan: in-groups and out-groups. Part of the way society as whole shows unity is to consider itself a united front, and various group hierarchies form within the society to show different levels of unity. A student ejected from a class is shown to be “outside” that unity in shame. Also why there is a lack of detention and being expelled is more common instead. Similarly, at home, if a child is bad, the parents will not “ground” them as is seen in Western culture, but eject them from the house to stand outside until they have seen enough punishment. The closest similarity could be drawn to a group of friends who do not invite another person along to something, ala Satsuki’s “I wanted to play…” in Carnival Phantasm. Otherwise, being kicked out in class is pretty common in anime and manga—now you know why—though a good example of the kicked out of the house one can be seen in Kimi ni Todoke, as Ryuu comments upon seeing Chizuru outside that he thought she’d gotten into trouble again.

Student Duties: Unlike in the Western world, students are very much responsible for maintaining the classroom, not the teacher. Students rotate assigned times that they are to stay after class to do things like clean the chalkboard/whiteboard, sweep, and other cleaning tasks. This carries into gym classes and clubs as well, and students that skive off on their work are not very well thought of by faculty. The class rep is usually in charge of scheduling these sort of tasks.

School Clubs: I’m not sure what all to say on this since so many anime out there revolve around after-school clubs. School clubs are prevalent in Japanese high schools and universities and the beginning of the year second and third year students will slam freshmen with invites to join their clubs. It is literally like a feeding frenzy with club representatives acting like piranhas and first years the food. Probably one of the few times members of the culture get to invade your personal space, as normally a Japanese person is taught to keep everyone at arm’s length, even loved ones.

Clubs run anywhere from bands to mystery novel readers and can be anywhere from a couple of people to an entire class worth of students, and in cases with competitive elements such as sports clubs, the club doubles as the school team. As a student, unless you have a job or home commitments—and jobs are sometimes prohibited by some high schools—it is basically expected of you to join some kind of club since community and networking is an important part of Japanese life and high school life in particular. Classmates and fellow club-members are usually friends for life in Japan, and even if you do not regularly see them after high school is over, one often is expected to keep some form of contact. Talk to the average elderly Japanese person and they can probably recall most of their classmates from their junior or senior years of high school.

Note the Kyuudou ("Way of the Bow") Club in Shirou’s school is noted by Rin as being exceptionally large for their school. While ranges like that exist in large schools from large communities, Fuyuki is not implied to be that huge (though the city it is mostly based on, Kobe, is very large).

Uniforms: The “sailor uniform” that is so ubiquitous to anime and manga is not quite as common as they’d have you think, as much of Japan has modernized from said uniform, which was based on military dress during the Meiji Restoration. Many schools prefer a fairly up-to-date look with a blazer or waistcoat over a button-up during winter and a short-sleeved button-up for summer. Bigger cities obviously have more variety in the range of uniforms you’ll see, though. Shiki’s school uniform is not an uncommon sight; Shirou’s school uniform though looks pretty unique and a bit more like a private academy that once catered to religious Westerners, which makes sense considering the history the Tohsakas have in the area.

Much as the genkan in the house, schools have a large recessed area at the entry of the building with many lockers. There, students remove their shoes and put on a kind of shoe-slipper that they wear inside, returning to the lockers when they leave for home to get their shoes and replace the indoor slippers. There are sometimes baskets where students can leave umbrellas here too, and to avoid mixup either students label their umbrellas or they use very inexpensive and interchangeable ones. Occasionally in the shy or old-fashioned, love letters can get put in here, though that isn’t quite as common anymore. This is also where some bullying can occur, as shoes can be vandalized or stolen.

http://media.animevice.com/uploads/0/167/207575-haruhi03_m_super.jpg
-The shoe lockers from the school that Haruhi Suzumiya is based at

Unlike anime and manga would have you believe, bloomers are not standard issue gym uniforms for girls. That is all.

Schoolwork: Japanese education is hardly interactive. It is very much expected that a teacher will lecture, and you will copy notes. It is not the kind of culture or system that accepts discussion or discourse; even questions are generally fairly rare in the middle of class. Students that are called upon to read aloud stand when doing so, and in mathematics or science courses they might write something on the board. Additionally, it might be of surprise, but in addition to traditional Japanese sources, many high schools include a wide range of material from around the world that include history and literature from the West. If you watch Akira Kurosawa films such as Stray Dog, you might be surprised at how much men in the 1940s and 50s Japan knew with only a middle or high school education. This works somewhat against the traditional Japanese history and literature model in that a lot of Japanese students find the dry way things are presented as supremely boring and technical stuff. The Last Samurai was popular with the Japanese because, even though it was just a retelling of the Satsuma Rebellion with inaccurate depictions of the samurai of the age, the materials taught in school on the topic are not terribly engaging.


Next time:

http://punynari.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/kobe-and-osaka-035.jpg?w=600

City Life in Fuyuki and Misaki

Five_X
September 1st, 2011, 11:29 AM
Thank you, Arashi-sensei!!

I guess that the visual novel ef - a fairy tale of the two is quite a good source for school-life knowledge, then. Also:


Unlike anime and manga would have you believe, bloomers are not standard issue gym uniforms for girls. That is all.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Arashi_Leonhart
September 1st, 2011, 11:39 AM
I guess that the visual novel ef - a fairy tale of the two is quite a good source for school-life knowledge, then.

Any school-born series is, from VNs like ef or chuck-a-stone-at-a-Key-series, or slice of life series based on 4koma, though there will be greater or lesser exaggerations. Of course, what gets confusing with ef is the whole twin city issue...

Five_X
September 1st, 2011, 11:42 AM
But more importantly, no buruma. :(

Techlet
September 1st, 2011, 11:47 AM
But more importantly, no buruma. :(

It's okay. Because track suits.

Five_X
September 1st, 2011, 12:05 PM
You know it.


http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/7853/usamitracksuit.jpg

Also important to note: real Japanese schoolgirls don't often wear the miniskirts shown in anime/manga/visual novels. Instead, stuff like the ladies' uniform in F/SN are closer to reality in this regard.

Arashi_Leonhart
September 1st, 2011, 12:10 PM
Also important to note: real Japanese schoolgirls don't often wear the miniskirts shown in anime/manga/visual novels. Instead, stuff like the ladies' uniform in F/SN are closer to reality in this regard.

True yet false. Longer skirts are common, but girls in Japan very frequently modify their skirts or double/triple them up at the waist so that they are closer in length to a miniskirt.

Five_X
September 1st, 2011, 12:12 PM
Still, not the kind of "so short it gives panty shots at every turn" kinda short that's often depicted.

Arashi_Leonhart
September 1st, 2011, 12:14 PM
Yeah, that really has more to do with the Japanese aesthetic of what looks attractive. Both guys and girls with long legs and shorter torsos are thought to be more attractive, which is one of the reasons why Sailor Moon is such an epitome of anime-girl-group-attractive.

Techlet
September 1st, 2011, 12:16 PM
You know it.

Haru! :D

Kotonoha
September 1st, 2011, 12:16 PM
It explains CLAMP noodle people.

Five_X
September 1st, 2011, 12:16 PM
Though at the same time, Japanese media doesn't seem to focus on the ass as much as the west. It's a good indicator of the surprising differences in fetishes.

Arashi_Leonhart
September 1st, 2011, 12:16 PM
It explains CLAMP noodle people.

And Takeuchi wtf why are limbs so long torsos so short?


Though at the same time, Japanese media doesn't seem to focus on the ass as much as the west. It's a good indicator of the surprising differences in fetishes.

Though they do focus on the bust a lot in turn. Probably because having a bust in Japan is a little more rare than in America or whatever.

Five_X
September 1st, 2011, 12:22 PM
Funny, 'cause in porn a lot of the really busty girls are Japanese, and vice versa. More often you'll see videos like, "Amazing J-cup Japanese girl!!!" than the same for western women. Probably because of the above, yes, and that maybe we're just so cynical we think every western woman with big boobs has implants.

Sherrinford
September 1st, 2011, 03:03 PM
I read all of Arashi's wall of text.

And I'm proud of it.


Thanks, Arashi. Indeed, these lessons are useful.

Altima of the Gates
September 1st, 2011, 03:07 PM
Though at the same time, Japanese media doesn't seem to focus on the ass as much as the west. It's a good indicator of the surprising differences in fetishes.

There are actually a surprising amount of ass fetish vids as well, catching up quite well to breast fetish vids.



....What?

Arashi_Leonhart
September 1st, 2011, 03:20 PM
...So, Altima, I'm guessing, first Sakura h-scene cg was your favorite?

Altima of the Gates
September 1st, 2011, 03:42 PM
First and third.
Also, I appreciate the info on senpai/kohai relationships. There was a few things I didn't know, particularly that the senpai was expected to pick up the tab on an outing. I know friends who would abuse the heck out of that, and thus wouldn't ever be invited, lol.

Arashi_Leonhart
September 1st, 2011, 03:44 PM
Join a club, listen to senpai, feel ashamed at being so noobish, then feel better when they take you out to dinner!

Aladar
September 1st, 2011, 04:10 PM
Join a club, listen to senpai, feel ashamed at being so noobish, then feel better when they take you out to dinner!

The start of many a high school relationships.

Pata Hikari
September 1st, 2011, 04:57 PM
...So, Altima, I'm guessing, first Sakura h-scene cg was your favorite?

I guess he also liked suppressing Roa.

Five_X
September 1st, 2011, 06:19 PM
Well, there's certainly less anal in eroge than in western porn. Which makes... sense? Ass fetishism is just bigger in western countries, probably because of certain stereotypes.

The only anime I've seen that's gone into actual ass fetishism is Kanokon, from that... that one scene. If you've seen Kanokon, you'll know it.

Inugami
September 1st, 2011, 07:24 PM
How about cultural attitudes towards femininity, and the crime rates?

That is, explaining why Shirou's infamous words about Ayako aren't the horrible things that people seem to believe. And just how often women get mugged on the way home.

I explained the first in my other forum hang-out a while ago, and I'm pretty sure I could hunt it down and repost it here.

Heroslayer
September 1st, 2011, 07:33 PM
What infamous words?

Though both are probably a good point to go over.

nick012000
September 1st, 2011, 07:56 PM
What infamous words?

Though both are probably a good point to go over.
The ones he says to Taiga after he heard that Ayako got molested and fought off her attacker long enough to run away in Fate.

Soldat der Trauer
September 1st, 2011, 09:06 PM
@Heroslayer: Here you go. Behold, the Ayako argument!

Pages 616 (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/136-Recommended-Type-Moon-Fanfics-Discussion/page616?highlight=Ayako), 618-620 (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/136-Recommended-Type-Moon-Fanfics-Discussion/page618?highlight=Ayako).

Five_X
September 1st, 2011, 10:08 PM
That's... that's just beautiful. What day does that happen, anyhow?

Heroslayer
September 1st, 2011, 10:13 PM
Uh... if I recall correctly. Day seven of Fate. I'm not sure if it's in any other routes.

Five_X
September 1st, 2011, 10:14 PM
I guess Shirou just thought he was Rance for a second there.

Arashi_Leonhart
September 1st, 2011, 10:56 PM
Well, this whole idea partially came from that argument and the fact that I kept referencing things in my fic that I was surprised people didn't know. I was going to try and tackle the gender roles at some point. It's kind of funny, because actually, out of anything, it supports that Shirou is more like a housewife, because the way he addresses it is very much from the viewpoint of a traditional woman.

warellis
September 1st, 2011, 11:08 PM
Very interesting about what you've written.

Considering we're talking about general stuff, how accurate is the treatment of foreigners in anime/manga compared to real-life? I've often read that while the Japanese are very accommodating to tourists and visitors, they become much colder to someone attempting to enter into Japanese society. Is this true? I've read about the thing where foreigners are not allowed into certain clubs or they have problems with buying houses.

I've also often read that the Japanese consider Japanese to not really be the result of nationality, nor even culture, but almost of race. Is that true?

EDIT: How accurate would you say this website (http://www.thejapanfaq.com/FAQ-Primer.html) is regarding Japanese culture?

I also have to ask does Japan still discriminate against groups like the burakumin?

Arashi_Leonhart
September 2nd, 2011, 08:39 AM
Considering we're talking about general stuff

I'm also mainly talking about things as they pertain to writing fanfiction. I don't particularly write stuff that I can't just jot down off the top of my head, and some things aren't relevant to a Tsuki or FSN story.



how accurate is the treatment of foreigners in anime/manga compared to real-life? I've often read that while the Japanese are very accommodating to tourists and visitors, they become much colder to someone attempting to enter into Japanese society. Is this true? I've read about the thing where foreigners are not allowed into certain clubs or they have problems with buying houses.

The outsider-treatment to foreigners is lessening and you can probably correlate it to how much the internet and communication media has made any country less insular. Yes, there might be individual rules as to clubs barring foreigners, though you're never going to find a consistent level of that I don't think (of course, I don't have much info on clubs to go off of, and admittedly I have a very different set of problems within the Japanese culture because I'm full Asian and don't look like the stereotypical American). It is well documented that, for instance, during World War II, Jewish refugees from Europe actually were allowed to flee to Japan--despite their alliance with Axis powers--as a waystation to neutral countries, but because they were so well treated, a majority of the refugees that went to Japan stayed there permanently.


I've also often read that the Japanese consider Japanese to not really be the result of nationality, nor even culture, but almost of race. Is that true?

