Saturday, December 04, 1999

Greetings from J-List December 4, 1999

Hello from Japan, where restaurant chain Coco's is known as "The California Restaurant."

Poor Kaori lost her wallet the other day, with her drivers' license and some money in. (Just like Kaori-chan, she was more upset by the loss of the wallet itself, which was her favorite character, Thunder Bunny.) Hopefully someone will find it and contact her. In Japan, I've had many instances of lost wallets being returned, with money in it in all cases, although when I stupidly left my favorite Zero Haliburton case on a train, I never saw it again. Once, when my wife managed to leave her purse with $800 in cash on top of her car as she drove away while in the U.S.

The economy is still limping along here in Japan. One segment that is in for a shake-up is education, especially the lower tier schools that historically provided a 2- or 4-year education for Japanese college-bound students who couldn't get into prestigious schools like Waseda or Keio University, and lower-quality preparatory schools (Yobiko). As the Japanese birth rate drops, there's literally a "famine" of students for these schools. In order to get enough students, higher-tier colleges will lower their academic standards, putting the pinch on "suberi-dome" ("stop the downward slide") schools which currently "catch" students who can't get into better schools. When anyone who wants to go to a four-year college can easily do so without studying, it will force changes in the Japanese perception of education as a social "equalizer" and the basis of the Japanese middle class. I wonder what will happen?

We've got some really cool new items on the J-List site tonight. First, there are some excellent new photobooks on the photobook pages, including a photobook of a Japanese pro-wrestling star, more copies of the popular "Dahlia" by Wakana Sena and Wet Heaven, and more. We've got a bunch of all-new adult manga the hentai manga page -- including two new parody dojinshi anthologies in the high-quality wide-manga format. The anime toys page has been updated again, and there are new calendars on the calendar page (more Glay, Kitty-chan, Speed and more). We've add another "reserve subscription" magazine for JPOP fans -- it's Zappi, a great monthly JPOP magazine that comes with a CD of music and messages from your favorite JPOP artists. Finally, we've scored more really nice puzzles for the card & puzzle page

Videos are selling well with the new December sale we've started. Remember that you can order videos from our special-order videos pages at the lower prices, too, so you can stock up with some cool Kawashima Azumi, Wakana Sena, or whoever your favorite happens to be...

Remember that J-List has a big stock of unique and fun candy and snacks from Japan, including a lot of cool Pokemon stuff, including the excellent Pokemon Choco (which comes with a Pokemon reflective card). Other cool snacks include Wata-pachi (cola-flavored cotton candy with pop rocks inside), Wata-gum (cola-flavored cotton candy that turns to gum in your mouth), Himo-Q (gummy string, I love it), Pocky, and more.

Well, I've got to get back and set up a Christmas tree. Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, December 02, 1999

Greetings from J-List December 2, 1999

Greetings from Japan, where "that's true" means "no" and people bow while talking on the phone (I do it too...).

Japan is watching the Microsoft monopoly case unfolding with interest, and rumblings are starting to be heard about Japan's own monopoly -- NTT. A massive, sprawling company, NTT supplies local telephone service to nearly all of Japan, and nearly all Internet traffic moves through undersea cables that it leases for as much as it likes. To get a telephone in Japan, you must buy an $800 bond from NTT, a system which provides nearly limitless free capital for the company. Finally, while the U.S. and Asia are investing in high speed cable modem and DSL technology, NTT is strongly pushing ISDN, despite the fact that ISDN clearly plays no part in the future of the Internet at this point in human history. (For our from-Japan Internet access

Continuing our before-Christmas theme, we've got some more really special items for you. First, the excellent soft-vinyl "Santa Girl" was reissued by Sub-Zero, so we've got some of those excellent items for you on the anime page. For the Pokemon-lovers in your family, we've got -- Pokemon cards! They're cool, they come in full packs, and they're in stock on the Cards & Puzzles page. To go with the cards, we've got official Pokemon card holders, and the complete guide to Japanese Pokemon cards in stock, as well. Fans of the excellent Microman/Micronauts toys will see some new items on the anime page

Moving along to other items, we've got some excellent new and back-in-stock magazines and photobooks, including Wet Heaven, Memories in Palau, and more. If you like the super beautiful model Inoue Harumi, check out her dynamite photobook, which is great. There's a great volley of special order adult videos on the Video Catalog pages (page 1 has newer items), including some great new offerings by Wakana Sena, Aoi Minori, and more. Finally

Announcing the J-List December Video Sale! To help you choose that very special Christmas gift this December (maybe yourself), we've lowered the price of every over-18 video on J-List, both in-stock and special-order videos! Enjoy the new lower prices!

J-List lost its internet access for 24 hours on Monday and Tuesday. This didn't affect our site at all, only ability reply to email and process orders. Everything's running fine now though. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Last weekend, Kaori and I attended two weddings, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. It was a real "shutter chance" (i.e., an opportunity to take some nice pictures), so I brought my little Sony digital camera along and documented both days. See my "two weddings, no funeral" special report, including pictures of Kaori's Miffy the Rabbit doll, pictures of many lovely Japanese girls all dressed up, and observations on how to write "Live long, and prosper" in kanji

Monday, November 29, 1999

Greetings from J-List November 29, 1999

Greetings from Japan, where a "pace maker" is the soccer player who sets the pace for the rest of his team.

