I went to Tokyo yesterday on business, taking the fast Shinkansen, or bullet train, making 100 km trip in a 40 minutes instead of the 2 hours it would take using the slow local train. I do love racing through Japan in the belly of a Shinkansen, with rice fields and electric poles shooting by my window. Young boys in Japan always go through a "train phase," when they decide they love trains more than anything else, and when my son was small I watched hours of Shinkansen videos with him, learning all the names of the famous Japanese trains in the process. One of basic Shinkansen types is the Kodama ("tree spirit"), which goes between Tokyo and Osaka on the Tokaido line -- the faster versions of this train are the Hikari ("light"), and the ultra-fast Nozomi ("hope"). The green and white trains that run between Tokyo and Niigata Prefecture, where we are, are the Yamabiko ("mountain echo"). In Northern Japan you can find the only Shinkansen that runs on normal train tracks -- this is the Tsubasa, and when it docks with other trains it looks like they're kissing (or so my son thought). Our favorite bullet train of all is the double-decker MAX, which stands for "multi amenity express" in case you were wondering. For some cool pictures of Shinkansen trains, here's a link: http://www.h2.dion.ne.jp/~dajf/byunbyun/gallery.htm
Sometimes I feel sorry for the Japanese, struggling to learn English so they can communicate with the rest of the world. Because Japanese is organized phonetically into a syllabic system, e.g. ka ki ku ke ko, sa, shi, su, se, so, and so on, the nuances of English are extra hard for Japanese learners. English is loaded with difficult sounds like "f," "v," "th," and an exaggerated "r" sound, which seem custom made to cause problems for Japanese students of English. R/L is another source of problems -- the English words "crush" "clash" and "crash" would have the exact same pronunciation in katakana, the writing system used for expressing English words, and extra hard-to-pronounce words like "election." Near J-List there used to be a Texas BBQ-style restaurant called RONE STAR, with a giant sign proclaiming the restaurant's name. Unfortunately they got caught up in the general economic malaise in Japan and went out of business.
There are many ways a person can go about learning a language, and I do my best at giving a birds-eye view of the Japanese language as well as some advice I have found useful on my personal homepage (http://www.peterpayne.net/). One method I found helpful when memorizing Japanese was to make "cognitive hooks" that would help me to remember what the words meant. When memorizing the character for "tomaru" (to stop), it's useful to imagine a police man putting his hand out, telling you to stop. (You can see the character I'm talking about here: http://www.jlist.com/c2/tomaru.jpg). The grammatical particle that corresponds to "to" or "in" is "ni," which is the word in spelled backwards -- that makes it easy to memorize. The word for "road" in Japanese is "doro" -- the exact reverse of how the word road is written in katakana. And when I had to memorize the verb "shinu" (SHEE-nu), which means "to die," I made up a funny sentence -- "She knew he was going to die!"
We love what we do, bringing wacky and fun products from Japan to people all over the world. We sell many really bizarre things, like the "loose socks" that high school girls wear, and "socks glue"to hold them up, as well as gummi sushi, caffeine gum, and other funny items from Japan. Now we've got a new item to offer you: nipple pinkening cream, called Pink Chikubina, a cream which Japanese women use to reverse the tendency for nipples to become dark over time. Available now at J-List!
For the special weekend update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, Kubrick fans, we've got the 2nd series of the oh-so-cool Alien Kubrick toys, including five new figures -- and full sets are in stock for you
- For fans of high-end anime statues made of polyresin, we have a great figure of Arche Klainem, a 1/8 scale cold cast figure from Tales of Phantasia
- Enjoy delicious ume (plum) candy, fantastic miso soup with clams, and a popular item, Hi-Chew soft candy from Morinaga (including the "secret flavor")
- For fans of the Groomy plush toys with soft chamois bottoms to clean your computer monitor, we've got a cute new kitty in stock for you -- also a major restocking of the other toys in this line
- We have some great chopsticks from Japan, made of high quality bamboo and laminated -- they have the names of delicious Japanese foods printed on them too
- If you have a portable phone, we've got a handy "clip strap" that lets you secure your phone to your own clothing, lest it accidentally be lost
- We have two very Japanese ways to clean your ears, with cool Japanese cotton swabs that are great to use
- If you follow feng-shui, the Chinese art of altering your luck by controlling your environment, we have some cute
- For those who handle documents, we've got some wacky Japanese rubber finger covers that are very useful
- Also, for anyone wanting to take up the game of Shogi, we've got an inexpensive starter set for you
- The ultimate in cute from Japan are the Nyanko series of toys from San-X, super cute cats built into Japanese foods, etc. Now we've got a really cool "Nyanko Onsen" featuring cute little cats in a traditional Japanese hot springs -- so cute and fun to collect!
- Do you love Gundam? Find out all the secrets of the Gundam universe with a new book from Cocoro Books, to be released soon (preorder it now)
- There are many cute erasers in Japan, and we've added various stock for you, including our cute hamster erasers, Japanese drink bottle erasers, and more
- If you missed out on that special 2004 calendar you wanted, you've got one more chance: we've posted the very last stock of discounted 2004 calendars -- many popular calendars are back on the site (but not for long)
- Finally look for more quality soft cases to hold your electronic gadgets in, more wacky wooden signs in Japanese, more cool Totoro items, and many more great items!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. They include:
- For fans of beautiful nude photography, we've got the new issue of Dela Beppin, a wonderful new issue for you
- Many men in Japan have a fetish for "hitozuma" (lit. "a person's wife"), and we've got a new issue of the top married woman fetish magazine
- For photobook fans, enjoy the lovely lesbian experiment with two women an a Barbie doll -- very skillfully photographed and artfully done
- Also for Yinling fans, we've got fresh stock of her very first photobook, and it's a beauty
- Then enjoy the beautiful large-format glossy photobook of Fumika Hara, a fabulous Japanese beauty
- Also, see the beautiful stylish photographs of two of the most famous models in Japan, Kyoko Kano and her sister Mika
- For hentai manga collectors, we've got some great new books, including Million Comics' Navy Girls, the very erotic Dry Strawberry, and a new bukkake manga by Griffon
- Also, another volley of all-new hentai doujinshi for you, with many great all-new books posted
- For our DVD customers, we've got some great titles for you, starting withe excellent sex of Mio Asakura 4 Hour Special - very naughty! (region free)
- From SOD, a great selection of the best "oppai & oshiri" (boobs and ass), with great performances by Japan's top AV stars (region free)
- Then enjoy Ami Ayukawa's fascinating erotic bondage play, in a great new release from Wanz Factory (region 2)
- Finally, see various restocked DVD titles, in the nick of time for your special DVD sale -- hurry and check out all the great items on the site!
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, with many varieties of cool items -- anime figurines, replicas of famous battleships, super detailed replicas of Japanese food and sushi, Star Trek vehicles and more. They're great to display, and since we offer full sets of virtually all toys we sell, so you don't have to buy duplicates, you can save time, money and aggravation. Check out all our candy toys items!