One subject I’m interested in is the way understanding between cultures is often brought about through “bridge foods.” An example of this is おにぎり onigiri (also known as musubi), those delicious triangular rice balls seen in Spirited Away and Pokemon (where they were referred to as jelly doughnuts) which are a staple of “in-between” places like Okinawa or Hawaii. Onigiri are a major product category for convenience stores in Japan, and even before a newly-arrived gaijin learns to start reading the language around him he often memorizes the all-important onigiri color code at Seven Eleven — red for salmon, blue for “sea chicken” (tuna) and so on. Onigiri are a staple of bento culture, and Japanese housewives get up early to press rice balls to include in lunches for their kids or husbands, just as my own mother made peanut butter and honey sandwiches for me all those years. These days there’s another type of food that’s serving as a “cultural bridge” between East and West: dagashi, the traditional candy and related snacks from the Showa Period, which are undergoing a revival thanks to the Dagashi Kashi anime.
Perhaps it’s because I’m from San Diego, where the only two seasons are “nice” and “slightly less nice,” but I never thought that much about the four seasons before coming to Japan. All of that went out the window when I got here and suddenly found my life changing wildly each month as the calendar marched forward. It’s part of the Japanese psyche that they look strangely at anyone who isn’t perfectly in sync with this invisible seasonal timetable, and wearing short-sleeved shirts in October, even though it might be perfectly pleasant, will get you comments along the lines of “aren’t you cold?” from Japanese people. You also learn to not delay when buying seasonal items like the hanten warm kimonos or kotatsu tables, because they go away quickly. Right now companies are rolling out lots of sakura themed products for spring, from the Sakura and Strawberry Latte at Starbucks to this year’s new spring-limited beer from Asahi and Kirin. J-List also has some great products to celebrate spring, including Sakura Pepsi and Japan-limited Red Bull. Why not browse and put an order in now?
There are mousepads, and then there are mousepads, which provide the amazing plot wrist support an otaku needs while using a computer. Today we’ve posted a huge volley of super sexy mousepads, from a new Super Sonico to great new “butt mousepads” and more. Get 10% off for preordering!