My children attend Japanese elementary school, and watching that kind of education they receive is proving an education for me as well. In the past, America has had a somewhat envious view of Japan's education system, but I've come to be somewhat less charitable. Japan's schools are very centralized, with most textbook and curriculum choices made by Japan's Ministry of Education. When I was a child, we moved from Maryland to California, and I was amazed at how different schools were -- instead of the large, central building I had on the East Coast, my school in California was spread out with many smaller buildings, to better match the California weather. But in Japan, everything from the school layouts to the sound of the bells that ring to start classes is the same no matter where you go in Japan. Just as there's one correct way to write each kana and kanji character in Japanese, it seems there's one correct way to educate children, no matter where in Japan you live.
It's interesting to see what kinds of homework the kids bring home from school. Japanese children have to learn to write kanji, so each child has a notebook of squares in which they practice their kanji writing (you can see these on our website). To learn multiplication, Japanese children memorize sentences with shortened numbers -- which don't make any sense to my gaijin ear, no matter how hard I try to participate. They also bring home "100 square prints" which feature a grid with numbers along the top and side, and my kids have to full in the numbers with the required addition and subtraction answers within a certain amount of time. The other kind of homework the kids have every day is reading. Apparently trying to foster an interest in reading, my kids have to read stories out of their textbooks to us three times a night -- the same stories, three times each, every night. So far it seems to be having a decidedly negative effect.
There are subtle differences you come across when comparing learning in the U.S. and Japan. In Japan, a red pen is used exclusively for making corrections on tests and homework, and if you asked a Japanese to take notes or sign their name using a red pen, they'd probably be uncomfortable with it for some reason that is unfathomable to me. The symbol for a correct answer is a circle (maru), and an incorrect answer is a check mark -- the opposite of how it might be done in the U.S. The shape of a circle nearly always means "yes" or "good" in Japan, which causes an interesting problem: many electronics from the U.S. have a switch with a 1 for "on" and a 0 for "off," which seems very odd to the Japanese, who expect the zero to turn the device on. My wife has trouble turning on our American coffee maker because of this.
J-List loves the story-based interactive dating-sim games that are so popular in Japan, and carries virtually every English-translated in print for you. We're happy to say that the newest AnimePlay DVD games by Hirameki International, Day of Love and Amusement Park, are in stock and shipping in San Diego. These are DVD-based games that you can play with any standard DVD player, including Playstation 2 and Xbox. Try them now!
We plan to make some changes to the J-List site soon, which will improve the site and add new features. In case anything should go wrong and you find the site giving you trouble, please let us know so we can solve the problem right away. And remember that if you ever have a problem checking out, you can use the secure email form link in the upper left hand corner of the site to send us secure mail, including order information.
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for fans of our very popular Japanese snack pages, we've got some tasty items, including more "petite snack," delicious gummi Doraemon candy, real tart umeboshi and more
- Also, we've got a super sampler of five different classic chocolate candies from Meiji, all shrinkwrapped in one fun-to-eat pack
- The delicious "bubble ball" candy items, a hard candy treat with fizzy carbonation inside, have been popular in Japan for decades -- we've restocked all popular flavors, cola, melon soda, ramune and grape
- Also look for fresh stock of delicious snacks, including Almond Crush Pocky, the winter-limited Pocky Cocoa Powder, Baked Toppo Chestnut Creme Chocolate flavor, and tasty "Scallops and Soy Sauce Flavor" chips!
