Ever heard of Zena, Yunker and Aspara? They're Japanese energy drinks, a major category of product in Japan that promises to improve your health, remove tiredness and give you the energy you need to be successful in business. Although the small single-serving bottles usually provide nothing more than caffeine and vitamins in a sweet syrup, the marketing muscle behind the drinks has turned them into a consumer sub-culture, Japan style. The first health drink was Lipovitan, released in 1962 by Taisho Pharmaceutical, and it's still the industry leader, with a staggering 2 million bottles sold every day. For four decades Lipovitan's TV commercials featuring a pair of burley men who cry out "Faito! Ippatsu!" ("Fight! One more push!") as they perform some athletic activity have been as famous as Mr. Whipple. Back in the 90s another Japanese energy drink, Regain, served as a symbol of the differences between Japan, Inc. and the U.S. In addition to giving you back your "genki" (pep), some energy drinks promise to revitalize men (wink wink) with Chinese herbs, cure your cold symptoms, and remove your hangover in record time. Governor Arnold also made a splash when he appeared in ads for Arinimin V back in the early 90s. See one of his silly CMs here: http://homepage.mac.com/alan31/clips/schwarz4.mov (Quicktime required).
You probably know some of the Japanese name suffixes that are used at the end of names. The most famous is -san, which is added to the names for politeness (e.g. Fujita-san). Two other suffixes that are heard often are -kun and -chan, for boys and girls respectively, used to refer to children or close friends (e.g. Taro-kun, Hanako-chan). One suffix that comes up in anime frequently is -sama, for addressing high-ranking persons, samurai lords and so on. Actually, -sama is rarely used in regular Japanese life except in certain situations (addressing letters, for example). There are several polite phrases that have the -sama suffix in them, though, such as "otsukare sama deshita" ("job well done," said at the end of the work day) and "gochisou sama deshita" (lit. "it was a feast," said when you're finished eating).
I remember first coming to Japan back in 1992, totally dazed at everything around me as I struggled to find my "gaijin legs." Happily, I met many other foreigners who helped me out and showed me the ropes about living in Japan. One of the people I met was a local American who is kind of the "First Foreigner" in our prefecture, who came to live in Japan during the Vietnam era as a conscientious objector and has stayed here ever since. When I met him he'd lived in Japan for sixteen years or so, and at the time I was amazed that anyone could live away from his home country for so long -- of course, now I've been here for thirteen years myself. He's quite a famous local personality -- he writes articles for the local newspaper and also had a local radio talk show, mainly because he'd been here so long.
At J-List, we love Shirow Masamune and carry dozens of products. Among the most popular Shirow items are his poster books and art books, which feature his remarkable female characters and illustrations. Issued along with his posterbooks are Shirow trading cards which are very hard to get, because they're only available by mail to people living in Japan. Through the hard work of the J-List staff we've obtained stock of these excellent laminated trading cards for J-List customers, along with very cool binders to put them in. Get your Shirow cards before they're gone!
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- For Macross fans, enjoy a dynamite item: "book figures" (glossy art books that come with boxed figures) of Lynn Minmay and Mylene Jenius
- We love the cute "Nyanko" series of cat toys from San-X -- now enjoy cute kitty fast food with kitty cats cooked inside, with the new Nyanko Burger series
- Hello Kitty fans, we've added a new color of cool desktop vacuum cleaner, which removes dust and dirt from your computer area or desk and looks darned cute
- Fans of the classic video game Dragonquest, we've got a great candy toy series of the characters (full sets in stock)
- Japanese idol fans, we've added some nice photobooks of popular swimsuit models like Yuko Ogura
- Japan is going wild over frogs, and we have a cool Frog Style plush toy for you
- Also, a traditional frog item: a gorgeous windchime from the Frog Style line -- hang it up and listen to the
- We have authentic chopsticks made of bamboo, and very easy to eat with
- We've got tasty snacks for you, including traditional cakes from northern Japan, Lion cola candy, soft vitamin C candy and more
- Next, a great parody item from Japan: a memo holder in the shape of the famous peeing statue in Belgium, which is incredibly famous here for some reason
- Study Japanese with the excellent Chobits and Ghost in the Shell bilingual manga, which feature both Japanese and accurately translated English right on the page
- Always have a place to sit with a handy tripod chair, which folds up for easy storage and is very small
- Finally, look for various restocked items, including snacks, wacky things from Japan, kitchen items, more collection boxes for your miniature toys, and more!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. The new items include:
- For fans of Japan's famous 18+ magazines, enjoy the new issue of Urecco, filled with startlingly beautiful Japanese girls, professionally photographed in high style
- Also, enjoy the new issue of Yappari Hitozuma Dechu, or "You know, I really like married women after all"
- For photobook fans, enjoy the delightful hardcover offering of Arisa Oda, a beautiful angel from Japan
- Also, we've got a dynamite special sexy idol photobook from Sabra, which comes with a fabulous DVD for you to enjoy (region 2)
- For fans of H manga, enjoy some great new works, including a comic about very mature girls from Mujin Comics, a sexy "watermelon announcer" from Toen Comics, and a great
- Also, a shockingly beautiful color large-format art book/manga by the famous LINDA, Hitozumania
- There's plenty of back-in-stock manga too, including Black Mass 1 & 2, popular works from Shiwasu no Okina, Queen Bee, Amazoness, and the fabulous Take On Me
- Doujinshi collectors, we haven't forgotten you: look for some great new doujinshi books in stock
- For yaoi fans, we've added fresh stock of several popular books, including Lord of the Boy's Dorm and You're My Love Prize in Viewfinder
- For our DVD customers, we have some truly amazing products for you today, starting with a new Aoi Sora offering (region free)
- Next, enjoy a dynamite new product by famous director Hajime: the gorgeous girls who work at Roppongi's cabaret clubs show you their "whale spouting" (region free)
- Then enjoy a great Nao Oikawa special by Soft on Demand, featuring her most memorable performances ever -- a 4 hour disc! (region free)
- Then enjoy a bold new "Zenra" offering from Moodyz -- gorgeous Chinese acrobats who perform amazing gymnastic feats in the buff (region 2)
- From Waap Entertainment, a new Star Box offering featuring the "cutie mermaid" Mai Sakashita (region 2)
- Finally, newly restocked DVDs include Y-Setsu Model, more Gock'n Roll "gokkun" titles, the Ai Kurosa vs. Mai Sakashita Battle Tournament, Akira Watase's lovely see-through DVD, and more!
Remember that J-List stocks a wide range of cool DVDs from Japan including Japanese films that don't get distributed outside of Japan (complete with English subtitles, in most cases) to the world-famous anime films of Hayao Miyazaki. The newest Miyazaki film is The Cat Returns, the story of a girl's amazing journey to the World of Cats. While most of our adult DVDs are "region free," anime DVDs from Japan are zoned for region 2, so you'll need a region-free DVD player unless you have one already -- we humbly suggest the three excellent units we stock. We hope you'll check out our selection of Japanese DVDs!