Saturday, November 20, 2010

Not Having to Learn Kanji for Every Place Name in the World Is, Well, Grand

Back when I was in college I visited the Grand Canyon, and happened to see a poster advertising an IMAX movie which showed the word for "Grand Canyon" in kanji. I mistakenly thought it was Japanese, but a friend who was with me said, "No, this is Chinese. We use katakana for foreign place names, never kanji." Japanese has three writing systems: hiragana, a syllabary for writing basic words and grammatical particles; katakana, a mirror of hiragana used for writing foreign loan words and names; and kanji, used for expressing complex meanings like "looking for a Japanese Girlfriend" or "Absolute Zone." By definition, the two kana writing systems are for sounds only, and have no inherent meaning, unlike kanji, which has both pronunciation and some meaning. While I'm happy I don't need to memorize kanji characters to write, say, "Los Angeles," I wonder if a tiny amount of poetry and beauty is not lost. One of the more entertaining viewings of Star Wars I've had was watching a copy with Chinese subtitles. Whereas words like "Death Star" or "the Force" are rendered in fairly boring katakana in Japanese, I found seeing what Chinese kanji had been assigned to these words to be quite entertaining.
On the left, gurando kyanion as it's called in Japanese, with Chinese kanji on the right.

The Most Popular Japanese Words of 2010

One thing you have to understand about the Japanese is, they like lists, such as the Three Beautiful Sights of Japan (Nihon Sankei) or the Three Famous Hot Springs (Sandai-onsen), and late-night TV shows that rank meaningless things like sausages sold in supermarkets are not hard to find. Educational publisher U-Can has released the list of the 60 words or phrases that most defined the past year in Japan, and it's fun to browse the list. The Internet slang word "nau" (the English word "now" but written in hiragana by lazy Twitter users) was on the list, as was moshi-dora, an abbreviation of the popular business book, "What If High School Baseball Managers Read Peter Drucker's 'Management'?" When the Washington Post called former Prime Minister Hashimoto "loopy" over his wide policy swings regarding the U.S. base on Okinawa, the word entered popular culture here rapidly. AKB48 was everywhere this year so they made the list, as did Tokyo Sky Tree, the under-construction tower that will be the tallest structure on Earth when completed in 2012. But my favorite entry on the list was ~ze yo, the archaic phrase used often in the popular NHK jidai-geki (period drama) Ryoma-den, the story of how Ryoma Sakamoto almost single-handedly set the stage for Japan's emergence as a modern nation. Set in Tosa (modern-day Koichi Prefecture, on the Japanese island of Shikoku) in the 1860s, the popularity of the show has millions of Japanese, including my own family, talking in archaic samurai-speak.
Aarchaic Tosa dialect has been all the rage this year.

The "Eyes of Others" and Conforming in Japan

When a foreigner comes to Japan, they usually try to catalog and analyize all the strange things they see, but this is not an easy task. When I first got here, one of my overall impressions of the country was that "everything was about death," since there were so many potential faux pas, such as sticking your chopsticks upright in your rice, that were related to funerals. One powerful engine at work in Japanese society is known as hito no me (hito no meh), lit. "the eyes of others," and much can be understood through this concept. When I got my first apartment, I was told that gomi (garbage) could only be put in the specified pickup area on Wednesday mornings. I worked late and tended to sleep in, so I figured it was okay to put my trash out the night before...but I soon learned that I'd broken a serious rule when the silent, disapproving eyes of all my neighbors fell on me, forcing me to conform. Back during my single days I used to take long trips by train using the "Youth 18" tickets that let you ride anywhere you want for $25, as long as you don't mind taking the slow local trains. Because I knew trains in urban areas get crowded, I brought along a little folding chair so I could sit down on the train if all the seats were taken. I'd forgotten about hito no me however. Since no one ever brings their own chairs onto a train, I found myself quite unable to do it, knowing how the disapproving stares of everyone in the train car would make me feel. (There's even an onomatopoeia "sound" of intense staring: jiiiiiiii!) I consider myself quite a rebel, but it would have taken more courage than I possess to unfold my chair and sit down on that train.
Sometimes it's impossible to avoid conforming to society.

Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas

We've switched on our awesome new site theme for the Holidays, and we hope you'll come check it out. Yes, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here -- we're packing so many orders it's actually difficult to get out the door in the evenings. Isn't this a great time to visit the site and see what awesome gifts you can find for the special people on your list this year, and beat the big rush that's coming? J-List is stuffed with awesome 2011 calendars, a huge stock of Totoro, Hello Kitty and San-X products, great gifts to make the one you love feel warm this winter, and more. J-List also has our Holiday Gift Guide -- why not browse it now?

Cool Products Saturday, November 20, 2010

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 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 websites. To see all the J-List products, check out J-List or the updated products link.
Rilakkuma Soft iPhone 4 Cover -- Face (CS83301)
Rilakkuma Soft iPhone 4 Covers are Kawaii! Looking for something cute to spruce up your iPhone? Check out these soft, durable cases that will warm your heart and keep your phone safe.
Rilakkuma Dock Connector Neck Strap for iPhone 4 and iPod
Rilakkuma Dock Connector Neck Strap Keep your phone or Apple music player secure and in reach with this cute strap. Works with all dockable iPods and iPhone.
Kiki's Delivery Service Cushion Chocolate Cake
Speaking of relaxation, Studio Ghibli has your number with these soft plush cushions from Kiki's Delivery Service featuring the adorable black cat Jiji. Perfect to add a Ghibli touch to your bed or couch, and makes a great gift too. Three new Jiji the Cat cushions posting today.
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Totoro Soft Half Blanket 100 x 140 cm w/Box
Restocked Ghibli Blankets, Cushions Too We've got other Ghibli cushions and blankets back in fresh stock as well, including the plush, warm fleece blankets of Totoro, Jiji and Ponyo.
Kiki's Delivery Service 2011 Schedule Book
Restocked Ghibli, One Piece Schedule Books Our favorite J-List products include the awesome Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service and other schedule books released every year. Restocked today!
Yuki Nagato Nendoroid Figure Shoushitsu ver. **Preorder**
New Figma & Nendoroid Figures I am thrilled about this Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Yuki Nendoroid, which just came in. We also have the awesome Luka Megurine Figma w/giant tuna!
Solid Snake Play Arts 'Kai' Action Figure  Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker **Preorder**
Solid Snake Play Arts Action Figure Metal Gear Solid fans get a new figure today, with super detail and awesome weapons for him to hold. In stuck now!
Itazura Cat Coin Bank -- Tiger Cat
Itazura Cat Coin Bank Restocked The most popular kawaii item on J-List these days is the Itazura Cat Coin Bank, with a cat who steals your money. Restocked for the Holidays!
Rei Ayanami Fleece Blanket w/Carrying Bag
Evangelion Fleece Blankets w/Carrying Bag  The Evangelion anime blankets were so popular, we nearly ran out, but we got more stock of Rei and Asuka today. You Will Still (Not) Be Cold.
Sanrio Present Book
If you're wanting to add an adorable personal touch to your gift giving this year, let Sanrio be your guide with dozens of do-it-yourself tips, recipes, and how-to guides. This special holiday box makes a great gift itself, with several omake extras like coin purses and mini schedule books - see all the details for the Kitty and Sanrio lover in your life!
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Hello Kitty 204 Pieces Petit Puzzle  Japanese Umbrella
Hello Kitty 204 Pieces Petit Puzzles More Kitty goodness comes your way today with these charming mini jigsaw puzzle kits featuring everyone's favorite stylish cat. Sanrio approved!
Gelato pique 2010-11 Autumn/Winter Collection
Gelato Pique 2010-11 Autumn/Winter Collection The chic fashion brand Gelato Pique presents their latest lineup of stylish goods with famous models on parade, and a bonus tote bag inside!
2011 Fuku-Bukuro Japanese Cosplay/Anime Items (Lucky Bag)
2011 Fuku-bukuro Grab Bags are Hot Are you feeling lucky? The fuku-bukuro grab bags are back, and J-List customers are grabbing them -- we sold more than half our stock already. Click to browse.
Electric Coro Coro Mini Takoyaki Maker  Black
Takoyaki Makers, Microwave Ramen Cooker Japanese cuisine enters the 21st century with advanced cookware such as this perfect-grade takoyaki maker and ramen prep with no pre-boiling!
K-ON! After School Live!! ***Preorder***
Restocked PSP Games The amazing K-On!! rhythm game for PSP is restocked, along with both Miku Hatsune
pantsu simulators
2011 Calendar -- Studio Ghibli
2011 Anime Calendars In Stock Huge restocking of 2011 anime calendars, including Studio Ghibli, Naruto, Bleach, Pixiv, One Piece and more!
2011 Calendar -- Yuko Ogura
