An era in Japanese Sumo history has ended, with the retiring of Takanohana, one of the most popular wrestlers in the history of Japan's national sport. The son of a popular wrestler who is now the stablemaster of Futagoyama Stable (for some reason, the dojos that train Sumo wrestlers are translated as "stables" in English), both he and his older brother Wakanohana have had spectacular careers in the sport, attaining the highest rank of Yokozuka (Grand Master). Unfortunately, age and constant leg injuries had taken too much out of Taka, who made the decision to quit the sport after suffering a crushing defeat by Asashoryu, an up-and-coming wrestler from Mongolia, this week. Takanohana's retirement leaves just one wrestler with Sumo's highest rank, Hawaiian wrestler Musashimaru.
It's college entrance exam season in Japan, as students finish their year of intense studying and take tests that will determine much of their future happiness. Students will generally select a first choice university and one or more easier schools (called "suberi-dome" schools, a word that means "stop the slide"). Students usually go to jukus (evening prep schools) and study for their university exams for all three years of college, but the last year is when they really hit the books. It all pays off when they wake up early and go to their university one cold February morning and look for their number on the board indicating if they've passed the test. If they don't get into a school, they have to be a "university ronin" (a word originally meaning "masterless samurai") and try again next year. Japan's "test wars" are quite interesting, and the drama of taking the most important test of your life are often captured in TV dramas, and in anime like Maison Ikkoku or the Orange Road Movie.
High school students going to college aren't the only ones who have to study for entrance exams -- junior high school students must also take an entrance exam to go to high school, since high school is not part of compulsory education in Japan. Students choose the school they think they can get into and take that school's test. In some cases, students who aim too high don't get into a school and become "high school ronin," fifteen year olds who don't go to school for a year, although it's rare. Japan has a problem with students who choose not to go to high school at all, the equivalent of a high-school dropout, although high school is optional here -- these people are called "chu-sotsu" in Japanese, which means "only graduated from junior high school." As Japan's population of children drops, many new pressures are being applied to Japan's unique education system, including decreased competition to get into popular schools.
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for fans of the super-cute Kubrick figures, we've got in more cute To-Fu Kubricks, characters whose heads are block of tofu
- Through an error, the Hamster Club blankets weren't posted on Wednesday -- sorry about that. We've posted these beautiful and very soft blankets for you today
- Also, we've gotten the new 2003 Hello Kitty large blankets, very colorful and incredibly soft, and in stock for you now
- For fans of Japanese candy and snacks, we've got new items in, including more tasty Gravel Choco, tasty Fujita chocolates that are sold only in winter, delicious pork ramen snacks, and more
- Also, one of our favorite items, delicious curry flavored Curl (but this is special "Lucky Curl" specially made to help you pass your college entrance exams
- Also, we've got a great Hamtaro plush bag filled with snacks, the very cute Ribbon-chan from the TV anime
- Look for cute sticker items, including glow in the dark stickers that you can use to label things in your home, as well as dynamite Hamster stickers and more
- We've got great items for your kitchen, including very stylish and easy-to-use wooden chopsticks, new Pop Animal cute items, fun dishes for kids to use, fresh stock of bento boxes and more
- For Godzilla fans, an extremely rare and cool item -- a rubber Godzilla base don the 1954 original, but with a Medicom Combat Joe figure inside, with dozens of points of articulation
- We love Hello Kitty and rare Sanrio items only sold in Japan, and have some nice items for you, including Kitty puffy stickers, a Kitty pencil sharpener that's really well designed, and more
- Finally, look for various new and restocked health and beauty items from Japan, including unique Japanese ear cleaners, more furikake and other Japanese food items, cute pencil cases with French on them, and more
For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products. They include:
- First, a truly dynamite item for Jun Kusanagi fans, a magazine/photobook devoted entirely to her, with all-new photos
- Also very cool, two extremely beautiful huge photobooks that capture lovely Japanese models in great photographs -- but these are all uncensored, and extremely, ahem, detailed
- For fans of high school uniforms, we've got fresh stock of the popular Pictorial Pocket Book series for you
- For fans of Japan's excellent hentai manga, we've got some great items in for you, including a new offering from Kazuki Kotobuki and several new erotic anthology comics, which compile the works of dozens of artists around a central theme
- Also, fresh stock of many popular titles, including Wholesome Hentai Girl and Jet Boss
- If you love erotic doujinshi, we've got the excellent Kinpatsu Ace Gold, an all-adult Mobile Suit Gundam hentai comic that's fantastically detailed
- Also, from the excellent "Androgynous only circle," enjoy the new Elixir CD-ROM, which wonderful erotic artwork graphics and Flash movies for you
- If you love DVD, we've got a bunch of great items in stock for you today, starting with Shy Super Cup, featuring three hours of the best AV performances of three AV queens including Nao Hirosue (region free)
- For fans of the old Immoral Angel video series, we've got a great compilation DVD with 180 super minutes of erotic AV for you (region free)
- We love the beautiful Ran Asakawa, one of the hottest adult video idols in Japan today, and you can see her in great new erotic DVD from Soft on Demand (region free)
- From SOD's IEnergy, explore the word of anal sex with eleven beautiful Japanese amateurs (region free)
- For fans of Akira Watase, we have her parody on Drunken Master 2, creating a new fetish for erotic, lewd women who are drunk off their asses (region 2)
- Look for another fabulous lesbian DVD from the famous U'K, a new exploration of tender, erotic lesbian love for you (region 2)
- Finally, look for fresh stock of many DVD items, including items included in our "buy 4 get 25% off" January Sale. Newly stocked are Bukkake Angel, Anna Ohura's lovely DVD, a great work by Mirai Hoshizaki, and more!
J-List carries two excellent region-free DVD players that allow you to watch DVDs from around the world, regardless of their region code. For those who want a great player with all the features you want, including region free playback and "VCR friendly" DVD viewing, we recommend the small-footprint OITO Technologies player, which is made of very high quality materials for years of satisfying DVD playback. For bargain hunters, we recommend the very solid Sampo DVE612, which supports very solid features at a great price (including "VCR friendly" viewing via a firmware hack). Both players are fully compatible with media like Video CD and SVCD, MP3 and audio discs, and more, and support both PAL and NTSC discs. We stock these great players in our San Diego office and ship daily for your ordering convenience.
At J-List, we're proud of the unique range of great products we sell. Remember that we offer price matching on certain items (photobooks, manga, doujinshi). If you see identical items sold on a Japan-based site that sells to customers outside of Japan, please let us know and we'll gladly match their price. See our "How to order" page for more info.