Saturday, January 20, 2001

Greetings from J-List October 20, 2001

Hello again on this fine Saturday morning in Japan!

Japanese marrying foreigners is at an all-time high, up nearly double from 10 years ago. In 2000, 31,900 international marriages took place, with about 22,000 Japanese men marrying foreign women (mostly from China, South Korea and the Phillippines), and the rest were Japanese women who married men from other countries, mostly America and South Korea. International marriage is very beneficial to Japan, and it helps society move forward in many imporant areas while providing diversity for Japan, which would otherwise be a very closed place.

On the other hand, many of Japan's institutions are very inflexible when it comes to dealing with non-Japanese, which causes frustration. One such system is the Family Register (koseki tohon), basically an official list of which people live in which households, that is maintained by every City Office around the country. If your daughter gets married and goes off to live with her husband's family (called "yome ni iku" or "going off to be a bride"), she is removed from your family's register and added to her husband's. Foreigners, however, don't "fit" into this system, and are never added to the family register (unless they take Japanese citizenship). As a result, it looks to the city we live in that my wife is a single mother with two kids, since I don't "exist" in the eyes of family registry system. (They've sent social workers around to our house a few times to see how this poor "single mother" was getting along.) Recently, the Japanese government has allowed foreigners to be listed in the "comments" section of the register to avoid this confusion.

When Japanese think of foreigners, they think of overly tall, blonde Americans with huge feet, trying to find their way to the right subway line. In actuality, the vast majority of foreigners living in Japan are not Westerners, but are from South Korea, North Korea, Brazil, Peru and China. Officially, 1% of Japan's population are foreigners living here, although that number doesn't take into account people who are here illegally, so the number is probably higher. The largest group, the Koreans, are very interesting because many of them were born and raised right here in Japan, and often don't even speak Korean unless they attended one of the Korean-only private schools that pepper thee country. To an American like me, this is quite confusing, as all children born in the U.S. get to be Americans without any problems, and this works for pretty much everyone. But the relationship of Korea and Japan is a very complex one, and more or less by mutual agreement of both sides, Koreans live for generations inside Japan, living and working but never allowing themselves to become culturally assimilated. Or is it the Japanese who keep the Korean population from becomming part of itself? I couldn't possibly say for sure. On the one hand, it's not difficult for anyone (even old gaijin me) to get Japanese citizenship as long as he meets the requirements, and Japan is always very sensitive to possible accusations of racism, so there are no groups that aren't "allowed" to take Japanese citizenship. One thing I must do is take a Japanese name. For many reasons, including the name requirement and the memories of Japanese attrocities during World War II, many Koreans living in Japan don't allow themselves to become Japanese.

Calendar season continues to pass us by, and we see that several of the calendars we got in stock during the week are selling well. It wil be quite hard for us to fill calendar preorders after the end of October, so if there are any interesting anime, JPOP, Japanese beauty or other calendars you're interested in, let us know. We'll get another shipment of calendars in within a week or so, so more preordered calendars can go out. One note: the images we've got posted to the J-List site leave a little something to be desired, since we have to scan the pictures of the calendars from tiny thumbnails. The real calendars are much nicer to look at.

The J-List site was broken for about 8 hours, two days ago, as our programmer was doing some work on the site. We're very sorry for the problem, but it's all fixed now. At some point in the next couple of days, we'll be making some more improvements to the J-List server, moving images to an image server. If you experience any problems with the page for any reason, please let us know right away. Remember that you can always order with the secure email form if our shopping cart gives you trouble. Thanks!

For fans of Japanese adult video, slashed many prices and put many items on the Discount Videos page -- get these great videos for cheap, and get free SAL shipping, too. Included in the discounted items are the popular Zenra (all nude sports) videos, Penis Study, and more!

