Friday, April 27, 2001

Greetings from J-List April 27, 2001

Greetings from Japan, the home of the Toyota FunCarGo and Crunky chocolate.

Well, after many years, Fox's long-running TV show 90210 has finally ended here in Japan. Shown on Saturday nights on NHK at 11 pm since time out of mind, the show had many Japanese fans, who watched it in Japanese, or if they wanted to practice their English, with English turned on. Kelly, with her small, demure body and beautiful golden hair, is by far the most popular character among Japanese fans. Nearly all the foreigners I know watched the show, all of them saying things like, "I wouldn't get caught dead watching this back home." But when you're an expat in Japan, you learn to adapt.

One woman holds the key to Japan's perceptions of movies, including what they watch, when they watch it, and how they feel when they watch it. Her name is Toda Natsuko, and she's the Carl Zeiss of the movie translation world. All studios clamor to get her to translate their movies, and any movie that opens in Japanese theaters without the honored "Translation: Toda Natsuko" credit can expect to miss its financial goals. Translation through a medium like subtitles, which must be short enough to be read easily and clearly, but sufficiently accurate to carry the meaning of the film, is a difficult process, but Japanese moviegoers like Ms. Toda's translations the best.

Well, Golden Week is upon us. A week during which several national holidays happen to fall, Golden Week this year isn't actually a week long -- it's two long weekends with a normal break in the middle. Golden Week is an important time for Japanese to enjoy leisure activities, and as a result, no matter where you go, there are mobs of people trying to take advantage of the holidays. Of course, the Internet rests for no Japanese holiday, so the J-List staff will be stippling our holidays, to make sure everything goes smoothly during the week.

We've updated the top 5 list for the past week, too.

For the weekend's update, we've got our usual cool volley of interesting items for you, including:

  • First, many interesting new 18+ products
  • For fans of the wonderful manga and anime Love Hina, we have a very special item -- the next 4 anime DVDs in the series. Each of these long-playing DVDs comes with a great limited edition PVC figure from the anime series -- a great item, and hard to find!
  • We have the ultimate Mobile Suit Gundam toy ever seen, a wonderful high-end fully poseable recreation from Bandai, on the anime & toys page
  • Also on the anime page, we've posted the next 3 volumes of the popular Cardcaptor Sakura bilingual comic, so you can enjoy the great manga in English -- with Japanese also written on the page, for those who want to use manga to larn Japanese
  • We've got fresh stock of several sizes of our popular Wacky Japanese T-shirts, for those who want to sport a wacky Japanese message
  • For Japanese snack and food fans, we've got some new items -- a new deluxe box of Japanese green tea, and a new twist on our furikake -- delicious beef & sukiyaki flavor!
  • Finally, on our Wacky Things from Japan update for today, we've got some really cool traditional things from Japan, including fashionable paper parasols, a deluxe wind chime, cute hooks for your room that say "For your agreeable life," and more!

Remember that J-List is having a sale on our popular Japanese T-shirts, to clear stock out and make room for new and interesting designs. You can choose from messages that are beautiful for the aesthetic value of the kanji -- the Chinese character for "long life and happiness" (or as we've interpreted it, Live Long and Prosper), messages that will amuse ("Watashi wa H" which means "I'm perverted"), or more practical messages, such as "Looking for a Japanese Girlfriend." All our shirts are 100% cotton Hanes Comfort-T's, printed in the USA, so you don't need to worry about Japanese sizes. Check out our cool shirts today!

Monday, April 23, 2001

Greetings from J-List April 23, 2001

Hello and greetings once again from Japan!

Well, Universal Studios Osaka is finally a reality, and everyone in Japan is being bombarded with marketing messages from the theme park, trying to get them to go spend their money there. Arnold Schwartzenegger (universally known as "Shuwa-chan" here in Japan) was in Osaka recently to help promote the opening. They did the silly things they do on Japanese TV when foreigners come to visit, gushing about them to no end, and poking fun at them, too -- the gave Arnold a Japanese writing brush and tried to get him to copy some kanji, to see how it turned out. He gave up and wrote "I'll be back" in English.

There are certain grammatical structures that work differently in Japanese than in English. In English, we have two concepts for pointing at objects -- here/there, this/that, etc. But in Japanese, there are "location association" concepts -- here, there, and over there (farther away). Location is expressed with koko (here, where I am), soko (there, where you are) and asoko (over there, where a third person may be). There are little nuances that come out these words. Asoko (over there) is a euphemism for a person's genital area, for times when using a more direct word isn't desirable. Acchi (another word meaning "over there") has some negative meanings as well, and "acchi no hito" (the person from over there) is a euphemism that refers to foreigners -- the people from far outside. Incidentally, listen to Japanese speak, and you might notice a tendency differentiate between "this" as an adjective ("this apple") and "this" as a noun ("I bought this"), using "this one" instead of "this" in the latter case.

We've reorganized some of the J-List pages a little big. First of all, we now have DVD Page 1 and DVD page 2 (with lower-priced items being posted on page 2), as well as a new Soft on Demand code-free DVD page, to celebrate the fact that they're releasing all DVDs as region free now.

For the first update of the week, we've got some nice items for you, including:

  • Many new 18+ items
  • For fans of Japanese manga, we've got two very interesting items: *bilingual* comics from Japan of Love Hina and Cardcaptor Sakura, in English with Japanese written to the side of the speech balloons -- great for both collectors and students
  • New items on our Japanese snacks page include some tasty new flavors of konnyaku jelly -- as well as lower prices on much of our stock of interesting Japanese snack and food items
  • We've got new wacky things from Japan for you too, including all-new Japanes maps (a map of Japan and a map of the world, with Japan right in the center), new books to help you learn hiragana and katakana, an authentic Japanese abacus, the ultimate condiment holder for your tabletop, and more of our amazingly popular Hello Kitty chopsticks

Thanks for being a part of J-List!