Know about this site? Lots of good things from Japan here! Plus, he sends regular updates to your email box that are actually entertaining – talking about Japan from a Westerners point of view (He has a Japanese wife and has been there quite a while now.) So, check him out! They also carry "naughty" items, but you will never see that, unless you go there on purpose! 😉 AND his US office is in my hometown, San Diego, CA! 🙂

Greetings from J-List – Friday, March 21, 2008

Japan has a new ambassador, and it's…Doraemon? Yes, the well-known robot cat from the future has been designated as the official Goodwill Ambassador for Anime Culture in a ceremony held yesterday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Recent years have seen a growing awareness on the part of the Japanese government that anime, manga, video games and related culture were making a significant contribution to Japan's image in the world, and the government is using the famous character to try to improve relations with the nearby countries of Asia, where Doraemon is a household name. I totally agree that popular culture is a great basis for communication between people, a thought that occurred to me when my daughter was three years old and hadn't learned English yet, although she had no problem communicating with my American nephew because both could speak "Pokemon." There's no word if Ambassador Doraemon will be using official government transportation when he makes his goodwill visits, or if he'll be making use of his Dokodemo Door (Go Anywhere Door), one of the futuristic devices he can pull out of his fourth-dimensional pocket.

Lost in translation

There are many good things about living in Japan. For one thing, it's a world of potentially endless mystery, where stepping out your front door can be an experience worthy of Lost in Translation, potentially confusing but in a wonderful way. Many Japanese are obsessive about their own particular hobbies, and if you have a passion for, say, anime, doujinshi, martial arts or building robots, you'll probably find like-minded people who understand where you're coming from here. Gaijin in Japan certainly stand out a lot, which can be good or bad, depending on whether you're talking about school kids staring at you as if you were a yeti or waking up to find a girl's phone number scrawled on a chopstick wrapper from last night. Yet like any other country, Japan is not without its imperfections. Japan is a kanji country, and you never know for sure which road signs or train maps will feature English, making it a challenge to do certain things here if you don't read Japanese (although picking up reading skills is honestly not that difficult). Another downside is allergy season, thanks to the visionary Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which decided that it'd be a great idea to standardize on exactly one type of tree for forestry in Japan, the sugi or Japan Cedar. When these trees start to pollinate, millions of Japanese come down with terrible hayfever. It gets so bad there are actually "pollen forecasts" on TV to tell you when it's safe to go outside or hang clothes out to dry. Right now we've got a double-whammy of cedar pollen and kohsa, the "yellow sand" that blows over from China, making it impossible to keep your car clean.

The history of Buddhism in Japan is long, going back to the very beginning of the country's historical age, since Buddhism and kanji were imported together and are inseparable from Japanese culture. The religion was introduced to Japan either in 467 A.D. from China, according to a Chinese account, or 552 A.D. through Korea, according to the Nihon Shoki, one of the oldest historical documents from inside Japan. While one might think that Japan would have a feeling of brotherhood with other Buddhist countries such as Thailand or Tibet, in reality the local flavor of Buddhism is so different that I don't think there's much of a connection. There's a special time of year in the spring and fall called Ohigan (oh-he-gahn), literally "the other shore," a time for people to visit their parents' homes for a good dinner, then light a stick of incense in memory of family members who have died (who have gone to the other shore). Last night my father-in-law visited his relatives and took my daughter with him, since she wanted to visit the grave of her grandfather's side of the family. My daughter has a reputation in our family for being very spiritual, and she caused a stir when she told everyone that she could see a flowing white figure standing near the Buddhist altar. Maybe she had reached out to the other shore?

For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. You can view all new J-List products by clicking this link (you will be able to choose to view all products including NSFW or PG products only).

