Saturday, November 05, 2011

Until What Age Did You Bathe With Your Mother?

There are some things you say when you live in Japan that you'd certainly never utter back home. For example, when you give someone a present it's common to be self-effacing and say, "Please accept this boring gift" as you hand it to them, which I've never said in English. Asking a person's blood type then having an in-depth conversation about it is odd, as is being reminded to "turn off the carpet" before going to bed, referring to the electric "hot carpet" heater some homes have in Japan. When a member of the J-List staff goes home for the day, I'll usually tell them ki o tsukete, which literally means "be careful," but this goodbye greeting would sound strange if translated into English. Then there's, "At what age did you stop taking baths with your parents?" In Japan, baths are made extra large, and parents will generally take their baths with their kids up to a certain age (usually around the third grade of elementary school), a custom which is known as "skinship," one of my favorite Engrish words. A common joke in anime is a character who's embarrassed when his friends find out that he was taking baths with his mother well into junior high school.

"Skinship" is the Japanese word for the touch between a parent and their child.

Fun With Highly Descriptive Japanese Adjectives

Although all languages share the basic building blogs of grammar, with nouns, verbs, and adjectives, passive and active voice and so on, Japanese is obviously quite different from English. Rather than feel frustrated at the parts that were different from English, I did my best to embrace them instead. For example, there's a class of highly descriptive 4-syllable adjective that all end in -yaka which are so full of complex meanings that they can be a challenge to master. The word hanayaka means bright, flowery and full of pageantry, like a beautiful bride at her wedding, while the similar sounding nigiyaka means bustling and busy, like a big city where everyone is hurrying to get someplace. If something you're eating or drinking makes you feel sawayaka you feel refreshed and full of zest, while the word sumiyaka means speedy and without delay. Most Japanese parents would like their sons to grow up to be sukoyaka, which means vigorous, healthy and strong, while odayaka, meaning calm and graceful, is considered a virtue for daughters. While these nuanced words might seem hard to learn, they're used quite often, which makes them easy to learn.

According to Google Images, this image is sawayaka (bright and refreshing.

Japanese Sex Toy Appreciation Sale?

I happened to see on the Internet that today, November 4, is Stress Relief Toy Day in the U.S., a day for all of us to appreciate the various devices that sometimes take the edge off for us at the end of the day, be the personal "shoulder massagers" shaped like Hello Kitty, those amazing Tenga toys or anime-themed "dolphin polishers."To commemorte this event, J-List is having a sale on all these unique products from Japan, giving you 2x J-List Points with all purchases. Enjoy! 
Stress Toy Sale at J-List

Pocky Day is Coming!

Did you know? November 11 is Pocky Day, since 11/11 looks like four sticks of the delicious chocolate stick snacks lined up. This year is extra special, though since in just a few days November 11, 2011 will be here (11/11/11), which won't be seen for another century. Today we've posted full sealed boxed sets of our most popular Pocky flavors, allowing you to buy three delicious boxes of everyone's favorite Japanese stick snack or score a whole shrinkwrapped box at a discounted price. Order now!

Can Anime Make you Cry?

Ever since tear-jerkers like Clannad After Story came along, it seems more and more anime series involve stories that can reduce fans to weeping dishrags by the end. From the beginning, Anime has featured intense stories and characters that deeply affect the emotions of viewers -- for example, in the 70s we saw the dramatic death of Captain Okita of Space Battleship Yamato as he took a final look at Earth and the ascension of Nello and Patrasche into heaven in A Dog of Flanders. Looking at the comments I've seen in my Twitter feed and on the J-List Facebook Page, anime series that deeply affect us seem to be getting more common, and I often see big, burly men admit things like, "I cried like a baby, watching AnoHana...they were not manly tears." Even shows that you don't think of as especially deep can get you, like episode 20 of K-On! seaon 2 where Yui talks about next year's culture festival, then the girls realize they're high school seniors and won't ever be playing in a high school band again after they graduate, and all break up in tears. I think emotional anime events like the ending of Madoka Magika are important because they become "shared moments" that allow us all to know we're part of something larger.