For the pre-weekend update, we've got some extra-nice items for you, including:

  • First, weve got a nice mix of new magazines for you, including the new Gal's Dee, just brimming with wonderful bust-fetish girls like Makoto, the lovely covergirl (93 cm bust, F cup), and many other newly posted items
  • For fans of Japanese idols, we've got two items for you. In Hakkutsu Magazine, see old and embarassing pictures of Japan's famous idols like Yuka and Mami gotoh. Then in Video World CD-ROM, see startling (?) footage of Japan's idols performing AV before they were famous
  • For lovers of Japan's unique kogals, check out Yes!! featuring a slew of kogals and Japanese female college girls
  • We've got some excellent photobooks posted for you, including the new installment of the excellent Tennyo series, featuring the erotic nude of Ayumi Tahara
  • Also for photobook fans, we've restockd the Yellows Angels and Yellows Americans photobooks, which catalog the nudes of beautiful women for posterity
  • For Race Queen fans, limited stock of a nice item indeed, the Top GT Race Queen photobook
  • For fans of Japan's high-end bondage pornography, we've got the popular DVD Video Cinema, featuring a magazine as well as a full 2 hour DVD with two complete bondage AV productions
  • Our customers often ask us to get even more manga in stock, so we cheerful oblige -- we've got a major update to our hentai manga pages, with several new items as well as fresh stock of some doujinshi anthology books including the Electric Fighting Daughter's series
  • For yaoi lovers, we've got the excellent Sony Magazine Comics "Rutile" (yes, Sony makes a homosexual comic, go figure), along with fresh stock of several of the popular Be Boy Zips
  • If you love the erotic doujinshi themes known as "kemono" (beast), humans with animal characteristics like cat ears and furry tails, check out the upate to our doujinshi page, with several adult doujinshi posted
  • We've got some great DVDs for you. For lesbian fans, we have a super *4 hour* all-lesbian megapack from Media Supply. Then, Nanami Nanase, star of the best-selling One Week with Only Semen, is back in a massive 200 minute product in which she answers "the flagrant requests of semen maniacs with a smiling face"
  • In addition to the reduced-price videos, we've got a new video release from Soft on Demand's famous director "Dogma," the lovely Erika Nagai is a karate-wielding tornado who beats up guys then performs "tekoki" on them
  • For anime fans, we've got a cool Card Captor Sakura Figure Clock that's just great, as well as lovely "angel and devil" figures for fans of the Japanese fashion doll Licca-chan
  • For fans of Japanese bishoujo games, see the collectible cards for "Air," the popular game from Visual Art's
  • We've got some new funny "Japanese buttons" with funny and bizarre pictures and images on them, and some excellent new Japanese "hachimaki" headbands
  • We've got several new items on our Japanese snacks and food page, including a delicious new flavor of Shigekix, the popular super-sour "hard gummi," Japanese shreaded ika, and some chocolate gum that's really good
  • We have fresh stock of several of the sold-out "ukiyoe" chopsticks on the "traditional things" page
  • Our Wacky Things from Japan main page includes many new items, including rolls of beautiful Japanese "washi" paper, fresh stock of the always-popular "fude pen" (a pen that you can use to write Japanese calligraphy), a new item in the cheerful "Kitchen Hanako" line of cute things for your kitchen, a cute "door message" for your door with ridiculous English on it, and more
  • Finally, if you've ordered from J-List before, you may have been surprised to find a packet of Japanese pocket tissue included in with your order. In Japan, a major way that companies get their message out to people is through printed advertising tissue, handy packets of tissue that are fun to receive and handy to use. J-List's pocket tissue is always popular when we bring it to anime conventions, but now, by customer request, we're making 12-packs of our handy tissue available at our cost, to J-List customers who want to carry a little piece of J-List with them wherever they go. You'll get 12 packs of our famous pocket tissue in a plastic protective case. Share them with your friends, we don't mind! (Of course, a free packet of tissue will still be included with every order).

For fans of Japan's bishoujo games, we're reducing the prices on our three Peach Princess hentai T-shirts, which feature images from Tokimeki Check in! and the upcoming Little my Maid. These shirts are beautiful, featuring excellent 4-color images and high quality, and now they're on sale!

Friday, January 19, 2001

Greetings from J-List January 19, 2001

Hi to all, from your friends at J-List

It's late on Thursday night, here at J-List, and Tomo, myself and our newest employee, Yasuhiro, have caught the cleaning bug -- we've spent an hour scrubbing and cleaning every corner of J-List's main office, and it's spic and span now. Tomo and I are taking Yasu out for what's become a J-List tradition -- going to Yukara, that odd but delicious restaurant that's open from 11:30 pm to 4:00 am. Yukara is so popular, waits of up to an hour aren't rare at all, even in the cold of winter. We'd better take plenty of those handy Japanese heating pads J-List has in stock.