I'm not an anthropologist, though I would say there is at least a little truth to this to a limited degree, although the reasons are cultural and religious for the most part. Though, really, up until ultra-recent times, you could probably say the same for many nations in that regard. Even in America, you get asked what "ancestry" you have, as if "German, Spanish, Finnish" or whatever were more a race than a nationality.


How accurate would you say this website (http://www.thejapanfaq.com/FAQ-Primer.html) is regarding Japanese culture?

I only kinda glanced at it, but while maybe in general the information is accurate, the tone in which it is written kinda comes across as accusatory. I mean, the information on gaijin for instance is true, but, I don't really see how it's that different from how any nation treats any of its foreigners as a whole or stereotypically; see: Dat Phan, for jokes on Asians in America.


I also have to ask does Japan still discriminate against groups like the burakumin?

Discriminate, I don't really know. Differentiate, at least some older Japanese do, yes, along with distinctions to ainu and ryukyuan and whatnot.

Inugami
September 5th, 2011, 11:33 PM
I guess Shirou just thought he was Rance for a second there.
See, THAT kind of misunderstanding is EXACTLY what I'm talking about, dammit.

Reposting:


In Fate/Stay Night, there is a girl called Ayako.

Ayako, however unconsciously, acts like a bro. She will interact with guys like a bro and expect to earn their respect like a bro. She still sees herself as a girl, and will get vengefully angry if someone implies she's unfeminine, but she nevertheless conscious or unconsciously acts against her culture's ideas of femininity.

To the point that she will walk through town at night, alone.

It's not implied how often she does this, but the one time we're sure that she did, we learn about it because she was confronted by a man with ill intentions. She got scared, and ran home so hard that she pulled a tendon or something.


When Emiya Shirou is told that Ayako got herself injured, based on her character, he assumes that she got injured by getting into a fight with someone, whom she successfully beats up.

When he's told it was a pervert at night on the street, he assumes the man was an idiot or had "discerning tastes"... which I took to mean, was the kind of guy who would specifically target a girl that would try to punch his face in.

When he's told that Ayako actually ran rather than fighting, he's pleased. He comments that maybe only an incident like this would convince Ayako that she needs to act more like a girl.

At which point Taiga gleefully threatens to tell Ayako what he said. Not -- as some people assume, that Shirou had no concern that she might have been molested or raped* -- but rather that Shirou called her unfeminine.

* There wasn't a point during the conversation in which it sounded like Ayako had been in any danger. First, Shirou thinks it was a schoolyard brawl, and by the time the pervert is mentioned, it's already established that Ayako is perfectly safe and only suffered a minor injury. He's NOT fine with the idea that she might have been sexually assaulted, he's just unconcerned because it really didn't happen.


If people see Ayako as strong enough to beat up a single undiscerning pervert who accosts her alone at night, why would anyone be concerned that she's acting unfeminine?

Because it's not always going to be just one guy. Eventually, if she keeps walking the streets alone at night, it will be a gang.

Because even one guy may not always be unarmed.

Because even one guy may catch her by surprise.

Because it's just safer to walk alone at night with a group, or not to be outside at night at all, especially if you're female.


Why should this be different for females? Why are male rape-gangs more common than female rape gangs?

Because males tend to be larger and stronger. Because, I assume, it's easier for a male to reach orgasm with an uncooperative partner than the reverse.

Because men are creatures willing to pay for sex even when they can get it for free, simply to have more sex on demand. Because the male sex drive is activated when the testicles get full, and guess what? Those things are CONSTANTLY producing.

Five_X
September 6th, 2011, 12:03 AM
You might not have caught on yet, but there are these things, I think they're called, "jokes" in most societies. This might sound a little crazy, but you just might want to look into them. They could make your life easier.

Kotonoha
September 6th, 2011, 12:06 AM
Because men are creatures willing to pay for sex even when they can get it for free, simply to have more sex on demand. Because the male sex drive is activated when the testicles get full, and guess what? Those things are CONSTANTLY producing.

You're underestimating women's horniness. :P

Aladar
September 6th, 2011, 04:59 AM
You might not have caught on yet, but there are these things, I think they're called, "jokes" in most societies. This might sound a little crazy, but you just might want to look into them. They could make your life easier.

'Tis a most confusing concept xD

Inugami
September 6th, 2011, 05:22 PM
You're underestimating women's horniness. :P
How about this? Men can't ever get pregnant from raping someone. That's not a risk women are immune to.

Kotonoha
September 6th, 2011, 05:24 PM
They could get an STD though.

Inugami
September 6th, 2011, 05:40 PM
True enough.

Anyway, the major point was to explain where Shirou was coming from, which was NOT, "Hey, Ayako almost got raped, hohohoho!"

SeiKeo
September 6th, 2011, 05:41 PM
It's still lovely to take out of context, though.

Kotonoha
September 6th, 2011, 05:41 PM
I agree with you there.

daniel_gudman
September 6th, 2011, 08:36 PM
Well... I saw it used out-of-context before I played the game. Of course, there's a lot of stuff that happened in game that I got a different feel for... Heaven's Feel in particular seemed a lot more horrible than I went in thinking it would be.

Inugami
September 6th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Heaven's Feel in particular seemed a lot more horrible than I went in thinking it would be.
I still haven't returned to finish that route, and I wonder if I ever will.

HF will never be my favorite route, or even a route I can like, because playing it is like jamming forks through my palms.

es21fanboy
September 6th, 2011, 09:14 PM
While HF is not my favorite route, I will always look positively at HF because of Kotomine. And Archer's arm. I liked the concept of grafting Archer's arm because it was a quick powerup that made sense.

Bloble
September 6th, 2011, 09:19 PM
Yeah, I basically only forced myself through HF because I wanted to get to Last Episode and for the awesome moments. Now I didn't think it was bad... but Fate had my favourite heroine, and UBW had the best action, so HF was kinda stuck with mediocrity.

Five_X
September 7th, 2011, 03:33 AM
I love HF! :D

It's like Kohaku's route but with more superpowers.

Alulim
September 7th, 2011, 03:36 AM
I had a few problems with it...but I enjoyed HF quite a bit.

VelspertheCat
September 7th, 2011, 04:29 AM
I love HF! :D

It's like Kohaku's route but with more superpowers.

Kohaku's route was subtle, though. This wasn't very subtle in comparison.

I really wish the other routes had dropped hints of Sakura's problems ahead of time, then I'd enjoy HF more.

Aladar
September 7th, 2011, 04:46 AM
Yeah, HF kinda lacked foreshadowing.

Mike1984
September 7th, 2011, 05:08 AM
How about this? Men can't ever get pregnant from raping someone. That's not a risk women are immune to.

Erm, contraceptives exist....


Yeah, HF kinda lacked foreshadowing.

No, there is foreshadowing (especially of Sakura's relationship to Rin), it's just not obvious enough for anyone to notice it.

Troika
September 7th, 2011, 09:19 AM
It would probably be a good idea to get a solid view on school. God knows how many assumptions there are about it in fanfics.

Suffice it to say that school as it is presented in anime is not much like real Japanese schools. Japanese kids are little beasts. :|

ItsaRandomUsername
September 7th, 2011, 09:43 AM
I had a few problems with it...but I enjoyed HF quite a bit.


Kohaku's route was subtle, though. This wasn't very subtle in comparison.

I really wish the other routes had dropped hints of Sakura's problems ahead of time, then I'd enjoy HF more.

This.

Kotonoha
September 7th, 2011, 09:46 AM
I blame you for this off-topicness, Inu. :P

SeiKeo
September 7th, 2011, 10:06 AM
No, there is foreshadowing (especially of Sakura's relationship to Rin), it's just not obvious enough for anyone tonotice it.

Seems to defeat the point of foreshadowing?

Inugami
September 7th, 2011, 10:16 AM
I blame you for this off-topicness, Inu. :P
It really is my fault.

Okay, people. As much as I want to comment on some of thoughts you shared about Heaven's Feel, this isn't the place.

Better to start a thread in the General section to talk about it.

Bloble
September 7th, 2011, 04:03 PM
No, there is foreshadowing (especially of Sakura's relationship to Rin), it's just not obvious enough for anyone to notice it.

Are you talking about the scene in UBW where you catch Rin looking at the Matou house and she forces you to hide in a super tight alleyway with her? I'd definitely call that foreshadowing.

Mike1984
September 7th, 2011, 04:12 PM
Are you talking about the scene in UBW where you catch Rin looking at the Matou house and she forces you to hide in a super tight alleyway with her? I'd definitely call that foreshadowing.

Well, that's the most obvious bit, yes. There are others, though.

Arashi_Leonhart
September 8th, 2011, 06:21 PM
Section III: City Life

One thing I want to start with is that Fuyuki at least is based very much on actual locations in Japan, primarily in Kobe. This is not uncommon, as many anime series have locations that are painstakingly replicated from real-life locales, some simply for the hell of it (Index/Railgun, Madoka) and some because they are specifically located there (Haruhi Suzumiya takes place in Nishinomiya, an area between Kobe and Osaka, Durarara!! takes place in Ikebukuro district of Tokyo).

On that, I’ll direct you to an anime pilgrimage blog that covers the FSN locales…

Locations in Kobe (http://punynari.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/real-life-fate-stay-night-locations-in-kobe)
Weathercock House (http://punynari.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/inside-weathercock-house-the-rin-tosaka-residence)
More locations (http://punynari.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/unlimited-blade-works-anime-pilgrimage)

Wards and Districts: Cities are generally divided into wards and districts that, much like suburbs of major Western cities, are rather like their own large communities within a large community. Wards are autonomous communities with their own interior government like each individual town or city has, while districts are, like in a town, a division of the population in some fashion. Tokyo for instance is divided into 23 wards, and each ward has a number of districts. Many of these districts are areas that specialize or are known for certain things, as you might be familiar with Akihabara—the hangout of anime and game otaku—or Shibuya—a fashionable youth culture area—and the like. Fuyuki is divided into at least two neighborhoods, Shinto and Miyama, and Miyama seems to be made up of two districts that separate the traditional housing from the Western housing. Fuyuki is not implied to be large enough to have separate wards.

Prefectures: Japan is divided into government-run prefectures, analogous to a county or province in other countries. The division of the prefectures is a holdover from the switch from the feudal system the Japanese still used in the late 1800s to the industrialized government they became; before, these prefectures were areas overseen by samurai daimyo.

If we place Fuyuki where Kobe is, it would be in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan, between Tottori and Okayama to the West, Kyoto and Osaka to the East. However, Kobe is much larger than Fuyuki is implied to be.


Public Transportation: Unless you don’t pay any attention to Japanese media, you ought to know that trains are the primary mode of transportation for the average Japanese person. Many neighborhoods are named for their train stations, in fact, and a lot of things to do are usually found around them. One thing that might come up is that Japanese trains are extremely punctual and even a minute or two delay are pretty bad—to the degree that suicide by train now costs surviving family members money to make up for the delays caused by the death. A Japanese person in America often expects that the trains and public transport runs as efficiently as it does in Japan, so if you know of a Japanese person planning a trip based around public transport, you might dissuade them of that notion.

Taxis are not like some of the Western perception: taxi drivers know the cities they operate in intimately and do not need directions themselves. Additionally, taxis are VERY clean, to the degree that some even have shoe racks in their trunks or center consoles to put your shoes into and replace with a slipper for the duration of your drive in one, like a portable genkan. They do not smell of random food and cigarettes like in New York. Their doors are also automated, so foreigners beware you’ll get your hand smacked by a door if you try to go open it yourself.

Also, Japan is a left-side-of-the-road country, unlike the Americas and a lot of the rest of Asia.


Private Transportation: If you’re thinking of making a character use a car, think twice about how rich they are. Having a car in Japan is an extreme symbol of status because it is extremely costly to have a car. Firstly, licenses are fairly expensive. More importantly, though, every few years, cars go under vigorous government inspections that cost the owner a lot of money and if the inspection finds even miniscule problems, you are required to go and fix and/or replace the parts responsible. Many families in Japan instead just sell their car after a few years so they do not have to undergo a costly inspection and buy a new car instead, figuring if they’re going to spend the money anyway they might as well go new. This means the return rate on cars in Japan is HUGE; it is well documented that in countries such as Afghanistan after the UN moved in, where vehicles are sometimes hard to come by, Japan provides hundreds of used vehicles to businesses and aid groups for extremely cheap prices and these cars are usually only a few years old and have no outright problems.

So, if you have a Japanese youth come to a Western country and they take a look at your eight year old car that only has a few scratches and a messy interior, do not be insulted if they seriously pose the question “Will that even run?”

I’m not sure what the laws on motorcycles are, though I believe they also go through rigorous inspection. Mopeds and other smaller scooters operate on bike laws, I think. Also, highways are tolled in Japan.


Shopping: Just like in the West, there’s a rabid war going on between large corporations and small family-run businesses. Many of the corporations are Japanese-based still, though and you do not see a Starbucks or McDonalds every three blocks like you do in America.

Note: Burger King went out of business in Japan during 2001, and only reopened in 2007. Isn’t it sad, Saber Alter?

Note 2: Mos Burger is fucking delicious.

Department stores can be really different than the Western department store: each level is itself something of an autonomous business with separate cash registers and whatnot. Each level tends to specialize in different things, and going into a department store really means you can get all of your shopping done in one location, as one level may be a grocery while the next may be clothing and the next garden supplies and so on and so on. Even specialty department stores are like this; I had a friend venture into an anime-related one in Akihabara, and he described how with each level, he slowly got more and more poor: dvds on top, games next level, figurines next, clothing next, ect. He said that the logical conclusion should have been Yakuza at the bottom level to deal with the significant debt you’ve managed in your trip through the store.

