Friday, November 25, 2011

Random Nihongo: "Shugi" (~ism)

Sometimes it's fun to learn how concepts in one language are implemented in another. One word of Japanese I like for some reason -shugi, written with kanji that mean "main belief" or "principle" which correspond to the English suffix -ism. Words like Capitalism (shihon-shugi) or Socialism (shakai-shugi) use this word ending, and if you've got a unique worldview of some kind, you might label it with the -shugi label, too. One aspect of my personality is that I believe any problem can be solved, an idea I think I picked up from playing too many visual novels and eroge, where any desired ending can be achieved by finding the right approach to the problem and combination of actions. Whenever my pragmatic Japanese wife hears me talk like this, she says I am being "Peter-shugi" (Peter-istic?).

(Now you know how to say Capitalism, Communism and the Monroe Doctrine in Japanese).

Japan Cell Phone Update

It's funny to observe how easily paradigm shifts can occur in the fast-paced world we live in. Looking at the history of web browsers from Netscape to IE to Firefox and Google Chrome, or of social networking sites from LiveJournal up through Facebook, large or small paradigm shifts seem to happen every few years. One of the big changes over the past few years has been in the cell phone world. For the longest time, the "Galapagos Effect" of high competition in the closed Japanese phone market meant the coolest phones with the newest features could be found in Japan, yet all this changed when the iPhone and Android platforms came along. Today Japan's cell phone market is a closer to the West, with the iPhone 4S and various Android phones by Samsung and HTC being sold by most major carriers here. But competition is creating some new innovations, too, like the Aquos clamshell Android phone for customers who prefer the familiar feel of a 10-key pad under their thumbs but want a proper smartphone experience, or elegant "ladies only" and Disney Android phone designs.
(And sorry, we can't sell you a Japanese cell phone. They are all locked to networks here and wouldn't work in your country.)

There are some interesting Android phones in Japan.

The Physics of Winter in Japan

My son is quite a little scientist, reading books on physics and atomic theory for relaxation and occasionally wearing his official Future Gadget Laboratory coat from Steins;Gate around the house. Yesterday he offered a new theory to me: "The flow of time is slowed by a factor of two when you're sitting in a kotatsu playing with a cat." A kotatsu, of course, is a low table with a heater inside that's popular in homes here, where it becomes the hub of a Japanese family in the winter as everyone gathers for meals or to watch TV. Another common way to heat rooms during the winter is with an old-timey kerosene space heater called a "stove," They're frankly a lot more dangerous than the more modern "fan heaters" which are kerosene heaters with thermostats and safety features, but there's something about a stove, glowing orange with a kettle of water boiling on top to keep the air from getting dry, that transports me back to a simpler time in Japan.

Time slows when you're inside a kotatsu.

Christmas Mode at J-List -- are you ready?

J-List is in full Christmas Mode now, with our site stocked to the rafters with excellent products that would make great gifts for your loved ones. From our popular Fuku-bukuro Lucky Bags and the rare Japanese Kit Kat in large gift boxes to newly posted bento boxes, anime toys and 2012 anime calendars, we have tons of super items for you...especially with our special sale this weekend. So what are you waiting for? Get started by browsing the newest products now, or check out the most "wishlisted" products for good gift ideas.

J-List Black Friday Sale GO GO!!

Christmas is a great time to buy random awesome products from Japan, and J-List is ready to help you brighten the faces of the Japan-obsessed people on your list this year. Our Black Friday sale is on now, and it's the best sale we've ever run. Through midnight on Monday U.S. time, get $5, $20 or $40 when you buy more than $50, $150 and $250, respectively, which will be provided in the form of a store credit you can use with your next purchase when the order is processed. Start shopping now!

