Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Greetings from J-List March 10, 2004

Hello again from all of us in Japan!

When you become bilingual in a language, you learn a lot about how your own brain works, such what actually goes on inside your head when you learn a new vocabulary words. Every act of learning involves a physical change in your brain, the creation of a new synapse from one cell to another, and sometimes it seems you can feel this at work in your head. It makes you think about the nature of language in general and wonder about your own native language in the process. The "mystery of translation" is also fascinating: the act of translating from one language to another takes place deep inside your brain, on a level below your conscious thoughts, like a process in a computer that's running in the background. You place some English in the "buffer," and then something happens in your brain, and in a few seconds Japanese is waiting for you to retrieve it from your internal cache. You can almost hear the "ding" in your mind as the translation "cooks" and is done, without any conscious awareness.

When it comes to translation, though, there's one direction to go: from your second language to your native language. If I'm translating from Japanese to English, I'll be able to do it just fine, since my mother tongue is English; but woe is me if I try to translate in the other direction. I know this because I tried it once. My father, who was a nautical engineer making advanced hydrofoils, had to get a patent of his translated into Japanese, so he asked his Japanophile son to do the translation for him. Wanting to impress my Dad, I agreed, and two months of intense labor later, I had produced what had to be the most tear-jerkingly hilarious patent translation ever seen in Japan. I learned my lesson and now politely refuse any requests for translations into Japanese. I believe that 90% of the "wasei eigo" (literally "made in Japan English"), the silly Engrish words the Japanese are so good at coming up with, are inadvertently created by Japanese who've been asked to translate in the wrong direction.

Soy sauce is a popular flavoring in Japan, and is used more often than salt and pepper to improve the flavor of food here -- I realized the other day that my wife doesn't even keep salt and pepper in our kitchen since she never uses them. Another popular sauce used by the Japanese goes by the descriptive name of "sauce" (sou-su, although it's officially known as tonkatsu sauce). It's a delicious thick sauce that compliments many kinds of foods, especially fried food like potato croquettes. Both soy sauce and tonkatsu sauce are sometimes poured over eggs in Japan, and a debate has raged for years at J-List as to which tastes better. Personally, I think nothing improves fried eggs than a dabble of Kikkoman soy sauce, but apparently I am in the minority, as most of the other J-List staff favor the thicker tonkatsu sauce on their eggs. In case you're interested in making the same comparison, we've gotten Bulldog's delicious tonkatsu sauce in stock on the site for you.

We had a slight problem with the "R" side of the site after the last update. The three-day link on the main page pointed to the "PG" products, which may have caused some confusion for some customers. Sorry for the problem (it's been fixed).

For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:

  • First, we love unique and cute things from Japan, and we've added many of the super-cute Hidamari no Tami and Hanauta no Tami cute relaxing toys, figures who move their heads back and forth while they relax you
  • Then enjoy a wonderful photobook for Miho Yoshioka fans, the excellent Novel, filled with breathtakingly beautiful pictures of Japan's top Race Queen
  • Norika Fujiwara is another fabulous Japanese actress and idol -- see her hardcover photobook shot in Kenya!
  • We've restocked other art books and photobooks, including Yuko Ogura's so-cute pinup poster book, the Race Queen Hundred Costume Catalog, Morning Musume's Rika Ishikawa, and more
  • Hungry for something cute? The "Nyanko restaurant" series by San-X continues, this time in the form of super cute hamburger and hotdog plush toys that contain little cats
  • Ojamajo Doremi was the most recent Japanese "witch" anime for girls, and we loved the show -- for fans, we have full sets of gashapon capsule toys from the show
  • For fans of our Japanese snacks, we have some great items, including a new variety of miniature pizza crackers, delicious "petite raspberry tarts," and tasty edamame snack treats
  • Hello Kitty fans, J-List always carries great items for you sold only in Japan -- see a cool Hello Kitty band-aid set complete with carrying case
  • We've also restocked the cute Kitty plush towel holder and towels (both colors), the Kitty Pachinko machine (one of my favorite items), and the popular Kitty "kigurumi" full face mask
  • Also, look for fresh stock of some great parody items, including toilet paper that helps you learn Japanese, funny headbands for your head, and the best-selling tattoo shirt which makes you look like a yakuza with a full-body tattoo
  • Sesame seeds are all the rage in Japan because they promote health in many ways -- we've got a handy sesame seed grating device for your kitchen
  • Studying Japanese? We've got cute little soft puzzles with all the Japanese prefectures you can put together, very neat
  • Also great for your kitchen, an affordable new bento box from Japan, just for you
  • For fans of Lucky Cat, the famous waving cat who is actually inviting business and financial success into your life, we've got some cool Lucky Cat piggy banks in stock for you
  • Totoro and Studio Ghibli fans, we've restocked many popular plush toys, including the Bou Nezumi and No Face keychains, the cool Ghibli Plush Keychain set, and various Totoro toys
  • Finally, we've got a really cool way to give coffee and cream to your guest, portable Go that you can play anywhere, a funky leopard costume, and more!

