Japanese charms and lucky food
Konnichiwa Minna, it is a sparkling freshly baked New Year and like most cultures, the Japanese celebrate it in their own unique way. A popular way is going to shrines and temples to ask the Gods for their blessing and buying lucky charms to help them through the next year. Others may make lucky food to eat to help their luck a little. Such customs are observed not only in Japan but in many other countries in their own way. In this bento, we will learn about luck charms, luck food, lucky words and a whole lot of other yummy content like luck themed AMVs, our usual anime challenge, news and anything that is Only in Japan. Have a great 2021 and we hope that you will have only good luck, health and happiness. Remember we are YOUR monthly source for Japanese culture, anime news and content. Itadakimasu!!
December News Recap
If you enjoyed the Chainsaw Man manga we are happy to report that soon there will be an anime adaptation of the manga from Mappa, the studio that brought us great anime such as Jujutsu Kaisen, Dorohedoro, and God of High School. The manga is the creative baby of mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto, set in a world where demons are very real, in fact, they are walking weapons of mass destruction. These demons infiltrated society and go on rampages but a special division was created to deal with them and stop their demonical schemes.
The protagonist in the manga is Denji, a depressed young man who’s is trying to pay back his late father’s debt to the yakuza by selling his organs and working as a devil hunter. He is also the owner of a devil-in-disguise dog. On one of his missions, poor Denji is killed but since he made a deal with his demonic dog, Pochita is revived as a devil-human hybrid with the dog’s chainsaw ability. It seems as if we’re in for a dark but fun anime and we hope production goes smoothly.
Netflix is dabbling in another live-action anime remake: Yu Yu Hakusho
One of the scariest statements out there in the world is the fact that a live-action remake of an anime is in the making. Look at failures such as 2009’s appalling Dragonball: Evolution and the cringe-worthy Netflix version of Death Note. We are already waiting in fear of how the upcoming Cowboy Bebop and One Piece live-action may be equally atrocious. But who knows, they may do the original anime source content justice.
Netflix must get credit where credit is due, they do supply us with great anime, streaming anime such as One Punch Man and Attack on Titan and we must applaud their diligence to try to bring live-action version of great anime shows to our screens. Their latest live-action pet project seems to be a remake of Yu Yu Hakusho, which tells the story of Yusuke, who dies in a car accident trying to save a kid. When going to the afterlife, it seems the afterlife is not ready for him and Yusuke gets a chance to return to his own life and also become a demon hunter.
Is Netflix biting off more than they can chew by now already having three live-action anime series they are working on simultaneously? Cowboy Bebop is easy enough since the characters do not possess superpowers but both One Piece and Yu Yu Hakusho have very powerful characters with powers that will need extensive and costly special effects. Very ambitious. We will have to wait and see how any of these live-action projects pan out…
Kyoto Animation Arsonist charged
Middle July 2019 on a Thursday at 10:35 AM. A horrible tragedy at Kyoto Animation studios left at least 36 people deceased and 34 (arsonist included) injured. A 41-year-old man busted into the offices, setting the famous anime studio on fire. About 70 people were believed to be at work in the building. According to witnesses, the arsonist screamed: “Die!” as he set the offices ablaze. The death toll is so far the highest for an arson event since 1989 according to the police. The arson attack had the whole anime community in Japan as well as globally in shock. It has also been confirmed that the arsonist has admitted to setting the fire. According to media sources the arsonist has a criminal record and has been known as a troublemaker.
Murder charges have formally been filed against the suspect in the devastating Kyoto Animation arson case, especially now that he is sufficiently recovered from his burns and is mentally fit to stand trial. Shinji Aoba aged 42 was not arrested on murder and arson charges until late May, ten months after obtaining a warrant because they waited for the alleged arsonist to recover. They also did a mental evaluation and found him capable to stand trial. As the court case progress, we will keep you appraised on the situation.
Only in Japan
A place of strange possibilities, and freaky stories. A place where girls can date Godzilla and real fish can play Pokemon, a place where phone games can be RPGs about poop. That place hidden in plain sight is Only in Japan, and this month we have more bizarre awesomeness to show you…
Relaxing deeply with Pikachu
In the mood for a relaxation video filled with ASMR? Then put on those earphones and get ready for some relaxation with the world’s fuzziest franchise mascot, Pikachu. Pikachu is the best medicine to help you unwind after a crazy week, and make you smile with his ‘pikas’ and giggles. Since January 2020 the official Pokémon YouTube channel has been releasing a series of meditative ASMR videos starring pokemon like Charizard, Grimer and Squirtle.
This newest video in the series, Pikachu on the Patio is a one-angle video of everybody’s favourite electric rodent in a living room where he invents new ways to plays or nap in the sunlight shining through the window. Sound is a very important element to the video and Pikachu’s voice as he playfully moves around the house, climbs on our head and more tell-tale sound give the video a sense of realism.
The video is 15 minutes of relaxation, and you may find yourself more happy, relaxed and focused, ready to take on whatever tasks lay ahead the rest of the day. Using Pokemon in a meditative manner. Only in Japan, right?
