9. Sora (meaning sky)
8. Nana (meaning nothing in particular)
7. Rin (ditto)
6. Koko (ditto, just sounds cute)
5. Hana (flower)
4. Sakura (cherry blossom)
3. Marron (French word for chestnut)
2. Momo (peach)
Suki desu ka? One of the first useful words a student of Japanese learns is how to say "like" (suki), which is pronounced quickly so that it sounds rather like "ski," leading all students to immediately say Sukii ga suki desu ka? (Do you like to ski?), since the words sound similar. The word suki is often a student's introduction to the concept that a word or idea in one language might have many possible meanings in another language, depending on the situation. Right off the bat, suki can mean "like" (in the context of your favorite food or hobby) or "love" (when said in reference to another person). Like all Japanese words, there can be some ambiguity involved, which is the subject of more than a few melodramatic misunderstandings in anime or television dramas. "(I) like (it)" is Suki desu, and "Do (you) like (it)?" is Suki desu ka? Often Japanese speakers will fill in who is liking what (e.g. Boku wa ninjin ga suki desu, "I like carrots"), but it's usually too cumbersome to add all those words and grammatical particles when the person you're speaking to will understand what you mean anyway. Other phrases you might encounter include suki na hito ("a person you're in love with") and dai-suki (meaning "big like," for when you really like something), although guys should be careful about over-using the latter, since it tends to be onna-kotoba (language used by females). A couple of years ago I saw a variety show in which former JAV actress-turned-novelist Ai Iijima walked around New York, asking Americans Kyonyu suki? which sounds like "Can you ski?" in English, but is really asking if they prefer women with, er, shapely figures. It was funny to see the Americans on the show nodding their heads for the camera. Try it on your friends!
Mars is very close to the Earth right now, so I'm taking off early today, packing the kids into our Mazda Bongo Friendee and heading up to the mountains to visit the Gunma Prefectural Telescope, where we can go gaze at the heavens. See you when we get back!
Here are today's "really cool products" that I thought were especially noteworthy. Note: the J-List links below may be for adult products and should probably be considered "not safe for work." To see all the J-List products, check out J-List or the JBOX.com updated products link.
2006 Calendar -- Light of Beauty ~ Idols in Kimono. A nice calendar that's proven one of our most popular this year. Features lovely idols who usually wear sexy bathing suits, this time wearing kimonos.
2006 Calendar -- Gackt. Gackt is one of the brightest stars in Japan's JPOP world, a very talented singer who also designs in his spare time. Enjoy this calendar before we sell out again.
Cotton Swabs Moistened with Virgin Olive Oil (15 Sticks). We love to bring you wacky stuff from Japan. Here are cotton swabs that clean your ears with virgin olive oil. Smooth and satisfying.
Compact Folding Stereo Headphone -- White ~ Elecom. A nice pair of headphones from Elecom, they are handy, fold up into a very small package, match the iPod, and sound great.
Toy Story Baby Kub -- Medicom Toy. Babekub ("babe cube") is a breakaway line of toys from Medicom Toy's Kubrick line of block figures, the original block figures, actually. Very wacky and cute trio of Toy Story figures that should be of value to any collector.
Camomile -- Reiko Suho. Reiko Suho is one sweet woman, and here is her hardcover photobook. A very nice example of the high printing quality that you find in these photobooks from Japan.
Dreamy Days -- Yoko Kumada. Another popular lovely from Japan, Yoko Kumada is appearing more and more on TV, following in the footsteps of her senpai, Yuko Ogura.
idog -- My pet loves music, too! iDog (or idog, they can't seem to make up their mind) is a cute little robot dog that dances, communicates with you through colors, and is generally fun to have around.
Hiragana Times No. 224 Jun. 2005. One of the most popular magazines in our "reserve subscription" service, Hiragana Times is filled with bilingual article son contemporary Japan, with lots to learn, whether you read the articles in English or Japanese.
Tekoki Air-Line. A new fetish from Japan, SOD taps the rich vein of stewardess uniform lovers and crosses it with fans of tekoki (hand job). Where do they get the airplane to film this?
Thick and Strong Chopsticks for Men. We didn't name these chopsticks this, honest, it was printed on the package. These are really thick, hard, satisfying chopstick that are especially right for men. Trust us.
Mr. Cook *Red* -- Puchi Kitchen ~ Display for Re-Ment Puchi Sample Series. For those who need even more detailed miniature kitchen toys from Re-Ment, we bring you Mr. Cook, a cool replica of a sink and cupboards that you can open and store all your cool miniature food, plates, cups, and cleaning supplies in.
White Christmas Asuka I know, you can't believe they've made yet another pair of Rei and Asuka figures. Well, this time it's Rei and Asuka dressed as beautiful Christmas bunnies, and the figures are really outstanding. Put them next to your Rei and Asuka Tennis and Rei and Asuka Ninja figures.
A picnic up in the mountains. Our car is a Mazda Bongo Friendee, which is a really cool sort of MPV which has a top that opens up.
Us having our lunch in our car.
My son eating his bento. You can buy bento at convenience stores, which is quite convenience.
Trying to photograph my wife through the "communication hole" between the top section and bottom.