Japan is currently in shock over the murder of four-year-old Shun Tanemoto by a twelve-year-old junior high school student. Shun-kun was taken from a shopping district in Nakasaki, where he was shopping with his parents, by the boy, who later pushed him off a four story parking garage. A security camera happened to catch the two walking, and so police were able to locate the person who had committed the terrible crime. In general, Japan is a kinder, gentler nation than some other countries, and murders are rare here (1,218, compared with 19,645 in the U.S., for one recent year). Still, the Japanese do seem to have more than their share of incredibly tragic and puzzling crimes, including ones committed by or against children. In Japan, as in the U.K., it's illegal for the media to show the face or report the name of any minor charged with a crime, so the boy who committed the act is referred to as "shonen A" (boy A).
Something to note about Japanese people: they tend to keep any land they own and never let it go. In Japan, a country with 1/25 the area yet just half the population of the U.S., land is extremely valuable, and anyone who has land usually holds on to it for dear life. Because of this, I've found communities in Japan tend to be a mixture of high and low incomes, new and old houses. It's very different from the U.S., where property flows more freely and communities tend to coalesce together according to income level. There are really two kinds of land in Japan, land that's zoned for residential and commercial use, and land that, for some odd reason, is designated as agricultural land for all eternity, world without end. You can't build on such land, thus it has almost no value to anyone except farmers. We own some land that's zoned for agricultural use, and we rent it out for free to the local preschool since we have no other use for it -- every couple of weeks a hundred preschool children descend on J-List and tend to their crop of sweet potatoes.
It's very hard to get along in Japan without learning some Japanese. Contrary to what you may think about living in a foreign country, it is very difficult to pick up a language automatically, and even if you are living in Japan, constant effort to learn the language is required. One of the best ways to learn Japanese, I've found is to set a goal and work towards it all year long. The Japanese have given us a perfect such goal in the Japanese Ability Test (Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken), a test given each December which is a standardized way to find your Japanese level. There are four levels to the test, starting with level 4 (hiragana, katakana and about 100 kanji), and going all the way up to level 1 (which is required for foreigners who wish to enter a Japanese university). You can take the test at various cities around Japan, and also around the world. For more information on where you can take the test in your country, see this page: http://momo.jpf.go.jp/hiroba/contents/main-e.html . Incidentally, I've made some information and general advice on what is involved in learning Japanese on my personal homepage, at http://www.peterpayne.net/ in case it's useful to anyone.
For the pre-weekend update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for fans of Naruto, the anime show that's very popular in Japan and the U.S., we're happy to have full sets of the Narudo DX Mini Figure Set, detailed pre-painted toys that come with ramune candy inside
- J-List carries interesting sandals and shoes from Japan, but the popularity of our products had a downside: we had sold out of almost everything we had. However, we've got fresh stock of popular zori and seta ("tatami shoes"), for men, gals and even children
- For fans of Japan's beautiful Race Queens, who promote Formula One racing in Japan, we've got a great new issue of Gal's Paradise
- Groomy is a line of plush animals from famous Japanse computer peripheral maker Elecom, with soft chamois bottoms that you can clean your computer monitor with -- see two new pets for cat lovers today!
- We love cool things from Japan, even if they're not always so well known around the world -- one such item is the Tomika Complete Catalog, which features hundreds of the cool die-cast cars put out by Tomy
- Also very cool, a special issue of Bean's, a photo magazine for collectors of rare toys like Blythe
- For Japanese food and snack lovers, many new items, including onigiri seasoning, a frozen chocolate that you can make, and for kids, tasty cream stew from House (tastes really good on rice)
- Also, a brand new flavor of chocolate,filled fish-shaped cookie, Pucca: black sesame seed and chocolate, a unique and delicious taste from Japan!
- For Pocky fans, we've posted the last of this summer's Pocky to the site -- since it melts in the hot months in Japan, we don't stock it in the summer, so get it while it's available!
- For collectors of Hello Kitty, a cute backpack that's very large and handy for carrying your life with you
- For robot fans, two totally cool toy robots that really walk
- We love Domo-kun, the cute spokesmonster for NHK's broadcast sattelite network, but most of the Domo-kun products have become very rare and hard to find in Japan -- hwoever, we've got a dynamite new item for you, a Domo-kun plush that dances!
