Here are today's "really cool products" that I've picked out for you, out of the 30+ new items we've added to the J-List and JBOX.com sites today. Note that some products may be "not safe for work" but that all links will allow you to redirect yourself either to the J-List or JBOX.com websites. To see all the J-List products, check out J-List or the JBOX.com updated products link.We hope you had a wonderful Christmas holiday, wherever you are in the world. We had a great day, complete with turkey, lots of champagne and authentic Yorkshire Pudding.
It's interesting, being in the U.S. with my Japanese family and observing how my kids are taken over by their "American personalities" the longer they stay here. The Japanese have a saying to the effect that boys will take after their mother and girls will be like their father, an idea which I'd poo-poo'ed as a superstition until our kids were born. Our son is very Japanese, and although he has a lot of knowledge of English to draw on, he's often so shy about making mistakes that he'll refuse to open his mouth at all, a lot like his Japanese mother. My daughter takes after me, though: she seems very American in all that she does, and she's never shy about opening her mouth to speak English. While my son gets along quite well in Japan, my daughter's "American-ness" sometimes causes minor problems for her in her school, with the many meaningless rules she has to follow getting her down at times. All of these problems go out the window here in America, where (as seen from our Japanese life, at least), anything goes -- a person can do anything and be anything they want, and our daughter is positively glowing here in the States. One of the biggest rules in Japan is "act your age" (ii toshi shite), and generally speaking, people do what's expected of them according to their age group, which usually doesn't involve collecting Star Wars toys into their thirties. When my mother bought me a cool remote controlled R2-D2 toy for Christmas, my wife commented that it'd be very rare to find a Japanese man my age receiving a gift like that.
One aspect of living in Japan every foreigner must come to terms with is sitting on the floor. The Japanese do a lot of floor sitting, and even the most modern Western-style house will probably have at least one traditional Japanese-style room with tatami mats. One of my favorite things in Japan is the kotatsu, a low table with a heater inside and a blanket between the frame and the tabletop, which lets you get warm by sticking your legs inside. Since Japanese homes lack central heating, and it'd be far too expensive to heat the whole house anyway, kotatsu are very economical, as you're only heating a small space used by several people at once. They're also great for improving family life, since everyone will jam their legs inside and have a conversation rather than scattering around the house to do their own thing. The only negative to kotatsu? When Jiichan (grandfather) has flatulence inside the blanket part, causing a huge problem for everyone.
Each country in the world has what the Japanese call kokumin-sei, a kind of "national personality" or a list of traits that most people from that country tend to share. For example, Americans are seen by the Japanese as being optimistic almost to fault, believing that virtually any problem can be solved. We're also extremely friendly, even with people we don't know well, which can be hard for them to understand. The Japanese kokumin-sei is quite unique, too. In general, Japanese tend to be very peaceful, and go out of their way to avoid conflict with others. They're concerned with the image Japan presents to the world, and some major construction projects such as Japan's first bullet trains were done partially to make foreigners oo and ah when they came for the 1968 Tokyo Olympics. Also, most Japanese tend to be extremely modest, and it can be surprising when Westerners compliment a Japanese on their English ability, only to have them vehemently deny the remark. In my single days, I traveled all around Japan, hitchhiking or riding trains (there's a cool ticket called "Youth 18" which lets you ride as far as you want for $24, a bargain as long as you don't mind riding the slow local trains for 16 hours a day). Once, I encountered a boy and his mother while traveling near Hiroshima, and as we talked, the boy was going on and on about how baka (stupid) he was, so stupid that he'd never amount to anything at all. It surprised me to hear anyone talk like this about himself, much less an educated youth from one of the world's richest countries, but I realized later it was a kind of polite self-effacing that didn't mean much.
J-List is loaded to the gills with amazing anime, JPOP, sexy bikini idol, traditional photograph, and other fun calendars like sushi and bento. These calendars are printed for the Japanse domestic market and are hard to find outside of Japan, but we've got an incredible selection for you still. And starting right now, all calendars come with free mailing tubes, making it an even better reason to buy. Check out our Japanese calendars now!
