Friday, April 13, 2012

Using English Words with Japanese: Suru and Na Adjective

One aspect of the Japanese language is its heavy use of foreign loan words, usually borrowed from English. Since the grammar of the two languages is different, however, something is needed to "bridge" the two, and conveniently there are two such grammatical aides built right into Japanese. The first is the adjective particle na which allows a foreign adjective to be plugged into a Japanese sentence without breaking any rules, and you can hear phrases like surimu na onna (a slim, slender woman), hansamu na otoko (a handsome man) or torendii na dorama (the latest trendy drama on television) spoken every day in Japan. The Japanese can get quite creative with these English adjectives, and I've heard "almighty" and "epoch-making" used in this fashion -- e.g. epokkumeekingu na ibento, an Earth-shattering event. The other linguistic aid that helps foreign words be used in Japanese is the catch-all verb suru which means "to do." Some common examples include getto suru (GET-toh suru, to get or find something), doraibu suru (doh-RAH-ee-bu suru, to go for a drive), kamingu auto suru (kah-min-GU AH-oo-toh suru, to come out of the closet about something), and one of my favorites, sekkusu suru (to have, well, you know). The staff at J-List uses lots of English in their Japanese, too, and you can hear terms like sukyan suru (to scan a product) or pikku suru (to pick products in preparation for shipping) being used everyday.

I tried to getto suru  one of these limited Hatsune Miku origami, but failed.

Having Fun in Australia Nau

My wife and I have been having lots of fun this week, making our first visit to Australia for a short vacation. We've been quite impressed with the country so far, doing various tourist-ey things while I try to sample every brand of beer in the country. (I don't think I'm going to get to them all.) Of course coming to a new country always means discovering various oddities, like the sound cross-walks make to tell you it's okay to cross, browsing for interesting local snacks (Tim Tam chocolate biscuits!!), and puzzling over colorful local words like brekkie, sunnies and uni for breakfast, sunglasses and university. I often write about the kokumin-sei or "national character" of different countries, and I've done my best to make observations here, people-watching in pubs over a few pints. As far as I can tell, the spirit of Australia can be summed up by the words "no worries," which are pretty good words to live by.

I'm having fun down in Australia right now.

Self Introductions and Humility and the Japanese

Recently J-List hired a new Japanese employee to oversee the shipping of packages, and on her first day the entire staff gathered in a circle, each person bowing in turn and doing jiko shokai, which means "self introduction," although it's actually quite a deep cultural concept for the Japanese. In almost any situation where people will be interacting, be it a classroom, a job situation or the local PTA board, a new member will always stand and make a formal self introduction, telling the others their name (including how to write it in kanji), where they're from, what their hobbies are, and so on. Giving this information to the other members of the group allows everyone to categorize the newcomer properly, and afterwards the others will do their own jiko shokai in turn, which the J-List staff did. One interesting aspect of Japanese people is their tendency to show humility, and that always comes to the surface during formal moments like these. The new employee apologized to her new co-workers in advance, saying she'd surely cause inconvenience to them by taking a long time to learn the job properly. Do people do anything like that in your country?

Self-introductions are a big part of life in Japan.

A Few Fun Things from Japan

J-List takes our mission of bringing delightful Japanese products to you very seriously, and whether it's rare and unique flavors of Japanese Kit Kat, Black Black Caffeine Gum from Lotte, fun Popin' Cookin' sushi candy from Kracie or Sakuma Drops candies from the WWII period, we love the products we carry. We also specialize in high quality visual novels and eroge translated into English, like the upcoming Koihime Musou package edition, with no DRM/copy protection and a fully restored voice track.

