Hello again from Japan. We’re very sorry with the problems with the site after the last update — we had reset the products on the server, but many of them had images that were missing throughout the site, causing them to fail to appear. Also, T-shirt sizes weren’t being displayed, which caused some confusion. We’re happy to report that everything’s working again now.
Fall is coming to Japan, my favorite time of the year hands-down. Before long, the leaves will start to change to beautiful shades of red, yellow and brown in a beautiful display of colors second only to the cherry blossoms in April. The most popular tree in the autumn is the momiji-no-ki (紅葉の木）, or Japanese maple, with small, delicate leaves that are really beautiful. The changing of the leaves is called koyo (紅葉), and it’s especially nice to head up to the mountains to enjoy the colors up close — we often have barbeques up there with friends in October. The coming of Autumn is a chance for advertisers to sell products themed for the season, such as Kirin’s season-limited Aki-Aji (“Taste of Autumn”) beer, which is best enjoyed during an evening of tsukimi or moon-viewing. Autumn is also the season for school sports festivals, held from one end of Japan to the other. Kids run relays, perform synchronized dances, and generally celebrate sports while their parents look on with pride. Makers of home electronics don’t miss the opportunity to sell sell video cameras to mothers and fathers who want to record these events for posterity. This year’s Panasonic TV commercial is especially nice, capturing a bittersweet moment. See it here (Flash required).
While living in Japan is fun, there are an awful lot of things you have to learn to do without. The local version of peanut butter here is nothing like what’s sold in the U.S., so when I run out of Skippy or Peter Pan at home, I have to learn to eat something else on my bread. Tortillas are very hard to find in Japan, and the closest thing to a burrito here are the Twisters at Kentucky Fried Chicken, which are actually not that bad as a substitute if you bring your own hot sauce. Other staples like Campbell’s soup, macaroni and cheese and root beer are absent from an expat’s life in Japan. For some cosmic reason, living in another country seems to make people yearn for the traditional pickles of their homeland. Although the Japanese have a long tradition of pickling vegetables (including making kim-chee, delicious Korean spicy pickles), they’re not just a replacement for good, crunchy Vlassics that I am used to from home. Likewise, J-List’s Daisuke (the guy who keeps us stocked with Domo-kun toys) tells me that when he was living in Chicago he yearned for various pickled Japanese foods, including ume-boshi, Japan’s tart pickled plums. We’ve got some ume related products on the site for you if you want to try some.
J-List carries thousands of amazing and rare products from Japan, including a lot of cool traditional Japanese items that are hard to find outside of Japan. We’ve added a huge stock of our popular Japanese sandals, including “tatami” sandals (called zori in Japan) of various sizes, including our largest sandals for the guys. Come browse our great Japanese traditional footwear!