November 22, 2008
Chapter 4 (Pen-pals)
Japan has an emperor, but the modern Japanese emperor occupies a purely ceremonial position--though in Japan, people with purely ceremonial positions can still find themselves very busy.
"Youko" is the kun-yomi (Japanese reading) of the characters. When she's living "undercover" in A Thousand Leagues of Wind, she refers to herself as "Youshi" (the on-yomi).
In the past, the kun-yomi of her name would be unusual in China. The recent popularity of Japanese culture and growing economic trade between Japan and China has meant that Japanese words are being adopted by Chinese speakers. Historically, it's usually been the other way around.
Rakushun's university nickname, Bunchou (文張), is the same as his father's.