Hello again from all of us at J-List.
Well, I'm off on another adventure in the U.S. The Japanese school year ends in March in Japan, and we're taking advantage of the break to have a little vacation in America. We'll be leaving the kids with their grandmother and taking some time for ourselves: it's our 10 year wedding anniversary, so we're going on a cruise to Mexico. While we're gone, the competent J-List staff will make sure everything goes smoothly in our absence. We hope we can serve you!
There's no doubt about it -- the Japanese really love their tea. While in a 7-11 recently, I counted no less than two dozen brands of bottled or canned tea for sale, mostly variations on Japanese green tea and Chinese oolong tea. In addition to the normal Western canned tea like Kirin's Afternoon Tea, which are the only teas with sugar added, many brands competed for shelf space, including Kirin's Nama-cha (lit. "fresh tea"), Sapporo's Kyo-ryoku-cha (Kyoto-style green tea), Asahi's Marocha ("mild tea"), the popular Soukenbi-cha blended tea by Coca-cola, and various blends of jasmine tea. The latest fashion in bottled tea are healthy teas like Healthia, which contains beneficial bacteria and flavonoids that reduce blood sugar. As the market for bottled tea products heats up, manufacturers come up with ways to get you to buy their products, offering larger or smaller packages, keychains that you get free with the bottle of tea, or TV commercials with top stars like actress Nanako Matsushima. Unlike the U.S., where adding sweetener to products is a requirement in most cases, all Asian teas are completely unsweetened, and the unaltered, slightly bitter taste is really delicious. As summer draws near, we'll offer an old favorite at J-List: cold-water tea bags to make delicious Japanese mugi-cha, barley tea, a popular drink in the hot months.
One of the entries on the "You've been in Japan too long when..." list on my personal homepage is, "You've been in Japan too long when you have a favorite bush to pee behind." For some strange reason, Japanese men have a great tendency to urinate out of doors. When taking a drive somewhere, it's not at all uncommon to see an older Japanese man peeing by the side of the road, and while walking to J-List from my house, all of 300 feet away, I often run into one of our neighbors going into a ditch. The word for peeing outside is "tachi-shon" (standing-peeing). Tokyo people say that city-dwellers don't relieve themselves in this way, only people living in the "inaka" (the boondocks) do, but I've seen it done in Tokyo and Yokohama, so I have my doubts. The problem is so bad that you can actually see signs posted here and there proclaiming "It is forbidden to urinate here" (shouben kinshi). It was so wacky that we made a J-List T-shirt of this bizarre sign for you to wear.
For the new update, we've got a great new volley of new products for you, with everything from new snacks to photobooks to magazines to anime items and toys. Please check out all the great new items!
Remember that J-List sells delicious chewing gum from Japan, with many uniquely Japanese varieties available -- Black Black spicy caffeine gum (a cult favorite all around the world, written up in Wired), Lotte's Ume (plum) flavored gum, Sweetie (grapefruit), and the delicious thirst-quenching Dakara (very similar in taste to Pocari Sweat). Remember, if you buy 10 or more packs of Japanese gum, you get a 15% discount, too.