Without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable things about living in Japan is taking in all the funny English that comes my way. Although mistakenly-used English is often the result of translators with more self-confidence than actual linguistic ability, a lot of amusing English comes in the form of products sold by companies that can presumably afford to hire native speakers to check things. Some of these wacky product names are known to people outside Japan, for example, the most popular brand of powered milk for your coffee is Creap, short for "creamy powder," and Pocari Sweat, which brings to mind the image of floating on a cloud (pokkari) after a hard day's exercise. (Note: the product contains no sweat ^_^) Some other products that have caused snickering by gaijin living here have included Beaver and Woody, two separate air conditioning systems sold by Mitsubishi, which apparently has some wise guys working in their new products department. Japanese snacks are often named strangely, with Crunky, Asse or Meltykiss being good examples. Some other funny-sounding products that I've seen include Birdy, a canned coffee apparently aimed at golfers; Toyota's Carina ED, which was taken out of the market when ED came to stand for something else entirely; and the popular homogenized fish sausage from the Maruzen Corporation with the unbelievable name of Homo Sausage. Ah, Japan, don't you ever stop being so wacky.
The world is officially in "Holiday mode" now, and Japan is no exception. Here you can celebrate the season in a unique way, with your very own solid gold statue of St. Nicholas. A famous shop in Tokyo's Ginza area is selling the 24-carat gold image of "Santa-san" (as the Japanese usually call him), complete with a gold-mesh bag full of gold coins, to well-heeled collectors. The idea is that owning something made of gold will bring good luck, although it seems to me if you can afford the $1.8 million for the golden Santa you've already had more than your fair share. The Japanese have historically been big fans of gold -- Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who rose from a peasant farmer to the de facto ruler of Japan, built a tea room made of gold -- and you can see that many of the omamori and other traditional good luck charms that J-List sells have gold imagery incorporated into them in some way, for example the gold coin (called a koban) around the neck of the famous Lucky Cat.
J-List has more than 4000 excellent reasons to check the site this weekend, as we're just loaded to the gills with great products and gift ideas for your loved ones, from Totoro blankets to plush toys to delicious Japanese snacks to our Japanese T-shirts and warm hoodies and more. J-List has the fun and exciting items that the people on your list will really love and remember all year long. We've beefed up our stock of virtually every product we carry and have also added extra staff, allowing us to ship items out to you as quickly and efficiently as possible. Let J-List help make this a really great Christmas for everyone important to you this year!