Friday, May 06, 2011

A Great Day to Hug your Mother

This Sunday is the day to do something special for that most excellent of people, your mother. The custom of honoring one's mother on a special day caught on in Japan in 1937 when the Morinaga Chocolate Company -- yes, the guys who make those delicious Morinaga Milk Caramels and other products -- held the first Mother's Day Celebration Event at a popular amusement park in Tokyo, which received wide press coverage throughout the country. I was blessed with one of the most amazing mothers in the world, who not only raised me and was supportive as my odd obsession with Japan became my career, but who also became my trusted business partner, helping J-List to become what it is today. Wherever are you in the world, if you're able to give your mother a special hug this Sunday, don't let the chance slip by.
So what are you going to for your mother this Sunday?

Mother's Day is a time to cherish that very special person, your mom.

NHK's You Have To Speak English Tonight Show

One TV show I like a lot is Eigo de Shabera Night, an educational variety show put on by NHK which helps Japanese viewers who are studying English succeed at mastering the language. The Japanese, of course, have a difficult time learning English, and despite studying for six years (or up to ten if they take it in university), most don't really get the hang of it. The Eigo de Shabera Night show helps motivate viewers by showing Japanese ESL learners doing things like interviewing famous Hollywood stars or working in international settings. I recently appeared on the show, and was seen having a meeting with the man in charge of those cool Otona no Kagaku science kits, who speaks very good English, and most importantly isn't afraid to open his mouth and communicate even though he might make some errors here and there. During the taping, I was interviewed by the NHK staff about how I learned Japanese, and was able to talk about a lot of the things I often blog about on J-List.

This gaijin is Patrick Harlan. He wants to teach you English.

The Hyper-Democratic Online Republic of Otakustan

Japan is finishing up its Golden Week holidays, and since several of the J-List staff have been taking a few days off here and there this week, I've been flitting around the office helping fill in where I can. Yesterday I was processing the day's orders, something I don't normally do, and I was amazed at the broad mix of countries J-List's customers hail from. I'd enter an order of bento boxes and cosplay magazines going to France followed by shimapan and zettai ryoiki tall socks for a customer in Australia, a Touhou T-shirt headed to Sweden then a Takoyaki cooker for someone in Houston, Texas. There's no corner of the world where people aren't interested in Japan on some level, and the Internet has made it possible for everyone to plug into the universal gestalt of Japanese pop culture in whatever way they're comfortable with. You could think of it as a new nation, really -- maybe called the Hyper-Democratic Online Republic of Otakustan? The International Union of Japan-Fascinated Persons? The Principality of Shimapansylvania? The Pantsu-American League? Whatever name it might have, it's a real thinig, and the idea that I could travel to the other side of the world and meet with people who would understand me if I told them that Mugi is mai waifu makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
So what do you think the proper name for this online nation should be?

J-List's customers are part of a massive group of people who love Japan.

Magazine Subscriptions @ J-List

J-List offers Japan's best anime, manga, fashion, cosplay and other magazines via a convenient revolving monthly subscription system, allowing you to get the current issue sent to you each month as it's released. Since issues are charged month-to-month, you never need to pay in advance (though you have the option if you like), and you can cancel or change magazines at any time. If you like our magazines, we recommend you try out a subscription. This saves you money, plus you will be sure to get the issue. (It's all too common for us to sell out of the non-subscription issues of magazines in days or even hours.) Click to see the most popular Japanese magazine subscriptions.
Thanks for helping us get Japan back on her feet after the terrible disaster of March 11. If you want to help further, why not grab one of our Danny Choo T-shirts for guys or girls, which provide funds for the Japan Red Cross. Oh and a reminder: none of J-List's products come from the Fukushima region of Japan, and all are safe. Thanks!

