The other day, my daughter came out of her room, and I did a double-take. She was wearing one of those Japanese gauze eye patches I will forever associate with anime characters, since most of my experience with them has been in 2D form. "Why are you doing Rei Ayanami cosplay?" I asked, and she laughed, telling me that she'd been hit in the face with a ball at school and the nurse put the eye patch on her just to be safe. Yes, the way the brain develops associations is interesting. For example, I'll always think of those traditional Japanese brooms with bamboo handles as "Maison Ikkoku brooms," and the Japanese notched axes sold in hardware stores here as "Higurashi axes" even though everyone here uses them here for cutting bamboo and not for murdering. That's an unavoidable consequence of sipping another country's culture through a straw like we do when we watch anime, manga, dramas and films. It works both ways, too: the Japanese staff of J-List report they can't look at a hockey mask without immediately thinking of Jason from Friday the 13th, and recoiling in fear.
My daughter is wearing a "Rei Ayanami" eye patch these days.