Japan is a great place to live, although it's very different from the U.S. Certain concepts that are taken for granted around the world don't really apply here. One is the concept that the house you live in has value and the value goes up over time. In Japan, only land has value, and if you buy land that has a house on it already, you nearly always tear it down a build a new one -- who would want to live in a "used" house? Also, the way prices work can be strange. Japan has always operated on the odd economic principal that "the inflation rate is low, but the prices are already high to begin with." I don't understand why this statement can be true, but it is: for most of the past thirteen years, I haven't witnessed prices going up for anything at all -- and with the beginning of Japan's deflationary problems about three years ago, some prices have actually fallen. The odd inflation rule operates with respect to gasoline prices, too. In Japan, we've paid around 90 cents for a liter of gas for quite a few years, which works out to $3.25 a gallon or so. The current problems in Iraq haven't had that much of an effect on prices here -- they've only gone up a little, to around $1 a liter or $3.60 a gallon. That sounds expensive by American standards, but Japan is a lot smaller place...
There are several ways to learn a second language, such as the Communicative Method (learning by communicating verbally), Total Physical Response (the teacher issues orders and the students obey, like playing Simon Says), and the Natural Approach (trying to learn language skills in the same way children acquire them). Japanese usually practice what's called the Grammar/Translation Method, learning by translating to and from Japanese, and while it may help their understanding of English grammar and vocabulary, it's a poor way to learn how to interact verbally in a language. Yet there are downsides to being "naturally" bilingual, like my kids, who grew up hearing English from me and came to understand it as a separate thing completely from Japanese. As a result, they can function well enough in either language, but if you ask them how to say a certain English word in Japanese, they might have trouble making the conversion -- they lack links between the Japanese side of their brains and the English side. Studying a language is fun because you end up learning a lot about how the human brain works!
Long time J-List customers know that in the fall, J-List carries hundreds of really amazing Japanese calendars, printed in huge glossy sheets of paper. We go out of our way to carry all the great anime, JPOP, idol, traditional and other calendars. Unfortunately the window for ordering these calendars is very short, usually about a month or so. We've posted our first 2005 calendars to the site, including traditional calendars of beautiful Japanese scenery, temples and shrines, beautiful actresses in kimonos, the "joy of sushi" and more. We'll get the anime/jpop calendars posted as soon as this year's material comes in, around the beginning of September or so.
Look for various improvements to the J-List site. First, we're hoping to go live with the new shopping cart very soon, and we think you'll love the new features. We've updated the website with better pictures of the new Lasonic region free DVD players we offer, including pictures of the remote controls, so customers interested in the units can see what they look like better. And we've tweaked our RSS/XML feed to allow you to view product images right inside the feed, if your reader supports it.
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for fans of beautiful traditional Japanese things, we've got more gorgeous Japanese wooden geta shoes for women -- they're gorgeous, suitable for wearing or displaying in your home
- Next, an excellent Kubrick toy line based on the very popular Batman Animated Series -- full sets of this cool toy series are in stock
- Shirow fans, we've got the Innocence Roman Album and 2501 Roman Album from the fantastic Ghost in the Shell movie that will be in theatres in the U.S. soon
- We've got some new photobooks for Japan's charming swimsuit idols like Yuko Ogura
- For fans of the G-Taste series, we've got a great limited figure of Mai Kannazuki, created by Hiroki Yagami
- Fans of our Japanese snacks, enjoy tasty Curl in rare flavors that aren't normally available, as well as yummy March of the Koalas, Ume Sake candy, and more
- Also, look for fresh stock of one of our most popular products, Lotte Black Black caffeine gum, loved by students and truck drivers who must stay awake
- Next, a nifty item for your bicycle: an all-purpose case that fits under the seat
