The films of Miyazaki Hayao are universally loved around the world, and in Japan virtually everyone grows up watching his movies. Over the past few years the Nihon TV network has started featuring Ghibli films in their Friday Roadshow Movie time slot, which always get high ratings because fans love live tweeting about them. (Last week Castle in the Sky Laputa was shown, and as usual, 1.4 million fans tweeted the dramatic line “Barus!” at the same moment.) Tonight’s broadcast is the classic Kiki’s Delivery Service, and it has some investors in Japan worried thanks to a bizarre “anomaly jinx” known as the Ghibli Principle. It seems that showing Ghibli films on TV is linked to instability in the U.S. stock market, with big movements happening while films are showing. It’s nothing more than an urban legend, of course, caused by the fact that Ghibli films are always shown at 9 pm on Fridays, which corresponds to the opening of the markets in New York. Since Fridays are when the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank announces employment and other statistics about the economy, it’s not unreasonable that the market will tend to be more active around this time, up or down. Incidentally, if you ever plan a trip to Japan, J-List has a Ghibli Museum ticket purchasing service for you, since the tickets are hard to get from abroad.
Japan is a country that faces many challenges in its future, mostly related to the falling population, which peaked at 128 million in 2008. A more specific problem is the lack of successors to take over family businesses and keep them running. In the fun anime Dagashi Kashi, which is designed to create appreciation for the nostalgic candy and snacks of Japan’s Showa Period, there’s a scene in which Coconuts is pressured to take over his father’s candy store, but he’s dead set against it, because his dream is becoming a manga artist. A similar issue is happening with Japan’s Buddhist temples: the lack of children willing to take over the family business is forcing dozens to close every year, which is putting the country in a spiritual crisis. When I married my wife, it was sort of assumed that she and I would take over the rural liquor store her parents run one day. Happily we started J-List instead, which allows her to live at home with her parents (she’s an only child so the pressure on her is quite high) while doing something a lot more fulfilling than running a liquor store for a job.
J-List offers many quality products from Japan to help relieve your personal stress, whether you’re a guy or a girl. One interesting way to combat the cold of winter is with the new Hot Tenga, a male toy that has a built-in warmer to make things nice and toasty for you. Another innovation from Japan!