We hope everyone is enjoying the rest of their holiday season. Just a reminder, J-List is still offering free shipping on all J-List anime and kanji T-shirts and shrinkwrapped visual novels shipping from San Diego, through January 4!
The other day I went into a Family Mart to pick up some onigiri rice balls and strange Japanese Doritos, and saw a rare sight: the girl behind the counter was a gaikoku-jin, a foreigner, instead of the usual Japanese. There are foreigners working in certain industries in Japan, such as the big Sanyo plant in our prefecture which employes thousands of Brazilians, but seeing them working retail is still quite rare. In my most polite Japanese, I said, “Excuse me, but may I ask what country you’re from?” and she told me that she was from Ecuador, and was a nikkei-jin, of Japanese descent. (The sight of two foreigners speaking nihongo is something the Japanese find very cute, and there were many smiles by the other convenience store staff.) While Japanese sometimes think there are “a lot of” foreign-born residents in their country, the actual number is just 1.9%, compared to 14%, 12% and 11% for the U.S., Britain and France. (These numbers are from 2013, and exclude zainichi, people born in Japan but choosing to maintain citizenship of North or South Korea, China, etc., for cultural reasons.) One thing’s for sure: there’ll be a lot more foreigners here in the future, doing all manner of jobs important to society, due to the falling population, which peaked in 2012. Already the unemployment rate is just 3.5% – and this, with the country officially in recession – and turning to foreigners in the future is the only way Japan will be able to function…unless they can get catgirl maid robots ready in time.
Right now Comic Market is going on at Tokyo Big Site, the sprawling event space in Tokyo, and hundreds of thousands of fans are standing in line to buy 同人誌 doujinshi, the fan-created comic-books which have become a sub-culture staple in Japan. The word literally means “same-person-magazine” and grew out of the tradition of like-minded writers forming literary circles and publishing their short stories and poetry in small-run magazines they each contributed to financially. (It’s similar to the magazine the literature club publishes in Hyouka.) The Comiket known was founded in 1975 by members of a “manga research club” at Meiji University to be a place for circles to meet and buy each other’s works, and the twice-annual event grew from just 600 attendees in 1975 to a staggering 590,000 today. Over the years, this underground comic world has served as an incubator for talented artists and other creators. The careers of illustrators like Rumiko Takahashi, CLAMP and Tony Taka, doujin-turned-pro music studio I’ve Sound and Nitroplus founder Takashi Kosaka wouldn’t have been possible without the Comic Market.
One reason we love the new Littlewitch Romanesque game is its high amount of gameplay, in addition to the awesome story and characters. The goal of the game is to train two witches, Aria and Kaya, how to use magic over the course of 3 years. You gain “spirit” magic by playing a strategic dice-rolling game, which enables you to learn more spells and get even more magic. There are 79 entertaining quests to go on, as well as lots of unlockable material along the way, with 300+ uncensored images by Oyari-san. For more info on the game, view our official game trailer on YouTube! And remember to vote “yes” on our Steam Greenlight project!