Store clerks in Japan are also generally expected to be fairly knowledgeable on what they are selling and the sort of things they have in inventory, even if you are shopping in a bigger department store.


Police: Especially in small communities, police are very helpful. A police officer will know a neighborhood streets and businesses like the back of his or her hand and know the names of most of the residents. If you are an outsider, they often make right for you to see if you are lost or need assistance and to double-check and make sure you aren’t there to cause trouble. Police boxes, kouban (usually Romanized koban) are small police stations in a neighborhood that a couple of officers are stationed at, and going there for anything from getting directions to looking for lost and misplaced items is a good bet. Calling 110 on a Japanese phone gets you the police, 119 emergency services.


Post Office: The Japanese post office, first off, is privatized as of 2007, so it differs from American postal services. Anyway, the post office offers more than just postal services and one can use it to pay bills and even as a pseudo-bank where you can keep a savings deposit and whatnot. The guys in Honey and Clover go about sending the main character money via the post office, and said character also goes to a post office to withdraw money while on a trip.


Public Baths: Mentioned in the home entry, public baths are essentially large furo bathhouses for people that don’t live in a place with a furo. One thing worth mentioning is that tattoos, usually associated with the Yakuza, are believed unsightly or upsetting to the Japanese, so you can actually get banned from public bathhouses if you have obvious tats.


Toilets: Okay, gotta talk about them. First, you have a variety of toilets, from squat toilets to the standard toilet or urinal. Another is the super toilet, which a lot of modern Japanese houses and some public locations have. These things include any or all of the following: massagers, seat warmers, air conditioners, play music, anal-cleaning water jets, and automatic lid closure. One of my classmates in Japanese class basically said that the entire trip they took was worth just going into the airport restroom and using the toilet.

A lot of household toilets also have a sink atop the tank, so as to save water: you wash your hands with clean water, which then goes into the tank and is used in the flushing of the toilet. No water is wasted.

Another thing that the Japanese have is the Otohime, lit. “sound princess” but a parody of the turtle goddess Otohime. It makes white noise to cover the sounds of using the toilet itself for privacy sake, since the Japanese house is small or the public restroom is, well, public.


Keitai: The Japanese mobile phone. I’m going to bring this up because it really is a different culture to even the West. Firstly, pretty much modern keitai technology was introduced in 1999 in Japan and exploded right off the bat, so it is relevant to the canonical time period that Tsuki and FSN take place in. Yeah, it wasn’t as big then as it is now, but it was a surge so fast that it quickly became second nature to the culture. Flip phones are the most prevalent.

Keitai in Japan serve much of the functions we have in the West, only they often did it years before it was ever popular in America or whatnot. While texting itself is not popular in Japan, a form of it that is more akin to email is, as one does not send texts to a phone number, but to an email address. Mailing has pretty much become a primary function of the keitai since not every Japanese can afford a computer and internet service, so they use their keitai instead. On that, internet services and various forms of social networking existed in Japan in some form or another by 2001, which is when 3G service in Japan became commercial.

Keitai are obviously banned in classrooms, but students still use them to mail and whatnot, sometimes just holding them under the desk and feel-typing without looking at the phone at all. Of course, a phone ringing in class is even more egregious a problem than in the West where you have widely varying opinions on it. It’ll just get the phone confiscated in Japan: see Lucky Star. It is rude to talk on the train or at a movie theater, though mailing is fine.


Squatters: I don’t really have a place to put this, though honestly it could come up when wandering around I guess. The Japanese squat. It might seem a little strange, but, when loitering, a Japanese person is just as likely to squat like a Baseball catcher as they are to lean against something or pace. Some even do it when eating, and will remove their shoes and sit up in their chairs L-style. Not quite as common, but it isn’t unheard of. Anyway, you can see some kids doing this in Clannad when Tomoya and Tomoyo wander into a “bad part of town,” Kazehaya does it after clearing up a misunderstanding in Kimi ni Todoke, and maybe images of people like Shizuo from Durarara!! doing so make a little more sense now.

Related to the feet-up-in-chair thing, just like with shoes, things that are on the ground are considered “dirty” and things that one usually handles do not go onto the ground. My Japanese teacher often pointed out how university students leave their bags on the ground at their feet during class and would then be just as likely to pick them up and put them on a chair or on a desk or table, and her sensibilities ran counter to that. Things that are where the feet go do not go where one sits or has their hands and arms at unless they are either cleaned or somehow protected, usually. You might have noticed that Shirou works on the floor of the shed as opposed to a desk or table, but he spreads out a cloth to act as a rug there. I’m pretty sure he also would normally take his shoes off before getting onto said cloth.


I'm sure there's tons more I could talk about, but I'll stop there for now. Maybe eventually I'll go into more detail about specific stuff like the different kind of trains and whatnot.

Pata Hikari
September 8th, 2011, 06:46 PM
What's Mos Burger

Arashi_Leonhart
September 8th, 2011, 06:47 PM
What's Mos Burger

Japanese fast food chain.

Pata Hikari
September 8th, 2011, 06:51 PM
I see.

The Japanese take on burgers must be interesting.

Sherrinford
September 8th, 2011, 06:55 PM
As always, worth reading.

Thanks, Arashi.

Mike1984
September 8th, 2011, 07:38 PM
Private Transportation: If you’re thinking of making a character use a car, think twice about how rich they are. Having a car in Japan is an extreme symbol of status because it is extremely costly to have a car.

Erm, what?

According to wikipedia, Japan has more cars per person (over one for every two people) than this country (Britain) does. True it's not on the same level as the US, but it doesn't seem to be as uncommon as you're implying.

Arashi_Leonhart
September 8th, 2011, 07:41 PM
I never said it was uncommon. But it is a status symbol. In America, it's actually economically important to have a car since there's not a lot of ways to commute unless you live in Manhattan or the like. The middle class Japanese have it for the sake of having it. Most that have a car commute to work on the train or on a bike.

Edit: In fact, rent the film Shall We Dance? and you'll see the guy in it vigorously waxing his car while at the same time riding a bike and the train to work.

Mike1984
September 8th, 2011, 07:43 PM
Well, this country is intermediate between the two. Most people own a car, but a large proportion (especially in big cities) commute by train or bus. But, there are still a substantial number who commute by road too. However, cars are often used for long-distance journeys, and also to go visit friends etc.

mangafreak7793
September 8th, 2011, 07:48 PM
Well, this country is intermediate between the two. Most people own a car, but a large proportion (especially in big cities) commute by train or bus. But, there are still a substantial number who commute by road too. However, cars are often used for long-distance journeys, and also to go visit friends etc.

This is true but I think cars are often used more for vacations then going to work since the trains and mikes are more convent in the narrow roads that are in towns and city streets.

shiningphoenix
September 8th, 2011, 07:53 PM
This is true but I think cars are often used more for vacations then going to work since the trains and mikes are more convent in the narrow roads that are in towns and city streets.

since the trains and mikes are more convent

mikes are more convent
Mikes are Convents?

mangafreak7793
September 8th, 2011, 07:57 PM
Mikes are Convents?

Oops...

I should really spell check.

I meant bikes are more convient.

Arashi_Leonhart
September 8th, 2011, 07:57 PM
Also, that bit on wikipedia is misleading, as it says motor vehicles includes things like freight vehicles and buses. Passenger cars actually accounts for something like 320 per 1000 in Japan. (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IS.VEH.PCAR.P3/countries)

Mike1984
September 8th, 2011, 08:04 PM
This is true but I think cars are often used more for vacations then going to work since the trains and mikes are more convent in the narrow roads that are in towns and city streets.

I'm talking about Britain here, not Japan. In Japan I would imagine that that is indeed the case much of the time.


Also, that bit on wikipedia is misleading, as it says motor vehicles includes things like freight vehicles and buses. Passenger cars actually accounts for something like 320 per 1000 in Japan. (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IS.VEH.PCAR.P3/countries)

Well, OK, but even so it's not exactly low.

Arashi_Leonhart
September 8th, 2011, 08:13 PM
Also relevant on owning a car (http://www.supermelf.com/japan/ajetdrivingbook/chap1.html).

Arashi_Leonhart
September 15th, 2011, 02:07 AM
Section IV: The Church Executors and Ryuudou Monks

Shinto: The national “religion” of Japan. I use the term “religion” very loosely though, as it is not really one by the Western conception. Shinto is an inherent part of the Japanese culture and trying to separate one from the other is virtually impossible. Everything from common turns of phrase in the Japanese language to regular practices—like the traditional method of bathing—are tied to Shinto beliefs.

Shinto (lit: “Way of Gods”) is a mix of belief in respecting all things and the regular practice if certain traditions that retain the Japanese ideal that one is not above nature, but a part of it. Kami, usually translated as “god”—though again, it should not be confused with the Western perception that word brings—is inherent in all things, and one should thus respect all things, from the kami in stones and the ground to the more common Western perception of kami in spirits such as Amaterasu, one of the founding deity figures in Japanese mythology. The Japanese believe in an infinite number of kami (one might hear the term eight million, though idiomatically that number is meant to represent “endless” numbers), which is one of the reasons “god” is a very loose definition. This also might explain why you have “origins” in the Nasuverse, as one might consider concepts as kami; additionally, the anthropomorphizing of Akasha into a spirit residing within Ryougi might also be comparable.

Note: replacing “god” with “kami” when swearing or whatever really doesn’t work. Saying “Oh kami!” or “Oh kami-sama!” is about as stupid as you can get. A character crying that say, in the middle of sex, is about as n00bish a “translation” as you can get. Again, kami is not literally “god” in the same way Westerners think of the word; you could probably draw a better parallel to The Force in Star Wars than a specific deity.

As one is not a “follower” of Shinto so much as a cultural “practitioner,” it can be hard to compare to other religions. Shinto is in many ways compatible with other religions because it does not preclude the belief in a higher being or a different set of god(s), since that all still falls within the scope of kami. As such, there is a great mixing of Buddhist and Shinto traditions, but even many Japanese Christians and Muslims and whatnot for the most part still follow traditional Shinto practices.

Too, even straight-Shinto Japanese are fairly loose in their belief, since the general “worship” of kami is not required. Japanese merely go to Shrines to ask for favors or good luck, and that’s it; there is otherwise no sort of regular practice one must engage in. If you watch anime or read manga, it is fairly common to see characters go to a shrine and pray (throwing coins in a box, pulling on a cord to ring a bell, and clapping in prayer) which is standard practice at New Years and for major events in life such as high school entrance exams. Otherwise, the amount of religious practice varies depending upon person, family, region, and whatnot.

A good example of how embedded Shinto is that a foreigner can understand, you need to look no further than crosswalks. At major intersections in cities, there is often a tune that plays when you are allowed to cross. The tune that plays (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4zS-wRBjH8) is a children’s song, “Toryanse,” which is about safely crossing dangerous areas to visit a shrine to pray for a child’s continued good health.

Festivals are also a Shinto tradition that are inherent in the culture, though I’ll cover that more on the seasonal entry.


Buddhism: Also tied up into the Japanese culture, though maybe a little more comparable to Western religious ideas since Buddhism actually aspires toward an afterlife in ways Shinto does not. Probably because of that, Buddhism is generally associated with death and afterlife issues in Japanese society.

This gets a little iffy in Nasuverse, as it implies that Buddhist monks once upon a time reached a level comparable to magi due to states of enlightenment and emptiness or something; also, the whole idea that the Ryuudou monks are descendants of a tradition where a dragon taught one such monk martial arts. Kinda weird Buddhists…though, I suppose Issei is one weird dude.

Admittedly I don’t know a lot about Buddhism, so I don’t have as much to say about it. Like Shinto, it is integrated into the culture fairly deeply, as burial rights are often done in a Buddhist manner and Obon, a major holiday in Japan, is a Buddhist tradition. Kiritsugu is, in the anime, implied to be given a Buddhist funeral (which involves a picture at the center of a small shrine kept inside the house, sometimes along with the ashes of the body, though these ashes are also as frequently buried at a cemetery as well) even though it is probably safe to assume he was non-religious. Buddhist shrines for deceased family members are often kept in a traditional Japanese house.

Again, to understand the integrated nature: “Temple” 寺 is in the kanji 時 for “time” because Buddhist priests were the ones that measured time of day and set off bells to signal the hour.


Christianity: Touched on by info about the Tohsaka family. Christians during the Warring States period and after were persecuted, and hidden Christians like Tohsaka’s ancestor went underground with their beliefs. This would’ve been until the Meiji Restoration in the late 1800s when freedom of religion was once again recognized. And yes, hidden Christians were specifically Catholic; the Portuguese traders that came to Japan in the 1500s included Jesuit missionaries.

Christianity is a real minority religion in Japan—pretty much any other religion is too—though there are the occasional churches dedicated to it. Christians were in fact fairly integral to Romanizing the Japanese language for Western use, and the story of the Christian martyrs that died early in Christian persecution is fairly well known. The building (http://ojisanjake.blogspot.com/2010/04/oura-catholic-church.html) that the Fuyuki church is based on is in fact dedicated to said martyrs and was for a time the only Western-styled building that was considered a national treasure.

Christmas in Japan is just about the only recognized Christian holiday, and it has almost completely lost all religious meaning, even more than in the West. Again, I’ll talk about that more in the seasonal entry.

Alulim
September 15th, 2011, 02:12 AM
Hooray~



Characters shouting 'Kami!' is a pet peeve of mine. Indeed.

