Friday, July 22, 2011

More About "National Personality"

All countries have what the Japanese call a komumin-sei, a sort of "national personality" that I write about every so often, and once I caught an interesting TV show that included a fun story that touched on this topic. A ship carrying people from different countries starts to take on water, and the captain needs to get each person to jump in the sea immediately. To the American he says, "If you jump in, you'll be seen as a hero," which makes the American man jump in right away. (From the Japanese point of view, Americans seem to have a hero complex.) To the British man the captain says, "If you jump in, you'll be seen as a gentleman." To the Italian: "If you jump in, you'll be popular with women." The German man is told, "You must jump in now, it's the rule," while the captain tells the French man, "Please do not jump in the water." (So Germans are responsive to following rules and French people will always do the opposite of what they're told?) The trivia question the two teams had to answer was, what did the captain say to the Japanese passenger to get him to jump in the water? To see the answer, highlight the following text with your mouse cursor. The answer is, they told the Japanese man that "everyone else is jumping in the water," which made the Japanese passenger happy to do so, too.

I googled kokuminsei and got this pic. I am totally posting it.

J-List Anime Glasses Contest

Remember we're having our J-List Anime Glasses Photo Contest! From now until August 31, you can send pictures of you and/or your friends wearing the J-List Anime Glasses we send you free with any order from J-List (either our San Diego or Japan offices). The pictures can be nerdy (as at an anime convention, such as the San Diego Comic Convention), taken alone or with friends, pictures of your awesome otaku room, you name it. After the deadline, we'll choose the top three pictures that were innovative, made us laugh and or otherwise impressed us and send them the gift certificates. And anyone who sends us a pic we like enough to post to our Facebook page, Twitter feed or Tumblr, you'll get a free gift (free J-List points!). Details:
  • J-List Anime Glasses are free with any purchase. You can also get them from us at the San Diego Comicon if you'll be attending.
  • Anyone may enter. Please send photo submissions to in JPG format
  • To quality for free J-List points you'll need to have a valid J-List account (non-guest). Please use the same email address to send the picture.
  • If you send more than one picture, we'll only look at the best one for purposes of this contest.

J-List @ San Diego Comicon 2011

We're enjoying ourselves at the San Diego Comicon, which is a fantastic celebration of worldwide popular nerd culture. If you're at the show, we hope you'll come see us at booth 129 in the heart of Anime Alley and say hi, and check out the selection of awesome items we have for you (just walk down towards the 100 aisle, and if you reach the oppai mouse pads, you've gone too far). But if you're not fortunate enough to be in San Diego with us, we have great news for you: through Sunday, for every $100 you buy on J-List, you'll get a $5 coupon to use with your next order. Why not browse J-List right now?
Being a resident of San Diego (when I'm not in Japan, that is), it's been a treat to watch the San Diego Comic-Con grow over the years. I first attended the convention in 1986, when it was held in the San Diego Civic Center (a tiny facility in comparison to the current sprawling convention center), and Wikipedia informs me that attendance that year was a mere 6500, compared with the 130,000 that showed up in 2010. Even before the Global Rise of Nerdiness, when everything geeky in the world became cool, Comic-Con was the event of the year, and as a kid I saved my money for months so I could go shopping for cool comics, anime toys and other items that struck my fancy. Now it seems we've reached "Peak Comic-Con," the theoretical maximum of awesomeness that the show can reach, since tickets sell out months in advance and it's difficult for many fans to get into the show -- a situation I hope they'll address soon. (Maybe they could do like the Comic Market doujinshi convention in Tokyo and have two cons a year, one in summer and one in winter?) Although the show is a behemoth compared to what it was 25 years ago, it's a huge amount of fun, and we love going every year.

San Diego Comic-Con is great fun, hope to see you here!

