Rice is the national staple food of the Japanese, and almost everyone eats rice with one or two meals each day. The word "okazu" means "that which goes with rice" -- fish, chicken, or "hamburg" steak -- and figures into most every evening meal. The most delicious rice is koshi-hikari, and the most famous region of Japan for growing this rice is Niigata Prefecture (the "snow country" in Kawabata's famous novel). Older Japanese often imagine that bread plays the same role to Americans as rice does to the Japanese, that we plan each and every meal around what kind of bread we have today -- but of course, this isn't usually the case. Japanese can be very silly about rice -- the exact same stalk of rice that tastes good grown in Niigata Prefecture would certainly taste terrible if grown in California or Thailand, for example -- but each nation should be permitted certain hang-ups. The economical situation of Japan's rice farmers is a major factor in politics here, and the most important sector of support to Japan's long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party are the rice farmer unions -- every once in a while they get the urge to drive their tractors through downtown Maebashi in protest of something or the other, bringing traffic in the city to a half. Virtually no young people are involved in or interested in farming here in Japan
We're happy to report that the first of the calendars have come in! The ones that came in are the first ones posted (the Joy of Sushi, Morita Haruyo collection, and so on), and more calendar pre-orders will be coming in soon. Unfortunately, the deadline for calendars is looming, and we've been told by our calendar distributor that we should stop taking orders as of the end of October. After the end of this month, many of the most popular calendars will start to sell out, and may not be available. We believe these excellent, high-quality calendars stand for much of what we love about Japan, and we hope that you'll consider getting some of them for yourself or loved ones before calendar season ends this year.
Ah My Goddess! has pulled into the lead, with Totoro, Evangelion, and Gundam Wing close behind. Kanabun's nude calendar is at the head of the pack, with the surprising "Hot springs nudes" in second place. Lovely Race Queen Suzuki Fumika is in first place in the "lovely ladies of Japan" category, followed by swimsuit idol Satoh Eriko, Fukuda Kyoko and "mini-skirt police" idol Asakura Megumi. Other popular calendars this year are the Joy of Sushi and Joy of Soba, The Way (different slogans in Kanji), and the excellent Japanese scroll paintings 2001 calendar.
For this evening's update, we've got a bunch of very nice items for you, including:
- First, even more magazines for our extremely popuylar $5 magazine sale --
- On magazines page 1, a great new issue of the high-value Top Video
- The first calendars have come in, and we've got stock of several of them -- see the tops of the Calendars pages (nudes and beautiful views of Japan) for the in-stock items
- For photobook fans, the dynamite hardcover photobooks of Takamatsu Ai ("Cosmos") and Mochizuki Karen ("Prologue")
- S&M and bondage photobooks will enjoy the two excellent new gouka-bon format books, on the S&M photobooks page
- If you like hentai manga, we've got several excellent all-new books for you (Manga -> New releases), in addition to some really excellent back-in-stock manga that have come back in (Manga -> Best-sellers) -- over a dozen new items in all
- Several back-in-stock photobooks are posted, including Privacy 004, Kajiwara Norika's erotic nude photobook (she looks like the popular actress Fujiwara Norika), and for Fubuki Akira fans, fresh stock of the sold-out So Long photobook (photographed in Great Britan!)
- If you love amateur AV, check out Peepers, a fun all-amateur magazine and Video CD item with 70 minutes of footage -- on DVD -> MPEG CD-ROM
- For Japan AV video fans, we've got several excellent new titles in stock (Videos -> New releases) including Kanazawa Bunko's excellent "Mouthful of Ejaculation"
- For DVD lovers, the excellent History of Crystal, with 220 minutes of footage from the last five years of this company's history (region 2 encoded)
- If you love Japan's excellent SF films, check out Uchusen, a super item filled with information on Godzilla, Kamen Rider, and much more -- on Anime -> Anime & Manga magazines
- For Japanese snack fans, more stock of the very cool only-from-Japan Digimon toys
- Back in stock on our popular Wacky Things from Japan page are more wooden signs ("do not urinate here"), more Hello Kitty chopsticks (amaze your friends!), more Japanese vocabulary study cards, and more "socks glue" to hold your "loose socks" up with!
- Finally, another delicious snack item that I've loved for years -- Japanese "persimmon seed" rice crackers with peanuts! So spicy, so tasty. See them on the Snack pages.
- We've added a selection of links on how to view region-2 encoded DVD players, on our region-2 DVD page. Included is information on code-free DVD players, hacks and kits for your current DVD player, and firmware for DVD ROM drives. We also recommend a very nice DVD code-free player that we recommend for all fans of international DVD. Thanks to all J-List customers who helped us assemble the list.
Okay, go check out the items!