Techlet
September 15th, 2011, 02:30 AM
At major intersections in cities, there is often a tune that plays when you are allowed to cross. The tune that plays (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4zS-wRBjH8) is a children’s song, “Toryanse,” which is about safely crossing dangerous areas to visit a shrine to pray for a child’s continued good health.

http://i.imgur.com/Z266Z.jpg

Arashi_Leonhart
September 15th, 2011, 02:32 AM
Also part of the lyrics to Unmei no Wa from live-action Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Let me pass, let me pass...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3OddeR75UA

Techlet
September 15th, 2011, 02:37 AM
I see what they did there.

qsurf
September 15th, 2011, 03:05 AM
I remember hearing that the reason why funerals and such are taken care of by Buddhism is because in Shinto, it is taboo to do anything with the dead, since Death is seen as unclean and Shinto abhors such things.

Oh, that reminds me, there's an interesting tale in the Kojiki that shows just how Shinto views death: here (http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/kj/kj016.htm).

Notes:
His Augustness the Male Who-Invites = Izanagi no Mikoto
Her Augustness the Female-Who-Invites = Izanami no Mikoto

Arashi_Leonhart
September 15th, 2011, 03:11 AM
Pretty much. You even have to wash your hands and feet when you visit larger Shinto shrines. Also, Buddhism actually has an afterlife; modern Shinto doesn't really prescribe to the afterlife as depicted in older texts with Amaterasu, Izanagi, and them, so Buddhism just kind of fills in that gap.

qsurf
September 15th, 2011, 03:14 AM
Pretty much. You even have to wash your hands and feet when you visit larger Shinto shrines.

It's kinda funny, once you realize this fact, a lot of Japanese customs and architecture start makin' sense.

Sherrinford
September 15th, 2011, 09:24 AM
You could have hinted at Ghost in the Shell too, Arashi.

/ not nitpicking.

Prince Charon
September 15th, 2011, 11:04 AM
You could have hinted at Ghost in the Shell too, Arashi.

/ not nitpicking.
Y'know, it was years before I found out that the theme was a famous Shinto prayer.

Sherrinford
September 15th, 2011, 11:17 AM
Y'know, it was years before I found out that the theme was a famous Shinto prayer.

Well, it wasn't so obvious to me too. Somebody explained to me that the title has roots in the Shinto phylosophy.

Prince Charon
September 15th, 2011, 11:49 AM
Well, it wasn't so obvious to me too. Somebody explained to me that the title has roots in the Shinto phylosophy.
That fits. Interestingly, its my mother's favorite anime.

daniel_gudman
September 15th, 2011, 01:41 PM
Also, Buddhism actually has an afterlife;

That... that depends, on what you mean by "afterlife" and which of the thousands of flavors of Buddhism you're talking about. Most teach reincarnation, where after this life, is a different one. So, just like after you die the physical meat of your body is devoured and passed on through the cycle of life, so too your spiritual components move on to the next form.

Arashi_Leonhart
September 15th, 2011, 02:14 PM
You could have hinted at Ghost in the Shell too, Arashi.

I could probably dedicate five books on the Japanese and all the stuff in GitS. And then your eyes would bleed from the text wall.


That... that depends, on what you mean by "afterlife" and which of the thousands of flavors of Buddhism you're talking about. Most teach reincarnation, where after this life, is a different one. So, just like after you die the physical meat of your body is devoured and passed on through the cycle of life, so too your spiritual components move on to the next form.

Which is an afterlife. Depending on Shinto practice, either nothing happens or you go to a grim, unappealing place. In Buddhism, at least you have something to look forward to. Additionally, though again I don't know a ton about Buddhism, I know that the concept of Pure Land also exists in Japanese Buddhism, so one can actually go to a separate spiritual land after death potentially as well.

Sherrinford
September 15th, 2011, 02:23 PM
I could probably dedicate five books on the Japanese and all the stuff in GitS. And then your eyes would bleed from the text wall.

I said "hinted", as in "explain what the title 'ghost in the shell'" means apart from the specific terminology of the setting. Not making an update about GitS and japanese culture.

qsurf
September 15th, 2011, 02:25 PM
Zen Buddhism, if I remember correctly, is the main Buddhist faith in Japan, here are their views on death (http://www.zenguide.com/principles/karma_and_reincarnation.cfm).

tl;dr:

According to the Buddhists, rebirth takes place at the end of this life. Buddhists regard rebirth as a fact. There is evidence that each person has lived many lives in the past and will continue to lives more in the future.

There are six realms in which one may be reborn after death. They are the realms of gods, the demigods, human beings, animals, hungry ghosts and the hells. These are just general categories and within each, there exist many sub-categories. The six realms of existence include three relatively happy states, and three relatively miserable states. The realms of the gods, the demigods and human beings are considered to contain more happiness and less suffering. The realms of animals, hungry ghosts and the hells are considered to be relatively miserable because living beings there suffer more from fear, hunger, thirst, heat, cold and pain.
In general, wholesome actions such as good conduct, charity and mental development, are the causes of rebirth in the happy realms of gods, demigods and human beings. On the other hand, unwholesome actions such as immoral conduct, miserliness and cruelty cause rebirth in the unhappy realms of animals, hungry ghosts and the hells.

daniel_gudman
September 15th, 2011, 03:43 PM
Zen... it's big, but the Amidist (Pure Land) tradition is, I'm given to understand, larger in term of adherents. Shingon and Nichiren are also around. They're all Mahayana sects.

Kotonoha
September 15th, 2011, 06:22 PM
This continues to be interesting!

Oh, question regarding the kami thing. Something that I've seen more than once in this game I'm currently playing is, characters (normal Japanese high-schoolers) in a life-or-death situation thinking things like "お願い、神様" or "神様、助けて" or whatnot, but would there be a particular "god" in mind or is just HEY ANY PASSING KAMI WANNA GIVE ME A HAND HERE

Arashi_Leonhart
September 15th, 2011, 06:28 PM
My guess is that it refers to any present spirits, yeah. It might be contextual, like I think of Sen falling into the river in Spirited Away and how she might have used something like that, and the spirit of the river does in fact respond.

Also, again, the metaphor of The Force...just the ambient life and spirit presence in the world around you, you might be asking them for good luck and fortune. Like you would going to a shrine at New Years, only hella more informal.

Alulim
September 15th, 2011, 06:30 PM
Sometimes I hear people thank 'kami-sama' in anime...so that explains some things.

Five_X
September 15th, 2011, 06:35 PM
Isn't kami-sama generally referring to capital 'G' God, though?

Arashi_Leonhart
September 15th, 2011, 06:36 PM
Not really. The -sama suffix is appended to anything a person might consider superior in stature, and depending on the character that could mean anything.

Sherrinford
September 15th, 2011, 06:37 PM
Sometimes I hear people thank 'kami-sama' in anime...so that explains some things.

Kami-sama arigatou~ unmei no itazura demo~...

Alulim
September 15th, 2011, 06:38 PM
Kami-sama arigatou~ unmei no itazura demo~......exactly.

Kotonoha
September 15th, 2011, 06:46 PM
My guess is that it refers to any present spirits, yeah. It might be contextual, like I think of Sen falling into the river in Spirited Away and how she might have used something like that, and the spirit of the river does in fact respond.

Well, given that the game is supernatural horror, I guess it makes sense in context for them to believe in/hope for benevolent spirits existing too. ("no atheists in foxholes", etc)

Arashi_Leonhart
September 15th, 2011, 06:48 PM
Well, given that the game is supernatural horror, I guess it makes sense in context for them to believe in/hope for benevolent spirits existing too. ("no atheists in foxholes", etc)

It could also be a specific patron kami of some kind, too, now that I think of it. If everyone weren't going around saying "Oyashiro-sama" in Higurashi, for instance, my guess is that if someone says "kami-sama" they'd all default upon Oyashiro. Top dog kami in those parts.

rajvir
September 21st, 2011, 04:49 PM
amazing job arashi this really makes me interested in japanese culture

Arashi_Leonhart
October 15th, 2011, 12:23 AM
Section V: Shirou is Sexist

I always find it a little funny that there’s an argument over whether Shirou is sexist when they make a big point to show how much like a housewife he is.

So, one of the areas this is pointed out is in Shirou’s reaction to Mitsuzuri being attacked. I’m going to transcribe the Mirror Moon translation, and then point out something.

Taiga: Oh yeah, Shirou. It’s about the archery club, but did you know Mitsuzuri-san got injured?

Shirou: Mitsuzuri? What? Did she get in a fight with someone again? Geez, she’s almost a third year, so she should calm down a little. So, how’s the injury? Is it bad?

Taiga: It’s fine. It was a light sprain. It seems she was attacked by a molester on her way home. She’s fast, right? She ran away quickly, but injured herself when she fell over at the end.

Shirou: …I see. Thank god it was nothing serious. But, a molester attacking her…he must be reckless or have discerning tastes. Either way, he was a stupid molester. I thought…

Taiga: You thought she knocked him out instead of running away, right?

Fuji nee smiles. Indeed, she knows Mitsuzuri Ayako well.

Shirou: Yeah. It’s rare for her to run away. But…I see, even Mitsuzuri is weak against molesters. I guess that’s good. It’s impossible to teach her femininity unless something like this happens.

Approving, I eat the well-cooked rice.

So, of course, first, Shirou thinks Ayako got into a fight. Then, he hears she was attacked by a molester, but got away with only a minor injury, and is relieved. Because of the first point, though, he is quick to think the molester an idiot, since Ayako apparently projects as someone that is quick to fight back. Then, almost as an afterthought, he realizes that the situation might have taught her something.

Now, I’ll tell you this: people in Japan, especially housewives, love to gossip. It is very much akin to something you’d expect from, say, a community in the South in America, where people are a little more communal. The average Japanese neighborhood knows everybody, and outsiders are often treated with suspicion if they do not quickly “join in”—thus some of the plotlines for various series. Too, women tend to concern themselves more with other women, not in a segregated way, but just from the standpoint of understanding: who ever knows why those crazy boys do this, but honestly, what kind of woman does that? Anyway, this whole conversation would not be out of place for a Japanese woman to be going on about.

It leads somewhat into a cultural expectation. While it is changing, the average Japanese woman is very much expected to get married and start a family as opposed to pursue a career or whatnot. The fact remains that Shirou, honestly, seems worried about Ayako as a member of this culture, that she hasn’t “calmed down” and all, which could be harmful to her future. A Catch-22, since if she doesn’t calm down, she is both A) less likely to be taken seriously for her future career or academic prospects, and B) less likely to be taken seriously for her romantic or familial prospects. There’s a traditional saying in Japan, “the nail that sticks out will be hammered down.” Shirou is, at least, concerned that this may happened to Ayako.

Also note, that “femininity” is not necessarily derogatory or a put-down in terms of “Woman, stay in the kitchen and bear me children.” On the former, you have the fact that this is not the sort of submissive place quite like it might be in the West. In the traditional Japanese home, the woman is in charge with home matters. The husband may be the “breadwinner” so to speak, but women traditionally dictate finances even. Men are often given an allowance of the money they earn, I kid you not.

On the latter, here’s a funny thing: it is not the men that often dictate the child-rearing issue, but the wife’s parents. It is somewhat even desirable and a growing trend in Japan for people to get married, pop out a kid or two, and then the wife divorces the husband, takes the children, and raises them back with her parents. So, really, don’t even say that’s a sexist thing; in Japan, it’s more of a…generational thing?

Really, too the thing that should be kind of poked at is the fact that Shirou is being very hypocritical here. Take the last line, replace a few words, and you have Shirou’s own problem. I guess that’s good. It’s impossible to teach him pragmatism unless something like this happens. Might as well be a comment on him surviving all the charge-in-save-the-day actions he gets himself into.

Additionally, you have to say, he’s also just teasing Mitsuzuri in particular. If he were really trying to say “women stay in kitchen!” then I don’t think he’d be so afraid of Rin. Nor of this bit that follows right after the conversation with Taiga.

http://pics.livejournal.com/zekk_skywalk/pic/00040esb

He's not being sexist. I mean, c'mon. If he were, it'd be all, well, Mitsuzuri should do it and then I wouldn't have to say it. Instead, it's, "Don't tell her...she'll kill me!"

An interesting thing to think about, too, is the fact that there’s a funny kind of reversal in the situation at Shirou’s house. Taiga is a woman and with a career. Shirou essentially acts like a housewife, cooking, cleaning, and, as is common in a modern home, also working a job to support the income. Taiga comes home, expects food, and lazes around. If you want to go with the stereotype, this is the direct opposite of the standard Japanese home, with Shirou the housewife and in control at home, and Taiga nothing more than the “breadwinner” that comes and disrupts Shirou’s hard work in the house. Yet he also talks about Ayako and how she should be more feminine. Yes, indeed, Shirou has fully integrated himself as woman of the house.


Christmas Cake: Silly something that has come up a couple of times in conversations that is relevant to general perceptions and cultural ideas about women. You see it somewhat in manga and anime and games: that a woman over 25 years old might be referred to as a “Christmas Cake” and/or in general teased about having surpassed marriageable age. This is a reference to the fact that in Japan, at Christmas, it is common to celebrate by eating fried chicken (don’t ask me where that comes from, I have no freaking clue, and neither do my Japanese-born friends and teachers) and cake. But after the 25th, for some reason, if there are cake leftovers, nobody wants them. This ties to the bit I mentioned earlier, that women are somewhat expected to marry rather than pursue a career. Additionally, you might consider it an extrapolation of not-so-old traditions in Japan, where people married really really young, from thirteen up quite often. Which makes sense, since up until only the past 150 years or so has Japan been a “modern” nation and not one living off of feudalism. Too, life expectancy was much lower in feudal eras.