Cool Products Thursday, July 21, 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.
Megami Magazine Aug. 2011
We love great anime magazines, and carry all of them on J-List. If you love the newest anime magazines that are loaded with cool omake (which is Japanese for "free stuff"), click here.
View products »
Newtype Japan Reserve Subscription
Anime, Manga and Other Magazine Subscriptions J-List's revolving magazine subscriptions are among our most popular products. Click to browse the most popular items on the site now.
The Pose Book of The Girls in Pretty School Uniform For Artists  Winter Uniform ver.  Seifuku Fashion Pose Shu
How to Draw Manga We love manga, and would all love to be manga artists. If you agree with us, click to see our stock of How to Draw Manga books.
Gothic Lolita Bible vol. 40 Summer 2011
Fashion & Cosplay Magazines Remember we have great fashion & cosplay magazines, which will entice you and make you happy. Click to browse our best items.
Black Shirt and Border Setup
Wonderful Japanese Fashion Items Some of the world's greatest fashions are from Japan, like Harajuku. We are happy to features some great items on J-List.
High School Of the Dead  TV Animation Complete File Artbook
Super Awesome Artbooks from Japan You know J-List is the place to come to find the best artbooks from Japan. Click to see what books our customers love the best.
Moe Moe Encyclopedia  Real Weapons Collection
Moe Moe Encyclopedia & Other Artbooks Restocked today: we managed to get some really nice Moe Moe Encyclopedia books for ou too, incl. the Real Weapons Collection.
Saber 1/8 Figure Summer ver. Fate/stay night **Preorder**
Awesome Figures *Preorder* Fate/stay night is one of our favorite game/anime series, even though the English major in me dislikes the official spelling.
Kuroneko Beach Queens 1/10 Figure **Preorder**
Kuroneko Figure In Stock, Too Kuroneko from My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute is mai waifu, and her swimsuit figure is in stock for you, just in time for hitting the beach.
Lucy 1/8 Figure Designed by Shunya Yamashita  Ghost Busters
Shunya Yamashita Figures Japanese illustrator Shunya Yamashita is our main homie, and his awesome figures are great to enjoy. Cilck to see now.
Kenshin Himura 1/8 Figure Normal ver.  Rurouni Kenshin **Preorder**
Kenshin Himura 1/8 Figure In Stock Kenshin is coming back, and we've got the new figure that fans will want to get their mitts on. On the site now.
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!
Poddities iPhone4 Strap  NETSUKE
Poddities iPhone4 Strap Adapters, Cases Then: see fresh stock of the epic Poddities Japan-only iPhone phone straps and cases. Get a Japanese phone strap for your iPhone!
Hello Kitty Face Die Cut Vinyl Bag  Lovely Monotone
Hello Kitty Bags and Cases Restocked Hello Kitty bags, incl. the new Gothic Lolita-esque style known as "Lovely Monotone." Carry all your stuff in kawaii fashion!
Rilakkuma Dock Connector Neck Strap for iPhone 4 and iPod
Rilakkuma Goods Too Rilakkuma fans will be happy to know that we have your favorite bear in stock with many great items, like this cool Rilakkuma iPod strap.
Touhou Project  Subterranean Animism
In stock at J-List, some of the great Touhou Project games, like Perfect Cherry Blossom, Subterranean Animism, and Guignol Quest. Our customers love Touhou and we love them for it!
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Stripe Panty and Half Top set -- Shimapan set  Blue
Popular at SDCC: Shimapan Wisdom heard at Comic-Con this year: "When your girlfriend asks you buy her shimapan striped anime panties, you do it."
Japanese T-Shirt -- Kyuubee Eyes
Popular at SDCC: the Kyubey T-Shirt Another popular item at the con is the Kyubey shirt, which our customers are buying it left and right. There's no contract required to purchase!