HEAVEN -- Leah Dizon. Leah Dizon is a huge star in Japan, famous for her beautiful face and body. This is a great photobook with included DVD, a rare item for her fans issued only in Japan. Delicious New Snacks. We've got great new Japanese snacks for you too, including Princess Soft Chocolate from Lotte, delicious Mont Blanc cakes, and a fabulous item, Meiji Green Tea Macadamia Chocolate, a super item for matcha fans. The Tokyo Look Book: Stylish to Spectacular, Goth to Gyaru, Sidewalk to Catwalk. Here's an interesting book that introduces you to the world of Japanese popular culture and fashion as seen through many eyes. Loaded with great images of Japan's cool under-culture. Ultimate Action Evangelion DX Trading Figures. Eva fans, here's a set of really cool figures from the coolest and most influential anime of the past decade. A great set of five different detailed figures, EVA units and Angels for them to fight. Fraulein Revoltech #003 Soryu Asuka Langley ~ Neon Genesis Evangelion *Preorder*. The excellent Fraulein Revoltech series continues, featuring Asuka from Evangelion, rendered in a beautiful and extremely flexible form that can be bent into any shape. Edge II ~ Samurai in the Future. Here's a memorable artbook loaded with color images of samurai culture at its best, with vibrant and beautiful images of Japan's famous warriors from 30 different artists, including Katsuya Terada, Satoi Yuiga, and Mobius (!). Gunnm Another Stories Limited Edition ~ Gally Original Action Figure. Here's a really special item, a thick manga volume of Battle Angel Alita (aka "Gunnm") with side stories for you to enjoy. It comes with the beautiful figure of Alita rendered in a fully posable body. Gundam Soundrop Aoi Kyosei ver. -- Full Set of 8. Gundam is to the Japanese as Star Wars is to the rest of the world, and no one male child born between 1968 and 2007 grows up without loving the original series. Here's a new Soundrop voice keychain that plays the most popular lines from the series when you press the buttons. Poop Bath Light ~ Dr. Slump Unchi-kun. The Japanese are big fans of "unchi" (poop) as a bringer of good luck. Here's a light-up poop that you can put in the bath, or just about anywhere else you like. This is the strangest item we've carried in a long time -- enjoy! Kitty Aroma Ball -- Pink with Polka Dot Bow ~ Premium Scent. We just love the Kitty Aroma Ball series of scented Hello Kitty objets d'art, and this is a great new item, with a new bow color and a premium new scent. Put it in your car, bathroom or cubicle. Natsukashii Winter Figure Display ~ Lucky Cat & KOTATSU - Nostalgic Shop. A "kotatsu" is a small Japanese table with a blanket in between the frame and the tabletop, and you put your legs inside to keep toasty warm. As you can imagine, cats really love these things. Here's a great display item featuring a cute Lucky Cat with a Kotatsu table. Haikyo Hyoryu - Images of Destruction in Japan. There are many fans of "modern ruins" in Japan, enjoying he special eeriness of recently abandoned buildings which are riddled with their own unique ghosts. This book is an awesome new addition to this category. New Year's Decoration ~ SHIMENAWA & SHISHIMAI. New Year's is coming soon, and you can decorate your home with these great traditional New Year's decorations. Hang them on your door for good luck in the new year! Preorder Figures Ready For Shipping. Some great anime figures we'd had posted for preorder have come in, including the awesome Aya Red Bikini and Aya Black Bikini (that cowboy hat and samurai sword!) and Louise from Zero no Tsukaima. Study Items. Got some good study items back in stock for you, including the comprehensive bilingual guide to Eating in Japan, and another multi-language book, Japanese Nuance in Plain English. "Nikyoro" Bento Boxes, Chopsticks, Bento fans know that J-List has the best selection anywhere. Today we're restocking the fun Nikyoro (from "niko niko" meaning smiling, and "kyoro kyoro" meaning looking around from left to right) bento boxes as well as the Modern Chopsticks and Aluminum Sliding Case. DVD MAX special 2005. An outstanding photo magazine from Japan that's jammed full of the best JAV stars for you to drool over. Also comes with a super DVD for you, with 130 minutes of fantastic performances by these superstars. Ura SAYAKA -- Sayaka Uchida / Sayaka Numajiri. See the "other side" or two lovely girls named Sayaka, Sayaka Uchida and Sayaka Numajiri, two great tastes that taste great together in this dynamite photobook release. New Manga Volumes. Today's new "H" include some really nice ones, with A Flower Blooms in the Darkness, a story with sci-fi / Fantasy "ero" themes you will love, and the lip-licking Pearl Rose from Megastore Comics and artist Tokie. Big Oppai Zoom Up -- Ai Sayama. Ai-chan wants you to look at her, and with her fantastic "H" cup (heh) that's what you will be doing plenty of in her new release from Alice Japan.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Comparing my kids Japanese and American personalities, more on what makes Japanese people tick, and all about sitting on the floor in Japan
