This year has been an interesting one for history buffs as it’s seen the 70th anniversaries of the events of the final year of World War II, including the iconic battles of Okinawa and Iwo Jima, the end of the war in Europe, and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The final bombing attack of WWII took place 70 years ago today in J-List’s home city of Isesaki, just a few hours before the Japanese Emperor went on the radio to announce the country’s surrender, making it one of the more pointless events of the war. (Happily, casualties on the ground were light.) This Saturday will mark the announcement of Japan’s surrender, bringing all those sad, heroic years to a close. I’m a big fan of the shared history between the U.S. and Japan, and have made a point to drag my son to places like the gaijin bochi (foreigners’ graveyard) where crewmen from Admiral Perry’s “black ships” were laid to rest in Yokohama, along with Arlington National Cemetery, the Peace Museum in Hiroshima and the USS Intrepid floating museum in New York. Since he’s part of both Japan and the U.S., I want him to have an understanding of the history of both countries.
One thing I like about the Japanese is their dedication to educating their children, building positive study skills from an early age. This takes many concrete forms, for example the study desks children receive when they enter first grade, where they’ll spend hours doing homework and developing good learning habits, or the leather backpacks called randoseru (from the Dutch ransel), which are usually purchased by doting grandparents, as they can be quite expensive. Japanese students also have lots of great study tools available to them, like those Zebra Check Set memorization systems, a special pen you use to highlight material you’re trying to learn which disappears when covered with the included red sheet, so you can quiz yourself. Compared with my own career as a student in which I never really learned to apply myself in any serious way until I got to university, I think the Japanese method of building study skills from the start is really good. Incidentally, the big JLPT test in December is only a few months away. If you’re interested in learning Japanese (either a little or a lot), why not sign up for the test and browse J-List for helpful study aids?
What will happen when J-List’s new site launches next week? We’re preparing a completely new website that we’ve been hard at work on for a year, which will offer tons of new features including great performance on mobile phones, as well as tablets and desktop computers. As part of the changeover, which will happen around August 17th-18th, all accounts will be moved…though wishlists will be reset