Friday, October 07, 2011

Trains and Train Advertising in Japan

One nice thing about living in Japan is the rail culture here, so very different from the freeway- and automobile-based transportation system of Southern California. Trains have crisscrossed Japan since the first tracks were laid down in 1872, and you can go just about anywhere you want by rail, either a speedy bullet train between major cities or convenient local train when taking shorter trips. While you still need a car to really get around out in the inaka (boonies) where J-List is based, residents of larger cities like Tokyo can easily get along without owning a car, and considering that a monthly parking space can cost up to $500 per month, that's probably a good thing. Trains are an important place to advertise products, and every time you step into a train you'll see hundreds of ads pitching everything from the newest fashion magazines to promoting rail vacations to Kyoto. Every once in a while an advertiser will pay the big bucks to purchase every inch of advertising on a train for a week, like the Hokago Tea Train, covered with images of the K-On! girls to advertise the upcoming movie.

An obsessive fan expresses his love for Mio-chan. We're not judging him.

We Love Japanese Gestures

Body language is a big part of communication, and one aspect of interacting with the Japanese is picking up on what gestures mean. From pointing at their nose instead of their chest to indicate "me?" to the Lucky Cat "waving" gesture that looks to Westerners as "go away" when it means "come here" to the Japanese, there are some big differences. Some gestures the Japanese make are extremely expressive, and we don't have equivalents for rubbing the forefinger and thumb together (which communicates "I don't have any money right now"), an upraised pinky ("I can't go drinking with you, I've got a date with my girlfriend tonight"), or cutting an imaginary gash across your cheek with a finger (which means "watch out for that guy, he might be a yakuza"). Often the gestures Japanese people make make are ridiculously cute. At the gym I go to, there's an aerobics instructor who tries who get us to shout a kiai during the workout. But if we fail to do as she wants, she does this cute mock "falling down" thing, pretending she's about to fall over in shock from our lack of fighting spirit. I love it.

Japanese gestures are different from those in the West.

These mean "come here," "I have a date tonight" and "sorry, my wife will be angry if I go drinking."

Delicious Gum from Japan

J-List aims to be a "wonderful toybox of things from Japan," with something unexpected for everyone inside. Besides our popular Japanese snacks, we stock dozens of varieties of Japanese gum, from the popular Black Black caffeine gum that keeps truck drivers and college students awake, to traditional uranaikko gum with sticks that have a random fortune written on each, plus the fun "Haruhi Gum" Acuo, which turns normal girls into anime girls when you see it (click to watch the YouTube commercial).

The Passing of Steve Jobs, as Seen from Japan

Like everyone else yesterday, I was saddened to hear of the death of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and one of my idols as a businessman. The news was widely reported here, and the reaction by Japanese fans was as expected, with many expressing great sadness at his passing in TV interviews. Steve Jobs was well-respected in Japan, a country where business leaders are seldom charismatic and inspiring -- only a few, like Panasonic founder Konosuke Matsushita or Honda founder Soichiro Honda, have stood out in a similar way. Jobs was feared by hidebound Japanese companies like Sony, too, who would rather their business go on forever without being disrupted by outside ideas like the iPod. The reaction on 2-channel, the ubiquitous Japanese BBS, was also strong, and I opened a few threads to see what Japanese users were saying. In addition to lots of posts expressing arigato! to such a unique individual, one poster pointed out how similar the relationship of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates was to Takeda Shingen and Kenshin Uesugi, two samurai lords from the Warring States period (1467-1573) who were lifelong rivals, though they had great respect for each other. But the comment I liked best was, "Now we know where the iPhone 4S got its name from. The '4S' stands for 'For Steve.'"

Japan marks the passing of Steve Jobs.