Well, Chuyan and Hitomi managed to get to Madrid, Spain, safely. They checked their Iridium email receiver and found an offer of friendship from a Japanese teacher of flamenco dancing. They stayed with this lady for four days, working during the day cleaning a flamenco bar, as they prepared to move towards their goal. They're in the Middle East now, so if you can help them in anyway, please email them at DENPA80@iridium.co.jp .

You don't value the little things until they're broken. My wife has broken one of her toes by bumping it against a table, and now she's got her whole foot in a huge cast, and has to walk around with crutches, where stairs are much steeper than in the States (due to less land). Poor Chiharu.

Recently the Toshiba corporation was sued for millions of dollars because the possibility that data could be lost through a defect in notebook floppy drives. The decision was viewed as quite unfair from this side of the Pacific, almost as Japan-bashing, as no data was reported lost by any customer. Japan is a much more down-to-earth place, where law suits are about as common in everyday life as meteor strikes. Perhaps the fact that Japan has only 17, 000 lawyers compared with America's 880, 000 has something to do with it.

We've got some very nice items on the J-List site for you. First of all, we've added more great items that are suitable for anyone looking for that special Christmas gift. There are some very unique genuine "from Japan" Sailor Moon items on the anime page, in addition to other great items that kids would like. The card and puzzles page has been updated with even more very nice puzzles for that special someone on your Christmas list (yourself?), including a cool Amano World puzzle featuring Vampire Hunter "D" and more. There are new items on the unique Japanese Snacks page, including "Mogi Mogi Fruits, a selection of gummi fuits that come with their own gummi fruit tree. We've also stocked up on the popular Pokemon Choco snacks, which each come with their own cool reflective card, written in real Japanese! We've add another half dozen excellent adult wide" manga to manga page 2, including some really beautiful new items, like "Mercy's File." Yaoi fans should check out the new wide manga posted there, too. There are also new photobooks on the photobook pages, and a slew of new in-stock adult videos posted (including Silence Memory

We had some technical difficulties over the weekend, including the shopping cart entering the wrong items for a few hours. All the problems should be fixed now. If you ever have difficulties with the J-List site, please let us know immediately.

Sunday, November 28, 1999

Greetings from J-List November 28, 1999

Hello from Japan, land of wasabi, pickled eggplant and dried, shredded squid to go with your beer.

I remember, when I first came to Japan, I was amazed at the popularity of actress Aubrey Hepburn. An incredibly popular actress here, she stars in the movie that many Japanese girls claim as their all-time favorite, Roman Holiday. She's popular in Japan, I am told, because she was the first world actress to become famous despite having a slender (Japanese) body. Another person who is far more famous here than in the U.S. is Sydney Sheldon. A walk through tiny English section of any bookstore in Gunma is like a Sydney Sheldon special selection. (Incidentally, did you know that Sydney Sheldon is the creator of I Dream of Genie, that old TV show?)

In an effort to jump-start the economy, and also to commemorate the new century, Japan will be printing a 2000 yen bill next year. Currently, Japanese currency comes only in 1000, 5000 and 10, 000 yen denominations, making things quite simple. There used to be 100 and 500 yen paper money, but these have wisely been retired and turned into coins, something that I believe Americans should consider doing to the $1 soon -- paper money costs millions to print, but coins last for years. The new bill will cause some confusion

There are a lot of nice items in tonight's update. First of all, we've added a lot of cool items we consider to be great Christmas gifts. On the cards & puzzles page, for example, check out our beautiful only-available-from-Japan puzzles featuring cool Pokemon as well as beautiful traditional Japanese artwork puzzles. We've also got some smaller easy-to-display puzzles, and a great puzzle for Micronaut fans. On our anime & toys page, we've got cool Microman/Micronaut figures, a deluxe battle mech from Front Mission 3, and more. On the magazine front, there are several nice new additions, including the new Bejean

The calendars are selling well, as people pick up the extra calendars we ordered before the Year 2000 calendar pre-orders closed down. We've got plenty left, but the supply is limited, so please check out the in-stock calendar pages to see if there are any items you want. We can still get them to you by Christmas if you choose airmail as the shipping method. Among the great large-size Y2K calendar we have in are Anzai Hiroko, the lovely Matsuda Jun, the great pop groups Speed, Max and Every Little Thing, hot race queen Suzuki Fumika, only-from-Japan Pokemon and Evangelion calendars, the lovely Kusanagi Jun

Remember that our buy-4-get-1-free sale on dojinshi will end soon. This is a great chance to get some nice dojinshi for up to 20% off, and help us make room for more stock of cool dojinshi. Yoroshiku!

If you've got kids who like those fine wooden Brio trains, please check out Spruce Goose, a nice company that sells Brio-compatible track and trains at very reasonable prices. The URL is Plug https://www.addr.com/~spruceca/cgi-bin/ordpage.cgi?uwrhrfrst .