With the Cherry Blossom Festival just one month away, it is time for our annual pre-festival event: March Japanness!
During March Japanness, we put elements of Japanese culture against one another in a battle whose ferocity is matched only by its superficiality! Every Monday and Wednesday, check subarucherryblossom.org for the day’s polls. You will have 48 hours to vote for your favorites in a confusing clash of culture. Show your pride and turn up to vote in every poll!
Previous winners of this illustrious competition include Hayao Miyazaki (2014) and Ramen (2015). Who will be the champion this year? Get your clicking fingers ready, because there’s going to be a lot of voting Wednesday as our first 16 pairs go up against each other. But first, let’s take a look at our competitors:
Konbini: short for “convenience store,” this is where some of the best Japanese food lives.
Godzilla: a staple of Japanese and American cinema and a cross-cultural ambassador for over 60 years.
Matsuri: Japanese festivals are the lifeblood of Japan, and the origin of our own festival!
Taiyaki: little pancake fishes that are oh-so-delicious. Filled with anko or custard—your choice!
Japanese Soda Flavors: squid ink flavored soda is totally normal, right?
Haruki Murakami: one of Japan’s most well-known authors. How’d this odd bird end wind up in this chronicle?
Makudo: Japanese McDonald’s: where the burgers actually look like the pictures.
Japanese Crepes: our interns tell us these are the best things in the whole world…
Yakiniku: literally “cooked meat,” but actually so much more. Don’t forget to use the garlic and chili sauces!
Mochi: fun to eat, even more fun to make—provided you have the upper body strength of a lumberjack.
Kaiju: they were big in Japan before Pacific Rim. Do you prefer rubber suited actors or CGI?
Sanrio: Hello Kitty and a whole bunch of other characters which get weirder and weirder…
Kit-Kat: try all the flavors: corn soup, sake, green tea, brains, mandarin oranges, brains, sweet potato, brains… whoops, we’ve got a kit-kat zombie!
Yamanote Line: the great circle of Tokyo, taking you where you need to go!
Capsule Hotels: tiny little boxes for holding many many people.
Gachapon: tiny little boxes for holding many many toys.
Kotatusu: preventing frostbite across Japan; the warmest place in your house all winter.
Yokai: ghosts and spirits from Japanese folklore; a thousand times stranger than anything you’ve ever dreamed up.
Jihanki: short for “jidouhanbaiki,” the Japanese vending machine is ubiquitous and universally loved
Japanese Ice Cream Flavors: whale blubber, goat flesh, squid ink, parakeet… no we are not kidding.
Karaoke: like the first episode of every American Idol season, but actually fun!
Fundoshi: traditional Japanese loinclothes, popular at matsuri. Sometimes literally the only thing separating you from a very unpleasant experience.
Sumo: crushing the competition by cultivating mass.
Sento: for when bathing alone is just too lonely.
Takoyaki: Osaka’s greatest food export. Warning: contains octopus.
Robots: if Japanese robots ever take over the world, at least we know they’ll be cute overlords.
Three Views of Japan: Behold the beauty of the pine-clad islands of Matsushima, the floating torii at Itsukushima, and the sandbar to heaven at Amanohashidate!
Otaku Culture: Anime, manga, and games, yatta! In 2016 the nerd is king, in no small part due to Japan’s own contributions to global nerd-dom.
Pocky: nothing could be simpler than chocolate on a stick… but I bet you can’t eat just one.
Yakuza Slang: put on your dark shades and growl as you spit out some of the most memorable curses you can think of.
Japanese Snacks: senbei, kakipi, painomi, monaka… nobody can resist individually wrapped snacks with such names like these!
Fukubukuro: lucky bags, only available during New Years.