Each language has its own set of different features. Some languages are tonal, where the meanings of words can be very dependent on pitch and intonation, while other languages have genders for nouns. Linguistically, Japanese is related to Korean and some Oceanic languages. Happily, it is not a tonal language, although there are a few words which use intonation, just as there are in English -- for example, record (the noun, stress on the first syllable) is slightly different from and record (the verb, stress on the second syllable). When speaking Japanese, one thing you have to watch for are long and short vowels. For example, the syllables "o" (pronounced so that it rhymes with "toe") and "oh" (said the same, but with a longer vowel) are completely different concepts in Japanese.
The long and short vowels in Japanese can cause challenges when trying to write Japanese words and names in English, too. Because the extra letters only cause confusion to English speakers, the long vowels are often cut. For example, instead of writing the first name of Panasonic founder Kounousuke Matsushita with all letters, you could get away with writing "Konosuke" and it wouldn't make a difference how the name was pronounced in English. The Japanese dating sim games we sell at J-List are called "bishoujo games" which means "pretty girl games." Should this word be transliterated as "bishoujo" or with a short vowel, e.g. "bishojo"? There's no difference in pronunciation in English, and shorter words are easier for people to remember, but one possible snag is that "shoujo" means "girl" while "shojo" (short vowel) means "virgin" -- oops. The name of Yuka, the popular swimsuit idol who has turned into one of Japan's most famous celebrities, would be more accurately written "Yuuka" (since it's a long vowel). Which is better? If accuracy is what's important, we have to all start writing Tokyo as "Toukyou" and Osaka as "Oosaka," but no one wants to do that, I'm sure. It was because of these potential transliterational problems that we worked quite hard to make the J-List search engine "smart" so that it would come up with the same results whether you searched for, say. "yuuka" "yuhka" or "yuka" -- the search engine maintains a list of "search synonyms" and checks against that list when you perform a search for products.
Want to know a Japanese joke? In Japanese, the word for Prime Minister is "souri" ("sori" but with a slightly elongated first syllable), which sounds like the English word "sorry" to the Japanese. "Sori," a similar-sounding word, means "razor." Japanese kids have a stupid saying that has endured for decades: "I'm sorry, hige sori [beard shaver], jori jori [the sound of rough, unshaven whiskers]." If you're ever talking to a Japanese person, and they apologize to you for something, come back at them with "hige sori, jori jori!" [HEE-gay SO-ree, JOE-ree JOE-ree] and watch them jump out of their shoes in surprise.
For the pre-weekend update, we've got some very nice items for you, including:
- For fans of our Japanese toy items, we've got some nice ones, including some only-released-in-Japan Star Wars mini-puzzles that are great
- Also, Jin-Roh, a very scary figure from Kaiyodo with a range of advanced weapons
- If you love The Dog, the cute series of Japanese dog character items, we've got a very nice series of cute The Dog ashtrays -- "here's a little something for you!"
- We've got fresh stock of snack items for you too, including a delicious Hello Kitty package of various snacks, delicious Hello Kitty crab flavored fried rice (really, it's good!), and a favorite item of ours, Baby Star dried, toasted ramen noodles, which you eat right out of the package -- we've got great mini-packs in stock for you!
- Bergamot is a North American herb with a pleasant smell and taste somewhat reminiscent of oranges -- now you can try the new Bergamot flavor Japanese gum, from Lotte!
- We've got some new photobooks in stock for you, including the lovely hardcover photobook of Grace, a beautiful and sexy swimsuit idol, and the beautiful kogal Sayaka Uchida's super new offering
- At J-List, we love to promote the study of Japanese language, so we carry various study aids (basically things Peter wishes he had access to back in 1987 at SDSU). We've added a super-cute Hamtaro hiragana notebook as well as several varieties of kanji and kana practice notebooks, for all students of Japanese!
- Speaking of Hamtaro, we have a cute new series of little Hamtaro figures for you to play with and collect -- great for new Hamtaro fans!
