An Insider's Look at Japan

An Insider’s Look at Japan: Onsen

If there’s one thing that I knew I had to do while in Japan, it was visit a real onsen, or hot spring. Luckily for me, there were actually quite a few in the region of Akita where I was staying, and the particular one that I visited was apparently one of the best. For a first impression, I’ll definitely say that it’ll be very hard to beat, and it was one of the most relaxing and revitalizing experiences I had in Japan.

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An Insider's Look at Japan

An Insider’s Look at Japan: Sakura Matsuri

In Japanese, “sakura” means cherry blossom. Each year, thousands of sakura trees become awash in white and pink as their little flowers bloom. The trees are planted everywhere: often in parks, but along roads, near shrines, and even along the entire perimeter of a military base in Ibaraki, as well. The resulting explosion of flowers creates an atmosphere of wonder and enchantment across Japan.

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Mag

An Insider’s Look at Japan: Mag’s Welcome

You’re here because you want to know the same thing I have for what may be half my life: What’s it like inside Japan? For many fans of anime and manga in the Western world, Japan is a sacred dream, a known source of wonder and delight, yet very much shrouded in mystery.

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Interviewee Main

Takahiro Omori

Takahiro Omori began his career as an animator in the 1980s and made his directorial debut in 1996 with Baby and Me. Since then he has directed series such as Hell Girl, Princess Jellyfish, and fan favorites Durarara!!, Natsume’s Book of Friends, and BACCANO!, on many of which he also acted as sound director.

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Anime

From Up on Poppy Hill

I went into this anime not really knowing what to expect. I had heard that Goro Miyazaki’s sophomore effort was better than his first, and that it was potentially the script written by his father, anime legend Hayao Miyazaki, that made exceeding the level of Tales of Earthsea an assumption rather than a question. I don’t know if all of that is true, but regardless, From Up on Poppy Hill took a now-standard crop of anime and general film tropes and turned them into an emotionally intense, immensely relatable film.

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Artemis

The Four Horsemen of the Patriarchy: Part 5 Touga

Despite their positions of power, the members of the Student Council are largely self-destructive. Saionji has no control of his emotions, to the extent that it leads to his eventual downfall at the end of the Student Council arc. Miki is so idealistic and naïve that it poisons his relationships with those who don’t adhere to his views. Juri’s cynicism blinds her to the potential in others. Utena is able to defeat them not necessarily because of her own talent, but because of their fatal flaws.

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Artemis

The Four Horsemen of the Patriarchy: Part 3 Miki

Miki, the secretary of the Student Council, is in seventh grade and the youngest member by far. He is also the most “normal” (as far as that goes in this series) and likable of the student council, and throughout the show usually treats Utena and Anthy with dignity and respect. He is highly intelligent and sometimes serves as the innocent, virginal foil to his compatriots. But innocence can lead to black and white thinking and one being easily manipulated, as is the case with Miki and his virgin/whore complex.

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Dr. Magnanimus

Oreimo Season 2: Final Review

Kyosuke is confronted with the reality that he does, in fact, love his sister in a very unnatural but romantic way, and realizes that he must now tell the other potential girlfriends in his life the truth. One by one, he rejects their advances and confesses to them his love for Kirino, thereby sabotaging any potential relationships. Eventually, Kyosuke proposes to his sister in public, and she accepts……

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