Without a doubt one of the best shows on this season is the new Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works, a re-make of the 2010 movie that was based on the UBW route of the original Fate/stay night visual novel. It’s simply one of the best retellings of the original Fate story, which has become cornerstone of modern Japanese popular culture and something everyone should check out. (I find that Fate/stay night is even more fun if you imagine that the main characters have chunibyo or “8th graders’ disease” and the supernatural battles going on are all delusions in their minds.) The show has been nicknamed Unlimited Budget Works by fans because of the huge amount of money the studio (Ufotable) is lavishing on it, which makes the quality of the production very high. One factor I was impressed with was the way the first two episodes (episode 0 and 1) were a full 45 minutes in length, quite a rarity in this era when studios are experimenting with cutting episode length to 15 minutes, or in the case of the Yama no Susume moe mountain climbing anime, only 3 minutes per episode.
Whenever my wife and I try a new restaurant we order ice coffee, which we use to judge the dedication of the staff and owner to their customers. Are they using bottled iced coffee, or brewing it themselves? What quality of beans are they using? As true aficionados, we’ve been doing this for a while, and we’ve mapped most of the eating establishments in our city based on the quality of their iced coffee. The other day we went to Silk Road, a local pasta restaurant which scores a strong 8.4 on our iced coffee scale. It has something else to recommend it, too: extremely gorgeous waitresses, with bright eyes and beautiful smiles. My wife says that the manager of the restaurant is 面食い menkui, which means “face-eater,” a word that describes someone who prioritizes attractiveness over everything else. There are plenty of these colorful idioms used in Japanese. If you’re hiding something but accidentally give yourself away, the Japanese would use the phrase 尻尾が出た shippo ga deta, meaning “your hidden tail came out from behind you [and gave your secret away],” based on the belief that foxes can take human form, but sometimes their tails stick out behind them and give them away. The paycheck from your first job ever was probably a 雀の涙 suzume no namida or a “sparrow’s tear,” e.g. a very small amount, and the phrase ごますり goma-suri, meaning “to grind up sesame seeds,” is how you express the idea of “brown-nosing” your boss in Japanese. Finally, someone with a “wide face” (顏が広い kao ga hiroi) is someone who is well known and influential in a community, like my father-in-law, a former banker who seems to know everyone in our city.
Here’s some great news: we’ve started Fuku-bukuro Season for the non-adult grab bags, with lots of awesome anime/toy, cosplay/kawaii. Every year the hardworking staff of J-List prepares traditional Japanese 福袋 fukubukuro, colorful red grab bags filled with great products for you to discover, from random Japanese figures and plush toys to gashapon capsule toys to bento boxes and related products to some very ecchi items. This year we’ve got a great lineup, with several awesome sets of grab bags to choose from. All items will be shipped in a separate sturdy box, with items securely packed, and a traditional red fukubukuro will be included, folded up, in case you’re giving these items as gifts. Order yours now!