Greetings from Japan. I am especially refreshed today, as I took the family on a trip to the town of Kusatsu on Sunday, one of the most famous areas in Japan for hot springs. It took so long to get there, we decided to find nice hotel and treat ourselves to some extra-long Japanese-style bathing, and come back in the morning. We feel great now.
One of the more interesting parts of learning Japanese are the many varieties of descriptive sound words, similar to onomatopoeia in English. There are two groups of these words, giseigo (literally “mimic-voice words”) and gitaigo (“mimic-situation words”). Giseigo are words that mimic the sounds of animals — the sound a small dog makes sounds like “kyan kyan” but a larger dog sounds like “wan wan.” A cat says “nya nya” and a rooster “kokekokko.” Pigs say “buu buu,” and in the anime show Chibi Maruko-chan, there’s a boy in Maruko’s class who looks like a pig, and every thing he says ends with “buu.” Just as foreigners like to learn the sounds that animals make in Japanese, Japanese think it’s fun to study animal sounds in English, too.
Similar to giseigo are gitaigo, words that describe a situation, often with surprising clarity. For example, in English we have the words cry and sob which differ slightly in the meaning they carry. In Japanese, the latter is expressed as “shiku shiku naku” (with “shiku shiku” acting as a verbal representation of the hitching sound made while sobbing). Some other examples include “zaa zaa” (the sound of rain falling loudly, to denote the concept of “pouring with rain”), paku paku (the sound of someone eating quickly — this is where “Pac Man” got his name from), and “shiiin” (the sound of no sound — i.e., of perfect silence). Some others: peko peko (being so hungry you’re going to faint), gasa gasa (having rough skin), tsuru tsuru (any smooth surface, or having smooth skin), bishi bishi (doing things quickly and efficiently, without delay), dara dara (doing things slowly, being lazy), pika pika (being sparking brand-new), boro boro (being old and dilapidated), and so on. There is an endless supply of these highly descriptive words, and they’re quite fun to use.
President Bush is in Japan now, fulfilling a promise to visit the country that was interrupted by the World Trade Center attacks. He’s talking with Prime Minister Koizumi about various ways in which Japan and the U.S. can cooperate on the economy, terrorism and some other issues. Happily, Mr. Koizumi is fluent in English and is able to talk directly to Bush on various issues, which I think is great. I think it does the Japanese people a lot of good to see their leader speaking English comfortably, and Japanese needs more role models like Mr. Koizumi for Japanese students learning English.
For today’s new update, we’ve got a bunch of very nice items for you. For our adult customers, check out new magazines (the new issue of Bejean is especially nice), new hardcover photobooks, a very special bondage item for S&M photography lovers, excellent new hentai manga posted, and several superb new DVDs, including a new Holed Panty release from Soft on Demand that shows you more than you ever thought possible! We’ve also got cute new anime toy items, including a fluffy new Totoro from Sun Arrow, new Japan-only Matchbox toys, a cute item for Licca-chan fans, unique “sweet bean and green tea” flavored candies, strawberry milk mix enjoyed by Japanese elementary school kids, a major restocking of gum, Pocky and other snack products, many new wacky things from Japan, and much more!
Remember that J-List carries many items from Japan, which we group together as “wacky things from Japan.” These range from unique Hello Kitty items to things you can use to help learn Japanese to other items that, while they might not be necessities, are just plain cool (Hello Kitty toilet paper comes to mind). A lot of the items we sell are perfect for gifts, and Mayumi works very hard to keep the Wacky Things categories well stocked. We love selling these fun items, since it gives us a chance to actually bring you something cool that you can buy and touch and use, rather than just telling you about the neat things they have in Japan. Check out our excellent and wacky things from Japan, today!
The J-Mate homepage (http://www.jmate.com) has been updated again, with a new interview with the lovely Airi Kago, as well as a super review of Hobibox’s very nice Love Love Show, the first erotic puzzle-based bishoujo game in which you must solve puzzles to overcome your female opponents. Check out the great J-Mate site today!