Short-ish...but I want it up so I can just link it instead of having to argue out the point if it ever comes up again. Anyway.

nununu
October 15th, 2011, 12:42 AM
...

Being born and raised a Filipino, very little of Japanese culture strike me as weird, weirdly enough. Actually, when a woman reacts "Sexist!" when someone points out how she can't cook or do chores, the first rebuttal that comes to my mind is "where is your pride as a woman?". Being a career woman doesn't cut you some slack from that reaction because most of the career women I know run the household just fine.

As with regards to the fried chicken bit, I read somewhere that it was due to a successful marketing ploy by KFC.

Arashi_Leonhart
October 15th, 2011, 12:47 AM
Huh.

http://www.ahmygoddesshentai.com/images/hentai--billhook--colonel-sanders--higurashi-no-naku-koro-ni--kenta-kun--ryuuguu-rena.jpg

Hymn of Ragnarok
October 15th, 2011, 12:49 AM
*opens mouth*

Uhh...

*runs*

ItsaRandomUsername
October 15th, 2011, 12:56 AM
Yeah, he's right about KFC.

Some time during the 90s (or was it 80s? Damned if I know), KFC had some sort of Christmastime campaign involving whole chickens that was apparently so successful that fried chicken is now irreversibly associated with the yuletide season, akin to the way that Coca-Cola marketed the red-suited Santa Claus and thus instilled in many people's minds the image of that particular holiday icon (although several countries in Europe still have more traditional views on a Santa Claus-figure).

Techlet
October 15th, 2011, 01:22 AM
Was it something like this, but with an Asian Santa Claus?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYCT77YNHsk

Kotonoha
October 15th, 2011, 01:31 AM
I remember a while ago people here were being all moral-outraged about the christmas cake thing, so I had googled it (in Japanese) and what I mostly found was stuff saying it was an obsolete saying, with stuff like "it doesn't work anymore since people get married at 25~30 all the time now lol!". Take that as you will.

Arashi_Leonhart
October 15th, 2011, 01:43 AM
Yeah. It's not really that common a perception any longer, though people will joke about it incessantly and it is used a lot in fiction. But it came up a few times around here, so I thought I ought to actually describe what it is.

They make use of the cliche in manga/anime a lot, usually with female high school teachers. Though considering the number of women in education nowadays...

Kotonoha
October 15th, 2011, 01:49 AM
Female Teacher Who Cannot Get Laid is like the most common anime archetype.

Arashi_Leonhart
October 15th, 2011, 01:51 AM
Behind dumb harem lead boy.

Prince Charon
October 15th, 2011, 02:21 AM
Female Teacher Who Cannot Get Laid is like the most common anime archetype.
... and rarely makes sense, given how hotly most of them are drawn.

Vigilantia
October 15th, 2011, 05:18 AM
... and rarely makes sense, given how hotly most of them are drawn.

3061

Sexy, Single, +25, and a gamer.

How does she NOT have a boyfriend blows my mind to pieces. Then again, I guess its just old tropes that haven't been discredited yet. Like Canadians living in Igloos going Eh?

nick012000
October 15th, 2011, 07:00 AM
3061

Sexy, Single, +25, and a gamer.

How does she NOT have a boyfriend blows my mind to pieces. Then again, I guess its just old tropes that haven't been discredited yet. Like Canadians living in Igloos going Eh?
I'd hit it.

Regarding Christmas Cake: It's a real pity if it's really the case that nobody wants it after Christmas Day, because that shit stays good for weeks if you keep it covered and in the fridge. A giant waste of delicious cake. Well, assuming they're eating the same sort of Christmas Cake (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&sugexp=kjrmc&cp=20&gs_id=2d&xhr=t&q=christmas+fruit+cake&qe=Y2hyaXN0bWFzIGZydWl0IGNha2U&qesig=2-w8m5LvanlWYYEs8eLCnQ&pkc=AFgZ2tndygLjOz9E2ZkW48KBVtUhS83giRw9L_LQ28ojIb w9eyt0LBVShmUfRG7n_lKGyAwg4FphSL75PznYq2FYTXdnYM0a cQ&biw=1353&bih=710&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi) that we Australians eat, anyway.

Fafnir
October 15th, 2011, 07:52 AM
I'd hit it.

Who wouldn't?

Kotonoha
October 15th, 2011, 09:31 AM
I'd hit it.

Regarding Christmas Cake: It's a real pity if it's really the case that nobody wants it after Christmas Day, because that shit stays good for weeks if you keep it covered and in the fridge. A giant waste of delicious cake. Well, assuming they're eating the same sort of Christmas Cake (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&sugexp=kjrmc&cp=20&gs_id=2d&xhr=t&q=christmas+fruit+cake&qe=Y2hyaXN0bWFzIGZydWl0IGNha2U&qesig=2-w8m5LvanlWYYEs8eLCnQ&pkc=AFgZ2tndygLjOz9E2ZkW48KBVtUhS83giRw9L_LQ28ojIb w9eyt0LBVShmUfRG7n_lKGyAwg4FphSL75PznYq2FYTXdnYM0a cQ&biw=1353&bih=710&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi) that we Australians eat, anyway.

Fruitcake? What's wrong with you, Australia?

nick012000
October 15th, 2011, 10:16 AM
Fruitcake? What's wrong with you, Australia?
Koto's Location: Canada.

Don't all the Commonwealth nations have Fruitcake for Christmas, or have you Canadians lost the proper Commonwealth spirit from spending too long next to the Americans? ;)

I3uster
October 15th, 2011, 10:17 AM
In Canada fruitcake comes in bags.

Kotonoha
October 15th, 2011, 10:25 AM
Koto's Location: Canada.

Don't all the Commonwealth nations have Fruitcake for Christmas, or have you Canadians lost the proper Commonwealth spirit from spending too long next to the Americans? ;)

In North America, fruitcake only exists for the sake of jokes about how fruitcake is terrible.

(Also, pumpkin pie is our holiday dessert of choice. Canadian Thanksgiving was last week, my sister made pumpkin pie, IT WAS AMAZING.)

nick012000
October 15th, 2011, 10:45 AM
In North America, fruitcake only exists for the sake of jokes about how fruitcake is terrible.
So, yes. You've spent too long next to the Americans, and I say that as an American who's naturalized as an Australian! Go eat your fruitcake this Christmas and like it!


(Also, pumpkin pie is our holiday dessert of choice. Canadian Thanksgiving was last week, my sister made pumpkin pie, IT WAS AMAZING.)
Pumpkin? Blech. Don't know how anyone can stand the stuff. That's just me, though.

Kotonoha
October 15th, 2011, 10:47 AM
Australia is entirely populated by criminals, so yeah!

Techlet
October 15th, 2011, 11:07 AM
Australia is entirely populated by criminals, so yeah!

Also deadly critters and unsuspecting immigrants.

nununu
October 15th, 2011, 11:10 AM
And kiwis!

...

Oh wait, that was New Zealand.

Neir
October 15th, 2011, 11:55 AM
Kiwi is actually Australian slang for someone from New Zealand, as well as the small flightless bird

I3uster
October 15th, 2011, 12:05 PM
Kiwi is actually Australian slang for someone from New Zealand, as well as the small flightless bird
Which can be turned into a tasty fruit:
http://img406.imageshack.us/img406/6193/10757228.jpg

Techlet
October 15th, 2011, 12:14 PM
That is so hilariously sad.

Fafnir
October 15th, 2011, 01:22 PM
I was going to defend both pumpkin and fruitcake, but then I got distracted by Techlology's avatarNNNNNNGHHHHHHHHH

Prince Charon
October 15th, 2011, 06:08 PM
3061

Sexy, Single, +25, and a gamer.

How does she NOT have a boyfriend blows my mind to pieces. Then again, I guess its just old tropes that haven't been discredited yet. Like Canadians living in Igloos going Eh?

Well, I was thinking about Taiga, but yes, exactly.

Neir
October 15th, 2011, 06:42 PM
Well, I was thinking about Taiga, but yes, exactly.

Taiga and Kuroi are god-tier.

Cubia - the - Anti-Existence
October 16th, 2011, 03:31 AM
Australia is entirely populated by criminals, so yeah!


Also deadly critters and unsuspecting immigrants.

Isn't Australia basically hell on earth? Everything theres either poisonous, deadly, or sheep(which aren't native to it).

meevanhelot
October 16th, 2011, 03:46 AM
Isn't basing all of your perceptions of internet jokes wonderful?

Trust me, from someone that was born in the UK, traveled to several European countries and US states, and currently living in Australia, it's basically paradise in terms of climate and ecology. It's basically either temperate or tropical everywhere, and you have to go out into the outback or desert looking for dangerous stuff to have any decent shot at finding any (the only critters you tend to find in population centers are harmless, and there are no large predators at all). It's the laws here that are a joke.

nununu
October 16th, 2011, 03:53 AM
It's all fun and games until you run into a platypus.

Techlet
October 16th, 2011, 03:54 AM
It's the laws here that are a joke.

Australia banned flat chested porn. ;___;

meevanhelot
October 16th, 2011, 03:56 AM
It's all fun and games until you run into a platypus.

Yeah, those motherfuckers will kill your family if you look a them wrong. Oh, and the dropbears are pretty dangerous if you're a dumb tourist.


Australia banned flat chested porn. ;___;

Australia bans everything. Chances are if you like it, it's Banned In Australia.

Counterguardian
October 16th, 2011, 03:58 AM
It's all fun and games until you run into a platypus.

DON'T FUCK WITH THE PLATYPUS!

meevanhelot
October 16th, 2011, 04:02 AM
ITT: Amateurish Guide to Australian Platypus and Everything is Banned, No Exceptions

Arashi_Leonhart
October 16th, 2011, 04:09 AM
You know, I'm scared of what can happen after only being gone for one day...

This only scares me because I'm afraid of someone putting up images of some of Australia's creepy crawlies, WHICH IS NOT AN INVITATION AND IF YOU DO I WILL DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO MAKE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE which of course is limited to denying you fanfiction I'm working on really...

Counterguardian
October 16th, 2011, 04:13 AM
http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad315/Counterguardian/General/kangaroo-kicks.gif

"Take that!"

Prince Charon
October 16th, 2011, 05:33 AM
http://i947.photobucket.com/albums/ad315/Counterguardian/General/kangaroo-kicks.gif

"Take that!"
Y'know, I really hope he doesn't take that as a creepy-crawly (it doesn't look like one, to me, but my mind really doesn't match those of others - which is good). I quite enjoy Arashi's works.

Mike1984
October 18th, 2011, 06:11 AM
Kiwi is actually Australian slang for someone from New Zealand, as well as the small flightless bird

It's also British slang for the same (or at least the Rugby team, anyway...).

Omegastar
May 25th, 2012, 02:30 PM
It's also British slang for the same (or at least the Rugby team, anyway...).

...Really? didn't know that.

NuitTombee
May 25th, 2012, 03:12 PM
Now was it really that interesting as to necro the thread. ;)

Arashi_Leonhart
May 25th, 2012, 03:19 PM
I was thinking last night that I needed to update this. I'll take it as a sign.

Aiden
May 25th, 2012, 03:19 PM
From last year, at that.

Five_X
May 25th, 2012, 03:20 PM
I was thinking last night that I needed to update this. I'll take it as a sign.

It's still in your sig. :P

Dooo iiiiit

rajvir
May 25th, 2012, 05:04 PM
I was thinking last night that I needed to update this. I'll take it as a sign.
Arashi I really hope you start updateing this again as well.

Mike1984
May 27th, 2012, 01:09 PM
...Really? didn't know that.

Yes, really. Although you could perhaps have asked this via PM/VM....


I was thinking last night that I needed to update this. I'll take it as a sign.

Yeah, do it.

Arashi_Leonhart
May 28th, 2012, 06:14 AM
I probably have more to say on this, so maybe I'll make a 6.1 chapter or something at some point. At the same time, food is probably one of the easier things to look up online, besides sight-seeing, so...yeah.

Section VI: Food and Cuisine

Rice: So, the obvious and not-so-obvious. Rice is a staple of the Japanese diet. Obvious. But what might not be obvious is that it is, in fact, considered the main course, not the side. In Japan, the meal is not “main course accompanied by rice” but “rice and what you use to flavor it with.” You might even know this without knowing it: whenever a character in anime or whatever asks for seconds, they hold out their rice bowl, not the plate with the protein. Now you see why.

http://pics.livejournal.com/zekk_skywalk/pic/0006zrza

Rice is also traditionally had for every meal, including breakfast. With a Western-styled meal, it will not be included every time, but for the most part you’ll see it at the average table any time of the day or year.


Purchasing: Mentioned in talk about the kitchen, the Japanese refrigerator, freezer, icebox, or what have you is often much smaller than the ones we’re used to in the West. Partially a space concern, partially a power concern, partially because fresh is always considered better. A Japanese housewife is often at the grocery store multiple times a week, if not daily, and like a Soccer Mom, this is when they are dangerous. No, seriously. My poor little girlfriend got basically run over by a middle-aged woman at the grocery during the prime mark-down hour. In a country where politeness is emphasized, this stands out all the more.

