SIDE NOTES & FOOTNOTES
Not all Japanese kids call their older brothers "Oniichan." Most boys call their older brothers "Aniki" and some kids at times would call their older brothers with the "-nii" honorific stem, which is pretty much the short version of "Oniichan."
Aneurysm is a blood-filled bulge in the wall of a blood vessel (caused by a blood clot?), usually at the base of the brain. As it grows larger, it can rupture, causing hemorrhage or death. The author's aunt and cousin both passed away several years ago due to Aneurysm.
Origami is the art of paper folding.
Kirigami is the art of paper cutting.
Enka is Japanese-style country music, resembling close to Japanese traditional music.
Gakuen is translated as a high-end private secondary high school, or simply literally translated as "academy." Most elite high schools in Japan translate gakuen as "high school" rather than "academy."
Shoujo manga is a genre of manga aimed and directed towards the younger female reathers. Most of these shoujo manga sets in real-life "slice of life" scenarios.
NPB, or Nippon Professional Baseball, is the official baseball league of Japan. It is pretty much equivalent to the MLB (Major League Baseball) in the U.S. and Canada.
Torui Zusui is the Japanese version of chicken soup with rice. Very similar to the Filipino lugaw or arroz caldo except the Japanese version has bonito flakes as its soup base.
Tamaryokucha Tea is a fine Japanese green tea with a tangy, berry-like taste.
Oyakodon is chicken donburi (Japanese rice bowl) consisting of chicken, egg, and vegetables on top of rice.
Japanese students only attend three years of high school. In a typical Japanese school campus, the main building would usually have three floors, or three designated areas with classrooms for each grade level. To equate the grade levels of Japanese high schools to the American school system, this would be the following: 1st year – sophomore, 2nd year – junior, 3rd year – senior. Freshmen-level students in Japan are considered 3rd/final year of middle school/junior high.
In Japan, P.E. classes in middle school/junior high are segregated between boys and girls. P.E. classes in high school are still segregated when taking role and doing physical events, but when playing sports, the classes are integrated (for example, boys and girls play baseball together in P.E. class).
The art of organized take-out box lunch! Students in schools and employees at companies can always do the usual buy the lunch from the vending machines or from the cafeteria counters, but you can never beat the authenticity, the art, and the balanced nutrition of a bento lunch! Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, and India also have their own versions of an organized box lunch.
It is customary for (crazy/obsessed/ill in love) girls to make bento box lunches for the boy they're in love with, whether if that boy is a crush or the boyfriend. I have to admit that the Japanese have got to be some of the most romantic people you'll ever meet in this world. It's also common for popular handsome boys to receive so many bento box lunches from girls, thus in this case, they simply call it "free lunch."
In Japan, there is a superstition that when someone sneezes from out of the blue and that person doesn't even have a cold or allergies, it means that there are other people out there who may be talking about that someone right now.
In Japanese schools, English is a required core class, not an elective unlike the foreign language classes offered at American schools. The core English class focuses more on reading, writing, understanding, and translating, not much emphasis on speaking the language itself. There are specialized English conversation schools as small private institutions or part of the juku (cram schools) system. Because Momiji Academy is a private, exclusive school, it's possible to include English conversation in their core English classes.
California Roll, the first-ever Western-made sushi, is now common in Japan.
Ramen-ya = ramen restaurant
shabu-shabu = Japanese hot pot
McDonald's and Denny's are a few of the American chain restaurants that are available in Japan.
Kanto-ben is standard Japanese. Kansai-ben is the dialect of Western Japan (Osaka, Kobe, Nara, etc.)
A "battery" is a term in baseball to refer to the partnership between the pitcher and the catcher.
A deadball is a type of pitch that was unintentionally or intentionally aimed to target the batter anywhere other than the catcher's mask.
Daisuke Matsuzaka is one of the few famous Japanese pitchers in the MLB. He currently plays for the Boston Red Sox and is oneof the first few Japanese pitchers in the MLB, along with fellow Japanese relief pitcher Hideki Okajima, who won an MLB Word Series Championship Ring in 2007. One of the most famous rivalries in MLB are the Boston Red Sox vs. the New York Yankees.
The California Roll is the only Western-created sushi that is common around Japan.
It's already common knowledge that in Japanese sports, baseball is king. Japan is one of the strongest contenders in Little League baseball. The country has won the Little League World series seven times since its first participation in to Little League in 1962. Japan's latest championship title in Little League was back in 2010 when they defeated Hawaii (representing the U.S.) 4-1. For this year's Little League World Series (2012), Japan defeated Tennessee.