There's been a rise in the number of anime series that can deeply affect fans.

Cool Products Friday, November 4, 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.
Dengeki Daioh Nov 2011
One of the greatest magazine compilations of manga is here again, this time with even more great series and an awesome omake, a mini Nendoroid figure of Uiharu from Railgun. Warning: since most copies of Dengeki Daioh sell out to subscription customers, we apologize if it sells out. Why not get a revolving subscription to this great magazine yourself?
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Dengeki Hime Dec 2011
Dengeki Hime Dec 2011 Then enjoy the new Dengeki Hime, back on the site after many months. Filled with awesome information on the newest eroge and anime. (Please see it on the "R" side).
Pandadarake Balance Game
Pandadarake Balance Game Pa-pa-pa-pa-pa Panda! You'll be amazed with the fun you'll have with this interesting new game featuring stackable Jenga-like pandas.
A Certain 5L Sailor Uniform (Hideyoshi Type)
A Certain 5L Sailor Uniform (Hideyoshi Type) Everyone can enjoy the fun of cosplaying as a Japanese high school girl (like Hideyoshi from Baka to Test) because it comes in 5L size.
Shimapan Dream  Pink M
Huge Restocking of Anime 'Shimapan' We love shimapan around here, and today we've restocked nearly all colors and varieties for you. Will you choose Mio Blue or Hatsune Miku Green?
High School Briefcase Bookbag
Awesome Cosplay Products from Matsukameya We carry the popular school uniforms by Matsukameya of Nagoya,and we highly recommend them. Newly restocked: their High School Bookbag.
Horse Head Mask US **Preorder**
Horse Head Mask Restocked Today! One of the strangest things to come around in a long time is this horse head mask, which is a big hit on Japanese Nicodouga and YouTube video sites.
Super Sonico Prize Headphones -- White
Super Sonico Prize Headphones Take your favorite sexy music lover, Super Sonico, with you on your own pair of headphones. Comes in three colors: white, pink, and blue.
iTunes Japan Music Card
Awesome J-POP Songs with iTunes Japan Cards You can find all the best JPOP songs in Japan on the iTunes Japan store, like the newest AKB48 singles, or surf all top J-POP singles in Japan this week.
Mio Bass (Miniature) -- Fender Jazz Bass
K-On! Is soon to be releasing a movie of epic proportions, having the girls go to the UK, and to celebrate we've got our hands one these miniature replica versions of Mio's Bass and Azusa's Guitar. They are incredibly detailed, with real strings and knobs you can adjust, plus display stands. Rock on with K-On! These are the most awesome K-On! products ever seen, so order yours now!
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Tsugi no Giseisha o Oshieshimasu  I'll Let you Know Who the Next Victim is
Tsugi no Giseisha o Oshieshimasu If you like Japanese horror movies, you'll enjoy this new PSP game form the original PC game about death coming at you just around the corner.
NEPTUNE mk2  Limited Edition
Other Restocked PSP and PS3 Anime Games Enjoy the awesome bishoujo game Neptune Mk 2, plus Queen's Blade, Ikki Tousen and the ToraDora sequel game on PSP!
Macross Frontier the Movie  Sayonara no Tsubasa -- Hybrid Pack Super-Dimensional Special Edition (Blu-ray Disc) ***Pre-Order***
Macross Frontier Movie 2 w/PS3 Game *Pre-Order* This is great: the 2nd Macross Frontier movie coming on Blu-ray, and it comes with the full version of the PS3 Macross game (which is great)!!
Hello Kitty Muffin Mold
Hello Kitty Pan, Muffin Mold Restocked The adorable Kitty-chan comes out pipin' hot and fresh with these muffin molds. Also, a nori cutter for making kawaii Hello Kitty rice balls.
Rillakuma Wallet
DX Rilakkuma Wallet We love to delight our customers with cute products from Japan. Today we're restocking our DX Relax Bear Wallet that's soft to hold and fun to carry your stuff in.
Deluxe Kyoto Tea Gift Set  Umekobucha  Mini Spoon  Crane  Konpeito
Tea Time is a Fine Time When you have tea that is as good as the high quality items we have, you will be saying the same thing. Great new green tea and related products in today.
Ponyo no Sanpo
We Love Ponyo Then, we have brand new Ponyo toys from Japan for you, including a great plush toy that "swims" when you pill its string (!), and a Ponyo keychain.
Deluxe Pentel Fude Brush Pen 2way Type
Restocked 'Fude' Pens from Japan Super awesome pens restocked on the site, incl. "fude" pens for writing Japanese brush calligraphy, a very popular product category at J-List.
Snowman 'MIMI' Pen   Black  Red
Santa and Snowman Christmas Pens Japanese pens are more than just the best instruments for writing, they're also kawaii. Enjoy these cute Christmas themed pens, restocked today.
Tony Self Select Calendar 2012 **Preorder**
