The "Cuckoo's" Nest

I will openly admit it. My fascination with Japan began, and remains to a large extent, with pop culture, namely Japanese animation and manga. However, when I left that shell that so many American manga and Japanese animation fans are stuck in, I found there to be an overwhelming amount of 'cultural' nuisances, jokes, music, celebrities, etc. that I had never heard of or even imagined. Before he made sports headlines in America, Ichiro was busy breaking Japanese baseball records in 1995. One of the most popular forms of communication in Japan is the cell phone, but years before we had personalized ring-tones here, school-goers were sending pictures to each other from their phone cameras. In the most 'modern' of Japanese fashion magazines, one may find the latest yukata styles next to gaudy Shibuya trends. And how many moderate American car buffs have ever heard of the Mistubishi FTO?

Japan is an extremely commercial society which allows for the creation of an overwhelming popular culture. After all, it not only has its own, it also borrows trends from around the world. What I hope to offer you here is a glimpse of what is/was popular in Japan today.

My Views on 'Culture'

Just a little primer here for you. You may have noticed that whenever I use the word 'culture', (not pop culture) I tend to mark it. That is because a 'culture' is not something that I can define for you or anyone besides myself. It is my personal definition that is the result of my studies, observations and experiences. Japanese 'culture' means/is something entirely different to me than it is to you. While I think we can agree that pop culture is indeed just that, the 'culture' itself is created in part by popular trends, fashions, figures and so on. In a sense, humans are individual cultures created by our peers and so to say you "understand" a 'culture' would be to say you fully understand each individual living in the society, an improbable task. So, just in case you were wondering why I use these '' all the time, that's why ^_^