J-List is currently attending Anime Expo this year at booth 1319. We hope you’ll come by our booth and check out all the cool products we’ve got for you. If you can’t be at the show, don’t fret, since we’ve got a great side-wide 10% off sale for you!
All things considered, laughter only belongs in a foreign language classroom if it helps build confidence in language skills, and it’s really not a good idea to throw your head back and laugh at the mistakes your students make. Although I’ve tried to hold to this goal, there have been times during my career as an ESL teacher when it was very difficult to keep the giggles away for one reason or another. One older student was describing traveling to New York to see skyscrapers, but she kept saying “skycrappers” instead, which had me twisting this way and that trying to get the image of giant lavatories in the sky out of my head. Another time a student told me how he fixed his car radio over the weekend, only he didn’t say “fixed,” but another word entirely which starts with the same letter, and I struggled to keep from laughing out loud at this. Then there are those bits of insight that only a learner of a foreign language can have, like a student of mine who who observed, “We cannot go to Antarctica because it is under penguin rule.” I feel bad about laughing at my students from time to time, although I know that I’ve given as good as I got, providing the Japanese with many hours of amusement thanks to my own language slip-ups. Like the time I tried to order some mango juice in a restaurant, and substituted a “k” for the “g” consonant, resulting in pretty much the rudest word that exists in Japanese (which is “manko” and is a word referring to the female genitals).
If you come to Japan you’ll see some strange things. I remember my first few days after arriving in Japan, wowing at everything from the vending machines that were less than a few inches in depth to allow them to be placed along narrow streets to highly urbanized areas which nevertheless had rice paddies in the middle of them. Every time I’d head out to explore my city, I’d encounter a person wearing what appeared to me to be a surgical mask, as if they’d just ducked out of the operating room to get some air. These masks are worn by anyone experiencing cold or hayfever symptoms (or Mers, for our South Korean readers), done to avoid infecting others with your germs and to also to give them a visible warning that you’re sick and they might want to keep their distance. In a country where one of the most important virtues is 頑張る gambaru — that is, do your best, give your all, work hard, always show your effort — the image of an employee working hard at his or her desk with a gauze mask on, perhaps enduring a fever or other unpleasant symptoms, is in some ways a classic cultural image in Japan. The surgical masks also send another cultural message: anyone who wants to hide their identity wear these masks to help maintain their anonymity.
If you’ll be at Anime Expo we’ve got great news: an awesome free gift for you. In addition to our popular anime eyeglasses and J-List pocket tissues, we’ve prepared a special item for all customers, an original hachimaki headband that that proclaims your status as an オタク (otaku). Free with a purchase from our booth at the show!
J-List’s staff is busy at Anime Expo in booth 1319, selling tons of T-shirts, English-translated visual novels, sexy figures, plush toys, Tentacle Grape, and other items that we’ve spent all year preparing for you. But since not everyone can be at the show, we thought we’d do something cool for our fans, something like, oh, give a huge discount on all products for the duration of the show. So starting now through Sunday, California time, you can get 10% off any J-List order using code CONSALE. (As usual, the code can’t be used for items like iTunes cards, subscriptions and so on, sorry.)