Saturday, March 03, 2001

Greetings from J-List March 3, 2001

Greetings from your friends in Japan!

Japan is a very seasonal place, and they seem to like it that way. The beginning of April marks Sakura viewing season, the brief time to enjoy the cherry blossoms here; after that is the month-long rainy season; then summer, with its special festivals, and so on. March marks "construction season" in Japan, and we're in the middle of it now. For budgetary reasons that are unknown to me, all Japanese companies that receive contracts from the government must use excess money in their budgets or lose it when the fiscal year starts April 1. As a result, everywhere you go in Japan around March, you're confronted with endless traffic jams due to the perpetual construction: widening a road here, repairing a pipe there. They seem to rip up a road, fix a pipe, then rip up the same road for some other purpose a month later, but it's hard to be sure.

Japanese is a linguistically impoverished language -- there are only 5 vowels, all paired into syllables with consonants (ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, etc.). This is where the thick accent Japanese speakers of English sometimes have comes from. One of the vowel lines -- the "ta" line -- is missing a useful syllables, the sound "ti" (sounding like "tea") as well as the linguistically related "di" sound (sounding like "dee"). Without a way to express these sounds in Japanese, foreign words like "Disneyland" and "party" could not be correctly represented, and subsequently entered the Japanese language as "Desneyland" and "parteh," which sound strange to the English ear. A "patch" was introduced at some time in the last few decades, a way to write "ti" and "di" in katakana, but unfortunately for a generation of older Japanese, they learned a slew of foreign loan words with odd pronunciations. Now, pronouncing words like "panty"as "panteh" or the letter T as "teh" (rhyming with "way") instead of how they sound in English is the mark of an old fogey here (although, as a foreigner, it's kind of fun to do it on purpose sometimes)
Gin Kanie, one of two twins born in 1892, has died, at the age of 108. "Gin-san" joins her sister, "Kin-san," who passed away last year. Kin-san and Gin-san became what can only be described as pop idols in the 1990's, appearing in TV commercials as they came to represent Japan's aging society.

For the special weekend update, we've got a special list of excellent items from Japan for you, including:

  • First, some excellent new Japanese magazines for you, including the killer new Beppin School, OK, and several more (please note that we only have 10 issues of Beppin School this month, far less than our normal number)
  • Beautiful Japanese photobooks, including hardcover photobooks by former Race Queen Munemasa Miki and the lovely Yanagi Ayla, as well as more stock of some of our very popular sold out items
  • If you love the look of Japan's erotic "kogals," check out the new issue of the deluxe Cho Mach! on the photobooks page
  • For leg fans, we've got fresh stock of several of our popular past leg fetish items
  • For fans of past issues of Japanese magazines, we've got several sets of older magazines (see the top of magazine page 2, until they sell out)
  • For manga lovers, we have some very nice all-new erotic manga volumes, including new manga by AV Comics, Plaza Comics, and more -- including a really excellent new offering from dojinshi artist Tachibana Seven
  • Also for manga fans, fresh stock of several sold-out items, including Mini Skirt Hakusho, Sex Crime, Jungle beat, Kamyla, and more -- see these items on both the Manga (new items) page and the Manga (best-sellers) page
  • For Japanese video fans, we've got not one, but two new videos in the popular "Zenra" (Stark Nakedness Sports Series) video lineup: all nude winter sports, and erotic "body measurement" (measuring the width in millimeters of various erotic parts of the body) at a Japanese hot spring
  • Also very cool, Oto Kakeru San, an exploration of the eroticism of the "wetty and nasty" sounds of sex
  • Fresh items on the Japanese snacks & food page include a great new Japanese tea, delicious dried, shreaded "katsuo" fish (sorry, not sure what this is called in English, but it's good ^_^), and more stock of the sold-out Choco Flake Bitz
  • We've got some great anime stickers on the anime page, including Doramon "facial stickers" (but you can stick them anywhere) and nifty self-laminating Hello Kitty name stickers that seal themselves with a protective coating to protect the label
  • We have fresh stock of our Japanese headbands including "Ichiban" and "Goukaku" ("I will pass this test"), great for students
  • Finally, all-new items on our Wacky Things from japan page include a Japanese "karuishi" stone and brush to rub rough, dead skin from your feet, a deluxe "cutter knife" for many handy jobs around the home of office, and the ultimate "tissue holder," which allows you to screw a box of tissue into the wall for convenient access.