For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. The new items include:

  • For fans of Japan's great 18+ magazines, we've got the new issue of Shuffle, featuring lovely girls in Japanese love hotels
  • For photobook fans, we've got the dynamite new offering of Naho Ozawa, which will knock all your socks off
  • Then enjoy a wonderful photobook for Miho Yoshioka fans, the excellent Novel, filled with breathtakingly beautiful pictures of Japan's top Race Queen
  • Tokyo Alice is a fabulous photobook by Akio Nakamori capturing some of the most startling and bold cosplay images we've seen in a long time
  • We've also restocked many popular photobooks, including Kyoko Ayana's lovely Blue Shot
  • For fans of all things bishoujo, we've got the new issue of Push in stock, filled with the most up-to-date game information in Japan
  • We've got some excellent new manga in stock for you too, including an excellent work about first experience by Mejiro Tsugumi, a super cosplay and catgirl manga, and the elegant artwork of "The Body Which Loves One"
  • Also, a great restocking of popular manga comics for you, including the last-ever stock of the popular Spirit of Capitalism, and many other volumes
  • J-List carries toys for adults that are very unique, because they're designed and sold in the Japanese market exclusively -- see two great items we've added for you, including a massager designed by a medical research company
  • Also, we've restocked some of our most popular items, including the Rabbit Rotor, the large-size Hello Kitty deluxe massager, Ai in a Cup, Mr. Pink, and Japanese parody condoms
  • For our DVD customers, we've got some dynamite titles for you, starting with the delightful debut on the Million label of Mami Yasuhara, a fresh and new JAV idol (region free)
  • Then experience a whopping 8 hours of wonderful performances by the beautiful Nao Oikawa, in a great new DVD release by Million (region free)
  • Hitomi Hayasaka is one of the most vibrant and alive stars in Japan's professional video world -- see her in a great new "4p" release that shows you the "soap technique of Hitomi" (region free)
  • Japan men just love female newscasters and TV announcers -- see the very best of SOD's newscaster moments in a new release for you -- very cool (region free)
  • Then, Ran Monbu is a super heroine who defends justice and fights evil in a new release by SOD's IEnergy label -- a great parody on Power Rangers (region free)
  • From Moodyz, enjoy the Double Fantasy of Kirari Koizumi and Rina Takase, a great 2-disc selection that explores the back doors of beautiful stars (region 2)
  • Look for many restocked DVD titles, too, including the low-priced Masterpiece Concentration, the Cosplay Perfection Speciel Edition, Ami Ayukawa's excellent indies releases, and more all-girl DVD titles.

Look for many restocked DVD titles, too, including the low-priced Masterpiece Concentration

Remember that J-List's wacky Japanese T-shirts are a fun way to wrap yourself in an esoteric Japanese message and broadcast your love of Japan to others. Our shirts are all 100% cotton and of very high quality, with silkscreened printing that will last for many years. J-List goes the extra distance for you too, offering sizes from small all the way up to 3XL for most shirts. Order 3 or more shirts and get 10% off, too!