Have a question on what the phrase "Balut/Hobiron" means? Don't get why the staff are calling the owner "Madam Manager/Okami"? Many people do not understand the complexities of Japanese culture.
Onsen and RyokanEdit
An onsen (温泉 onsen), or hot spring, is a main attraction in Japan for foreigners. Known by anyone who has interest in the Japanese culture, hot springs are a nice bath to refresh and relax. Most natural hot spring spots has been taken by inns, or more formally ryokan (旅館 ryokan) in Japanese, but there are still many left to be digged up. These natural hot springs are made possible because of Japan's location, where there is lots of volcanic activity under the earth's surface, therefore creating geothermal heat to the underground water that eventually becomes a source for the hot springs. In Hanasaku Iroha, the onsen plays a main role for it's the main setting of most of the story-line, since Kissuisō is also a ryokan.
In Hanasaku Iroha, most of Kissuisō's staff formally calls the owner, Sui Shijima, by the name "Madam Mistress", or Okami (女将 Okami) in Japanese. Why? Many who have already had interest in the deep Japanese culture would already know, but in Japanese society, how people speak to each other differes in manner. "The younger must be respectful to the elderly" is one of those manners. Therefore in the situation of HanaIro, because Sui is the landlady, the staff has to give their upmost respect to her.
In Episode 3, Minko uses the phrase "Hobiron (ホビロン)", or "Balut" when translated. Later in the episode, it is revealed what is the true meaning of "Hobiron". It is an acronym for "Truly, surprisingly, out of question" (ほんとに-びっくりするほど-論外 HOntoni - BIkkuri suru hodo - RONgai). "Balut" is the translation of such phrase because it means "a boiled fertilized-egg", which would refer to what Minko thinks of Ohana. Here's what a balut looks like: Balut (egg) Hobiron is also the japanese transcription for vietnamese "hột vịt lộn" (balut).
School starting in Spring?Edit
In Japan, the schools starts during the Spring. As seen in episode 4, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom as the main characters go off to school. The schools also end during the early spring.
Ohana says that Herons were only seen in zoos. But this only applies to the cities, where such birds do not travel to as often. Grey Herons are common around Japan, especially in the country-side where this story is taking place. They are also in other parts of Asia, Northern Europe and abit in Africa.
First Names and Last NamesEdit
Continuing the same topic as "Madam Mistress/Okami", as seen in the series, Japanese respects each other mainly through the address of other's names. As many fans of the Japanese culture know, characters call others by their last name if they are newly acquianted and also when they are not in any close relationship as a form of honorifics. But once two people are in a close relationship, or feel they are in one, that honorific is taken away and they may freely call each other by their first names, or even by nicknames. The elder may have permission to call their juniors by their first name, showing that they are higher in status or wisdom than the juniors. Still, it is the person's choice of how to use these honorifics. One example seen in Hanasaku is how Ohana calls Kōichi not by his last name but by his first, because they are close friends. Second to that, she calls him Kō-chan, which shows they are truly close.