Words say a lot about people, and in Japanese, words carry a lot of hidden nuances specific to each gender. There are different versions of the first person pronoun for men and women in Japanese, and which word a person chooses to use carries information about how that person views himself. For women, the words for "I" are watakushi (in formal situations), watashi (neutral, slightly feminine) or atashi (very feminine and cute). If a girl is tomboyish she might use a "boys" word for I, boku, and if she's trying to project an extremely cute image, she might even refer to herself in the third person. My daughter, who is seven, calls herself "Rina-chan," although some women in their 20s do this, to the annoyance of many around them. Men will use watakushi (formal), boku (neutral, slightly polite), or if they want to project a "manly" image, ore (OH-reh). Words for "you" include anata (slightly formal), kimi (used when talking to someone younger than you), and for men only, the masculine word, omae (oh-MY-ae). A common alternative to using a second-person pronoun is to refer to the person you're speaking to by his name, e.g. Tomo or Fujita-san, if you were talking to Tomo.
The second-person pronoun omae is an interesting word. Being very masculine, it's only used by men, and generally from a superior to someone below him, i.e. an upperclassmen to an underclassman, a parent to a child, etc. Choosing to use omae to refer to a person verbally reinforces a certain relationship, i.e. that you are above them in status, so the potential to offend someone by using it improperly is great. If a man says omae to a woman he's romantically involved with, he's basically implying that she belongs to him; some Japanese women strongly dislike having men address them with this word, yet others find it romantic and get all fluttery. Silly fool that I am, I learned much of my Japanese in college by reading Fist of the North Star manga, so for a while, my speech was a parody of macho-speak, and I had to un-learn a lot. For more on the subject of Japanese words that communicate meaning between the sexes, hunt down a copy of Womansword by Kittredge Cherry.
In Japan, all Japanese study at least six years of English by the time they graduate from high school, and so even if they have no useful, working knowledge of the language in their daily life, much of the grammar and vocabulary is locked away in their minds. This sometimes affects the way Japanese functions as a language, and it's not uncommon for English words to pepper Japanese when speaking or writing, especially in cities where people are more metropolitan. The Japanese also like the English word "the" (pronounced "za") and use it in many interesting ways. Ito Yokado, a large chain of department stores in Japan (they also own all 7-11 stores here and in China) has a biannual sales event called "The Sale" (za see-ru). A popular brand of curry is House's "The Curry," and not far from the J-List office there's a laundromat called "The Sentakuya" ("the laundromat"). The cute line of plush Japanese dogs and called "The Dog" also gets its name from this wacky phenomenon.
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, just in time for summer, we're happy to announce two "spaghetti strap" tank tops, which look great and are printed with aesthetically beautiful kanji messages
- For Shirow Masamune fans, we've got a great collector's item, the complete storyboard collection and Roman Album for the new Ghost in the Shell Innocence movie
- Next, we've got two great oversized photobooks featuring two famous Japanese cute idols, Yuko Ogura and Chikako Sakuragi
- Also for lovers of Ghost in the Shell, we have the new Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG, the first disc of the 2nd season of this ground-breaking TV series (region 2)
- Fans of Japanese cars, we've got in more of Tomy's Tomica mini-cars -- see the Honda Stepwagon and Toyota Hilux Bigfoot, two very cool cars
- Having grown up watching the Ultraman TV shows, I have a soft spot for the series -- we've got a new series of candy toys in stock featuring the Ultra Mechanics of the show, including all major vehicles (full sets are in stock)
- Also for fans of Japan's dynamite miniature toys, we've got a collection of delicious and famous cakes of the world -- with full sets in stock for this item too!
- Japanese smoke a lot, but they try to exercise good smoking manners, what one tobacco company calls "Smokin' Clean" -- we've got several small portable ashtrays in stock, which allow you to take your ash and butts with you instead of leaving them on the ground for others to see
- Fans of the Nyanko Restaurant series, featuring the super cute cats from San-X, we have a new series of plush Nyanko Onsen (Cats in Hot Springs), so cute you'll be amazed
- Also for fans of cute things, we have a Hello Kitty allowance-tracking book (but you can use it for many purposes), and a new Usagi Collection Friends cute item with funny English
- Snack items today include delicious rice crackers, traditional star-shaped Konpeito candy, high-grade cocoa you can enjoy, Hi-Chew soft candies, super-tart Genki Shigekix, and more!
- Enjoy making traditional Japanese Okonomiyaki with a cool metal spatula we've got in stock
- We've gotten in more of the popular Parody Post It Notes, which look like standard band-aids -- so wacky!
- For fans of the hit movie Finding Nemo, we have some cool 3D collectible cards, very cool and sold only in Japan
- We've restocked many wacky parody items, including various joke toilet paper types, Japanese headbands, and more
- Also, look for fresh stock of the best-selling Hello Kitty kigurumi mask that allows you to totally become Kitty-chan!
- Finally we have more of the Japanese Girl Nagomi artful items, restocked miso soup, Hello Kitty macaroni noodles, the popular Dr. Ion carrying cases, and more!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. The new items include:
- For fans of Japan's super-cool 18+ magazines, we've got a special issue of Gokuh, Gokuh no Homura (Gokuh Fire), filled with nothing but the most famous top-name JAV stars and idols
- Then we have a treat: a special issue of Cream featuring Aoi Sora, Mihiro, Alice Ogura and more
- For photobook collectors, check out Maria Yumeno's super sexy "B 93" photobook offering
- Also, the glossy photobook of Honoka, who models many cosplay outfits for you
- We've also restocked several great photobooks including books by Yoko Matsugane, Nana Eikura and more
- For our H manga collectors, we've got some extra-special items for you today, including Madam Hisae's Diary by Toen Comics, Anzu Flake of Memory by Kirikaze, and the superbly illustrated Liberte by MD Comics
- Also, Go Nagai is famous for such creations as Cutey Honey, Devilman and Mazinger Z -- he also wrote H manga, and we've got a great collection of his works in stock today
- We've got some great doujinshi back in stock for you, including hermaphrodite themed books like Dulce Report, Look Maria Sama and more
- Also, over a dozen restocked manga volumes, including some of our most popular books
- For our DVD customers, we have some great offerings today, starting with "Let's Watch Karen Kisaragi's Growth," in which she is trained by some of the most talented JAV actors in the business (region free)
- Then enjoy a delightful series of costume performances by the elegant Ryoko Mitake -- she dresses as an elevator girl, a waitress, a cat girl, and much more for you (region free)
- Mai Sakashita is one of our favorite new actresses -- she's slender, vibrant and loves what she does. See her newest release on the Deep's label (region free)
- Then from Soft on Demand, enjoy the delightful female performances of Kao Sugimori and Yu Ichinose, just wonderful (region free)
- Also, enjoy the world of super-sexy female massage in a new exploration of a popular theme (region free)
- Finally, look for some great restocked DVD titles, including the wacky Animation & Marchen series, My Female Teacher is my Pet 2, and Make a Guess of your Friend's private parts.
Remember that J-List is having a special $1 shipping sale on all English translated dating-sim games. This allow you to get a great deal on a bunch of the best dating-sims ever and save a bundle. Buy 4 or more titles and you get 20% off automatically through the shopping cart, too.