One of the more creative trends from Japan this century has been 萌化 moe-ka, or “moe-ification,” making inanimate objects and historical personas into cute anthropomorphized girls, which we see in works like Upotte! (moe guns), KanColle (WWII ships), and Eiyu Senki (cute versions of everyone from Billy the Kid to Beethoven to King Arthur). While the trend went mainstream thanks to Fumikane Shimada’s Strike Witches (and his popular Mecha Musume illustrations and figures which preceded by a few years), I think the real origin has to be OS-tan, the tradition of artists on the Internet creating unofficial characters to represent the personalities of their computer OSes. Now the newest chapter in moe pop culture has arrived in the form of a Japanese game currently in development called Uma-musume — Pretty Derby, about cute moe horse girls who train their bodies in order to run the fastest horse(girl) race.
Because studying Japanese is a rather intense process, I found myself developing a special liking to certain words and kanji characters as I learned them. Some kanji, like 走る hashiru (to run), 起きる okiru (to wake up, to occur), and 証 akashi (meaning symbol or proof), are enjoyable to write and beautifully balanced. Other times I came to like certain words because they spoke to me in some way, like 前向き mae-muki, which means “facing foward” or “facing the future” and is good for thinking positively about life in general. (The word is embodied in certain cheerful and positive characters, like Mayuri from Steins;Gate or Mako from Kill la Kill.) Then there’s 生き甲斐 ikigai, which is basically the thing that gives your life the most meaning, the reason you get out of bed every day. Maybe it’s that really satisfying job, or maybe it’s your kids or your grandkids or some organization you contribute to. One reason Japanese tend to live so long, on average, is that they usually have some ikigai in their lives.
J-List carries lots of fun “naughty” products from Japan, from personal lotion to massagers for girls and guys and more. Today we’ve got a big update, incl. the KonoSuba parody toy you didn’t know you needed. Remember, get $10 off any order of $50 or more coupon (JLIST1M) when you order. (Single use per customer, expires 4/4 (extended!).