It’s fun to study random bits of Japanese culture, like the way children who want the weather to be good tomorrow will make a little man called Teruteru Bozu out of tissue paper and hang him by the window sill as a prayer to make it stop raining. Another fun traditional meme you encounter Japan is a face made from hiragana characters, called heno heno moheji (which is what the characters say when pronounced out loud), which Japanese kids like to doodle in their school textbooks. It’s totally meaningless, but a widely recognizable visual image of Japan, known to show up on bento boxes from time to time. One of my favorite visual memes is called aiai-gasa, which means “two people walking together under an umbrella,” and if you’ve watched a few anime series, you’ve probably seen it drawn on a chalkboard once or twice. The Japanese believe that walking together in the rain is very romantic, and drawing an umbrella with the names Taro and Hanako underneath implies that they like each other.
It’s fun to study Japanese visual culture.