Hello again from Japan, home of tako-yaki, delicious batter-balls with tako (octopus) meat inside!
Because the names of foreigners are rare in Japan, they can tend to become larger than life to the Japanese. You might know several people named Jason, but in Japan, there’s only one: the famous killer from the Friday the 13th movies. If your name is Jason and you introduce yourself to Japanese people, they’re likely to associate you with the films and giggle. While Japanese pop singer Seiko Matsuda was in New York trying to break into the American music scene during the early 90’s, she had an affair with a man she met in a restaurant named Jeff. The affair became public knowledge, and suddenly everyone in Japan knew about Jeff, to the chagrin of a friend of mine with the same name, who had to endure the giggles of high school girls for months whenever he mentioned his name. Even my own name is famous, thanks to a show from the Golden Age of anime, Heidi, Girl of the Alps. Heidi’s friend is named Peter (although it’s pronounced “Peh-tah” in the anime as it comes from German).
Japanese names are interesting to study. Japanese put their family names before their first names, so that Ai Kurosawa’s name is Kurosawa Ai if you’re speaking Japanese. It can be confusing, which is part of why we developed the J-List search engine to bring up the same results no matter what word order you use. Japanese female names often have “ko” in them (Keiko, Miko, etc.), which means “child.” Boy’s names, on the other hand, often reflect their status in the family. If a boy is the oldest son, he’ll often have a name that indicates this, by having the number 1 or the word “first” in it. I can tell that baseball star Ichiro and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are the oldest sons in their families because ichi is “one” in Japanese. The second son in a family will often have a name like Koji or Kenji — the “ji” character means second or next. The most “vanilla” sounding names in Japanese (i.e., the names that correspond to John and Mary Smith in English) are Taro and Hanako Yamada. Japanese names are nearly always written in Chinese characters (although they can be written in hiragana), and just as there are various spellings for Western names, there are often many ways to write a person’s name in kanji.
For the update, we’ve got some great new items posted on the site for you. They include:
- First, two special items for collectors of only-sold-in-Japan Star Wars toys, we’ve got the soft vinyl figure of Obi Wan Kenobi from Attack of the Clones in stock, and for preorder, the very cool Mace Windu/Yoda figure set (due out in November)
- For our wacky Japanese T-shirt fans, an alternate color of one of my own favorite shirts, the “You must be 20 to purchase tobacco and alcohol” shirt
- Like Totoro? We’ve posted the very large (17″) plush Totoros to our site today
- We’re closing out several of our shirts, including the “Root” shirt and our Peach Princess full color shirts — they’re just $9.95!
- We love Japan’s famous swimsuit idols and Race Queens and have some nice new items for you, including a deluxe Scholar Idol Special
- For Hello Kitty fans and collectors, we’ve got some beautiful items, including high-quality silk handbags and coin purses, a Hello Kitty study set and more
- Also: a great item for your bathroom, a Hello Kitty floating tumbler, featuring Kitty and her friends floating at the beach
- Fans of our Japanese snack pages will enjoy some new items, including Super Strawberry Shigekix (sour hard-gummi that are fun to eat), and two new flavors of Candy Bubbles — bubbles you can eat!
- We love wacky parody goods from Japan, which are really popular now — the latest item are keychains (also okay to use as telephone or camera straps) with delicious Lotte gum — pull the string and a stock of gum pops up
- We love to carry traditional Japanese items, and have some new ones for you, including Japanese miso soup bowls, new chopsticks, and a great folding fan
- For fans of Ojamajo Doremi, some cute dress-up dolls that are fun to play with
- For fans of Takara’s fashion dolls, we’ve got the very nice Blythe dolls, which feature incredibly detailed fashion clothes — a great item for collectors
- Another popular category of item only available in Japan: fude-pens, pens that write like a beautiful Chinese writing brush — and we’ve refreshed our stock of these items
- Japanese love to put fun and stylish straps on their phones, and we love to carry these wacky straps. We’ve got limited stock of an out-of-production set of straps based on famous American horror films (rare)
- Finally, find a handy all-purpose zippered pouch, new Hello Kitty bento items and other cute Sanrio items, new Maneki Neko (Lucky Cat) items, Totoro magnets, and more!
For our adult customers, we’ve got many new 18+ products. The new items include:
- For magazine fans, we’ve got the new Urecco Super Beauties, a special all-star issue of Urecco that’s just overflowing with the most famous and beautiful AV idols in Japan — virtually all the top names are here
- We’ve got some beautiful photobooks, including a new issue of Smart Girls, featuring incredibly stylish and artfully photographed nude models, and other new hardcover photobooks as well
- Fans of older ladies will enjoy the Jukujo No. 1, which features very experienced ladies and married women
- We’ve got a huge offering of great hentai manga for you, including all-new comics from Japan’s top manga studios
- Also, another excellent volley of new doujinshi on the site, obtained at the past Comic Market (stock is limited, these items will go fast)
- For adult DVD aficionados, we’ve got some killer new items for you, starting off with a “4 in 1” with four individual video releases of Hitomi Hayasaka — 4 hours of her best AV on one disc! (region free)
- From Million, one of our favorite AV studios, enjoy a great offering of huge breast fetish fun (region free)
- From Soft on Demand, Sally Yoshino will assist your masturbation and fulfill your erotic dreams (region free)
- Hitomi Yuuki, who I once met at a Macworld Expo in Tokyo, was one of the top AV stars of the Gilgamesh Night era — now she’s back, in a great new release from SOD (region free)
- Enjoy the tender lesbian kiss and romance of Akane Ono in a great lesbian offering from Moodyz (region 2)
- From Aroma Planning, a new fetish for you to enjoy — “Skirt Diving” or men burying their faces inside the skirts of beautiful women (region 2)
- Finally, we’ve restocked several DVD items, so check through them to see what’s added!
Remember that we’re right in the middle of the very busy 2003 Japanese Calendar season! Japan is a very seasonal place, and the “season” for getting 2003 calendars is now until the end of this month or so. Because the window is so tight, if you want to guarantee that the Joy of Sushi or the Domo-Kun calendars you want will be available, you need to preorder them. Because we love all Japanese pop culture, we go out of our way to carry virtually all the 2003 calendars, even some rare ones like anime shows that are popular in Japan but aren’t known overseas yet. Remember: order 4 or more calendars and you get your mailing tubes free!
J-List love the line of Japanese plush dogs called “The Dog.” (The Japanese really love the word “the” and use it all the time.) We still have stock of many different plush dogs in various sizes, from the small keychain versions to the super-huggable plush Pug and Wesh Corgi. Stock of these items is limited, so please check out what we’ve got on the page now. They make unique Christmas gifts, too! (We even carry The Dog and The Cat 2003 calendars.)
You’ve got a friend in Japan at J-List. å