It's official: as of 2003, there are more drivers on Japanese roads aged 65 or older than young drivers aged 18-24, with the oldest licensed driver in Japan a hale 104. The aging of Japan continues, brought on by one of the lowest birthrates of any industrialized country (1.33 babies born per female) and the lack of immigration. As the population gets older, companies are moving to create products and services for them. It seems every third TV commercial on daytime television is for companies selling products for older Japanese, including ways to remodel your house and make it "barrier free," a term the Japanese have coined meaning a living space that's free of stairs and other obstacles that make it hard to live. Diapers for adults are also advertised openly on TV. Insurance companies like Zurich and AFLAC have found a profitable business in Japan, selling supplemental insurance to elderly Japanese who worry about being hospitalized and not having enough insurance to cover the costs.
Written Japanese can be quite confusing. In general, kanji characters in Japanese have two readings, a Japanese reading and a Chinese one (there are many exceptions to this rule). Because there are two ways to pronounce most characters, there is often confusion about which pronunciation is "official" in a given situation. The character for mountain is read with the Japanese reading of "yama," but paired with the names of mountains, you usually use the Chinese reading of "san": hence, the name of Mt. Fuji in Japanese should be Fuji-san and not Fuji-yama. However, there are parts of Japan that do use Fuji-yama for the official name, for no reason that I can fathom other than regional dialect differences. Similarly, our favorite soba restaurant is a local place called Soba-gura (literally "soba warehouse"). But the character for warehouse can also be read "zo," and to this day I'm not really sure if the restaurant I've been going to for years is called Soba-gura of Soba-zo.
Japan is a great place, far ahead of the rest of the world in such important cultural areas as cellular phones, stylish refrigerators with doors that open either from the left or the right, toilet seats that wash your butt (and dry it), and wonderful massage chairs that bathe you in negative ions as you get massaged. But there are some areas where Japan lags behind the rest of the world. Japanese clothes dryers all lack vents leading to the outside of your house, creating unpleasant humidity while your clothes are being dried. Japan has many choices for good ethnic eating, but Mexican isn't something the Japanese ever developed a taste for -- no chips or salsa here. Bagels are also an alien thing to the Japanese, and are very hard to find. And Japanese peanut butter is, well, so over-sweetened that no American could be happy eating it. So I make sure to bring back a couple jars of Peter Pan every time I go back to the States.
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for fans of unique Japanese toys you can't find outside of Japan, we've got a series of Japanese Zero fighters, a great replica series by Doyusha
- Hello Kitty fans, we have a cool CD case that you will flip over, sold only in Japan
- We have unique snack items for you today, including Morinaga Bake (baked chocolate snacks), more Petite Snack tube treats, and candy featuring the famous (in Japan) Nova Bunny, from Nova's English conversation school commercials
- Also, we have more delicious Pocky snacks with traditional flavors from Kyoto -- the newest flavor is yomogi, a delicious taste from old Japan
- We've also restocked several candy and snack items, including Strawberry Kit Kat and the
- J-List lives to bring cool things from Japan to you all -- one such item is the Morino Ichigo figure from Please Teacher, a beautiful soft vinyl anime statue with base that looks great
- Morning Musume's Natsube Abe (AH-beh) is one of the most popular members of the popular group - see her fabulous new photobook which captures amazing Japanese imagery along with the beauty of this delightful idol
- Also look for various restocked photobooks, including popular swimsuit idols like Yuko Ogura, Moe Yoshizawa and Yoko Matsugane
- Also, for fans of our dynamite custom-made high school uniforms, hand-crafted to your size specifications by Matsukameya of Nagoya, we've gotten in stock of the leather Japanese school bag and the 70 cm authentic loose socks
- Inuyasha fans, we've got a great new trading card series by Cardass in stock for you
- Fans of Zeta Gundam (my personal favorite), we have soft vinyl keychains of the Qubeley and Psycho Gundam, with Hamaan Kahn and Four -- so cool!
- Then enjoy the delightful sexy photos of Kasumi Nakane, in a great new photobook for all fans of beautiful women
- We have more wacky signs from Japan, including authentic "emergency exit" signs and other wacky things for your room
- We have more wacky Japanese chopsticks in stylish colors for your home
- For fans of Japan's wacky parody erasers, we've got cute erasers in the shapes of boxes of tissues and toilet paper
- We've gotten our hands on more sets of the Spirit of Wonder full set + rare figure toys, for collectors who want to get this really nice
- The popular Tomica Prius die-cast car replica has been restocked, for anyone who wants to own a mini version of this popular car
- Finally, look for Japanese hot spring bath powder, fresh stock of our popular miniature Japanese food, restocked items for your kitchen, and more!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. The new items include:
- For fans of 18+ magazines, we have the elegant new Urecco, a great issue that's filled with incredibly beautiful stars for you to check out
- Also, several new magazines featuring real Tokyo girls in authentic love hotels
- Photobook fans, we've got another great photobook with Sola Aoi, aka Sora Aoi, a fabulous new hardcover offering for the stylish photography what we've come to call "Japanese girls in Underoos"
- We've restocked several of the Encyclopedia of High School Girls Uniform photobooks, who those who love the aesthetic look of Japan's uniforms, or who want to recreate them for cosplay
- Also, look for other restocked photobook items, including books by Mayu Koizumi, Moe Yoshizawa and Sola Aoi
- For 18+ manga fans and collectors, we've got some great new books for you, including Mellow by MD Comics, a collection of manga works by popular female manga artists, and a new installment of the popular Please Older Sister series
- Yaoi fans, we have a new issue of the popular Muscle Men, along with freshly restocked yaoi comics for you
- We've got another volley of great doujinshi, including an ultra-thick uber-doujinshi/manga with 250+ pages of fantastic art
- DVD fans, we've got some great items for you, starting with a collection of outdoor naughtiness in the streets, subways and parks of Tokyo (region free)
- Then enjoy a superb new release by one of our favorite JAV stars, Kyoko Ayana, so bright and happy and soft like a cloud (region free)
- Izumi Hasegawa is a dynamite JAV star, performing for the first time in indies works -- see her excellent debut work by Soft on Demand (region free)
- Then from the creators of Deep Kiss, we have a great new release, Massaging Breasts for the First Time, in which beautiful women get a great massage on camera (region free)
- For fans of Bunko Kanazawa, one of the most popular JAV idols of the past decade, we have a new "For the Best Onanie of You" release, complete with a latex toy made from a cast of Bunko's body (region 2)
- Finally, we've got a large number of restocked DVD titles, including the smash-hit adult debut of Mai Hagiwara, Kyoko Ayana's delightful onanie assistance, more popular "CFNM" teasing fun, and fresh stock of the Best 4 Hours of the Dream Woman series.
Remember that J-List carries dozens of super cool "candy toy" (miniature toys that usually come with candy inside, called "shokugan" in Japanese) items from Japan, including miniature Japanese food items that are replicas of the wax food used to show customers what meals look like in restaurants before they buy. Although these are sold in random boxes, J-List goes the extra mile for you by creating full sets of these great toys for you to buy, without wasting your money on duplicates. All the popular food replicas by Rement are currently out of production, so our current stock of great items such as Family Restaurant and Japanese Desserts and the super cool miniature Japanese supermarket items (complete with shopping basket and receipt) will be all we'll be getting in!