And JPOP & Sexy Idols Too Also have some really nice male and female idols for you, including Mikie Hara, GACKT and my own fave, Yuko Ogura.
Lotte Crunky Ball Nude
When you think of the already-bizarre Japanese chocolate Crunky, it's natural that "nude" be the nest word that pops into your head. In addition to this awesome new snack, we have Meiji Cho-pan (essentially a creamy boat of chocolate containing a cookie) and purun purun gummy candy.
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Glico Collon Milk Chocolate
Tons of Restocked Snacks Wacky "Collon" Milk Chocolate flavor (lol), Rock Grape Gum, CUBYROP Candy, Watering Kiss Mint Gum, Himo-Q Gummy String, Rich Toppo, and more!
Moe (Akihabara Limited)  Japanese Food Drops
Restocking of 'Food Drops' Candies Back in stock for you, the true taste of moe in candy form! Also try the traditional Awamori-sake flavored drops from Okinawa.
USB Bento Box Warmer Pouch
This, this is what we work for here at J-List. The amazing, wacky Japanese technological innovations that make our lives better in little ways every day. If you work or study anywhere with computer access, now you'll never have to go without a hot lunch or a warm drink again -- just plug in this lunch box to a computer USB port, or rest your drink on this USB heating pad and you're on your way to a delicious meal.
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Metal Mode Stylish Bento Set  2 tier Bento Box  Elastic Band  Chopsticks Set
Restocked Bento Boxes Need a bento box to go with that warmer? Check out our Womens,' Metal Mode and Lucky Cat bentos, all back in stock for you today.
Pink x Blue Mini Bento Sauce Bottle  6pcs
More Bento Accessories For You Got those cute little soy sauce bottles, Natural Time bento bag, cute animal picks for making "DECO" (decoration) bento, and more.
Kawaii Red Cheek Panda Chopsticks Rest
Legend says that the luckiest spot to rest your chopsticks is on the back of a giant panda... J-List legend, at least! And by 'giant' we mean cute, miniature and adorable. You'll always know where your utensils are when you use this super kawaii panda to guard and hold them by your plate or bento box!
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AIR PRESS  Tombow Powerful Air Pressure Ball Pen for Working People
Japanese Pens, and More Japanese Pens KURU-TOGA Spinning Mechanical Pencil, Zebra Tect 2-way Pen, Air Press which uses pressurized ink, and the color fude pen set.
Kana Pict -O- Graphix - Mnemonics for Japanese Hiragana and Katakana
Restocked Study Books,  If you haven't mastered hiragana and katakana, we've restocked a great book that can help. Also: the Practical Guide to Living in Japan.
JUZU Brown  Black  Buddhist Prayer Beads
JUZU Buddhist Prayer Beads, Awesome Chopsticks Accompany your zen devotions with these authentic Buddhist prayer beads, and see other traditional items such as great chopsticks new in stock.
Japanese Classic Waraji Sandals
Traditional Sandals, Other Cool Items We've got woven traditional sandals, omamori charms, bamboo flutes, wooden geta sandals, and much more as well!
Mari Illustrious Makinami 1/6 Figure by Max Factory  Evangelion New Movie 2.0 **Preorder**
Mari Illustrious by Max Factory *Preorder* This gorgeous 1/6 large figure from the exacting craftsmen at Max Factory shows Mari from the new Evangelion movie as she was meant to be seen.
Kacha 1/6 Figure  The Qwaser of Stigmata **Preorder**
Other Awesome Preorder Toys See the drop-dead gorgeous Kacha from Qwaser of the Stigmata oppai anime in giant 1/6 scale, plus new One Piece preorders!
Zettai Shojo -- Tsukasa Aoi
Zettai Shojo ~ Tsukasa Aoi For fans of the exploration of the beauty of the nude female form, we present this exquisite photobook of Aoi-chan, one of the hottest idols in print.
Doujin Dakimakura Hug Pillow Cover -- Akatsuki no Goei (Reika Nikaidoh)
Two epic dakimakura anime hug pillows for you, plus some of the last restocking we'll see on your old favorites. We hand-picked these two for their amazing designs, and we think you'll agree they're something else!
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Angelica Special Ona-Hole
Restocked Stress Relief Toys from Japan Then see some of our best onahole toys restocked, including the Angelica "Elf" series, the Power of Love Stroke Hole and favorite Bible Black characters.
Prism -- Tetsuya Oono illustrations
Prism ~ Tetsuya Oono illustrations This is nice -- a super artbook by master illustrator Tetsuya Oono, who has hand-selected his best works to show you.
Heartwork - The Game
Heartwork - The Game  We've also restocked Heartwork, the breakout game by Bible Black creator Sei Shojo. A story of guns, beautiful girls and fun "H," in English!
YUME MIRU KUSURI :: A Drug That Makes You Dream
J-List Recommends YUME MIRU KUSURI A modern fairytale of dreams and adversity in school life that seems both glamorous and all too familiar, meet three girls that will change your life.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Do I Still Feel Like a Foreigner?

