I took an hour off work today to attend my daughter's "sankanbi," parent's day at school, when mothers and father come to see their kids in class (although I was the only father there). I've always been impressed with how much attention Japanese give to the education of their children, and many Japanese take a very active interest in what their children are learning. But education in Japan is very different from the U.S. First of all, Japan has chosen to standardize nearly all aspects of education on a national level, so that all aspects of learning, from textbooks to desks to how classes are structured, is decided by Japan's national Ministry of Education. School is quite strict in Japan, and there's only one "right" way for kids to do anything -- my daughter got in trouble for calling her older brother by his name (Kazuki) instead of using the word "oniichan" (Japanese for older brother), like all the other kids.
Japan's school system is undergoing many changes. Some of the changes are good -- for example, public schools recently ended the practice of holding classes on the first and third Saturdays of the month, to allow children to spend more time with their family. However, other changes bode ill for Japan's future. In postwar Japan, one of the pillars of society was that success could be achieved by excelling at academic competition, and the image of diligent students working hard to get the coveted top spot in the class rankings or to pass the difficult university entrance exams is a good one. However, public schools are no longer allowed to rank students by performance, and the old "hensachi" system, which was a numeric value assigned to all schools based on students test scores, has been outlawed. Also, despite the shrinking number of students and large number of universities operating at a loss now, a total of twelve new public, prefectural and private universities are coming on-line in Japan next spring, with more on the way. All of this means that, as Japan's population of students continues to shrink, it will be easier for students to get into the school of their choice without studying, which will mean even a degree from one of Japan's top schools may be meaningless in the future. This is why I'm planning to send my kids to school in the U.S.
If you've paid attention while watching Japanese anime or JAV, you've probably picked up on the word "ne." This is an interesting Japanese grammatical particle that usually goes on the ends of sentences and serves several purposes, mostly related to asking for confirmation of information or agreement with an opinion. Here are two examples:
"Aisu kohii futatsu desu ne?" You'd like two glasses of ice coffee, is that right?
"Kyou wa atsui desu ne." It's hot today, isn't it?
Other functions of the all-purpose Japanese particle "ne" include softening a sentence so its meaning it less harsh ("Chotto furotimashita ne." You've gained a little weight, haven't you?); emphasizing what you want to say ("Kondo chanto kiite kudasai, ne." Please listen closely next time, alright?); working as a pause in sentences, like "um" in English; and to get the attention of the listener before saying something. Girls use "ne" more often than men and with a higher intonation, so males should use the word with caution lest they appear effeminate.
We're happy to report that poor Daisuke, who injured his knee and had to spend a month in the hospital, is back at work and is doing very well. He's still going to "rihabiri" (rehabilitation) several times a week, but it's great to have him back.
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for fans of Japan's excellent miniature toys, called "candy toys" since they usually come with candy inside, we have super detailed replicas of booths at Japanese festivals, with full sets available
- For Hello Kitty fans, a fun to play "Hello Kitty Yo-Yo Fishing Game" that you play just like you do at Japanese festivals
- For anime fans, we have super action figures from Dragonball Z, designed for the Japanese market by Bandai
- Then enjoy some really cool items: Japanese traditional taiko drums that really work -- they look and sound great
- We've got more wacky Japanese signs for your room, made of real pine
- For fans of traditional Japanese food, we've got cool noodle trays and two different bowls for miso soup, very nice
- We've got some great Japanese snack treats for you, including delicious almond Fran chocolate and almond sticks, Oreo Choco Sticks that you will love, and traditional rice crackers that are a favorite around here at J-List (Brent and I eat them every day)
- Also, great new miso soup with baked shiitake mushrooms inside, yum!
- Restocked snack foods include Kabaya Tiramisu Pocky-like snacks, Hi-Chew tangerine, coconut Pocky, more wacky "Kiss Mint Gum" and more
- For fans of our unique only-sold-in-Japan toy items, we've gotten a bunch of new stock in for you, starting with a major update of our super detailed miniature food items -- look for fresh stock of all items, including miniature Japanese food, family restaurant food, Chinese food from Yokohama's Chinatown, "train station bento" miniatures and more
- Also, we've restocked the cool Japan Hot Wheels Mach 5, a super collectible item for Speed Race fans (like me)
- We've also added fresh stock of all the popular Groomy plush toys from Elecom, which feature soft chamois bottoms that you can use to keep your computer monitor clean
- Also great for anyone with a computer, we've fresh stock of the cute Massage Rabbit and Soft Squeeze Rabbit, which are great for relieving stress
- Finally, for those studying Japanese, we've added stock of all our popular Canon Wordtanks electronic study aids, which are *the* way to effectively study Japanese.
For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products. They include:
- For fans of erotic magazines from Japan, we've got the great new issue of Deka Melon (Big Melon), featuring hardcore Race Queen that you'll love
- We've also got the new issue of Aishite Ageru, e.g. I'll Love You, featuring great amateurs in love hotels
- For Japanese photobook fans, we've got some great items, including a delightful photobook by Yuka Hirata, the delightful swimsuit photos of Mariko Okubo, and more
- Also, fresh stock of some really rare and cool photobooks, which won't be available again -- great items for Yuko Ogura and Yinling fans!
- We have some great erotic hentai manga for you, including the delightful Compensation of Ai by Do Comics, a 2 volume set of the Bad Slayers series by Hit Comics, and EX Comics excellent Milky Onsen
- Also, we've got some restocked manga for you including Keep On Puru-Run My Sweet Baby, and more!
- For G-Taste fans, we've gotten in the very nice 2004 calendars for this year, but we only have three and no more will be available
- For our DVD customers, we've got some really fabulous items for you, starting with 4 hours of the very best sex of Saori Kamiya, a delightfully erotic AV star on the Million label (region free)
- Then enjoy more top-quality leg fetish action from Japan, with Tights Variation, everything you ever wanted to know about long-legged Japanese women in erotic stockings and tights (region free)
- TMA brings you a whopping 10 hours of top adult video action, with cosplay and more by Japan's top adult stars (region free)
- Nampa is the act of men picking up girls on the street -- now see "reverse nampa" in which lesbians pick up Japanese kogals in Tokyo's Shibuya region and ask them to try their hand at lesbian kissing (region free)
- Also for "reverse nampa" fans, see the erotic sex of girls who pick up guys and have sex with them, brought you by SOD's famous female adult video director Chie Sugawara (region free)
- Then, we've got a new Actress Restraint Maniac series DVD featuring fun bondage play by Azusa Kyouno, a delightful and erotic adult video star
- Finally, we've got fresh stock of popular erotic DVDs from Japan, including Sayaka Tsutsumi's Masterpiece Concentration, Ami Ayu's 4-hour MAX file, erotic Gymnastics Girls, Eighteen Pleasure, and more!
Remember that J-List is having a big $1 shipping sale on all English-translated dating-sim games, interactive story-based PC games in which the story is to make beautiful anime girls fall in love with you. A unique slice of pop culture for adults from Japan, we've worked hard to bring these great games to our customers since they first appeared back in 1996. Coupled with our 20% discount for buying 4 or more titles, this makes it a great time to complete your bishoujo game collection!