The "OASIS" sign. Actually, the leftmost characters have faded due to the sun beating down on them, in case you're puzzling out the hiragana.
One thing I've noticed about Japanese parents: they are usually quite concerned about the well-being of their kids, and many involve themselves with their children's education more than I've seen in the U.S. Whenever I drive somewhere in my city I pass many signs that have been put up by the local junior high school PTA, which basically encapsulate a lot of the joshiki (universal common sense) that Japanese usually share on subjects like how to raise kids right. The slogans are usually general statements like "overprotective parents are the cause of weak children" and "those who don't show respect to their own mother and father won't receive it from their children." Recently I came across another interesting slogan, which used the four syllables of the English word "OASIS" (pronounced oh-AH-shi-su in Japanese) to remind readers of four phrases children should always be taught to say. They are ohayo gozaimasu ("good morning," as it's always important to greet others cheerfully in Japanese society), arigato gozaimasu ("thank you very much"), shitsurei shimashita ("excuse me," said when leaving a teacher's room as a sign of respect) and sumimasen deshita ("I'm sorry," said in apology when you've done something wrong). One of my life's goals is to drive down every street in my city and make notes on all these PTA signs, and compile them for the web, but I can't seem to find the time.
It seems Japan can always surprise you. Now a small brewery in Tokyo has created a non-achoholic beer for kids, called Kodomo no Beer, so kids can enjoy the fun of drinking a frosty one with Dad after a dip in the hot springs. See it here.
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.
Squall no Atode -- Sasa Handa ~ After the Squall. A nice example of the hardcover photobooks Japan is so good at making. Very nice printing, and a beautiful model who really catches your eye.
DVD Bomb vol. 2 Sep. 2005. I guess Bomb gets its name from words like "bombshell" which used to describe beautiful women. It's a popular mag dedicated to sexy bikini idols, and it never fails to please. This issue comes with a DVD, too -- wow. The magazine has been around for an amazing 27 years, which caused us to sit around and wonder what the bikini idols were like back in 1983.
Urecco May 2005.Enjoy Urecco's recently updated format, with improved photographic layouts and special surprises, such as in this issue, there's a mini photobook for you to remove and read. Urecco is the #1 adult magazine in Japan.
Mickey Mouse *Normal* Shaved Ice/Slushy Maker. This really caught my attention right away -- a large Disney slushy maker that is great for the summer. Open him up, put in ice cubes and juice, and shake! Hey, you could make some gnarly frozen marguaritas in this!
Level 2 -- The Path to Success-Practice Test. A good way to learn Japanese is to prepare for each level of the Japan Language Ability Test as you go up in level, and a good way to study for the test is with practice tests like this. A very nice tool for students.
Japanese T-shirt "Cheshire Cat Bus" (girl's fitted). As promised, here's a sexy fitted girl's tee of the Neko Bus from Totoro, Very cute, this will set you apart in a crowd!
Sora in Wonderland ~ Fushigi no Kuni no Aoi Sora (region 2). Alice in Wonderland in Japanese is Fushigi no Kuni no Alice, which translates as Alice of the Mysterious Country. Here's a sort of "H" parody of this by Sora Aoi, a Japanese adult film star who smiles and looks so happy all the time, it makes me feel bright inside.
The Costume Play Maid -- Shoko Goto. Shoko Goto's rampage continues, this time bringing her to try cosplay, the Japanese fetish of dressing up in costumes like waitress, maid and so on. P- Protoculture!
AMW M-280 7" Region Free Portable DVD Player *preorder*. We've sold region free DVD players for years on J-List, like our two Lasonic units costing $78 and $98. We'd looked for portable units before, but couldn't find any that we could honestly recommend to our customers. Now we've finally found a really good unit, which is sturdy and well built, packed with useful features, and has a great 7" screen. And the price is really great, too. Virtually everyone in the J-List office wants one!
My wife has returned from the U.S., so my time as a man with no wife and no kids has come to an end. But was fun for a while. I made sure to hit every Toys R Us in the prefecture for the Star Wars figures I needed. I actually found quite a lot.
A cute little sign I thought I'd grab a shot of. Japanese drivers are keen on idling their cars engines, leaving the engines running so the car will be warm when they come back. This is a sign asking them to stop this.
I found myself really getting into Star Wars Episode III, far more than I expected myself to. The figures were really made well, designs I could really respect, and several of the vehicles were also really excellent this time around (I picked up both Jedi Starfighters). I figure, I'm 37, and my son is 10, so I could do worse than wrap up an important time in my life by dropping a few hundred on toys and playing with
This is a limited edition Darth Vader done by Medicom Toy, of all people. I was surprised that they did this figure -- it's usually more of a Kotobukiya thing.
We do of course carry a lot of toys on J-List, but sometimes there are items that are cool, but not really right for our customers. Here's a collection of miniature toy cars of every Fairlady Z, that is, 280 Z series car, ever made by Nissan.
Speaking of toys, I couldn't resist the really nice light sabers from FX, and bought one of each for the kids. While we were fighting a mock battle, my daughter floored me by suddenly shouting "Godmode! Noclip! No target!" We'd played the Jedi Academy games and she knew the cheat codes. These things are so cool to play with, especially at night.