Hello again from Japan!
We continue to watch the events from Afghanistan as they develop. We’ve seen a great deal of reporting on the Northern Alliance and the four main races that make up the country of Afghanistan. Japan is very fortunate in that regard — thanks in part to its history and to its isolation, Japan is able to think of itself as a “unified” country where everyone is the same as everyone else and, to a large part, there is no discrimination of Japanese by Japanese. I’ve never even noticed a tendency by some Japanese to think down on Japanese from another part of the country (although people from Ibaragi Prefecture sure talk funny). This unification is helped along by a social system that encourages inclusion in groups and treating of others as equals, and since the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when reformers kicked out the old Tokugawa Shogun to create a constitutional monarchy under the Emperor, getting Japanese to think of themselves as one large group has been a major goal. This unification of spirit is everywhere you look today — although Japanese have a wide variety of income levels, fully 80% of Japanese think of themselves as “middle class.”
Although foreigners living here tend to value individualism, there are many benefits to this “sameness” that Japan enjoys. It makes it much easier to shape national policies on things like education, and in fact, Japan’s compulsory education is planned on a national level, not in cities and counties and school boards, as is done in the States. People seem to have a built-in unified “common sense,” which is called “joshiki” in Japanese, which guides them in their lives. Kids all go to school and study (no homeschooling here), husbands are the “daikoku-bashira,” the large black pillars that hold up the family. Wives either work a little to help support the household, or take care of the home as a full-time housewife. There’s more harmony and less discord in Japan.
This leads to the problem of the Tyranny of the Majority at times, though, which manifests itself in small ways. In Japan, there are almost no vegetarians, and foreigners who want to live vegan have trouble “getting along” in Japan, as nearly everything here contains something that was made from animals. In Japan, too, most people love milk with 3.7 per cent milk fat or higher — it’s thick and delicious, they say. When I came to Japan in 1992, it was very hard to find lowfat (1%) milk without searching several stores. Now, lowfat milk is generally available, but non-fat milk (which I prefer) is completely impossible to find. The “majority” just doesn’t want it, so no one produces it. Caffeine is another problem — the Japanese drink all kinds of tea, nearly all of which contains caffeine. If you’re Mormon, as a friend of mine was, you are forbidden to drink caffeine, yet there was almost nothing for him that didn’t have caffeine in it except water. In the end, he went home.
For the first update of the week, the J-List staff has assembled some extra-special items for you, including:
- First, some very nice new erotic magazines from Eichi Publishing, including the new all-purpose adult magazines, Best Video and Video Boy
- We have several new photobooks, too, including a new semi-nude from Garo Aida and the very sexy “visual queen” Yoko Naito
- For manga fans we’ve got a super selection of both new hentai manga (including the dynamite “Shell” from Harazaki Takuma), as well as another major restocking of our popular sold-out manga volumes
- For lovers of bondage and S&M, we have the superb “Abnormal Photography,” featuring the truly beautiful bondage nudes of a dozen lovely models
- Also, fresh but limited stock of the DVD SM Collection, featuring a magazine with fully stocked DVD with 120 minutes of excellent material on it
- From SOD, we’ve got three totally excellent DVD releases for you: the long-awaited DVD release of “In those days, I have known 2 pretty nymphos” (love that English title) with Ai Nagase; followed by a dynamite Love Zamen “4-in-1” featuring the best bukkake fetish ever; and the new Masterpiece of Soft on Demand, with video from 59 titles
- One of the best-selling DVDs ever has been the Big Morkal DVD Anthology, which featurs *3 hours* of great sampler footage from their productions, for just $20. Now vol. 2 is out, with another 180 minutes of very special Japanese erotica for you, at a great price!
- For lovers of Japanese swimsuit idols, we’ve got another very nice swimsuit DVD with very sexy video of the lovely Haruka Igawa
- We have a new anime card game from Bandai and Cardass, the Magical Paradise Card Game 2, in stock now
- For dog lovers, we’ve got some beautiful metallic stickers with images of famous dog breeds and funny words in English — good for owners of poodles, collie, American cocker spaniel, and afghan hound, on the Japanese headbands and stickers page
- We have a delicious new flavor of Hi-Chew, Lemon Squash, with real vitamin C (I’m eating some as I type this now, it’s really good)
- Also for Japanese snack food loves, we have fresh stock of the most popular Japanese snack food, Pocky, with fresh stock of both original chocolate Pocky, and Tsubu Tsubu Ichigo (made with real strawberries)
- Also: fresh stock of our “looking for a beautiful woman” stickers
- For fans of Japanese fashion dolls, which is a big world unto itself, we have a very cute “Jenn”y” doll in he spring high school uniform — great for displaying
- For fans of traditional Japanese things, we have a really cool new Japanese piggy bank in the shape of a Buddhist temple contribution box, as well as more attractive Japanese chopsticks
- Finally, our “wacky” page has a new bento item for Picky’s Bear fans, a beautiful long head-band for Gunbuster fans, fresh stock of bizarre Japanese ear-cleaners with lights, and more.