If you follow my posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you know I’ve been “yuri shipping” — that is, constructing imaginary romantic relationships between fictional female characters where none necessarily exist — since long before Kantai Collection showed up to make it into a pun. For better or worse, one aspect of modern fandom involves creating complex imaginary relationships between the characters they feel a connection with, obsessing about whether love will blossom between Rin and Koh in the New Game! anime, or whether Aoba’s confession of admiration to Koh will lead to them pairing up instead. Through the magic of shipping, there’s no limit on which characters can find love together, even a Vocaloid and a Transformer. As an anime blogger and retailer I actually try to “measure” the popularity of each segment of fandom based on how much fanart and ship-related posts exist, which allows me to quantify how much more popular Re:Zero is with fandom than, say, the Orange anime, which was excellent though sadly not embraced by fans on a large scale, at least judging from the number of fanart pictures on Pixiv.

One of the main benefits of being an expat living outside the U.S. is the relative peace and calm I can enjoy during Presidential elections. Since I’m often asked how hard is it to live and work in Japan, I thought I’d write about this subject today. The good news is that it’s not especially difficult to work in Japan, though most categories of work visa require a 4 year degree, so you should get that first if you haven’t. A decade ago I’d have said that most jobs available to foreigners will tend to be limited to English teaching, translating and editing, but this appears to be changing. As Japan’s population falls, causing a shortage of workers, there are more opportunities for gaikokujin doing more kinds of work than ever before — I even met a guy from the U.K. who was building houses. Also, Japan needs workers with up-to-date technical skills desperately, so if you have these skills or can get them, you might find some doors opening. If you seriously want to explore the idea of coming to Japan, J-List has Japanese study products in stock, plus a Handbook for Foreigners Living in Japan. Good luck!

We’ve been carrying wonderful products from Japan for nearly 20 years, and right from the start we always had Totoro, that wise protective God of the forest. We’ve got a special selection of Totoro products on the site today, including new plush toys and an awesome Totoro bag!