It’s an English-language flick with Japanese sub-titles… which I’m sure is fine, because Buddha knows the Japanese sure do love anything to do with Anne.
My first day at a Japanese junior high school class back in 1990 (yeah, I’m old), I was confused when a female student stood up and asked in perfect English: “Andoryu-sensei, do you know Anne?”
Now, my first thought was holy crap - the Japanese kids already speak perfect English, this job is a snap!
My next thought was: Anne? Anne who? Despite having never slept with a woman at that point in my life, and having minimal dating experience, five women (one girlfriend, the rest just girl friends), I did know quite a few women - just no Anne’s. Strangely, I really did know three Heather’s. All were very nice.
Anyhow… the student was asking if I knew about Anne… as in Anne of Green Gables, because I was from Canada, the same place Anne's creator Lucy Maud Montgomery had set the story in. Different province, and far, far away, but the same country.
At that time of my life, I had heard of Anne of Green Gables, but associated it as a “girl’s book” and never had any inclination to read it.
After the JTE (Japanese teacher of English) explained who Anne was, I understood.
I sit here now (2017) wondering if my inability to pick up on what that perfectly simple English question was about in any way shape or form affected that student’s ability to further learn English.
I hope she simply thought I was ignorant because I wasn’t expecting that sort of question, and not that there was anything wrong with her own English-language abilities.
Anyhow, I did answer that I did know about Anne… which made all of the female students smile and say yata (yay)!
I knew about Anne, but I didn’t know anything about Anne.
I am proud to say that overcoming such immature prejudices re: “girl’s book” was easy, as I have read Anne of Green Gables—and enjoyed it.
By the way, my favorite book is a coming of age story (essentially) called Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and one of my favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz - also about a girl's journey... which sounds weird when I write this out, but there was no ulterior motive for me. I simply love the thrill of the journey and the adventure... which is what my three years in Japan on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme was all about.
I’m not sure what all the hubbub in Japan is about for this Anne book about an orphaned girl at the turn of the 20th century in rural Canada… it’s a fine story, sure… but why is this something that strikes a chord with the Japanese, in particular the female Japanese?
Hmm… a thought just hit me… all of those famed Japanese anime flicks by Ghibli Studios - they all have that same feel as an Anne of Green Gables adventure… I wonder if that was on purpose or me just clutching at straws.
By the way... Japan's Anne of Green Gables theme park seems to have fallen on hard times... a virtual ghost town (see HERE)... perhaps because it's 1,000 kilometers north of Tokyo on the north Canadian climate-like island of Hokkaido.
Anyhow… here’s a trailer (with Japanese subtitles) for the upcoming Anne movie.
In two days… more Anne from me, with a proper Canadian connection.