Friday, May 04, 2012

Overview of Japanese Superstitions

The Japanese can be somewhat superstitious compared to Americans. It's common in department stores to see people getting their palms read, and fortune tellers that develop a reputation for issuing accurate predictions become very popular, with lines of people eager to hear their advice. There's a cycle of six "lucky" and "unlucky" Buddhist days, and virtually everyone goes out of their way to get married or take delivery of a new car on Taian, the luckiest day in the cycle, and avoid these activities on Butsumetsu, the unlucky day that means "Buddha's death." Salt is thought to purify (sumo wrestlers throw it in the ring before a bout), and when you arrive home after a Japanese funeral it's important to throw salt all over your body before crossing the threshold in order to keep evil spirits from entering your home. Similarly, when you break ground on a new home, you always call the local Shinto priest who comes to purify the ground and appease the kami with salt, fish and sake -- we did this when we built the J-List office, which no doubt insured our success as a company. The Japanese are also interested in Feng Shui as well as several similar divination systems, and virtually every official building in Japan's capital of Tokyo was constructed so as to be in the perfect location for bringing good fortune to the nation of Japan.

The guy from the Shinto shrine didn't look as good as this.

Do the Japanese Lack Patriotism

As I often write here, each nation has a unique "national character" which the Japanese call kokumin-sei. Part of Japan's national character is to have a very neutral attitude when it comes to patriotism, and many everyday features of life in America -- reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, remembering Veteran's Day or shedding a tear at Arlington National Cemetery -- are totally absent here. There are several reasons why the average Japanese finds it improper to show a reasonable love of their own country, including awareness of Japan's nationalistic past -- current-day North Korea is a stark reminder of what Japan was 70 years ago -- and the sad tendency for the Japanese flag to be associated with silly right-wingers, who drive around in loudspeaker cars playing WWII-era military songs and, somewhat more awesomely, the Space Battleship Yamato theme song. One country that doesn't lack for patriotism is South Korea, whose citizens recently brought the White House website down with petitions asking them to support changing the Sea of Japan to the name they prefer, the East Sea, despite the fact that former name has been in use by the majority of world nations (including China) since 1602.

Flamboyant right-wingers aside, Japanese lack patriotism.

All About Omai and "Arranged Marriages" in Japan

One thing I've known about Japan for a long time is that they have arranged marriages. (I learned this from an episode of Happy Days back in the 70s, don't ask.) While I assumed this meant stern parents who decided who their children would marry based on their own whims, in reality omiai (lit. "looking at one another") is essentially a structured formal meeting between two people (and sometimes their families) to explore the possibility of getting married. While the majority of Japanese couples have adopted the strange Western tradition of renai kekkon or marriage for love, omiai is still surprisingly common -- in fact, before my wife met me she had arranged meetings with two other men, but luckily for me they didn't hit it off. All things must evolve with time, of course, and Japan's arranged marriage meetings have adapted to the 21st century, with companies offering various services to help people meet that special someone, including one from Yahoo Japan. Even J-List has a great way to make friends and more with people in Japan -- click here to find out more.

Yahoo Japan's popular omiai service.

English Eroge Sale on J-List This Month

Remember, we're having a big sale on all English H-games, dating-sims and visual novels this month, including both download purchases or in shrinkwrapped packaged format. Want to pick up Demonbane, the gorgeous Cthulhu-mythos visual novel from Nitroplus, the fun catgirl-themed game Let's Meow Meow, or the very popular My Girlfriend is the President? There's never been a better time to stock up on a few titles now! (To avoid chaos, , the sale is for currently shipping games only and does not apply to preorder game titles.)

Happy Star Wars Day

Today is May the 4th, which as many fans will know is Star Wars Day, since the date sounds like the famous line from the film. J-List is well stocked with awesome Star Wars products from Japan, from silicon ice cube trays (which also serve as chocolate molds) to our R2-D2 soy sauce bottle and the nerd-tastic Han Solo in Carbonite business card holder. Enjoy browsing our awesome Star Wars products, and May the Fourth be With You!

