Today is the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, a day of remembrance, but also a day to celebrate how far we’ve come. In the years following World War 2, Japan has given us some of our favorite things in the world, and today, in honor of our lasting friendship, we’ve decided to list our 10 favorites. You may have caused some serious issues in the past Japan, and even though you’ve produced Hello Kitty, Anime, and Used Panty Vending Machines (yep), here’s 10 reasons why we still love you.
Sushi didn’t gain much popularity in the United States until the 1970’s, but you would never think it considering the way people eat it in 2011. The western standard has been, and always will be to some extent, that meat should be grilled, baked, roasted, broiled, etc. So you can imagine our dismay at the idea of rolling up a piece of meat cut straight from the fish and rolling it up in some rice and seaweed. That fear of the raw didn’t last long though, mainly due to the fact that Sushi is fucking awesome. I could walk into a Japanese restaurant blindfolded and point to a place on the menu, and there’s an 80% chance I’m gonna love whatever shows up at my table. It may have given Jeremy Piven mercury poisoning (so he says) but Sushi is practically a part of Americana. Note: California Rolls don’t count and resist the urge to buy it at 7-11.
Super Mario Brothers
I could go on for days about all the video games, video game systems, and video game accessories that have come out of Japan, but I’d rather just sum it up in 3 words: Super Mario Brothers. The simple concept of an Italian plumber jumping down pipes and squashing little monsters has since given birth to 26 years of sequels and spin-offs, at least 60% of which are legendary pieces of video game history. When it comes to video games, Mario is Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Babe Ruth, Wayne Gretzky, and (insert legendary Soccer player) all in one. Just forget that you ever saw the movie.
In the MMA era, the once-a-week class your parents sent you to has been all but forgotten by the mainstream. Back in the 80’s and the 90’s however, Karate was all the rage, and I’m not sure any un-mixed Martial Art has made more of a splash on American culture. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the creation of Karate, but it’s thought to date back 1,500 years as part of a larger system of Martial Arts, and officially referred to as Karate in the 20th century. It’s never been approved as an Olympic sport, and it’s much more defense than it is offense, but it will always be something we immediately associate with Martial Arts in America. Famous practitioners: Ryu from Street Fighter, The Karate Kid, and my 6 year-old cousin.
Think Hunger Games, but with more gore, blood, and death. If you don’t believe us, check out this compilation of every kill from the flick. Then go watch it, you won’t regret it (unless you’re afraid of blood).
The DVD revolution didn’t last very long before a technology came out that would make them irrelevant forever. I’m not talking about Netflix, I’m talking about Blu-Ray. As cheesy as it sounds, watching Blu-Ray is like being in the same room as the movie you are watching, so much so that I still find it somewhat uncomfortable to watch them. Sony was originally responsible for the invention, and after taking down their biggest and much less sexy named competitor, HD DVD, they are now the standard in home theater technology. There’s one thing that Japan particularly excels at and it’s making it as easy as possible to fully immerse yourself in an alternate reality. I’ve never been there but I assume it must really blow.
This 14 Car, High Luxury Wreck
A 60-year-old man on the Chugoku Expressway in Honshu caused a wreck this week of 14 luxury cars that is being called the most expensive multi-car accident of all time. There were 8 Ferarris, 3 Mercedes Benz, 2 Toyotas, and a Lamborghini. No serious injuries to actual people but how could you watch this video and not cry. From fits of laughter.
In America, Asian models, actresses, and porn stars are usually referred to as a large group rather than by their specific names. Dev0n Aoki on the other hand is Japanese, super hot, and a name you actually may recognize. Okay, maybe she’s only half Japanese, but we won’t hold that against her. She’s appeared in American movies like 2 Fast 2 Furious, D.E.B.S., Sin City, Dead or Alive, War and Mutant Chronicles. Did I mention she’s really hot? Yeah? Okay Then.
No explanation necessary.
The Chinpokomon South Park Episode
You could write an entire dissertation on all that Japan has done for the wide world of cartoons. But we’re not really into Anime, so instead we’re gonna talk about the best parody of Japanese cartoons (namely Pokemon) ever: The Chinpokomon South Park Episode. This episode premiered in 1999 and managed to parody Pokemon (actually popular at the time), politics, history, and Independence Day. It was also the first South Park episode to be nominated for an Emmy. By the way, did you know that “chinpoko” is the Japanese word for penis? Fun fact.