One of the most respected company-builders in Japan is Matsushita Konosuke, who created the Matsushita Corporation, aka Panasonic. He was a talented leader and manager, and went on to build the largest Japanese company, despite having no formal education at all. With the Japanese economy continuing to limp along, there's a "boom" of books about Mr. Matsushita's life and business philosophy on how to prosper in bad times. I'd love to see some of these books in English -- or books detailing the lives of the various founders of Japan's great companies -- but there are almost no books about the builders of Japan's modern companies available in English, written by Japanese or gaijin. So I'm working through a book written by Matsushita-san, in Japanese...

For this evening's update, we've got another volley of interesting things from Japan, including:

  • First, we've got several new magazines, including new issues of Milkiss, Suppin Evolution, the popular EX CD-ROM, and a new ass-fetish magazine, Hip de H!
  • For photobook fans, we've got a host of excellent new and back-in-stock photobook items, including ten+ items that are back in stock
  • We've got a great item for leg/panty fetish fans, a deluxe photobook called Mini-Suka Oneechan, along with fresh stock of several leg books
  • We love Japan's fantastic adult manga, and we've got another great update for you -- a half-dozen new volumes posted, along with fresh stock of many of our most popular items (on both the New releases and Best-sellers manga pages)
  • For fans of the excellent parody hentai manga from Fusion Product, we've got fresh stock of nearly all their popular books, including Paradise Lost and Angelic Impact (hentai Evangelion) as well as several volumes of the out-of-print Lunatic Party, too!
  • We've got more yaoi manga for yaoi fans, too, as well as in-stock issues of several popular manga magazines (Kairakuten, the "girls' erotic comic" Shojo Kakumei), too!
  • If you love dojinshi, see the new items posted -- all are new releases from the past Comic Market
  • We have some really cool new videos for you this evening -- the much-requested AV debut video of the lovely Amamiya Kei (Videos -> New releases) as well as the wonderful entry of the erotic former Race Queen Suzuki Manami into SOD's line of fresh, exciting AV videos
  • Also for SOD video and DVD fans, a fresh infusion of some of their best offerings -- see them on all the SOD pages
  • J-List has offered a variety of excellent anime, manga and other magazines each month, via our "reserve subscription" pages. We've added two excellent magazines you can get every month: Bomb, a wonderful photo magazine for fans of Japan's lovely idols (swimsuit, kawaii, etc.), and Kodansha's highly acclaimed Afternoon, a huge monthly manga with *800* pages of great manga stories (including Ah, My Goddess)
  • We've got several cool items on the Anime toys page, including more of the popular Mini-Suka Police phone straps
  • On our Japanese snacks page, we've got two great new items that we love, and want to share with you -- Meiji's "Chocolate Mountain Mushrooms" (little chocolate mushrooms on cookie stalks), and Lotte's delicious Choco Pie, two halves of cake sandwiching cream, with chocolate on the outside
  • We've got a big update of items to our Wacky Things from Japan pages, including fresh stock of some of our most popular items -- from the polite "gauze masks" to our bamboo wind chime and many useful and wacky things for your home
    o As always, we've got several new Wacky Things from Japan, including funny (but very high-quality) Japanese notebooks with funny English on them, and more!

I've spent several weeks working on the latest of my personal homepage, which is a repository for several interesting articles on Japan, including an article on teaching English in Japan, a "study starter" for learning Japanese, and the famous "You've been in Japan too long when..." list.. The new version includes many features, and is searchable. Check it out at http://www.peterpayne.net/

J-List has run ads recently in several new magazines, including Giant Robot (a magazine of Asian culture) and Mixx's Tokyo Pop. If you found out about J-List through either of these magazines, would you mind shooting us an email? We're trying to gauge how good a response the ads were for us. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Greetings from J-List October 17, 2001

Hello from your friends at J-List!