Shifting into an anime universe
Shifting into an anime universe
Yes, you are reading correctly, this is Only in Japan after all. This is a new trend on Anime TikTok. If you frequent Anime TikTok or WitchTok, you may be familiar with this already. At its core, it is the belief that one can ‘shift’ their consciousness from our reality into other realities like anime universes. And some claim they have visited universes other than anime universes such as the Harry Potter universe or even universes that are unknown.
To some it may sound like all the pandemic happenings in 2020 may have rendered a couple of people insane, but for the past few months, there has been a lot of TikToks and posts on subreddits where posters claim they visited anime universes. They claim they had full-on conversations with some of their favourite characters, imagine having a chat with Naruto or having tea with Asuna from Sword Art Online. They go as far as to claim that some of them spent a few months in the anime reality while only minutes passed in ‘our world’. There are even those that claim to be friends or romantically or sexually involved with these characters and even darker claims such as starting cults in these realities.
One aspect to consider is that this reminds one of certain elements of quantum physics. Reality shifting to some is just quantum jumping to another, a practice in which a person raises the vibrations of their very being to the point that they are able to experience a reality parallel to ours. Then think of the multiverse theory in which our reality is just a drop in an ocean of parallel worlds and these reality shifting claims may sound more ‘scientific’ in a sense. Also, there are similarities between reality shifting and astral projection. The more we ponder about the viability of reality shifting, the more quantum science brings a bizarre confirmation on what may be possible. Only in Japan, we can find inspiration for new trains of thought. Life is filled with mystery and who are we to tell people what they can and cannot believe.
Disclaimer: The following video does not reflect any beliefs of AnimeFanatika staff and is purely for entertainment purposes as well as an example of the Reality Shifting trend. Please take any information from this at your own discretion.
Kawaii Kulture - Lucky Charms
Every New Year it is tradition in many cultures to visit shrines, temples and churches. Some go to pray to their God or Gods for a prosperous year, or some just to worship and enjoy the fellowship with like-minded folk. Some belief-systems also sell or give out lucky charms as protection or help to worshippers, like at some Hindu, Buddhist or Shinto places of worship.
Lucky charms are a global belief. Chances are you have met someone with a horseshoe mounted on their wall to ward of evil or for prosperity. Others may think themselves lucky finding a four-leaf clover (especially the Irish), there are also people that believe in the Native American dreamcatcher to keep bad dreams away. We all have met someone that know or believe in a lucky charm of some kind or another.
In Japan, there are amulets commonly sold at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples called Omamori, and these charms can provide various types of protection or luck. The word omamori comes from the word mamori (守り) which means protection. These charms were originally made from wood or paper where-as modern ones are small item bags usually containing little objects, prayers and religious writ of invocation.
There are various types of Omamori:
Katsumori – success; to win/succeed at something you have hoped for
Shiawase – happiness; to help you achieve happiness in life
Kenko – general good health
kōtsū-anzen: traffic safety—protection for drivers and travellers of all sorts
yaku-yoke: warding off evil/ill fortune; prevents bad luck from hindering your goals
kaiun: good fortune; the general “good luck” sort of talisman
gakugyō-jōju: education and passing examinations—for students and scholars
shōbai-hanjō: prosperity in business—success in business and matters of money
en-musubi: acquisition of a mate and marriage—available for singles and couples to ensure love and marriage
anzan: protection for pregnant women for a healthy pregnancy and easy delivery
kanai-anzen: safety (well-being) of one’s family, peace and prosperity in the household
Omamori is not opened because they can loose their protective benefits. They are carried on your person or tied to a backpack or purse, traditionally they are replaced once a year to ward off the bad luck of the previous year. Old charms are usually returned to the shrines they come from where they are disposed of properly, there they are usually burned as a sign of respect to the diety that help the person during the year.
"Omamori" that wishes good luck. The many kinds of amulets in Japan!
Good Health Amulet Inari Shrine Omamori for Good health
Spread the Word & Word of the Month: Lucky
‘Good luck’ as a noun can be translated to ‘ko-un’ 幸運. A literal way to use this is ‘ko-un o inoru’ 幸運を祈る which means ‘good luck’. A natural way of saying good luck is a word you may be familiar with ‘ganbatte’ 頑張ってwhich means ‘do your best!’ And yet another useful saying is ‘ki o tsukete ‘ 気をつけて meaning ‘be careful’.
A breakdown of ‘ko-un’
Ko-un 幸運 – the first character in the word is 幸, pronounced as ‘ko’. This character means happiness, blessing or fortune. The second character 運, is pronounced as ‘un’ and loosely can mean ‘carry’, fate, progress, transport and destiny. Ko-un loosely translated in context can then mean to ‘ carry fortune, blessings or happiness, or to progress in fortune, blessings or happiness. Sounds lucky, right?
Yoi-bebiishittaa ga mitsukerarete koun datta.
I was lucky that I was able to find a good babysitter.
Kanojo wa tonari-no-hito-koun wo netandeita.
