The Japanese often take English words and change their meanings to fit their own needs, usually reducing complex concepts into simpler, more expressive words. An air-conditioner is a "cooler" and a hair dryer a "dryer," two very reasonable words that could nevertheless cause confusion if English speakers heard them. Phillips and regular screwdrivers are "plus" and "minus" (very logical), and a man guarding the bank is a "guardman." Once my Japanese wife asked my grandmother if she had a "health meter" in her house -- we figured out later that she was talking about a bathroom scale. If you frequent the same bar often, you can get a "bottle keep" (the bartender will write your name on the bottle and keep it for you). A doctor forbidding some activity for medical reasons is called "doctor stop," and if you decide to have a vasectomy done, ask for a "pipe cut." The Japanese have created many abbreviated words, too, including BS ("broadcast satellite," Japan's satellite TV network), SA (service area, a rest area off the freeway), OL (office lady, i.e. a female office worker), NG (the opposite of OK), and CM (a TV commercial). Words are alive, of course, and their meanings are changing constantly. I do love the unique spin the Japanese give to English.
One concept that enters into Japanese social interactions a lot is "enryo" (EN-ryoh), which means to exercise restraint or to defer to others. Basically, if a group of Japanese is eating pizza, it will take some time for one of the members to get around to taking the last slice, because of the tendency for each individual to defer to the others in the group -- until everyone is deferring to everyone else, and the pizza is getting cold. The concept of enryo rears its head when trying to make a decision among a group, too. Say a large group of people is trying to decide on a restaurant to go to. Each person will put out some feelers, trying to nudge the collective opinion of the group in one direction or another. If even one person in the group is inconvenienced by the group's decision (say, everyone wants to go for Indian food except one person, who wants Italian instead), the group will go back to the drawing board until they come up with an option that everyone can agree to. There's another kind of enryo which you learn about if you get married in Japan: "marriage enryo." As soon as you tie the knot with someone, most single friends will stop calling you up, because they don't want to intrude on your new happy home.
Summer is here, and Japan is really starting to heat up. Japan's summers are very hot and humid, but despite the uncomfortable heat I do like the season -- the fun things like summer festivals and fireworks, seeing people walking around in yukata (colorful cotton kimonos), eating Lotte's delicious Suica Bar (ice cream that looks like a slice of watermelon, complete with chocolate "seeds"). The most popular drink in Japan during the hot months is mugi cha, or barley tea, a tasty tea that's served iced, without any sugar in it. We've gotten in stock of mugi tea bags, with 52 cold-water tea bags per package, and we hope you'll try some! Remember that several of the chocolate products we sell, such as Pocky, will be temporarily discontinued until October or so -- if you'd like to pick some of these items up, now is the time!
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for Star Wars fans, we've got a really cool item sold only in Japan: a series of dynamite "real mask magnets" featuring extremely detailed masks of Star Wars characters from the original three movies -- full sets in stock!
- Also, we've got a great series of G-Taste sexy figures that you can display anywhere, with full sets also available
- For fans of Japanese cars, we've got the new Tomica die-cast Daihatsu Copen, a charming car made in European style
- Also, a dynamite offering: an all die-cast replica of the Delorean from Back to the Future Part I, complete with opening doors, lightning rod and "OUTATIME" license plate
- Do you like ramen noodles? We've got a great "gashapon" (capsule toy) series featuring replicas of famous ramen from around Japan, in stock!
- Fans of Japan's lovely swimsuit idols, we've got Miki Fujimoto's newest photobook in stock, with the painfully cute title "Mikitty"
- For fans of our snack items, enjoy a cool new snack pack of delicious foods hand-picked by our staff, as well as several traditional rice cracker treats
- Restocked snack items include delicious gummi candies like Qun, super tart Shigekix that are fun to eat, and traditional healthy Asian teas that will help you lose weight
- Also, various restocked gum items, including Black Black caffeine gum and candy, Felix the Cat strawberry gum, various types of miso soup and furikake, and a favorite of mine, Bulldog tonkatsu sauce, great for any type of food
- Also, we've gotten in stock of the large-size mugi (barley) tea, with a whopping 52 cold water teabags for a great price
- Do you like golf? We've got some interesting plaques that show you the history of the sport from its humble beginnings
- Next, a handy item from Japan: a "cutting notebook" that you can pull sections out of easily when leaving notes -- comes complete with funny English on the front
- Then we've got more wacky Japanese erasers, parodying famous Japanese snacks, drinks and other foods
- For fans of the beautiful Japanese Girl Collection Nagomi series, featuring traditional girls in kimonos, we've got new items: handy trash containers for your desk
- For fans of Hidamari no Tami (Sunshine People), the very popular Japanese toys that rock their heads back and forth and are solar powered, we've restocked all varieties -- check them out!
