Hello again from Japan, where having kids means never taking a bath alone.
It’s often said that Japanese society is 10-25 years behind the U.S., and that changes in the U.S. will filter over to Japan 10-25 years after they’ve happened in America. Sometimes this seems true — it took Japan until 1999 to get its first law requiring car seats for children, and laws against things like sexual harassment in the workplace similarly followed U.S. laws about a decade later. When I first came to Japan, it was common for newspaper job listings to be divided among “men” and “women” with many listings stating that only people aged 30 and under would be considered. Over the past few years, laws have been passed that forbid this practice. Companies get around this new rule by using graphics in their classified ads — for example, a picture of a young, pretty OL (that’s Japanese for “office lady” or female office worker) sends a signal that that company is looking for younger females to fill a certain position, and not males.
If you’ve paid attention while watching Japanese anime or AV, you’ve probably picked up on the word “ne.” This is an interesting Japanese grammatical particle that usually goes on the ends of sentences and serves several purposes, mostly related to asking for confirmation of information or agreement with an opinion. Here are two examples:
“Aisu kohii futatu desu ne?” You’d like two glasses of ice coffee, is that right?
“Kyou wa atsui desu ne.” It’s hot today, isn’t it?
Other functions of the all-purpose Japanese particle “ne” include softening a sentence so its meaning it less harsh (“Chotto furimashita ne.” You’ve gained a little weight, haven’t you?); emphasizing what you want to say (“Kondo chanto kiite kudasai, ne.” Please listen closely next time, alright?); working as a pause in sentences, like “um” in English; and to get the attention of the listener before saying something. Girls use “ne” more often than men and with a higher intonation, so males should use the word with caution lest they appear effeminate.
Japan’s various traditions of bathing are quite famous all over the world. Most Japanese take baths in the evening, although younger people replace this tradition with a shower in the morning. In Japanese homes, the actual bath-room is a bath and a separate tiled area outside the bath, with a drain for water to escape (the toilet is in a separate room). You always wash your body thoroughly before getting into the bath, and never use soap or shampoo inside the bath itself, as the water will be reused by other family members, and saved for several days. All baths here have heaters to allow you to re-heat the old water, and ours has a one-touch computer that will fill the bath to the pre-set temperature and level. If you’re a parent, you always take your kids in the bath with you and wash them. The concept of mother or father taking a bath with their children is known as “skinship” to the Japanese. Japanese are great fans of public baths (sento) and hot springs (onsens), too — see the dating-sim game Tokimeki Check in! for lots of information on traditional Japanese hot springs. Since the water is “everyone’s water,” you must wash thoroughly before getting into the baths, although I’ve seen quite a few old men who skipped this step. As a foreigner living in Japan, I try to be an “ambassador of goodwill” and what not, so I make sure I follow the rules. The Japanese are famous for bathing with men and women together (kon’yoku), but this is actually very rare, since Japanese women don’t want to bathe with men they don’t know. It’s more common for hotels to have a “family bath” that a family can reserve and take a bath together.
For the new update, we’ve got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for Macross fans, a rare treat: the VF-1A Valkyrie transforming toy from Bandai
- For fans of the films of Akira Kurosawa and samurai movies, we’ve got a great new Japanese film on DVD for you: Owl’s Castle, an incredibly high-budget, high-quality film about the years before Japan was unified under the Tokugawa Shogun — and it’s subtitled in English! (region 2)
- The incredibly detailed replicas of famous Japanese bird (who really sing when you press a button) sold very well over the weekend — now we’ve posted the last four in the series! These are great for all nature lovers or those who want to bring a little happiness into their rooms
- For fans of Japanese snack foods, enjoy some delicious items, including chocolate bread, delicious fish furikake for your bento, Japanese potato chips with “soy sauce and scallops” flavoring, and delicious fish and sesame seed snacks
- Also, some great “etiquette breath candy” that helps remove odors in your mouth within 60 seconds, as well as fresh stock of many popular items including miso soup and “Mill Make” (milk flavoring that virtually all Japanese children drink in elementary school)
- For Kitty fans, a really cool leather Kitty purse that is extremely cute and well made, along with fresh stock of the plush Kitty bonnet that you wear on your head — it’s so cute
- And speaking of cute, we’ve got a super cute Hamtaro plush backpack that you will die for
- We love wacky parody goods from Japan, and have some fun “Aham Pham” hamster envelopes that are really cute
- Also, we’ve got fresh stock of the popular “injection needle pens” that are so cool
- For Totoro lovers, we’ve got a very special PVC keychain figure of Mei with a rusted bucket trying to catch a Totoro — really nice
- Also catch fresh stock of some popular joke items, including our line of Japanese headbands, kanji quiz toilet paper, and more
- Also, for fans of Domo-kun, that wacky character who is the spokesmonster for NHK’s BS (“Broadcast Satellite”) network, we’ve got a cool item for you (although it will sell out soon)
- We love the Tomica die-cast metal cars from Japan, which are highly detailed and match Hot Wheels and other cars perfectly in scale — look for three cool new vehicles posted today
- Looking or something uniquely Japanese to put in your room? We humbly recommend the ceramic Japanese mailbox, which doubles as a piggy bank for you
- Finally, look for a great way to hang boxes of tissue from your wall so you can get at it easily, a great way to cut paper accurately, more Japanese ear cleaners, and many other cool and unique things from Japan!