Cool Products Friday, May 4, 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.
Young Ace June 2012
For manga adaptations of your favorite anime series, there's no better manga than Young Ace. Pick up this month's edition for new issues of Fate/Zero, Gunbuster, and dozens more top-quality manga for your reading pleasure. As a bonus, you get a figure of Asuka from Evangelion! At this price? It's a bargain that you should certainly not miss out on!
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Dengeki Maoh June 2012
Dengeki Maoh June 2012 And for the finest in moe, check out a new issue of Dengeki Maoh, with series like Persona 4, Idolm@ster 2, and Shana. Includes cool P4 document folder.
Nyan Egg NEKO TAMAGO 2  Mike (New)
Nyan Egg NEKO TAMAGO 2 Are you ready for the cutest plush toys you've ever seen? Then check out these furry critters that can only be described as egg-shaped cats. Too cute!
Touhou Super Deformed Series 02 -- Sanae
New Touhou Figures In Stock! Check out these great rubber keychains of your favorite Touhou characters, like Sanae and Murasaki. For the true Touhou collector.
Marisa Kirisame Petanko Figure -- Touhou Project
Touhou Figures, Keychains and More, Too That gorgeous Marisa "Petanko" figure is in stock, along with fresh stock of the Touhou keychains we had last week. Get them quickly though.
Cross Line mc-1 Metal Case for iPhone 4/4S  Green
This is great: a new line of awesome protective cases for iPhone 4 and 4S (all versions) that protects your phone with a meticulously engineered metal cover that screws securely into place with the included tools. You get a handy stylus that works great, but perhaps best of all these cases let you attach any Japanese phone strap!
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Evangelion Nerv Black iPhone 4 Case **Preorder**
Evangelion iPhone Cases Our most popular iPhone case ever is the Evangelion NERV case, now in stock along with the Rei plugsuit, Asuka plugsuit, and other great iPhone cases.
Yamanote Line Bath Towel -- Akihabara
Yamanote Towels Restocked Anyone who's been to Tokyo has ridden the Yamanote (yama-no-teh) train line which goes through Akihabara. We've restocked the cool towels for you today.
Cutie May 2012
Cutie May 2012 It's time for another issue of Cutie, the number-one magazine for fans of Japan's vibrant youth fashion culture. Filled with photos of cute Tokyo girls.
Skull Romantic T-Shirt One Piece  Black
Skull Romantic T-Shirt One Pieces Restocked And speaking of fashion, how about a trendy one piece from gothic designer Skull Romantic. Be the only girl on your block who has one.
Shimapan Dream  Magenta M
Hatsune Miku Swimsuit, Shimapan Restocked See new stock of our most popular striped underwear products, such as the Hatsune Miku shimabikini and several varieties of shimapan.
A Certain School Swimsuits  Otokonoko 3L
Cosplay for 'Trap' Fans Too We also carry popular cosplay products for larger customers, and have restocked several items in 3L and 5L size. Great for fans of Hideyoshi, if you know what we mean.
Spats Dream  M
Spats Dream ~ Anime-Style Spats from Japan A lot of anime characters wear "spats," a Japanese word that means spandex pants or bicycle shorts, and we've restocked this popular item today.
Magical Transforming Towel  Moe Chan
Magical Transforming Towel ~ Moe Chan Wow! A towel with art that transforms when it's wet! Available in three versions, each with a moe girl waiting for you to discover her secrets.
Star Wars Silicon Tray -- Han Solo In Carbonite
Star Wars Silicon Ice Cube Trays Restocked These awesome Star Wars silicon molds are selling fast! Now restocked, so grab a few and start making Han Solo ice cubes (or...chocolate?).
Higurashi -- When they Cry
Great All-Ages Visual Novels Great all-ages games from Japan in English, including the Higurashi ~ When They Cry series, Aselia the Eternal, and more. We love them all.
Ciel Nosurge
