Hello again from your friends in Japan, J-List!
The Japanese use a lot of English words in their daily life, and depending on your age, spoken Japanese is often peppered with English words like stance, better, pretty, and so on. But when speaking Japanese, you have to “convert” the “English” words a bit before using them. The word “energy” is used in English, but it’s pronounced with a hard G — if you want people to understand you, you learn to pick up the new pronunciation, although it sounds odd at first. “Vitamin” is pronounced “bitamin,” with a stress on the second syllable. Sometimes words come in via England, so they’re unfamiliar to Americans like me — a car’s hood (bonetto), for example. And some “English” words aren’t even English, but come from other languages, such as arubaito (part time job), anket (questionnaire), karte (a medical chart), and ruksak (a backpack). Because all foreign words are written in the Japanese katakana writing system, Japanese people tend to think that all these words are English.
Well, White Day is approaching. This is a silly Japanese day in which men must give a gift — usually white chocolate — to women who gave them chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Convenience stores jump on the occasion to sell all manner of silly gifts, including many forms of chocolate. Men have an obligation to give chocolate back to people who gave them something, and shops know that they will sell a lot of “obligation chocolate” (giri choco) by March 14.
After several years of mocking Mazda’s Bongo Friendee mini-van for having the strangest English of any Japanese car (right up there with the Mitsubishi Thanks Chariot and Toyota’s Super Saloon), the versatility of this interesting, fun car finally wore me down, and we bought one. The continuing poor performance of the Japanese economy means that auto makers have to work hard and compete on price, so that helped our decision. The way you buy a car in Japan is quite different from how it’s done in the U.S. Here, you always order a car and pick it up in 2-3 weeks, rather than getting it off a dealers’ lot that day. Virtually all dealers are operated by the auto makers directly — thus, you find only Mazda’s at the local Mazda dealer (or maybe some Fords, since Ford owns most of Mazda). And as with deciding the date of your wedding, it’s important to pick your car up on a “lucky day” according to special Buddhist calendar, to avoid problems and unhappiness. You can see the Bongo Friendee at http://www.friendee.mazda.co.jp/
For this evening’s update, we’ve got some very nice items for you, including:
- First, some very nice 18+ products on our 18+ pages
- By customer request, we’ve created a great new page for you — Anime DVDs, where we’ll carry the unique anime DVDs released here in Japan. these anime DVDs are always of the highest quality, and while they are expensive, they give a lot of value (6 episodes per disc, long playing times). For starters, we’ve got the first two discs of Mach Go Go Go, the original series known as Speed Racer outside Japan, and the fantastic OVA Complete Collection of Iczer One — with the entire anime series on one DVD!
- We love updating our Wacky Things from Japan pages, but unfortunately, we got so much cool, bizarre stuff in stock that the page got overcrowded. So, we’ve made a Wacky Things (Cute) page to go with our Wacky Things (Main) page. We’ve added some great items to this page, including a super Hello Kitty box with lid and drawer (so cute for your desk) as well as fresh stock of many popular items
- Finally, our popular Wacky Things from Japan page has also been updated, with a spiffy back massager (great for people who get itchy backs), the ultimate milk carton sealer (certified as being “really cool” by my mother, who bought them as gifts when she came to Japan), and more.
Remember that you can get any three of our $24.95 bishojo anime games for $70, shipping in US/Canada included. This is like getting $20 off, and it’s a great deal. You can choose from Hentai Anime Poker, Three Sisters’ Story, Season of the Sakura, Runaway City, Nocturnal Illusion, May Club, or even the enigmatic Transfer Student (which really, really come out some day). These games are in English, and are uncensored, so they’re really cool.