There are some words that the Japanese are doomed to have problems with, due to the fact that Japanese is a rather phonetically impoverished language, with just 5 vowels and a limited repertoire of sounds produced normally. The sounds of L/R are not differentiated in Japanese, which makes some English words hard for them -- hence, jokes about the Japanese sending Viagra to the U.S. last November because we couldn't get an election. "Cone" and "corn" are impossible to separate in Japanese, and Japanese may be apt to think that cones for Ice Cream are made out of corn. I've lived in Japan for 9 years, but I've never seen a Japanese spell the word "flea market" correctly -- it's usually "free market" (as in, a market you don't need to pay to get into), and I've even seen "frea market" once. A curb is something by the side of the road, and a curve is a turn in the road, but don't ask a Japanese which is which. And finally, one of the most famous pizza chains in Japan is Pizza Hut, but 120 million Japanese all think it's Pizza Hat (as in Red Hat Linux).

Well, after 6+ years, Kaori and her boyfriend Hitoshi finally tied the knot, and they did it with style. The wedding was a big success, and all the J-List team was there to congratulate her. Kaori was beautiful -- actually, that my son Kazuki told me, "She's so pretty, I didn't know who she was." If you'd like to see the pictures from the wedding, along with short MPEG movies, they're at http://www.peterpayne.net/Merchant3/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=PP&Product_Code=KAORIWEDDING&Category_Code=PC

Well, the first calendars have come in, and we've dually processed them for those had had them preordered. If your calendars didn't come in yet, don't worry -- we'll get some more in next week or so. We've posted about 30 calendars that are now in stock -- everything from sexy idol to art to nude calendars, so you can buy them now with no waiting. Unfortunately, we received word that one of the most popular calendars this year, the 2002 Evangelion calendar, has been canceled by the publisher.

In addition to the calendars that have been posted, we've got a bunch of very nice new items for you, including:

  • First, we've been bringing Japan's unique bishoujo games to you for years, and we've had great fun making them available to you. As a way of saying thanks, we're lowering the price of Virtual Reality Dating Simulator May Club to match Three Sisters' Story and Season of the Sakura, just $14.95
  • We have some new magazines, including the new issue of the bold Shuffle (an amateur kogal hardcore magazine), and the new issue of Push!, a great Japanese hentai/bishoujo game magazine with CD-ROM
  • We've got some very nice new soft- and hardcover photobooks for you, including Eri Kimura's solemn nude photobook, and a rip-off of the famous "Yellows" nude photobook series, as well as fresh stock of several popular items
  • For fans of famous Japanese adult video idols, check out Body Shop, featuring the "photographic of 11 girls hair nude" including Ichigo Milk, Ami Ayukawa and my own fave, Manami Yoshii
  • Also, we've got fresh stock of the very popular Tennyo photobook series (Ichigo Milk, Aoi Minami, and Hikaru Shiina), which features a different girl in each volume, photographed by Masaaki Miyazawa
  • For lovers of Japan's highly developed bondage and S&M photography, check out the new issue of "the Most of Beautiful Slave" (we love these titles...), which features 16 different models
  • We've got a major update of erotic manga for you, with many new volumes posted by some of Japan's most famous manga artists, as well as a major restock of popular manga by Chataro, Narise Ayumi, Yutaka Tanaka and more
  • For yaoi fans, see the new manga works we've posted for you, too
  • We've got new doujinshi, a selection of very nice erotic works that will probably go quickly again -- check them out as quickly as you can
  • We've got some excellent items for DVD fans, including the Bunko Kanazawa Best Selection (see her best work at SOD), and a very nice new Zamen Gokkun ("Semen Swallowing") DVD with two complete productions on it
  • Also for DVD lovers, we've restocked the hard-to-keep-in-stock Mai Hagiwara soft porn DVDs, and also the incredibly popular Anna Ohura "Heartful Summer"
  • For lovers of Japan's ever-sexy Race Queens, be sure to see the new Pony Canyon Race Queen we've posted -- you get to view the girls from the angle of a dog, and more
  • For anime/manga fans, we've reposted the sold-out Bilingual comics to the English manga and anime pages, and we'll get fresh stock of the English/Japanese Card Captor Sakura and Love Hina in soon
  • Also for anime fans, we've got more stock of the very-cool Gatchaman Complete Figure series
  • We have some new "wacky" Japanese signs for you, including "Please take off your shoes," and fresh stock of our popular Japanese emergency exit signs
  • Also, more stock of our most popular Japanese "hachimaki" headband ever, "Watashi wa H" (I am a pervert), always a fun item to have around
  • We've got some nice items on our "traditional things from Japan" page, including beautiful Japanese "Chouchin" lanterns made of paper, as well as fresh stock of our popular Japanese designer chopsticks
  • For fans of silly English, we've got more of the beautiful notebooks with the "punch out" design on the cover
  • An item we're quite excited about are the first collectible sumo trading cards we've seen, featuring wonderful photos of Japan's most famous sumo wrestlers (along with their names in English), great for sumo fans
  • Finally, our Wacky Things from Japan main page brings you a nifty "rice shaper" for making Japanese or Thai dishes, a cool portable phone holder for your car, oversized boxing gloves that look ridiculous, a new set of brushes for those who want to try their hands at Japanese calligraphy, and more!

