Summer is here in a big way, and that means heat and humidity in Japan. Companies always compete during the summer to capture the extra dollars consumers are spending on exotic drinks. Coca Cola is doing their usual "summer upgrade" of cans from 350 ml to 500 ml (that is, from a 12 oz. can to a taller can with more cola inside), while Pepsi is back with Pepsiman bottle caps (this series shows Pepsiman doing various sports). Kirin has developed a "bottle can," a steel can with a resoluble cap, as a way of attracting consumers to its teas and other drinks. McDonald's, meanwhile, is onto a new idea, selling its "Fruche" frozen drinks -- just frozen fruit in a vanilla shake, but it's really good.
It's said that Japan is 25 years behind the U.S. in terms of social development, or 10 years behind, depending on who you ask. Seen from a certain viewpoint, there does seem to be a "society gap" between Japan and the rest of the world, from the Internet to attitudes about women and men and more. When I came to Japan, I was amazed to see that there was no child carseat law, and you could regularly see kids standing up in the front seats of cars driving around town. Embarrassment as being "behind" the West, though, caused Japan to enact a child seat law two years ago. We sometimes wonder if anti-smoking sentiment will take root here as it began to do a decade ago in the U.S. It would be nice, but we don't think it will happen -- Japan Tabacco (aka JT) is a massive tobacco interest, and until a few years ago was actually operated directly by the Japanese government before it was privatized, so that, like NTT, it still enjoys semiofficial status. Even the message printed on packs of cigarettes here -- "There is concern that smoking too much can affect your health" -- is an obvious concession to the tobacco companies due to the massive tax revenues cigarettes generate here.
For this special Saturday update, we've got some very nice new items for you, including the following (see below for clickable link that will show all new items at J-List):
- Many new adult products for our adult customers
- If you love Japan's race queens, we have fresh stock of the very hard-to-find (even for us) Gal's Paradise 2000 cards
- We have fresh stock of Japanese oolong tea on the Japanese snack page, as well as a great for fans of traditional Japanese sweets (or for anyone who wants to try some Japanese candy with hundreds of years of history)
- For anime fans, we've got an extremely cool new item: a superbly crafted figure set of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, aka G-Force/Battle of the Planets in the U.S. that will surely sell out fast
- On our various Wacky Things from Japan pages, we've got a new fashionable wooden sign for when you want privacy in the bath, and a collection of positively zany funny "message buttons" in Japanese.
This is your *last chance* to pre-order Tokimeki Check in!, which is in transit from the CD duplicators even as I type. If you like Japan's excellent bishoujo games, please stop by the Peach Princess BBS (http://princess.cybrmall.net/ubbcgi/Ultimate.cgi). This is a great place where you can talk about all things Bishojo from anime to manga to games, so please stop by and say hello.
Want to learn Japanese? We recommend Yes Japan, a very cool online course that allows you to study through your computer. Online flash cards, downloadable sheets for practicing hiragana and kanji, and pronunciation are all available. The URL is http://www.yesjapan.com/