Hello again from Japan!
America and Japan are very different in many ways, and the relationships between men and women reflect this. Western-style feminism never took root with Japanese women because they didn’t feel it was right for them — while women want to be protected from discrimination and ‘seku-hara’ (sexual harassment) in the workplace, Japanese women who actively seek lifelong professional careers are rare. While many women work as full-time OLs (“office ladies,” a Japanese term for any female office worker), other jobs that are popular with women include tour guides, flight attendants/ground hostesses, and language interpreters. But the greatest job a woman can aspire to in Japan is undeniably “joshi-ana,” or female newscaster (e.g. “announcer,” often shortened to “ana”). All throughout Japan, many women see these educated television personalities, so beautiful and well-dressed and usually fluent in English, and sigh with envy. By unwritten Japanese rule, female newscasters nearly always marry Japanese baseball stars.
I once had an interesting experience while hitchhiking around Western Japan. I was staying at a youth hostel in Hiroshima, and there were people from all over the world staying there — it’s always fun to meet people from other countries, and youth hostels are great for that. I got into a conversation with a young Australian college student who was positively burning with the fire of American feminism, and was visiting Japan for the first time to try to awaken her “Japanese sisters” to issues of equality. A middle-aged Japanese woman who was very down-to-Earth joined our conversation, and I was trying to translate for the two women so they could share their ideas. On the one hand, the Australian girl had many logical arguments about the roles women should be able to take in a society, while at the same time the common-sense statements made by the Japanese woman were very logical, too. The bottom line is, ideas we take for granted in our own country don’t necessarily work the same in other parts of the world.
When is the color blue really green? When you’re in Japan. For some reason that we’re not able to fathom at all, the color green is often called “blue” (“ao” or “aoi”) in Japanese. When foreigners come to Japan, they learn that the color green is “midori,” but when you see a green traffic light, Japanese universally describe the light as “ao” (blue). If you go to Aomori Prefecture, don’t look for a “blue forest” because there isn’t one, but there are plenty of green forests. When they buy fresh vegetables, Japanese say they want to find the ones that are “ichiban aoi” (lit. the most blue, e.g. the freshest). Why is this? Tomo thinks that it’s because a long time ago, there was another kanji that described the color green, but it unfortunately had the same reading (pronunciation) as the normal character for blue, “ao.” Through some mechanism that is beyond my comprehension, certain objects (the green of a traffic signal, the green of a leaf on a tree) are described as “ao” (blue) in Japanese, instead of “midori” (green). Like bowing to a vending machine that has just verbally thanked you for making a purchase, it’s all part of the wackiness of living in Japan.
All my life I’ve been a fan of the Peanuts cartoons, especially the classic strips of the 50s, 60s and 70s, which I read avidly while growing up. I’m very happy to see Fanta Graphics is going to be publishing all the strips in order, starting in 1950 and going on from there, and I’ll be picking them up for my collection. If you’re a Peanuts fan, check these great books out. The URL is http://www.fantagraphics.com/peanuts/peanuts.html
For the new update, we’ve got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for fans of meticulously made anime toy replicas, we’ve got limited stock of a great series based on Spirit of Wonder, with full sets available
- Also very cool, we’ve got full sets of a line of capsule toys based on the timeless classic anime show, Urusei Yatsura
- Interested in our Japanese snacks? We’ve got even more for you, including cheese flavored scone snacks, “baby” potato chips and chocolate cookies, and delicious chocolate treats from Japan
- Also, a huge restocking of snack page items, including Milk & Hot Chocolate Pretz, Pocky “G,” Tsubu Tsubu Strawberry Pocky, Pocky Decorer, winter-limited March of the Koalas, and Cheesecake Choco Ball — yum!
- Looking for something extremely cute? We have Usacolle (Usagi Collection) name stickers that are self-adhesive and so cute you might just drop dead
- We’ve restocked some great anime art books including the Chobits Your Eyes Only art book
- From Medicom Toy, the famous maker of great toys from Japan, we’ve got a soft vinyl replica of Benny the Cab from Roger Rabbit
- Then for fans of the original 1966 Ultraman (like me), we’ve got a very detailed toy replicas of the Science Special Search Party VTOL airship, one of the coolest toys we’ve seen
- Show how Japanese you are by giving Japanese “stick sugar” to your guests — we’ve got this uniquely Japanese item in stock now
- We’ve got other wacky items for you too, including a cute door sign that lets you tell others when you’re studying, “having a guest” or “out of door”
- The Diablock block figures from Japan combine stylish Japanese design with the cute block figure style you know — we’ve got cute character keychains in stock for you
- We’ve got a neat item that my own kids love: rulers with swirling wheels inside to make amazing designs
- Finally, look for more wacky Japanese stickers, more wacky erasers in cute shapes, and more!
For our 18+ customers, we’ve got many new products. The new items include:
- First, we’ve got the MPEG Indies DVD, featuring a full color magazine and DVD with 4 hours of great sample movies for you
- For fans of the lovely Yoko Mitsuya, one of our favorite sexy idols, we have her new magazine release, with all pages dedicated to this lovely woman
- For fans of Japan’s beautiful glossy photobooks, enjoy the beautiful body (and 99 cm bust) of Haruka Tanabe in her new offering
- Then enjoy the incredible beauty of Yua Aida in her very first shy photobook release for you
- We have many restocked photobooks too, including Micro Mini stocking lovers’ photobook, Aki Hoshino’s best-selling hardcover photobook, and more copies of the huge hit product On Location with Mai Hagiwara
- We’ve also got some excellent 18+ manga for you, including “Please be quiet while the doctor is examining you,” a superb new hermaphroditism book, a great anthology of classic manga stories and more
- Also, we’ve restocked some excellent manga comics for you, including the Pururun Princess series, Memories of Pink, the Urushihara’s amazing Dark Crimson
- Doujinshi collectors, we’ve got another bunch of all-new books for you, but check them before they sell out
- Also, we’ve restocked the extremely cool Youhei Kozou CG collections vol. 1 & 2
- For our DVD collectors, we’ve got more excellent titles from japan, starting with the debut DVD of the “absolute beauty,” Karen Kisaragi (region free)
- Then enjoy excellent performances by girls from Northern Europe, in a great release by Wild Side (region free)
- Visit the “Planet of the Lustful Women” in a bold release from Dash, featuring tekoki and other Japanese fetishes (region free)
- Then witness the delightful Watermelon Breast Newscaster starring Kyoko Ayana, a super new title from Princess that you won’t want to miss (region free)
- Then see more bizarre study of human genitalia fetish, brought to you by Moodyz (region 2)
- Then see a great new performance by 100% Tokyo Natural Girls, in a new DVD release by Wanz Factory (region 2)
- Finally, we’ve restocked another dozen or so popular DVD titles for you, so check out our selection!
Remember that J-List carries excellent magazine by our “reserve subscription.” This means that you can get great anime, JPOP, fashion and other magazines sent to you as soon as the new issue is out in Japan — a few days earlier than newsstands receive them here, in fact. Japanese anime magazines like Newtype Japan, street fashion magazines like FRUiTs, and the incredible Megami Magazine, filled with posters and cards in each issue — all are available from us each month. Payment through any method is fine (credit card, check or money order) and you can stop your subscription at any time.