She was jealous of her neighbour’s good fortune.
koun o inoru
I wish you good luck.
Recipe of the month: Japanese Lucky Food
Food, in many cultures, can be seen as lucky. The most common is the saying:’An apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ or the fact that carrots can help you see better. Other examples are like the country of Turkey, where eating pomegranates is considered good luck because its red colour symbolizes the human heart or life, thus the seeds represent prosperity. Spaniards eat a grape for each stroke of the bells at midnight, representing the twelve months ahead, for luck.
Japan itself have lots of lucky food and we are going to look at a few examples.
Katsu or Katsudon
Katsu is a popular Japanese meat dish, generally made of chicken or pork that has been pounded thin, then dipped in flour, egg and panko crumbs, next deep-fried until golden and crispy. This dish gets its luck-status due to its name which is a homonym for the Japanese verb Katsu. “Katsu (カツ)” as in “cutlet” also translates to “katsu (勝つ)” as in “win”! This dish, therefore, is popular amongst athletes who eat them before sports matches and students to eat before exams. It is also a popular ingredient for a bento box.
The Japanese word for slimy is neba-neba, and it sounds a lot like “never, never (give up)”. Some Japanese slimy food includes natto (fermented soybeans), tororo (grated mountain yam), raw egg, nameko mushrooms, mozuku seaweed, and okra. Believe in the luck of these dishes comes from its stickiness, symbolically meaning the tenacity of someone who wants to try their absolute best at something, a real ‘ganbatte’-inspired idea!
The Japanese rice ball it is said originated from farmers who sought the favours of the mountain gods, as mountains are very sacred to farmers. If one thinks that some rivers originate in the mountains, giving much-needed water to farmers to plant their crops and to feed their animals to prevent thirst, it makes sense, does it not? They would form the rice in the shape of a mountain and bring them on their travellings to the mountains to share with the gods. Onigiri is also shaped like a triangle, similar to the shape of certain mountains. Onigiri is thus a good luck food.
It is pronounced “kitto katto” or “kitto katsu” in Japanese, and means “sure to win”. The lucky powers of this chocolate are sworn by some people. There are even special flavours in Japan towards this belief such as the special “exam season” version, which would usually be on sale in January and February with messages on them in Japanese to cheer you on.
There are a huge variety of more lucky foods in Japan, enough to fill books about them. Why not read up on them, you may find some interesting surprises.
January Anime Challenge: Omamori Himari
Our anime challenge for January is Omamori Himari, often shortened by its fanbase as OmaHima. It is based on the manga series written and illustrated by Milan Matra. The manga ran from June 2006 to September 2013 in Fujimi Shobo’s Monthly Dragon Age. The 12-episode anime was adapted by Zexcs and aired in Japan in the winter of 2010.
This romantic comedy with harem and supernatural elements centres around 16-year-old orphan Youto Amakawa, a boy protected by the spirit of a beautiful, sword-wielding samurai catgirl named Himari. See Youto is descendant of a family Demon Slayers since the feudal eras in Japan and Himari is his new guardian and she swore an oath to protect him from evil. Oh, and by the way, he is allergic to cats…
Disclaimer: The trailer video contains fanservice. Viewer’s discretion is advised.
Anime Birthday of the Month – Shino Aburame
His birthday is January 23rd, and Shino Aburame, as Naruto fanatiks know, is a shinobi of Konoha Village’s Aburame clan. He is part of Team Kurenai (Team 8) consisting of Kiba Inuzuka, his ninken Akamaru, Hinata Hyūga, and Shino Aburame himself, which is led by Kurenai Yūhi.
Quiet and at times off-putting to some, Shino utilizes his clan’s insect-based techniques to fight the enemy. He may be creepy to some but he is a fun character to watch and very underrated.
Shino has always been a calm, collected, and solitary person, and quite mysterious, even since childhood. He rarely shows his emotion but is actually a very emotional person. He tends to hold grudges like still holding a little grudge against Naruto for not recognizing him when Naruto returned to the village after three years.
Shino’s name means ‘of Faith’ and Aburame means ‘oil woman’ but the name is also a variation on the word “Aburamushi” which means “cockroach” referring to his clan’s use of insects as weapons. His hobbies include entomology, and collecting new specimens for his insect collection. He even names some of them as we have seen in the anime.
AMV of the month: Lucky, lucky
As part of our Lucky Charm Bento theme we are lucky (pun intended) to bring you two great AMV videos. The first song is My Lucky Strike by Maroon 5 followed by Get lucky by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers. Enjoy minna!
Maroon 5 - My Lucky Strike
Daft Punk - Get Lucky ft. Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers
Anime Meetup: Winter Season Review
We are in a level 3 lockdown at the moment, but the lockdown may be reduced, as they plan to revise the lockdown in two weeks time. We have planned to have a Winter Season Review anime day on the 23rd of January and if the lockdown is reduced, that may still happen, if not we plan to hold an anime day on that same day on our discord so keep your eyes on our events Page, FB group as well as discord for any changes and plans regarding the anime day.