- Licca-chan is the fashion doll from Takara that's famous all over the world, and we've got a fun punch-out Licca paper dolls set for you to play with
- We have new only-from-Japan Hello Kitty items for you, including a Kitty toolbox you can put things in, a spiffy Kitty airplane clock and stuffed airplane plush (hailing back to the Kitty of the 1970s), and more
- We've got two very nice bento boxes in stock, very sturdy bento boxes with two sections, one for white rice and a higher section for your main course -- very nice
- Finally look for cute "Pop Animal" magnet clips, a great way to keep your cold drinks cold, and more!
For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products. The new items include:
- For magazine loves, we've got several new magazine items, including the lovely Pirara, featuring the erotic bodies, open legs and anal-fetish photographs of some beautiful idols from Japan
- The new issue of MPEG Indies is in stock, featuring a full magazine and 2 video CDs, which will play in computers or most DVD players -- 2 hours of excellent sampler material from 53 DVD titles for a great price!
- We love Japan's hardcover photobooks, and we've several new ones for you, featuring bondage and domination Japanese-style, a lovely kogal swimsuit photobook, and more
- Also, we stock many of the "Chinkame" (CHIN-kah-meh) books, which are super-small pocket sized erotic photobooks that you can take anywhere -- and we've got a great new Smart Girls series photobook that is dynamite
- Of course we have fresh stock of hentai manga from Japan, including a half dozen or so all-new volumes for you to choose from, including a new uncensored work from Ippei Ikoma, a super "Beautiful Wife in Underwear" hentai comic with 350 pages, and more
- Also, a large-format manga and art book from hentai illustrator Mirai Ozaki that is beautiful drawn and features great romantic sexual stories
- For doujinshi fans, a rare treat: new erotic releases by Tohro Nishimaki (creator of Blue Eyes) and Amanojack, the #1 selling "dick girl" hentai artist at J-List
- For fan of Japanese AV, we've got another selection of titles for you, starting with a new "No Cut!!" DVD from Kuki that gives you 180 minutes of sex with the beautiful Nana Kawashima for a low price (region free)
- Deep's has a new entry in their popular "Holed Panty" in which a small hole is cut in the model's panties, allowing for many interesting activities (region free)
- The sultry and sexy Rina Usui, a new AV idol with long, luscious legs, a slender and erotic body and enormous sexual energy, in a new offering from Dogma (region free)
- We have a dynamite new production from IEnergy, a SOD company, featuring three of the top idols in Japan today -- Ai Nagase, Nozomi Momoi and Sayaka Tsutsumi, as the sexy and erotic "mini skirt police," in a 260 minute production! (region free)
- From Moodyz, one of our favorite companies, three beautiful Japanese idols go to the USA to perform "American Hardcore in Los Angeles," with an American actress and three big, black dudes (region 2)
- Also from Moodyz, three college students to go beautiful Guam for their graduation vacation and end up having an incredible lesbian adventure (region 2)
- Finally, we've gone through and reduced prices on many titles that we've got in stock, including Soft on Demand and the last of our high-end bukkake video titles from Milky Cat and M's Video Group -- get these items before they're gone!
One of the most popular items in J-List history is the Hello Kitty shoulder massager, an instant cult item all over the world. We're down to a few boxes of this popular item, so if you're interested in getting one, you should hurry before they go out of stock. We'll restock, of course, but as is always the case in Japan, we're never sure when the item will become unavailable. So get yours while you can!
Remember that through the end of the month we're giving free shipping (US/Canada) on Borderline 2 and 3, two excellent collections of hentai CG artwork by a talented Japanese artist, Naomoto Sakaki-san. We hope you'll pick up these excellent titles before this offer ends!
The J-Mate site has been updated again, with reviews of two titles, Akira Watase's "Virgin Hunter" by SOD, and Anna Ohura's lovely "Anna with a Change of Clothes." The URL is http://www.jmate.com/