Part of the Japanese sense of "joshiki" (unifying common sense) can be understood through the word "chanto." Meaning "properly," the Japanese use this word to grant a higher status to "the way things should be." When I went to pick up my daughter from her preschool, I watched the teacher showing the kids a "kami-shibai" (a story told to kids using sheets of cardboard with pictures on them) about the proper way to brush your teeth, the proper way to greet others, and so on. The word "chanto" was thrown around a lot. Of course teaching kids is one thing, but it's interesting to note that the concept of there being "one" correct way to do things is quite important to the Japanese. Almost without fail, those who don't follow that one path -- young people who drop out of school and play guitar in front of the train station for money, couples who live together without getting married -- are seen in a negative light.
One of the challenges for me as an American, living in rural Japan, comes from having no native speakers of English around me. It's amazing how much having other native speaks affects your own speaking. If I lived in New Zealand (as I in fact did for a year when I was a child), I'd naturally pick up a Kiwi accent. If I moved to India, I'd start talking like Apu from the Quik-E-Mart. Because there isn't much use for a gaijin who talks with a Japanese accent, or who goes around saying things like "Almost people in America drive a car," I have to constantly check my English to make sure it doesn't erode too badly. Another challenge: swearing. In Japan, English swear words carrying none of the shock or negative implications that they do in an English-speaking country. Thus, it's quite easy for foreigners living in Japan to lose the subtle mental checks and balances that govern the use of swear words, if they're not god damned careful.
Kaori's taking the day off today, to go to the new Disney Sea theme park that opened near Tokyo Disneyland (which isn't actually in Tokyo). Actually, it's not really open yet -- Kaori received a special invitation to go to the park before its official opening. She's been sending us digital images from her portable phone (which has a digital camera built into it). It looks like fun, but I detest all theme parks in Japan: the density of people in this country (320 per square mile, vs. 26 for the U.S.) guarantees that any day at a Disneyland-type theme park will be eaten up by waiting in lines.
Well, our air conditioning is back on -- yaay! If you want to see the charred motherboard that game out of our air conditioning unit, it's at http://www.jlist.com/b9/aircon.jpg .
For this afternoon's update, we've got another nice bunch of items for you, including:
- Some very nice erotic magazine for you, including some amateur magazines for fans of authentic Japanese girls on the street
- For leg fetish fans, see the new Mini-Suka Deluxe, the very nice deluxe magazine for fans of silky, leggy Japanese ladies
- For fans of sailor uniforms, we've got the very cool Buru Mani, a Waffle Special issue featuring 14 sweet gals
- for photobook lovers, we've got many nice new items, including Garo Aida's Strawberry Diaries photobook vol. 3 with Honami Seki, a superb new photobook of the elfin Minori Aoi, Emi Kitani's lovely hardcover swimsuit photobook, and more
- We have positively wonderful all-new and back-in-stock manga for you, including the dynamite Explosive Breast Newscaster Anzai-san, fresh stock of Midnight plus two, as well as several more
- Since it's doujinshi season around here, we have fresh books for you, all brand-new items from the past Comic Market
- Also for fans of Japan's unique doujin-world, we've got some excellent CD-ROM compilations of "doujin-soft." These are CG collections put out by circles, who do computer graphics work instead of publishing book-format doujinshi comics. The quality of the CG is very high and very unique. Stock is limited, so check the doujinshi page fast...
- If you love DVD, we've got two new titles for you. First, see pure girls doing erotic things for the first time in a very erotic new DVD release from Glay'z. Then, see the cat fight of the century as three martial arts gals must fight each other. Whoever loses must endure...
- For lovers of unique Japanese snacks and food, we've got the delicious Tsubu Tsubu Strawberry Pocky, with bits of real strawberry inside, and one of my personal favorites, Tomato Pretz, a delicious tomato/salad flavored pretzel treat
- Also on the Japanese snack and food page, we've got fresh stock of a dynamite item for the summer, Japanese barley tea (mugi cha), a giant value pack of 50 mugi cha tea bags for just $5
- If you love Japan's sexy Race Queens, we've got a very nice photobook on the photobook and idol pages, capturing the beauty of the lovely Team Autobacs RQ's
- For fans of the very cute Gremlins toys by Jun Planning, we've got two different lovable incarnations of Gizmo, available only from Japan
- We have some new items on the Wacky Things from Japan "cute things" page, including little fragrant tags that smell sweet and have funny messages on them -- use them as air fresheners or as super-cute tags for gifts
- For fans of ukiyoe, we've got fresh stock of the surprisingly popular ukiyoe stickers, two different sets featuring ukiyoe reproductions by Utamaro, Hokusai and Sharaku
- Finally, other bizarre and wacky things from Japan include a real Japanese kendama (ball and string toy), a deluxe onigiri maker (makes rice balls in the shape of hearts, stars and bears), a very cute way to separate sushi from other foods, and more!
We've updated the J-List glossary of terms again, with some suggestions from readers. We hope it's helpful! Also, Yasu will be in Tokyo tomorrow, so we've updated the week's "top 5" lists a day early.