Well, it’s almost time to say goodbye to 2019, so it’s a good opportunity to look back and see what the year brought for us all, both in anime as well as in other parts of our lives.
How was the past year for you? We hope it was a good and constructive one. It was an outstanding year for J-List: we watched lots of anime together (see our top 12 series for 2019 here), had fun with our followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and shared a lot of memes (see the top anime memes of the past decade, as voted by all of you). It’s really great, having a company where we can share our love of anime with so many awesome people and sell fun products from Japan at the same time. Thanks for being a part of J-List!
Time to Say Goodbye to 2019
The end of a year is a very reflective time in Japan, as everyone thinks back on the happy times they had over the past year, and the sad ones. People meet with friends to have 忘年会 bounen-kai or year-end parties, which actually mean “forget-the-year” parties, which is easy to do once you’ve had a few drinks. They’re also very busy shopping for cleaning supplies so they can clean their homes (and businesses like J-List) from top to bottom, which allows them to feel emotionally prepared to face a new year. This “big cleaning” tradition began with a ritual cleaning of Buddhist temples at year-end.
As I wrote in my post about slower shipping of packages in the new year, when January 1st arrives the Japanese will do nothing for three days, relaxing and eating mochi while sitting at the kotatsu, and doing as little as possible. Most businesses won’t open until January 3rd, although this year many businesses (including some of J-List’s suppliers) won’t re-open until Monday, January 6th, because of where the weekend falls this year.
It’s an indication of Japan’s current prosperity that they have the economic leeway to do nothing but relax for a whole week. I remember back when Japan’s bubble burst, major department stores started having their big New Year sales on January 1st instead of January 2nd, which was unthinkable at the time. Imagine an economic downturn so severe, every business announced it was going to remain open on Christmas Day? Happily, the bad days of the “lost decades” are finally behind Japan, and the country has even re-discovered inflation recently.
(This week-long slowness around the end of an old year and the start of a new one in Japan is why I’ve been asked by our staff not to write any of the ridiculously detailed ero toy reviews I post on our blog, as we’ll be in danger of selling out of every product during the New Year holiday period. Though we were careful to stock up ahead of time, so don’t worry.)
As we say goodbye to 2019, we naturally wonder what kind of year will 2020 be. Hopefully a good one for all of us, as well as a successful one for the anime and manga industries that we all love.
Got any questions about Japan, or topics you’d like to write about in 2020? Tell us on Twitter!
As we head into a new year, it’s nice to look at some of the gorgeous figures Japanese sculptors have brought us over the past year…and the awesome ones that are coming in 2020. Browse our newest figures here!