Kuragehime Episode 1

Cultural Translation

The following notes are based on the timing and translation provided by Funimation, please buy the DVD when it becomes available or watch through their ad-supported streaming sites.

Tsukimi: aglow after a successful escape

  • 1:08 Shibuya/ Shibuya on a weekend: Tokyo is a little like New York City in that it can be thought of as the amalgamation of several smaller cities (like Queens or the Bronx). Shibuya is one of 23 such ‘cities’ and is known as one of the fashion centers of Japan serving as an important nightspot for the most trendy and outgoing of young people.
  • 1:25 the calligraphy: this is the kanji for nun. A fitting thing to hang in the sitting room of this apartment building for reasons that will soon become very clear.
  • 2:16 Chou-han: While I don’t recognize the specific reference here, the character is acting as the “dealer” in the classic Japanese gambling game, chou-han, where the players stake on whether the sum of the dice will be odd or even (chou or han). This is a game that is a staple of illegal and underground gambling and is associated with the yakuza (the Japanese mafia).
  • 3:01 The dog statue: this is Hachiko the Greyfriars Bobby of Japan. He awaited his master’s return to the Shibuya train station everyday for nine years after his master died. His statue now sits outside the Shibuya station and is a popular meeting spot. Interesting aside, it seems that Hachiko’s remains were stuffed and now reside at the National Science Museum of Japan.
  • 4:12 Taiyaki: a filled pastry in the shape of a sea bream that is often served with tea. The most common filling is red bean paste (which is very sweet).
  • 5:36 Akihabara: another famous district in Tokyo, known for its electronics stores and shops catering to Otaku.
  • 7:38 Boy’s Love: a synonym for yaoi, a niche of porn (often manga, but sometimes novels or anime) that is drawn usually for women by women, but who’s characters are men in homosexual relationships. Women who read this are sometimes called Fujoshi or “ruined/ rotten women”…(women who draw it are called rich) lol :)
  • 9:15 Hospitals in Japan: the average length of stay inpatient is 20 nights (as of like 2004 I think). There are more beds per capita than in America. This doesn’t have anything to do with the plot, but I think it’s interesting.
  • 9:46 Rain doll: a Teru Bozu (shiny monk) is a small charm for good weather. It’s name is thought to refer to the light that sunny days + bald monks heads produces. Tsukimi’s is modeled to look like a jellyfish, but the most basic ones are white fabric with faces drawn on.
  • 20:12-18 Drag Queen/ “Normal”: Tsukimi asks Kuranosuke if he is an ‘Okama‘, a term that carries both the sense of cross-dressing and of a same-sex preferences. Kuranosuke assures her that he is ‘normal’ meaning heterosexual though he likes to wear women’s clothing. A choice that Tsukimi seems to define as not normal.
  • 20:42 Shichi-go-san festival: This age mile-marker festival held on November 15 is a chance for children at ages three and five for boys and three and seven for girls to receive a special blessing at a shrine. It is usually a formal dress occasion, and many families dress their little girls in elaborate kimono and makeup.
  • Ending theme: hopscotch: or rather Ken-Pa a jumping game similar to Western hopscotch, but played without a thrown marker. The player calls out ‘ken’ for a hop and ‘pa’ for a jump. Ken-Pa paths are not as long as shown in the ending theme (though isn’t it cute), and when the player reaches the end he or she turns around to make a round trip.

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