Cool Products Friday, May 6, 2011

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.
Comic Alive June 2011
Here's another issue of Comic Alive, the great manga magazine with tons of your favorites all packing the pages, including Maria Holic, Aria the Scarlet Ammo, Infinite Stratos, and much more! Extras include an Aria book cover and an IS poster.
View products »
Muv-Luv Alternative TSF Cross Operation vol. 3
Muv-Luv Alternative TSF Cross Operation vol. 3 Check out the artbook from Muv-Luv Alternative TSF, a series that appeared in Tech Gian with really amazing SF Bishoujo art.
Pixiv Girls Collection 2011  Pixiv Official Art Collection
Restocked Artbook: the Pixiv Girls Collection 2011 The best bishoujo art from artists' social networking website Pixiv is collected here - high print quality and amazing visuals you'll love.
KERA May 2011 vol. 153
KERA May 2011 vol. 153 It's the new issue of KERA, the magazine as eclectic as Tokyo fashion itself! From Harajuku to Gothic Lolita, all the trends are shown off right here.
Sexy Ribbon Lace up Mini Skirt Maid One Piece 6 item set  size M
Sexy Ribbon Lace up Mini Skirt Maid One Piece Wow, look at this great maid outfit! A super new addition to the lineup of cosplay fashion goods we sell.
Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru 2: Futari no Elder  The Maidens are Falling in Love with Me 2
The Maidens are Falling in Love with Me 2 The sequel to "Otoboku", one of the original 'trap' or josou (crossdressing) games, is here for PSP! Double the romantic action.
learn japanese with ds
More DS Japanese Study Products Learn hiragana and katakana with Doraemon, test your kanji with Perfect Kanji or the Kanji Test DS Training, and more.
Evangelion Monitor Screen Wrist Watch w/Black Belt
Wow, is this great or what - a new Evangelion watch that mirrors the look of one of the monitors from NERV Headquarters! With a stylish design using actual fonts and graphics from the new movies, the watch comes in an epic metal tin case as well. Great for Eva fans!
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Oreimo iPhone 4 Case ver.2 Kuro Neko  Kirino -- Ore no Imoto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai  **Preorder**
Moe Moe iPhone Cases Show your love for your favorite anime and characters with the wide selection of protective cases we have in stock for your iPhone 4!
iTunes Japan Music Card
Popular Anime Songs from iTunes Japan Spotted on the iTunes Japan app store: the OP of MoshiDora and Nichijo", plus my favorite K-On! song ever.
Chopper in Winter Sakura Kingdom
Chopper Man 'Tenugui' Towels We've got a lot of One Piece products, including awesome items featuring Tony Chopper. Enjoy today's restocked items.
Gakken Otona no Kagaku vol. 30  Science Projects for Adult -- Theo Jansen's Mini Beast (Animaris Ordis Parvus)
Gakken Otona no Kagaku Science Kits Next, see the amazing interactive devices you can build with these English-enabled series of science/engineering project magazines for adults.
Totoro Bun Bun Top
Fun Totoro Products Here's a fun bun bun (pronounced like "boon-boon," and it means something like "zoom zoom") spinning top with pull string. Just like in the movie!
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea Tight Bento Box
'Ponyo loves Sasuke...and Ponyo Bento.' Take the adorable Ponyo with you wherever you go with this sturdy and cute Ponyo bento box! Freshly restocked today.
Mameshiba / Edamame Animal ORIGAMI with Sticker
Mameshiba & Traditional Origami Then see some fun origami papers featuring the super-cute Mameshiba, traditional Lucky Cat dolls and more.
Pop-up Doraemon Sushi Strap  Shrimp
Pop-up Doraemon Phone Straps Fresh stock of those weird-cute Doraemon food straps. The robot cat from the future pops out when you squeeze them!
Happy Kitchen Doughnuts
From the creators of Popin' Cookin' Sushi Candy comes a great new idea. Create your own doughnuts and cupcakes from scratch, no baking required! All the tools you need are right here in the box, including mix, frosting, strawberry cream, cooking trays and more. Click to see the YouTube videos.
View products »
Bourbon Chotos Chocolate
Bourbon Chotos Chocolate A delicious, airy, crispy snack with a chocolate flavor you'll go crazy for, plus Green Tea Cream "Cat Tongue" cookies.
Matcha Green Tea (Kyoto)  Japanese Food Drops
Restocked Traditional Food Drops Delicious Food Drops candies: Matcha Green Tea from Kyoto, Chaburashka Strawberry Milk and Caramel, plus awesome Pirika Moe Melon Milk.
