I've talked before about how the Japanese can be quite superstitious at times. Don't cut your fingernails at night, or you won't be able to be with your parents when they die -- also, if you see a hearse, you should hide your thumbs inside your fists, or the same thing will happen (since the word for thumb in Japanese means "parent finger"). Don't whistle at night, or snakes will come. When you sneeze twice, it means someone is gossiping about you. If you see a spider in the morning, it's good luck, so don't kill it. Don't sleep with your pillow facing north, as only dead people do this. At Narita Airport, I noticed that the numbers 4 and 13 were conspicuously missing from the long row of ticket counters. The number 4 represents death, and 13 is a generally unlucky number -- although many Japanese seem to regard Friday the 13th (today) as a day of good luck, not bad luck. Tomo has a new Japanese superstition for us: he swears he's heard that it's good luck for a man to carry one of his girlfriend's pubic hairs in his wallet when playing sports or gambling. We're not so sure about that one, but anything is possible with the Japanese.
The Japanese language has got to be one of the most vague, nuance-filled languages that exist in the world. Japanese is a subject-object-verb language, and it's probably related to Korean -- it also shares many features with Turkish, Hungarian and Basque (go figure). It's very common to omit the subject when speaking Japanese, since it's usually known to the speakers, and often other parts of the sentence are cut out as well. When my wife says to me, "Iku?" at noon, I know that she is saying "Shall we go to lunch now?" even though all she actually said was "Go?" There are many words and phrases that communicate meaning in ways that are very subtle. For example, the word "chotto" means "a little bit" in Japanese, but if you ask someone if they liked the taste of some food and they said "Chotto..." the implication would be that the food didn't taste good, but that the person wanted to be polite about this. Another potential for vagueness in Japanese is the word "ii" (pronounced like the letter "E"), which means "good" or "okay." If someone asks you if you want milk in your coffee, "ii" as a reply can mean either "yes, I'll take some" or "no, I don't need any." When telemarketers ask if they can sign you up for services they're selling, you have to tell them no in specific terms; using words with vague meanings like "ii" is just asking for trouble.
When a person learns a foreign language they actually develop a second personality, which takes over when they're speaking that language. In Japanese, my personality is very different, and I'm often surprised at how unlike both halves are. My wife is much more assertive in English than she is in Japanese, since English is just built that way -- you always say the subject of sentences and use "yes" or "no" to clearly indicate your opinion. It's been very interesting watching the development of an "English personality" in my children, too. In English, my daughter is very cute and feminine, since she usually plays with other girls in English, but in Japanese, she's a pure tomboy, even using the male first person pronoun ("boku," usually used by boys), to my wife's chagrin.
For the new pre-weekend update, we've got an excellent list of products from Japan for you, described below. To view all products updated in the past 3 days, click: http://www.jlist.com/UPDATES/PG/3/
- First, for fans of the classic manga and anime Devilman, by Go Nagai, we've got a super treat: the *bilingual* Devilman comics, with both English and Japanese present on the page for you to read
- Godzilla fans, we've got a great new series of toys in stock for you, with all the best monsters, Godzilla, Mecha Godzilla, Mothra and more -- full sets are also available
- Next, we have two beautiful 3-D anime figurines from Memories of 2nd, a popular dating-sim game from Japan
- Also, a beautiful Licca doll, featuring Licca wearing a classical Japanese kimono
- Studying Japanese, or want to? We have some great study cards for learning hiragana and katakana that are great
- It's cold season in Japan, when Japanese are often seen with gauze masks to keep from spreading their germs to others -- we've got these masks in stock now for you!
- For fans of our Japanese snack products, find some great new products, including Tohato All Raisen cookies (a favorite of mine), Genius Shigekix which will help you be smarter, Berry & Milk Butterscotch candies, and Morinaga strawberry cookies
- Also, fresh stock of the popular Hi-Chew soft candies in ramune flavor (yum)
- Wehave more wacky Japanese erasers for you, this time parody versions of ramen noodles - yum!