- If you or your little ones are not confident eating with chopsticks yet, try the "learning chopsticks" we've got in stock for you, super easy to hold and use
- For fans of cute things with funny English on them, we've got a nice large pencil case (which can be used for many different purposes)
- We carry many unique Totoro and Studio Ghibli items from Japan, and we've restocked one of our favorite: a giant deluxe Totoro cockoo clock that would be an incredible addition to your home
- Also, many other restocked Hello Kitty Ghibli items, including the Totoro knapsack and Ghibli plush keychains, Kitty and Shinkansen Pachinko toys (really fun!), Kitty electronic darts set, and the cute Kitty angel that flies around your room!
- We love to sell wacky items from Japan, and have fresh stock of many popular products, including the yakuza tattoo shirt, toilet paper that helps you go to the bathroom, and the "I will pass the test" Japanese headband
- For those interested in staying cool and refreshed this summer, we've restocked the extra large packages of mugi cha (barley tea), the most popular drink in Japan in the hot summer months
- Finally, find some cool items from Japan, including sake cups, more maps of Japan, a great way to measure rice when cooking, authentic chopsticks from Japan, and more!
For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products. They include:
- First, we've got the new issue of Celeb Girls, one of my favorite magazines -- just like the title promises, you get dozens of top-name girls like Yoko Matsugane and and Sayaka Uchida and An Nanba, photographed by top photographers
- Then for fans of that famous Japanese fetish, hitozuma (married women), we've got a a great new issue of Beautiful Wife Hacker
- Kiraki Koizumi stars in a super cute photo magazine featuring delightful sailor uniform, lingerie and other erotic costumes for your enjoyment
- Then enjoy the delightful Kaoru Sakurako, who poses in many erotic costumes of the world for you
- For fans of Japan's highly developed bondage photography, enjoy a new gouka-bon format photobook of fabulously beautiful women, bound and helpless
- We've also got several restocked photobook items, including Jun Kusanagi's erotic photo magazine, new stock of the Kaoru Private Collection series by Aida Garo, Tokyo Erect Girl, Yuko Ogura's photobooks, and more
- For manga lovers, enjoy a new selection of new hentai manga for you, including the incredibly erotic Touch the Swelling by artist Mew and Makoto Niwani's super erotic Sexual Package
- Also, another large update of popular manga volumes that had sold out, including Flesh Bride, Bomber Girl Crush 1 & 2, and Female Teacher Rieka
- For hentai fans in general, see great stock of Satoshi Urushihara's Love art book as well as the great Perfect Data Art Book for the upcoming Brave Soul!
- The Sanrio condoms we added on Wednesday sold out in record time -- we're restocking the Monchichi condoms now, but we've got a new variety in stock, condoms of Kamonosuke, the cute duck from Sanrio
- For fans of our extensive line of adult DVDs from Japan, check out many new offerings, starting with Bunko Kanazawa and Uta Komori in Bondage Venus, a great collection of bondage and S&M themed sex (region free)
- Then, the lovely Sonan debutes as an AV actress, starring in her first hardcore sex exactly at midnight on her 18th birthday in a great new release from Deep's (region free)
- Then from SOD, an exploration of the fetish of touching a woman on a train, with girls who secretly want to have this experiencing allowing themselves to be groped and touched inside the Magic Mirror Bus (region free)
- From Moodyz, enjoy the superb sex of Nanba An (aka Namba Ann), an elegant AV star who fucks up a storm in her "Project of Sexual Reconstruction" (region 2)
- Then, see the "secret lesbian love trip of four girlsm," starrnig four top AV stars including Rina Usui (a personal favorite of mine) -- 2 DVDs! (region 2)
- Finally see fresh stock of the Restrive Chair Trance DVDs from Dogma, Ruri Anno's "neba neba" special, the very popular Mourning Dress Sisters w/ Kurumi Morishita and Sayaka Tsutsumi, Akira Watase's Beautiful Lewd Woman Kiss & Sex, and more!
Remember that J-List carries the excellent computer mice from Hajime Katoki (the leading mecha designer for the Gundam universe) and Shirow Masamune (the current God of Manga in Japan, creator of Ghost in the Shell and he Intron Depot). They work right out of the box with Windows and Mac OS X, and are fabulous to hold in your hand. We highly recommend these cool devices from Japan!
Also, the top 5 lists have been updated for the past week, so you can click and easily see which items in each category at J-List have been selling well, and call them up easily.
The J-Mate website has been updated again, with new reviews of cool products we sell at J-List. Be sure to read the interviews, translated into English, with Japan's top AV stars! The URL is http://www.jmate.com/
You've got a friend in Japan at J-List.