[Editorial Tuesday] Life as we know it in Japan (as an anime fan)

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There lies within us, a strong desire for travel and exploration. Many do so as a way to discover the truth about the world, while others use it as a way to uncover the inner realms of their soul. Whatever your reason for travel, living anywhere in the world outside of the one you currently are in is always an adventure on its own.

Over the more recent years, there has been a large surge in curiosity as to what life would be like living in Japan. We all have been subjected to the wonderful aspects of Japan in some way or another, whether it be with gaming, the history, or just the culture itself. Japan has a plethora of sub cultures for one to bask in, and for many that one sub culture is anime. The long lasting image of anime hasn't lost its charm since the mid 1970's, when shows like Lupin and Cobra made their way into every household. These very shows were the drivers for the now popular anime we now know and love today.

Coming to Japan for the first time can be very overwhelming both in a good and bad way, for various reasons. One good reason is that, the elation you feel when you finally step foot into Tokyo and realize that much of what you saw in anime actually do exist. That very same reason can also be somewhat intimidating for many, as Tokyo is unlike any other place in the world, and it may be very hard to absorb once you finally see it in reality. One thing we want to accomplish here at Honey's Anime is providing that ease of worry, and enlightening you on what to expect when coming here. So here are some great reasons why living in Japan as an anime fan can bring about a sense of reward and fulfillment.

A new world of imagination

Living in Japan will always have its challenges, especially for anyone who has lived outside of the country with limited knowledge tied to it. Anime has become the key to unlocking the entry doors to Japan over the more recent years, solely because of the sheer diversity that anime contributes. The minute you visit any anime website, you're immediately graced with a mammoth library of genres ranging from action, to the very heartwarming slice of life (we suggest checking out our previous editorial on slice of life anime by the way). For this reason, anime has grown from being a small niche into one of the world's biggest sub cultures. Living in Japan for a long period of time can grow tiring, due to the long working hours and being on the move frequently. Anime now has become a sort of remedy for the hustle and bustle lifestyle, by inviting us into a world that removes all of the stresses that come with reality and rewarding us with the absolute freedom we all dream for.

The new world of imagination is where anime really shines, since we often succumb to the struggles of what lie around us. Be that our friends or the ups and downs of our relationships, reality will always throw us a curveball to remind us that we still need to show it some respect. However, when we turn on our favorite show and become immersed in what's happening, our minds shut down and our spirit comes alive with energy as we dive right into the world we admire. Every limitation we thought we had has now become an infinite source of inspiration for us to keep going when times feel dragged out. We feel this new presence surrounding us, as every new story that unfolds bring forth a new sensation that help us break through that wall of daily life. This now brings us to another example of why living in Japan can be a wonderful experience for anyone with the intent of moving here.

Embracing a new lifestyle

As aforementioned, lifestyle changes will more than likely come with some burdens that we all have to overcome through experience. Anime can ease that burden simply because it's a world that erases all of the rules that we currently follow, and benefit us with a true sense of freedom. Embracing a new lifestyle will almost always be one of the many challenges humanity faces, but weathering the storm especially in Japan is one of the greatest achievements one could ever accomplish.

Anime is a lifetyle in itself, once you get an opportunity to visit the very popular Akihabara district in Tokyo. Akihabara or “Akiba” as its now known among the many anime aficionado, is the hub for all things anime and manga related. Once you step foot into Akiba, you're welcomed by young girls dressed in maid costumes inviting you to try out their cafe, or you find yourself surrounded by loud noises and neon lights from giant electronic outlets. Every block you stumble across is filled with a number of shops with anime all over the walls, televisions, and just about anywhere else you can imagine.

“True happiness is...to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence on the future. “ - Seneca

Philosopher Seneca reminds us how important it is to really just enjoy the moments we live in, since it is the only moment that exists. While life will be a roller coaster ride of thrills and turbulent times, true happiness comes from enjoying the present moment at all times even if that means immersing ourselves entirely into a new world that may shock and amaze us. Such is the life of anime fan living in Japan.