Cool Products Friday, November 25, 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.
Hiragana Times Dec 2011 NO. 302
Get all the information you need to know about the Japanese language and what's happening in Japan with another great issue of Hiragana Times, which provides both a chance to practice reading nihongo as well as learn new things about the country. Highly recommended item.
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Comic Yuri Hime Jan 2012
Comic Yuri Hime Jan 2012 We love yuri at J-List, so here's another issue of Comic Yuri Hime, the magazine for fans of girls' love. 17 stories of romance between girls!
LOGOS EZ Handle Takoyaki Pan
LOGOS EZ Handle Takoyaki Pan Made with the highest Japanese standards, this indoor/outdoor Takoyaki maker is great for every season.
Evangelion  Logos Stainless Nerv Field Operation Mug Cup Set **Preorder**
Evangelion & Logos Mug Cup Set The popular Evangelion x Logos mug cups are now in a smaller pair set, with all the same high quality stainless steel build.
Elucia Nendoroid Figure  The World God Only Knows **Preorder**
Kami-niisama! Elucia Nendoroid Figure In Stock An amazingly cute Nendoroid of Elucia from The World God Only Knows. Recreate your favorite scenes with this lovable figure!
Mimicry Pet Lop Ear Brown Rabbit
Mimicry Pet Lop Ear Rabbits These super kawaii bunnies love to copy what their owners say. Not only soft and fussy, but smart too!
Hello Kitty Face Deodorizer -- Pink
Hello Kitty Deodorizer ~ Pink & Red Make your room smell as cute as it looks, with an air freshener that looks like a decor addition. Also great for your car!
Super Mario Bros. Wii Sound Figure  1up
Restocked Mario, Hatsune Miku Toys We've got your favorite iconic Japanese characters, like Mario plush dolls and Hatsune Miku figures.
Sonicomi  Communication with Sonico
Sonicomi ~ Communication with Sonico Experience the fun of dating one of the sexiest gravure idols in the business, Sonico, with this game for your PC.
Weiss Schwarz Portable  CLIMAX BOX
Weiss Schwarz Portable ~ CLIMAX BOX Bring the hit Japanese card game Weiss Schwarz to your PSP, with a mix of cute characters and challenging card battles. Wow!
Stripe Panty -- Shimapan PINK  size M
Stripe Panty ~ Shimapan PINK It's often said that the way to an otaku heart is through the shimapan. Or maybe it's not, but it should be said. Anyway, we restocked these today.
Pretty Angel - Black and Purple Striped Socks (Stockings)
More Awesome Japanese Striped Socks Various fashion items restocked today, including awesome striped Japanese socks plus those slippers that clean the floor as you walk on it. Great idea!
My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute 2  Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai 2 (Blu-ray Disc)
In addition to our awesome Black Friday Sale, we've lowered the price of our entire stock of anime Blu-ray discs from Japan. Grab the awesome OreImo discs we have in stock, or score the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Also. Rurouni Kenshin, Nichijou, Madoka Magica, Queen's Blade, Ika Musume, High School of the Dead, and more! All titles in full 1080p and compatible with players all over the world.
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To Aru Kagaku no Rail Gun Special Box
Restocked Moe Artbooks Today A big restocking of popular artbooks today, including Azalea Floating, Bungaku Shojo, Arakawa Under the Bridge, "Railgun" and more. Enjoy the new items.
2012 Desktop Calendar -- Jiji by the Sign
2012 Totoro & Ghibli Calendars We're loaded to the gills with popular anime calendars this year, and we just got fresh stock of Studio Ghibli calendars, Totoro & Jiji the Cat.
Large Totoro  Snowman Blanket (140x100)
Super Soft Blankets! This winter is sure to be a delightful one, after you're wrapped up in a blanket, warm and tight, hugged by Totoro himself. Click to see the new blankets!
Dark Grey Totoro Plush -- Small
Big Restocking of Totoro Plush Toys for Christmas For the inner Ghibli fan in all of us, check out the toys we got back in stock today. Because we all need more Totoro plush toys in our lives.
Tentacle Grape 6-Pack
Give the Gift of Tentacle Grape? One of the most popular products on J-List is Tentacle Grape, the official grape soda of 4chan!If you've got really odd friends, maybe give them a six pack!
J-List Best Seller Snack Set for Stocking Stuffer
Our stocking stuffer selection is an amazing deal for lovers of Japanese snacks, with 16 different treats to enjoy. These are all highly requested and very delicious products ranging from the traditional, like Meijii's Caramel, to the wacky, Kracie's NeruNeruNeruNe. This is a once in a lifetime chance to enjoy all of these flavors together, since many are limited runs and will not return next year. Pick up one for the family or winter holiday party.
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DIY Sushi Candy
