Trains are a bigger part in the daily lives of Japanese than most Americans, and part of riding trains is checking out the interesting print advertising inside them. Every once in a while, a company will reserve every solitary advertising spot in a train, to attain total saturation of its message. Once Apple did this, and I was surprised to find myself riding a train car filled with "Think Different" ads. Most recently, NTT's Tu-ka portable phone service rented all the advertising spots on a train in central Tokyo to plug their "EZ-Web" service -- one of the many competing new proprietary "Internet by cell-phone" services that keep springing up in Japan. Each poster featured the recent #1 singer and "CM Queen" (as well as the face of Lycos in Japan) Hamasaki Ayumi -- Japan's "new" Amuro Namie.
In addition to heavy competition in the cellular phone industry here, competition is increasing among Japan's 3000 large and small Internet Service Providers, as each tries to add new features to attract people to the Internet. @Nifty pushes their service and lack of down-time, as well as features like fortune-telling right on their site, while NEC's Big Globe supports homepages viewable by portable phones. Sony's ISP, So-Net, allows you to interface the web with a virtual 3D "Postpet" front-end, while AOL Japan struggles to gain market share (with only 43 access points in all of Japan, it's no wonder they haven't done better).
We've got some really nice new items for you this evening, including:
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