Where will you be when Japanese memes strike next? Last weekend the Tokyo area got a once-in-a-decade snowstorm, about 11 inches/28 cm in a day, which while small by comparison to some parts of the world is quite a lot for us. During the storm something extremely cute happened: a couple was interviewed by the TV news and asked what they thought of the snow. The man answered, “Being out in the snow with my lover like this immerses me in a special feeling which I like a lot,” while the girl shyly covered her face in embarrassment. (The word he used was 恋人 koibito, literally ‘lover’ but also translatable as boyfriend or girlfriend.) Suddenly Pixiv became inundated with fanart portraying various anime character pairings in the same situation, and thus the “Special Feeling” meme was born. Although it’s the cutest thing since Hello Kitty met Dear Daniel, the meme got its start when a Japanese user tweeted a screenshot of the interview, cynically cursing the happy couple for being リア充 ria-ju, an internet slang term that’s short for リアルの生活が充実してる riaru no seikatsu ga jujitsu shiteru or people who enjoy a full and happy ‘real life’ (e.g. someone who has a boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/whatever). The meme is a fun way for people to obsess over the romantic relationships of their favorite characters, and there’s no limit to the combinations fans are ‘shipping’ (that is, fantasizing about non-canon relationships, from “relationshipping”). If you want to see some of these wacky pictures, I’ve been posting them to the J-List Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter feeds.
The “Special Feeling” meme is born on on Pixiv.