Tony Self Select Calendar 2012 *Preorder* Here's a real treat: a gorgeous 2012 calendar filled with the best artwork of Tony Taka, the master ecchi illustrator. Order now!
2012 Desktop Calendar -- Totoro Bus Stop in a Rainy Day **Preorder** **Preorder**
2012 Totoro & Ghibli Calendars We're loaded to the gills with other awesome anime calendars, from Totoro to Naruto to Blood C and much more. Click to browse the items by popularity.
Lotte Crunky Crunch Chocolate Green Tea Set of 3
Fun! We've got a new flavors of the snacks you love, like this tempting looking Crunky Match Tart treat, or some amazing Dorito chips made for wine, with cheese fondue and tandoori chicken flavors, officially made for the Japanese domestic market by FritoLay Japan. Looks delicious.
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Sasebo Burger Drops (Sasebo Limited)  Japanese Food Drops
Restocked Japanese Food Drops, Too Got more awesome Japanese traditional Food Drops candies, including Sasebo Burger Drops, Ramen from Tokyo, Okonomiyaki from Osaka and...Natto candy?
Popin' Cookin' DIY Bento Candy
Restocked Sanck Awesomeness The entire Popin Cookin' series, plus the popular Morinaga Hi-Chew Fanta series, Men's Rose Gum that makes you smell like flowers, Shigakix and more.
MUSHUDA Kumao Tight Bento Box  Microwave  Dishwasher Safe
MUSHUDA Kumao Tight Bento Box ~ Microwave & Dishwasher Safe A bento box made for those who love the kawaii Mushuda character. Big enough for a fun lunch, small enough to fit in any bag.
Hello KITTY Candy Pink Compact Bento Box  Chopsticks  Elastic Band
Other Cute Bento Boxes, Too You can't be too thin or too rich...or have too many awesome Hello Kitty bento boxes from Japan. Several restocked today.
ONIGIRI /Rice Ball Maker  ---  Ball Shape
Onigiri Shapers & More And your bento wouldn't be complete without a few well placed colorful onigiri. and we've restocked several popular items for you today.
Waku-Waku Deco Bento Set
Waku-Waku Deco Bento Set  Put down those scissors, you need this hand-press cutter that features 19 different shapes, perfect for adding cuteness to you lunch.
Basic Kanji Drill New -- 2nd Grade
Japanese Study Books Restocked Then: fresh stock of the Japanese kanji drill books used by Japanese children, with several back in stock. Study like the Japanese do!
Eating in Japan 3 - Nihon e toki Jiten
Awesome Bilingual Books from Japan We are fans of the travel guides and study books from JTB, and today we've restocked A Look Into Japan, Say It In Japanese, and Eating in Japan.
Japanese Bamboo Ear Pick - Mimikaki
Traditional Japanese Ear Cleaners You haven't lived until you've had your ears cleaned by a Japanese bamboo mimikaki. See the restocked items today.
Sci-fi Revoltech No.010 Woody  Toy Story
Revoltech Toys Being Reissued The "Woody" action figure is coming back, so hide your other figures. Also, Iron Man and Optimus Prime are posted for preorder again.
Evangelion Mark.06 Slim Can Pen Case **Preorder**
Evangelion Slim Can Pencil Cases *Preorder* For school or for work, these preorder pencil/pen cases featuring Evangelion colors are so cool. Compact too.
Den Den Mushi Speaker -- Luffy **Preorder**
Den Den Mushi Speaker *Preorder* Just attach your favorite music player, and you'll be able to enjoy your tune from Den Den Mushi, the cute character from One Piece.
BJ -- Bejean Dec 2011
Another amazing issue of BJ, the adult magazines from Japan where you'll find what you're looking for, from sweet girls to naughty kyonyu types. It's a great magazine for everyone to drool over, as usual.
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Vibe Toy's Kun
We're not making this up! Today (November 4) is National Stress Toy Day and to celebrate we're giving you double J-List Points on all personal massagers, anime-themed onahole fantasy toys, Tenga goodness, lotion and more. Accumulate points faster than ever, and use them with your next order, or save them for larger point upgrades later.
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Yua de Ikuno!!  Parody Love Hole
More Parody Stress Toys for Otaku Release your stress with some adult toys we know you'll like, featuring parodies of the anime girls you love like K-On! and Zero no Tsukaima.
Twins Sister Sandwich  Chihiro
Twins Sister Sandwich Restocked This popular onahole series is back. It even comes with shimapan in the box for extra realism, plus lotion and an ero sound CD.
Koi Kishi  Purely Kiss (Love Knights)
Love Knights ~ Purely Kiss In this erotic game adventure for your PC, where you take on the role of the only male knight in the kingdom. A fun import from Japan.
Amorous Professor Cherry
Download 'H' Game: Amorous Professor Cherry Another game we love is Amorous Professor Cherry, the story of a teacher who goes way beyond the call of duty. A great game from the creator of Sagara Family.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Japanese Who Think I'm Speaking English

Every once in a while I encounter a Japanese person who, for whatever reason, can't accept the fact that I speak their language. Once I went to the denkiya (electronics store) to pick up some items and browse all the bright and shiny things they had on display. The store I was in had an excellent selection of Japanese massage chairs, and I decided to sit a spell and read email on my iPhone, since getting a shiatsu massage while doing email is a pretty cool combination. The minute I sat down, a female employee of the store appeared and started explaining the various benefits of owning a $3000 massage chair to me, in rather broken English. Despite the fact that my replies and counter-questions were all in Japanese, she kept explaining in English, pushing buttons on the remote control to demonstrate the various functions of the chair. In the end I gave up and spoke English to the lady, who never seemed to register that I had lived in Japan for many years and spoke the language fluently.

Another thing I like about living in Japan: really outstanding massage chairs.

Haircuts in Japan

The other day I decided my hair had grown long enough, and that it was time to go get it cut. I'd been delaying because my last haircut had been a special one for me, obtained in a barber shop in "Twin Peaks" during my journey to Snoqualmie, Washington over the summer, but the time had finally come. There are many options for getting a haircut in Japan, from hip stylists who make you look like a JPOP star to old-school traditional barber shops, like the cool 85+ year old man who used to tell me what Japan was like in the years after World War II while he cut my hair. These days my favorite place to get a haircut is my local onsen public bath, which has a barber shop on the premises as well as a small restaurant. Getting one's hair cut then taking a bath to wash away the bristly hairs is the highest point in the advancement of civilization so far.
(Another thing I've noticed, it's quite common to see heterosexual men cutting hair. The guy who cuts mine loves to go on about his wife and child and how he's practicing English. Are there hetero hair-care professions in the U.S. anymore?)

Getting haircuts in Japan can be quite awesome, though not as moe as this.