Hello again from all of us in Japan!
The Japanese do many things that perplex the gaijin who live here. One is the way they crouch while waiting for a bus or a train, called “yankii-zuwari” or “sitting like a yankee.” Basically, they squat very low, somehow managing to put their heels flat on the ground, rather than balancing on their toes. It’s very hard for most gaijin to achieve this pose, yet Japanese find it very comfortable, probably because they learn this posture using Japanese toilets, which have no seat (you squat over them). In Japanese usage, a “yankee” refers to teenagers who are “bad kids” — the kind of teens who refuse to go to school, who smoke, who hang out in game centers. They’re somewhat related to “boso-zoku,” the motorcycle gangs who ride around Japan making as much noise as they can, and some grow up to become yakuza. We’re not sure why the English word yankee came to refer to the bad seeds among Japan’s youth, but one idea comes from the fact that rebelling Japanese youths often dye their hair blonde (or orange, as close as some of them can get), and maybe it comes from this (foreigners = Americans = blonde hair to the Japanese mind). If you want to see a picture of what yankii-zuwari looks like, Tomo demonstrates it for you here: http://www.jlist.com/yankee_zuwari.gif.
It’s very hard to get along in Japan without learning some Japanese. Contrary to what you may think about living in a foreign country, it is very difficult to pick up a language automatically, and even if you are living in Japan, constant effort to learn the language is required. One of the best ways to learn Japanese, I’ve found is to set a goal and work towards it all year long. The Japanese have given us a perfect such goal in the Japanese Ability Test (Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken), a test given each December which is a standardized way to find your Japanese level. There are four levels to the test, starting with level 4 (hiragana, katakana and about 100 kanji), and going all the way up to level 1 (which is required for any foreigners who wish to enter a Japanese university). You can take the test at various cities around Japan, and also around the world. For more information on where you can take the test in your country, see this: http://www.aiej.or.jp/examination/jlpt_guide_e.html. (If you’re in the Western U.S., this page: http://www.jflalc.org/proftest/). Incidentally, I’ve made some information and general advice on what is involved in learning Japanese on my personal homepage, at http://www.peterpayne.net/ in case it’s useful to anyone.
Well, the six units of the Studio Ghibli DVD player we got in sure went out the door fast — they sold out in record time. We’re currently seeing what we can do to get more stock for you. If you want to reserve one of these items, just buy it normally through the J-List site and we’ll hold the order for you.
We have a cool new T-shirt for you, a very esoteric one with its roots in Japan’s history. In 1853, American Admiral Perry brought his “black ships” off shore near Yokohama to force Japan, then a completely closed country, to open her ports and trade with the outside world. It touched off a very interesting quarter century in which Japan was forced to abandon its old ways and build a completely new nation, wiping away nearly all its old samurai-era institutions. As young Japanese rallied around the Meiji Emperor, their slogan was “sonno joi” or “Respect the Emperor, Expel the Foreign Barbarians.” Now this wacky slogan, very famous and known to all Japanese, is available on a Japanese new T-shirt from J-List!
We’re also very happy to announce that Transfer Student, the long-awaited bishoujo game for Windows and Macintosh, is finally in stock and shipping. Having worked so hard to get this title out, I feel I don’t quite know what do say except thanks for all the customers who were so patient during the long delays. We wouldn’t have made it without you! Transfer Student is the “last” of the games from JAST, the bishoujo game maker that had a huge influence on the genre of Japanese love simulation games in the 1980s and 90s. Unfortunately, JAST went bankrupt in 1999, a victim of the long Japanese recession. Transfer Student is a great multi-scenario game incorporating all the best of JAST’s bishoujo game themes, and we hope you will check it out!
In addition to the above-mentioned items, we’ve got a bunch of nice new and back-in-stock items for you, including a very cool recreation of famous Japanese foods (which we’re selling in full sets since they’re so cool), plus new snack and candy items (including new varieties of miso soup, very popular), new Hello Kitty products that are very cute, more Japanese calligraphy pens, and much more. For toy fans, find cool Kubrick series toys and Evangelion items, fresh stock of cool anime figures, and other things from Japan. Newly added adult items include many nice volumes of erotic manga and photobooks by the lovely Yinling and Russian Yulia Nova, fresh stock of the popular Viper GTB erotic art book, loads of fresh stock of adult DVDs, and more! So please check out the J-List site for all that we have to offer.
Did you know you can view all updated products on the J-List site by clicking the link right below the top-5 list? It’s a good way of seeing all updated items in all categories easily.
Well, that’s all for now. Until next time, we’ll see you on the web!