Cool Products Friday, April 13, 2012

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.
NewType May 2012
The latest issue of Newtype is here, and it's full of juicy info and beautiful art from hot anime like Fate/Zero and Accel World. Plus you'll get lots of great omake, including exclusive posters and a cute figure of Fate/Zero's Saber in a swimsuit! These issues sell faster than you'd believe, so don't wait!
View products »
Dengeki Visual Art's 2012 Spring
Dengeki Visual Art's 2012 Spring Pick up the latest issue of Dengeki Visual Art's, the premier art magazine for fans of Key and other Visual Art's brands. Comes with a Kud Wafter shower poster!
Dragon Age May 2012
Dragon Age May 2012 Check out the newest issue of Dragon Age, the magazine that is always full of amazing, top ranking manga like High School DxD and Triage X.
GeMaga  Game Magazine May 2012 (Last issue)
Other Epic Anime Magazines from Japan See some of our favorite anime, moe and fashion magazines, like Dengeki G's, Nyantype, and the final issue of GeMaga, all about to sell out soon.
Miku Hatsune 1/7 Figure HSP ver.  **Preorder**
Hatsune Miku Figures and More In Stock Plus lots of restocked and last chance to pick up some amazing character figures like Hatsune Miku, Tooru, Erio Towa, Sayaka, Evangelion and more.
Cutie April 2012
Cutie April 2012 For the cutest fashions in Tokyo today, there's no better resource than Cutie. Plus you get free fashion accessories with every issue of, including this one.
Purple Border One-Piece and Black Shirt Set (Purple)
Purple Border and Black Shirt Set (Purple) Give yourself the gift of style with amazing Japanese fashion, like today's cool set that features two matching tops that go great together.
To Aru Kagaku no Railgun Style School Uniform  Size L
To Aru Kagaku no Railgun Style School Uniforms With this set you'll look like you've stepped out of a Certain Anime High School, and we've got all the popular sizes ready for every cosplayer.
Japanese School Swimsuits  Skirt type
Japanese School Swimsuits, Shimapan & More Also great for cosplay or casual wear (?), authentic Japanese style school swimsuits and those great striped panties restocked.
Long Cushion Dakimakura -- Lucia of Sukatto Golf Panya
Anime Long Cushion Dakimakura In Stock Make each night more enjoyable when you're accompanied by a friendly and sexy companion dakimakura (body pillow).
Doki Doki Toilet Poop Super Ball  Unchi Super Ball -- individual
Toilet Poop Super Ball? They are back, and this time with toilets inside. A wacky idea that could only come from Japan. Makes for a great gag gift for your friends.
Atelier Elkrone  Dear for Otomate -- Limited Box Set
Atelier Elkrone ~ Dear for Otomate From Gust and Otomate, the latest game in the Atelier series is packed with all the handsome guys and stirring romance a girl gamer loves.
Sonicomi  Communication with Sonico
Great PC Games from Japan Restocked We stock the best anime-related games from Japan, and today we posted Steins;Gate, Air, Sonicomi, Little Busters and several Touhou Project games.
Japanese Strange English  Nihonjin no Chotto Henna Eigo
Japanese Strange English Examine the common follies of Japanese English (Engrish) in this manga study book, written with Japanese explanations. Quite a fun book!
Catchy Japanese Phrases II  Nihongo Maruanki Cho 2
Restocked Japanese Study Books, Too Fresh stock of one Japanese study books too, like the popular Catchy Japanese Phrases series, flashcards, kana guides and more.
Genuine KUTANI Ware Cup  -- Gold Leaf  Camellia
Genuine KUTANI Ware Cup ~ Gold Leaf & Camellia Drink from a cup that houses the artistic senses of the ancient Japanese heart and mind, with these kutani cups from Japan.
SUMI-BAN  Charcoal Strong Deodorizer
SUMI-BAN ~ Charcoal Strong Deodorizer Cleanse the air you breath with the power of natural charcoal, nullifying the effects of nasty odors.
Natsume Yujin Cho Canned Bread -- Nyanko Sensei  Black Sugar Flavor
Fun and amazing, these anime themed cans contain... bread? Not only that, but delicious bread? Great for collectors, campers, or those stocking up for the end of the world. Today we have five different varieties, but supplies are limited so we don't know how long they will last. Pick up yours soon before they are gone.
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Glico Coconut Pocky (Set of 3)
Coconut Pocky, New Wata Gum Flavors Great chocolate snacks like these limited edition pocky flavors, like coconut, almond and peanut. Wacky flavors from Japan.
Shizuoka Limited DX Wasabi Kit Kat (12 Packs)
Limited DX Japan Kit Kat in Gift Box Nice news for Kit Kat fans: we've restocked several of the Japanese Kit Kat gift boxes, plus several other awesome Japanese snacks, incl. Panda Cookies.
HANAKUMA-SAN 2 Tired Bento Box w/ Trio Set
HANAKUMA-SAN 2 Tired Bento Box w/ Trio Set A very kawaii bear themed bento that comes with matching fork, spoon and chopsticks. 2x points this month too!
