One of the most unique and complex aspects of Japan is its education system. Ever since "discovering" outside culture through Korea and China, including Confusionistic ideas of appointing government officials according to academic rank, rather than who was who's son, Japan has thought deeply about the role of education in its society. Although it was held up during the late 80's as yet another area in which America lost to Japan, it's important to understand what the good and bad parts of the education system in Japan.
There are two "halves" to education in Japan. Throughout elementary and junior high, the goal of education is to create happy individuals who harmonize with each other through shared experiences -- a sports day here, a classwide field trip there, and most of all, the systematic learning of kanji. In each school year, students are assigned to a certain class, and are in that class all the time -- the teachers come and go as each hour goes by -- which is probably done to build social skills. In junior high school, there are "clubs" (volleyball club, ping pong club, English club, manga and anime club) and every student is required to join a club as a character-building excercise. Compulstory education in Japan is extremely centralized -- for example, there is one and only one textbook for students at a certain level to use, from Hokkaido to Okinawa. The keyword for the first half of education in Japan is "uniformity."
High school is not compulstory in Japan -- everyone is free to go or not go, although "chu-sotsu" (those who graduated from junior high school, without going on to high school) are seen in an extremely negative light here. For high school and college, the main idea is "competition" -- since there are many high schools and universities that a student can choose from, depending on his level of academic ability, students must study hard to get into the school of their choice. The extra work that students headed for high school or college put into their studies is one of the main benefits of the Japanese system -- nothing makes a student buckle down and study like having a goal. As Japan's population of children shrinks, however, making it possible for more students to go to a four-year university even without extra studying, this beneficial mechanism is at risk of breaking down.
Japan is taking a lot of flack these days for having some textbooks that gloss over Japan's attrocities during World War II. It's a shame that Japan lacks a greater awareness of what they did wrong during the war, but on the other hand, they're only human, too. All countries have national pride, and how they express history tells a lot about this. I was in college before I realized that even my own country has bent plenty of history in the name of citizenship, starting with George Washington and his cherry tree and ending with the glorification of certain parts of history that happen to give Americans a "warm, nationalistic feeling." Unfortunately I see no end in sight to the ongoing fight over Japan's self-awareness issue, and Korea and China will still be at odds with Japan on the "textbook issue" well into the future.
For this evening's update, we've got some nice items for you, including:
- First, we've got some great new magazines, including a great new issue of the "magazine of pretty girl-ism," Waffle
- For fans of the popular magazine + Video CD combination items, we've got the new Club Indies, a fantastic magazine featuring tons of excellent amateur AV for you
- We've got a great bunch of new hardcover photobooks, including Anzai Hiroko, Yoshida Satomi, and more
- A bizarre fetish that's fast growing in popularity are Japan's "medical" erotica, featuring sexual "check up" photos of beautiful girls playing doctor, and much more. See it all in the new Karte Club, on the high-end fetish photobooks page
- For our erotic manga customers, we have some nice new offerings, including new manga volumes by EC Comics, Angel Comics, AV Comics and more
- For lovers of Japan's erotic doujinshi, we have fresh stock of Nostalgia (uncensored Dirty Pair doujinshi) and Under the Influence (Gunsmith Cats and Gunbuster)
- For DVD collectors, there's a very cool item indeed -- the new Kozen DVD featuring a host of erotic performances by Ayukawa Ami. This 2-DVD set features all the cool features of DVD, including multi angle, multi story, and is *subtitled* in English, Chinese and Korean
- Fans of SOD's unique AV style should check out the new Go! Go! Magic Mirror Box Car DVD, featuring 120 minutes of sex behind a 1-way mirror, as well as "reverse nampa" in which three pretty girls lure men into the box car for some fun
- For hentai lovers, see the new Night Shift Hospital, vol. 1, featuring fully animated erotica by the extremely talented Tachibana Seven (formerly a doujinshi artist)
- We have two new erotic videos from SOD: Miyazawa Yuna as the "Ravished Campaign Girl," and the Queen of Indies, Morishita Kurumi, in a super "boxing glove fetish" video for you
- For fans of the popular Deep Kiss video series, we're happy to announce that we've lowered our prices on this series, which features the first "deep kiss" between girls, in an excellent exploration of female love
- If you love Japan's bishoujo ("pretty girl") games, we've got some cool items for you: beautiful bishoujo T-shirts, featuring images from Peach Princess's Little My Maid and Tokimeki Check in! Check out these shirts on the Wacky T-Shirts page or the Peach Princess games page
- For fans of our Japanese food page, we have two nifty items that you can fry up really easily: Glico's delicious "dry curry" (curry which you can prepare in a frying pan, with rice), and delicious "Buta-Kimu," fried rice with pork and kimchee
- We have two giant funny Japanese signs posted on our Signs & Stickers page, which are both useful and wacky. One says "No parking" (for cars" and the other says "No bicycle parking."
- A rare toy for anyone who ever loved Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato, we've got a very cool, very rare PVC figure of Mori Yuki, aka Nova, complete with her 70's style holster, gun, and stand - see this cool item on the anime & toys page
- Finally, we've got a bunch of odds and ends on the Wacky Things from Japan page, including cute greetings cards with outrageous English on them ("I'm glad to know you're fine. I don't meet you recently."), some beautiful rolls of Japanese 'washi' paper suitable for use as wrapping paper, wrapping for flowers or for use in many crafts, and more!
Okay, take care and see you on the site!