In my city there are these metal signs posted at random places with the collected wisdom of our local PTA printed on them. One I drive past occasionally says, “A child who can do 挨拶 aisatsu properly will not stray as he goes through life.” On its surface aisatsu just means “greeting,” such as saying good morning to people you meet every day, though as with many aspects of Japan, things get a little more complex. Because the junior member of a relationship (the 後輩 kohai, if in a school or company setting) is supposed to greet the higher-ranking member (先輩 senpai, or bosses/managers) first, this greeting effectively reinforces the relationship and allows the junior group member to show respect to the senior member. Another application of aisatsu is something like “official greetings after a happy event,” and every New Years Day we get into the car and visit with various family members, catching up with them on what we’ve been doing over the past year and eating various traditional foods (including Mugi’s eyebrows). Another time you make a formal aisatsu greeting is after the birth of a child, and over the weekend J-List’s DVD and PSVita game buyer Tomo and his wife visited our house with their new baby daughter, so we could officially meet her, since we’re indirectly responsible for her welfare as Tomo’s employers.
As an anime fan I find I tend to be loyal to creators or studios who have made interesting works in the past, and if something new comes along written by Madoka Magica and Song of Saya creator Urobuchi Gen or animated by SHAFT, I’ll usually check it out. I feel the same way about Kyoto Animation, the company that brought us everything from Haruhi and Lucky Star to the Air/Kanon/Clannad visual novel adaptions and the Free! swimming club anime. The newest Kyoani series is the story of a reluctant Japanese youth named Seiya who is compelled to accompany a musket-wielding transfer student named Isuzu on a date to a dilapidated amusement park called Amagi Brilliant Park. The twist comes with Seiya learns that that the “magical” inhabitants of the park, which Seiya assumes are people in costumes, really are magical beings, and he’s asked to help save the run-down park by somehow bringing in 250,000 visitors within the next month. It’s the freshest idea since Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions, and I’ll certainly keep watching!
The Japanese have a fun tradition called fuku-bukuro or “Lucky Bags” in which you get a bag filled with random stuff from Japanese department stores and other stops. Our customers love our annual Lucky Bag tradition, so this year we decided to start sales of the ecchi grab bags — huge collections of awesome products which are sent to you in a secure box from either Japan or San Diego — a few weeks early. Each is filled with awesome English eroge titles and DVDs, personal stress toys, personal lotion, manga and shrinkwrapped JAV DVDs, and we really went out of our way to make sure this year’s lineup of products was great. Browse them all now! (Non-adult grab bags will be posted to the site in November.)