For our adult customers, we’ve got many new 18+ products. They include:
- For fans of beautiful Japanese models with large, natural breasts, we have the great new Gal’s Dee, filled with very special busty gals like Aoi Mizuno (92 cm, F cup), Mika Nagase (93/G) and Mayu Koizumi (107/J), just for you
- Then, a personal favorite of mine, Apricot Magazine, the “perfect super beauty girls principle magazine” that is filled with fantastic pro and amateur girls you’d love to get to know, and the photographs are great
- Bondage fans will enjoy the new Aido Club, a great magazine and DVD combination item that is filled with rope and bondage play for you (region free)
- For fans of let and panty fetish, we’ve got a great new photobook featuring the thrill of “almost nude”
- In the “you really don’t want to miss this” category, we’ve got a special Smart Girls Remix photobook, featuring incredibly pure and sexy photos of lovely Tokyo girls — the girls are so pretty and the photos so special that this photobook is marketed to women as well as men in Japan
- For our manga customers, enjoy a half dozen great new volumes including the super erotic “Maid In” by Tatsuya Mitamori, the super sexy doctors and nurses of Momoka Clinic, a new anthology of all Game Girl hentai manga, and more
- Then, enjoy a restocking of manga for you including fresh stock of Celamic Garden, What?, Pururu Princess, Blue Sky Oppai Pasture, and more — over a dozen manga restocked
- Also: by customer request we’ve got a massive restocking of the popular “dick girl” doujinshi by Behind Moon, which you won’t want to miss
- For yaoi lovers, enjoy fresh stock of several items too, including the Kinniku Otoko (Muscle Man) series and more
- For DVD collectors, we’ve got some superb titles for you, starting with a new Bring Up Ecstasy 4 Hour special DVD, featuring the lovely sex of Hitomi Hasegawa (region free)
- Then enjoy a great new offering from the hallowed Mejiri (“ass of woman”) series, this time featuring the delicious Sora Aoi (region free, multiangle)
- Then a great item, the 24 Hour Bukkake Semen of Moe Nishimura — poor Moe-chan has men blowing their wads on her as she goes about her daily life, brushing her teeth, sleeping, going to the bathroom, and so on (region free)
- There’s a new “Night Visiting” fetish title from Deep’s, about going to sleeping girls in the night and fondling them, waking them up and having sex with them. Features girls who starred in the All Nude Volleyball and Basketball releases by Deep’s (region free)
- A special treat for fans of bondage play, enjoy a great Actress Restraint Maniac collection featuring the lovely Miyuki Kasuga — 9 erotic bondage play scenes! (region 2)
- Then, from Waap Entertainment, enjoy the fantastic bukkake facials of Yui Kayama, great for fans of bukkake (region 2)
- Finally look for a great new English-language (subbed and dubbed) hentai DVD boxed set from Nutech, the Dvine series (region 1).
Remember that J-List carries the famous Japanese gum Black Black, a caffine-laced gum that will wake up you and keep you awake. Black Black was recently written up in Wired magazine, complete with a link to J-List (thanks, guys!). And as with most of our gum and snack items, if you buy 10 or more you get a 15% discount at checkout.
The J-Mate site has been updated again, with reviews of the great collection of Japanese short films called Grasshoppa (which is even subtitled in English!), as well as a review of the bizarre Happatai Yatta DVD that was posted on Friday. Enjoy reading reviews and interviews from Japan on our sister site, J-Mate! The URL is http://www.jmate.com/