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Extras: Cultural notes (Tokyo Demons)

Kanji: written characters in the Japanese language, originally adopted from Chinese.

Onigiri: a rice ball (sometimes with fish or vegetables in the center) wrapped in seaweed called nori.

Kogal: the follower of a particular branch of Japanese fashion known more broadly as “gal” (or “gyaru,” as it’s pronounced). Kogals apply gal fashion (including make-up, dyed hair, and loud mannerisms) to high school female uniforms. Popular in the late 1990s, especially in areas of Tokyo.

Mochi: a glutinous rice cake.

Jellied drinks: Similar in texture to aloe, some specialty drinks in Japan are thickened, including drinks that are marketed as energy supplements.

Gaijin: “Foreigner” (in Japanese).

Dekai: “Huge” (in Japanese).

General school notes: Japanese school years usually start in the spring, and students remove their shoes before entering, wearing instead school slippers to keep floors cleaner (an extension of the Japanese custom of removing shoes and/or wearing slippers in the home). There is generally a morning “half-day” of classes on Saturdays. Junior high covers grades 6-9 and high school covers grades 10-12.

110: The emergency phone number for police in Japan (comparable to 911, although specifically for police). The number 119 is for a fire or medical emergency.

Yakuza: members of organized crime in Japan.

Nee/Nii: title for older sister/older brother.

Genkou youshi: the equivalent of lined paper for Japanese writing.

Hachiko: a famous dog statue in Shibuya.

Shibuya 109: the tall, cylindrical shopping center known for being a Tokyo center for gal fashion.

 

Honorifics:

Sensei: teacher, doctor, writer

Senpai: upperclassman

-san: general respect

-kun: camaraderie between peers or from someone older to younger, somewhat masculine

-chan: affectionate, somewhat feminine