Rilakkuma Chopsticks  Case  Paris Travel
Rilakkuma Chopsticks & Case ~ Paris Travel Don't use disposable utensils when you go picnicking or camping. Take your own personal pair of cute chopsticks, with safety case.
Kawaii Pudding  Jelly Cup Mold  2 pcs
Kawaii Items for your Kitchen Enjoy random cute items like the Heart and Rabbit/Bird Cooking Shaper Sets, a way to make cute pudding and gelatin, plus other random items.
Ribbon-Holic Hello Kitty Memo Pad
Ribbon-Holic Hello Kitty Memo Pad  Super stylish with four different note designs, this note pad is the perfect fit for those who want to keep organized while remaining cool and fun.
Meku-Ribbon  Kawaii Color Finger Grips (5pcs)
Restocked Japanese Pens, Other Stationery Items See fun Japanese pens today, plus random fun items for your office, like Meku-Ribbon, the cute finger grips for flipping documents.
Fundoshi -- White  Traditional Men's Underwear
Also: Fundoshi, Hachimaki, More We have more stock of surprising Japanese traditional products, including fundoshi Japanese underwear plus kanji headbands for showing your samurai spirit.
3D Mt.Fuji Crystal for Souvenirs
Other Traditional Products Restocked Enjoy the 3D Mt. Fuji Crystal which our customers love, plus Samurai sword letter openers, traditional Kyoto candy and more.
Saber 1/10 Figure Beach Queen  Fate/Zero ver. **Preorder**
Gorgeous Saber Figures Posted for Preorder We love Saber from Fate/stay night, and have several epic figures posted to the site today. Look at the detail on this swimsuit figure!
Kuroneko 1/8 Figure  Ore Imo **Preorder**
Kirino and Kuroneko Figures, Too Then, if you can't believe your younger sister could be this cute, we've got new Kirino and Kuroneko figures that will make you moe moe kyun.
Asuka Kazama 1/7 Figure Tekken Bishojo Figure **Preorder**
Asuka Kazama 1/7 Tekken Figure *Preorder* From the Tekken series comes the sexy Asuka Kazama, with her heaving chest and rock hard body. Another great preorder that will be released soon.
Yukiko Amagi Figma Action Figure  Persona4 **Preorder**
Yukiko Amagi Figma Action Figure *Preorder* Oh my, this Figma is gorgeous and I love her. A great new offering for Persona 4 fans that you should not miss. I love her detailed poses.
Inori Yuzuriha 1/8 Figure  Guilty Crown **Preorder**
More Gorgeous Preorder Figures Posted See a fistful of other figures posted too, including Inori from Guilty Crown, Akane Senri from Rewrite, Izumi from Queen's Blade and more.
Yuri Moe - Girls -
Yuri Moe - Awesome Japanese Girls This wonderful yuri photobook brings you 160 pages of Japanese girls in intimate situations. Guaranteed to set the yuri fan's imagination on fire.
Restocked Ecchi Pose Photobooks This is a serious artistic tool, not merely a book of gorgeous women in different poses. How could you think such a thing??
Panic Bunnys
Panic Bunnys Fans of bunny girls should definitely check out this erotic manga anthology. Features some of the most outlandish situations we've ever seen.
Nakuru Narumi 1/4.5 Cast off Figure  Mayo-Chiki! **Preorder**
Nakuru Narumi Cast-Off Figure *Preorder* An amazing view of fan service from the series Mayo-Chiki!, modeled in stellar 1/4.5 proportions that allows nothing to be left for the imagination.
Ero-Cheki!? -- Misaki
Ero-Cheki!? Onahole series Speaking of Mayo Chiki, we've got a great line of high quality parody onaholes that allows you to spend some quality time with your favorite characters.
Shakuhachi Musume Oral Pump
Shakuhachi Musume Oral Pump, More Restocked A huge restocking of our best onahole toys and more, including Bubble Shake, Airi Himekawa Air Doll, and more. So much fun!
Nipple Papillon
Nipple Papillon Give that gift that keeps on vibrating with these light-up clip-on accessories for you or your special friend's oppai.
Onatsuyu  Female Nectar
Popular Lotion, Massagers & More We've restocked the popular Onatsuyu ~ Female Nectar Lotion that has brought stress relief to so many, plus other popular items.
Mahou Tsukai no Yoru  Witch on the Holy Night
The wait is over! Dive back into the Nasuverse with this highly anticipated visual novel from the creator of Fate/stay night and Tsukihime. Featuring powerful magic, gripping battles, and a cast of characters both familiar and new, this game is sure to be an unforgettable experience for Type-Moon fans. Supplies are limited, so act now!
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We Love Master *Preorder*
We Love Master is In Stock Remember, the long-awaited yaruge (er, an eroge where the main focus of the story is, er, getting to the action right away) is now in stock!
Princess Knight Lilia DVD-BOX  (Region 2)
New Hentai Anime Releases from Japan And if princesses are more your thing, try this 6-episode hentai anime about a warrior princess whose strength and pride are put to the ultimate test.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Types of Japanese TV Shows