New and Restocked Popin' Cookin' from Kracie The hit products of 2011 has been Popin' Cookin,' a fun do-it-yourself sushi candy from Kracie that took the Internet by storm. Click to see the video.
Glico Pocky x Mart -- Custard  Orange Box
Pocky & Kit Kat Restocked, Too And don't forget our selection of rare Pocky and Kit Kat flavors, which capture the awesomeness of Japan in chocolatey goodness for you.
MAGE-WAPPA  Curving Natural Wood Bento Box
Lots of New and Restocked Bento Boxes See a great pre-Black Friday posting of new bento boxes that are perfect for the people on your list, even if it's yourself.
Lun Lun Panda Bento Pick
Lun Lun Panda Bento Pick Add these cute little panda bears and make your bento box super cute with a minimal amount of effort. So cute!
PITTARI  Panda Sandwich Case
Nobody Makes Cute Sandwiches Like Japan There's no sandwich like a Japanese sandwich, and we've restocked our kawaii sandwich makers which "seal" the insides for you. Also, awesome bento cups.
Kantan! Character no Obento  Simple! Character Bento
Restocked Bento Books & Cookbooks J-List carries lots of fun books for making Chara Ben or character bento, which we've restocked for you today.
ASCII Art Kaomoji Earphone  GakuGaku BuruBuru
'Kaomoji' (ASCII Face) Products The newest boom on Japan's 2ch BBS is kaomoji products with cute faces made of ASCII characters, and we've got awesome headphones, bento and a toaster in stock!
Gold Jewelry Making Sticker Pen  Let's Make Original Stickers
Sticker Making Pens, Awesome Erasers With the help of this awesome pen, you too can create your own original accessories. This style of originality is mega popular in Shibuya.
Nihongo Power Drill N3 Bunpo
More Japanese Study Books Restocked Various restocked Japanese textbooks, from JLPT guidebooks to tools to help you master grammar and kanji. Click to view.
Peacock  Sakura Women's Pink Kimono
Traditional Kimonos and Yukatas in Stock We've got some superior traditional fashion products that lovers of the fashion of the Edo era will want to own.
Meiko Honma 1/8 Figure  Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai *Preorder*
Meiko Honma 1/8 Figure *Preorder* Here's an adorable figure of Menma from Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namao wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. Warning, keep out of water.
Miku Hatsune Nendoroid Weelky Hajimeteno
 Hatune Miku ver. *Preorder*
Other Preorder Figures J-List has more great figures for preorder, like the hilarious Nendoroid of Hatsune Miku and an awesome figure of Selvaria from Valkyria Chronicles.
Fuku-Bukuro 2012 Japanese Adult/Sexy Set
J-List's fuku-bukuro Lucky Bags are a great way to score a bunch of items for a special price, and every year our customer buy hundreds of gift bags filled with anime toys and figures, bento products, Japanese snacks and more. Sometimes a person wants products that have a big of an...edge to them, and for those customers we've got the new 2011 Ero Lucky Bags! They features *four* DVD titles, a Tenga toy, a vibrator plus 1-2 other random items. Enjoy.
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A Will -- Miu Nakamura Last Photobook
A Will ~ Miu Nakamura Last Photobook Gravure idol Miu Nakamura is retiring, but not before she puts out this full-nude photobook! Experience her beauty as you've never seen it before.
ERIRIKA-LIVE -- Eririka Katagiri
Gorgeous Photobooks from japan Then enjoy some other restocked photobooks including the silky Eririka Katagiri, Rina Kato's Love Para, Feather Touch with Ai Haneda, plus Office lady Matrix.
NON-WASHING!!  2   WORKING! Parody Toy
NON-WASHING! ~ WORKING! Parody Toys Our new parody sex toys are based on the characters from WORKING! You won't even need to wash up after use!
BAND GAL!! -- Anzu  K-On! Parody Toy
BAND GAL! ~ K-On! Parody Stress Toys We've restocked several onahole stress toys too, including K-On's Azunyan, the Sexy Twins deluxe toy, Zhang Xiao Yu's body pillow and more.
The Dignity of Great 'Maria Ozawa'
Toys for JAV Fans: Ozawa Maria, Sarah & More If you're feeling down in the dumps, maybe you need an incredible experience with a famous JAV actress. Happily, Maria Ozawa is willing and eager.
My Girlfriend is the President **Preorder**
Awesome English Language Eroge J-List has dozens of top-quality visual novels and eroge available now, so it's a great chance to take advantage of the new sale and score a bunch!
Ikinari Anata ni Koishiteru
Ikinari Anata ni Koishiteru Four cute girls vie for your affections in this eroge from the makers of H2O. Which will you choose?
Pants no Arashi  Storm of Pantsu
Pants no Arashi ~ Storm of Pantsu Destroy the oncoming panties before they destroy you, in this fun side-scrolling PC game. Many other great doujin software too.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We Love Fujoshi Fangirls

