I finally made time to finish the second season of Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai, aka There’s No Way My Younger Sister Is This Cute. The second season was surprisingly good, with lots of “feels” — especially for fans of Kuroneko and Ayase ♡ — and more character development than I dared hope for. I like to watch random episodes of anime and see what interesting cultural points I can uncover, like the scene in episode 1 of K-On! when Tsumugi shyly adds her french fries to a pile that Ritsu and Mio are eating from, in order to remove an invisible barrier between herself and the other members of the Light Music Club. In episode 12 of Oreimo, Kyosuke has an impromptu party with all the girls, and there’s a shot of various drinks and snacks laid out on a table, including a bag of potato chips that’s been split down the center so that its contents are laid out to the air. This is a very Japanese thing to do when entertaining, to open all the snacks so that they will go to waste if guests don’t dig in and eat, due to a cultural phenomenon known as 遠慮 enryo. Literally meaning restraint or reserve, or as a verb, to refrain from doing something, enryo is manifested as the Japanese tendency to hesitate to take offered food or drink out of politeness. If anyone is to relax and have any fun, you have to break through these social barriers, and forcing people to eat in order to avoid wasting food is one way to go about it.
Learning about Japanese culture through potato chips.