This Sunday is Valentine’s Day, which in Japan means there’ll be millions of men hoping to receive chocolate from girlfriends, wives, daughters, and the other women in their lives. Valentine’s Day got its start in Japan in Showa 11 (1936), when a chocolate shop in Kobe promoted its wares as being perfect for lovers to enjoy together. World War II soon got in the way, and it wasn’t until well after the war that people could think about anything as frivolous as chocolate. In 1958, the manager of the Isetan department store in Shinjuku got the idea of having a Western-style Valentine’s Day chocolate sale, but it was a total flop — they sold just five boxes. Attempts to raise awareness of the day continued with poor results, but in the 1970s, chocolate maker Morinaga hit on the idea to promote Valentine’s Day as a day for girls to give chocolate to boys to express love, and the rest is history. Sadly Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, which is a disaster for the chocolate industry, since the bulk of chocolate is given out at school and work settings and Sunday is a holiday. Whether you’ve got someone to exchange chocolate with or will be opting for more solitary activities, J-List can help with our awesome products from Japan.

One of the joys of living in Japan are the Japanese themselves, who are hardworking, honest and fun to interact with. Still, they can do confusing things at times. Bowing to the person on the other end of a phone conversation. Thinking that squid, corn and mayonnaise are appropriate things to put on a pizza. Making really bizarre flavors of Kit Kat or Pepsi. Despite having excellent manners, they go out of their way to slurp noodles as loudly as possible while eating, and ask you what’s wrong if you eat your noodles quietly. Both my wife and one ex-girlfriend have had a serious fixation with plucking my body hairs out with tweezers, which I have yet to figure out. Then there’s kancho, a word which usually means “enema” but in Japanese popular culture refers to the childish prank of surprising someone by jamming both forefingers into their butt as hard as you can. It’s a staple joke in anime, but unlike the “cure a cold by jamming a spring onion into a certain place” gag you see occasionally in anime, Japanese elementary school kids actually do this to unwary teachers.

Today’s a special day at J-List: we have a ton of limited Hatsune Miku products from the Sapporo Snow Festival, with gorgeous keychains, acryllic figures, coffee cups, tasty treats and more that Vocaloid fans will enjoy. Browse the new items now, though, as they won’t stay in stock for long!