It seems that a Japanese city can't be complete until it has a big tower for tourists to visit and take pictures of. Virtually every major Japanese city has a big tower in its midst, to serve as a popular spot for visitors and lovers out for a romantic late-night drive. Kyoto Tower resembles Seattle's Space Needle. Marine Tower in Yokohama was the largest lighthouse in the world when it was built in 1961. Osaka Tower was built in 1887, but was melted down for war material during World War II; they rebuilt it in the 1950's. But the most famous tower in Japan is Tokyo Tower, a 333 meter replica of the Eiffel Tower, built because the Japanese secretly wish they were part of Europe (that's why Japan and Europe have the same DVD region). Since Japan is the country of "otaku," or people who become obsessed with hobbies like watching anime or taking pictures of trains, there are "tower otaku," too, who tour all the famous towers in Japanese cities. I found a homepage that contains lots of information on Japan's many towers: http://www2.odn.ne.jp/yoko-tower/museum/museum-e.htm
For a country that eats as much rice as Japan, they have some pretty interesting bread, too. Baked good are often bought in small bakeries that operate in supermarkets, and the smell of the bread baking is really great. You can buy normal bread sliced into eight, six or four slices, depending on how thick you like your bread to be -- the thick kind is great for making French Toast. There are many kinds of "bread" sold in Japan that would be called doughnuts by an American. Anpan is bread with Japanese sweet beans (anko) inside, which is something that foreigners usually can't stand. Melon Pan (melon bread) is a round, delicious sweetened bread that doesn't really taste like melon, no matter the name -- it's also called "no-miso pan" (brain bread) because it resembles a human brain. Curry Pan is a delicious ball of bread with curry baked inside it.
I remember reading through old Saint Seiya manga, while in college in the 80's, and wondering why they always write the blood type of each character along with their name, age and astrological sign. In Japan, it's believed that you can tell a lot about a person's personality and character traits from his blood type. Type A people are neat, tidy, and plan things meticulously, almost to a fault. Type B are "going my way" (as the Japanese say), meaning that they do their own thing without worrying about the opinions of others, and don't plan things out in advance. They can be messy, and tend to act on impulse, too -- I am type B, and my wife is always commenting on why do some things I do based on my blood type. Type O people have a private world inside their minds, supposedly, and they're quick to become passionate about something, but then change to something else just as easily. Type O people make good leaders. Finally, AB people have "two faces," one that they make in front of some people and another one they keep to themselves. Like the various beliefs that are related to Buddhism (such as, you're not supposed to sleep with your pillow facing north, as this is reserved for the dead before cremation), the Japanese blood type beliefs are hard to get used to at first, but when you live in Japan long enough, you start thinking there might be something to them after all...
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for collectors of really unique toys from Japan, we've got the newest Kubrick toys in stock -- Gumby Kubrick, featuring the classic Gumby family characters (full sets are in stock)
- For all who love the miniature, meticulously detailed Japanese food toys, we've restocked full sets of the excellent Desserts version 2, featuring famous and exotic Japanese desserts recreated for you
- Hello Kitty fans, we've got a super cute Kitty alarm clock, which you can also use as a kitchen timer
- Also, all-purpose vinyl bags with Kitty-chan and Kiki & Lala on them, very cute, and fresh stock of the cute Hello Kitty Weebles from Japan
- Japan snack lovers, we've got some great new items for, including bite-sized cheesecake snacks from Morinaga, chocolate covered cookie squares, and a famous soft candy from Japan with a wrapper that's made of rice -- so you can eat the wrapped candy as-is!
- We also have a new chocolate cookie snack from Kabaya, featuring the super cute pig character Bright Lighton, which come with character keychains of the famous pig in addition to the cookies
- We've restocked several popular varieties of chewing gum from Japan, including Lotte Green Gum, the fresh, green taste of a forest
- Want to freak out Japanese people? Put a "beginner's mark" on your car, which drivers who have had their license for less than a year must put on their car by Japanese law -- it will cause confusion and be wacky
- For fans of super cute items from japan, we've got some plush Pingu keychains, of very high quality
- Another rare item from Japan, we've gotten in cute "sho Totoro" (the white Totoro) magnets that you can stick anywhere
- We love bringing you wacky things from Japan, and we've gotten in more wacky Japanese "pin badges," Japanese pins with totally bizarre messages and images on them
- Also, we've gotten in another wacky Japanese message board for people who are tired and want to be left alone
- Want to know the secrets of the Gundam universe? We've got the new Gundam Explorer Unofficial Guide in stock in our San Diego office, by Cocoro Books
- Also by Cocoro, we've gotten the new Silver Screen Samurai, featuring the best of samurai movie posters from Japan -- very cool, and loaded with information
- Finally, find a fun snack for kids to make in the summer, various restocked kitchen items, and more!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. The new items include:
- For fans of Japan's wonderful 18+ magazines, we have the new issues of Best Video and Video Boy, filled with famous and up-and-coming JAV stars
- Then see the new issue of Senningiri International, which documents one man's journey to sleep with 1000 women
- Then enjoy the wonderful sexy photobook of Nami Miyazawa, a charming small-bodied Japanese gravure idol
- Also, the flexible and lovely Miku Komori is back, with a new glossy photobook of impossible contortions and her beautiful photographs
- Also, enjoy the lovely first photobook of Miku Nakanishi, a charming Candy Girl
- From artist M.Blem, we've got a dynamite collection of H illustrations, with a focus on "maid girls"
- We have another excellent volley of top-flight H manga, with works by popular artists like Ippei Ikoma, Yayoi Umino and more, including the excellent No Longer Human by Masayoshi Mukai
- In addition, Yasu has posted a selection of manga for you, including some popular items that we've had trouble keeping ins tock
- Also, a bold and romantic new yaoi comic for you
- For our DVD customers, we've added some cool new items for you, starting with a super new release for fans of Asuka Sawaguchi, the clean, fresh girl next door from Japan (region free)
- Then prepare for more "Restructive Chair Trance" featuring a great all-girl performance, from Dogma and director Tohjiro (region free)
- From Soft on Demand, a new "naughty ballerina" offering, featuring some very flexible girls with professional ballet experience (region free)
- Then enjoy Ran Monbu in a new release from Wanz Factory, featuring an incredibly bold performance by a charming Japanese actress (region 2)
- Also, from Waap Entertainment, a superb work for fans of Waap's primary genre, a classy performance by Mai Sakashita (region 2)
- Finally, look for a large number or restocked DVDs, including recent releases by Sora Aoi, Ran Asakawa, Haruki Mizuno, Akira Watase and Kurumi Morishita.
Remember that J-List still has limited stock of the world-famous Hello Kitty personal massager, but our stock is (really) running low, and will be gone before the summer. If you want to own a piece of this pop culture history, please act quickly. Have you ever wanted to know the history of how this amazing product came to be? Well, click on over to Jmate.com and read all about the history of this unique cultural icon. The URL is http://www.jmate.com