Sakuma Drops Candy
Restocked Snacks See Sakuma Drops from Grave of the Fireflies, Mango Chocolate, awesome "Sweetie" and coffee gum, plus Takoyaki Puff snacks from FritoLay Japan.
Morinaga Okinawa Black Sugar Caramel
Morinaga Caramels Restocked Celebrating Morinaga Caramels, too, with restocked Okinawa Black Sugar Caramels, Milk Caramels and more. Yum.
HOT Deshuran Rice Cooker + Bento Box
HOT Deshuran Rice Cooker + Bento Box One of the handiest personal rice cookers we've seen, it's portable so you can cook overnight and then bring it with you to work, school or play!
Genuine Lacquered Miso Soup Bowl Style Bento Box  Rabbit
Elegant Traditional 'Rabbit' Bento We've got some of our best bento boxes back in stock today, with fine traditional designs to bring a touch of class to your lunch presentation.
Lovely DECO Bento Set  Baran  Furikake Stencil  Food Shaper
Cool 'Deco Bento' Accessories "Deco" is short for "decoration," and beautiful is what you'll make the bento meals you prepare with the cute decoben gear we have in stock.
Red Electric Takoyaki Maker 18 Balls
Awesome Takoyaki Maker Mmm, bite-sized takoyaki octopus balls pipin' hot and fresh from the griddle. We've restocked our most popular electric takoyaki maker.
Japanese T-Shirt - Touhou Tribute
J-List's Amazing Original T-Shirts Ever since our first "Looking for a Japanese Girlfriend" kanji T-shirt, we've been bringing cool original shirts and hoodies to you. Click to see the best ones!
Lucky Cat Happy Mosquito Coil Holder
Japan is a very seasonal place where people enjoy each season in a unique way, and we're posting awesome summer-related products to the site now. Everything from adorable ceramic holders for katori senko mosquito coils to delightful wind chimes, to lucky cat mosquito coil holders, summer kokeshi, and lovely summer apparel!
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Elsie 1/8 Figure  The World God Only Knows **Preorder**
Elsie 1/8 Figure ~ The World God Only Knows *Preorder* We couldn't help exclaiming moe! when we saw this new figure available for preorder from Max Factory. Elsie is looking great!
Jinouga Capcom Figure Builder Creaters Model **Preorder**
Jinouga Capcom Figure Builder Creators Model *Preorder* For those with burning spirit more on the mind, check out this epic figure of Jinouga, the 'cover monster' from Monster Hunter Portable 3rd.
BJ  Bejean April and May 2011
Bejean is another way to write bijin, meaning "beautiful woman" in Japanese. These magazines are full with hundreds of high quality photos of the most beautiful AV stars of Japan, and also come with multi-hour DVDs of hardcore action for you to enjoy.
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Yulia Nova Trading Card 2
Yulia Nova Trading Cards Set 2 & 3 We've got a treat for fans of Russian goddess Yulia Nova: two new sets of limited edition trading cards! The photographs are gorgeous, and never seen before.
irenka  Kagami Visual Works (irenka 1 + irenka 2)
irenka ~ Kagami Visual Works One of the most popular eroge artists around, Kagami presents well over 300 pages dripping ecchi goodness! Restocked today.
Sonico Puni M Mouse Pad *Preorder*
Super Sonico Puni M Mouse Pad We love Super Sonico, and finally have her most embarrassing "3D" mouse pad to date. Your computer use will never be the same.
The amazing Tenga Flip Lite in "U.S." gaijin sizes are restocked, plus the most innovative personal lotion we've ever seen. Tenga is the most recognized name in awesome male stress relief products from Japan, so you know any product they make will be fap-tastic!
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T-Back Kun Kun  T-Back Panty  Artificial Love Juice Bottles
T-Back Kun Kun ~ Thong + Toys Restocked See the awesome T-Back (e.g. a thong bikini pantsu) with a secret pocket for an egg massager, and amazing "scent" lotion.
Mellow Wave
Awesome Massagers From Japan Japan is home to the best vibrators in the world, and J-List carries the best of the best for you. See today's restocked offerings.
Venus Blood  DESIRE -- DVD the GAME
Venus Blood ~ DESIRE ~ DVD the GAME See restocked "players' games" on DVD, which you can play with any DVD player or computer. Discode, Venus Blood and more.
Demonbane *preorder*
Demonbane is Coming Soon! The awesome Cthulhu Mythos game Demobane will be coming in next week. Order your copy of this great game now for priority shipping!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Pocari Sweat vs. Gatorade