DORAEMON Action Ball Point Pen
DORAEMON Action Ball Point Pen. In commemoration of Doraemon's new government posting, we've gotten in one of the coolest pens we've ever seen, which features Doraemon eating his favorite food, which is Dora-yaki (roughly, sweet beans between two pancakes).
Human Error Processor 1.5  Koukaku Kidoutai 1.5
Human Error Processor 1.5 ~ Koukaku Kidoutai 1.5. Here's a great item for fans of the Ghost in the Shell series by Shirow Masamune: a brand new manga + novel that tells the story of what happened in between the original movie and the S.A.C. series. Fabulous, and also great for students of Japanese!
Yuki Nagato Action Figure School Uniform ver.-- figma Series  Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi  *Preorder*
Yuki Nagato Action Figure School Uniform ver. This is a really nice figure of Yuki, the enigmatic character from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. She's really an android from space, and she can speak in SQL code. Now in stock!
Nintendo Figure with Sound -- Full Set *Set of 6*  Famicom Game Sound
Nintendo Figure with Sound — Full Set *Set of 6* ~ Famicom Game Sound. The toy that ushered in the recent boom in old-school Nintendo toys has been put back into production and is available again. This is a line of awesome dioramas of great moments in video game history, like Super Mario Bros. or the Legend of Zelda. Because you can move the elements around against the background, you can really deck them out in many interesting ways.
Panda-Z Plush Strap
Panda-Z Plush Strap. What happens when you bring together a giant panda robot and a young panda who sits inside his head, piloting the robot? Panda-Z, of course, a cute homage to Mazinger-Z (or Tranzor-Z if you must). This is a high quality plush keychain from Japan.
Cure vol. 51 Japanesque Rock and Visual Styling Magazine
Cure vol. 51 Japanesque Rock and Visual Styling Magazine. For fans of J-Rock with a side order of dead roses, we humbly present Cure, the really cool magazine dealing with "gothic visual rock." Awesome imagery on every page. This magazine is also available as a revolving subscription, too.
Glico Tsubu Tsubu Blueberry Pocky
Glico Tsubu Tsubu Blueberry Pocky. Got a new variety of Pocky for you today, Tsubu Tsubu (which means chunks of fruit inside) Blueberry, a great new taste for the 2008 season. Available by the shrinkwrapped case, too.
Morinaga Hi-Chew -- Mix Fruits
Other New Snacks. Also, see a delicious new flavor of Hi-Chew in Mixed Fruits flavor, followed by the potato snack Curl in new Sweet Chili flavor.
Nikyoro  Red Bean Shaped 2 tier Bento Box
Nikyoro ~ Red Bean Shaped 2 tier Bento Box. The niKyoro series of super-cute bento boxes continues, this time with a new red bean-shaped lunchbox with two sections, one for your rice and the other for the rest of your lunch. So cute, it could only have come from Japan!
Hello Kitty Single-use ONIGIRI Wrapping Sheet  16 pcs
Hello Kitty Single-use ONIGIRI Wrapping Sheet ~ 16 pcs. Onigiri (also called omusubi) are triangle-shaped rice balls that are delicious and fun to eat, the equivalent to a sandwich in Japan. We've gotten in some great Hello Kitty onigiri wrappers for bento enthusiasts. A rare treat from Sanrio.
My Neighbor Totoro -- Totoro No Sanpo  Makkuro Kurosuke
My Neighbor Totoro — Makkuro Kurosuke. (Soot Sprite). The Soot Sprites, little spirits that live in dusty old houses, are one of Hayao Miyazaki's most famous creations. The little guys appear in My Neighbor Totoro and (with legs) in Spirited Away. This is a great plush toy that shivers when you pull its string. So soft a fun to hold!
DX SAMURAI YOROI Set Display for Boy's Day ( 5505 )
DX Samurai Armor, Helmet for Boy's Day. March 3 is Girl's Day, when parents will proudly display hina-ningyo dolls in celebration of their daughters, and for parents with boy children, May 5 is a special day too. Display these cool armor and helmet sets, which include gold backing boards, too.
Mini KOINOBORI / Rising Carp Set
Mini KOINOBORI / Rising Carp Set . Another staple of the Boy's Day celebration on May 5 are the "koi-nobori" or flying carp kites, which fly from most every house that wants to show pride in its sons, We're posting a great miniature carp kite to the site now.
Japanese Soup Bowl -- Pear Skin  Black
Various Kitchen and Bento Items. Today we're restocking some good items for your kitchen, including our best-selling Miso Soup Bowl with a nice image printed on the side, and some classic chopsticks with images of plum flowers (second only to sakura as Japan's favorite flower for viewing).
