Japanese animation is famous all around, and it seems that in any country you go to now, kids will know about Gundam and Sakura-chan and Kero-Kero and CLAMP. A lot of anime doesn't gain much of a following outside of Japan, though, mainly because it's too difficult to understand for foreigners and isn't available translated into English. Two of my family's favorite anime shows are broadcast on Sunday night, and together they bringing the fun of the weekend to a close and serve as a beacon to a simpler age in Japan.
First, there's Sazae-san (sa-ZA-eh sahn), a show about the Isono family's weekly adventures, which always manage to teach some Japanese social moral in a reassuring way. The main character is Sazae, a 23 year old housewife, who lives with her husband Masuo and their extended family. It's set in the present, but it's kind of a simplified version of the present, where there's no decade-long Japanese recession, no bursting economic bubble, and everyone in the neighborhood knows everyone else. Everyone in Sazae-san has names that have to do with the sea -- Sazae's name means sea snail, Masuo's name comes from sea trout, and so on. This show has been on the air since 1969, with a new episode every week. In last week's episode, the Japanese practice of throwing beans at imaginary demons and shouting "In with happiness! Out with devils!" was taken up, with grandfather Namihei (whose name means "wave") explaining to the children: "No one believes that there are really devils running around. Instead, we embody all our fears about sickness and death in the form of devils, and feel better by chasing them away." Another lesson learned.
After Sazae-san, we watch Chibi Maruko-chan, another "feel good" anime that has been running for a mere 12 years. Instead of taking place in a simplified version of the present, it's actually based in the past, in the late 1970's. Maruko is in the 5th grade, and as she goes through her life, we're able to reflect on the simple days of two decades ago through Maruko's eyes while being taught a lesson about the present at the same time. In a recent episode, Mariko had to write an essay about what she thought the 21st century would be like, and what she wanted to do when she was grown. She decided she wanted become a manga-ka (a comic book artist), and thus it was revealed that Mariko herself was really drawing the world of Chibi Maruko-chan, and each episode was really taking place inside her mind. (For more information on these and other anime running in Japan, see http://www2.gol.com/users/mmcb/modall/TVAnime.html).
We've got some long-awaited good news for you: after over two years of delays and "final testing," we're pleased to announce that the long-awaited Transfer Student will finally be shipping soon, probably by the end of March. We've spent so much time trying to finish this title, we're almost sorry to see it ship (just kidding). A great multi-scenario game for Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP, and for the first time, the Macintosh platform (OS 7.5-9 for now, but we will be updating this and all our Mac-compatible bishoujo titles for OS X in when we are able), we think this game will be worth the admittedly ridiculous long wait. You can pre-order the game and lock in free shipping when it is ready to go out. Thanks for your support and patience!
For the pre-weekend update, we've got an extra nice selection of items for you, including:
- First, since great new magazines, including the elegant and stylish Penthouse Japan and Penthouse Special, produced entirely in Japan and featuring only Japanese models shot by Japanese photographers
- Also some nice amateur magazines, including the very nice Amateur Girl's Data, and a new magazine for fans of "beautiful breasts" of just the right size
- For photobook fans, we've got some really nice new offerings, including a special item featuring Japanese AV stars like Jun Kusanagi, Maria Yumeno and many more who have appeared in the U.S. edition of Playboy (the photobook is a "scratch and sniff" photobook)
- From Cream, we've got a great new book, Bloomer Girl, featuring six possessively lovely models including Maiko Kazano, Yuri Sakurada and more
- Of course we have many new manga volumes posted for you, including some excellent erotic works by World Comics you won't want to miss
- For DVD lovers, we've got many nice items for you, starting off with the super new Zenra Sports DVDs (aka Stark Nakedness Sports Series), which gives you *200 minutes* of the best of the Zenra videos for a very good price (region free)
- There's a new fetish in town, "tall woman and small man," in a bold new AV from Deeps', in which men have sex with the extremely tall amazon Yumika Kitagawa, 6 feet tall (region free)
- For fans of the lovely Kurumi Morita, see the "private and sex life" of Kurumi-chan in a very nice DVD release for her fans (region free)
- See the best AV performances of Ami Ayukawa, the lovely professional AV actress with breasts of golden brown, n the new Complete Collection of Ami Ayukawa (region free)
- For indies fans, the slender and silky Kaori Shimizu has a great performance for you, in which she satisfies you desire to see many fetishes, from tekoki to glasses fetish and more
- We've got a new DVD from the G-Taste live-action sexy cosplay DVD, featuring the lovely and elegant Hikaru Kawamura dressing up in a variety of cute costumes
- Finally, we have a major restock of DVDs and videos by one of the most popular ladies in the Japanese AV world, Anna Ohura -- check out all the newly restocked items
- For fans of the 1960's sci-fi classic Thunderbirds, we've got a treat for you -- a deluxe figure + vehicle set from Tinibiz, similar to the popular Kubrick toy line
- Also: stock of several of the very cool Planet of the Apes figures based on the original movies, only made for Japan
- For fans of Neon Genesis Evangelion, we've got a new card series featuring nothing but lovely images of Rei Ayanami, a very cool item indeed
- For fans of cute things from Japan, we've got these Hamster-shaped figures and chocolate-filled Hamster cookies that are just great, as well as fresh stock of the sold-out Strawberry Chu-Hi
- We love Japan's lovely photobooks, which capture lovely Japanese girls in their glossy pages -- see the newly posted idol items on the Id
- We've restocked our trademark (?) Hello Kitty toilet paper
- For those who missed out on our popular Japanese calendars, we've got a few scattered items which we're selling below our cost -- see the photobooks page for more info
- We've got new study-related items posted, including a great new Japanese notebook with removable sheets and funny English on the front, and a beginning notebook for those who want to learn kanji
- Finally, look for a slew of other cool items on J-List, including new regional maps of Japan (Kyushu and Chubu), a nifty "herbal pad" that will take the tiredness out of your sore feet, a deluxe package of gauze masks which are used in Japan to guard against cold germs and pollen, a super "coffee dripper" for making coffee by hand, and more!
J-List sells many fun and unique things from Japan. One category of item we sell are Japanese snack and food items, including Japanese Pocky, Tomato Pretz, Japanese gum and many other items. All of these items are stamped with a freshness date, and everything we sell is well within that date. So you can be reassured that the wacky Japanese food items J-List sells are fresh and good to eat.
Just a second mention in case some missed it before -- we have had some the J-List shopping cart lose some orders over the past two weeks, so if you made an order but never heard from us (aside from the automated "thanks for your order" email that the J-List website sends out automatically when your order is completed), let us know and we'll look into it right away. We are closing in on the intermittent problem and hope to have it solved very soon.