About a month ago, I posted some information on how Japanese is pronounced. At the time, my homepage was down, but now that the site is up again, anyone wanting a primer in how to pronounce Japanese can check out the site at http://www.peterpayne.net/Merchant3/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=PP&Product_Code=J-PAGE1&Category_Code=BJ

Greetings from J-List January 17, 2001

Greetings from Japan, where people inexplicably write last names in CAPITAL LETTERS.

In Japan, a meeting of friend for drinks near the end of the year is called a Forget-the-year Party ("bounen-kai"), and a party held after Jan 1 is a New Year's party ("shinnen-kai"). I had a New Years meeting with some friends in Shibuya, one of the three main "playgrounds" of Tokyo, and we had a great time. My favorite restaurant in Shibuya, an authentic Italian restaurant with the unlikely name of DJ's Bar & Grill, recently closed its doors, a victim of the Japanese recession, but we managed to have a great time anyway.

First, we had dinner at Anna Millers, a chain of restaurants known for having beautiful waitresses and the sexiest uniforms you've ever seen -- the rumor is that the girls' hourly wage goes up, the shorter she cuts her skirt. (See Kayama Juri's photobook on the photobook page for an example of the uniform.) Then, we we went to a restaurant called the Buttsu (Budda) Trick Cafe, a fascinating place where all the food is a hodge-podge of Asian food. from Vietnamese spring rolls to Thai-style chicken and hot sauce -- and everyone eats around a replica of the Giant Buddha of Kamakura. Be careful not to sit with your back to Buddha, or you may offend him. Finally, we headed over the Shibuya branch of TGI Friday's for one of the rarest treats in Japan -- frozen margaritas. It was fun to experience such unabashed Americanism for a change, but coming out of the restaurant to find myself on the streets of Tokyo kind of made my head spin.

For this evening's update, we've got a carload of cool items for you. They include:

  • Some excellent magazines, including the new issue of the always-popular Gal's Shower, and a special "wide" issue of Urecco, called Urecco Super Beautiez, which features *18* of Japan's most popular AV idols
  • We have a bunch of all-new photobooks for you, including several lovely new books in the Bishojo Memorial series, and Minami Masako's lovely underwater nude hardcover book
  • Along with our new photobooks, we've got a great volley of some excellent sold out books -- including more stock of Ariga Mih's "Hommage" and several more
  • We have another huge volley of excellent erotic manga, with not only all-new manga volumes, but many (more than a dozen) back in stock items -- Distance, Chattaro, Hit Comics, and many more
  • We've got fresh stock of all issues of the very popular G-Taste, the excellent hentai illustration book series by Yagami Hiroki
  • Also update, our yaoi page, with new yaoi manga, including some very hardcore books
  • For our video customers, we have two brand new releases on the Videos (new releases) page: G-Cup Lesbians, and Hinano Tubame's lovely "Prime" erotic performance
  • We have fresh discount videos for the discount page, with all videos receiving free shipping -- check them out
  • Morishita Kurumi fans will love the excellent "Morishita Kurumi: AV Actress, a fantastic 120 minute erotic video that takes you go Kuru-Kuru's rural hometown, where you meet her mother and younger brother and hear what they think of Kurumi's AV career -- it's a fantastic video for you
  • Also, we've posted Kurumi's first three AV releases, now available on DVD, on the region-2 code DVD page. Like all SOD's DVD releases, they're zoned for region two, but their high quality and bargain price (almost always cheaper than the video releases) make a strong case for looking into a region-free DVD player
  • For anime fans, check out several items, including a cool Kubrish toy set featuring the famous Iron Man 28 robot figures
  • We have fresh stock of several of our sold-out wooden signs, including my room, secret room, and It is forbidden to urinate here"
  • Restocked items on our popular Wacky Things from Japan page include "hand of a grandchild" (mago no te), the excellent bamboo backscratchers, and those really cool Japanese eraser sets, featuring rubber erasers in the shape of sushi, curry rice, tempura, and other Japanese foods
  • Finally, some all-new funny Japanese notebooks -- useful, high-quality "perfect bound" blank notebooks with lines that won't smear if you spill water on them, complete with ridiculous English printed on the covers. Enjoy!

