I was asked about pronunciation after Wednesday's update, so I thought I'd give a little lesson on pronouncing Japanese. First, understand that Japanese is a syllabic language, meaning that sounds always come in consonant+vowel pairs, e.g. ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, never just a "k" sound by itself (except the "n" sound, which can appear alone). So when you see a long name like Tokugawa, just break it into four chunks, "toe ku ga wa." There are no "diphthongs" in Japanese -- a vowel all by itself is treated as a syllable separate from what it's next to, so a name like "Miura" would be said as three syllables, "MEE-oo-ra." Vowels are easy as pie in Japanese -- there are only five, the same five in Spanish. They are
A "ah" as in "fall"
I "ee" as in "feel"
U "oo" as in "fool"
E "eh" as in "way"
O "oh" as in "go"
Here are some sample names:
Akira Fubuki -- AH-kee-ra FOO-bu-ki
Yukichi Fukuzawa (on the 10,000 yen note) -- YOO-ki-chi foo-koo-za-wa
Shiori Inoue -- SHE-oh-ree EE-no-oo-eh
Most languages in the world use just these five vowels, but phonetically, there are 12 used in American English, which makes it harder for English speakers to know how to pronounce something they see. Remember that all letters are always pronounced, and all the rules of English, such as "silent e" don't exist -- thus, the name "Tomoe" is pronounced as "toe-moe-eh" and no as "Tomo." I have some interesting information on my personal homepage, located at http://www.peterpayne.net, but we're in the middle of upgrading that page. I'll post a note when the site is open once again.
When you're an expatriate gaijin, living in Japan, it's interesting to observe what goes on psychologically with other foreigners. For one thing, foreigners have an odd "nervousness" when it comes to seeing other foreigners in trains, etc. There are several "stages of eye aversion" that we seem to pass through, during the first year or two of living in Japan. Secretly or openly, gaijin always hate foreigners whose Japanese is better than theirs, such as Dave Specter, a famous American who speaks fluent Japanese and appears on numerous "variety" shows for no reason other than he's American and it's "cute" to see him speaking Japanese. (He dies his hair blonde, too.) Gaijin like me, who were very big on learning Japanese, universally hate to be told "nihongo ga jozu" (your Japanese is very good), since this means that it's good, but not good enough (if you're truly fluent in a language, people will just talk to you normally without complimenting you on your language abilities).
Our little Kaori-chan is growing up. Today is the day she officially filed her marriage license at the City Office, and now she's Kaori Kawashima, Kaori Ida no longer. To Japanese, the date the paperwork is officially filed is the actual "wedding anniversary," and the actual date of the ceremony is far less important. I've known Kaori since I was her English teacher, seven years ago. We'll keep you posted on her upcoming wedding in October.
Our comment about the DVD categories was cut off in the last update. Basically, we added categories for our Japanese adult DVDs that are subtitled in English, Chinese and Korean, for Soft on Demand's "bukkake" (sperm fetish) titles, and also for lesbian DVDs. Sorry about that.
For this weekend's update, we've got an extra-special selection of nice items for you, including:
- First, we've got some great magazines for you, including Gaos, featuring lovely Japanese kogals, as well as fresh stock of several issues of the popular Gal's Shower and many value-priced magazines on magazine page 3
- For photobook fans, see several new offerings, including Haruka Igawa's very lovely new photobook release, Eri Kitayama's lovely seminude hardcover, as well as fresh stock of some nice items, such as Midnight Gals and Love Sketch
- Also for our loyal leg fetish fans, we've got fresh stock of the very nice Hyper Mousou leg- and stocking-fetish photobook
- For lovers of the excellent G-Taste sexy illustration art book series by Hiroki Yagami, check out the new Selected Visual Card Collection, featuring some of his best artwork ever!
- For doujinshi lovers, we've got a nice update for you, with stock of two excellent new doujinshi works from our friends at Okachimentaiko, as well as a very nice erotic Ah My Goddess book -- with lots of stock of each, so everyone can get theirs
- In addition, we've got fresh stock of even more doujin-soft releases, CD-ROM based CG collections for fans of Japan's "doujin" culture
- Love our erotic manga lineup? Well, we've got new offerings for you this evening, including some excellent new books by Tsukasa Comics, as well as a general re-stock of many popular items for you
- If DVDs are your thing, we've got two new offerings, including M-King's 8 hour AV special -- that's 480 minutes of AV! Also, the extremely busty Naomi Yamaguchi performs eagerly for you in a new release from Level 4
- We've also got a cool video item: Oto kakeru san, a great "sound of sex" fetish video that only Soft on Demand could think of
- For yaoi fans, we've also got four, count 'em, four new issues of b-Boy Zips for you, for fans of these highly dramatic erotic manga stories
- We've got several new items on the anime toys page, including another of those cool Gatchaman figure sets (only one though, so get it fast if you want it)
- For snack fans, we've got fresh stock of Japanese soft, shreaded ika (squid), as well as some more of that delicious teriyaki nori
- We've got tons of new "wacky" items for you today -- starting with fresh stock of interesting Japanese notebooks and other study items, with funny English, on the Notebooks, Study Aids page
- On the Traditional Japanese Stuff page, we've got some cool items, including authentic Japanese bamboo ear cleaners, and fresh stock of those lovely Japanese "congratulations envelopes" that you give at weddings
- Find more of our unique Japanese headbands on the Headbands and Stickers page
- Finally, on our main Wacky Things from Japan page, find a super no-stick rice scoop, an ice cube tray that makes funny shaped ice cubes, a little bottle of Snoopy eyeglass cleaner, fresh stock of the best-selling Japanese brush pen, and more!
We've had problems with our outgoing mail server truncating some of the lines in our mail, so we're going to try hard-encoding the linefeeds this time. If you experience any weirdness with this mail, please let us know. Thanks!