Rice is the staple food of Japan, and it's eaten pretty much two or three times a day by most Japanese. Japanese usually eat white rice, steamed in electric rice cookers that are owned by virtually every household (we have two or three in our house). Rice is usually eaten as a side dish to other foods (hamburger steak, sashimi, salmon, etc.), and the food you eat as a main course along with your rice is called "okazu." Supposedly, the idea of eating a small amount of a main dish with a lot of rice comes from Japan's wartime past, when everyone was poor and had very little to eat except rice. The best rice in Japan comes from Niigata Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan side of the country (the Snow Country in Kawabata's famous novel). It's called Koshi-Hikari, and restaurants proudly boast of serving only this type of rice to their customers. The Japanese have a couple of different words for rice, depending on what form it's in. "Genmai" refers to rice in its natural state, and "kome" (KOH-meh) is processed, uncooked white rice. Rice in its cooked form is "gohan," and this word is also used to refer to all food, not just rice. Similarly, "sake" refers to all alcoholic beverages, not just sake.
The fact that Japanese love to eat so much rice is the probable reason so many Japanese women seem to have problems with constipation -- after all, rice is supposed to firm up your stool, and they eat it every day. One report I saw on TV here said that 47% of Japanese high school girls and 57% of career women report problems with constipation ("benpi" in Japanese, in case it ever comes up in Trivial Pursuit). The high rate of constipation can cause other health problems including a tendency towards some cancers, and women have even been known to die when their intestines ruptured from an accumulation of waste products. Rice is very important to the Japanese, but perhaps some of them should consider eating less?
It's been said that South Korea is "the nearest country and yet the farthest away" from Japan. Despite being extremely close to one another geographically and genetically, and despite billions of dollars of trade flowing across the Sea of Japan (the Koreans hate that name by the way), it's often amazing how little understanding there is about customs on both sides of the water. Over the past few years, though, there've been real steps at meaningful cultural exchange between Japan and South Korea, helped in part by the co-hosting of the 2002 World Cup. Many Koreans such as KPOP singer BoA and actress Yoon Son Ha are regular faces on Japanese TV, and as of January, a ban on Japanese culture in Korea has been lifted, allowing Japanese music and other forms of culture to be sold in Korea. We hope for lots of happy interchange between the two countries now and in the future.
At J-List, we really believe that Japan's interactive dating-sim games are great, and so we carry virtually every English-translated game available in our San Diego warehouse for your convenience. We're happy to announce the next great game to be released: G-Collections' new Heart de Roommate, in which you play Yusuke, a boy who finds yourself living in a girls' dorm with some very beautiful female roommates. A innovative new dating-sim game for Windows computers, the story is divided into 26 anime-style episodes, complete with opening credits, "eyecatch" breaks before commercials and more. In stock and ready to ship out to you right away!
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for all who love Totoro, we've added some high-quality plush toys from Sun Arrow, Japan's famous maker of toys for nearly 100 years
- Also, a major restocking of popular Totoro and Studio Ghibli items, including the Knitting Bou Nezumi from Spirited Away, the Totoro Soot Sprite keychain and more
- For fans of our delicious Japanese snacks, we've added many new items for you, including Indian Chai flavored chocolate snacks (wow!), Barbecue flavored "scone" snacks, and some delicious Japanese potato chip and sesame munchies
- Domo-kun fans, we've restocked the super large Domo-kun stuffed plush, the largest Domo they ever made!
- From Medicom Toy, we've got a deluxe set of six detailed Kubrick figures from Dragon Head, the popular anime and manga, a fabulous item for collectors
- Also for fans of unique Japanese toys, we've got a set of six classic steam locomotives from Japan's golden years, a great item for trainophiles all over the world
- We've got a great new Tomica die-cast metal car in stock, the Nissan Cima, sold in the U.S. as the Infinity Q45
- For Hello Kitty fans, we have a great form-fitting pillow which will make sleeping more comfortable, and make it fun to sleep with Kitty
- We've got more wacky Japanese folding fans that are very traditional and nice to look at
- We've added more stock of the popular Japanese brush pens which let you write flowing Japanese calligraphy
- For sushi fans, we've got some handy "temaki" sets which allow you to make rolled-type sushi easily
- J-List carries unique DVDs from Japan, and we've added stock of My Neighbor Totoro (the official Ghibli release with full subtitles and many extras) as well as OH! Mikey vol. 4 (both region 2)
- For all students of Japanese (or just about any other subject), we've gotten in more stock of the Zebra Check Set study aids, which help you memorize any information, the way the Japanese do
- Finally, we've got wacky Japanese stamps, more music boxes for anime collectors, fresh stock of the deluxe 120 cm loose socks, and more!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. The new items include:
- First, check out the new Monthly Chisato Morishita, featuring amazing photos of one of Japan's most beautiful ladies
- Then see limited stock of some popular magazines, including more items posted starting at just $5
- We love Japan's tradition of leg fetish photography, and we've added a new photobook for you
- Then enjoy the delightful swimsuit photos of Izumi Yokoyama, an amazing Race Queen popular in Japan now
- Also, a superb offering with Hikari Kisugi and Kirari Koizumi, two very special Japanese idols
- For 18+ manga fans, we've added some great new comics, including the newest Maya Miyazaki Presents, cute cosplay manga, and a dynamite work by Hidemi Amano
- Also, we've restocked several popular manga for you, including Blue Eyes (all volumes)
- We've got more excellent doujinshi for you to check out, including amateur comics based on Bluer than Indigo, Sakura Wars and more
- For yaoi fans, we've added a great new manga for you too -- Aim For My Heart and Let's Fall in Love
- For our DVD customers, we've got some excellent new items for you, starting with The Stewardess Best 4 Hours, 240 minutes of all-stewardess action (region free)
- Sola Aoi, aka Sora Aoi, is one of our all-time favorites in the JAV world -- see her in a new release that features mult-angle features (region free)
- From SOD, enjoy the "pure select" performances of stars like Ai Kurosawa, Kokoro Amano and Kyoko Ayana in a great new best-hits release (region free)
- For fans of girl-on-girl action, we have a new release by Soft on Demand in which girls must battle other girls, with sexy results (region free)
- We've loved Akira Watase ever since she appeared on the JAV scene some years ago -- see her in a bold new release from Wanz Factory with some of her best performances ever (region free)
- Then from Moodyz, enjoy a wonderful new release starring Manami Suzuki in a beautiful tropical land
- Finally, look for a big update to our DVD stock, including Anna Ohura's DVD works, Stars!! with Monoka (sigh...), more 4-hour DVDs full of the best girl-girl performances you can find, and more!
Remember that J-List offers automatic discounts on many items that we make available. Looking for some DVDs? Get 4 or more and get an automatic 15% off. Looking for some Japanese dating-sim games? Buy 4 or more and get a great bit 20% discount. Some of our wacky Japanese T-shirts with messages like "I'm looking for a Japanese Girlfriend"? Get 3 or more and get a 10% discount. All discounts are automatic at time of checkout.