If you read blogs about Japan at all, one question that gets asked a lot is, “Why is Japan so strange?” And looking at images of middle-aged salarymen wearing Lucky Star cosplay and kawaii gravure idol Aki Hoshino with nylon stockings over her head which are then pulled up, making her face look ridiculous, one might think that Japan is just a tad odd. But as I’ve written before, there’s a tendency for only those aspects of Japan which look strange or ridiculous to our gaijin sensibilities to be reported on the Internet and by the masukomi (the news media, shortened from the English “mass communications”). When nothing bizarre happens in Japan, there’s only silence from the country, but once a man tries to legally marry his favorite Love Plus video game character, people start wondering that they’re putting in Japan’s drinking water. I remember growing up in the 1970s watching the awesome Monty Python and Benny Hill on American TV, and I had a somewhat warped impression of the U.K. as a result. Yet nothing less bizarre and hilarious could have broken through the cultural wall, so that’s what we got.
Then again, maybe Japan is a little strange.