The other night, my wife and I found an interesting TV show where a panel of politicians and writers debated until dawn what Japan needed to do to survive and prosper in the 21st century. The panel included many Japanese-fluent foreigners from the U.S., Canada and several other countries, who offered their own interesting viewpoints. Japan is a country with a lot of problems, from an economy lacking energy and "genki" to growing social problems, and they think quite deeply about what can be done about it.
One of the biggest problems Japan faces is a total lack of inflation -- amazingly, a package of boil-in-bag curry costs only a little more today than it did 30 years ago! Aside from very moderate train fare increases, and one telephone rate increase, I can't think of a single product that costs more today than it did when i came to Japan in 1992. This lack of price growth is one of the key reasons why Japan's economy can't get any real forward motion and start growing again.
The Internet is a wonderful convenience for everyone, but even more when you're an expat living in Japan. While Japan has a lot of comforts of home, from Pringles to Kellogg's cereals to Ally McBiel (albeit in Japanese), I don't know what I'd do without Outpost.com and Amazon.com to supply me with books, U.S.-release DVDs and more. Saturday night is my designated DVD-watching night, since we have to set up the VCR to tape Kamen Rider Kuga and Ojamajo Doremi (my kids' favorite shows) on Sunday morning.
For this weekend's update, we've got some great items prepared for you. They include:
- First, a great big 2001 calendar update, with items that had been held on reserve now made available on the site -- there are over a dozen idol, anime and JPOP calendars newly posted to the calendars pages
- We have some great new magazine issues for you, including the dynamite new Beppin School, a cool issue of Namper (for fans of "nampa" or picking up Japanese girls and taking them to hotels), and another cool Idol Digging Magazine
- We've got several great new photobook items in, including the truly excellent Fukuda Miho 1st Photobook, one of the most beautiful glossy photobooks I've seen
- Also for photobook fans, fresh stock of several out of stock items, including Takamatsu Ai's very pretty "Cosmos"
- We've got a bunch of excellent new erotic manga posted, including the excellent From the Bucho with Love by artist Distance (see Manga -> New releases), as well as fresh stock of some very popular manga that had been out of stock (on Manga -> Classics)
- For fans of SOD's ever-cool erotic videos, we've got vol. 2 of the "Insert vibrator into the hole of panty" video series, featuring the patented Love Gun
- If you love Japanese AV DVD, check out AV 2000, an excellent 120 minute collection of super erotic themes and cosplay performances
- For those who join Tomo and myself in loving the beautiful and angelic Aoi Minori, see her excellent Best Collection DVD "Hidden Treasure" (on the Region code 2 DVD page)
- For anime fans, check out the latest issue of AX, a super character-centric anime magazine that comes with a great CD ROM for Mac or PC
- For fans of delicious Japanese snacks, see one of my favorite snacks, Choco Flake Bits on our snacks pages
- On our Wacky Headbands and Signs page, see several new items, including an authentic Japanese "emergency exit" sign, and another of our popular Japanese wooden signs with funny messages on them
- We've got a major restock of several sold out items on our Wacky Things from Japan page, including Japanese notebooks, traditional writing paper, and our handy J-E and E-J dictionaries (just $5)
- Finally, a cool item for anyone interested in learning or brushing up on hiragana and katakana -- children's workbooks, on the Wacky Things page!
Remember that J-List offers current newsstand issues of a wide variety of magazines from Japan, from anime magazines to JPOP to hentai. Check out these items on the "reserve subscription" pages!