Monday, December 24, 2007
Thoughts on Christmas in Japan vs. America, my surprising first Christmas in Japan, and Japanese food for poor single men
Well, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and we're all getting ready for a wonderful Christmas around here. My family got in from Japan a few days ago, and the kids are fully into "American Christmas mode," shaking all the presents to try to guess what's inside. The holiday is a relatively recent cultural import to Japan, and Christmas there can be a little different from what you may be used to. To the Japanese, Christmas is usually more of an excuse to have a fun party than a solemn time for family, or more recently, an extra reason for parents and grandparents to spoil the kids by getting them something from Toys "R" Us. Christmas Eve is also a day for lovers to go on that special date, generally considered more important than Valentine's Day, and if you want to take your sweetheart out to a nice restaurant you might have to plan ahead a few months.
I'll never forget my first Christmas in Japan. I'd not expected the Japanese to be very religious, so after arriving in my city I was surprised to find myself surrounded by a kind community of Japanese Baptists who ran a friendly church complete with a kindergarten for the local children. I enjoyed observing my new friends and seeing how similar they were to folks in the U.S. -- there seemed to be no differences at all, other than the language. In the grand tradition of Americans living in Japan, I was asked to play "Santa-san" for the kids, and I had great fun ho-ho-ho'ing as I handed out presents, as always being careful to speak only English, since that's what language Santa Claus presumably speaks. (I've since donned Santa suits dozens of times -- there must be something especially Christmassy about my personality as seen from the Japanese point of view.) I was of course surprised to find that Dec. 25th wasn't even a holiday in Japan, and driving in a traffic jam on that particular day takes some getting used to, I can tell you. One unfortunate aspect of Christmas for foreigners who haven't been "in country" too long is homesickness, since Dec. 25th is always a hard day to be away from family, no matter where you are in the world. Bottom line, Japan is a nice place, but the best place to enjoy Christmas is home with the people you love. All of us at J-List sincerely wish you and your loved ones a wonderful and warm Christmas holiday this year!
Merry Christmas from J-List and illustrator Shikei (creator of Snow Drop)
I'll never forget my single days back in college, surviving on foods like frozen waffles, Campbell's soup, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and that great friend to the pool college student, Top Ramen, which could be had for 3 for $1 back in the day. Japan has its own varieties of "bachelor food" too, so easy to make that even a single guy could handle it. First and foremost is the category known as "cup ramen," which seems to be as close to the hearts of Japanese consumers as cold cereal is to Americans. There are hundreds of varieties, from cheap noodles in a styrofoam bowl to the high-end "nama type" noodles which are fresh, not dehydrated, for a more authentic ramen experience. Next comes Bon Curry, boil-in-bag curry that allows you single men who can't prepare Japan's staple dish from scratch to enjoy it nonetheless. Poor men living alone love to eat "sea chicken" (tuna fish) mixed with mayonnaise spread over rice with a dollop of soy sauce, too. Japan is a country that puts great store in doing things the "proper" way, and when it comes to a single man (or woman) living alone, this is defined by cooking rice using a rice cooker on a daily basis. When I was living alone, everyone I knew would ask me "Are you cooking rice for yourself everyday, as you should?" almost as a greeting, not unlike "How are you?" They were invariably amazed that a foreigner could wash and prepare rice for himself without help.
