Saturday, April 15, 2000

Greetings from J-List April 15, 2000

Greetings from Japan, home of the original canned coffee (UCC Coffee, first canned in 1969).

Recently, the famous landmark Studio Alta, a department store in the heart of Shinjuku and the most famous "building TV" in Japan, was sold. Mitsukoshi Department Stores, who had operated the property in the red for years, got $200 million for it, which is lot for a single building, but not all that much when you consider that, during the bubble period, the value of all the land in Tokyo exceeded the value of the entire United States. I still remember with fondness then first time I trekked into Shinjuku

This year is my wife's turn to be one of the official mother representatives at our kids' preschool. Each year, two mothers from each class are, ah, pressed into service to help out with the various events (the two parent/child sports events, the annual year-end show, and so on). Being busy with J-List, my wife didn't want to take volunteer, but it's one of those Japanese "in-group" thinks -- membership in a certain social group brings with it certain responsibilities which must be met to avoid disturbing the balance of the entire group. The driving force behind this is "hito no me" (lit. "the eyes of others"): sure, she would never be forced into volunteering for the extra responsibility, but the fear of the constant gaze of the other mothers made her give in. The concept of "hito no me" and being concerned with how you appear in the eyes of others is one of the major engines driving Japanese social interaction.

We've got a bang-up update for you this weekend. New items include:

  • Great new magazines, including the new Urecco and Gal's Dee issues (both lovely)
  • Some nice one-shot items on the photobooks page, including old issues of Nowon
  • Speed's excellent "Legend of Speed" photobook (with special "memorial card" so you can be a card-carrying Speed fan)
  • More copies of hot photobooks that had sold out, including Sendo Emi's "Tomadoi, Yatsu Shinoby's Kyu Kyu Pin!" and Hitomi Ryo's excellent "Virginity"
  • For the many Miura Aika fans out there, we've got more copies of Last Song and her popular MPEG King issue
  • For our Japanese snack fans, we've added the entire line of Bulgaria Yogart soft-chews (in plain, strawberry, blueberry and "raichi" (that exotic fruit from Thailand -- er, what is this called in English?)
  • On the anime & toys page, a truly unique set of Star Wars items: small soft vinyl figures in the anime "super deformed" style, which speak different lines from the movie when you place them on your hand
  • Finally, we've got DVDs and more DVDs, including a wonderful "Cosplay Museum for the 21st century and a the complete "history DVD" of Hidaka Saya, as well as two wonderful idol items: the lovely Mitsuya Yoko's "Mai-go" DVD and "Super Nice Body's" featuring three of Japan's most famous idols

I've got another wedding to go to on Sunday, for a former student of mine. And another speech to give in Japanese! Well, wish me luck -- see you on the web.

Thursday, April 13, 2000

Greetings from J-List April 13, 2000

Hello again from Japan, that wacky place where "yes, that's so" always means "no."

Well, the Season of the Sakura has come to Japan -- all throughout the country, millions of cherry blossoms are exploding in wonderful shades of pink and white. What better excuse to take a few hours off work, break out the portable gas range and have chicken fajitas and yakiniku (Korean barbecue) under the falling sakura petals? This custom is called hanami in Japan, and we're big fans of it here at J-List. See our "sakura special report" at http://www.myjapan.net/peter/sakura2000.html . You can see all of us -- even Kaori drinking beer! -- as well as Jose, the newest addition to the J-List team.

One of the problems with living in a foreign country where English isn't spoken is maintaining one's native language. I don't actually forget English, of course, but there are the occasional difficult word that, when I go to access in my brain, I find isn't available. I mean, there isn't much use for words like gynalogical or irreplaceable when you live in Japan and talk with Japanese who have learned ESL (that's English as a second language, in English teacher-speak).

