Japan’s fascination with businessman Takafumi Horie (whose nickname is “Horiemon” because someone thought he looks like the character Doraemon) continues today, as the famous founder of Yahoo-wannabe Livedoor — and the company that publishes the Japanese version of Eudora, if you want a bit of trivia — enters his “not guilty” plea in court. He’s accused of violating a slew of stock-manipulation laws, including “announcing” mergers for companies he’d already secretly purchased the stock for then profiting when the shares went up. Perhaps Japan’s most recognizable businessman until his arrest in January, he was in the headlines daily. He never wore suits, preferring dark T-shirts, even when meeting with very high-ranking businessmen, and had the audacity to acquire other companies through hostile takeovers, something that just isn’t done in “harmonious” Japan.
All things considered, laughter only belongs in a foreign language classroom if it builds confidence or friendship among students, and if you’re an ESL teacher, it’s probably best not to throw your head back and laugh openly when your students make an error. That being said, there have been times during my career as a teacher when it was very difficult not to keep the giggles away. One older student was describing a scene about skyscrapers in New York, but she kept saying “skycrapper” instead, which had me twisting this way and that as I tried to avoid laughing while I imagined some kind of divine lavatory in the sky. Another time a student told me how he fixed his car radio over the weekend, only he didn’t say “fixed,” but another word entirely which starts with the same letter, and I struggled to keep from laughing out loud at this. We were talking about careers once, and one student who planned to take the test to enter the National Postal Service told me his dream was to become a “post officer,” which struck me as amusing, even though it’s a logical mistake when you stop and think about it. I feel bad about these lapses, although I know that I’ve given as good as I got, providing my Japanese hosts with many hours of amusement thanks to my own language slip-ups over the years, like the time I tried to order some mango juice, and, er, nevermind, it’s a long story.
J-List is based in Gunma Prefecture, a crane-shaped piece of land that’s located right in the center of Japan — the heso (belly button) of the country, as the Japanese like to say. Situated right on the edge of the Kanto Plain, where Tokyo and Yokohama are, the primary cities in Gunma are Maebashi (the Prefectural capital, once famous for its silk industry); Takasaki (a vibrant commercial city, although because it was never bombed during World War II, the roads are noticeably narrower than in other cities); Ota (home of the Subaru corporation, and the old Nakajima Air Works, where Japanese Zeros were built); and our own Isesaki. Virtually all the cities in Gunma are former castle towns, and almost without exception, the City Offices are built on the grounds of the former castle ruins, which fills some kind of continuity with the past that I as an American can’t quite fathom. Like all corners of Japan, Gunma is famous for many things, including konnyaku (a gelatinous food made from potatoes that’s so firm that several elderly people a year choke on it and die), karakaze (the biting wind that blows over the mountains in the winter) and kakaa-denka, extremely strong-willed women (like my wife). If you want to buy some land in a place like Tokyo or Nagoya you need to work really hard to achieve your goal, but in Gunma there’s plenty of land for the population of 2 million. Thus, people in Gunma are famous for having a poor work ethic, and being somewhat lazy.
J-List’s wacky Japanese hats are off to a great start, with many customers picking up our fun embroidered hats that feature slogans like “I’m looking for a Japanese girlfriend” or our parody Otaku logo. Our hats are extremely well made, using Vintage Chino Twill Caps Alternative Apparel, and they’re fully size adjustable (one size fits all, guys or girls). We’re posting our newest original hat offering today, based on our best-selling “Ecchi” parody of the Ecko logo, which features two rhinoceroses engaged in some interesting social activities. Check out our newest wacky Japanese hat today!
We’ve got another new product category for you too: posters featuring the amazing artwork of Dan Kim, creator of the Clone Army manga series (and the creator of the JAST USA H-game webcomic, H.H.). These limited edition posters are 11×17 in size and would look great on any wall. Browse our new poster selection now!
This month’s “Game of the Month” is Private Nurse, a great 2-CD release from G-Collections in which you play Hiroki. You’ve been sick all your life, but one day your mother tells you that she’s hired a private nurse to take care of you. The next thing you know, you’ve got your very own private nurse, Maria, who is totally dedicated to curing you. Maria is going to be much more than a nurse to you: she’ll be your teacher, too. But what about Ayano-chan, who you’ve known since childhood, and who is secretly in love with you? A fabulous game of love and “H” and healing from G-Collections. Special pricing this month!