Kiki's Delivery Service 2-tier Bento Box -- Town where Jiji Lives
Ghibli Bento Products Restocked We love Ghibli, that's why we are featuring some really cute bento boxes that include kawaii characters form your favorite movies.
Aselia  The Eternal **Preorder**
Aselia The Eternal *Preorder* We recently posted this outstanding Japanese RPG for preorder last time, so fans of Japanese gaming can enjoy the titles in English. Preorder now!
FritoLay BBQ Corn Snack
Japanese Style FritoLay Favorites From gourmet meat pasta or steak flavored Cheetos, to Takoyaki Puff Snacks, there is something for everyone here to try.
Lotte Black Black Gum Bottle HARD
We Love Japanese Gum From Black Black Caffeine Gum to Lotte's "No Time" gum that cleans your teeth, we've got awesome Japanese gum for you. Click now!
House Morning Rescue
Morning Rescue is Restocked We have *one* bottle of Morning Rescue at the con, and no one can buy it -- I'm making a Morning Rescue & Vodka cocktail on Saturday night. Everyone else can order it from the site.
Lotte Doraemon Kawarinbo
Other Restocked Japanese Snacks Today We've got some great products from the brands you love, like Glico, Meiji, UHA, Lotte, and Calbee. We think these Doraemon snacks are really kawaii.
Pink Heart Shaped  Metal Mode  Bento Box   Microwave safe Container
Bento Boxes and Accessories! There's no limit to the awesome bento boxes that come from Japan, and J-List brings them all to you. Why not browse today's restocked items now?
Pocky Strawberry Parody Chopsticks
Awesome Chopsticks from Japan What are the coolest chopsticks on J-List? I'm not sure, but I'd think the Pocky Replica Chopsticks maybe?
Kanji Practice Flashcards vol.1 version 2 - Level 4  3
Kanji Practice Flashcards Another popular item at the show are the Japanese flashcards from White Rabbit, which are the best way to learn hiragana, katakana and kanji.
Hiragana Coloring Book
Random Restocked Items: Hiragana coloring books, the oil brush for our Takoyaki Maker, a fun way to separate garbage in the sink for composting and more.
Chirimen x Lucky Cat SHOUFUKU Strap
Finally, some fun traditional Japanese products restocked today, including Lucky Cat phone straps, authentic "Tabi" socks (aka Ninja Shoes, though they have other uses) and more.
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Pet's Eye
We love photobooks and always have awesome ones in stock at J-List. Some have cool things like pictures of deep underground Tokyo. Others have...pantsu and really pretty girls.
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Elis 1/8 Cast off Figure  Asobi ni Ikuyo!  **Preorder**
Who says anime has to be 2D? These figures are very three-dimensional, and allow you to enjoy them from all angles, if you get our drift. Enjoy the very excellent items we have.
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Love Body Ren
Adult Toys and Dolls Today's restocked items include the Love Body Ren series, plus the memorable Bakujiri Musou ~ Samurai Girls Double Parody Toy.
My Little Sister Can't Be This Tight
Our Favorite Parody Anime Toys If you like, click this link and see the top "wishlisted" stress toys for guys and girls. Anime is more fun when it's more...intimate.
School Days HQ *Preorder*
The Top English Eroge J-List is fighting hard for the English eroge industry, and you can support us by preordering the titles we recently posted.
Azuaji !  K-On! Parody Doujin Soft
Eroge from Japan, Too We also carry Japanese visual novels, and have amazing products for all fans. Click to see the mot popular items on the site.
Magical Magic Cosplayer   Madoka Magica Parody ***DVD  Blu-ray Special Package***
Ero Blu-ray are Awesome We love the way that Blu-ray has come to the JAV market, with many awesome discs in stock for you. I like Madoka-chan myself.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wacky Anime Memes, Flat Chest Edition

