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Q10 episode 02 - Notes of Doom

Hey everyone!

Sorry this took us so long. It was completely my fault. There was the World Series (American Baseball), Halloween, work... The time vortexes hit me hard and fast, eating my time while I wasn't looking. ^^;; Hopefully, the rest of the episodes won't take me this long... We'll see. I'll do my best!

But for now... enjoy!

Oh! The notes don't exactly contain spoilers... I don't think they give away any plot, but they don't not give away plot either... ? I mean, you can piece things together from them, but you can do that with most of our notes, so... use your best judgment. ^_^

otaku - In the US, and maybe in other places as well, people have come to embrace the "otaku" identity. However, in Japan the term still carries very negative connotations. The closest I can come in English is "nerd," in the pocket protector, calculator holster, suspender wearing, glasses held together by tape, 80's sense of the word. The image people generally have of otaku are males with absolutely no social skills who give you the creeps because of their odd, stilted behavior and speech patterns, and their extreme obsession with their genre of choice. Many people associate the term exclusively with anime, but it’s anyone who is extremely obsessed with something. There can be train otaku, idol otaku, army otaku, telephone pole otaku, etc. The dramas Densha Otoko and akihabara@DEEP give good examples of otaku stereotypes and culture.

the stack of business cards - The business cards are from hostesses at various hostess bars that the Principal has visited. For more on hostesses (and hosts) please see our GiraGira1 notes

The random music video lyrics - This was oddly difficult to translate. Japanese love word play and there are three examples of it in these four lines alone.

In the first line "juu-go-ya no tsuki akari no shita de" the word "juu-go-ya" literally translates to "15th night," but has come to mean "full moon" in general usage. This is due to the fact that Japan used to use a lunar calendar. In that calendar, the full moon almost always fell on the 15th night of the month. Thus the association. Interestingly, the significance of the 15th night and the appreciation of the beauty of the full moon is thought to have been brought to Japan from China. Somewhere along the way, the Japanese began to express a preference for the just-shy-of-full moon of the 13th night (juu-san-ya). This "imperfect" moon falls more in line with the traditional Japanese aesthetic.

The last line is a play on words too. The term "ohako" when written "十八番" means "a favorite stunt/trick" or "one's specialty." This may be because of the term "kabuki juu-hachi ban" (歌舞伎十八番) which refers to a repertoire of 18 kabuki plays. The sound of the word, however, is identical to the word for "box" (hako, 箱). Thus the hand motions.

As a final play on words, if you look at the lyrics below, you can see that each line counts upward, ending at 18, ohako. Crazy, huh?

Juu-go-ya no tsuki akari no shita de
under the light of the full moon (15th night)...
juu-roppon me no kyandoru wo kesu
...we'll blow out the 16th candle
juu-nana do me no kisu wo shita ato...

おはこ (十八番)
It'll be our specialty...

idols - The idols in Japan are a little hard to explain. They churn them out by the dozens there, and the idols generally take their responsibilities very seriously. Not only do they have to sing and dance, they're also supposed to live wholesome, helpful lives and appear in everything from TV commercials to variety shows. It's very much like the American teen idols from the 50's and 60's, Frankie Avalon, Ricky Nelson, Annette Funicello, people like that. In case you hadn't guessed, Johnny's is probably the biggest idol producing machine in Japan.

If it's okay with you, would you give me your phone’s email address? – Communication in Japan is a little different than it is here. Almost everyone has a cell phone, but fewer people have a computer at home, so cell phone companies provide the person an email address as part of their service package. These email addresses can be used for both phone to phone messages (what we consider “Texts” here), and for computer to phone messages.

teruteru bouzu - The ghost-like things that they make in this episode are called teruteru bozu. They're generally made and hung in windows as a charm for sunny weather.

objects and spirits - Japan's indigenous religion is Shinto and it is still widely observed and practiced today. In Shinto, it is believed that everything possesses tamashii, a living spirit. Not just sentient creatures, not just humans, everything. Trees, birds, rocks, mountains, cats, fish, dolls, umbrellas, every single thing. This is why there are legends and stories about objects like dolls and articles of clothing taking revenge on careless humans, or people who wrong their owners. There are stories of animals and plants that take human form and fall in love with humans. One such is called "Princess Peony" where a peony falls in love with a princess and saves her life. Another is "The Crane Wife" (Tsuru nyoubo) or "The Gratitude of the Crane" (Tsuru no Ongaeshi) where a woodsman's kindness is repaid by the miraculous weaving of his new wife.

I felt it was important to mention this because it's all to easy to let a Westernized or monotheistic view color one's perception of this series. "Falling in love with an object just isn't right." "Loving something that isn't human is wrong." Modern society holds this to be true, but there are stories like the ones I mentioned above in folktales and myths from around the world. Traditional Japanese culture allows that everything has a heart, a spirit, that makes it unique and individual, and "human" for lack of a better word. In Japan, traditionally, humans aren't inherently "better," animals aren't inherently "lesser," and a doll will take it upon itself to kill you if you mistreat it. And if a doll can hate, and avenge, what's to say that it can't love as well?


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:07 am (UTC)
thank you!
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:10 am (UTC)
yay....tq so much dear
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:14 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! :D
Nov. 15th, 2010 08:30 am (UTC)
I've been waiting for this.Thanks so much.^^
I got a feeling that this story reminds me of Nobuta wo Produce.It's the same writer.It has the same feel to it.
From the looks of it,this episode is a funny one.
Nov. 15th, 2010 09:52 am (UTC)
thank you very much, I won't not read the notes after watching the episode.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 15th, 2010 10:46 am (UTC)
yaay at last
thanks so much
Nov. 15th, 2010 11:00 am (UTC)
uwaaah~ thanks so much~ :D <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Nov. 15th, 2010 12:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for episode 2 :)
Nov. 15th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
Very very interesting notes indeed!
Thank you very much! ^_^
Nov. 15th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC)
thanks as always ^^
Nov. 15th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
I really love this drama, so far.
Thank you :)
Nov. 15th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
thank you!
Nov. 15th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
thank you so much as always ^^
Nov. 15th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
thank you so much ne ^^
Nov. 17th, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)
Seeing this seriously just brightened my entire week.

I can't wait!! I'm going to watch it right now!

Thank you so much!
Nov. 30th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
thank you. your notes are always so detailed. love it! love learning from something i really enjoy.
Oct. 31st, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )