Today is April 1st, a very dangerous time to be on the Internet, thanks to April’s Fool’s Day, which has become more and more popular with Japanese companies, as we see in today’s (fake) announcement of a Gate spin-off starring Rory as a magical girl. J-List has been known to get in on the fun, too, and in past years we’ve announced a retail location in Akihabara (which worked so well tourists are still trying to find it), a parody English eroge called My Girlfriend is the Prosecutor-General, an all-ages version of Starless, and a J-List-branded itasha car to be displayed at Anime Expo. (This looked real enough to fool my wife, who got mad at me for buying a car without consulting her.) We have fun at work, too, like the time the staff changed my computer’s DNS to make it look like J-List had been hacked by North Korea on my machine only. Good times, good times.
One thing about the Japanese: they are quite superstitious, for example believing that if you cut your nails at night you won’t be able to be with your parents when they die, or that sleeping with one’s head pointed north (kita-makura) is unlucky, because the bodies of the dead spend their last night pointed in that direction before cremation. While sprinkling salt over your body after returning from a funeral, lest the spirits of the dead enter your home and dwell there, is all very harmless, there are a few “really big” Japanese superstitions. One is 厄年 yakudoshi, the “unlucky year” that’s said to be the age of 33 for women and 42 for men, and nearly all Japanese will avoid doing things like getting married or building a house during these years lest disaster strike. Another big superstition is 丙午 hi-no-euma, an odd belief that girls born in the Year of the Fire Horse (the last one was in 1966, and the next one is 2026) will be headstrong and unable to find husbands, which is so deeply held that it caused a downward spike in Japan’s birthrate.
The Hinoeuma superstition has a long and interesting backstory (no not that kind), which I thought I’d pass along. One day back in 1666, a fire burned through much of Edo (the old name for Tokyo), and during the evacuation, a 16-year-old girl named Oshichi met a page from a Buddhist temple named Shonosuke and they fell madly in love. After she returned home, she found herself thinking of the young man endlessly, and her obsession became so great that she decided to start another fire in they city, so that she might be able to see her lover again. She was caught and executed, but her story became a legend in a Guy Fawkes sort of way, and has been used as the basis for traditional Kabuki plays for centuries. She was the first Hinoeuma Fire Horse.
J-List carries lots of fun “naughty” products from Japan, from personal lotion to massagers for girls and guys and more. Today we’ve got a big update, incl. the KonoSuba parody toy you didn’t know you needed. Remember, get $10 off any order of $50 or more coupon (JLIST1M) when you order. (Single use per customer, expires 4/4 (extended!).