Yamato-damashi = "Yamato spirit" or "Soul of Yamato" is the concept of showing the essence of Japanese pride. If you're an Asian-American in the U.S. and you see the whole "Asian pride" thing going on? Same thing for the Japanese.
Ganguro is a Japanese female fashion trend consisting of pink, blonde, pink, or silver hair and tanned skin (sometimes black skin even), donning colorful and sometimes outrageous makeup. The trend has become popular in 2000 and is still a top trend among female fashionistas today.
An omiai is a form or arranged marriage system between families for other reasons than just true love. Though it's rarely practiced today in Japanese society, some high-class families and even families from rural areas still practice this arranged marriage system for their children.
Golden Week, abbreviated as "GW" and also known as Ogoun Shukan, is a collection of four national holidays that occur near the end of April and early May. The dates of importance in this week are April 29 (Showa Day), May 3 (Constitution Day), May 4 (Greenery Day), and May 5 (Children's Day). It is the busiest time of the year for the Japanese as it is the perfect time for working class to go on a vacation with family and loved ones, whether at the countryside or even out of Japan itself.
Shinkansen - Japan's high-speed rail system.
4000 Yen, according to today's currency exchange, would be roughly around $51 USD.
1000 Yen, according to today's currency exchange, would be roughly around $13 USD.
Shioyaki is the Japanese traditional salt-grilled methods of meat and fish.
Japanese whaling has been around since the 12th Century and it has been under controversy and scrutiny by animal rights organizations for several years now.
Tsugaru-ben, also known as Tohoku-ben, is the very prominent dialect of the Tohoku region (Northern part of Honshu Island), and is the most distinctive dialect in all of Japan. Tsugaru-ben dialect is so much different from the rest of the dialects in Japan that when any program using Tsugaru-ben dialect as a language is shown on national TV that they need to put standard Japanese subtitles for the general public to understand the dialogue. It is also a distinct dialect that many Japanese would easily determine a Tohoku, most specifically Aomori, native based on the person's unusual accent and pronounciation that many Tohoku natives who visit Tokyo and other urban areas that they often hide their accents when they speak standard Japanese.
"zuu zuu ben" is the slang term for Tsugaru-ben used by the rest of Japan as Tsugaru-ben accents and pronounciations sounded like murmuring and "buzzing like bees."
Watashi = I
Anata = You
A taiga drama is a historical or epic drama series that take place sometime in Japan's long history. Taiga dramas, unlike your usual modern drama, lasts about a year rather than a season.
Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) was written by a royal court lady-in-waiting named Murasaki Shikibu, considered one of the world's first earliest novels written in the history of classical literature. The story depicts of a handsome young prince named Hikaru Genji and his romantic exploits and adventures with plenty of women, however the main focus of the story centers around Hikaru Genji and the love of his life, his step-niece named Murasaki (not named after the writer). Many of the shoujo manga artists get their inspirations for their princely male characters after Hikaru Genji.
This particular poem is located in Chapter 2: The Broom-Like Tree in Genji Monogatari. The archaic/Heian Era Japanese version was translated in to English by Suematsu Kencho in 1900.
"Shouganai yo" = "It can't be helped."
Kyokushin kaikan karate (or Kyokushinkai for short) is a style of stand-up, full contact karate founded by a Korean-Japanese karate master Masutatsu Oyama (real name: Choi Young Eui). Translated as "the society of the ultimate truth," this particular martial art is one of the most strenous, most competititive, highly-demanding absolute full-contact martial art. Think of it as UFC (ultimate fighting championships) with a high level of discipline.
500 yen would be around $6-$7 USD according to today's currency exchange.
Japan's high schools have some of the largest number of students per classroom, roughly around 40-50 per homeroom class. Private schools, of course, set their own population of students per classroom, which in the case of Momiji Academy, has an average number of 32 students per homeroom class.
Nihon Danshi - the ideal Japanese man, as in oppose to the Yamato Nadeshiko, the ideal Japanese woman.
H2 is a sports romantic comedy manga series written/illustrated by Mitsuru Adachi about high school romance and baseball. Adachi also wrote/illustrated "Touch," "Cross Game," and "Nine," all award-winning high school baseball-themed mangas as well. In this case, because Hidetoshi Hara's initials are "H.H.," he constantly abbreviates his initials as "H2." The pun intention here was the fact the fact that "H.H." is a baseball player himself.