I was recently asked by one of my Twitter users if, after living in Japan for nearly two decades, I still consider myself a foreigner. The answer of course is yes -- one of the cardinal rules about Japan is, even if you shout tenno heika banzai! ("Long live His Majesty the Emperor") then commit seppuku on the steps of the Imperial Palance, you can't ever really "lose your gaijinity" and become Japanese. The best goal is to get your language ability to the point where storekeepers and other people you deal with will just shut up and talk with you normally, rather than complimenting you on how good your Japanese is, since after a certain point getting a nihongo ga jozu ("Your Japanese is very good") compliment actually means you still have a ways to go. For one reason or another, my life has been an interesting parallel to that of my father, who was also named Peter Payne. After getting bombs dropped on his head in London during World War II, he emigrated to Canada and then the United States, where he lived for the rest of his life. He became an American citizen, but you could never take the British part away from him. I, too, found a new home in Japan and have strived to give something back to my adopted country in the form of starting a successful company that employs 20+ people and brings Japan a little closer to the world. But I think I'll always be an American in Japan.
Besides, being a gaijin in Japan is more fun than a Japanese who's bad at kanji.

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Nihongo

When you use a foreign language every day, it's a no-brainer you're going to find yourself in a situation where you don't know a given word. Although I'm functionally fluent in Japanese, I need only to venture a little outside my normal sphere of activity to find myself encountering words I'm not familiar with, like the time I accidentally ordered motsu curry, not knowing that motsu was beef tripe, no doubt a wonderful delicacy but not what I was in the mood for. While it's always okay to ask for clarification when you don't know a word, in practice it's sometimes easier to just let the conversation flow and try to pick up the threads later. Once I was "randomly" chosen to get up in front of a crowd of people and conduct the Maebashi Philharmonic Orchestra playing Beethoven's 5th Symphony. After failing hilariously, the MC asked me...something that I couldn't understand. With 2000+ people focusing on me, I wasn't about to ask her to repeat herself, and fortunately there are a lot of generic non sequiturs available in Japanese, like そうですか? so desu ka? or ええ、まあ ee, mah or 何とも言えない nantomo ienai "I can't say anything to that." Recently I went to get a haircut, and the lady told me they were doing eri-sori free to celebrate the anniversary of the shop opening. I didn't know what the word meant -- was she going to leech me? trim my eyebrows? -- but I trusted that it wasn't anything bad and said sure. Eri-sori, I found out, is getting the back of your neck shaved with a straight razor during a haircut so the hairline is straight.

