Saturday, March 27, 2004

Ever since I first placed an order with Income Rapers, I've been getting their newsletter. I remember before actually reading one of these newsletters, Wynette described them to me, but you just can't know the full effect until you read one for yourself. The newsletter has the typical format of the first part being some random tidbit about Japan or life in Japan, with the second part being an update on products in stock at J-List. It's wholly bizarre as sometimes the guy who heads up J-List will talk about something like his young daughter in Japanese Girl Scouts in the first half, then going off about bukkake and all sorts of wonderful hardcore pornography in the second half. It's just fucked up. But whaddya want from Japan, even if it's coming from a gai-jin living there.

Here's one of those random tidbits that I thought was kind of interesting and for some reason was compelled to share, and sorry but it has nothing to do with porn (for a change around here):

Studying the names of Japanese companies can be interesting. For example, I'll bet you never knew that Kyocera is short for "Kyoto Ceramics." The number one car company in Japan is Toyota, which is located in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture (near Nagoya) -- but the company came first, and the city changed its name to Toyota City in 1959 "to reflect its bright prospects to develop and prosper as an automobile city." The number two Japanese car company is Honda, founded by Soichiro Honda to make motorcycles after the end of World War II. Mazda, which is more than half owned by Ford now, is really called Matsuda in Japan, but they came up with the name Mazda so they could sound less Japanese in foreign markets. Datsun's name has an interesting story -- DAT were the first letters of the names of three founders, and they considered the company they were founding to be their son, thus DATSON. However, "son" (with a long vowel, so that it rhymes with bone), means "loss" or "disadvantage" in Japanese, so they changed it to "sun," a much more cheerful word. Datsun was later bought out by one of its distributors, Nissan (which means "Made in Japan" -- if you said "America-san" it would be "made in America"). Subaru, based near J-List, is the Japanese name for the star cluster we called the Pleiades. Some popular beer companies are Asahi ("morning sun"), Kirin (named after a magical Chinese dragon), and Suntory (the president's name as Tori-san, so he reversed it to come up with the name of his company). Other interesting names are Daihatsu ("Osaka Engineering Tools"), Pocky manufacturer Glico (which gets its name from the word "glycogen"), and Bridgestone (named after its founder, Mr. Ishibashi, which means "stone bridge").

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