On that: expensive, perishable foods—usually proteins, though fresh fruits and vegetables are not uncommon—are often marked down at or near the end of the day for savvy shoppers. Touma laments over said marked-down eggs in an episode of Railgun, and Ryuuji often makes comments about the sales in Toradora! To give you an idea of cost in American Dollars:

1 liter of milk =~$2
1 loaf of bread (half a dozen slices) =~$2
1 package of sliced cheese (10 pc) =~$3
1 kg apples =~$7
1 head of lettuce =~$2
1 kg of boneless chicken breasts =~$10
1 kg of imported beef =~$12
1 kg of local beef =Enough to make you cry (No, seriously, imagine in the triple digits at cheapest, and not even Kobe beef)

So you can see why mark-downs might be important.


Preparation: In a traditional Japanese home, a family member—usually the wife/mother—will rise early to prepare breakfast and possibly lunch. Rice is often set to cook the night before so it will be ready in the morning, though a sufficiently early-riser will often have time enough to start it in the morning. Anyway, breakfast is made and prepared for the rest of the family, while a boxed lunch, or bentou, will be prepared for a worker or student. The bentou might be made up of leftovers from dinner the previous day, extra from breakfast, or something entirely separate.

On the bentou, there is some cultural issue regarding how well-prepared or expensive a person’s bentou is. Kids often will hide or conceal their bentou if it is not complex enough. Married men might conceal it from coworkers since they might be embarrassed for both the same reason, or even the opposite since the Japanese don’t actually like showing off. Also, wives might leave messages for them in their bentou—I recall this one story of a wife who found out her husband was having an affair, so she wrote “ADULTERER” on top of the rice in his food.

As one might pick up from anime and manga, girlfriends will often make their boyfriend a bentou. Of course, this seems to flow in reverse with Shirou, though.

Which is also a sort of funny thing: a lot of males in Japan don’t know how to cook. Because their mother reigns over the kitchen, and because the Japanese housewife does not accept help in their domain, and because the mother dotes on a child even after he or she has left the home, the average guy doesn’t know left from right in a kitchen. Certainly, the trend is probably weakening a bit as Japan’s societal gender rolls change, but it’s still enough now that you’re significantly more likely to find a young adult male with no knowledge in the kitchen compared to women. Which is where store-bought bentou and meals come in. On that, because you have to cater to the single working male, train stations have their own specialty bentou and are actually renowned for specializing in specific kinds of food. A fun idea is to go on a trip and to sample the bentou from different stations along the way—which is actually a hobby for some people in Japan.


Etiquette: I’ll get the obvious out of the way: you say “Itadakimasu!” before digging in, and “Gochisousamadeshita!” when finished. It’s like saying grace and acknowledging any and all beings that have contributed toward the meal landing in front of you, from the farmer who harvested the rice to the cook that prepared it. Beyond that, I’m sure a wiki or something has plenty more to say.

If you’re using those snap-apart chopsticks at a restaurant, don’t rub them together in an obvious manner to get rid of splinters. Do it under the table or away from view.

Don’t stick your chopsticks into the rice like a dagger and leave it like that; chopsticks go horizontal over your plate or bowl when you aren’t using them. To have them in the rice standing up evokes incense at a funeral. To a superstitious Japanese person—and there are a hell of a lot of superstitious people in Japan—it might as well be worse than the don’t-walk-inside-with-shoes-still-on taboo. Death + dinner table = very uncomfortable.

Finishing your plate is important, less because of the pride of a cook and more because of the history Japan has with war and starvation. Basically, I dare you to watch Grave of the Fireflies and then have a rice dinner in which you do not eat every last grain of rice. Older Japanese citizens that can recall the war or post-war times are obviously going to be more sensitive about the matter, though, and that sort of sensibility is quickly being lost by the younger generations. It’s one of the reasons you might think an adult ought to be angry with someone overeating—the idea of “pigging out” isn’t quite the cultural issue it is there as it is here, unless it is to junk food. Generally a younger person is going to be more upset by someone who overeats than an older person is.


Regional: Like the bentou thing, you have certain foods that are obviously going to be more prevalent in certain areas, variations of a dish that are more prevalent, ect. Tea (and tea ceremonies), sushi, wagashi, any number of meal plates, all will have variants in different parts of Japan. For instance, okonomiyaki, being the “Japanese pizza” some people call it, is often made with different things and has a distinctive flavor depending on the region just like how pizza is made differently in the various parts of America.


Seasonal: Certain foods are generally thought of to be seasonal eating, kind of like how, despite having access to turkey year-round in America, we still primarily eat it in November and December. For instance, while amazake and certain kinds of mochi are available year-round, you’ll see a lot of it around New Years. For festivals and the like it is not uncommon for a youth or young adult to set aside money specifically to be able to eat out at the various stalls.


Snacks and candy: A quick note with Japanese foods: they’re usually very mild in sweetness compared to stuff in the West. A Westerner trying Japanese cake, for instance, might find it very bland because of the thicker taste we’re used to. Likewise, ice cream is often very mild in taste—I know a Japanese student at my university that now stockpiles ice cream because he’s developed a sweet tooth and is amazed at how different our ice cream can be. Anyway, the tooth decay rate in Japan is much lower than in the West and many Japanese don’t even go to the dentist because of it.

warellis
May 28th, 2012, 06:56 AM
Is there any particular reason why Asian desserts (normally the ones originally from the West) have less sugar or whatever in sweets compared to Western desserts? It's kind of ironic because the traditional desserts seem to be more sweet (at least the ones I've eaten, which are Chinese). Yes we often hear East Asians don't like sugar, but is that culture or biology or something?

Arashi_Leonhart
May 28th, 2012, 07:11 AM
I'm not sure, but if I hazarded a guess, it would be 1) because they don't produce a lot of sugar, and 2) because the concept of sugary candies is, historically speaking, not that old--I think the Portuguese introduced rock candy to Japan in the 16th or 17th centuries because it had no functional equivalent.

warellis
May 28th, 2012, 07:15 AM
One could say the same of Europe during that era since sugar was very expensive, though I can't remember if honey was as expensive or less. Yet even so during that time, things like chocolate as we know it today, like having sugar instead of chili peppers/powder in it, came from the Europe of that era.

Also regarding the food prices you displayed, I've read somewhere that the reason food is so expensive in Japan is due to protectionism on domestic goods with foreign goods being taxed heavily or something? Is that true?

nununu
May 28th, 2012, 07:35 AM
>Not-very-sweet desserts

wut

*lives in the former Spanish colony that was littered with sugar cane plantations*

warellis
May 28th, 2012, 07:49 AM
>Not-very-sweet desserts

wut

*lives in the former Spanish colony that was littered with sugar cane plantations*

Sugar wasn't exactly common back then in the era I was talking about. You live in a colony where sugar cane was grown, but prior to the 18th century, sugar was very expensive in Europe with honey normally being used in its place.

nununu
May 28th, 2012, 07:56 AM
I'm amazed at how the Japanese kept their palettes though. But I guess globalization is taking care of that. :neco_arc:

I'm actually quite interested in Japanese cuisine, especially with regards to presentation and knife techniques.

Anduriel
May 28th, 2012, 09:07 AM
Could you tell about etiqette in public places please?
And what about drinking/smoking?

Mike1984
May 28th, 2012, 09:10 AM
Sugar wasn't exactly common back then in the era I was talking about. You live in a colony where sugar cane was grown, but prior to the 18th century, sugar was very expensive in Europe with honey normally being used in its place.

I'm not sure if Japan has honey either though. It may well be that their equivalent was less sweet, or harder to use in bulk.

nununu
May 28th, 2012, 09:31 AM
They have an(餡), sweetened (red) bean paste, which they use in various desserts. They've have it for quite a while. And by 'a while' I mean Ancient Japan.

I'm not sure if mochi is traditionally sweet though. The recipe I know is a shortcut for sweet mochi.

Fafnir
May 28th, 2012, 09:36 AM
It's still not as sweet as sugar or honey, though.

Arashi_Leonhart
May 28th, 2012, 04:42 PM
Yeah, red bean paste is really quite mild comparatively. I mean, I love taiyaki, but I hardly taste any sweet in it thanks to my Mountain Dew desensitization. And mochi is traditionally sweet, but, again, on the sweetness scale, I think the average Westerner would consider it very mild.


Could you tell about etiqette in public places please?
And what about drinking/smoking?

The first is sort of a broad topic and I'm not really sure where to start or what exactly to talk about. I mean, I've talked about etiquette at home and at school, and you can still pretty much derive a lot of what a person should and shouldn't do from that, but...

Drinking and smoking: probably more accepted than you would expect. Drinking with coworkers is almost a requirement, in fact, for the same socializing and networking thing as clubs for school. Drunks are such a regular site around at night that, say, if you've seen Darker Than Black, the Yakuza guy that gets shot and then collapses in the middle of the street? Nobody calls the police because they probably just think he's drunk. Smoking, too, really common. I mean, really common. Common enough to have vending machines for smokes.

warellis
May 28th, 2012, 06:24 PM
I've always found it ironic that Japan has large amount of smokers, and really doesn't have any smoke-free areas, when it has a reputation of being clean in both ground and air-quality.

EDIT: Regarding Asian desserts, I've always noticed how for all the differences you see in looks in various Asian cakes and such, they all taste rather bland.

Vigilantia
May 28th, 2012, 08:21 PM
I've always found it ironic that Japan has large amount of smokers, and really doesn't have any smoke-free areas, when it has a reputation of being clean in both ground and air-quality.

EDIT: Regarding Asian desserts, I've always noticed how for all the differences you see in looks in various Asian cakes and such, they all taste rather bland.

I actually like that. Westernized food always has a sugary taste that seems overwhelming at times. When I went to Asia the change in style was nicely refreshing. I'm not saying one or the other is bad, but its an interesting difference.

Gabriulio
May 28th, 2012, 09:28 PM
Vending machines for smokes? O_o

Wow, my mother and aunt would love living there...

Arashi_Leonhart
May 28th, 2012, 09:31 PM
Yeah, in fact, if you've read F/Z, you should know the vending machine thing.


With a complex feeling, Kiritsugu looked down on the cigarette paper package he had just bought from a vending machine.

nununu
May 28th, 2012, 10:24 PM
Japan and Vending Machines: Social Interactions? What Social Interactions?

Arashi_Leonhart
May 28th, 2012, 10:29 PM
They can be social!

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-roXYO7ESxpI/Tl3I6d5lB9I/AAAAAAAAAOU/jPhINMmGCgU/s1600/Shizuo.JPG

If you live in fantasy Ikebukuro...

daniel_gudman
May 28th, 2012, 11:37 PM
Also regarding the food prices you displayed, I've read somewhere that the reason food is so expensive in Japan is due to protectionism on domestic goods with foreign goods being taxed heavily or something? Is that true?

The Japanese tariff on rice is, uh, 780% right now, I think. It's been floating under 800 for a while now. Wheat's like 250%, around 360% on butter, 330% on sugar, and I think milk's like 200%? 220%? I don't remember.

Japan's got unusually high protections for food, especially since they're net importers... anyway this is like the highest-profile talking point every time talks about free trade agreements between Japan and the rest of the First World come up. Most forward-thinking ministers want to change it but politics, so.

Anyway Japan's got, like, uniquely expensive food.

Seika
May 29th, 2012, 12:10 AM
Bloody hell! I'm not sure that 'protectionism' is an adequate word for those rates.

Aiden
May 29th, 2012, 12:31 AM
Bloody hell! I'm not sure that 'protectionism' is an adequate word for those rates.

It seems more like just plain 'don't buy shit that isn't local, ever.'

Arashi_Leonhart
May 29th, 2012, 12:33 AM
Except local stuff is still expensive. It's complicated.

Aiden
May 29th, 2012, 12:39 AM
Except local stuff is still expensive. It's complicated.

... doesn't that kinda defeat the point then?

Arashi_Leonhart
May 29th, 2012, 12:43 AM
It does and it doesn't. There are a lot of forces at play, regarding trade on a national scale and farmers/local businesses at the bottom level, but Japan is also just a very unique case of economy. The economic bubble crash in the 90s makes it all kinds of confusing.

nununu
May 29th, 2012, 01:24 AM
They can't afford to import too heavily, because it would depreciate Yen, but are having trouble meeting the demand for goods own their own which makes stuff expensive?

¯\(°_o)/¯

Mike1984
May 29th, 2012, 04:39 PM
Japan and Vending Machines: Social Interactions? What Social Interactions?

Yeah, vending machines are everywhere....

Kotonoha
May 29th, 2012, 04:47 PM
I got addicted to the vending machines. Dat coffee...

Arashi_Leonhart
May 29th, 2012, 05:08 PM
Vending machine porn.

Aiden
May 29th, 2012, 05:14 PM
Vending machine porn.

Oh God, he's putting it in.

warellis
May 29th, 2012, 06:03 PM
So what happens when he takes out?

Mike1984
May 29th, 2012, 06:31 PM
I got addicted to the vending machines. Dat coffee...

Yeah, they were quite handy. I don't like coffee, but it was rather surprising that I could actually get a bottle of hot tea out of them....

Fafnir
May 29th, 2012, 10:11 PM
Oh God, he's putting it in.
My cargo senses are tingling...

Aiden
May 29th, 2012, 10:21 PM
My cargo senses are tingling...

As they should be.

Lycodrake
May 29th, 2012, 10:26 PM
My cargo senses are tingling...
Quick, which character from F/SN is most likely to use a vending machine?

Arashi_Leonhart
May 30th, 2012, 12:12 AM
Any of them that go to school and/or out in town. And have money, so not including Rin.

Five_X
May 30th, 2012, 12:13 AM
F/SN is an older VN, so it's probably set in the time when there were panty vending machines. Thus, Shinji must be the greatest user of vending machines amongst the main cast.