(Actually if she'd said eri-sori I'd have figured it out. She pronounced 剃る soru "to shave" as suru which threw me off. Turns out it was the lady speaking Gunma-ben...) 

It's not hard to encounter unfamiliar nihongo.

Spouse Hunting with the iPhone

Cell phones have been a big part of life in Japan ever since they went mainstream in the mid 1990s, and for years the newest features such as phone cameras got their start here. Now cell phone usage is nearly 100%, and many Japanese find their keitai so convenient in their daily lives they don't bother owning a computer. When the iPhone was released here it got off to a slow start, since Japanese consumers really love their stylish clamshell phones with hard numeric keypads. (A quirk of the Japanese language is that it's very easy to enter text using a numeric keypad, unlike in English.) The iPhone's popularity grew as people saw the amazing things you could do with them thanks to new apps. One of the more unique ideas Japanese developers have come up with are applications to assist with konkatsu, a word for any activity busy people undertake to help find someone to marry (it translates as "marriage activities" though "spouse hunting" might be more accurate). You can download apps like Konkatsu Pia which asks your interests then tracks where you are by GPS. When someone their algorithm thinks you'd be compatible with is nearby, the iPhone will beep to get your attention. If you approach the person, the uplifting theme from Love Story plays out of your phone. (Remember, if you're interested in chatting with Japanese girls or guys, check out J-List Friends, which we think is pretty cool.)
A new use for the iPhone is GPS-enabled "spouse hunting."

Announcing the Start of Fukubukuro Season!

In Japan, they have a fun custom around New Year's where stores sealed fuku-bukuro ("lucky bags") filled with unknown contents to customers, which feature items valued at much more than the price of the bag. These cool traditional grab bags are so popular, you can see lines of customers waiting to buy them at department stores. J-List is bringing this these popular items to our customers this year early, so you can grab a bag or two for the Holidays if you like.

All fuku-bukuro grab bags will be shipped in a proper secure box, with the iconic orange grab bag included in the box, folded up neatly. J-List has tons of amazing items for gifts, too, including our delicious Best-Selling Snack Set and the ever-popular J-List Gift Certificates!

By the way, there was some discussion on the Internet of a new policy the Japanese post office had instituted, refusing to ship packages above a certain size to the U.S. due to security concerns. We have good news for our customers -- due to our existing contractual relationship with Japan Post, J-List is unaffected by this rule change. So whether you want to order a bunch of awesome anime calendars or score some really cool bento boxes, J-List can ship your order without any problems!