Anime, of course, is rife with fun memes that have emerged over the years, passed from creators to fans and back again. Some iconic anime memes include the "south seas episode" that's loaded with swimsuit fan service, the "sudden onsen hot springs vacation" episode which somehow gets a male character in the girl's bath, the "rich girl who's the daughter of a powerful zaibatsu conglomerate," or the new visual image of "boned meat" showing up from time to time. Another archetype is a female character who's hinnyu, a word which literally means "impoverished chest," also known as pettanko (peh-TAN-ko), which is more or less the "sound" of something being completely flat. These pettanko characters are great sources of comic relief, terribly concerned about the fact that they can still fit in their school swimsuit from the sixth grade. Recently there was a discussion on 2ch, Japan's ubiquitous BBS, about the top flat chested anime characters. The list included such favorites as Konata (naturally), Mikoto from Index/Railgun, mai waifu Taiga from Toradora, Aria of the Scarlet Ammo, and Erio from Denpa Onna.
(If you're an old school City Hunter fan, you might realize that the opposite of pettanko is mokkori (moh-KOH-ree), essentially an onomatopoeia for the "sound" of something sticking up, for example a hill or a Japanese burial mound, or in the case of Ryo Saeba, a certain region of his pants. Ah, the useless Japanese words you learn from J-List...)