Ciel Nosurge (For PSVita Dating Game) Win the heart of a beautiful and fragile girl in this fantastic real-time communication game from the makers of Ar Tonelico. Dangerous levels of moe.
THE IDOLMASTER 2  First Limited Special Box
Lots of Anime Pantsu Games for PSP & PS3 Enjoy the pantsu-getting game GALGUN and gorgeous Idolm@ster releases for the PS3, plus several Hatsune Miku Diva games for the PSP with full shimapan action.
Long Cushion Dakimakura -- KOOH of Sukatto Golf Panya
Long Cushion Dakimakuras We have some great dakimakura hug pillows just waiting for you to take them home, starring characters from Phantom, Marriage Royale, Panya, and more.
How To Draw Manga Character Posing Book  Onnanoko no Karada Hen
How To Draw Manga Books Restocked Whether you want to learn to draw like a professional manga artist or just look at Japanese girls making poses in their underwear, these books can help.
Rilakkuma Portable Silicon Cup  Pill Case
Rilakkuma Portable Cup Amazingly portable drinking cup and pill case featuring Rilakkuma. Small enough to fit into your pants pocket! Great for when you're on the go.
Angel Hello Kitty Pink Health  Mask  3pcs
Angel Hello Kitty Pink Health Mask ~ 3pcs  Keep the germs away with the cute and lovable charm of Hello Kitty.
FRIXION Magical Erasable Highlighter Pens  3 Colors
We Love Japanese Pens Japanese pens are the best in the world, and we've restocked several fun ones including the FRIXION Erasable Ballpoint Pen and Highlighter Pens. Fude pens too!
Potechi no Te Nano -- The Potato Chip Hand
Potechi no Te Nano ~ The Potato Chip Hand Woah! Japanese innovation never ceases to amaze us, especially with their potato chip grabbing technology.
Fried Rice Furikake Mix  Chinese-style barbecued pork
Try a new taste sensation this summer with one of our weird but delicious Japanese snacks that you can't find anywhere else. Today we've added barbecue pork flavor furikake mix, which is a great way to spice up your meals, plus rich cherry-flavored caramels that are sure to delight your friends when you whip out a pack and share them around. Click for these and more great snacks!
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Coris Koma Battle Set of 3
Coris Koma Battle Set of 3  Make your snack time fun with this make-your-own candy game. Kids love it. Spin your bowls of rice and try to humiliate your opponents.
Nabisco Oreo Green Tea Soft Cookie
Great Snacks Restocked Wow, a big update of J-Snacks, including Green Tea Oreo Cookies (!), Puccho Ball Ramune, Glico Cheeza Camembert Cheese snacks, and "Hot" Yakisoba!
Wagokoro Purple  Pink Sakura Bento Box Set  Round 2 tier Tight Bento Box  Bento Bag
Wagokoro Sakura Bento Box Set And if you were looking to find a nice way to carry your lunch, you won't find a container more stylish than this Japanese bento box.
Jiji Thermal Bento Box Set -- Kiki's Delivery Service
Kiki's Delivery Service, Totoro Bento Restocked Plus, for all the Ghibli fans out there, we have this beautiful set of containers for picnicking and family fun, plus plushies, toys and more.
Pink Cat Face Bento Bag
Kawaii Bento Bags for Carrying Your Lunch Change any bento into a cat bento with this cute bag that is easy to use and clean. We like the kawaii ears. Other items restocked, too.
Pocky Strawberry Parody Chopsticks
Outstanding Chopsticks Restocked See our popular Pocky Chopsticks which look good enough to eat, yet are well made chopsticks that are easy to hold. Also, portable chopsticks for bento!
KINCHO KATORI SENKO with Original Gold Cock Retro Package  Since 1890
KINCHO Katori Senko Mosquito Coils This is a great way to kill mosquitoes, a "mosquito killing incense" that kills them by blocking their air ducts. A famous brand since 1890!
Natural Stone Magatama Strap -- Black Onix
Restocked Traditional Items from Japan Plus, you'll want to bring along some extra luck with you when you are battling the demons of the academic finals. These charms are more are now restocked.
Airou Towel Poncho  Monster Hunter **Preorder**