Arashi_Leonhart
May 30th, 2012, 12:17 AM
Why? He can just ask the Grail in Take Moon any of the girls in his fanclub for a pair.

Aiden
May 30th, 2012, 12:21 AM
F/SN is an older VN, so it's probably set in the time when there were panty vending machines. Thus, Shinji must be the greatest user of vending machines amongst the main cast.

Wait, they stopped having those?

Kotonoha
May 30th, 2012, 12:24 AM
Why? He can just ask the Grail in Take Moon any of the girls in his fanclub for a pair.
Which he then sells out of a panty vending machine.

Arashi_Leonhart
May 30th, 2012, 12:25 AM
Shinji Matou, Entrepreneur.

Prince Charon
May 30th, 2012, 01:09 AM
I probably have more to say on this, so maybe I'll make a 6.1 chapter or something at some point. At the same time, food is probably one of the easier things to look up online, besides sight-seeing, so...yeah.

Section VI: Food and Cuisine

Rice:

Amusingly, I was getting ready to eat a bowl of rice when I read this.

qsurf
May 30th, 2012, 01:21 AM
I'll never get over the fact they have a Gold Vending Machine XD

I wonder if it really does work that way.

Mike1984
May 30th, 2012, 07:42 AM
Quick, which character from F/SN is most likely to use a vending machine?

Any one who doesn't live in the middle of nowhere. So, basically, anyone but Ilya (although, knowing Japan, I wouldn't be shocked to find that they'd somehow seen fit to install a vending machine in the Einsbern Castle...).

Arashi_Leonhart
May 30th, 2012, 02:59 PM
although, knowing Japan, I wouldn't be shocked to find that they'd somehow seen fit to install a vending machine in the Einsbern Castle...

You have learned much, young one.

I had a friend working in JET up in a Miyagi Prefecture town that says there's a vending machine literally out in the middle of nowhere, a street lamp and bench the only other sign of civilization. Like, it was half a kilometer from anything else on the road.

themasterwarlord
May 31st, 2012, 07:38 AM
Finishing your plate is important, less because of the pride of a cook and more because of the history Japan has with war and starvation. Basically, I dare you to watch Grave of the Fireflies and then have a rice dinner in which you do not eat every last grain of rice. Older Japanese citizens that can recall the war or post-war times are obviously going to be more sensitive about the matter, though, and that sort of sensibility is quickly being lost by the younger generations. It’s one of the reasons you might think an adult ought to be angry with someone overeating—the idea of “pigging out” isn’t quite the cultural issue it is there as it is here, unless it is to junk food. Generally a younger person is going to be more upset by someone who overeats than an older person is.

Haha, I remember when I went to eat with someone after university orientation last year. I finished eating my meal, but left some rice here and there. I kinda got scolded a little. It was really a pain to take every single grain of rice one by one, especially when every single one are stuck to the bowl. In the end I still left some leftover rice, it was still a pain after all, lol.


Seasonal: Certain foods are generally thought of to be seasonal eating, kind of like how, despite having access to turkey year-round in America, we still primarily eat it in November and December. For instance, while amazake and certain kinds of mochi are available year-round, you’ll see a lot of it around New Years. For festivals and the like it is not uncommon for a youth or young adult to set aside money specifically to be able to eat out at the various stalls.

You're just talking about traditional foods. You forgot about non-traditional snacks and sweets like chocolates and stuff. I always see 期末限定or something like that (forgot the exact wording) on chocolates, usually on winter. IIRC, last January there are a lot of limited-edition strawberry chocolates that came out in konbinis. Last spring it was maccha-flavored. Once in a while limited theme-flavored merchandise like that would come out, and some of them are pretty unique.

Well, I might be wrong. I never go out of town all year, after all. It might not apply everywhere :P

Cascade
May 31st, 2012, 10:35 PM
Thank you. Because of this thread, I will make sure someone squats in my next update. Whenever it comes.

Arashi_Leonhart
June 5th, 2012, 07:50 AM
Section VII: Snowing Nights, Cherry Blossom Mornings, Sunflower Afternoons, Falling Leaf Evenings


Cultural connotations to the seasons: Easy to pick up if you watch anything Japanese-made, not just anime or games. The aesthetic beliefs in Japan are generally centered around the juxtaposition of longevity versus momentary. Viewing everything in a linear fashion is not quite as engrained into society as it is in the West, and there is a sense of cyclical time within many things, right down to the language. One of the reasons cherry blossoms are so aesthetically revered is due to how ephemeral they are, yet how they also return like clockwork.

On the seasons themselves: Japan is a fairly humid place, making its summers rather uncomfortable. While the northern island of Hokkaido is pretty temperate and has much milder weather, the southern half of Honshu and everything below is subtropical. This includes the capital of Kyoto and the region Fuyuki is amusingly based on—Fuyuki as a name evokes any number of winter-related things, including pine trees and snow. (Also, Nasu says Fuyuki and Misaki are about as far away as the south island of Kyushu is from the Kanto region…so assuming you interpose Fuyuki over Kobe, that puts Misaki probably on the northern tip of Honshu or in Hokkaido…though the climate really ought to imply that the positions should be reversed, that Misaki is to the south and Fuyuki to the north…anyway).

Holidays and festivals

Christmas: So, the hilarious reversal of Japan. You know how in the West, we’re supposed to go visit family on Christmas, probably followed by partying it up to midnight and beyond on New Years? Not in Japan. Christmas Eve is usually a day for couples to have dates, or for singles to get together with parties in the hopes of making a date. Since Christianity is a very small part of the culture, but Japan was for a time almost entirely controlled by Western powers, it became an inherited holiday that was still important to the society. The exchange of gifts and all came with it, but since the Japanese already did that to an extent with New Years, it mainly became for lovers and peers; people you’re not related to. Communities do though replicate what you see in the West, so there will be lights and trees and candy and music and all that. As noted before, you mainly eat fried chicken and cake.

New Years: The actual big holiday. Traditionally spent with family, to the degree that oftentimes adults working away from their hometowns might return to stay with their parents for a short while. If you can’t communicate with people directly, there’s a major postcard practice in Japan at this time, like Christmas cards in the West, though done with significant more regularity. Anyway, families often do cleaning at this time, as Shinto superstition has you accumulating both good and bad spirits, good luck and curses, so a Japanese person ritualistically removes it all prior to the New Year and welcomes in the first day with a clean slate. This is also partially why one goes to a shrine, to both wish for fortune in the coming year, but also to cleanse oneself of the woes accumulated through the previous year.

As stated, families often go to shrines. Kids might also gather together, partially because of the tradition of otoshidama, where adults give children money. Then the kids go off and blow it all on candy, toys, and food near the shrines.

New Years day is often spent home, maybe eating traditional food if you didn’t go out for mochi or the like, and watching stuff like Kohaku on television. No, not that Kohaku.

Valentines: Sorta like in the West, but generally it all falls on the girls. Girls buy or make chocolates and distribute them at school (sometimes at work too) even to boys that they don’t like, called giri-choco: obligation chocolate. They might go to much more extreme ends for boys they do like, though.

Boys are then supposed to respond in like during White Day on March 14th. Shortly after is the end of the school year; Spring break is at the end of March, as April is the start of the school year (also the fiscal year).

Joshi no Sekku: Lit “Girl’s Festival,” also called Hinamatsuri, the Doll Festival. From an old belief where dolls were thought to be able to contain evil spirits, so the Japanese would ritualistically float some down rivers to get rid of the misfortune they carried. Now transformed into a sort of collection holiday where girls often are given these traditional dolls set on a sort of staircase platform. Some people also make paper version and give them as gifts to girls and young women.

Hanami: Flower viewing. When people go out and celebrate cherry blossoms. What Shirou promised to do with Sakura in HF. Basically an excuse to go out, socialize, picnic, wax poetical, and get drunk. Possibly all at once.

Golden Week: A series of consecutive holidays that are so close together they are lumped into a week-long holiday. Includes Constitution Day (when the Japanese Constitution was ratified in 1947…note the date), Greenery Day (celebrating the birth of one of the modern Japanese Emperors), and Boy’s Day/Children’s Day/Tango no Sekku (depending on how modern or traditional you are). Lots of people get breaks or take work off during this time, since it marks the beginning of the summer season, and likewise a lot of businesses close because of the regularity of people traveling or going home.

Tanabata: The celebration of when the stars Hikoboshi and Orihime can meet once a year, based on the legend of the herdsman and the weaver from China. Some places in Japan have a festival that celebrates it, with food stalls and games and fireworks and people dress up in yukata and go have fun and all that jazz. Also has a tradition of making wishes on bamboo trees—see the one new episode of Haruhi season 2 before Endless Eight. For obvious reasons, also has a romantic connotation.

Obon: The day of the dead. A Buddhist festival to honor passed family and loved ones. Traditionally a more somber event for obvious reasons, though nowadays it often comes along with the regular festival activities of games and food and all. The two major differences from other festivals usually center around the bon dance and the floating of lanterns down rivers.

The Awa Odori that some posters (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2011-07-19/2011-tokushima-awa-odori-poster-sold-for-quake-charity) were made for is a specific Obon festival.

Shichigosan: Let me pass, let me pass, going is fine, fine, returning is scary…

Literally “Seven-five-three.” The specific lucky years of age that children passed, celebrated nowadays by dressing kids up in kimonos and going to a shrine and presided over by a priest to cleanse them and declare them “human.” See, in ancient times, kids often died before they would reach adolescence, so the Japanese believed that their children were in fact little gods that could be taken from them at any moment. When they reached these lucky ages, parents would take them and pray for their continued survival, until at seven, they were thought to be safely kept as mortals. I mentioned it before: the crosswalk song that plays at some intersections? What it means by “let me safely pass” is “let me safely pass these birthdays.”

Higurashi music suddenly makes a lot of sense, eh?

Birthdays: Not quite as big a deal as in the West. Partially because of tradition: Japan, like many Eastern countries, used to go off of a tradition in which your birth wasn’t really your birth—conception was sort of your birth, and you simply marked another year of age at the turn of New Years. This changed when Japan rapidly Westernized, but my guess is it isn’t quite the celebration it is in America or the like partially because of this. Anyway, family might hold a small party and give gifts, and close friends might celebrate it with you as a teenager or young adult, but parties are not the default like they are in the West. If it falls on a school day, your friends might go with you after classes end to treat you to dinner and give some gifts. Some more popular and/or financially secure kids might have a full-on party. But also consider the fact that, well, things are expensive in Japan, so it just isn’t quite as easy to do something there. Also, the Japanese don’t quite like having ostentatious things done for them—goes against the belief in humility for the individual—so it can actually be a bit more embarrassing to them. Again, though, much of a birthday is something the family does, not as much the social clique.

Chojomeka
June 5th, 2012, 09:35 AM
That was awesome Arashi-sensei! I can't to learn more!:D

themasterwarlord
June 5th, 2012, 10:29 AM
I am always amazed by the psychoanalysis that you made in these guides. The basic information is, well, basic, but the Japanese's POVs are making these article stand out. I am presuming that this comes from your experience, instead of some internet source or such. As a foreigner, to have such understanding of Japanese society is amazing in my opinion. You are a foreigner, right? Because I'm taking back some of my praises if you're not, lol.

Also, speaking of experience, how much is yours?

Fafnir
June 5th, 2012, 10:38 AM
Teach us, Arashi-sensei!

qsurf
June 5th, 2012, 10:40 AM
You know, now that I think about it, for a culture that views the dead and death as taboo (sorta) the final ceremony of Obon is like one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, the Toro Nagashi.

http://static.desktopnexus.com/thumbnails/529155-bigthumbnail.jpg

Chojomeka
June 5th, 2012, 11:53 AM
That it is qsurf that it is.

Aiden
June 5th, 2012, 12:14 PM
Wow.

That's... really all I can say to express how much I'm still enjoying this guide.

Five_X
June 5th, 2012, 12:56 PM
I'm glad you''re keeping up with updating this, Arashi!

SeiKeo
June 5th, 2012, 12:57 PM
Five, do something similar for Rom-

wait nobody writes fanfic about Rome except for you

Aiden
June 5th, 2012, 12:59 PM
Five, do something similar for Rom-

wait nobody writes fanfic about Rome except for you

I'd be more interested in doing so if I knew more about it!

Five_X
June 5th, 2012, 01:10 PM
Hmmmm...

Well I guess there is Nero and stuff.

Aiden
June 5th, 2012, 01:16 PM
Hmmmm...

Well I guess there is Nero and stuff.

Well, even non-Type-Moon would be great.

I have this fondness of Dark Ages: Vampire but would love to be able to realistically portray Roman culture and other aspects of the time (insofar as one can when it's full of vampires).

YeOfLittleFaith
June 5th, 2012, 01:25 PM
You're doing a great job with this guide Arashi!

Now we should have authors make more stuff like this :P

rajvir
June 5th, 2012, 03:39 PM
Great guide Arashi-sensei you are really managing to teach us a lot of interesting facts.

Arashi_Leonhart
June 5th, 2012, 04:21 PM
I am always amazed by the psychoanalysis that you made in these guides. The basic information is, well, basic, but the Japanese's POVs are making these article stand out. I am presuming that this comes from your experience, instead of some internet source or such. As a foreigner, to have such understanding of Japanese society is amazing in my opinion. You are a foreigner, right? Because I'm taking back some of my praises if you're not, lol.

Also, speaking of experience, how much is yours?

