I hope everyone is enjoying Friday, and getting ready to have a great weekend. I decided to do a special post today, another “Ask J-List anything” post, with your random Japan questions. Here we go with Japan questions from our readers…
Why do Japanese remove their shoes before entering a house?
It’s a custom that’s been around for centuries. All homes, and some businesses (including J-List) have a low area in the foyer called the genkan, where shoes are left. This area is actually considered “outside” the house, and it’s not uncommon for neighbors to walk through your door, stop at the lowered shoe area and ask if anyone is home. A major benefit of leaving dirty shoes at the door is a much cleaner house.
Do Japanese people think feet are as disgusting?
I’ve been known to post a foot-related piece of art or two to Twitter, so I know there are artists who obsess over feet. Culturally, anything related to feet are viewed as “dirty” in Japan. My wife will get on my case for putting freshly laundered socks on the dining room table. If I were to wash dirty shoes in the washing machine…I’d be buying my wife a new one.
Americans drink a lot of soda. Do the Japanese also drink tons, or is it all tea all the time?
Unsweetened Japanese and Asian teas are much more common in Japan, and in any convenience store you’ll see 30+ varieties of bottled tea. Mugi cha (barley tea) is extremely popular in the summer. One popular soft drink is Melon Soda.
What is the Japanese craft beer scene like?
J-List is based in Gunma, the equivalent of living in Fresno or Bakersfield, California, so there’s not much interesting stuff here. I’ve had some good brews in Tokyo and Kyoto though.
Do Japanese schools teach much about the European front of WWII?
Tomo, J-List’s DVD and H-toy buyer, says, “Being Japanese, my education focused on Japanese history mostly. So I have a lot of knowledge of internal events in Japan through the years, but less knowledge of world history in Europe, which is far from Japan. I have a lot more knowledge of the Pacific side of WWII than Europe.”
Do Japanese women want to marry foreigners?
While most of the 6% of marriages in Japan are between Japanese men and women from surrounding Asian countries, many females are potentially interested in international marriage. Remember that everyone is different and that your mileage may vary.
I see condoms discussed in hentai, but no one seems to know about other forms of contraception. Don’t they have the Pill in Japan?
The Pill was pretty much impossible to get here for 30 years, in part for cultural reasons (the Japanese dislike taking medicines that aren’t really necessary), but also due to it not being fully legalized. When Viagra was approved for sale in Japan in record time, lawmakers sheepishly realized they needed to legalize the Pill too.
Are there things in anime that Japanese would would recognize but we Westerners would not?
Definitely. I love the scene in K-On! when Mugi, overjoyed at being a new club to be a part of, adds her french fries into a group pile for the other two girls to eat from. This kind of “managing your relationship with in group through humility” is a very Japanese thing to do.
Are guns illegal in Japan?
Guns are regulated by the awesomely-named Firearm and Sword Possession Control Law, but they’re not totally illegal. I have a Japanese friend who has a Remington rifle collection, and another friend (American) got his hunting license after passing various background checks, because there are bears in his corner of Japan.
What made you want to start up J-List?
The year was 1995, a year after Netscape’s IPO, which was a huge event at the time. I hit on the idea of licensing 18+ games for sale in English, and started J-List as a side business to “tide us over” for a few months until the games business took off. The side business turned to be the bigger success, thanks to everyone reading this.
Top five anime?
Hmm, Macross, Zeta Gundam, Nausicaa, Toradora, and Madoka?
What is the capitol of South Dakota?
Pierre, founded in 1880. Population 13,646.
Are traps gay?
We carry so many products from Japan, it’s hard to pick a favorite category, but we sure love the amazing artbooks from top illustrators that have been coming out lately, from Nympho Sensei Ryoko creator Kiriyama Taichi to the official Majikoi illustration book.