I’m interested in the way the Japanese Internet exists separately from the English-speaking net, almost like two alien civilizations that breathe different kinds of air, so the people can’t intermingle. Separated by language and culture, memes from one side — for example the phrase daga shikashi, a quirky way of expressing “but” or “however” made famous by Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure then enshrined in the Dagashi Kashi anime — would be generally unknown outside of Japan, while Japanese internet users wouldn’t understand the nuance of “Netflix and chill.” There are bridges between the two Internets, for example YouTube videos of cats, as well as the occasional explosion of fanart memes from Pixiv, like the time everyone went crazy about Cat Keyhole Lingerie. The school year just started in Japan, and in a new English textbook called New Horizons there’s a very moe looking teacher named Ellen Baker, who’s become the new darling of Internet fan artists all over the world. She certainly is cute!
There are a few things in life you expect, like death, taxes and debates about who the “best girl” in anime is. Another is inflation, the general tendency for prices to creep upwards as a result of economic activity, though Japan hasn’t seen much of this over the past two decades. Except for gasoline, almost nothing has gone up in price since I came here back in 1991, other than one train fare increase and Coke going to 120 yen from 100, which had been the price since 1946. Having prices not go up sounds nice, but it also means that wages don’t go up, which leads to stagnation and raises questions about what’s waiting for Japan in the future. Price increases are so rare here that when the makers of Gari Gari-kun, a popular ramune-flavored ice cream bar, went from 60 to 70 yen after 25 years at the old price, the company president felt compelled to apologize to customers.
We’re excited about the upcoming release of the Sonicomi: Communication with Sonico game by Nitroplus, in which you are a photographer helping Sonico’s singing career, possibly winning her heart along the way. We’ve got great news too: in addition to the original Japanese voice with subtitles, the game will have an optional English dub with Jessica Nigri, from the Sonico anime. See details on the official page!