One of the more interesting trends over the past decade or so has been the rise of serious fangirls, called fujoshi in Japanese, a pun on a word meaning "high class ladies" which is written with alternate kanji that mean "rotten girls." Fujoshi characters who love yaoi and "BL", yuri or otome games (girl-centered visual novels) have become a staple of modern anime series, providing comic relief as well as characters for viewers to identify with, like Harumi from Zetsubou Sensei, Kiko from Darker than Black, Mio from Nichijou or Hiyori from Lucky Star, though my heart will always belong to the twin fujoshi Ohno and Ogiue from the classic Genshiken anime. Lately the anime world has been dominated by awesome products catering to female fans, including "otome" magazines like Otomedia and awesome fangirl-friendly series like Blue Exorcist, Tiger & Bunny and Hetalia. Considering the long history of themes largely tailored for male fans of anime and manga (*cough* pantsu *cough*), this is definitely a good development.
So, who is your favorite fujoshi girl?

The world is better with awesome fujoshi fangirls in it.

Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan

Today is a holiday in Japan, kinro kansha no hi or Labor Thanksgiving Day. While it sounds like a combination of the American holidays of Labor Day and Thanksgiving, it's actually based on a Japanese harvest celebration that goes back more than 2000 years, though most modern Japanese don't have much awareness of this fact. While it's normally a day to relax at home or go to a karaoke box with friends, our neighborhood puts on a local "harvest festival," perhaps because our city has so many rice and wheat farmers in it (J-List's office is surrounded on all sides by rice fields). I love a good festival, and it's always fun to roam the yatai booths and see what interesting foods they're selling, from takoyaki and taiyaki to choco banana, or maybe try my hand at mochi-tsuki, beating rice with a wooden mallet until it turns into awesome mochi rice cakes. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S., of course, a day for giving thanks and eating lots of food with loved ones. While turkey is hard to come by for us poor blighters living in Japan (the Japanese never developed a taste for it, and Japanese kitchens lack large ovens), I'll be with everyone in spirit with a bucket of KFC. Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is a day of thanksgiving and harvest.

My Girlfriend is the President...and Kawaii

Remember, you can still preorder the upcoming English eroge My Girlfriend is the President and get free shipping on it when it comes in stock. The game, a super recent release that won the hearts of fans with its wacky premise, is has gone "Master Up" (aka Golden Master) and is being duplicated now. Click here to see the product, read about it on the JAST USA development blog, and see the official My Girlfriend is the President site here.

2011-2012 Fuku-Bukuro Season Begins

Christmas is not far off, and J-List's site is stocked with thousands of awesome products for the Japan-obsessed person on your list this year. We've got great news too: the 2011-2012 Lucky Bag season has started! In Japan, they have a fun custom around New Year's where stores sell sealed fukubukuro ("lucky bags") filled with unknown products 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. 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. Click to see this year's awesome new Lucky Bag offerings!