Hello from Japan, where the restaurant chain Coco’s bills itself as “The California Restaurant.”
There’s a famous face game that Japanese kids play, making Japanese foods with their faces. They foods are gyoza (which you may know by its American name “pot stickers”), made by bending the ear downwards; tako-yaki (“octopus balls,” a ball of batter with a piece of octopus meat inside), made by pinching your cheek into a round ball; ume-boshi (dried, tart plum), made by making bumps on your chin stand up; and tarako (codfish roe), made by shaping your tongue like a slab of fish eggs. These are interesting faces that all Japanese know and recognize instantly. To see what they look like in action, we got unwilling J-List staff members to show us the faces. You can see them here: http://www.jlist.com/c3/faces.jpg
The Japanese do love tests. In addition to their world-famous college entrance exams, the Japanese have standardized tests for just about everything, with levels that are similar to the belt colors in karate and judo. Just about every subject, from abacus to waapro (word processing) to accounting have national tests that students and adults are encouraged to study for and take. The most famous standardized test in Japan is Eiken, also known as the Step Test, a series of tests that Japanese students take over the course of their lives — level 3 while in junior high school, level 2 while in high school, and level 1 if they really want to try a challenging test after college. There are standardized tests for Japanese brush writing, penmanship, and even a test for calculating rapidly and accurately with a calculator. All sports have their own various standardized tests, including skiing — my son, who started skiing this past winter, will be taking his first tests next year. For gaijin like you or me, there’s a test for learning Japanese called the Nihongo Noryoku Shiken or the Japanese Ability Test, taken each December at various cities around the world. Level 4 tests basic kana and kanji, levels 3 and 2 are progressively harder, and level 1 is a really difficult test required for all students who want to enter a Japanese university. Japan’s test mania may seem odd, but it is a good way to motivate people to study and better themselves.
Summer is fast approaching, and that means it’s time for delicious suika bar ice cream, a fun to eat watermelon-shaped stick of ice cream sold in Japan by Lotte. It’s a very realistic looking triangle of watermelon-flavored ice cream, with an edible green rine at the bottom, and “seeds” made out of chocolate. My own pet project is to get the company to make “ice tako-yaki” which would be balls of vanilla ice cream covered with chocolate — they’d contain a piece of gummi “octopus” inside to complete the illusion of eating the real thing. It would be so cool…
We love to find rare things that you can only find in Japan and make them available to people all over the world. For anyone with a computer — that is, anyone reading this — we’ve got a great new series of plush pets sold in Japan, called Groomy. Not only are they really cute, their undersides are made of soft chamois, which you can use to clean your computer monitor when it gets dirty. Innovative and fun to pet and hold, these are a huge hit in Japan, and we’re happy to gotten some for you!
For the new update, we’ve got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, the zori sandals we posted on Wednesday were a big hit — and we’ve got more cool traditional footwear from Japan for you, this time a series of wooden sandals for women, really well made and carved out of a single block of wood — check them out
- We carry many nice Japanese swimsuit idol and Race Queen items at J-List, and have the charming new photobook of Yui Ichikawa for you now
- Fans of Blythe and highly collectible dolls of the 1970’s, we have a treat — Dolly Bird, featuring fabulous collectible doll culture from Japan, the U.S. and the U.K.
- Enjoy great snacks from Japan, including more Calpis gummi treats, creamy milk butterscotch candies, an odd snack named Collon and traditional Japanese sweets called youkan
- Plus, fresh stock of the popular chocolate covered sunflower seeds, shredded ika for you to eat (if you don’t know what ika is, don’t ask), miso soup and more
- We’ve got some cool Hello Kitty goods for you, for fans of Sanrio goods you can’t get out of Japan — included are a rubber “kigurumi” Kitty mask that you wear on your head, a fun Kitty notepad, Kitty cake mix, and more
- For fans of the traditional, enjoy a deluxe set you can eat Japanese soba noodles with, including dish, cup, chopsticks and more
- For those with kids, how about a wacky “Kids on board” sign in Japanese? We’ve got some for you
- If you ever loved Micronauts (as I did), we’ve got a special treat: a Takara SF collection of miniature toys based on the original Micronauts — so cool, but we’ve only got a dozen in stock
- We’ve restocked many of the popular “shokugan” (lit. “food and toy”) items, miniature toys that come with ramune candy for you to eat — we’ve restocked the popular sushi miniatures, Chinese food, and more
- Also, we’ve been able to get one more batch of the really cool *full sets* of the Star Wars Kubrick bounty hunter series, including all the cool bounty hunters from the Empire Strikes Back — please don’t miss out on them!