Cool Products Wednesday, November 17, 2010

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 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 websites. To see all the J-List products, check out J-List or the updated products link.
UTB  Up to Boy Oct 2010
UTB ~ Up to Boy Oct 2010 All the latest photos, gossip and news from Japan's idol universe in a stylish authoritative presentation. Get your fresh scoops for the fall season!
Koakuma Ageha Limited  nuts x I Love Mama
Koakuma Ageha Limited ~ nuts x I Love Mama  The young trend-setting "gal" fashion set combines forces for this chic sister-themed special edition, jam-packed with revolutionary tips and pics.
Gakken Otona no Kagaku vol. 27  Science Projects for Adult -- 8bit Micro Computer 'Japanino'
Otona no Kagaku 27 ~ 8bit Micro Computer In this edition of the science magazine with projects you can build at home, use the included kit to craft an 8-bit computer called "Japanino." Cool!
Japanese T-Shirt 'Chikan is a Crime'
Hot from the presses today, we have a fun, wacky new original J-List Japanese T-shirt design for you! Featuring a parody image of Kimura-sensei from Azumanga Daioh and the slogan "Chikan wa Hanzai Desu" (train groping is a crime), along with a train station sign on the back with a similar message.
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Chu Totoro 'Chirimen (Kimono Fabric)' Netsuke  Strap
Chu Totoro Chirimen Netsuke Strap An adorable mascot character of Totoro to guard your home, bag, or car, with a handy strap for hanging from any convenient place. So cute!
Totoro Wooden Music Box
Huge Restocking of Totoro Products See the Totoro Wooden Music Box plus several ceramic music boxes, the My Neighbor Totoro Doll Set, and more. Don't forget the 2011 calendars, either!
Print Guard Sensai iPhone4 Evangelion 02 Rei Ayanami **Preorder**
'Sensai' Print Guard iPhone 4 Evangelion Your iPhone can be part of the Human Instrumentality Project with these official screen protectors, just received. Hello Kitty x Elmo iPad case too!
Rei Ayanami Interface Earphone *Preorder*
Evangelion Interface Earphones Then: see fresh stock of the Evangelion earphones featuring the "head interface" of Rei and Asuka. Compatible with any standard music player!
2011 Fuku-Bukuro Japanese Cosplay/Anime Items (Lucky Bag)
It's that time of year again, when we assemble great deals in the form of Japanese traditional "lucky grab bags" with very valuable contents. Picking from a variety of goods in the Cosplay and Anime categories on the site, we've stuffed these bags full of items that would cost much more when purchased individually - it's not left completely to chance, so you can see the product entry for a preview of what your bag is likely to contain.
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Touhou Project  The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
Touhou Project ~ Embodiment of Scarlet Devil Touhou is a line of doujin shooting games that is also a huge source of pop culture. We now carry these games, which are fun to own and play!
Lucky Fox 'MIMI' Pen   Black  Red
Awesome New Pens, Erasers From Japan The 5-way smart eraser, "lucky ear" pen, plastic cartridge and deluxe foam erasers, microwave eraser refills, and much much more.
KURETAKE ZIG Real Brush Art Fude Pen Black
Super Awesome Stationery from Japan "Fude" brush pens for calligraphy in all sizes and widths, StitchLock magic staplers, fude-pen color art brush sets, fountain pens, and more.
Fate/Complete Material III  World Material
Awesome Restocked Artbooks The epic Fate/stay night World Material artbook with 300+ pages, and the 272-page colorful Pixiv 2010 compilation are both back and ready to ship!
2011 Calendar -- Lucky Cat **Preorder**
2011 Japanese Calendars Gorgeous Japanese calendars are back, including Four Seasons of Japan, Classic Japanese Cars, Japanese Rooms, Famous Castles of Japan and Lucky Cat!
Chopper Key Rubber Cover
Chopper Key Rubber Cover Keep your keys safe and secure in the company of Chopper from One Piece, the most ferocious pirate to ever hold your key in his rubbery grip.
Hello Kitty Tea Pot Play Set
Hello Kitty Tea Pot Play Set Play at tea time with Hello Kitty and this adorable mini tea play set! Practice social graces with a young one or indulge yourself in pure cuteness.
MAMESHIBA Moisture-rich Hand  Nail Care Cream
MAMESHIBA Moisture-rich Hand Care Cream  Did you know? J-List stocks dozens of amazing Mameshiba products, including the cute hand cream we've just posted.
