It's Halloween, today, a day for dressing up in scary costumes. The Japanese have a highly developed culture of "cosplay" (costume play), and you can always see thousands of people dressed up in cool anime costumes at the doujinshi event called the Comic Market, held twice a year at Tokyo Big Sight. Although Halloween is a very foreign concept to the Japanese, some of them get into the spirit by dressing up in costumes at discos in Roppingi. Although there's no trick-or-treating in Japan, my daughter's English conversation school held a Halloween party, and all the kids went to stores around the school to ask for treats. It was so cute.
It's Shichi-go-san in Japan (literally "7, 5, 3"), a special time when parents with daughters aged seven or three, and sons aged five, get dressed up and going out to the Shinto shrine to celebrate their childrens' safe passage through life so far. It's also a huge excuse to go to photo studios and get professional photos taken, which are treasured as family heirlooms. We're getting our official photos taken tomorrow, and Rina is excited about dressing up in a kimono again. (We did this four months ago, too, but that was sort of a practice run for the main event, which is today.) Our extended Japanese family will be coming over to congratulate us on our special day, including my wife's uncle who fought on the battleship Ise and has a scar across his face from an American bullet. There are many ceremonies for children in Japan, all Shinto in nature (Buddhism is generally reserved for death-related ceremonies like funerals). They include Omiya-mairi, going to a shrine 30 days (for girls) or 31 days (for boys) after birth, Okuizome, giving the child the first rice to eat 100 days after birth, and at the age of twenty, Seijin-shiki, the coming-of-age ceremony which marks entry into adulthood. You can see the 7-5-3 pictures we took four months ago here.
If you've ever done sightseeing in Japan, you might have been surprised to see what look like swastikas on Japanese maps. They're not swastikas at all -- the spikes are going to the right instead of to the left, and in Japan and Korea they denote the location of shrines. Still, they're kind of shocking when you see them suddenly without knowing what they are. Whenever you venture outside your home country, it's important to have an open mind in all things.
We've gotten in a huge volley of 2004 calendars, with many great items now in stock and available to order immediately. The calendars now in stock include the Studio Ghibli art calendar (always a popular item), Inu Yasha, Domo-kun, the cute Hanadeka Club calendars for dog and cat lovers, Spirited Away, Bluer Than Indigo, Megumi, Harumi Nemoto, and more. We've also posted interior digital pictures of many of the calendars, allowing you to see what some of the inside pages look like. We'll be making our final order for 2004 calendars next week or so, and after that, we'll be limited to whatever we have in stock. If you've got your eye on a cool Japanese calendar or three, get your order in soon!
Remember that J-List is a great place to find wild and wacky things from Japan for people on your Christmas lists. From anime calendars to unique toys to wacky T-shirts to something special for your significant other, J-List has that special something you can't get anywhere else. As the Holidays near, the mails get slower. If you're ordering products and want to make sure you get them before Christmas, we recommend you order soon, and consider Airmail or EMS.
Since it's Friday, we've got a really big update for you. Included are:
- First, for fans of cutting-edge Japanese illustrators, we've got a dynamite art book by Tsutomu Nihei, a famous Japanese artist who has done illustrations for American comics, including Matrix, X-Men, Hellboy and much more
- Also, enjoy a bold and beautiful anime based on Tsutomu Nihei's manga works, with some of the most innovative animation we've seen in a long time
- For Domo-kun fans, we've got the plush bat friends Shinobu and Morio, really cute toys made by Japan's NHK
- For manga fans, we've got Gamerz Heaven, a very popular comic running in Japan now
- Also: fresh stock of the popular Ghost in the Shell bilingual comic, which features a completely new and accurate translation of the original in English as well as the original Japanese
- Race Queen fans, enjoy the super cute photobook of Maiko Goto in her new hardcover photobook, which will delight fans of this lovely lady
- We've got some great new snack foods from Japan, including traditional Japanese Chitose Ame, delicious tonkatsu soup, restocked Coconut Pocky (my own favorite), and more
- Also, we've got Japanese money chocolate, delicious chocolate bars that look like Japanese money, and come with collectible money cards inside
- For fans of Japanese gum, we've got some tasty blueberry sugarless Recaldent gum for you too
- If you love Hello Kitty, we've got various cool items for you, including a fun Kitty wind-up toy that goes around your room
- Also, fresh stock of the popular Hello Kitty bento boxes and mini bento box, very cool for enthusiasts of Japanese boxed lunch
- For fans of the aesthetic beauty of kanji, we've got another cool wooden sign with a Japanese message on it
- We've also restocked the popular cute plush toys known as Groomy, which are super-cute dog and cat plush toys that feature soft leather chamois bottoms, allowing you to wipe your computer monitor clean
- Saiyuki is a very popular anime in Japan right now, and we've got limited stock of the very cool Saiyuki "trading figures" including full sets
- We've got a "magic toilet freshening sticker" for you, as well as fresh stock of the portable air fresheners that Japanese women carry around with them so that others can't smell the toilet after they're done using it
- For Macross fans, we've got the ultimate item: a kit of special armor that turns your standard Yamato 1/47 scale Battroid into a deluxe Super Valkyrie, with everything you need to deck your toy out
- If you like Studio Ghibli's works, enjoy fresh stock of the Totoro white board with cute magnets, as well as an excellent Princess Mononoke wind-up music
- And for fans of super cute things from Japan, we've got a deluxe set of Usako Friends (Usacolle) Shrinky Dinks -- make cute flying rabbits that shrink in the oven
- In San Diego, we've restocked the popular Hinoki Soft Wood Clay, clay that's made from wood and tree oils -- so light it floats!
