Hello again from Japan, where going to Kentucky always means going out for fried chicken.
Happy Birthday to Hello Kitty! When Sanrio first released their new design for an ultra-cute character for greeting cards on Nov 1, 1974, no one had any idea that Hello Kitty would go on to become one of the most recognizable characters ever. Known in Japan as Kitty-chan, Japan’s most famous face is everywhere here, on slippers, T-shirts, refrigerators — there are even Hello Kitty limited editions of cars made every couple of years. (We have Hello Kitty toilet paper in stock if you want to redecorate your bathroom in a Sanrio motif.) The company changes the design of Kitty every year, and its fun to see how the character evolves — in 2000, for example, they introduced the sun-tanned Hawaiian Kitty series, and in 1998, it was Wedding Kitty. J-List always stocks lots of interesting Sanrio products that you can’t find outside of Japan on the site, including some cool new items being posted today. They make great Christmas gifts, too!
When you learn a language as different from English as Japanese is, you have to get used to concepts not always translating over on a 1-to-1 basis — words just don’t match up with each other like they might between say, English and Spanish. When the Japanese talk about other planets, they often use the word “hoshi,” which is confusing since this word really means star, not planet. There are separate words for white ducks (ahiru) and brown ducks (kamo), and gaijin will invariably produce the wrong word 100% of the time. For some reason, the word for “to ask” and “to listen to” are the same in Japanese (kiku), which has caused challenges when translating dating-sim games at times. There are many English loan words used here, but sometimes they’re split into two for easier use by the Japanese. For example, the word for a strike in baseball is “sutoraiku” but a labor stoppage is a “sutoraiki” (ki on the end instead of ku). Some other dualistisic loan words include “gurasu” for a glass of water but “garasu” for glass in a window, or “bureiku” for taking a break when you’re tired but “bureiki” for the pedal you press to stop your car.
At J-List, we love to spread our passion for Japan to everyone, and to promote the study of Japanese, too. When I started learning the language at SDSU in 1987, many study tools like kanji practice notebooks and Canon Wordtanks were very hard to find. Fortunately for me, in those wild, wooly days there was almost nothing in English, no manga and no anime, except for the odd fan-subbed episode of Urusei Yatsura we’d catch here and there. If I wanted to understand anything, I had to roll my sleeves up and just learn the language. I read manga in Japanese, and hung out a Japanese restaurants that had karaoke to learn songs and practice my kanji reading. I also translated JPOP songs into English, which helped me memorize vocabulary (if I forgot a word I could sing the song to myself to recall it). There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to talk with people from other places in their own language, and I’m glad I was able to learn a fun language like Japanese.
D’oh! The link to the advertisements for gravestones and Buddhist altars in Friday’s mail was bad. Sorry about that — it’s working at http://www.jlist.com/grave_sale
The JAV Star for this month is Leon Kadena, an incredibly beautiful idol from Japan. When Yasu calmly told us that he’d seen the most beautiful woman in his life, we pooh-poohed him — there are so many beautiful women here in Japan, after all. But after looking at her amazing photobook and DVD offerings (which we have on the site), we had to agree with him: Leon could be the most beautiful woman in the world. She was born on Feb. 2, 1986 in Osaka. She’s 165 cm tall, and her blood type is B. She likes making traditional Japanese sweets.
Remember that J-List carries the excellent Japan Hot Wheels cars, made exclusively for the Japanese market. The popular toys include a perfect replica of the Mach 5 from Speed Racer, the Airwolf helicopter, K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, his nemesis K.A.R.R., the Delorean from Back to the Future, and more. These are remarkable toys, with great die-cast metal detailing, a super item for any collector. Note that the current stock we have is probably all we’ll be able to get, as all current toys are out of production.