Hello again from Japan, where one of the most popular flavors of yogurt is aloe (but it’s really good, trust me).
Japan can be a very complex place, presenting many conflicting faces at the same time. While it’s true that Japan is a peaceful, wealthy nation with lots to offer anyone who lives here, the other side of the coin is that many Japanese can’t handle the more oppressive elements of Japan’s buttoned-up society, and opt out of their lives. There are around 30,000 suicides a year in Japan, the same number as in the U.S. despite the fact that Japan has half America’s population. Tokyoites know when the trains stop due to an “injury accident,” it really means that someone decided to end it all by jumping in front of an oncoming train. Those who take their own lives in Japan fall into several broad groups, such as middle-aged salarymen who face the embarrassment of “risutora” (layoffs, from the English word “restructure”), young students who can’t endure the social pressures of Japanese school life, and business owners drowning in debt. Most recently, young people are forming “suicide pacts” and doing away with their precious lives in groups, presumably because they’re too scared to die alone. Part of the problem is that counseling and use of drugs to help people in distress are all but non-existent in Japan, and when someone has a problem, they don’t know where to turn for help.
The most famous Italian in Japan is Gioramo, an Italian man who speaks Japanese fluently and appears on variety shows as a sort of informal ambassador between Japan and Italy. Whenever there’s a quiz show about the Roman Empire, Gioramo’s on hand to offer his insights, and he also hosts the late-night Italian language show on NHK’s educational channel. Japan has a tightly-knit pantheon of entertainers (aka “talents”) who appear on TV, and it’s interesting to observe how the entertainment world works here. It seems that as long as you’re in a category all by yourself, you can be on Japanese TV. There’s only room for one cross-dressing enka singer (the venerable Kennichi Mikawa), so no others need apply; American Daniel Kahl holds the monopoly on foreigners who speak Japanese with an accent from Yamagata Prefecture; and if you’re looking for a very intelligent Japanese bilingual from Sri Lanka, Wikki-san will fit the bill, but he’s the only one. In the 1990s, Ai Iiijima was the #1 adult film star in Japan, equivalent to Mimi Miyagi in the States. Through hard work, she was able to beat the odds and re-cast herself as a mainstream entertainer, and appears regularly on a variety of reputable shows, despite her infamous background. Since she occupies this unique niche on Japanese TV, it’s doubtful that any other JAV idols will be able to jump into mainstream television.
We’ve got a great announcement for fans of Yulia Nova: the next two DVD releases are available for preordering. These fabulous discs feature two hours of dynamite footage of Russia’s loveliest angel, who is incredibly popular both in Japan and throughout the Internet. Fully remastered for perfect video quality, both discs feature optional English subtitles and are free of pesky mosaics. There’s a lot of good stuff for Yulia fans to look forward to!
For fans of our amazing 2005 Japanese calendars, we’ve got good news: we got in a whole bunch of calendars yesterday, and have posted all these items on the site, complete with new digital pictures so you can see how good the illustrations are. This year’s Japanese calendars are really special, with beautiful illustrations printed on large sheets of glossy coated poster stock. Preorders for calendars we haven’t gotten in stock yet will be closed very soon, by the end of the end of October or so. These amazing calendars, which are printedexclusively for the Japanese market, are really something to treasure, and we hope you’ll look through our updated calendar pages. It goes without saying that these calendars make excellent Christmas gifts, too, but you should order soon, to make sure your calendar doesn’t get away!
We’re taking a trip! The entire staff of J-List is packing its suitcases and going to the island of Guam for a weekend of fun in the sun. Located just three hours from Japan, Guam is a kind of miniature version of Hawaii. While we’re gone, the part-time staff will continue preparing all orders. We’ll obviously be a little slow to reply to email over the weekend, but we’ll get everything caught up when we get back. Itte kimasu! (lit. “I’ll go and come back later”).
October is just about half over, but some people still haven’t taken advantage of our $1 shipping sale for all English-translated dating-sim games, which allows you to load up on some of the best recent game releases and pay just $1 for shipping per game (US/Can., international customers get half price on shipping). Also, in time for Halloween we’ve got some cool “goth” versions of our Domo-kun shirts, but these are limited edition shirts that won’t be available forever. If you like these wacky designs, make sure you pick your shirt up ASAP!