Seeing the other side of the coin

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Animation in the west is very different than that of the anime you find in Japan. While both share the same exterior, the engine that runs them has their own distinctions. Anime in the west performs much like your everyday family sedan, taking you from a to b in a calm and familiar fashion. Anime in Japan is similar to that of a Mazda RX7, where it completely shifts your mind state from 1st to 3rd gear in a matter of seconds. The uncertainty of events that take place in most anime we watch are what make it so thrilling and admirable.

Living in Japan is very different than that of the west, where cultures are divided and we can certainly see it in the shows we watch. Anime in Japan show off more of the subtle details that exist within Japanese culture, such as school life. Often times in most anime, schools and uniforms play a major role and that is because it is a reflection of reality. Education is heavily regarded and taken seriously, since it encourages students to seek out better careers once they graduate and move onto adult life. However, the great thing about anime is that it takes away that somewhat scary reality and fills it with harem, machine guns, and other tools of destruction that you would not normally find in a Japanese school classroom.

One great example is Assassination Classroom where the teacher is an out of this world creature, who teaches a class full of outrageous students plotting his execution at every opportunity they find. The very premise of the story is encouraging us to stay in class, and adhere to the rules of the teacher. However the students break that rule in every way, and that's something we can relate to, since we all at one point have plotted to put an end to the monotone ramblings of our teacher and be free to learn on our own.

That is the real beauty of anime, because it reminds us of the realities we live in but shift it in such a radical way that we forget what's being explained and focus on the unreal action that takes place. Knowing and understanding the differences between east and west can bring forth a profound sense of enjoyment, but also an acceptance of both. Seeing both sides of the coin are certainly important when living as a fan of anime in Japan.

Learning about the popular sub-culture

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Learning about Japan through the art of anime can be a wonderful experience that we can take with us. Since anime delivers a wide assortment of genres to choose from, we get to explore various realms that lie within the infrastructure of the sub culture. A lot of the ideas we discover through anime are all just exaggerations of what we would find in modern day Japan, which is what make them so exhilarating to watch. There are of course anime which embrace that of the earlier times of Japan, such as Sengoku Basara whose story takes place in the feudal era of Sengoku, when Tokugawa was feared by many and had carried Japan on his shoulders for many years.

The diversity Japan offers in their menu, make it such a delicacy in the world of entertainment. Seeing it from the outside entices you to wander inside and see what make it so delicious. Being a fan of anime can make living here a wonderful adventure, since you're always greeted with something unexpected just like a story plot in your favorite series. There are always twists and turns along the way when gallivanting around the outskirts of Tokyo, coming across very intriguing people, but also architecture.

One great anime example is the very popular Durarara! which takes place in the very upbeat Ikebukuro, a great spot for many young and hungry teenagers looking for a hang out spot. The uncanny resemblance in Durarara! to that of its actual location is simply astounding, as it shows great attention to detail and further cements the truth about anime can really influence our lives. This inclusion in the anime give viewers a fantastic view into the real world of Tokyo, while still maintaining its anime distinction.


Concluding

The beauty of living here in Japan is that it not only helps to remind us of how remarkably different it is from the rest of the world, but that they use creative entertainment as a ticket into the wonderful atmosphere that exists here. You're immediately greeted at the door with the many waifus that work at the maid cafe, then given a history lesson by the great Tokugawa in Sengoku. Every anime provides a gateway into the real world, which embrace the very essence of why Japan is so sought after: it's natural way of self expression through art.

We hope you found this to be insightful and informative, and that you too can someday experience the true essence of what Japan has to offer in the world of anime. Leave your comments down below and share some of your own life changing experiences!

As always, keep it locked here for more anime entertainment. Leave a comment below and discuss your passions with everyone! Take care.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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