Japan can be a funny place. At the end of the day, Japan really loves Europe, and secretly wishes it could be a part of that continent. During the Meiji period, when Japan was looking to other nations as it modernized its institutions, they chose many elements from Europe to incorporate here. The French prefectural system, for example, was used as the model for Japan's internal organization; they modeled their military on Prussia's, and their Diet on Britan's Parliament, the Mother of Parliaments. In much the same was as British will jokingly pretend they're not part of Europe (since they're an island nation), the Japanese pretend they're not a part of Asia, and actually say "Asia and Japan" as if one were not part of the other. The fact that Japan and most of Europe are grouped in the same DVD region area speaks volumes about how Japan perceives itself.
In case you're not familiar with the French Prefectural System, I'll tell you about it (although I can't vouch for how French it really is, after the Japanese got through with it). Japan is divided into four kinds of prefectures, "to" (the special municipal area of Tokyo), "doh" (the northernmost island of Hokkaido, a special region of its own), "fu" (the areas around Osaka and Kyoto) and "ken" (normal prefectures). There are 47 of these prefectures in all, established in the national remapping that took place after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when reformers reorganized the map of Japan to keep old loyalties and politics from getting in the way of modernization. Japanese Prefectures are divided into smaller sections called cities (shi), which contain smaller areas called "machi" (translated to English as "towns"). Areas with very low population are organized as "mura" (villages). Towns can update to "city" status when they reach populations of 100,000.
I've lived in Japan for a long time, and one thing I've enjoyed observing is Japanese Democracy at work. Although young people don't take an interest in politics, older Japanese are quite interested in elections at all levels and can be very active in supporting their favorite parties and candidates. (I have volunteered to work on the staff of a political candidate in the past, which was not something a lot of gaijin do here.) There are many elements to Japanese politics that are confusing to my American mind, such as why so many smaller political parties can exist without melding into a larger, more effective minority party (as we have in the U.S. and U.K.), and why people allow cars to drive around their neighborhood blasting political messages from loudspeakers, but all in all, it's quite interesting to watch.
Halloween has ended, and we're stuffed with candy, chocolate and what-not. It was a great experience, seeing the kids enjoying their first Trick-or-Treating ever, and there was a strong showing by neighborhood kids, who weren't letting anything get between them and their candy. Another American tradition continues.
For today's update, the J-List staff have a bang-up update for you, with a bunch of great new items, including:
- First, we've got some nice magazines, including fresh stock of the popular Cotton, and more
- We've got some nice all-new soft- and hardcover photobooks for you, including Mio Okazaki's very sexy "Bed Rooms" photobook, the sultry photobook of Shizuko Satoh, and more
- Also: more stock of several Tennyo series erotic photobooks, more excellent photobooks from Aida Garo, and fresh stock of Flowers, the excellent lesbian photobook featuring Aoi Minori and Nana Horiuchi
- For fans of Japanese "SM," we've got the DVD Video Cinema SM Collection in stock -- a magazine with a 2 hour bondage DVD, free
- If you love erotic DVDs, we've got several really nice new ones, including the Minimomo Manten Sex -- Fuck da Pyon! DVD (great for Morning Musume fans)
- Can a man endure a hand job for 60 minutes? Find out in the DVD version of this popular title by Soft on Demand (if he is able to endure being fondled for 60 minutes, he gets $3000 cash)
- Also, for fans of Japanese adult videos, a rare treat, an erotic performance by debuting idol Rinka Yaguchi
- For manga fans, we've got several nice new volumes in stock for you, including Breast-Colored Temptation, a super breast-fetish comic, The Female Teacher Collection, and many more as well
- Also: a restock of many popular erotic manga volumes, including the Wonderful Feeling series by Azuki Kurenai, and more
- For yaoi fans, check out the very nice new offerings for you too, including new anthology manga which present hundreds of pages of homosexual comic artwork by Japan's pop yaoi artists
- If you love doujinshi, check out the limited stock (as in, one copy of each) of very nice erotic doujinshi which parody many popular anime shows
- For fans of bishoujo games, Legend of Fairies, the first part of the Fairy Gods bishoujo game series for Mac and PC, is back in stock (it had been out of stock for several weeks)
- If you love Japan's sexy Race Queens, check out the nice new Race Queen 2000 The DVD, with 160 minutes of some of the best Race Queen footage we've seen!
- Japanese love bathing, and we've got some cool Japanese onsen powder for you -- enjoy the feeling of an authentic Japanese hot spring!
- On our "traditional Japanese stuff" page, we've got some cool items, including a Japanese calculator (abacus), more cool Japanese chopsticks, and more
- We've got a *bunch* of 2002 calendars have come in, including some extremely popular items like the Japanese Hot Spring nudes, Kimono beauties of Japan, Japanese beautiful gardens, and more. Please note that the current stock of calendars we've got will be the last of these we get in, so please get them while we've got stock -- these calendars are extremely unique and very cool, so please check them out!
- We have fresh stock of wacky Japanese signs, including the ever-popular "please don't let your dog crap here" plastic signboard
- For anime fans, we've got a very cool "completed figure" (PVC) of Yurika Maru, from Martian Successor Nadesico, rare and out of production
- Also: you asked for it, so we got a restock of the damn-cool Ah My Goddess Urd cold-cast figure, featuring *the* coolest detail and beautiful painting we have *ever* seen in an anime figure like this -- but we've only got a few in stock of these great items
- We've restocked our popular Japanese chewing gum, including popular flavors like "No Time" (for when you have no time to brush your teeth), Black Black (spicy gum laced with caffeine, our best-selling gum), and more
- For fans of Japanese snacks, fresh stock of the delicious Hi-Chew soft candies, in banana shake and cola flavors
- Finally, our "wacky" Japanese item main page includes fresh stock of our surprisingly popular Japanese onigiri (rice ball) makers, new maps of various regions around Japan (fun to display on your wall!), a killer new "fude pen" (Japanese calligraphy brush pen), and more!
Remember that J-List offers revolving subscriptions to some of Japan's most popular magazines, including anime magazines (Animage, Newtype), toy magazines (Hobby Japan), manga magazines (Coro Coro and Afternoon), and more. These magazines will be sent to you as soon as they're available each month, before they're even sent to the newsstands here in Japan. See the magazine subscription pages for more information.