It’s so nice living in a place with visible seasons. After living in San Diego all my life, where everything looks basically the same all year, I’m excited to see leaves change and all the other signs of fall here in Kashihara, Japan. There’s an impressive flower around here that blooms in autumn. The same student who gave me a four leaf clover pointed out the higanbana to me.
She told me that they’re poisonous so you have to make sure your cats don’t eat them.
Wikipedia says they originated in mainland Asia and now they’re found all over the world. It lists a number of impressive English names: “red spider lily”, “hell flower”, and “red magic lily”.
I love listening to the students talk about things they love. To-day a group of girls asked me if I knew what “otaku” meant. I said, yes, people in America use the word now. They explained that they were otakus for a boy band called Johnny’s West. They then showed me a picture of the group and excitedly explained to me each member’s “charm point”—one has a big upper lip, one has a big waist, one has a pretty face. One girl told me her favourite’s charm point is that he has “no shoulders”.
“How do his arms stay on?” I asked but they didn’t understand. She made motions with her hand to explain the appeal and it hit me. “Ah, he’s like a bullet. Like the shinkansen (bullet train).” They looked at me like I was crazy at first but then they realised what I meant and they all nodded vigorously. So it’s aerodynamics the girls go for around here.
They explained to me that Johnny’s West are going to make it really big in the next couple of years. I thanked them for tipping me off and so I pass this insight onto you.