Economic news in Japan continues to be bad. The latest problems are with the large Sogo Department Store chain, who filed for protection from creditors a few days ago. The many trials retail and other firms have had to face during the past few years is sorely testing the long-held concept of the "corporation as social institution, the idea that corporations here in Japan exist not only to make profits but also to safeguard those working in the organization. For much of the last century, Japanese companies have used lifelong employment to attract employees and retain long-range loyalty. However, as Japan's happy internal economy has undergone changes in the past decade and during the current recession, companies trying to survive have had to turn to American-style layoffs (called risutora" in Japanese, after the English word "restructuring"). Let's hope things turn up soon.
One of the more interesting aspects to living in Japan are the people I get to meet. Not just Japanese people -- but other foreigners as well. Actually, Americans are not at all common here in Japan. Of course the main groups represented in Japan are people from Brazil, Peru, and Korea, there seem to be many more Canadians and Australians than Americans here -- possibly because they can come here on a "working holiday" (or waa-holi as the Japanese like to call it) visa. I have more non-American friends than American friends, and it's quite interesting to talk American politics and other subjects. I've ever learned how to tell a Canadian from an (United States) American -- listen for the shorter pronunciation of words like "out" or "about." I believe the Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files is Canadian because of his pronunciation of these two words.
We have many excellent and unique items for you this evening, including:
- A heap 'o excellent hentai manga, both on the New Manga and Manga Classics pages -- including great new copies of old bestsellers (Isane, Deep Friend, many more) as well as all-new manga items
- There are three lovely new hardcover photobooks on the photobook pages (new items always start on page 1), including a new Aida Garo photobook
- An excellent bunch of discounted videos, in stock and ready to go, including some very cute Japanese gals -- see the Discount Videos page
- For Japanese idol fans, we have not one but two great "secret and embarrassing" photo magazines of idols from early in their careers
- Speaking of idols, if you love Morning Musume, or even just like them a little, their new collector's cards are on the idol page
- Great new snack & gum items, including Lotte Toppo (baked pretzel sticks with chocolate inside), Super Long Himo-Q (a 1.2 meter length of delicious gummi) and the extremely popular Mangosteen gum
- We have more fun items on our catchall "trendy goods" page (on the Anime master page), including a new Japanese "pressure point" massage pad and a new variety of the surprisingly popular Japanese Congratulations Envelopes (for any time you need to give a give in a beautiful way).
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