Well, as far as I can tell, there's a Japanese emoticon in which I can see nothing but our dearly disarmed Mr. Baba:
(´ω｀)Japanese people apparently see happiness in this emoticon (1st column, 7th from the top), but I don't know what's happy about losing an arm.
And wait until you see what chaos emoticons bring us after the jump.
Japanese emoticons (and Chinese emoticons as well, although the examples here are all from Japanese) are a great deal more complicated than what we've got in the West. Perhaps they're just used to complex characters in the form of kanji (I'd be curious to find out whether Korean emoticons are as inscrutable), or maybe they're somehow connected to anime-like facial expressions, but they certainly do have a lot more complexity to them. For instance, we all know the winking emoticon:
; )Our two-character wink is totally zen compared to one of the simpler Japanese versions:
(^_~)At least I can easily tell what that one is. Take a look at this page to see some emoticons for which you'll have no idea what they mean, or take this example from a website profile of a friend of mine:
ヽ(*´∀`)ﾉﾟ.:｡+ﾟฺ♡♡OK, let's try to analyze that one. The upside-down A is, I presume, the smiling mouth. Those two little dots next to it on either side must be eyes. I'm not sure what that thing next to the eye on the left would be, but the parentheses are the sides of the head. The slashes—ears, or arms? After that, I'm totally lost. I presume the hearts are just tossed in there for the cuteness effect, but I have no idea what the plus sign and everything around that are supposed to be. And this is hardly the worst of them.
Emoticons remain a neglected facet of language learning, and indeed I'm guilty as charged as I've long ignored them myself. The thing is that I run into these enough that I feel like I should at least know the basic ones, although I can probably get by without knowing this: