My son, who is five years old and in "Melon" class at his preschool (the school years are all named according to various fruits), had an interesting rite of passage the other night: "sleep over school, where all the children from his class spend their first night sleeping away from their parents. During the evening, the students and teachers play games and have fun activities, and the teachers dress up as ghosts. It's great fun for the kids, and it makes them feel very grown up (since the younger children are too little to go). What amazed me was that my wife had done all the exact same actives in the exact same way back when she did her first sleep over school, twenty-five years before. Despite the generational differences between mother and son, they were able to communicate on exactly the same level about how exciting it was to be away from home for the first time, how they felt when the teachers dressed up as scary ghosts, and so on.
One of the core themes about Japan is that they try to create a uniform society, in which social harmony is generated by the shared experiences of the society's in-group members. Creating this uniformity of life experience is the primary function of the Japanese educational system -- not teaching at all. Everyone goes through the same experiences, in the same order, and this gives them contact points which aid in making friends and social relationships. There are no aspects of public elementary and junior high school that aren't uniform all over Japan, from textbooks to the wearing of uniforms. There are no year-round schools or special tracks for gifted or slow-learning students, no skipping grades, and of course no home-schooling -- everyone experiences everything the same way. While Americans almost universally look on this kind of over-uniformity in a negative light, I can't help but think that much of the high quality of life Japan enjoys today comes as a result of the Japanese way of doing things.
For this weekend's update, we've got some extra special items, which include:
- First of all, the excellent new Urecco, featuring a great selection of wonderful Japanese AV idols and models, including Kumano Pooh-ko, Uehara Mai, and the sizzling Asato Yuka
- There are great new photobooks added, including the immensely wonderful School Wear Collection, a wonderful file of the most popular high school uniforms in Tokyo, modelled by Kanazawa Bunko, Ozawa Madoka, and other sexy models
- The latest issue of the popular Denno Buto Musume (Electronic Fighting Girl) series, the popular anthology of erotic game-girl dojinshi manga
- For dojinshi fans, a dozen or so new titles, including some nice new adult items
- Two excellent tekoki" (hand-job) videos from the excellent Soft on Demand, featuring Asamiya Junko, Nagase Lum, and a host of others -- see them on Special Order video page 1 if our stock runs out on the in-stock pages
- Another excellent new DVD, The Best Obscene Collection, compiling 130 minutes of wonderful erotic performances by world-class AV idol Yuki Maiko -- see it on the DVD page
- If you like wacky toy items from Japan, we've got "iDog, a remote-controlled robot dog that comes in iMac-like colors and skeleton" (translucent) plastics
- For fans of the up-and-coming Card Captor Sakura, we have wonderful Sakura Pins and soft-vinyl Sakura Keychains, on the anime and snack pages -- full sets are available!
- We've got more of our popular $5 magazines on magazine page 3, as well as lower prices on many of our DVDs, the Star Wars Episode 1 Laserdisc, and the excellent Princess Mononoke PVC figures (which I personally love)
- Finally, two great new flavors of Wata Gum, the funky Japanese cotton-candy that melts in your mouth to become delicious gum -- just $1 per pack on the Japanese snacks page!
Remember that in addition to popular non-region-encoded DVDs, J-List carries Video CDs by such lovely angels as Tohno Natsuko, Yoshino Sally, Mizuno Haruki, Miura Aika, Ikegami Misa, and more. Since the titles that are released are quite different from the offerings available on DVD, you should check out our Video CD page for some great items.