Recently, the famous landmark Studio Alta, a department store in the heart of Shinjuku and the most famous "building TV" in Japan, was sold. Mitsukoshi Department Stores, who had operated the property in the red for years, got $200 million for it, which is lot for a single building, but not all that much when you consider that, during the bubble period, the value of all the land in Tokyo exceeded the value of the entire United States. I still remember with fondness then first time I trekked into Shinjuku
This year is my wife's turn to be one of the official mother representatives at our kids' preschool. Each year, two mothers from each class are, ah, pressed into service to help out with the various events (the two parent/child sports events, the annual year-end show, and so on). Being busy with J-List, my wife didn't want to take volunteer, but it's one of those Japanese "in-group" thinks -- membership in a certain social group brings with it certain responsibilities which must be met to avoid disturbing the balance of the entire group. The driving force behind this is "hito no me" (lit. "the eyes of others"): sure, she would never be forced into volunteering for the extra responsibility, but the fear of the constant gaze of the other mothers made her give in. The concept of "hito no me" and being concerned with how you appear in the eyes of others is one of the major engines driving Japanese social interaction.
We've got a bang-up update for you this weekend. New items include:
- Great new magazines, including the new Urecco and Gal's Dee issues (both lovely)
- Some nice one-shot items on the photobooks page, including old issues of Nowon
- Speed's excellent "Legend of Speed" photobook (with special "memorial card" so you can be a card-carrying Speed fan)
- More copies of hot photobooks that had sold out, including Sendo Emi's "Tomadoi, Yatsu Shinoby's Kyu Kyu Pin!" and Hitomi Ryo's excellent "Virginity"
- For the many Miura Aika fans out there, we've got more copies of Last Song and her popular MPEG King issue
- For our Japanese snack fans, we've added the entire line of Bulgaria Yogart soft-chews (in plain, strawberry, blueberry and "raichi" (that exotic fruit from Thailand -- er, what is this called in English?)
- On the anime & toys page, a truly unique set of Star Wars items: small soft vinyl figures in the anime "super deformed" style, which speak different lines from the movie when you place them on your hand
- Finally, we've got DVDs and more DVDs, including a wonderful "Cosplay Museum for the 21st century and a the complete "history DVD" of Hidaka Saya, as well as two wonderful idol items: the lovely Mitsuya Yoko's "Mai-go" DVD and "Super Nice Body's" featuring three of Japan's most famous idols
I've got another wedding to go to on Sunday, for a former student of mine. And another speech to give in Japanese! Well, wish me luck -- see you on the web.