I’m enjoying a brief vacation, the annual trip to Las Vegas I take with Mrs. J-List, where we spend hours relaxing by the pool and doing as little as possible. We like coming to Vegas because it’s a fun city with lots of interesting things to do, but also because it’s as different from our life in Japan as you can get. J-List is located in the semi-rural city of Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture (pop. 200,000), a nice place to raise kids, go for a drive or run an Internet-based business, but to be honest there aren’t many exciting things to do, so we love our time here. Going to a new place always involves culture shock, and Vegas is no different. My wife and I are both surprised by everything from the sizes of portions in restaurants to the funny look we get when we ask for “iced milk tea” to the pervasiveness of smoking all around us, which makes us feel like we’ve traveled to Europe rather than just driving across the Nevada State line from California. What culture shock have you experienced, when visiting a new place? Tell us on Twitter!
When you learn a foreign language, you get used to words on one side not matching up perfectly with words on the other side. Take the word “heart,” which has several translations in Japanese. One is 心 kokoro, a word that encompasses the philosophical elements of the heart, mind and soul. (In the Matrix film, kokoro is the word Morpheus uses to describe the “minds still wired to the system.”) Other words for “heart” include 心臓 shinzou, the physical organ beating in your chest and ハート haato, which describes the unique heart shape, the suit in playing cards, and the romantic aspects of the human heart. Learning foreign languages is fun because it makes you reflect on how your own language is structured.
J-List customers love our J-List Box monthly boxes, which give you awesome Japanese snacks, seasonal toys and cool “ecchi” products. We’ve posted the new 18+ J-List Box boxes, which are always among our most popular, so browse it for all the great limited items you can get.