Cute Monster Hunter Ponchos *Preorder* Cat lovers and Monster Hunter fans, check out these cute ponchos that come complete with cat-ear hoods. Cats may even mistake you for one of their own!
Super Sonico iPhone4/4S Decoration Sticker (4) -Beach Side- **Preorder**
Super Sonico iPhone4/4S Stickers *Preorder* These decorative stickers are the perfect way to add some sexy flair to your iPhone 4 or 4S. Featuring the talents of world-class idol Super Sonico.
Pet Robot Lilly 1
If you like your manga in vibrant color, then we have a treat for you! This erotic manga series tells the story of a beautiful sex robot who gets into all kinds of juicy situations, from hardcore paizuri to girl-on-girl and threesome action. Put together, these two volumes boast over 250 pages of nonstop sex, and all of it in full color! Buy the set today.
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Rias Gremory 1/8 Cast off Figure  High School DxD  **Preorder**
Rias Cast-off Figure ~ High School DxD *Preorder* Gentlemen, behold this sexy figure of Rias Gremory. Not only is her pose designed to stoke a man's lust, but you can even remove her clothing.
Tony Works Ciel Chronicle
Tony Taka's Epic Artbook, More Restocked Enjoy the gorgeous ero ero art of Tony Taka in his most famous artbook, plus the popular "Moe Bondage" artbook.
Lesson Vibe  Squirting Type
Lesson Vibe ~ Squirting Type (for Beginners) Sex toys lead to improved health and happiness for everyone, and here's a great new toy from Toy's Heart designed for women learning about their G-spot.
Magical Girl's Natural Hole 1  Puella Magi Madoka Magica Parody Toy
Popular Parody Onahole Toys J-List customers love the new Madoka Magica parody onaholes. Empty your grief seed into these convenient receptacles from Tamatoys, now restocked.
Tsubu Tsubu Lotion
Amazing Personal Lotion from Japan Spice up your private time with our selection of personal lotions, including varieties specially formulated to increase your moe moe kyun.
SENA PLUS  I Have Few Friends Parody Doujin Software
SENA PLUS ~ Haganai Parody Doujin Software Animated sex scenes and full voicing are just some of the features in this top-quality doujin game for fans of Haganai's Sena.
Soukoku no Arterial - Arterial of Origins
Soukoku no Arterial - Arterial of Origins A war is raging between demons and angels, and you're caught right in the middle. Seize your destiny in this card-battling erotic RPG from Eushully.
We Love Master *Preorder*
Outstanding Visual Novels from Japan We're having a great sale on all currently shipping English eroge this month, meaning it's an awesome chance to pick up one, two or eight titles!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Japanese Grammar and Hyouka

One interesting aspect of the Japanese language is its "vertical" nature, with different words used in different situations depend on whether you're addressing a superior like your teacher or a senpai, a friend from your class or someone younger than you. Japanese has a lot of flexibility with pronouns, with words like watashi (a neutral word for "I" usually used by females), boku (polite "I" usually used by boys), ore (oh-reh, a masculine-sounding first-person pronoun used by alpha males), and so on. One of the more interesting of these is omae (oh-MY-eh), a somewhat rough word for "you" that males will use around each other or with females who are the same age or younger than them, though it can come off as rude at times. In Hyouka, the beautiful new mystery anime series from Kyoto Animation, there's a scene where the main character Oreki meets Eru Chitanda for the first time, and says, "Now that you mention it, how did [omae], excuse me, Chitanda-san enter this locked room?" While Eru doesn't seem to mind having the pronoun used in reference to her, certain Japanese females would feel the boy is talking down to her and object. Of course, some girls like the word for this reason, and get all tingly at the thought of having the boy they like refer to with the word omae.

Japanese is a "vertical" language with many layers.