When you're an expat living in Japan, it's always a pleasure to come home again -- something about living outside your home country makes you appreciate home even more than if you'd never left, which is one reason we advise young people to do homestay in other countries whenever possible. From American TV to Golden Grahmes to fast, wide California freeways, there's a lot to really appreciate about America. Our kids love America too, and are really happy to be in their second home. They're also happy to see Georgie and Goldie, our Beagle and Cocker Spaniel that we have in our house in San Diego.
Before I started J-List back in 1996, I was an English teacher, and spent several years teaching ESL -- that's English as a Second Language to us teacher types. Although teaching English was often very challenging and difficult, it was fun because I got to meet so many Japanese people of all ages, and learn from them as I taught them. I was immediately surprised by the strong impression by Japanese that America was a "free" country, supposedly unlike Japan -- although none of my students had much idea what free really meant. One of my students wrote, "Japanese teachers always want children to be the same. But America is more free. They don't have school uniforms and strict, strange rules." By far the biggest question I was asked was, did I have a gun when I lived in America? Of course the answer was no, but Japanese were interested in America's fixation with guns. I remember struggling to explain English grammar in ways that were useful to my students. They wanted explanation of gerunds and particles and infinitive verbs, and me saying "Mm, that sounds right to me" is not what they wanted to hear, so I had to hit the books and learn how to explain grammar in a way that was useful to them. If you are interested in seeing some of the collected (and silly) writings of my former students, I've posted some on my personal homepage at http://www.peterpayne.net/
The Chinese writing system, kanji, is a part of the Japanese language, the same way Latin or Greek is a part of Western languages. This relationship with Chinese characters pops up in the language in interesting ways. In Sazae-san, the long-running anime that captures in calming, peaceful tones the happiness of a traditional Japanese family, for example, Sazae and her husband, Masuo, sleep on futons with their son, Tara-chan, sandwiched in between. This is called sleeping in "kawa no ji" style, literally "sleeping like the character for river" since it imitates the three flowing lines that make up the character for river. Similarly, my daughter, rambunctious tomboy that she is, usually sleeps in the shape of "dai no ji" or the shape of the character for "big"," with her arms extended and legs spread as far as possible, the better to take up as much room as possible when sleeping with her mom and dad. See what these two kanji look like here: http://www.jlist.com/c3/kawa.jpg
For the new update, we've got a great selection of new items, including:
- First, for fans of Japanese snacks, enjoy Morinaga's super big caramels, delicious "Village of Bamboo Chocolate" cookies, Legend of Ultraman Tomato Pretzels (a limited edition treat), mango pudding cookies, chocolate almond treats, and a rare flavor of Kit Kat from Nestle
- Also, fresh stock of some popular items that keep selling out, like authentic Japanese miso soup, furikake, Japanese diet tea, and more
- Enjoy fresh "green breath" with a new flavor of Glico's Kiss Mint gum, now in stock
- We always carry lots of fun Hello Kitty Sanrio products, and we've got some new items, including a Kitty water bottle, new Hello Kitty Mini Town play items, Hello Kitty tissue and toilet paper, and more
- We've restocked many Hamtaro items, including the popular Hamtaro figure with mini house, a great collection of Hamster fun from Furuta, and the "Hamtaro Cutting Memo" that is so cute
- For fans of sexy idols from Japan, enjoy the very nice hardcover photobook of Mika Sakamoto, a lovely swimsuit angel
- Kids love Yu-Gi-Oh, and we've got some unique things from Japan for them, including our fun Yu-Gi-Oh wafer chocolate, little cookies that come with "trading stickers" inside
- For fans of Kamen Rider (Masked Rider) Kuga, the best-ever in the series (according to my wife, who is a fan), we've got a killer set of trading cards
- Like Snoopy? There are some great Japan-only Peanuts licensed goods, and we've got some fun music boxes in stock for you today
- If you're a fan of imported anime DVD from Japan, be sure to pick up the Ghost in the Shell animated series DVD, which we've got in stock for you -- it's really cool, recommended highly by Brent (region 2)
- Another treat, we've got vol. 1 of Tokyo Mew Mew, for fans who want to get into this great Japanese show (region 2)
- For Kubrick fans, we've got a couple of cool BE@RBRICK in stock for you
- We've slashed prices on our excellent 2003 calendars yet again, bringing them way down in price, to such a low price we can't believe it ourselves -- please help us out by checking out our stock of calendars, and picking up a couple (we give free mailing tubes if you get 2 or more). Thanks from all of us!
- For anyone studying Japanese or another language, we've restocked the cool Campus Vocabulary Books which make it easy to write down words you're studying for later review
- Finally, look for more cool items, including bento boxes, chopsticks, fun and convenient things for your house, fun ways to massage your body, and much more!
Remember that J-List carries virtually all English-language bishoujo games that are in print, so you can find all the best games in one place. Peach Princess, G-Collections, Hobibox Europe, Himeya Soft, JAST USA and Milky House, we've got them all and all are in stock. Japan's bishoujo games are an interesting kind of interactive love-simulation game that's unique to Japan, and we hope you'll try out some of them. If you're unsure which games you think you'd like, feel free to email us for a recommendation! Our free shipping sale on Peach Princess games ends in a week, too!
Also, J-List's famous Japanese T-shirts, with bizarre messages like "Your mother has a protruding belly button" and "I'm proud of my sexual power," are in stock and available for immediate shipping from our San Diego warehouse. If you buy 3 or more of these cool shirts, you get an automatic 10% off through the shopping cart, too.