Dealing with Japan often involves encountering new paradigms, a concept I encountered when I came to Japan as an ESL teacher. At one school I went to teach at, I walked into a new classroom and the students suddenly stood up as one, with one girl calling out kiritsu…rei…chakuseki! (“Stand…bow….take your seat!”), which is the traditional way to begin a class in Japan. Having a room full of students stand and bow to me was really bizarre, and I told the students they didn’t need to do it anymore as we were here to learn English. And yet, I would realize later that some barriers between me and the students I taught were important, and helped me be a better teacher, something I had to get used to. In the new anime Hanasaku Iroha, both the main character Ohana and we as the viewers encounter many new paradigms. For example: the question of what it means to run a Japanese ryokan inn, to be totally dedicated to the satisfaction of the guests at the inn, suppressing all of your own desires. In between telling Ohana to go die, Minka asks, “What does the concept of running an inn, or of work itself, even mean to you?” (If I may be permitted to travel back to the 1990s, this Dilbert comic about paradigms is one of my favorites.)
Hanasaku Iroha is show about new ways of thinking.