I'm of the opinion that every young person should live outside their home country for at least a year, if for no other reason than to teach them to appreciate their own home country properly. You probably don't pump your fist with excitement over finding Gatorade for sale in your local store, but here in Japan it's rather a rare thing to find, and I usually grab it when I come across it. Oh, I love Pocari Sweat, don't get me wrong, but there's something about enjoying something you can't have everyday that's nice. Other items that are rather rare include Subway sandwiches (there are only a few Subway restaurants in our prefecture), and scoring some Mountain Dew or root beer is also quite a treat.

I love me my Pocari Sweat, but sometimes Gatorade is nice.

Fun Japanese Words

There are certain areas of the Japanese language that are actively fun to study, like puzzling out the counters, special words you use when counting different kinds of objects. Another area I liked learning was a class of highly descriptive adverbs that consists of a repeated word, which are have very rich and complex meanings. The phrase soro soro adds the idea that the time for something has come to a sentence, for example soro soro ikimasho, "Let's go [because it's time we should be going]." A similar phrase is waza waza, meaning "to go to all the trouble," as in waza waza arigato, "Thanks for going out of your way to do that for me." If you have a sparkling new car, it's pika pika (gleaming with newness), but if you don't take care of it, it'll be boro boro (old and rusty). (The pika sound does double duty as the "sound" a bolt of lightning makes, which is where Pikachu's name comes from.) Some other random example of these fun phrases include tama tama (by chance), bara bara (something that's been scattered around, like a dismembered toy), and pera pera (the "sound" of someone speaking a foreign language fluently).

Pika! is the sound of lightning and goro goro! is the sound of Thunder. Both are called kaminari incidentally.

Japan's Elections are "Urusai!"

If there's a Golden Rule in Japan, it's that you should never cause meiwaku, translatable as inconvenience or trouble, to people around you. This rule is the source of the wa or harmony that foreigners perceive about the country, which flows from millions of people going about their day in a way that generally avoids causing inconvenience to others. The big exception to this rule are Japan's elections, which are loaded with meiwaku in the form of annoying politicians who ride around in speaker cars shouting meaningless statements like, "I am Tanaka! I will work hard for you! Please remember my name on election day!" For some reason -- tradition, perhaps, or the fact that Japan's aged politicians don't know how to use computers -- politicians are banned from using modern tools like Twitter or the Internet in general to reach voters, which is why they make loud speeches instead. Last month a British resident of Japan named Edward Jones got fed up with the noise and grabbed the microphone from a candidate, complaining to the crowd that Japanese elections are urusai (oo-roo-sigh, loud and annoying). Unfortunately for him this is a crime, and he was arrested for "interfering with the electoral process" despite winning praise from Japanese online, who hailed him as a hero.

Elections in Japan are urusai, urusai, urusai!

Traditional and Wacky Items @ J-List

J-List carries thousands of amazing products from Japan, including a huge selection of traditional Japanese products for you to discover. Want to try your hand at Japanese calligraphy? We carry awesome fude brush pens that are great to write with. Summer is approaching, the perfect time to wear some cool traditional Japanese setta or geta sandals. And don't forget to browse our selection of bento boxes and related products, since there's always something to surprise you there.
Thanks for helping us get Japan back on her feet after the terrible disaster of March 11. If you want to help further, why not grab one of our Danny Choo T-shirts for guys or girls, which provide funds for the Japan Red Cross. Oh and a reminder: none of J-List's products come from the Fukushima region of Japan, and all are safe. Thanks!