For some reason, gaijin always seem to remember the first words of Japanese we learn. In my case it was the word natsukashii (nahts-kah-SHEE), which translates as “nostalgic” or more accurately, “what you’re saying makes me so nostalgic I look like one of those manga characters with a big tear rolling out of my eye.” From appreciating the wabi and sabi (sober refinement and austere serenity) of old buildings from the Showa Period to maintaining a complex appreciation for the JPOP singers of past eras (iTunes Japan link, log out of your current account if link doesn’t work), the Japanese are definitively a people in touch with the past. The other day I was walking down the street and decided to duck into a shop to ask directions. It was an old tabako-ya (tobacco shop) that looked like it’d been around for a hundred years or more, and the awesome feel of the old-style wood panes of the doors and the earth floor inside the shop really spoke to me the moment I walked in.
The Japanese are bit fans of nostalgia.