Looking for a special last-minute gift for someone on your list? Then look no further than a J-List Gift Certificate, which lets you send a great personalized gift in any amount to the person of your choice. The PDF-based gift card is fully customizable with a message from you, and it can be sent by email either to you or directly to your recipient. We also think the Japan iTunes Prepaid Music Cards are an awfully great gift to get someone who digs Japanese music, and since they can be sent via email too, there's no time delay. The J-List staff are working extra hours to process these orders as they come in, for extra fast processing, so order now!
Here are today's "really cool products" that I've picked out for you, out of the 30+ new items we've added to the J-List and JBOX.com sites today. Note that some products may be "not safe for work" but that all links will allow you to redirect yourself either to the J-List or JBOX.com websites. To see all the J-List products, check out J-List or the JBOX.com updated products link.
New Japanese Snacks. We've got some really great J-Snacks for you, including Mushroom Mountain in Caramel and Macadamia flavor, Meiji Chelsea candies (Hokkaido Milk), and a delicious item, Morinaga Koeda in Kiman Tea Flavor. Re-ment "Let's Go! Panda Class". Re-Ment is the company that makes really cute miniature toys, and the new series features something really cute: panda bears who are going to school. And baby pandas are definitely the cute thing for Christmas 2007. Cinnamoroll Shaped Lunch Box. We've got a cool new item for bento fans: a Japanese lunch box shaped like Cinnamoroll, the cute new character from Sanrio who makes you think of delicious cinnamon rolls. Comes with dual compartments for separating your food nicely. My Melody Curry & Stew Plate. Then, we've gotten in these super-cute Curry & Stew Plates featuring My Melody. These are deep plates especially made for enjoying foods like curry and stew, two treats the Japanese love to eat. Some Cool Traditional Items. Another nice item: phone straps featuring Ninja Swords on the ends, which you can attach to your cell phone, keys, Nintendo DS, PSP, or just about anything. Restocked Chocobo Plush -- White Mage ver. Chocobo is the super-cute character from the Final Fantasy games, and we've restocked our cute White Mage versions. A very huggable item from Japan! Progressive Knife Replica *Preorder*. Here's a rare item for the Evangelion fan: a replica of the weapons the EVAs used for close combat, rendered in safe PVC and plastic materials. Available for preorder now. Totoro *Jumbo* Playing Cards. My kids and I like playing card games (called "trump" in Japanese, using the British term), and these extra large Totoro playing cards are really great for large or small hands. I recommend them. Various Stationery Items. See some stationery items back in stock, including authentic origami paper (150 sheets included!) as well as tape that helps you learn hiragana -- fun! Finally, Restocked Snacks. Lots of snacks back in stock today, including the hugely popular "Melty" Kit Kat in Apple flavor as well as Vanilla Beans Kit Kat, Almond Crush Pocky, and Pretz in Tomato and Green Tea flavor! Sola Aoi in Doll House. How cool would it be to have the gorgeous Sola Aoi (aka Sora Aoi) trapped in a miniature doll house, going about her daily routine of bathing, getting dressed while you watched in through the windows? That's a question we'll leave up to the philosophers. New Manga Volumes. Today's new works include Ero Wife Communication, featuring plenty of experienced married women being naughty, and Love Affair, featuring eleven individual stories of extremely satisfying "H." Idol Forever -- Kyoko Ayana, Monbu Ran, Mai Sakashita. Next, enjoy three of the hottest JAV idols of the past, re-mastered to bring you the most detail possible. Big "oppai" queen Kyoka Ayana, delicious Ran Monbu (whose name sounds like the French dessert Mont Blanc) and the fabulous Mai Sakashita, are all waiting for you.