"Aficion means passion. An aficionado is one who is passionate about the bull-fights. All the good bull-fighters stayed at Montoya’s hotel; that is, those with aficion stayed there. The commercial bull-fighters stayed once, perhaps, and then did not come back..."
It's always interesting to study how language and the brain interact to create our perceptions. It seems that every once in a while an idea comes along that's so new and unique that it can't be described with an existing word, and the only solution is to import a more fitting one from another language. No word could illustrate Hemingway's views on bullfighting as well as the term aficionado, one who has aficion for the sport, and his use of the term gives an unforgettable flavor to his fiction. In a similar way, the rise of Japanese pop culture in the 1990s brought with it a slew of new words, like otaku (an aficionado of Japanese pop culture), anime (animation from Japan, as separate from animation from other countries) and doujinshi (fan-created comics that pay tribute to popular TV shows), which capture the spirit of new Japan-focused culture better than any English term could. There are many examples of the reverse occurring, too, situations when Japanese are forced to reach into English to find a word that will describe just the idea they want to express, and it's common to hear nihongo peppered with words like innobeeshon, kurietibiti, taagetto, and appiiaru pointo (that's "innovation" "creativity" "target" and "appeal point" in case it wasn't clear). These concepts could be expressed using Japanese words, but the nuance would be totally different.
The city of Tomioka, Gunma Prefecture, just down the road from J-List, is overjoyed right now: the sprawling Tomioka Silk Mill has been officially designated a World Heritage Site by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. One of the first modern factories of its kind in Japan, the silk-reeling mill was a built using French know-how in 1871 during Japan's march towards modernization, and is a symbol of the country's early industrial days. If you know anything about the Japanese, it's that they like to be recognized internationally, and getting the official nod from UNESCO brought great happiness to the people of the city. The television news was filled with images of people dancing in the streets and shooting off fireworks in the middle of the day over their new official status.
Remember that J-List carries a very warm, fuzzy thing from Japan: Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service blankets that are great for curling up with on the sofa. Japan's acrylic blankets are incredibly soft to the touch and will provide your family with years of great service (we use them at my house too). However, our stock of these blankets is very limited and when they're gone they'll be gone for good. Check our J-List's lineup of anime blankets from Japan now.