I’ve written before about how the meinichi (命日), the anniversary of a person’s death, is very important in a Buddhist country like Japan, and once a person has passed on those left behind will remember him or her on this day. Today happens to be the meinichi of Hiroshi Miyagawa, a person who’s had no small impact on Japan’s animation industry, as well as myself. He was the composer who wrote the music for Space Cruiser Yamato, shown in the U.S. as Star Blazers, essentially the first anime series associated with the now-familiar concepts of dramatic, sequential stories with problems that are resolved and multi-faceted characters who die, fall in love and generally act like real people. Several years before John Williams gave us the music for Star Wars, Maestro Miyagawa showed the world what could be achieved with extremely melodramatic and high-quality music even in something as mundane as an animated series. His single most famous creation was the Yamato theme song, which he composed after being asked by Producer Nishizaki to envision “an iron ballad,” and the song is regularly performed by marching bands from the Maritime Self-Defense Forces to my daughter’s 4th grade class. The Yamato franchise, with its Gamilon-planet-bombs-as-allegory-to-World-War-II themes, was incredibly campy, but for many it was a first wonderful bridge to Japan.
If you love “corn potage,” then get to Japan as fast as you can, since people here just can’t get enough of creamed corn soup. Right now I’m sitting in Steak House Miya, a Japanese restaurant that serves both regular and “hamburg” steak, famous for a tangy daikon sauce that the server pours over your sizzling plate, then a napkin is draped over the whole thing to keep it from burning you as the sauce cooks into the meat. Beside my steak and plate of rice is a bowl of corn soup with corn flakes sprinkled on top, which tastes good enough, I guess. As an American, when I think of soup I think of the Campbell’s classics like chicken noodle, tomato, and vegetable beef, but these are as alien here in Japan as Green Tea Butterscotch and Rose Flavored Gum are in most parts of the world. Types of soup that the Japanese prefer instead include creamed pumpkin or carrot soups, healthy wakame (seaweed) or miso soup, or if at an Italian restaurant, perhaps some minestrone. When you get sick in the U.S., most people think of eating chicken soup, but in Japan the most common remedies are drinking a tea with ginger in it or swallowing down a raw egg in sake — yum.
extremely high-end school uniforms for guys and girls made by Matsukameya of Nagoya, a company with an outstanding reputation in Japan. Our sailor uniforms are all custom made to your exact size specifications and available in many styles, making it easy for you to have the coolest costume for the summer anime conventions. We also carry a really cool item: authentic Japanese school bags, the kind high school girls carry to school, made of high quality materials and loaded with pockets to hold all your stuff.