Konata's catchphrase, "a flat chest is a status symbol!"

More on Transliterating Japanese

A few updates ago I wrote about transliteration, the process of moving a word from one writing system to another, which always seems to create confusion. Japanese is structured as a syllable-based language: for example, you can express the sounds ka, ki, ku, ke, and ko in Japanese, but not "k" all by itself. Phonetically, there are three syllables that don't quite fit the neat consonant + verb pattern, which are pronounced shi, tsu and chi. One eternal question that comes up is, should these three syllables be written as they're pronounced (as it is in the Hepburn Romanization method), or should the two-letter pattern be preserved even it leads to terribly inaccurate pronunciation (called the Nihon method, which calls for writing the three syllables as si, tu and ti)? As with certain computer platforms I could name, students of Japanese are usually willing to fight to the death over the system of Romanization they think is best. For the record, J-List believes that the best writing system communicates proper pronunciation to the widest number of people, and we always use this here at J-List...which is why I gnash my teeth every time I have to type the official title of Martian Successor Nadesico, a spelling that doesn't reflect how people pronounce the word (which is na-desh-ko).

The anime we used to watch in the 90s was so much fun.

Cool Products Wednesday, July 20, 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.
Animage Aug 2011
Celebrating the release of the newest Ghibli film, Kokuriko-zaka kara, Animage sits down and interviews the five members of the cast, plus of course all the regular great articles and omake are here too. Animage is he best magazine to read about all Miyazaki films!
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Newtype Aug 2011
Newtype Aug 2011 Newtype has released their August 2011 issue, with tons of great features on your favorite anime series, plus cool poster and mini-book omake. I found Menma!
The SASS Wear  One Eye T-Shirt
The SASS Wear ~ One Eye T-Shirt  A great T-shirt from Japanese designer TOMOKI from Sass Wear. A fantastic original design hand-printed in Japan.
COSnap! Aug 2011
COSnap! Aug 2011 Oh snap! COSnap! is the magazine of choice if you are into the world of cosplay. Lots of tips from pros on make-up to wardrobe selection.
Hatsune Miku 1/8 Figure by Goodsmile
Hatsune Miku 1/8 Figure by Goodsmile Then, the ultra-rare Hatsune Miku figure from Goodsmile is finally in stock, but we've sold 50+ of them and only a few are left for stock. Just sayin'...
Higurashi -- When they Cry
You become the observer, detective, judge and jury all in one as you experience the events of a murder unfold before your eyes in Hinamizawa village. Reliving the moments from various perspectives over multiple retellings of the story, you have the chance to form your own version of "the truth." Now in stock!
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Cutie Aug 2011
Cutie Aug 2011 In this August issue of Cutie we get to see the kawaii summer fashion of Nishino Kana plus make-up techniques from Becky.
Yuko Ogura Produced Sweets Lingerie  PINK size M
Yuko Ogura's Panties And Others Too Check out the wonderful fashion lineup of Yuko Ogura, now available at J-List! Plus lots of other great pantsu restocked today.
Re-ment Hello Kitty Omatsuri Mascot Full Set of 10
Hello Kitty Omatsuri Straps This box comes with a total of 10 different keychain/cell phone straps of traditional omatsuri (festival) items transformed into Hello Kitty.
Hello Kitty Customizing Faucet
Hello Kitty Customizing Faucet Fit this Hello Kitty face to any facet to transform it from boring water into a fun adjustable shower sprinkler. It's so kawaii!
Onnanoko Database  School ver. -- How to Draw Manga for Creator
Gorgeous Artbooks Restocked From learning how to draw anime, to idolizing the masters in Pixiv and exploring knowledge through moe, we've got great artbooks.
Solar Sunshine Buddies  Dozing Pink  Hidamari no Tami
Solar Sunshine Buddies Are Back! Kawaii! We're happy to report that the Hidamari no Tami solar powered relaxation toys are back! We feel more relaxed already.
Nivea 8x4 Men's Cool Antiperspirant Deodorant  Ice Mint
Men's Cool Antiperspirant Deodorant Get a refreshing boost with a deodorant that also chills and refreshes your skin. A popular items for oniisans everywhere.
Neko Bus House w/ Small Mascot (Totoro  Sho Totoro) -- Medium
We Love Totoro Plush Toys Some fun Totoro and Ghibli products restocked, including the Ponyo Bento Set, Totoro "Reward" Stamps and awesome Cat Bus & Totoro plush.
Gold Fish Bowl Fuurin / Wind Chime
Gold Fish Bowl Fuurin / Wind Chime Feel the sounds of the wind with this cute, traditionally designed fuurin (wind chime). It really brings home summer for you.
Tatami Slipper  Dragon Fly Check Blue
Tatami Slipper ~ Dragon Fly Then see more awesome "tatami" sandals for summer, fun and traditional, you'll think you're walking on traditional Japanese mats all day.
Melon Syrup for Shaved Ice
Syrup for Shaved Ice Make your summer a delicious one with these shaved ice accessories, plus tons of other great traditional summer items too. Many flavors restocked.
Glico Matcha Milk Caramel
See today's new snack and gum offerings, incl. Match Milk Caramels (yum!), exotic Meiji Gougere Snack plus a new Kiss Mint flavor. We encourage everyone to learn about Japan and its culture through delicious snacks!