We continue to experience some strangeness with our and addresses. If you sent mail to J-List, or replied to an email from us, and didn't get a reply in a timely manner, please contact us immediately. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Greetings from J-List February 28, 2001

Hello again from Japan!

In Japanese, the word "sake" refers to all alcohol, as well as the rice wine that it's most famous for. Alcohol is a big part of Japanese society, a lubricant that allows people to remove stress and deal with the pressures of this "vertical" society (with many levels above and below you). The Japanese have some great unwritten rules when it comes to alcohol, too. For example, if you're out with your co-workers drinking, it's perfectly permissible to get anything off your chest about your boss, and be critical of him -- if you overstep the normal bounds of what is okay to say, it's dismissed the next day because alcohol was involved. If you make a fool out of yourself in front of your female co-workers, it's also generally forgiven the next day. And Japan is the only country I've seen where you can go to work with a mild hangover and receive nothing but sympathy and understanding. Japan is a very flexible place in some ways.

Want to know a Japanese joke? In Japanese, the word for Prime Minister is "souri," which sounds like the English word "sorry" (kind of like "don't touch my mustache" sounds like "Dou itashimashite" (you're welcome). "Sori," a similar-sounding word, means "razor." Japanese kids say stupid things like, "I'm sorry, hige sori [beard shaver], jori jori [the sound of rough, unshaven whiskers]." If you're ever talking to a Japanese person, and they apologize to you for something, come back with "hige sori, jori jori!" and watch them jump out of their shoes. (Remember that 'o' in Japanese is always pronounced "oh," and not as an "a" sound as we sometimes use it in English.)

For tonight's update, we've got some very nice items for you, including:

  • First, several great new magazines, including the new issue of Video Boy (features Hagiwara Mai and Kuru Kuru), a new issue of EX CD-ROM, and more
  • For fans of MPEG CD-ROMs, check out the new issue of Club Indies, an excellent magazine and Video CD (with footage from 40 titles)
  • If you love Japan's very nice bishojo games, check out the newly posted issue of Colorful Pure Girl, featuring information and lots of color pictures from dozens of hot H games from Japan
  • Like Japan's excellent photobooks? We've got several great new offerings for you, including a great photobook featuring the lovely Hosokawa Fumie, as well as fresh stock of several popular sold-out items
  • Also back in stock on the photobooks page, the popular Azumi II, the hit photobook featuring Kawashima Azumi
  • Leg fetish and Race Queen fans should check out the Internet Idol & Race Queen photobook, on the leg photobooks page (very sexy Japanese legs)
  • We haven't posted any high-end S&M and bondage photobooks to the gouka-bon page for a while, but we're making up for it with some really beautiful and erotic photobooks on that page, including a fantastic book featuring the sizzling Ikeno Hitomi
  • For manga fans, we've got a half-dozen all-new books, including some really rare and special items -- and we've also got fresh stock of some excellent manga volumes that had been sold out in the past
  • We've posted a few nice single issues of dojinshi to the dojinshi page, too
  • For our region 2 DVD fans, we have a nice treat: a super *120* minute DVD featuring fantastic "chikan" (men groping women on a crowded train) performances, with 10 different lovely gals being molested
  • Never to forget our Soft on Demand-loving customers, we've got two new videos from our favorite Indies AV company: "Puchi Angel," a document on the sexuality of the lovely "school uniform girl" Sakuma Yumi , and the new SOD collection of their innovative adult products for the middle of 2000.
  • We've got a major update of stock on our Japanese snacks page, with fresh stock of many of our most popular items, posted
  • We've got fresh stock of the surprisingly popular miso soup packets (both wakame and clam versions), along with a new item: driedwakame seaweed, a very healthy item which you can eat in a variety of ways (including in miso soup)
  • We've lowered the prices of our interesting anime snacks -- we've got Card Captor Sakura keychains and very cute "mini-stationary" that's great to play with
  • We've restocked several of our popular "Wacky" items, including Japanese "warming packets" which keep you warm in the winter, cool "socks glue" used by high school students, Japanese vocabulary word cards (great for studying anything), the "hair catcher" that protects your shower from unwanted hair, fresh stock of our unique Hello Kitty toilet paper (the 1977 design edition) and more
  • Finally, newly posted on our Wacky Things from Japan section are Hello Kitty erasers, a new "From Africa" Japanese notebook (very high quality, and with funny English on the front, too), a Korean "akasuri" scrubber to remove dead skin from your body in the shower, and a cool item: fingernail tattoos!