We've posted a link to some excellent reviews of region-free DVD players, at the top of the region-2 DVD page, in case you're looking for information on which region-free players are the best for you.

Monday, January 15, 2001

Greetings from J-List October 15, 2001

Hello again from Japan, the land of strawberry and butter sandwiches...

One thing that's often a shock to outgoing, cheerful Westerners is the Japanese tendency of modesty. Try praising a Japanese person by telling them how good their English is, and they'll disagree with you, telling you "No, my English isn't good at all." If you compliment most American women on how pretty they look, they'll probably reply with a warm "thank you," but taking note of how pretty a Japanese women looks can be a confusing experience, as they shake their head and firmly disagree with you. In Japanese society, the concept of "kenson" (translated as humility or modesty) is an important quality for people to have in a land that's got so many more people per square kilometer (325 vs. just 26 in the USA). There are many stereotypes and silly notions about Japanese modesty, many which were inserted into American popular culture by novelists like James Clavell, but basically, the concept of "kenson" just means that people not be boastful but instead try to play down their own skills or abilities in a polite way. There are many phrases in Japanese that illustrate the tendency to show humility. For example, when you give someone a gift, you usually say "Here's something that's not interesting" (tsumaranai mono desu kedo...) or if you bake someone a cake, you say, "I'm not sure if it tastes good or not..." (Oishii ka dou ka wakaranai kedo).

Modesty is never more important than during a job interview, when you'll basically be asked various questions by the interviewer and must show your good character by how humble you are. It's very different than in the U.S., where interviewees must enunciate their skills in concrete ways in order to stand out from the pack. We did some interviewing last week, talking with several potential Japanese staff members, and it was a very interesting thing to partake in. One girl in particular boasted about how good her English was (it wasn't), and basically violated the idea of "humility" as a good thing to be. It wasn't hard deciding which girl we weren't going to hire...

I get a lot of questions from people who want to teach ESL (that's English as a Second Language in teacher-speak) in Japan. While there are tens of thousands of teachers teaching English in Japan at a variety of schools, the long Japanese recession has done a lot of damage to the "eikaiwa" (English conversation) industry, bringing salaries and general teaching conditions down. Teaching English is still a great way to get to see and live in Japan, and it's also a super way to meet some very nice Japanese people (including girls) who are interested in learning English -- but anyone interested in teaching in Japan (or in other countries in Asia) should know that teaching ESL isn't the stuff that satisfying careers are made of, for most people. Anyone who wants to teach in Japan, either on the JET program, or at one of the three major English conversation school chains, or at smaller private schools, would need a bachelor's degree from a four-year college (any subject will do, no one cares what you majored in here), an open mind about things like squid pizza (you think I'm joking, don't you?), and the desire to do right by your Japanese hosts -- e.g., learn a little humility. With the long string of Good Times in the U.S., most language teachers here come from Canada and Australia, so there's probably some demand for Americans to teach. Also, although female language teachers are always in demand, it seems that there are almost none here, so maybe there are some opportunities available (husband and wife teams can also find jobs together, too).

Five years ago this month, we started J-List. At first it was just Kaori and me as things slowly picked up and started to grow. Now Kaori-chan, J-List employee #1, is getting married to her fiancee, who she's dated since high school. Japanese take weddings seriously, and Kaori's been planning her wedding for months (she reserved the church over a year ago, to be sure she could have the wedding on one of the lucky days according to the Chinese calendar). The J-List team will be there in force to congratulate Kaori, and we'll bring our cameras. Oh, that reminds me, I've got to write a speech! As Kaori's boss, I have to give a speech to 150+ people, and in Japanese, too!

Well, that's all for now -- until our next regular update, we'll see you on the web!