Japanese television never fails to entertain, or give me inspiration for these J-List updates. A given flipping of channels might bring up a show that challenges people to live on a budget of $100 a month (they come up with interesting ways to prepare bean sprouts), a Korean drama featuring a man crying for some reason, and variety shows in which semi-famous "talents" (a generic catch-all term for comedians and other TV personalities) doing things like touching grotesque animals through a screen that prevents them from seeing what they're touching, though we can see everything. One problem Japan has had to come to grips with is its falling test scores relative to other nations of Asia, and one method Japanese TV producers have come up with to combat this disconcerting academic trend are well-executed TV shows like IQ Supli (IQ Supplement), which quizzes viewers in questions culled from university exams, organized by IQ level. The shows are fun to watch with the whole family gathered around to see which intelligence group their answers placed them in, and are probably helpful to students as well.

Japanese TV isn't quite as weird as you think it is. Maybe.

Anime vs Hollywood

We've got a slightly irregular update schedule since I'm traveling this week, but don't worry, the J-List staff has posted an extra-awesome update of Japanese products for you. But first, some random observations on life, the universe and anime by me...
One thing I write about often is that anime succeeds because it allows viewers to tap strong emotions in a way that few other types of media can achieve. Whether it's agonizing over the final scene with Menma's ghost in AnoHana, cheering on Shana or Taiga in their respective tsundere love triangles, or gasping as Madoka submitted to her destiny and became a Magical Girl, many fans are deeply affected by the stories and characters in modern anime series. The other day I finally got around to watching the film Battle for Los Angeles, which I'd been wanting to see as a longtime fan of the "military sci-fi" genre. (The best example of this genre is The Forever War by Joseph Haldeman, a book I recommend a lot.) It was a good enough movie, possessing lots of gritty action and outstanding special effects of course, but I found I didn't care about any of the characters at all, even though the story involved the very survival of the Earth. The movie might not have been the best example of course, but I've honestly found myself mostly underwhelmed by Hollywood films for years. But I was delighted to see the outcome of the deep love between Ririchou-sama and her fox-spirit butler/bodyguard Miketsukami-kun in Inu x Boku SS, which was quite satisfying.

Is anime is more emotionally rewarding than Hollywood?

Japanese Lawyers vs. Lions

One of the more refreshing aspects of life in Japan is the lack of lawyers and lawsuits as a major part of society. Japan has a civil court system, just like any other modern nation, but for unique cultural reasons the Japanese are far less likely to make use of it to resolve disputes than in the West. On one of my mother's visits to Japan we took her to Gunma Safari Park, a small but pleasant wild animal park where Japan's city dwellers can see various wild animals in something resembling their natural habitat. One of the main attractions of the park is getting your picture taken with a cute orangutan and...a giant lioness, declawed but very alert. As I posed with this incredible creature lying across the laps of myself and my family for a once-in-a-lifetime picture, it occurred to me that if Japan had an overly-evolved legal system like the U.S., no number of waivers could make an experience like that possible.

Japan has fewer lawyers to spoil everyone's fun.