Another San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone, and our staff is all tired but happy after a great show. We shook hands with hundreds of fans, sold a huge number of Sailor Moon products, English visual novels and RPGs and ecchi toys. Thanks to everyone who came by our booth to say hi!
One question I’m asked sometimes is, how do Japanese feel about otaku? Originally a semi-formal way to say “you” or “your family” — my Japanese mother-in-law might say to our neighbor, お宅の子はよく勉強しますね otaku no ko wa yoku benkyo shimasu ne, meaning “your child sure seems to study a lot, doesn’t he?” — the word has come to describe someone who obsesses over various forms of pop culture. In the same way our perception of the word “nerd” (coined by none other than Dr. Seuss) has changed over the decades, especially as we wouldn’t have companies like Facebook or Google or J-List without us, the once somewhat negative view of otakus has changed quite a lot, with 77% of females replying that they’d be okay with dating males of the otaku persuasion. One word I like a lit is オタッカプル ota-couple, or a couple in which both partners are otakus, sharing their love of Gundam model buiding or cosplay or whatever together. I certainly saw a lot of those walking around together at San Diego Comic-Con, and it made me feel warm inside.
Everyone is familiar with Japanese sake (酒, pronounced SAH-kay, never “saki”). Sake has been made for millennia, from 6000 years ago in China and 2000 years in Japan, and is one of the world’s oldest fermented beverages. Sake is often served hot, called atsukan, and it tastes great heated with a camping stove while sitting under the cherry blossoms in the spring. As with wine in the West, sake has always been associated with religious ceremonies, and when we built our J-List office, a Shinto priest came out to purify the ground with sake and salt to ensure that we would have good luck in the future. If you’re interested in trying some sake, the staff of J-List recommend you consider Koshino Kanbai, Hakkaisan or Shira-Yuki, and always avoid the inferior (but often well marketed) brands Sho Chiku Bai, Ozeki and Gekkeikan.
While we’ve been having fun here in San Diego, the Japan staff of J-List has been busy updating the site with great new products, including new ero doujinshi prepared for the summer Comiket. Enjoy them all!