- Also, we've gotten in new Totoro and Ghibli related items, including the cute Kodama music box and several Totoro keychains
- Fans of Groomy, we've restocked the most popular type, the Welsh Corgi, with a soft leather bottom that will clean any surface for you
- Interested in studying hiragana and learning about rural Japan? We've gotten more stock of Jomo Karuta, a traditional learning game from Gunma Prefecture, where we live
- A great item for summer, we've restocked the popular wooden geta shoes
- We've restocked several art books including the Ghost in the Shell Innocence Roman Album (which has been invited to competed at the Palme D'or at the Cannes Film Festival)
- Finally, look for freshly stocked items for your kitchen, more FX Neo minty eyedrops from Japan, and some of the last Pocky we'll be getting in before the summer -- enjoy!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. The new items include:
- First of all, we've got the great new issue of Urecco in stock for you, featuring dozens of Japan's most beautiful women
- Also, we've got the first issue of Naisho ("Secret"), a new book for hitozuma (married woman) fans
- If you love Nao Oikawa, one of the top names in the JAV world, we've got a great new photomagazine for you that you'll love
- For photobook fans, we've got a great glossy photobook featuring the "Koi suru oppai" of Kasumi Misato, a 100% Japanese beauty
- Then enjoy the lovely body of female pro wrestler Mizuho Ishikawa in her first photobook release
- Next up, enter the world of "cabaret girls" in After, a magazine introducing the super-elegant Japanese hostesses at Tokyo's top-name drinking establishments, complete with their phone numbers
- Also, we've got a great pocket photobook capturing the loveliness of Megumi, the famous sexy idol affiliated with the Yellow Cab modeling agency
- For H manga fans, we've got some superb items for you, starting with Shining Musume vol 3 by Shiwasu no Okina; a great reissue of Lovely Pressure Point; a collection of realistic erotic stories by Hebisaku Yoshida; and the excellent Charm ni Koi Shite
- Look for various restocked items too, including Past Princess, Equation of the Immoral, Girls Who Love Nakadashi, and more
- For DVD collectors, we've got some great items for you, including the nest Wonderful Campaign Girl release, featuring real Campaign Girls (similar to Race Queens) debuting as JAV idols (region free)
- Then enjoy a great dual performance with Kurumi Morishita and Fuka Sakurai as the two explore a cornucopia of bold new ways to play (region free)
- From Deep's, enjoy "nampa" (picking up girls on the street) in Tokyo and Osaka, with lots of fun toys (region free)
- Then get up close and personal with beautiful Tokyo girls as they show you their pretty lingerie and solo play (region free)
- From Wanz Factory, a stylish and elegant new performance from Ran Monbu, the girl whose name sounds like the French dessert Mont Blanc when said in Japanese name order (region 2)
- Then from Waap Entertainment, a superb leg, stocking and leather boot offering performed by Rion Morishita, with lots of delicious camera angles for you to enjoy (region 2)
- Finally, we've got a bunch of great restocked DVD titles for you, including Kyoko Ayana's great releases, the Palm of Hitomi Hayasaka, more Race Queen fun by M's Video Group, and more!
I've updated the J-List updates archive at my personal homepage, http://www.peterpayne.net . If you'd like to read past updates, browse my advice for anyone wanting to learn Japanese, explore teaching English as a second language in Japan, or see some of my other collected articles, please stop by!
Interested in the hit Japanese mannequin drama OH! Mikey? This is a deliciously bizarre parody of an American family living in Tokyo, with fashion mannequins playing all the parts of the story. In addition to the cute antics of young Mikey, there is the oh-so-dapper father James, his wife Barbara, the playful Tony and Charles, Mikey's venomous cousin Laura, and more. All four DVDs in the OH! Mikey series are subtitled in English, so you can enjoy this most excellent and wacky example of Japanese television even if you don't understand Japanese. (The DVDs are region 2, so we humbly recommend the region free DVD players we stock to view.)