I am a foreigner, hah, a Korean-born American-raised. My interest in culture came from the whole Korean thing, which just migrated as I started getting older. And I started this guide partially out of a few minor peeves from looking at some other fanfiction *coughGBcough* and deciding I might as well put perspective info out there so I wasn't just feeling whiny over it all.

rajvir
June 5th, 2012, 05:26 PM
I am a foreigner, hah, a Korean-born American-raised. My interest in culture came from the whole Korean thing, which just migrated as I started getting older. And I started this guide partially out of a few minor peeves from looking at some other fanfiction *coughGBcough* and deciding I might as well put perspective info out there so I wasn't just feeling whiny over it all.

By GB do you mean Gabriel blessing

Neir
June 5th, 2012, 06:21 PM
Yes.

rajvir
June 5th, 2012, 06:29 PM
Yes.

You are not Arashi and there might be other GB's for all we know.

Aiden
June 5th, 2012, 06:30 PM
You are not Arashi and there might be other GB's for all we know.

It's so very obvious that he means Gabriel Blessing in this context, on this forum.

rajvir
June 5th, 2012, 06:36 PM
It's so very obvious that he means Gabriel Blessing in this context, on this forum.
You are in all likeliness correct I just really want him to be talking about someone else because I admit I like gabe's story's.

Arashi_Leonhart
June 5th, 2012, 07:00 PM
I liked Hill of Swords fine, but he did a lot to irk me when it came to the Japanese sensibility.

Good: mentioning Shirou sitting in seiza (even though he never does so iirc, it's a nice touch)

Bad: Swearing. Lots of swearing. Not just talking about the Root thing, but also stuff like "Blue's tits!" Also being forward about everything. Also his attitude on cooking. There's a difference between "wanting to make others happy via their stomach" and "proud enough of skills to gloat."

rajvir
June 5th, 2012, 07:29 PM
I liked Hill of Swords fine, but he did a lot to irk me when it came to the Japanese sensibility.

Good: mentioning Shirou sitting in seiza (even though he never does so iirc, it's a nice touch)

Bad: Swearing. Lots of swearing. Not just talking about the Root thing, but also stuff like "Blue's tits!" Also being forward about everything. Also his attitude on cooking. There's a difference between "wanting to make others happy via their stomach" and "proud enough of skills to gloat."
True for the swearing I never really cared as for the cooking thing I always just considered it a joke but then again he ahs made mistakes before.

Arashi_Leonhart
February 22nd, 2013, 03:35 AM
Section VIII: The Universal Language

Japanese alphabet: The Japanese have an alphabet that consists roughly of what Westerners might think of as syllables.

a i u e o
ka ki ku ke ko
sa shi su se so

And so on. Usually they’re either a vowel sound on their own or a consonant paired with a vowel. The exception of this case is “n” which has only the consonant sound and is still considered a separate syllable to the Japanese. I'm sure there are wiki articles and web pages that explain it to a greater satisfaction. Anyway.

Aoi
Three syllable word made up of “a” “o” and “i.”

Rin
Two syllable word made up of “ri” and “n.”

Shiki
Two syllable word made up of “shi” and “ki.”

Souichirou
Six syllable word made up of “so” “u” “i” “chi” “ro” and “u.”

Shirou
Three syllable word made up of “shi” “ro” and “u.”

In Souichirou and Shirou’s case, the extended vowel sound in their names are considered a separate syllable, despite the fact that to an English speaker, they just sound like a long “o.”

One of the reasons you’ll see a lot of variation in naming conventions is that there are multiple ways to romanize it. While not acceptable in the academic field, writing “Shiro” is valid in the same way that writing “Tokyo” is valid, simply out of the way people informally use it. Technically speaking, you would want to write it “Shirou” or “Shirō.” Just like, technically speaking, people should write it “Toukyou” or “Tōkyō.”

Some of the sounds are romanized differently depending on the school of thought. If written out in romaji, “shi” and “si” are referring to the same sound, though it sounds closer to what we know as “shi.” There are also a couple that sound extremely alike, so they overlap in romanization. Thus things like “Yumiduka” versus “Yumizuka.” There are also some sounds that have since been merged with others, others that had an old romanization pattern but now use a different one.

On a note, this is what the “syllable” in a Haiku or Tanka or other Japanese poetry forms means, so it doesn’t quite line up with English. “I ran past the trees” sounds like five syllables to us, but technically speaking, “ran” in Japanese would be two syllables and “trees” might be two, even discounting Japanese pronunciation (which would be something like “A-i ra-n pa-su-to za to-ri-i-su”).


Japanese Kanji: The character alphabet based on Chinese lettering. Unlike in Chinese, one single character can have a multitude of readings regarding the sound it produces. The “Shi” in “Shiki” can be read as “kokorozashi,” “kokorozasu,” “shin,” “beshi” and more still.

Of course, part of Nasu’s fun with the language comes from this. Since kanji can make multiple sounds and these sounds overlap with other kanji meanings, you can substitute them with one another to make puns or jokes. Mcjon pointed this out in the questions thread, for people who might not have seen it:


The original term it's playing off of is 使徒 (shito), which means "apostle". Nasu replaced the 使 (shi) with the kanji for "death" 死 (shi), to make 死徒 (shito), which the translator rendered as "Dead Apostle".

Same thing with death perception. Nasu took the term 直視 (chokushi), which means staring directly at something, transposed the 視 (shi) with 死 (shi), and came up with 直死 (chokushi). Basically "staring directly at death" is what he was going for, so the translator came up with "death perception".

Part of why we use CAPSLOCK to differentiate alternate characters has to do with the fact that there is no way in English to really distinguish them. Shiki Nanaya-that-would-be-Tohno uses the kanji 志貴 while SHIKI Tohno-that-would-be-locked-up uses 四季. They use the same sounds, however, so they both are read “Shiki” despite the fact that the meanings of their names differ entirely. Ryougi has much the same issue. Meanwhile, since it’s used to denote separate people, Shirou Emiya and EMIYA are just that way out of our Nasuhabits, since the kanji is the same.

Also, in fiction especially, kanji is often used to signify meaning rather than literal sound. In Nasuverse, we’re used to this with the UBW chant in particular, which uses kanji in Japanese that do not line up with what is verbally being said. When reading Japanese books or newspapers or whatever, yomigana is often found rubytexted above kanji to tell the reader how, phonetically, the character should be read. In the UBW chant, the yomigana is “I am the bone of my sword” even though the Japanese beneath it is “体は剣で出来ている” or literally “body made of swords.” Noble Phantasms get the same treatment, as “Excalibur” is the yomigana for “Sword of Promised Victory.” And so on. If you want something else that does this, the title of Toaru Majutsu no Index is one, where the yomigana for “禁書目録” is given as “indekkusu” but the kanji would otherwise phonetically be spelled out as “kinshomokuroku.”

Names written in Kanji can be difficult for even the Japanese to figure out how to read it. Shiki does this to the Nanaya name when he reads it on his dagger, reading it as “Nanatsuyoru,” a valid pronunciation.

On name reading…Shirouko as a name is fucking retarded. The “rou” in his name literally means “son.” Yes, tacking on a “ko” at the end is common for girl names. That doesn’t mean it works for everything. You might as well be saying “This is Warrior Boy Girl” if you introduced him. I don’t care if that’s what they do on pixiv. Americans are shitty with their English all the time; the Japanese crap all over their own language too. You should help stop the cycle, not enable it.


Names: Here, have some kanji meanings so I don’t have to bring it up on other threads.

衛宮 士郎 – Emiya Shirō – “Defense-palace warrior-son”
衛宮 切嗣 – Emiya Kiritsugu – “Defense-palace cut-succession”
藤村 大河 – Fujimura Taiga – “Wisteria-village big-river”
遠坂 凛 – Toosaka Rin – “Distant-hill cold”
間桐 桜 – Matō Sakura – “Interval-paulownia cherry blossom”
間桐 慎二 – Matō Shinji – “Interval-paulownia humble-two”
遠坂時臣 – Toosaka Tokiomi – “Distant-hill time-retainer”
言峰 綺礼 – Kotomine Kirei – “speak-summit beautiful-ceremony”
葛木 宗一郎 – Kuzuki Sōichirō – “Arrowroot-tree denomination-one-son”
柳洞 一成 – Ryūdō Issei – “Willow-cave one-grow”
遠野 志貴 – Toono Shiki – “Distant-field aspire-esteem”
七夜 – Nanaya – “Seven-night”
遠野四季 – Toono SHIKI – “Distant-field four-seasons”
遠野 秋葉 – Toono Akiha – “Distant-field autumn-leaf”
琥珀 – Kohaku – “Amber”
翡翠 – Hisui – “Jade”
乾 有彦 –Inui Arihiko – “Drought exist-lad”
弓塚 さつき – Yumidzuka Satsuki – “Bow-mound” for the kanji, hiragana is just phonetic spelling (somewhat common for girls' names)
軋間 紅摩 – Kishima Kōma – “Creak-space crimson-grind”
両儀 式 – Ryōgi Shiki – “Two-case form”
両儀 織 – Ryōgi SHIKI – “Two-case weave”
黒桐 幹也 – Kokutō Mikiya – “Black-paulownia stem-be”; Mikiya’s given name is a mix of old-fashioned terminology and a kanji that has no easy translation
黒桐 鮮花 – Kokutō Azaka – “Black-paulownia vivid-flower”
浅上 藤乃 – Asagami Fujino – “Frivolous-above wisteria-accordingly”
巫条 霧絵 – Fujō Kirie – “Sorcerer-item mist-drawing”
白純 里緒 – Shirazumi Rio – “White-innocence home-cord”
玄霧 皐月 – Kurogiri Satsuki – “Mysterious-mist shore-moon”
荒耶 宗蓮 – Araya Sōren – “Rough-question denomination-lotus”
臙条 巴 – Enjō Tomoe – “Rouge-item comma shape”
蒼崎 橙子 – Aozaki Tōko – “Blue-peninsula orange-child”
蒼崎 青子 – Aozaki Aoko – “Blue-peninsula blue-child”
静希 草十郎 – Shizuki Sōjūrō – “Quiet-request pasture-ten-son”
久遠寺 有珠 – Kuonji Arisu – “old story-distant-temple exist-pearl”

Both "Toono" and "Toosaka" are kind of odd examples since they are actually using additional "o" sounds in the reading, rather than the extend-the-vowel-sound that things like Sōjūrō uses. Also, this explanation from Koto expands on that. (http://forums.nrvnqsr.com/showthread.php/1083-Things-that-annoy-you-in-fanfiction-discussion/page162?p=454574#post454574) Probably why the h is used in their names, although some people out there use the h to denote a regular extend-the-vowel sound. Some translators also do different things for extenders--the name Masamune Shirow (creator of Ghost in the Shell) has the same kanji as this Shirou, but romanizes it differently.

Confused yet? Good.


English: The Japanese have as much a fascination with English as Westerners might have with the Chinese characters. It is not uncommon for a Japanese youth to wear a t-shirt that has English on it, even if what is on the shirt is nonsensical or offensive. They probably aren’t aware at all.

English is the standard second language the Japanese learn. That does not mean they are proficient at pronouncing it, of course.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6h36QW_bwM

Solomos
February 22nd, 2013, 04:28 AM
Any particular reason for starting the lessons again ?

Gabriulio
February 22nd, 2013, 09:05 AM
Any particular reason for starting the lessons again ?

Who cares? This is alive again and that's all that matters.

YeOfLittleFaith
February 22nd, 2013, 09:08 AM
It's aaaaliiiiiiiiiiiiiive!

Great to see this guide active again.

Fafnir
February 22nd, 2013, 09:21 AM
Yayfications!

Kotonoha
February 22nd, 2013, 10:14 AM
I'd take Shirouko over some of the names people come up with for genderswaps.

Sakuro/Sakon looooooooool

Arashi_Leonhart
February 22nd, 2013, 10:26 AM
Sakuro/Sakon

People actually do that?

I...how? Do they, like, only write half of the Sakura kanji? -_-

Kotonoha
February 22nd, 2013, 10:29 AM
People actually do that?

I...how? Do they, like, only write half of the Sakura kanji? -_-
"lol wats a kanjy"

Tobias
February 22nd, 2013, 10:30 AM
Tak'n you punks down, graaaaaaaaaagh!!!

Arashi_Leonhart
February 22nd, 2013, 10:36 AM
"lol wats a kanjy"

For a second there, I thought you were talking about Japanese artists on pixiv or something. I just automatically assume Western fanfic writers can't into Japanese naming conventions.

Kotonoha
February 22nd, 2013, 10:45 AM
I dunno what they do with it on Pixiv.

I like the naming conventions in that one TM Ace manga but the one I never got was 士郎 = 志郎 :V

Arashi_Leonhart
February 22nd, 2013, 10:47 AM
...Shiki and Shirou did fusion dance?

Kiriel
February 22nd, 2013, 10:49 AM
This person has question about Kanji.

(白) Shiro means "white". We also have Shirakawa (白河) which means "white river". Kanji for "white" is the same, but pronunciation is different. Is there some unspoken rule, or something that I'm not getting?

Kotonoha
February 22nd, 2013, 10:53 AM
Arashi basically covered this, I think, but kanji usually have several pronunciations. So 白 is shiro, shira, haku, byaku, etc.

Anyway

Of course, part of Nasu’s fun with the language comes from this. Since kanji can make multiple sounds and these sounds overlap with other kanji meanings, you can substitute them with one another to make puns or jokes.
Just remembered that my usertitle is another example of this. FSN grail = 天の杯 = Ten no Sakazuki = Cup of Heaven; FHA grail = 天の逆月 = Ten no Sakazuki = Inverted Moon of Heaven.