It’s great being back in San Diego, enjoying the nice weather and energy of the city. I love surfing the little instances of reverse culture shock I experience, like being surprised at how big a “small” drink is here, or messing with dollar bills in my pocket. (In Japan, the equivalent to the $1 and $5 bills are coins.) Now that I’m home, I need to take extra care to drive on the right side of the street (a slight challenge as I’m naturally dyslexic, though I manage), and also get back into the habit of tipping. Tipping is a custom Japan never embraced, and no matter what restaurant, pub or tsundere imouto catgirl maid café you visit, you’ll always get outstanding service despite never needing to tip…or perhaps it’s because there’s no tipping the service is so good. There is a potential downside, though. For years I’ve been getting my hair cut at a salon located on the premises of a Japanese onsen hot spring bath, which I love because you can submerge yourself in the bath after your haircut, washing away the scratchy hair. But although the staff always does a great job, I’m not able to show my thanks by tipping something extra.
I’m often asked what the best way to learn Japanese is, a difficult question since everyone learns differently, though we have some suggestions to help you get started. One thing I do know: in order to successfully study a language, you need to have emotional connections to the culture you’re trying to learn about. When I was studying Japanese at SDSU, there was a lot of memorization of formal and informal verb forms that some students didn’t really enjoy. Then one day our teacher changed her lesson plan, producing sheets of song lyrics which she distributed to each of us. It was a song called 乾杯 kampai (YouTube link), a deep and emotional song by singer Nagabuchi Tsuyoshi which is popular at weddings, and the lesson for that day was for everyone to learn how to sing it. I didn’t know it at the time, but my teacher was planting a seed within her students which did more to bring us closer to Japan than learning 20 pages of grammar and kanji would have. If you’re reading this, I’m pretty sure you already have close links to Japan, too. If you want to try to learn the language, browse our Japanese study section for ideas!
Our big announcement today is the launch of preorders for the amazing Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 oppai mousepads, which are full sized and simply amazing to touch or play with. There are two mousepads in this release, Honoka and Marie Rose, and preorders will be only open from April 27 through May 15 only (so order now). See the official site and “boob physics” movie at Mousepad.moe, or preorder them now and get 10% off!