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Hoshi UME  Dried Japanese Plum
Japanese Pickled, Dried Ume Since I talked about pickled plums today, here are some great traditional Japanese plums for you to try. They're delicious!
Glico Karu Jaga -- Curry Flavor
Restocked Snacks Too Then try some Glico Karu Jaga snacks, Meiji Wata Pachi cotton candy + pop rocks (wow), Glico Cratz, Country Ma'am cookies and Ramune!
Totoro Thermal Bento Box Set Flower in Garden
Totoro & Ghibli Bento Boxes Restocked Also see a huge restocking of your favorite Totoro bento boxes and accessories, including the DX Totoro Thermal Bento Set. We love Totoro!
Mt. Fuji  Rabbits Lacquered 2 Tier Bento Box  Elastic Band  Microwave and Dishwasher Safe
Traditional Bento Boxes Restocked Also: we always have awesome traditional bento boxes from Japan, like our Mt. Fuji & Rabbits Bento Box, so stylish and wonderful.
Zekkei Nippon Kokoro no Tabi
Great Photobooks from Japan See fresh stock of some random but awesome photobooks from Japan, including The Ultimate Journey Through Japan. Love the photos!
TOKYO The Greatest Travel Tips
Learn about Japan with J-List See our popular bilingual guide to Tokyo, a wonderful book for anyone who would like to visit, plus the bilingual Doraemon manga!
SELFIT Mechanical Pencil w/ Transforming Self-fit Grip
Mechanical Pencils & Pens The Japanese call mechanical pencils sharp-pen for some reason. See some great restocked pens and mechanical pencils today.
Pour ma Beaute Mint Green Notebook
Restocked Stationery, Letter Sets See fresh stock of the beautiful letter sets and notebooks from Japan's famous MARK'S brand. We love to sell things like this, and have several items in stock.
DX Handmade Wooden NINJA Sword
Various Traditional Items Many great traditional items including hand made wooden swords, ninja letter openers, waraji sandals, and samurai sword keychains.
Revoltech No.108 Evangelion Evolution EVA Mark.06  **Preorder**
Revoltech No.108 Evangelion Evolution EVA *Preorder* A gorgeous new Evangelion Revoltech figure indeed, the 108th figure in the series. Comes with many additional parts including the moon and the Lance of Longinus.
Bone Meat Cushion**Preorder**
Boned Meat Cushion *Preorder* A fun meme seen in anime like Madoka Magika and Fate/Hollow Ataraxia, here's a soft cushion that looks like prehistoric meat on a bone.
One Coin Grande Prince of Tennis Figure Collection Set of 10 **Preorder**
One Coin Grande Prince of Tennis *Preorder* If you're a fan of Prince of Tennis, here are awesome "One Coin" figures that you won't want to miss out on. Two sets posted for preorder.
Rewrite Lucky Charm Shiruzu Nakatsu -- Good Friendship **Preorder**
Rewrite Lucky Charm Sets *Preorder* The newest visual novel since Clannad is Rewrite, and we've got...awesome omamori lucky charms for winning friendship and love.
Kyubei Business Card Holder 'Make a Contract with Me' **Preorder**
Kyubey Business Card Holder *Preorder* The perfect business negotiation tool! You will surely win at business with this awesome Kyubey tool for business! I love this product.
Honto ni Gachi Shirouto Musume April 2011 vol. 09
These young women are all shirouto (newcomers to the JAV world) with little experience but show us that they have what it takes. As always, we're enthralled by the quality of the models and the photography.
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Office Lady Complex
Office Lady Complex Fans of the sub-genre of cosplay that is sexy female office workers will absolutely love this compilation of photos involving OLs showing their stuff.
Avion -- Mihiro (5000 Limited Edition)
Restocked Photobooks from Japan The delicious Mihiro's Avion photobook is restocked, plus the memorable zenra body of Hana Hikaru warms our hearts.
Girlie Limited Edition
Girlie Limited Edition H-Manga This limited edition manga includes a drama CD that really brings together the 7 sexy stories into a unique experience you'll fully enjoy.
L'autocensure  Maya Miyazaki Illustrations
L'autocensure ~ Maya Miyazaki Illustrations This amazing artbook features the very talented Maya Miyazaki's work, a truly epic item that collectors should not miss.
Girl's Avenue vol. 2
Super Ecchi Artbooks  Then see restocked artbooks for fans of great "H" art, with many fabulous works back in stock on the site. Warning, nosebleeds will occur.
Konayuki Fururi -- Yuzuhara Curling Club  UMD PSP Game
Konayuki Fururi ~ Yuzuhara Curling Club One of the most awesome eroge titles published for the Sony PSP, this is a title that will have you feeling warm, though the story is set in winter.
Da Capo 2 (Limited Edition)
Great news for all fans of visual novels in English: now you can get the awesome games from MangaGamer at J-List thanks to our exclusive deal. We've got the brand-new Da Capo II, the Higurashi games, Guilty the SIN and more. We love eroge culture from Japan!
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HIP ONA BEAT K-On! Parody Toy
HIP ONA BEAT Parody Toy, Lotion Restocked Enjoy fun anime stress products, including Yui from K-On! simulated with more realism than ever before, plus interesting personal lotion.
R-1 Starter Set
Restocked Japanese Stress Toys, Lotion Japan has invented some of the best ways to relax and work off stress. See the legendary R-1 stress toy series restocked today.
Toaru Hiwai na Cosplayer   A Certain Magical Index Parody ***DVD  Blu-ray Special Package***
A Certain Magical Index Parody This DVD+Blu-Ray combo is an adult parody on the "A Certain Magical Index" series. 5 girls cosplaying with lots of ero action.