Friday, November 10, 2000

Greetings from J-List November 10, 2000

Happy Friday from Japan, where soy sauce really does taste better on eggs.

One of the realities of raising children in Japan is that you'll be called upon to go see special performances of whatever TV show has captured the hearts of children here -- Time Ranger, Kamen Rider Kuga, Ultraman, what have you. The shows are held at parks or events such as festivals, and the pattern is always the same: the "main" monster shows up to terrorize the children gathered around to watch, after which the heros (whoever they are for that show) show up and temporarily defeat the bad guys. The villains come out again, and spend about 30 minutes talking with kids and playing some games with them (three-kids-vs-one-monster sumo wrestling is the most common). The villain suddenly reveals his plans to kill or enslave everyone in the audience, after which time the heros (Ultraman Gaia, Dyna, whoever) will show up again

There's a really useful phrase in Japanese that can be used in a variety of situations: "okage-sama de" (oh-KA-gey-sama-deh, with a hard 'g' on 'gey') which literally means "thanks to you." For some reason, the Japanese often respond to compliments by turning the thanks on the person doing the complimenting. For example, if someone were to compliment me on my being able to write a certain kanji character, I could say "Okage-sama de" to them -- "Yes, thanks to you." This seems to imply that I'm thanking that person for teaching me the kanji, even if I'd never met the person before, but that's the way the phrase is used. If you want to have fun with Japanese people, pull the phrase out suddenly and watch how they react.

For this weekend's update, we've got some extra special items, including:

  • For classic anime fans, we've got limited copies of the Aura Battler Dunbine Nostalgia book, which is a must-have for collectors -- see it on the Anime art book page
  • We've updated our Japanese snacks page with a fun new item, Hi-Chew Kids, a delicious soft "chewing candy" that comes in three flavors: cola, creme soda and banana shake
  • We have additional copies of some of our popular calendars in stock, all ready to be shipped immediately
  • We've updated our "Wacky things from Japan" page with fresh stock of several items, including Socks Glue, our authentic Japanese cooking chopsticks, Hello Kitty mayonnaise holders, Japanese calligraphy tools, our authentic Japanese abacus, and more.

Thanks for checking out our updates. We hope you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 08, 2000

Greetings from J-List November 8, 2000

Hello from Japan, on this windy Wednesday evening.

Well the U.S. elections are over. They were closely watched from Japan, with an American-style "election watch" board showing which states went to which candidate, and news and commentary from different corespondents -- it was just like a slice of home, except that everything was in Japanese. Just as I have trouble understanding the Japanese system of elections -- somehow they're allowed to dissolve the legislative body and call elections on a moment's notice -- the U.S. system of electors and "winner take all" can be confusing to Japanese. I was able to vote this year, too, thanks to the absentee ballot system.

Although Japan adapted many parts of European society and government to itself during the Meiji Restoration and beyond, losing World War II and the subsequent occupation by U.S. forces left its mark on the Japanese's psyche, making the U.S. forever "cool" in the eyes of Japanese. While his is good for Harley Davidson's overseas sales division, I sometimes find myself groaning when Japan copies the U.S. yet again in some silly way or another. In addition to American-style election new reporting, the Japanese have just completed their regular nationwide census -- timed, it would seem, perfectly with the U.S. census. There's a Japanese version of the Oscar Awards, a near-perfect copy of the U.S. awards show, where Japanese actors and directors win awards and congratulate themselves -- of course, there aren't that many movies made here each year

For this evening's update, we've got a bunch of great new items, including, but not limited to:

  • First, the newest issues of Penthouse Japan and Penthouse Special are in, and they are filled with lovely Japanese ladies for your enjoyment
  • We've got several all-new photobooks in stock, including both nude and swimsuit/sexy idol photobooks -- please check them out
  • Also for photobook collectors, more of the excellent Kanazawa Bunko 4th Photobook
  • As a follow-up to our popular manga posting on Monday, we've got several all-new volumes, including a great new erotic manga by Chataro, as well as fresh stock of some of our popular manga works
  • For DVD customers, a great new way to look at Kanazawa Bunko and Suzuki Minami -- as blondes! With outrageous wigs and hair tints, two new DVDs show fascinating new faces to these popular and lovely AV gals.
  • If you've ever loved Enka, the wispy, dreamy music style that corresponds with country music in the U.S., check out the enka albums we've got on the Anime & JPOP Magazines page
  • On our Anime Toys page, some cool items for Hello Kitty and Kamen Rider (Masked Rider)
  • We've got fresh stock of our of our most popular "wacky" items -- authentic loose socks from Japan!
  • Also on our Wacky Things page, several cool new items, including new origami paper (made of real Japanese "washi" paper), a scoop for your rice, and more!