We've been making some adjustments to the way we send out this email, to accomodate the new searchable J-List Updates database at my personal homepage ( If you've experienced any weirdness with the way our emails appear in your mailbox, please let us know, and we'll see what we can change.

Monday, February 26, 2001

Greetings from J-List February 26, 2001

Hello again from your friends in Japan at J-List!

It's always fun to keep an eye on trends in Japan to see what will flower elsewhere in the world. Kickboards (those silly skateboards with handles) got big here in Japan first, for example, then went on to tempt teenagers in the U.S. and elsewhere after that. We think the next trend you might want to watch out for are "beigoma." A kind of hand-carved metal top, which is spun by throwing it down onto a flat surface while pulling back on a wound string, beigoma are a classic Japanese toy that were played with by everyone 50 years ago, although interest in them almost completely disappeared in the intervening decades. Now Japanese toy makers (and Japanese kids) have discovered the beigoma, and are making colorful and interesting beigoma which are being received by collectors and kids all over Japan. Pokemon and Digimon beigoma are inevitable. Your kids will probably hear about them soon, if they haven't already.

While I was studying Japanese in college, we made use of Japanese homestay students as a great way for me to practice my Japanese and learn about Japan, while exchanging information about my home country with a visitor from Japan. We had several very enjoyable experiences with Japanese homestay students. Now that I live in Japan, I've arranged homestays in the U.S. for several friends and students over the years, and they've enjoyed themselves very much. Unfortunately, more and more I've seen the disturbing specter of commercialism creep into the homestay system, with people opening their homes to foreign students as a money-making enterprise, and offering little or no linguistic or social experience. Students are mixed in with other students, and have no chance to experience many fun aspects of living in a new country. If you're interested in learning more about Japan and teaching about your home country, a great way is to invite a homestay student in your home -- they're almost always housebroken. A phone call to the ESL school attached to a nearby university is a good place to start.

For this evening's update, some new and cool things from Japan, including:

  • First, several new magazines, including a killer of the new Bejean featuring several excellent features -- Kanazawa Bunko, Morishita Kurumi, Fukada Miho and many more
  • We've got several issues of Otaka Wide Show, the magazine that shows you old and often embarrassing pictures of Japan's hot idols and actresses when they were unknown
  • Also for magazine fans, a bunch of nice back-issue sets of 2 and 3 magazines, for fans of some older magazines from the 1990's
  • For leg fans, the new issue of the stellar Mini-Suka Deluxe is in, and it's a great one -- the 50th issue special issue of this great deluxe magazine
  • In addition to fresh stock of several popular sold out photobook items, we've got fresh stock of three of our most popular photobooks: Ohura Anna's fanatic "i-Nude," Kawashima Azumi's "Flowing Out," and the incredibly cute Hagiwara Mai's "Maichi"
  • For fans of our excellent erotic manga, we've got several very nice erotic offerings from AV Comics, Hit Comics and Do Comix, among others
  • If you love yaoi, we've got more yaoi for you -- Satoh Ishihara's "Charisma" and a nice Gundam Wing yaoi dojinshi
  • On the DVD pages, two new offerings from the Much-Treasured Sexual Technique Lecture DVD series, which will teach you about shio-fuki (female wet orgasm), bondage and more -- complete with really useful (and erotic) tips and more -- see them on the DVD region 2 page
  • For our Japanese snacks page, we've got fresh stock of several types of Japanese teas (which we recommend highly, since we drink them ourselves here at J-List), as well as Morinaga's "Hi-Crown" high-quality chocolate
  • We've lowered prices on several of our funny Japanese T-shirts, which we're closing out -- wear a bewildering Japanese message on your shirt, it's funny!
  • We're got fresh stock of several of our popular Wacky Things from Japan page
  • Finally, fresh stock of Wacky Things from Japan items include a new version of our popular Japanese traditional note paper (genko yoshi), a unique Japanese "money tray" (a tray with a rubberized bottom which is used for handing money to cashier), a giant clamp for your futon, and a desktop calendar that's cool enough that we're even bothering to offer it in February.

Remember that we can send you a text-based list of the items available on the J-List site regularly -- just reply to this mail, and we'll add your address to the J-List text updates list as well.