- The Japanese love fishing, and many people collect interesting lures, which are colorful and fun to display -- we've got a cool set of toy lures in stock for you to check out
- We love wacky Japanese things for your car and room, and we've got some bizarre reflective stickers with funny messages in Japanese on them -- great for safety, too
- Also, we love the glossy photobook of Nana Eikura, a fabulous "kawaii idol" from Japan
- Also, don't miss the newest photobook offering of Gackt, the sexiest Japanese man alive -- enjoy his new offering "Philosophy of Gackt"
- Before there was Dragonball or Dragonball Z, there was Dr. Slump, and we've got a rare series of candy toy figures in stock for Dr. Slump fans
- For all those embarrassing moments when you don't have enough chopsticks, we've got some great items in stock for you
- Got business cards? We've got another great business card holder from Japan, this time complete with bizarre English on the outside
- For Final Fantasy X-2 fans, we've got a deluxe large soft vinyl toy in the Heretic Monsters Action Figure series
- We've restocked many popular items for Totoro fans, including various Totoro stamps that are very cool, more stock of the deluxe Lapura robot figure with/case, and the Nausica on Meve from Nausica
- Like the Japan-only Hot Wheels? We've restocked the Mach 5 for Speed Race Fans as well as the Airwolf helicopter and the Knight Rider 2000 K.A.R.R. vehicle
- We also stock many cool Hello Kitty items sold only in Japan -- check out the restocked Kitty Rubick's Cube, tissue box cover and more
- Although 2004 calendar season is over, we located another volley of previously sold out calendars for you, so please check through the items -- stock is limited to what we've got on hand, and prices are
- Finally, our wacky things from Japan include self-stamping wacky Japanese stamps, more sushi erasers, and other cool items you can only find in Japan!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. The new items include:
- For fans of famous men's magazines, we've got some great new items from Japan, including limited stock of the new Gal's Dee, an item for fans our "outdoor fetish" and more
- Also, the elegant new issue of Motto Yasashiku Shite Ne, or Please Be More Gentle With Me, complete with perfect binding
- Enjoy the elegant hardcover photobooks Japan has to offer, including the lovely offering of Kyoko Fujikawa
- We've also restocked several photobook and art book items, including Miku Matsumoto's delightful hardcover work, and Shirow Masamune's Intron Depot 3
- 18+ manga fans, we've got some excellent offerings for you, including a great new comic by the famous busty artist Wataru Watanabe, the super cute Happy Planet by Plaza Comics, and more
- Restocked manga include The Confession of Mrs., Psycho Therapy, This is Peach Company and more!
- For doujinshi fans, we've got several great new items for you, including a fantastic new work by Behind Moon, featuring their wildly popular hermaphrodite artwork -- do not miss this new item!
- At J-List, we love to bring you rare toys for adults that are sold only in Japan, and today we've got two new vibrators, a classically themed kokeshi with a "Jumpin' Jack Rabbit" to assist in the job, and a rotor-type "Strawberry" item that is fun an innovative
- Also, a unique item for men: take the essence of Ai Nagase with you in your pocket, wherever you go
- For our DVD customers, we've got some great new products, starting with the Best of Ran Monbu, whose name sounds like the French dessert Mont Blanc (she was scouted in a cake shop) (region free)
- Japanese are really in love with girls from Russia and Eastern Europe -- we've got a great new DVD of Moscow girls showing you their best (region free)
- From SOD's New High label, we've got a great item for fans of "New Half" (aka Mr. Lady) (region free)
- Then see the pure, candid performance of Nana Natsume, a charming actress from Japan (region free)
- Outdoor naughtiness is a major fetish in Japan, and we've got a great offering from Waap Entertainment (region 2)
- Kyoko Ayana's start just keeps going higher and higher -- see her in her excellent new release from Wanz Factory, Super Angle of Oppai (region 2)
- Finally, we've restocked several popular DVD titles, including Mirai Hoshizaki's popular back-door release, Ami Ayukawa's delightful Super Angle of Oppai, Maria Yumeno's works, and great titles by Asuka Sawaguchi, Kurumi Morishita and Haruki Mizuno.
J-List advertises in various magazines, including Face Magazine, Play Magazine, AG, and more. If you found out about J-List through a magazine advertisement, we'd appreciate if you'd shoot us an email and let us know. Thanks in advance!
Remember that J-List carries something that's almost impossible to get outside of Japan: authentic Japanese high school uniforms, made just for you by the famous Matsukameya of Nagoya. Each uniform is sewn just for you, to the sizes you specify on our detailed chart, and the quality of these uniforms is not to be believed. If you love Japanese "cosplay" and want to try on a real Japanese high school uniform (the company takes pride in offering sizes large enough for men to wear the girls' uniforms), please see the excellent items we have on our site. We also have boys' high school uniforms too! We recommend these excellent uniforms for the coming summer anime convention season.