“Looks” are important for most things, including food. Do you remember that once a book titled, “People Are Judged 90% by Appearance”, became a best seller? A delicious-looking food tastes really good. A gentle-looking man was found to be, as expected, really kind. Learning value only by appearance gives our society a sense of security. However, in the present day in Japan, a contrary sense of value called “Gap Moe” is spreading. It means being attracted to someone because of the big gap between his looks and character. When someone has a character contrary to his looks, people are attracted to him all the more.
In the old days, girls’ manga had a typical pattern: boys tended to be attracted to a blunt and rough girl when they saw her adoring animals. It would have been the origin of “Gap Moe.” There are some variations of this: seeing a cool, intelligent-looking beauty bungle, or a quiet classmate turning out to be an interesting person with a rich stock of topics for conversation. You may have found yourself with these little bursts of excitement encountering these gaps in daily life.
“Gap Moe” happens mostly when we discover true attraction later, even though our first preference came from appearance. When it comes to manga and stories called light novels, the writers try to depict main characters as good-looking boys and girls with negative characters. However, “gap moe” in reality occurs when we can discover something good after first feeling uneasy about appearance. We would only be disappointed to learn that a gentle-looking person really has a sharp and offensive tongue. It is true that we can only feel “gap moe” under the necessary condition of a negative appearance with a positive substance.
I personally had one of my most memorable “gap moe” moments in the movie, “Inugamike no Ichizoku.” Saruzo, being silent with a fierce look, whispered sweetly at the last scene, “I would never forget that person.” Incidentally, this movie has a beautiful soundtrack written by Yuji Ono, a jazz pianist, who is known for the animated film “Lupin III.” Tatsuo Sunaga, a charismatic DJ, recently released an album called “STE” and he covered the famous song titled “Love Ballad” from the movie.
When I think of “gap moe”, yellow apples always come to my mind. I bet all of you must have a strong image of red apples being sweet and delicious. Like Snow White from Grimm Fairly Tales said, “How! The red apple does look delicious.” And she carelessly bit the apple. I had the same impression. Do you know that some yellow apple varieties are as good as red ones?
To grow a fruit on the tree, it has to be surrounded by about 50 leaves to provide enough nutrition. In the case of a red apple, the leaves are thinned little by little to expose the fruit to the sun for coloring once the fruit becomes big enough. Thinning causes less nutrition for the fruit. Yellow ones don’t need this procedure, thus the fruit becomes more nutritious and delicious. “They are yellow, but delicious.” Together with the effect of “gap moe,” yellow varieties are getting popular these days. For example, a brand of cider limited to 2000 bottles from Hirosaki’s cider factory, kimori, called “kimori CIDRE GRACE”, sold out immediately. Cider is an alcoholic drink made from apple juice, and it is made from the yellow variety, Toki, which is a crossbreed of Ourin and Fuji varieties.
By the way, “gap moe” occurs in music as well. Jero, a black Enka singer, is the one to name. His looks surprise us when we hear a Japanese Enka song sung with a lot of tremolo, but still enjoyable. Susan Boyle, a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent who became a record-breaking artist, is one of the musicians who give us “gap moe.” There are many kinds of “gap moe” music resulting from images rather than appearances.
I am a writer specializing in Polish music. We Japanese tend to have an impression of the Poles as victims of World War II, experiencing the Auschwitz concentration camp and Soviet oppression, at one time disappearing from the map due to the aggression of foreign countries. But the real Poles are very festive people, sometimes a little shy. They love surprisingly merry music that adopts traditional dance music rhythms.
Let me introduce you to a popular jazz group, Pink Freud. Their music is a blend of traditional rhythm and rock, punk, electronica and hip-hop. They have visited Japan for concerts several times so far and the leader, Voiteck Mazolefski, conveys an aura just like a rock star with his cool looks. Again the music of Chopin, a Polish artist, is mainly considered “romantic” or “girly music” in Japan. But his music also adopted traditional dance music and folk songs and turned out to be cheerful and hot-blooded.
When you have a chance to find a yellow apple at a supermarket, do buy one and bite into it. I bet you will be surprised by the taste. Listen to “gap moe” music while biting into a nutritious yellow apple with skin. It will bring you a deeper flavor. Let’s experience a fun and rich surprise rather than the “safety” from the gaps around us.
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