Japan is facing a serious population problem, with its birthrate of just 1.25 children per woman culminating in the first shrinkage of the national population last year. The reasons so few babies are being born are many. Part of the problem is over-urbanization and concrete sprawl -- if you lived in one of the massive "rabbit hutch" apartment buildings in Tokyo that strongly resemble Borg Cubes, you wouldn't want to have eight kids either. Changing social patterns is another part of the equation, as women become empowered and learn to say no to marriages in which communication with their husbands involves little more than meshi! furo! neru! (dinner! bath! sleep!). The other day I was bouncing around some blogs written by foreigners living in Japan, and I noticed something: a high number of them were written by proud gaijin men or women who had found a Japanese spouse and were beaming with joy over their newborn children. A high number of these couples seemed to have two or three kids, too, which is more than the average Japanese couple (usually just one). Maybe, I thought, the answer to Japan's quandary is for Japanese to embrace kokusai kekkon, or international marriage, promoting marriage between Japanese and people from other countries. Maybe the addition of "ingredient X" that people not born in Japan would bring to relationships would stimulate a "renaissance of love" of some kind in Japanese society. Foreigners like you and me might just hold the key to saving Japan! J-List is doing our part to bring Japanese and gaijin around the world together, of course, with our "Looking for a Japanese Girlfriend/Boyfriend" and "Kiss Me I'm Gaijin" T-shirts, and our newest "eye chart" shirt that might just serve as a conversation starter for that someone special.
Japan is the land of the boom, as they say, and you never know what will end up being popular. Japan can be a stressful place, and this year people have hit on a unique way to relieve that stress: coloring in coloring books! A whole line of popular books which let you recreate famous works of art with a variety of materials -- from crayons to professional colored pencils to paints -- while developing your own style and relaxing at the same time. We've got some of these on the site now, so if you're looking for a unique way to remove your daily stress, a high quality coloring book that lets you recreate the world's best art might be just the ticket!
The new 2007 calendars are here! Every year J-List carries hundreds of Japanese anime, JPOP/JROCK, gorgeous idol and other calendars from Japan, and we're happy to announce the the main volley of our calendars have arrived and are posted to the site. These extra-large glossy calendars are the most beautiful you will ever see, printed on thick poster-size paper stock that will look great all year and beyond. These are preorder calendars: make your order and we'll hold it until the items you ordered come in, which should be in October or November. We've got about 75 new calendars posted for preorder now, with many outstanding calendars for 2007, including the Studio Ghibli calendar (with all new art); calendars by virtually every gorgeous Japanese model you could name, from Yuko Ogura to Aki Hoshino to Yua Aida; fantastic calendars for popular anime like Bleach, Naruto, and Full Metal Alchemist; the most popular male stars in Japan like Gackt; and much more. This year the coveted "CL1" top spot goes to the gorgeous Kumi Koda, the stylish JPOP star who has had a fabulous year, and we've got her dynamite calendar, too. Because these calendars aren't sold outside of the domestic market, they're a really special way to bring a piece of Japan home with you all throughout 2007.
Remember that J-List has the most excellent selection of Domo-kun products from Japan you can ever find. Domo-kun is the official mascot of NHK, Japan's public broadcasting network, and he's become a cult favorite all around the world. Many of the items we have are of limited availability and will never be available again. Do you like the cute Domo-kun plush toys wearing samurai costume? Perhaps some of the cool Domo-kun straps that go on your phone, camera or keys look pretty cool? How about our really, really bg Domo-kun plush toys? All are among the Domo products that are nearly out of stock, and once they're gone, they'll be gone forever. Why not browse our Domo-kun product pages today?
More pictures from while we were in the U.S. My son and I got homesick for some sushi, so we headed to the Korean sushi restaurant. (There 's, um, a lot of Korean culture growing in San Diego.)
So far so good. The sushi guide looks the same.
Of course, you would never get kimchee with your sushi in Japan. Trust me on this one.
But ah, nothing goes so good with sushi as Asahi beer.... All in all the meal was good, if about 2x more expensive than in Japan. Turns out the lady was even Japanese, not Korean, but she had been so sure this gaijin buying sushi couldn't possibly speak Japanese, that we spoke only English until it was time to pay the bill. Silly.