Tonight's update is a very good one indeed. We've got:

  • New magazines, and more magazines, including the excellent new Birei, Men's Master (great for Minori Aoi fans) and more
  • All-new photobooks, including the mysterious Nishio Etsuko's very artful and erotic photobook
    More copies of some of our most popular items, including Kanazawa Bunko's 4th Photobook, Wakana Sena's "Dahlia, Ozawa Madoka's Fairy Sketch, and Horiuchi Nana's popular book
  • Because we sold out in less than a day, we've got more stock of the love Crystal Card AV collectible cards
  • For our yaoi fans, two very nice yaoi anthology manga
  • Many great new special-order videos, including items by Aoi Minori's Loving Raw, Honjoh Sayuri's excellent Mejiri, Fujitani Shiori's comeback video, and a super compilation video featuring performances by *8* lovely gals, including the incredibly rare Ariga Miho (see special order videos page 1)
  • On our anime & toys page, we've got T-Dog 2000, a wonderful robotic toy dog that moves around your room, avoiding obstacles and walls, as well as fresh stock of the hard-to-find Princess Mononoke & Moro figure
  • Fresh JPOP CDs!

We're also happy to announce that we've gotten our first stock of the excellent and much-requested Star Wars Episode 1 on Laserdisc. The LD release of the film is an extremely high-quality one, in CLV with wonderful high-quality video and full THX sound. The movie is the wide edition, in English, with Japanese subtitles, and they're sealed in plastic bags for collectors. The run will likely be short for this product, so let us know quickly if you want us to get you one. (They're going for around $150 on eBay as I write this.) Each one comes with a special pack of Japanese postcards, too.

Tuesday, April 11, 2000

Greetings from J-List April 11, 2000

Greetings from Japan, where velcro goes by the name of "magic tape."

For some reason, there are several English phrases that have burned themselves into the consciousness of the Japanese. When Dr. Clarke left Sapporo, where he helped establish what would become Sapporo University, he said left the words "Boys, be ambitious, which has endured ever since (making him far more famous than he deserved to be). When idol singer Yamaguchi Momoe retired from singing, she sang a tear-filled song that contained the English words Thank you for your kindness, thank you for your tenderness." All Japanese seem to know these little snippets.

Well, Japan's child seat law kicked in April (one thing about Japan, everything starts in April). Long have foreigners living in Japan railed against Japan for not enacting such a law. It's a good thing, to be sure, but they've gotten a little overzealous -- rather than, say, California's limit of "4 years, or 40 pounds, all children under the age of six are required to ride in carseats at all times. It's a bit of an inconvenience for my son, who turned five and hasn't used his carseat in a year. But it's progress, anyway.

We're a day later than usual with today's update, so we're adding some extra good items, including:

  • Great new regular magazines, including the new Bejean, the Penthouse Japan Special that was waylaid by database elves during our last update, and a new item -- Sperma Pherome Musume (love those titles) -- see magazine page 1 for the new items
  • On magazine page 2, a special treat -- a slew of great one shot" older magazines, some featuring some very rare and hard-to-find AV actresses
  • On our high-end S&M photobook page, we've added several wonderful new "gouka-bon" photobooks, including the new Slave Mania and two different all-color photobooks for fans of beautiful "over 30" ladies
  • For our DVD fans, we've got four great new DVDs in the "Gallery" series posted, by Yoshino Sally, Shiraishi Kotoko, Komuro Yuri and the lovely Mita Yuho (which, we've all decided, is supposed to mean "I saw a UFO" in Japanese)
  • The new DVD & Video CD Soft Catalog, with nearly 2 hours of footage on two MPEG discs
    On the Video pages, the excellent Love Zamen 2 video from Deep's is posted (if you don't know what it is, don't see special order video page 1)
  • Finally, for fans of the CG idol Terai Yuki, some special puzzle items (and yes, they are covered by the "buy any 2 items, get 20% off" anime & puzzle sale we're having now).

We're glad to see the positive reaction to the excellent costumes we added to the site last weekend. Carrying Japanese sailor uniforms, race queen/campaign girl outfits and other items has been a long dream for all of us, and we're glad we were able to find such cool products to make available. We know that many of the items aren't cheap -- we chose Costume World Japan because of a good range of costume sizes coupled with durability, and because they wanted to see their products sell to cosplay fans outside of Japan -- but we're sure the high quality will win you over.