- For your kitchen, a treat: a Hello Kitty pasta canister that's really cute
- Keep track of your month with two handy hang-up calendars we've got -- there are pockets that hold papers with the days printed on them so you can change each month easily
- We positively love the miniature toys and models from Japan, called candy toys since you usually get some kind of candy inside the box -- from Furuta, we've got a great collection of World War II ships including the most famous battleships and aircraft carriers
- We love unique and rare stationary goods from Japan, and we've got a super "ergonomic wood scent" pen that's great to hold and use
- Sailor Moon fans, we've got the new DVD of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, the tongue-in-cheek live-action show that's a tribute to all fighting team shows (e.g. Power Rangers)
- Studying Japanese? Why not check out the Chobits Bilingual manga, which feature English and Japanese right on the page
- Finally, find more chopsticks, restocked Japan Hot Wheels cars, and various other wacky and cute things from Japan!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. The new items include:
- For lovers of Japanese women, enjoy the new issue of Do-Up!, a magazine featuring natural Tokyo girls in love hotels
- Also, we have the gorgeous new issue of Motto Yasashiku Shite, or Please Be More Gentle With Me
- For fans of gorgeous Japanese photobooks, check out the new offering by Saki Seto, a charming and vibrant Japanese sexy idol
- Also, we've restocked many photobook items, including Yoko Matsugane, Alice Ogura's "Alice in Love Place," Aoi Sora's lovely "Solax" and more
- Then enjoy the gorgeous Rin Kyoka who shows you her "excellent onanist" photographs
- For our H manga customers, enjoy some great new books, including a new Electronic Love Princess game girl manga, a super comic of nurse themed naughtiness by Angel Comics, and more
- Also: a fabulous all color manga size edition of Yui Shop, by Yui Toshiki, one of the most celebrated H illustrators in Japan
- Restocked manga include almost a dozen books, including Past Princess, Junks, Chijo Maku and many more
- Also, we've got another volley of cool brand-new doujinshi for you, with many great new books in stock
- Fans of bishoujo games: J-List stocks dozens of great games, including the classic titles by Himeya Soft. We've restocked several popular titles for you to enjoy
- For our DVD customers, enjoy some great new works, starting with a "21st Century Onanie Collection" featuring hot models like Asuka Sawaguchi, Miwa Matsuura and Akira Watase showing you how they pleasure themselves (region free)
- Then we've got a great work from Soft on Demand starring the current top JAV idol, Nana Natsume (region free)
- Also from SOD, Tokyo girls are asked to step inside the Magic Mirror mobile AV studio and put on itsy bitsy teeny weenie bikinis while the camera watches (region free)
- From Waap Entertainment, enjoy the "naughty diary" of Aya Fuji who works hard to satisfy her happy fans (region 2)
- Then from Moodyz, an interesting 4 hour "international production exploring back-door love -- featuring two American gals too (region 2)
- We've added a bunch more DVDs to our special free shipping sale -- check out these great titles
- Finally, look for several newly restocked discs, including Aoi Sora Self Product, Bunko Kanazawa's great 180 minute DVD release, SOD's Make A Guess of Your Friend's body, and Miki Sawaguchi's amazing DVD.
The "Top 5" lists have been updated for the past week, allowing you to see which products other J-List customers are buying. The links show you the top 10 products for each category.
Do you love the anime films of Hayao Miyazaki? Remember that J-List stocks all the excellent region 2 DVD releases for Studio Ghibli movies like My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky Laputa, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and more. These DVDs are released in Japan directly by the studio and include many features that make them great for collectors. All releases are multi-disc and feature English subtitles and/or dubbed tracks and are great for fans who want the definitive versions of these anime classics overseen by Mr. Miyazaki himself. The only catch is, you need a region free DVD player to watch them -- and J-List humbly recommends the excellent units we currently have in stock.
Like Star Trek or the Lord of the Rings? Then logic dictates that you see the video of Mr. Spock singing the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins if you haven't yet. I found a link here: http://www.game-revolution.com/download/trickyl/goodies/Video/baggins.mov . Quicktime required.