Hakka No Togame・白霞罸

My blog name may sound strange in English. The reason is it comes from Japanese. It has a special significance to me which involves an ex girlfriend, travel across the world and around one hundred and thirty hours of TV.

The Japanese Kanji for hakka no togame is 白霞罸.

The first two characters together represent the name Hakka (romaji) / はっか (hiragana). When two consonents  are written together in romaji to pronounce it pause slightly before the consonent and pronounce it sharply and clearly. Kind of like Ha-Ka rather than Haka.

Names in Japanese have underlying meaning, in the case of Hakka 白霞  – the meaning is 白 – white and 霞 -haze.

The third character 罸 means punishment, penalty, censure.

Therefore hakka no togame / 白霞罸 can be translated to something like ‘white haze punishment’.

Why on earth would I call my blog white haze punishment? We have to go back around ten years to answer that.

I moved to London when I was around 28. After moving to London I had what I would call my first real grown up relationship (girlfriend).

My girlfriend was called Corrine and was from Singapore.

We used to love going to cafe japan in north london to eat delicious Japanese food.

When we were relaxing at her apartment one night she put on an anime movie. The movie was one of the ‘Bleach’ films.

Bleach is a super popular long running anime which is now finished.

The movie got me interested. I wasn’t a huge anime fan, but I did love the ghibli films such as the famous; my neighbour totoro / となりのととろ.

Bleach started out as a manga (comic) in the weeky magazine shonen jump. It was then developed into an anime; a regular episodic show on TV. And it also has some accompanying movies.

When I started watching the series I had no idea it would consume 266 episodes of time.

Bleach is about a guy called Ichigo. In typical anime fashion he is a high school student with a special power. He can see the ghost (soul) of dead people. In the anime dead people’s ghosts (souls) should go to a place called ‘soul society’. Sometimes they don’t, and if they stay on earth too long they can become ‘hollows’ – kind of monsters, who then try to consume other ghost souls.

Over the course of the anime ichigo learns and masters his powers, becomes friends with the ‘soul reapers’ from soul society and defeats many hollows and other villans.

Soul reapers are responsible to make sure all ghosts / souls go to soul society and to protect soul society.

One special thing about bleach is the relationship between Ichigo and one of the soul reapers Rukia. Rukia is a super cute character. Ichigo and Rukia have a special friendship from the beginning and continue to care about each other throughout the series.

bleach 1
bleach 3
bleach 2
bleach 4

It never becomes romance; although you feel that could be a possibility of a more grown up  version of bleach.

I was thinking about the US comedy friends. In order to create drama and interest the writers  / producers end up having all the friends date each other and in some cases sleep together / get married etc. It ends up so messy.

I love the way in bleach they have a long running special relationship between Ichigo and Rukia that never complicates itself with sex or marriage.

Rukia is one of the Soul Reapers in Bleach. The Soul Reapers fight hollows and villians with their various weapons. It get’s a little complex, but they also have various ‘powers’ connected to their weapons. Including one of the high level powers they call ‘bankai’. Rukia’s Bankai is hakka no togame. In this bankai her character goes into an ‘icy’ looking form. And I guess her attach comes in the form of punishment in a white haze.

bleach 5

That’s the background to my blog name.

My interest in anime grew over the years. I’ve never gone totally crazy, but I have watched several excellent series, my favourites are:

  • Black Lagoon
  • Claymore
  • Hunter X Hunter
  • Evangelion
  • Haruhi Suzimaya

Together with my love of Japanese food and my background growing up with Nintendo I decided to visit Japan. I’ve now been to Japan three times and have spent around one year studying Japanese.

Japan is definitely one of my favourite places. There is an obsession with detail, and neatness in Japan which makes it amazing to visit. They are also great at preserving arts, crafts and traditions and really go the extra mile with this kind of stuff.

In a nutshell and thanks in part to Japanese food and to my first girlfriend Corrine anime and japan have become a bigger part of my life and I thought I would name this blog in honour of that.

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