- For Totoro fans, we’ve restocked the really cool all-wood Totoro alarm clock, truly a god among alarm clocks if we ever saw one
- Also, we’ve got fresh stock of the very cute Nyanko Restaurant series, which are little plush cats baked into food, if you can believe that — but they’re darned cute
- We love things with funny English on them, and we’ve restocked the Japanese notebooks we’ve got that bear the enigmatic message “Times simply too very important to afford to be forgotten are true substance of our memories…”
- Finally, see authentic Japanese resume forms (only J-List would carry something as wacky as this), more “please take off your shoes” signs, chopsticks from Japan, and more!
For our adult customers, we’ve got many new 18+ products. They include:
- For fans of the talented erotic photography of Million Publishing, we’ve got the new Urecco Gal, which features fabulous erotic Japanese kogal and fun sexy idols
- Then enjoy the new MPEG World, featuring Ran Asakawa and many other lovely gals — and a killer Video CD of sampler movies, as well
- J-List sells monthly magazines, including manga, hobby, fashion and adult magazines — we’ve added a new “reserve subscription” magazine by customer request, the fantastic Young Hip!
- Enjoy the pure nude of Mimi Mizuhara in a beautiful photobook that combines beautiful photography and glossy printing with the sex of Mimi and her lover
- Also, Harumi Nemoto is an incredibly sexy swimsuit idol with a 103 cm bust — trust us, that’s a lot. Find her new photobook in stock, as well as fresh stock of her popular release from last month
- Our May Manga sale is going strong, and Yasu has been working hard to make sure lots of great manga are stocked for you — see great new erotic comics today, including fourteen sexual stories of “one night stands” by Wani Comics and a wonderful boxed set of hentai manga by artist Hitoshi Kino
- We’ve also added fresh stock of several popular hentai manga, including dick girl manga, hentai works from Azuki Kurenai, and the bizarre comic “Tag”
- Also for yaoi fans, a collection of erotic stories by Kaoruko Mayu, as well as fresh stock of other yaoi works
- For doujinshi lovers, several new works have been posted to the site, including some really nice erotic amateur comics released recently in Japan
- For DVD collectors, we’ve got some great items for you — starting with “super concentrated bukkake” by Ai Nagase, at a superb price, too (region free)
- Then enjoy a remix of erotic sex by Ayami Sakurai, the busty pretty girl who has made a name for herself in the Japanese adult video world — a whopping 180 minutes on this DVD! (region free)
- We love the World Wide Fuck series from Idea Pocket, and now there’s a new title — enjoy the sex of girls from Hungary, performing with Japanese actors and filmed with Japanese AV standards and sensibilities (region free)
- Enjoy the best “Zenra Sports” (all-nude sports) from Japan with Deep’s new Zenra Volleyball, featuring 24 positively beautiful Japanese girls who will spike your heart (region free)
- A popular fetish in Japan right now is “Tamakeri” (ball-kicking), the fetish of having a pretty girl kick you in the balls — see a great new DVD from SOD (region free)
- From Moodyz, a great 2-DVD “Actress Collection” featuring the best sex of 20 top AV stars from Japan, a superb item for you to check out (region 2)
- Finally, look for fresh stock of popular items, including Akira Watase’s erotic Wet Set, Ran Monbu’s erotic parody of famous idol singer Ayaya, Hitomi Hayasaka’s erotic Other Side, and the Lesbian Heaven 4 Hours Special!
J-List carries the extremely popular small toys with snacks in them, known as “shokugan” in Japanese (“food with toy”). From miniature sushi and school desk sets from the Showa era to the excellent Star Wars dioramas, these a very affordable toys that are great to display in your home or office. They’re also only sold in Japan, so when you buy some you know you’ve got something unique. Also, J-List goes the extra distance for you, making full sets of most items available, so you can buy a complete set without wasting your money buying duplicates.
The J-Mate site has been updated with new reviews of great adult DVDs, including a great hardcore DVD by Ruri Ayase and “Innocent Girls Make a Study of Female Genital Organs” — both with plenty of screenshots. You can always read cool English interviews with AV stars from Japan, too. The URL is http://www.jmate.com/