Starting April 2002, Japanese kids will all start learning English conversation in elementary school, several years earlier than the current system (where kids start learning in junior high and high school). It's a good attempt by the Japanese Ministry of Education to change a system that clearly does not produce competent speakers of English, but unfortunately, it will not succeed for several reasons, including the basic fact that Japanese teachers are often not competent in English themselves, and in any event, Japanese students and teachers are content to conduct English class 99% in Japanese, without actually producing English at any time.
Actually, there seems to be a real shortage of American teachers of ESL in Japan, at least in the region where we are. It might be due to the booming U.S. economy in past years, but virtually all English teachers we've seen are from Australia and New Zealand and Canada -- countries which benefit from the Working Holiday system that isn't available in the U.S. (If you're interested in learning about teaching ESL in Japan, see my personal homepage.)
Perhaps in preparation for the coming changes, there's a new character on my daughter's favorite anime show, Ojamajo Doremi, the long-running "pretty girl witch" anime which features four young "witch students" who are studying to be real witches. Now the four girls are joined by a fifth, a Japanese girl who just came back from several years in America named Morocco (she's got blonde hair and blue eyes, yet she's Japanese). The interesting thing about Morocco is that she speaks only English, which gives the kids watching a chance to try to understand what she's saying, without subtitles.
For this evening's list of newly added items, we've got some excellent and wacky things for you, including:
- First, a great new issue of Urecco, the best-selling magazine at J-List, with many lovely Japanese angels
- Several back-in-stock photobooks, for our Japanese photobook fans
- For erotic manga fans, a great selection of several all-new manga items, including twisted and bizarre works, as well as manga that focus on love and romantic sex
- For fans of Japanese erotic artbooks, we've got three great artbooks for Dokyusei, Dokyusei 2 and Kakyusei, on the hentai artbooks page
- We have two excellent videos by Soft on Demand: Hirosue Nao's Idol Semen (for fans of Japanese sperm fetishism) and a fantastic "ass fetish" video with 90 minutes of inventive and creative AV filming
- A dynamite item for DVD fans -- Alice Japan 2001, a *240 minute* collection of AV footage featuring some of Japan's most talented idols, including Miura Aika, Aida Momo, Kano Mizuho, and many more -- four hours of great AV footage!
- For our dojinshi fans, a special treat -- stock of the fabulous erotic dojinshi Nuki-Lum (Make Lum Come), a dynamite 120 page erotic dojinshi with fantastic erotic Lum artwork, and color pages, too
- Also on the dojinshi page, some excellent CD-R collections of hentai CG from the past Comic Market, including some incredibly fantastic works
- For fans of J-List's interesting and wacky Japanese signs, we've got fresh stock of the popular "Do not urinate here" reflective stickers (the torii version)
- New and updated items on the Wacky Things from Japan page include Take-fumi (a bumpy board that massages your feet as you stand on it), a traditional Japanese tissue box cover, and the only cooking chopsticks you'll ever need!
I've updated my personal homepage at http://www.peterpayne.net/ with a movie of this year's School Show, at my children's preschool. They put on quite a show, from performing Annie to singing We Are the World in Japanese to a great Japanese drum performance. Click on "Pictures from Japan" and then "School Show 2001" (requires Quicktime 4).