"Kaichou" means president. In this case, the student body president. In short, Ryohei Amano, Taisuke and Mirai's classmate.
Karateka - a karate practitioner.
National Diet - the seat of the Japanese government, kind of like the U.S. government's Executive Branch and Legislative Branch all in one branch.
Don Tacos is a Japanese snack food consisting of tortilla chips in four flavors: Mexican Chili, Seafood, Super Hot Chili, and Rich Butter Grilled Corn. They don't have the plain tortilla chips version, sadly, which is why in this case, Kairi stated they had to order tortilla chips online for their chips and salsa snack.
Twin tails = it's what the Japanese call the pigtails.
MEXT is the acronym for the Ministry of Education in Japan.
GID is Gender Identity Disorder, a psychological diagnoses used to describe individuals who may feel and think that they are the opposite gender trapped in their current gender. It's a diagnosis that may lead some people to go through transsexualism, such as becoming a transgender or a transvestite.
Shinai is the wooden bamboo sword that Kendo practitioners use for their martial art. Some DC (disciplinary committee) officers, depending on the school, use the shinai to enforce rules on the rulebreakers around campus.
The escalator system, or simply called "escalator school," is a school system many private schools use to house students of all ages and levels, from elementary school to college/university. This is a common practice among many private schools in Japan (and very visible in many anime/manga series), but they also exist in private schools at some countries. In this case, Keio University, one of Japan's most prestigious universities, operates an elementary school, middle school, and high school campuses under the same name, in which students have a high chance of getting in to their university level if they continue their studies under the same system.
The Martyrs of Japan, or simply known as the Kirishitan by the Japanese, had a long history. These were converted Japanese Catholic Christians from the samurai class to the peasant class, along with the Catholic missionaries from Europe and other countries, who were persecuted and executed by the shogunate during the 17th Century due to their religion, primarily in Nagasaki. At first, the shogunate allowed Catholic missionaries and convert their people in to Catholicism thinking this may be a way to reduce the power and influence of the Buddhist monks within the realm, however the shogunate were also aware in the issue of colonialism, seeing as how they learned that the Philippines were colonized by Spain as a result of the Spanish conversion of the natives to the Christian religion, thus the persecution. Among of these martyrs executed were St. Paul Miki, one of Japan's promiment and recognized canonized saints, and Blessed Caius of Korea, a cathecist who was said to be known as the father of Christianity in Korea.
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest active Christian sect in Japan, with over 500,000 baptized members currently active.
Shingo, Aomori - where the fabled "Tomb of Jesus Christ" is located.
miko - Shinto shrine priestess
AKB48 - popular girl group that has about 48 (or more?) members, sort of like a new version of Morning Musume. Unlike most girl groups around the world, AKB48 (and their sister girl groups such as SKE48, etc.) have their own stage theater located in Akihabara (district in Tokyo known for its hi-tech electronics scene as well as the capital of anime, manga, and videogames), where they perform various shows weekly.
Namie Amuro - Japanese pop singer, once called the Teen Queen and Queen of J-Pop. She debuted in the 90s as part of a girl group called Super Monkey's, but her success rose as a soloist. In the early 2000s, she transited her pop idol image in to a full-pledged R&B diva.
AI (born Ai Uemura) is a Japanese-American R&B artist who is now one of Japan's hottest R&B female divas in the J-Pop scene. She debuted in the late 90s as a member of an Asian-American girl group, SX4, before she moved to Japan to begin her solo career.
SweetS was a pre-teen (younger than 13) group who personified the average "cool girl." Rather than the cutesy uniformed girl groups such as Morning Musume and AKB48, SweetS represented the "cool girls" with catchy tunes from R&B to dance tracks. Sadly they broke up in the late 2000s due to school.
Verbal (born Ryu Yeong-Gi) is a Zainichi Korean born and raised in Tokyo who is a notable rapper, songwriter, and producer in the Japanese R&B/Hip-hop scene. As a child, he and his parents moved to the U.S. and it was during his time at a YMCA camp that introduced him to Hip-hop and gained his influence there. He attended St. Mary's International School in Tokyo, in which English is the primary language there, and attended Boston College in the U.S. He began his career as a member of m-flo is also known for his collaborations with high-profile Japanese R&B artists and American artists such as Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, and Snoop Dogg.