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 Nov 2011
A brand new edition of Comic Alive is finally out, coming this month with a special Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai gift, plus comics of Mayo Chiki, Infinite Stratos, Hidan no Aria, Zero no Tsukaima and many more. Stock is limited, so sorry if they sell out.
View products »
2012 Calendar -- Totoro
2012 Anime Calendars! We posted a huge volley of new 2012 anime calendars including OreImo, Index/Railgun, Naruto, Totoro/Ghibli, Pokemon, One Piece and more!
2012 Calendar -- Lucky Cat
Lucky Cat, Japanese Garden, Other Calendars Also, gorgeous 2012 calendars, incl. Lucky Cat, Japanese Tea Gardens, Japan Night Scene, Idols in Kimono and much more.
Pixiv Nenkan 2011 Official Book
Pixiv Nenkan 2011 Official Book Enjoy this year's top of the top from Pixiv, one of the largest digital collections of professional and amateur art from around the world. Breathtaking!
2012 Calendar -- Pixiv **Preorder**
2012 Calendar ~ Pixiv Also: if you love good Japanese art, you *need* the 2012 Pixiv calendar, which we just got in stock today. Enjoy awesome Japanese art all year long!
SHOXX Oct 2011 vol. 224
New Issues of SHOXX Some new issues of the music magazine SHOXX, the premiere source of all things rock, goth and anything similar to the style of Gackt.
Colorful T-Shirt One Piece  FREE size
Restocked Fashion Items From striped stockings and socks, to awesome Harajuku fashions to a complete Queen's Blade maid costume, we've got great items for you.
Toy's Works Collection 4.5 To Aru Majyutsu no Index 2  Full Set of 10 (Basic Set of 7 + 3 Secret Figures)
A Certain Magical Index Full Set Take home a total of 10 different characters from To Aru Majyutsu no Index 2 with this amazing set of ready to display figures. So cute!
Madoka Kaname Figma Action Figure  Puella Magi Madoka Magica **Preorder**
We Love Madoka The Madoka Kaname figma is finally here, and ready to be put in any pose (don't tell that Woody Revoltech figure). Hurry, as the figure will disappear fast!
Kyubei Cup  Saucer  Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Teacups w/Saucer A cup of tea will always taste better when you have your friends nearby. Share your friendship with elegant cups with Madoka Magica characters. Tiro Finale!
UNO One Piece **Preorder**
One Piece UNO, Bento & More See fun One Piece bento boxes, a J-List customer favorite, plus the awesome UNO card game with One Piece characters! Enjoy.
Manekko Peechan -- Romantic Blue
Manekko Peechan Talking Bird Toys This is cool: a robot bird that hears what you say to it and repeats it, and remembers, just like a real bird. Check out the great TV commercial too!
Steins;Gate (PC Game)
Steins;Gate PC Game Restocked We've restocked the epic Steins;Gate original game, which you can play on any PC. We love Steins;Gate a lot...
Smart Handy Phone for iPhone 3G/3GS/4
Smart Handy Phone for iPhone 3G/3GS/4 Turn your iPhone into a fully featured business phone with this handy phone receiver from Japan.
Japanese T-Shirt - Tenori Tigers
J-List T-Shirts and Hoodies Celebrate your love of Japan with the unique kanji and anime-themed T-shirts J-List stocks. We love our Toradora shirt a lot.
Studio Ghibli Collection Keychain Set of 6 -- (Makkuro Kurosuke)
Ghibli Plush Toys, Music Boxes It's always nice to have some Totoro plush toys in your life, and we've restocked several today, including the Ghibli Plush Keychains.
Genki 2 (Second Edition) Textbook  An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese 2 Textbook
Genki 2 (Second Edition) Textbooks The second edition of the most popular Japanese textbook series ever released is out, and J-List has them in stock. Textbook, workbook and more.
Hiragana From Zero!
Hiragana From Zero! But, the first steps to learning Japanese is to master the basics of the Japanese alphabet, starting with hiragana. Recommended book!
Glico Pocky Panda -- Cookie  Cream
You can always trust the Japan will come out with a new kind of cute snack, or variation on an old favorite. Today we are featuring some very unique treats, like Pocky's cookie and cream flavor, Chocobi's chocolate banana flavor (the official chocolate snack of Crayon Shin Chan), and Pretz's simple butter flavor.
View products »
Cherry Boy (Yamagata Limited)  Japanese Food Drops
Restocked Traditional Japanese Food Drops Today's restocked flavors include Chaburashka in caramel and strawberry milk flavor, Shochu (Soju) flavored sake candy plus "Cherry Boy" flavor.
