One of the gems of the current anime season is Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, a slice-of-life story from Kyoani about a Japanese woman who ends up living with a dragon maid (a dragon who can transform her body into human form) named Tohru. The star of the show is Kanna, a young (in dragon years) girl who also comes to live with Miss Kobayashi, then starts going to school. Watching the latest episode made me nostalgic for when my kids were small. Instead of using a polite name suffix like -san, Kanna calls the main character by her family name only (“Kobayashi”), which would be very rough-sounding and rude if it weren’t coming from such a cute character. My son did this when he was a child, addressing J-List’s manager Fujita Tomo like I do, just “Fujita,” which made him sound like the youngest boss in history. There was another time English names caused confusion, when my daughter (3 or 4 at the time) came to the U.S. with me and some J-List staff for a convention. She pulled me aside to ask why Americans always use the first (given) name (e.g. “Tomo”) with Japanese people even though they’d just met, which you only do in Japan with people you’re very close to. I told her what’s what we do in English.
I sometimes wonder what it must be like for the Japanese staff of J-List to work at a company like ours, with a gaijin boss who doesn’t follow all the odd little social rules that Japanese have to follow. When new Japanese employees start working with customers or on social media, they’re often nervous about making mistakes in English, but they quickly relax when they realize that J-List has customers from all over the world, many from places with less-than-perfect English, too. I spend a lot of time training new employees, such as our Sailor Moon/bento/toy buyer, on what kinds of products our customers will want to buy. Some areas of fandom — Hyperdimension Neptunia, Totoro and Ghibli, Japanese Kit Kats — are popular with our customers, while some other categories, such as the Snoopy/Peanuts products that are sold here, sadly don’t have much of a following from outside Japan. Since we love selling both bento boxes and Star Wars merchandise from Japan, we decided to stock the new Star Wars Bento that was coming out this spring, for a limited time. Order them quickly if you want them!
J-List loves all forms of geek culture related to Japan, and when we saw the new Star Wars bento boxes that were coming out, we knew we had to get them on the site. See all the great Star Wars bento boxes we posted, and order the one(s) you want, before they’re gone like Alderaan!