「日本迷宮 Labyrinthe du japon」 (Nihon Meikyuu)
“Labyrinth of Japan”
The roles were reversed this week with Claude learning some things about Japanese culture, except some of it was clearly lost in translation, leading to a lot of goofy misunderstandings. From tatami mats and miniature world-like gardens to wells with an endless supply of water, Claude’s interpretation of sumo wrestling was the best of them all. However, if there’s one thing that he has right about Japan, it’s that everything is pretty small, especially to a Frenchman such as himself. Nothing wrong about that though, as small usually goes hand-in-hand with cute and adorable.
As hinted in the preview last time, Claude gets Yune to show him how to write her name in Japanese, which means “the sound of hot (spring) water” in reference to the Japanese’s love for the sounds of nature. We also learn the name of her older sister, Shione, whom I don’t believe will make an actual appearance in the series (except maybe in a flashback). What was kind of cool from that scene was how nicely Claude was able to write the kanji for sound, “oto” 「音」, which he used as inspiration for creating a sign that he eventually sold to the musical instruments store. It must have been the artisan’s touch in him. I was half expecting him to create a G-clef — one of the tried and true symbols for music — but the foreign roots makes it an easy topic of conversation, similar to how Oscar used origami to try to pick up the ladies — that sly dog. If there’s one thing to take away from Ikoku Meiro this week is, when in doubt, bring up cultural differences to strike up a conversation.
There was definitely no shortage of cute moments this week, as Yune continues to be our window into French food and culture. Watching her want to pet the stray cat and making a funny face while mimicking the sound of Japanese bells were two of my favorites. What I really loved was that Yamato Nadeshiko-look she had when she peeked out from under her umbrella though. I know it’s a really cliché when people say someone’s daughter will grow up to be a beautiful lady one day, but that scene really gave me glimpses of an older Yune looking up the exact same way. The thought of that also helped me forget about the depressing atmosphere in Galerie du Roy with all the shops closing.
On a related note, I was actually anticipating Alice to meet Yune in this episode, with Claude showing his disdain toward her family’s Grand Magasin department store that put all the smaller shops out of business, but it looks like they wanted to build up that first encounter a bit. Still, it was fun hearing Yuuki Aoi go all out to portray Alice’s demanding personality, while Yahagi Sayuri calms her down as Alice’s older sister, Camille. Alice isn’t a bad person by any means though, so I’ve been looking forward to seeing the scene where Yune’s mother’s kimino comes up. I’ve already read about it in the manga since it was covered fairly early, and it should lead to a somewhat similar scenario as the first episode. i.e. It should be good.