Koikeya 'Nori Shio' Potato Chips
Restocked Japanese Snacks Awesome "Nori & Salt" potato chips, Shigekix Super Ramune, Glick Salada Pretz, more Tyrant Habanero, fortune-telling gum, plus Black Black Caffeine Candy!
Men's 2 tier Nutritional Balance Lunch Box w/ 4 Colors Silicon Cups  Recipe
Men's Nutritional Balance Bento Box Eat a fulfilling lunch while also ensuring a good balance of vitamins, proteins and minerals -- the easy way with this bento box set.
Deluxe Brown Natural Wooden Wappa 2 Tier Bento Box
Restocked Traditional Bento Boxes Carry around your lunch in style with one of these excellent traditional bento boxes, but with the modern convenience of machine washability.
ECO Flower Shaped Re-usable Silicon Bento Cup
Other Bento Accessories J-List always has fun bento accessories for you, and today we've restocked many different silicon bento cups for separating food. Use again and again!
Animal Farm  Seasoning Cylinder w/ Character Caps
Furikake Seasoning Bottles for Bento Here's a cool item: a pair of containers for holding your favorite flavors of furikake, which is food you sprinkle over white rice.
HOT Deshuran Rice Cooker + Bento Box
Rice Cooker + Bento Box, All In One 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!
New SAND de PANDA -- Clover  Push Style Easy Sandwich Maker
New SAND de PANDA ~ Easy Sandwich Makers You haven't eaten a sandwich until you've had one that's been cut and shaped, with the insides "sealed" for you. We love Japanese sandwiches!
Japanese Disposable Vinyl Clear Umbrella
Awesome Japanese...Umbrellas? J-List carries the awesome generic clear umbrellas that can be found everywhere in Asia -- an ironic way to keep dry just like the Japanese do. Restocked today.
Mild Liner  New Smokey Color Highlight Marker Set of 3 Colors
Great Japanese Pens Restocked A nice restocking of popular Japanese pens, including "Mild Liner" highlighters, our popular set of Hello Kitty pens and more.
Japanese Traditional Kokeshi Doll  Japanese Plum Ume
Japanese Traditional Kokeshi Doll ~ Japanese Plum Ume  From the artisans of Northern Japan (Tohoku) comes this authentic, handmade wooden doll, decorated with a flower patterned kimono.
SHINSENGUUMI  Hand-made Washi Okiagarikoboshi Doll
Restocked Traditional Products Fun traditional products restocked, including our Shinsengumi + Ninja Japanese Paper Dolls, Kiseru pipe and more.
Panty  Stockings with Chuck + Galaxxxy Twin Pack **Preorder**
Panty & Stocking Galaxxxy Twin Pack *Preorder* We love Panty & Stocking w/ Garterbelt, and the new "Galaxxxy Twin Pack" figures we're posting for preorder are especially nice.
MIllhiore F. Biscotti 1/7 Figure  DOG DAYS **Preorder**
Other Gorgeous Preorder Anime Figures Mecha and bishoujo, two of the best reasons to like anime and the figures that are made from them, like these from Dog Days and Busou Shinki.
The Best Magtazine Special Nov 2011
Another great issue of The Best Magazine, which proves it's the best at two things: giving us gorgeous girls to enjoy in a magazine and giving us gorgeous girls to enjoy on a DVD!(nosebleed). A nice focus on sexy underwear and "office ladies" in this issue.
View products »
D Cup Kana -- Yuuki Kana
Restocked Photobooks and More We truly love Japan's photography of beautiful women. Enjoy these restocked ecchi photobooks restocked today.
Impact -- Momoka Nishina  Beginner White
Impact Onahole ~ Momoka Nishina Wow, a fantastic stress toy for fans of JAV queen Momoka Nishina. There are two onahole toys to choose from, Beginner White or Maniac Black.
Sarah Hole  The Dignity of Great Pussy
Sarah Hole ~ The Dignity of Great Pussy We're big fans of the cute JAV actress Sarah (no, not that one), and we support her greatly. Enjoy her restocked realistic onahole and lotion.
amazing toys for adults
Popular Japanese Lotion J-List sells a lot of personal lotion from Japan, for couples of single use. See the awesome Azunyan parody lotion plus...bukkake lotion?
R-1 Predator Wand
The Most Advanced Stress Relief Toys Restocked Also for our stressed-out female customers (or their boyfriends), the popular R-1 advanced toy series has been restocked.
Kinshin Souai  Haha ni Koi Shita Boku
Restocked Eroge from Japan Then see some awesome restocked <>eroge from Japan, incl. Kinshin Souai, Customize Lovers, Princess Knight Olivia and Let's Nupu Nupu.
Do You Like Bunnies? 1  2 set
Do You Like Horny Bunnies? A great pair of games from G-Collections, translated into English for the enjoyment of eroge fans. We like them a lot, how about you?