Kokeshi -- Spring Color  Haru
Kokeshi — Spring Color ~ Haru. I just love the traditional wooden dolls, called kokeshi ningyo, and am glad we're able to carry them on J-List. Just in time for Spring, we've restocked our popular Spring Kokeshi!
Katana DX Keychain  Japanese Sword
Restocked Samurai Sword Keychains, Other Items. Got lots of back-in-stock items today, including the Katana DX Keychain (because everyone needs a little samurai sword), our Pink Mini Omamori Good Luck Charm for bringing love your way, our popular Natural Hemp Body Towel, and more.
Nihongo Journal Feb 2007
Nihongo Journal Feb 2007. Nihongo Journal is a monthly magazine that gives students of the language a great opportunity to challenge themselves in new ways. I've used the magazine successfully in the past and recommend it. Comes with the listening CD, right inside the magazine!
Hello Kitty Desktop Cleaner -- Pearly Pink
Hello Kitty Desktop Cleaner — Pearly Pink. One of our favorite Sanrio items is the battery-operated Desktop Cleaner, a miniature vacuum cleaner for your desk that sucks up dust and dirt. Plus, it's kawaii!
Japan Underground 3
Restocked Tokyo Underground photobooks. For fans of really bizarre views of Tokyo as you've never seen it, we've restocked Japan Underground vol. 3, filled with gorgeous photographs of the most secret places under the city.
Shiryu Shoun 1/8 Figure Closing Eyes ver. by Alter  Dragon Destiny *Preorder*
Shiryu Shoun 1/8 Figure Closing Eyes ver. by Alter ~ Dragon Destiny *Preorder*. Japanese high school uniform, check. Samurai sword, check. Another winner from the Ikki Tousen (aka Dragon Destiny) universe, which retells an ancient Chinese historical tale remixed as warring high schools, with lots of fan service.
Ryomou Shimei 1/7 Figure China Dress No Underwear ver.  Dragon Destiny *Preorder*
Ryomou Shimei 1/7 Figure China Dress No Underwear ver. ~ Dragon Destiny *Preorder*. Or if you're more into girls with eyepatches, you can go for this lovely new Ryomou figure, with gorgeous styling featuring one of the series' most popular character in a China Dress. Lovely!
Re-ment Puchi Kawa Kitchen -- Cute Miniature Kitchen Full Set
Re-ment Puchi Kawa Kitchen — Cute Miniature Kitchen. The miniature toys of Re-Ment are popular all over the world, perfect for either displaying or using with all manner of dolls, since they're scaled to match the size of popular dolls like Barbie or Blythe. This new release bring tiny versions of fun things you can find in a Japanese kitchen. Back in stock!
KADO-KESHI Mini Strap. The Kado-Keshi is the most amazing eraser known to man, which manages to have 28 different corners for easy erasing. Now we've got a petite version that works as a phone strap, so you can carry it anywhere — on your keys, phone, backpack, Nintendo DS, or Wordtank.
Magic Calligraphy Practice Sheet
Magic Calligraphy Practice Sheet. Want to try your hand at Japanese brush writing, but don't want to waste a lot of money on ink? Here's a handy Calligraphy Practice Sheet that lets you write with water!
COPIC Comic Liner   Brush ( Fude ) Type
COPIC Brush Pen, Origami Paper. Serious artists know that COPIC is the premier maker of high quality paper and pens for serious artists, and their fude pen, which we're restocking today, is one of the best. Also, see more kimono origami paper that comes complete with instructions in English!
Calorie Mate -- Chocolate Flavor
Restocked J-Snacks. Finally, see some great restocked snacks today, including the Jack Bauer-approved Calorie Mate (Cheesecake and Chocolate), Xylish +F Green Tea Mint Gum, and two awesome flavors of Pocky for 2008.

For fans of our NSFW items from Japan, we've got many new and restocked products, too — click here to see all new products.

Remember that J-List has thousands of fun and useful traditional products from Japan that you can't find anywhere else. Whether you're looking to make beautiful bento boxed lunches, try your hand at brush writing calligraphy, or want to walk a mile in shoes that samurai or ninja used to wear, we've got lots of cool items for your browsing pleasure. Why not browse our selection of great items from Japan now?



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About mikeymikez

Interested in music, film, good books and Korean culture.
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