- Then, enjoy many wacky things from Japan, including a miracle sponge that cleans without soap, a new wacky pencil case with funny English on it, and much more!
For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products. They include:
- First, we've got a great new game for you: G-Collections' newest release, Crescendo, a high-developed high-school love sim which is populated by many dynamic and interesting characters, and fantastic uncensored game art!
- For fans of Japan's top-quality adult video idols, we've got the new issue of Gokuh, featuring super sexy Japanese stars like Maria Takagi, Ryoko Mitake, the sultry Cocolo, F-Cup queen Ai Kurosawa, Mai Hagiwara, the delicious Aoi Sola and more
- Then enjoy the new issue of Yasashiku Shite Ne, or Be Gentle With Me, featuring real sex by real couples in love
- For fans of kogal eroticism, we have a special issue of Seningiri featuring stylish, slutty women from Russia, Switzerland, Germany and more
- For super fans of Miki Komori and her oh-so-flexible erotic photobook and DVD, we've got a brand new photobook featuring more erotic gymnastics by this dynamite lady
- Then, the busty Alice Ogura will blow your mind with her sexy first glossy photobook, featuring dynamite pictures of this amazing new face
- Look for freshly restocked photobooks, too, including popular works by Garo Aida, fresh stock of Mayu Koizumi's erotic photobook, the dynamite Top GT Race Queen photobook and more
- For fans of Japan's silky, sexy idols, be they in bikinis or in the nude, we've got a deluxe issue of Photo Shot for you, just filled with beautiful Japanese gals
- For hentai manga fans, enjoy some great new postings, including bondage themed manga, a happy Pleasure Parasite, and erotic cosplay
- Also, a great big restocking of hentai and yaoi manga, including What? - N?, Fairy Saver, Miku's Sexual Orgy Diary, the popular Muscle Man comics and more
- We've got a dynamite large manga and art book featuring the Pretty Cat's Showtime works of artist Tatuski Amaori, great for "cat girl" fetish fans
- For DVD collectors, enjoy a super third volume of Ai Nagase's Masterpiece Concentration, with 120 minutes of her best sex for a low price (region free)
- Enjoy a wide range of lesbian cosplay erotica with a new release from Dash, exploring lesbian costume play as mini-skirt police, nurse and patient, elevator girl, stewardess, and more (region free)
- Then, Senna Kurosaki struts her stuff in a new release from Dogma, featuring her delightful and carefree sex (region free)
- Then view the best of the Mydol Semen series from SOD's Chujitsudoh label, featuring the most erotic moments of this popular series (region free)
- Then, a real treat: Anna Ohura's debut in the Indies world, featuring some of her best-ever big breast sex (region 2)
- Finally, see various restocked DVDs, including new discs with free shipping (making them even easier to buy)!
Remember that J-List carries the famous Japanese gum Black Black, a caffine-laced gum that will wake up you and keep you awake. Black Black was recently written up in Wired magazine, complete with a link to J-List (thanks, guys!). And as with most of our gum and snack items, if you buy 10 or more you get a 15% discount at checkout.
The J-Mate site has been updated again, with an excellent three-part translation of an interview with Ran Monbu, the super-cute Japanese AV idol who was recruited in a cake shop (hence her stage name, which sounds like Mont Blanc, the famous French dessert). Enjoy reading reviews and interviews from Japan on our sister site, J-Mate! The URL is http://www.jmate.com/