One thing I’ve learned about the Japanese: they’re extremely seasonal, going out of their way to enjoy different foods and activities at each time of year, usually believing that Japan is the only country in the world blessed with four distinct seasons because they went to California a couple of times. Companies get into the seasonal spirit, offering products that represent each stage of the year, like the many sakura products introduced in the spring, or potato chips flavored with matsutake mushrooms, a delicacy reserved for autumn. Recently I went to McDonald’s for lunch because they had the new Tsukimi Burger, a teriyaki burger with bacon and a fried egg on top. This hamburger makes Japanese think of 月見 tsukimi, the traditional “moon viewing” that’s done in the autumn, similar to 花見 hanami, cherry blossom viewing done in the spring. This year McDonald’s Japan went the extra mile by offering sweet potato flavored shakes, which was something I could not pass up trying. Today is the first day of autumn, a holiday in Japan (as is the first day of spring), and I hope everyone is getting into the spirit of fall!
If you’ve read my J-List blog posts for any length of time, you know I’ve got a penchant for taking trips to random places without warning, like the summer I drove my mother’s 2002 Mazda Miata from San Diego to South Dakota between anime conventions so I could say goodbye to the car before selling it, or that time I dragged my son to Hokkaido because I knew he’d be too busy to go places with me once he started university. Last week I visited Alaska to celebrate 20 years of marriage with Mrs. J-List and see if we couldn’t take in the northern lights a bit. I learned a lot about “America’s Hokkaido” while I was there, including that reindeer and caribou are the same animal (reindeer are the domesticated version of caribou), and that Alaskans have some kind of strange obsession with sourdough that I haven’t figured out yet. We engaged in the traditional Alaskan past-time of “pipeline viewing,” drove up to the arctic circle where gold mining is still done, and visited the northernmost McDonald’s in the world – it was all great fun. I was happy to see that Alaska and Japan have quite a close relationship, with many Japanese visiting and sometimes even finding a home there. Our guide was a tiny Japanese women married to an American who hunted moose every season, so she had to become adept at processing moose carcasses and storing the meat, which isn’t something Japanese people usually do. By the way, a big shoutout to Elizabeth, our bus driver in Fairbanks, who turned out to be an awesome J-List customer who studies Japanese using nihongo study products from our site.
Remember our recent good news: we’ve posted the popular upcoming game Girlish Grimoire Littlewitch Romanesque to the site for preorder! A fabulous game illustrated by famed artist Oyari, the goal of Littlewitch is to teach two cute girls to use magic, sending them on quests so they can learn new spells and other skills, and more. This is the “Editio Perfecta” (perfect edition) of the game, which includes all additional scenarios from the game’s fandisc plus one all-new game route created for this edition. The game is fully translated to English and 100% uncensored. Preorder the limited Deluxe Edition (which comes with a large game box, 3 laminated pencil boards and a detailed game manual), and you’ll get the download version free, sent to you on shipping day, so you can start playing right away. (You can also preorder the download edition now, if you don’t want the package and printed manual.)