Fire Baths and Villains 五右衛門風呂

Makoto has been enjoying watching
となりのトトロ tonari no totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)
over and over again.* It is a famous anime that you can buy in the States on DVD through Disney. It is set in rural Japan some time in the fifties or sixties.

Yumi mentioned the atmosphere of the movie reminds her of her childhood. For example, the scene at the train station feels like it is the big city while home is utterly in the country with no easy way of getting around.

The thing that shocked me was she also mentioned, like in the movie, they used to take weekly baths heated by fire. She swears they had electricity and running water, but, still, they had a bath heated by fire.

Which leads to an interesting vocabulary word.

goemon buro
a bath heated directly on a fire

I can’t say this is very useful in the 21st century, but the term for a bath heated by fire is named after a thief (Ishikawa Goemon) whose punishment was to be boiled to death in such a bath. Pleasant isn’t it?

“Mommy must I take a Goemonburo?”
“Yes, dear.”

“Ok. I’ll get in. By they way, why do they call it ‘Goemonburo’?”
“Oh, that’s because a villain named Goemon was boiled to death in a furo just like the one you are in.”


* and over and over and over again.


I haven’t had much blogging time less because of the baby but more because of our updating (the baby sleeps a lot!)

At the beginning of this year, we moved the site to a new server and did major upgrades. However, many things went wrong and the upgrades turned out to be very haphazard at best. The cause of most problems was my lack of understanding Drupal, the CMS the site currently uses. After almost a year, my knowledge of how Drupal works is good enough to begin an upgrade to the newest version.

So we (the admins) decided to start literally over. We have built the site from ground up; every article has been or will be moved and polished individually. As soon as the forum is integrated and moved, we will turn the proverbial switch and that will become the new–and very much improved–TJP.

I can’t express how much nicer the new site will be. I’ve been so disappointed at how the current site was thrown together. The new version will be organized much better. Updates to come–and I’m back to work!

We will go to the hospital today for the first weighing and checkup. Will update that too!

A Very Nice Comment from a Very Nice Customer

From time to time we get really nice emails from customers. Here is one about our $5 instant downloads for Beginners:

Thanks Clay and Yumi. These $5 downloads are by far, the best help a beginner can get! And for the price I got way more than expected. This is something I was looking for a long time ago: some easy level reading were I can practice my kanas (and some easy kanji), and at the same time entertain myself and not feel as I am all the time studying. And now finally found it!! and with audio!!! Thanks you for devoting your time and efforts to help people with Japanese language learning (specially in the Japanese page!). You guys rock!! And congratulations for the arrival of little cute Megumi!! Arigatou gozaimasu!


I am more than satisfied with the purchase and I wish every beginner could see the great product this download is! Finally something that is not boring to read (I am kind of bored of the same silly beginners conversations in text books “hi, what time is it? oh, it is very late! My name is Michelle, nice meeting you”).

Thanks!  After things slow down (things=Megumi) a bit, we’ll start work on the next beginner reader. We are always on the lookout for good beginner level stories. If you know of any, please let us know. Of course Japanese fairy tales are always great, but they can seem a bit childish–some however are far from childish.

If you haven’t checked out our $5 instant downloads, we have a little (right now, very little) for almost everyone.  This blog has most of them through PayPal here.  Or check out all of them at our store here.

Frank Sinatra Sale or… Mistake?

I found a GREAT deal at iTunes. I’m not a big fan of iTunes: it seems buggy at times, it is VERY sluggish, and Apple requires it for the iPhone (I don’t like being limited like that even though I understand why)

But if you are a Sinatra fan (who isn’t?), you can’t pass up this opportunity: 97 great hits for only $9.99! I don’t know if this is a mistake on iTunes’ part or if it is just a great deal, but Amazon has it for almost $30!

The Best of the Columbia Years 1943-1952
Frank Sinatra

Including great songs like: Saturday Night (is the Loneliest Night of the Week); Ol’ Man River; Embraceable You; Someoe to Watch over Me; Nancy; Guess I’ll Hang my Tears out to Dry; and… well, you get the picture.

Megumi Update: She is Sleeping

Megumi Update: She is still sleeping.

Megumi (and mother) are doing well. We will go to the hospital in a few minutes, but this is from yesterday.

She seemed very contemplative with her hands (before this photo) in a ‘thinker’ pose. Perhaps she has solved life’s greatest mysteries (e.g. How can vending machines in the middle of a rice paddy in Japan receive electricity, etc.). It is a shame she won’t remember these contemplative moments. But at least we captured the moment on film–well digital film anyway.