- Forfans of the Japan Hot Wheels sold only in the Japanese market, we have a cool Machrod vehicle from a famous sentai show of the 70s
- Hello Kitty fans, we have a cute sticker collection made out of Japanese washi paper
- Forfans of our wacky Japanese T-shirts, we've got great reduced prices on several of the designs we're closing out, to make room for new shirts -- check them out before your size sells out
- DVD fans, check out some great new items, including the excellent ninja film Red Shadow (with complete English subtitles) as well as fresh stock of Yatta! - It's Good to Be Alive
- We've restocked various toy items, including the popular Blythe Kubrick figures and two excellent toys of Astro Boy
- Finally, look for new and re-stocked wacky things from Japan, including several bargain-priced bento boxes with many features, a cool sushi maker, and more!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products, too. To view all new products, click this link: http://www.jlist.com/UPDATES/R/3/
- Forfans of Urecco, the #1 selling 18+ magazine at J-List, we've got the new issue in for you, and it's a really great one
- Then enjoy the deluxe perfect-bound Yes!!, a magazine featuring authentic couples in love hotels
- For photobook fans, we've got more glossy hardcover items in stock for you, starting with the very flexible photobook of Yuuna Mizumoto
- Also, the hardcover photobook of Maki Miyamoto is a beautiful thing to see
- The Japanese are great fans of parodies, and we've got a very sexy look-alike Ayumi Hamasaki photobook
- The illustrations of Hanamaru Togawa are amazing to see in his new hardcover art book Baby Jelly Candy -- we hope you'll check out his amazing works
- We've posted some really excellent 18+ manga for you today, including the fantastic Otonappuri by MD Comics, Ran Hiryu's Eden, and Diva, a manga tale of love and inspiration
- Also, look for a big pre-weekend update of a dozen or more great hentai manga that have been hard to keep in stock, including Alice First and Second, Equation of the Night, The Secret of Me and Her, Love Hina and Chobits parody comics, and more
- We've also posted another volley of all-new doujinshi works for you, however stock is limited (so check the site soon)
- Yaoi fans, we've also posted new and back-in-stock yaoi manga for you to enjoy
- Forfans of our extensive line of dating-sim games, we've posted updates to the upcoming Day of Love and Amusement Park, with screens in English -- the games will ship next week, so preorder them now
- For our DVD customers, we've got more top-quality titles for you, starting with 4 hours of the best performances by former Race Queen Manami Suzuki (region free)
- Then enjoy the elegant lovemaking of Ryoko Mitake (mee-TAH-kay), a very classy JAV star (region free)
- Then see an exploration of female-female kissing in a great new release by Deep's featuring Japan's top stars (region free)
- Yui Kayama stars in another bizarre cosplay Power Rangers style DVD, in which she is a heroine who must defend justice from evil (region free)
- Forfans of Japan's highly developed leg, stocking and mini-skirt fetishism, enjoy a great new offering by Waap Entertainment, with 14 different actresses (region 2)
- Also from Waap, explore the two sides of the beautiful and cat-like Rena Kousaki in a great new DVD release (region 2)
- We've got a major restocking of several popular SOD outlet DVDs, including Kiss Battle Royale, Lovers Pop, Super Bishoujo Kiss, Saint Roshutsu and more -- check out these bargain priced titles!
- Finally, newly stocked DVDs include the popular Gold Bird and Euro Angels, SOD's documentary on wet female climaxing, more stock of Cherry Boys, and more!
Remember that J-List offers a stagging 2000+ products from Japan for you, with ever possibly kind of product covered. Looking for something wild and wacky from Japan? What about some cool kitchen or interior items for your house? Want to try some authentic bento boxes from Japan, or try a romantic dating-sim game? Remember that you can browse newly updated products through the handy "view updated products" link on the J-List main page -- you can even view all products at once using the "view all products" link in the upper left-hand corner, too.