Japan - from Asahi to Zen
Traditional terms, and a pop culture glossary through the eyes of a raw gaijin.
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Ukiyo-e,   Underwear,   University,   Uyoku

Colourful woodblock prints or paintings which became particularly popular in the late eighteenth century.

My absolute favourite are a set entitled "36 Views of Mt. Fuji", by Hokusai, and of those set, my very favourite is shown here: "The Great Wave At Kanagawa"

See Also:    Arts,   Sumi-e

In a country of sexual fetishes, underwear is the mother of them all.

It's more of a hentai thing, than a mainstream focus, but collecting women's underwear is a major pastime amongst a proportion of Japanese men.

Our apartment complex has been broken into twice.    The TVs, STBs, DVD-players, Laptops, stereos and even cash, were all left untouched.    Only the girls' underwear was stolen.    Clean underwear, dirty underwear, sexy stuff, plain-Jane bras, it didn't matter, there wasn't a pair of knickers or nylons left in the block.

That's the extreme end of it though, usually, female underwear is just stolen from the washing line outside your window, if you're stupid enough to hang it out to dry.    The local women would never be so silly, imagine thinkig you could dry your clothes outside?!?!    Instead the accepted practice is to hang your "delicates" up in your bathroom, and dry them under the fan.

On the other hand, if you're a Japanese man, with a taste for soiled underwear, there's no need to break into apatments, or even pinch things from washing lines.    Instead, you can perfectly legally pop into your local "Schoolgirl Underwear Store", and buy used, and soiled, schoolgirl underwear, as worn, and later sold, by actual schoolgirls.

Pop into Kabuki-cho next time you're in Tokyo if you fancy a pair.

See Also:    AV,   Bukkake,   Cosplay,   Enjo Kosai,   Girl Hunter,   GRO,   Hentai,   Kogal,   Loose Socks,   Naked Sushi,   Salaryman(6),   Soaplands,   Underwear

A place to hang out with your friends, goof-off with your buddies, and basically relax from the hell that was the high-school cramming system.

There are two types of universities in Japan.    Public universities are run by the government, and are considered more prestigous, and indeed cheaper.    Students compete for entry, and only a tiny minority get to attend - the brightest and the best that Japan has to offer.    On the other hand, if you can't make it to the public universities, like the vast majority of students, you can instead head to a private university.    But of course, since this is a for-profit type of organisation, it means thta the administration jam students into the classrooms, and class size balloons up.   

On the plus side though, Japanese classrooms appear to be very well funded.    I've seen lecture rooms with ISDN connections on every desk.    And they even have electronically operated blackboards, so you don't have to leave your seat to move them!    How cool is that?

See Also:    Exam Wars,   Graying Of Japan,   Juku

van Extreme nationalist politicans and activists who ride around town in vans equipped with loud-speakers, blaring ultra-nationalist slogans that most Japanese people simply ignore.

You can spot them by the Rising Sun Flags on the side of their vans.    Personally I recommend smiling and waving cheerfully - it confuses the hell out of them.

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