Cultural references in Shizune's route?
Wow...there's a bunch...where should I start? I think some of the obvious ones should be pretty easy to remember so let's go with that first.
let's go with the confession first: Tanabata festival.
If you're familiar with the legend, it's basically a festival that celebrates the two lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi who are separated by the milky way galaxy. They are only allowed to meet once a year (due to circumstances) on a specific day (usually July 7th). Thing is, they can't meet when it's raining.
Shitty thing is (and in my experience), it always rains in the day--not always, but it's common. Thus, the fireworks and all is held the next day instead and Hikoboshi and Orihime didn't get to meet (again) if it rained the previous year.
The festival itself is very famous as a lover's festival. Basically, if you confess to someone or invited someone to see the festival--and it doesn't rain--there's a good chance you will end up with that person or have a strong relationship way into the future.
Next, the one thing people always miss: lunchbox.
I don't know if it's something in the west, but it's pretty uncommon there with this practice I think. If you've lived in Japan (or at least watch enough anime to get a hint), you'll notice that the food--mainly lunch boxes or bento boxes--not only does it present taste, it also considers how presentable it is. Not only does it show the time and dedication you put in for someone, it shows that you really put an effort into it and thus you cared.
So, if you ever go to school in Japan and a girl offered to pack you a lunch box, you're in for a treat. Usually, preparation time could take an hour or more and as far as I know, they have to wake up earlier than usual to cook up your bento--and theirs--set it up, organize it, then wrap it. That takes dedication, patience, and strong commitment. No, giving someone a 'frozen and heated up' bento is more of an insult and thus is not even common practice. So if that bento has hamburger (the steak one, not the one with bun), ebi fry, and a few custom made (asparagus wrapped with bacon for example), remember that those are handmade and not store-bought.
Next, meeting the parents.
if you've dated any Japanese girl and she happen to take you to her home and meet her parents, it shows that she has trust you enough to introduce you to their parents--either they'll like you back in return is up to speculations (although from what I heard from my high school friends, some of them doesn't take western too well). It's basically saying 'hey, here's my boyfriend; maybe someday in the future he'll be your son-in-law' or something along that line. You won't see them if she's just having a casual relationship (this also explains another reason why Emi takes you to see her mother). Any relationship that is to be considered official is often accompanied with the approval of the parents/meeting them eye to eye--yes, this ties down to tradition so it may be an eye-shocker for most of you. And if the parents doesn't like you, they'll drive you out of the house--politely.
But if they do--despite how being such an asshole they are--they'll let you stay.
The last more familiar one: Rooftop lunch
Most local high school has a cafeteria of course, but there's another place where students usually go for lunch: the rooftop. Most of the time, however, it's off limits (since there's fear of students climbing over the fence and jumping down to commit suicide). The rooftop is mostly empty for the most part, thus not many people actually come up here at all. If you invited a friend up here (or a party; 3 people, 4 people), it's basically finding a place where you guys can relax without being disturbed. Now, if you're up in the roof as a couple, then that means she wants to spend some time with you alone and in private. High school life in Japan is the most stressful time of youth you can have, either it's because you need to start thinking of career opportunities or a university you want to get yourself into to...burn yourself even more for a better job. Private times with your lover diminishes in an instant--especially if you're the student council, and this is part of my own experience as well as the secretary a few years back.
To summarize, it's basically life=gone. It's all about studying, exams, crams, and wondering what you should do if things didn't go as planned. So, when Shizune ask Hisao to be up with her in the roof alone, then she basically asks him for some private time together as that alone worth a lot more than what it usually is when you reach this particular stage. The fact that she still planned a picnic with Misha later--and prepared it on her own--shows how much time she has to sacrifice herself. So show some respect for her, she did more than what she could bite.
I think there's still a few more loitering around, but I can't explain them in great detail. I'm still a bit busy at the moment, so I'll get back on this later.
They say they hate Shizune? What is this? BLASPHEMY!
"A writer is a light that reveals the world of his story from darkness. Shapes it from nothingness. If the writer stops, the world dies with it." - Alan Wake
Yes, I write stories. Currently working on: The Haunting: A Love Story