Crystal Kay (born Crystal Kay Williams) is a Korean-African-American R&B vocalist who is very prolific and iconic in the Japanese R&B industry. She was born in Yokohama to an African-American sailor father who was currently stationed in a U.S. Navy base and a Zainichi Korean mother. She became one of the notable figures in the J-Pop scene of multiracial background and is a pioneer for Japanese artists of multiracial background. She and fellow R&B vocalist BENI have known each other since high school, both being students of the American education-based Nile C. Kinnick High School in Yokohama and in Sophia University. She had been in the industry for twelve years and has sold 2 million records in Japan as of 2009.
BENI (born Beni Daniels) is an Okinawan-born Japanese-American R&B vocalist and songwriter who first debuted as "Beni Arashiro." As a child, she moved to California and eventually ended up in Yokohama. She debuted as a member of Bishoujo Club 31 and is the only one who became a soloist while being a member. Her natural beauty, poise, voice, and her English fluency won the hearts of Avex Trax that signed her in to their label. She and fellow R&B vocalist Crystal Kay have known each other since high school, both being students of the American education-based Nile C. Kinnick High School in Yokohama and in Sophia University. Her first English album, "Covers," became a huge best-selling album thus far, peaking at #2 at the Oricon charts, and sold way more copies than that of her debut album "Bitter and Sweet" and "Lovebox."
SPEED is an Okinawa-based J-Pop girl group who became the most successful girl group all around Asia thus far. Debuted in 1996, they represented the cool and smart girls just as SweetS did some years later. The group broke up in 2000 to pursue solo careers but reunited again in 2009.
Yamato Nadeshiko - the personification of "the true, real deal" Japanese girl.
In Japan, the national age of consent is 13, however many prefectures have regulations which prohibits adults from engaging in to sexual activity with a minor until that minor turns 18. In short, many Japanese teenagers already experienced their first sexual experience starting at the average age of 13.
Spaghetti Neapolitan (or Neapolitan Spaghetti) is a Japanese-concocted type of spaghetti using ketchup and a traditional Japanese sauce (ie. tonkatsu sauce, sometimes okonomiyaki sauce is used) as its base. It was concocted in Yokohama and is one of Japan's "Western-style" signature dishes along with the Korokke (Croquette) and the Omuraisu (Omelette Rice).
Kairi mentioned "the feudal times" in terms of her quick expression towards Yuki and Jun's first time having sex. The feudal times she meant were the long centuries of Japan being ruled by powerful samurai clans and warlords. During those times, girls as young as eleven or twelve are already eligible for marriage. Girls become mothers as young as the age of thirteen, with the average age of men becoming fathers was fifteen. Samurai elite class young men were already eligible to fight in battles as real samurai warriors as young as age sixteen or seventeen. Despite of the new reformed modern laws in Japan, there were still teenagers today who still have that "ancients old" mindset of engaging in sexual activity at such an early age.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) is one of the largest active Christian groups in Japan, with over 125,000 members currently active. Japan has two recognized Mormon temples, with a third one currently under construction.
When The Hunger Games became mainstream, it was often compared and contrasted by many literary critics around to an earlier Japanese dystopian sci-fi survival novel, Koushun Takami's Battle Royale because of its very similar concept: teenagers kill each other off for survival in an isolated battlefield. Even the main characters, a teenage boy and a teenage girl (who eventually became lovers near the end), were also featured in the same fashion as well. The only difference is that the boy is the main character in Battle Royale, while the girl is the main character in The Hunger Games. "Battle Royale" was first releasd in 1999 and its film version in 2000, eight years before The Hunger Games.
A "tsundere" is a Japanese character development process that describes a person who is initially cold and hostile to others on the outside before gradually showing his/her warm side as time goes by. The term is derived from "tsun tsun" (to turn away in disgust) and "dere dere" (to become warm and fuzzy).
Nico Nico Douga is a Japanese video sharing service, very much similar to YouTube. The original version of the Nico Nico Douga was primarily based on YouTube, however YouTube's bandwidth spiked greatly that lead to banning any connections coming from NND, but today it now has its own server for users to upload their videos. Plenty of the NND users happen to be otaku fans doing renditions of their favorite songs from singing to dancing and other original and cover performances.
Te-yut-te ("Please Tell Me...") is one of the songs available in the popular singing synthesizer software known as Vocaloid. Before there was PSY's Gangnam Style and right after "Hare Hare Yukai" from the anime "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya," there was the "Te-yut-te" dance craze back in 2011 in Japan and majority of the otaku communities around the world.