If you loved the Japanese animation show Space Cruiser Yamato (aka Star Blazers, as it was known in English), check out http://www.starblazers.com, a pretty cool site where you can buy lots of Star Blazers stuff, and even watch episodes through the Internet.

Monday, November 06, 2000

Greetings from J-List November 6, 2000

Happy Monday, from Japan!

To an expat like me, living far from my home, the Internet is a wonderful thing. I can browse Amazon.com for books and DVDs, and get them sent to me from our house in San Diego. The situation's 180 degrees different from when I came to Japan, in 1992, when we'd take the train into Tokyo just to find Doritos -- I wouldn't have it any other way.

Amazon.com has discovered Japan, now, and has opened Amazon.co.jp, which will sell books and other products inside Japan. Jeff Bezos appeared on News Station 23, a leading evening news show, to discuss his company's plans for his new operation. There are some core problems with their business plan, however. For one thing, in Japan, books and CDs may not be sold at discounts, but only at their full list price

American companies like Amazon.com, Toys R Us and Costco represent a good chance for American brands to enter the Japanese marketplace. Battery maker Duracell is virtually unknown in Japan, but if you go to Toys R Us, all they carry are Duracell batteries, allowing Duracell to piggyback their product onto the Toys R Us retail model and gain share here. Through these beachheads in the Japanese marketplace, many American companies hope to increase their business success in Japan.

For this evening's update, we have a very special selection of new items for you, including:

  • First, new magazines, with new issues of the excellent Dela Beppin and Gokuh, two of our most popular items each month
  • Also for fans of Japanese adult magazines, a treat -- some extremely rare backissues of Urecco and other popular items, with issues going back to 1995 -- see the Magazines (backissues) page for these items
  • Also back on the list, some back issues of Gal's Dee, featuring the wonderful Kusanagi Jun (see magazines page 2)
  • For photobooks fans, we've got some excellent new items, including the new Wonderful, and the super playful nude photobook of Misusawa Nana, as well as fresh stock of Morishita Kurumi's "Tennyo" and more
  • For our erotic manga fans, we've got a major update on both the new releases and classics pages, with dozens of new and limited stock items, many of which won't be available again once they're sold
  • We've got in-stock issues of several anime and trendy magazines on the Anime & JPOP magazines page, including new copies of the newest Goods Press, featuring everything that's trendy in Japan right now
  • For our SOD video fans, we've got three new videos in the popular "stark nakedness sports series, featuring lovely Japanese women in a variety of all-nude sports activities -- see them on the SOD main page
  • We've got some other excellent videos on the New releases page, including Sexual Life of Wives and Yanagi Haruka's Bitch of Bitches"
  • On our Anime Toys page, some more cool anime straps that you can use with your phone, keys, beeper or camera: a highly cool Macross Valkyrie robot strap, and the excellent Giant Robo anime version (both posable!)
  • Also for anime fans, the really cool die-cast metal model of the Yamato from Mimco
  • On the Stickers & Headbands page, new wacky Japanese stickers and signs, including our popular wooden signs, as well as a deluxe "No shoes allowed" signplate
  • Finally, new items on our Wacky Things from Japan page -- Japanese shiatsu inserts for your shoes that give you a wonderful massage while you walk or stand; and a fun "Hello Kitty name card play set" that could only come from Japan

Remember that J-List has "reserve subscription" magazine available each month, allowing you to automatically receive your favorite anime, JPOP, hentai and other magazines as they come in Japanese newsstands (actually, about 2 weeks before they appear in newsstands). You can cancel your revolving subscription at any time. Please see our magazine subscriptions pages for more information.