Japanese School Bag  Sports Type
Japanese School Bag ~ Sports Type If you watch a little anime, you'll probably see these "sports style" school bags being carried by the K-On! girls and all your favorite anime characters.
Stripe Panty and Half Top set -- Shimapan set  Blue
Stripe Pantsu Restocked Whether you're wearing anime cosplay on the outside or the inside, J-List has your back. Those Mio-style shimapan are back in stock.
Japanese Style Eye Patch
Awesome Cosplay Eye Patch We've also restocked that awesome eye patch that can be seen in Evangelion, Ikki Tousen and other popular shows. Great compliment to any cosplay.
FritoLay Doritos Gourmet -- Corn Pottage Flavor
J-List is pretty much the best place in the world to find rare snacks from Japan, and today we've got two new flavors of "Gourmet" Japanese Doritos, Charlotte dreamy chocolate sticks from Lotte, plus "Sparkling" Apple Cider Gum that fizzes like champagne!
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First Kiss (Kiss ga Shitakunaru)  Japanese Food Drops
First Kiss, Banana Crepe Food Drops The taste of a first kiss or a delicious banana crepe dessert are captured in these traditional Japanese candies, back in stock today.
Oreo Apple Stick Chocolate
Other New Snacks, Too Also back today, Wasabi Rice Crackers and Peanuts (my all-time favorite), Green Tea Caramels, Ramune Gummy, Nabisco Oreo Sticks, and more.
' Yakisugi ' Backed Cedar Style 2 Tier Bento Box  Elastic Band
Cedar Style 2 Tier Bento Box & Elastic Band  For a unique, traditional look to your bento presentation, try this great new cedar-finish lunch box that's microwave-safe. Love the styling.
Genuine Lacquered Miso Soup Bowl Style Bento Box  Rabbit
Even More Bento Boxes Then see fresh stock of some of our favorite traditional bento boxes from Hakoya, the best bento company on the planet. Great for Christmas!
Easy Boiled-Egg Shaper -- Rabbit   Bear
Easy Boiled-Egg Shapers Also: how do you like your eggs -- fried, scrambled, or boiled into amazingly cute shapes? We also restocked the Microwave Multi Steamer.
Nonslip Silicon Tip Bamboo Long Cooking Chopsticks  Orange
Silicon Tip Bamboo Long Cooking Chopsticks Japanese cooks always use extra-long cooking chopsticks like this since they're perfect for cooking. They feature silicon tips on the ends that won't melt.
Japanese style Mini Memo Pad   Washi
Japanese style Mini Memo Pad ~ Washi I love traditional washi (lit. Japanese paper), which adds elegance to just about this notebook.
KAIUN Triple Lucky Cat Strap
Awesome Traditional Products from Japan "Three Lucky Cats" phone strap, five yen coin charm, Kaguyahime comb and mirror set, bamboo frog and nightingale whistles, and so much more.
Genki Workbook 1  An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese 1
'Genki' Japanese Textbooks Restocked See fresh stock of the Genki textbook series, whose sales are very, ah, genki. The best way to start learning Japanese!
Basic Kanji Drill New -- 1st Grade
Kanji Drill Workbooks, Other Study Items Also, those popular kanji workbooks for learning Japanese in proper order, 1st grade, then 2nd grade etc., like Japanese children.
Ika Musume Lucky Charm -- Success in Invasion **Preorder**
Ika Musume Lucky Charms *Preorder* Ika Musume (Squid Girl) brings charms for every occasion, from "Success in Invasion" to "Luck in Dating." Yarana-ika?
Thousand Sunny Coin Bank -- One Piece Character Bank Pirates Ship Series **Preorder**
One Piece, Eva, Pinky Street Preorder Toys A whole bunch of great preorder items from across the anime universe and beyond, including One Piece coin banks and a new Eva Revoltech.
Doujin Dakimakura Hug Pillow Cover -- Haruhi and Nagato
Two new doujin fan-created hug pillow cases have arrived! Haruhi and Yuki grace one, while a blushing Miku Hatsune is on the other. Click to browse our entire selection, along with those wacky oppai mouse pads too.
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Ryofu Housen 1/7 Cast off Figure Maid ver. Ikki Tousen **Preorder**
Ryofu Housen Castoff Maid Figure *Preorder* Ikkitousen (Battle Vixens) brings us the beautiful Ryofu who swings both ways, and will swing your way in this sexy castoff figure from Griffon.
Haru Nyan mini! vol. 3  Suzumiya Haruhi Parody Toy
Haru Nyan mini! Vol. 3 ~ Haruhi Parody Toy Haruhi Suzumiya and Mikuru Asahina appear on a pair of parody stress relief toys that will rekindle your fond memories of the show in a special way.