Saturday, April 14, 2001

Greetings from J-List April 14, 2001

Hello and greetings once again from Japan!

Well, Universal Studios Osaka is finally a reality, and everyone in Japan is being bombarded with marketing messages from the theme park, trying to get them to go spend their money there. Arnold Schwartzenegger (universally known as "Shuwa-chan" here in Japan) was in Osaka recently to help promote the opening. They did the silly things they do on Japanese TV when foreigners come to visit, gushing about them to no end, and poking fun at them, too -- the gave Arnold a Japanese writing brush and tried to get him to copy some kanji, to see how it turned out. He gave up and wrote "I'll be back" in English.

There are certain grammatical structures that work differently in Japanese than in English. In English, we have two concepts for pointing at objects -- here/there, this/that, etc. But in Japanese, there are "location association" concepts -- here, there, and over there (farther away). Location is expressed with koko (here, where I am), soko (there, where you are) and asoko (over there, where a third person may be). There are little nuances that come out these words. Asoko (over there) is a euphemism for a person's genital area, for times when using a more direct word isn't desirable. Acchi (another word meaning "over there") has some negative meanings as well, and "acchi no hito" (the person from over there) is a euphemism that refers to foreigners -- the people from far outside. Incidentally, listen to Japanese speak, and you might notice a tendency differentiate between "this" as an adjective ("this apple") and "this" as a noun ("I bought this"), using "this one" instead of "this" in the latter case.

We've reorganized some of the J-List pages a little big. First of all, we now have DVD Page 1 and DVD page 2 (with lower-priced items being posted on page 2), as well as a new Soft on Demand code-free DVD page, to celebrate the fact that they're releasing all DVDs as region free now.

For the first update of the week, we've got some nice items for you, including:

  • Many new 18+ items
  • For fans of Japanese manga, we've got two very interesting items: *bilingual* comics from Japan of Love Hina and Cardcaptor Sakura, in English with Japanese written to the side of the speech balloons -- great for both collectors and students
  • New items on our Japanese snacks page include some tasty new flavors of konnyaku jelly -- as well as lower prices on much of our stock of interesting Japanese snack and food items
  • We've got new wacky things from Japan for you too, including all-new Japanes maps (a map of Japan and a map of the world, with Japan right in the center), new books to help you learn hiragana and katakana, an authentic Japanese abacus, the ultimate condiment holder for your tabletop, and more of our amazingly popular Hello Kitty chopsticks

Thanks for being a part of J-List!

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Greetings from J-List April 11, 2001

It's an unseasonably warm day in Japan today -- we've got all the windows open!

I remember when I first started learning Japanese, I wondered how Japanese text entry could work on a computer. I pictured some horrible keyboard with a horrible layout including all possible kana and kanji keys. Japanese input is accomplished through a front-end processor, which is included in all Japanese versions of computer OSs. Input is done in roman -- there was a special layout for hiragana/katakana input, but it's thankfully gone the way of Cobol in the past decade -- and the text pops up in a floating window in hiragana, the "basic" syllibery used in Japanese. To convert it to kanji, hit the space bar, the the highlighted hiragana will be converted into whatever the front-end processor thinks is the most common kanji for that word, based on a large dictionary of words. When you get used to it, you can enter Japanese text quite quickly, and know without looking that the correct kanji has been chosen. Some front-end processors are better than others, though -- Kotoeri, which comes with the Japanese version of Mac OS and the Japanese Language Kit, is famous for not learning what kanji you use and slowing you down. Third party companies in Japan offer replacement front-ends that are more efficient.

There are some interesting conventions that just work differently in Japan from the way they do in the States. In Japan, the circle (maru) is the universal symbol for "correct" and the X (batsu) always means "wrong." But when we got the coffee machine we use at J-List from the U.S., which shows a 1 for "on" and a 0 for "off," Kaori instinctively saw the 0 as meaning "on" and kept wondering why the coffee wasn't brewing. Similarly, the color red means "wrong" to a Japanese -- it's the color a teacher uses to mark a students' paper. Red pens, therefore, should never be used for anything like signing your name -- that would be in poor taste.

For this evening's new items, we have some really nice ones for you. They include:

  • First, the wonderful new issue of Urecco, the beautiful magazine from Million Publishing -- features a host of lovely girls, including the extremely popular Ohura Anna (!) and many more
  • We have several other cool magazines for you, including the new Aishite Ageru ("I'll Love You"), a great sperm & wet fetishism magazine and Yanchaex, filled with Japanese bad girls
  • We've got several all-new Japanese photobook items in stock, including the positively wonderful baby-faced Kojima Ami's beautiful glossy photobook
  • Also very high on the "cool" list is the beautiful Deka Cream 3, a giant oversized photobook filled with lovely Japanese girls photographed as only Cream could -- a shockingly beautiful "Million Mook" in stock now
  • If you love manga, we've got several killer new erotic volumes posted for you, including new offerings from Tsukasa, X Comics, Mujini and more, as well as fresh stock of several popular books that had been sold out. Check out the very nice update to our manga pages!
  • We have some wonderful limited stock of new erotic game girl doujinshi, too, nearly a dozen titles posted for you (but they'll go fast)
  • For AV fans, see the new video "the Legend of Lecherous Lady" starring Chihiro, as she explores such themes as teaching virgins lesbian sex and taking what she wants from men
  • The new Masterpiece of Soft on Demand DVD is posted to the DVD Main page -- 2 hours and 68 erotic titles showcased for you on a region free DVD!
  • Also for DVD collectors -- a very special item that we haven't seen the likes of in a while, a fabulous erotic DVD featuring the charming Hagiwara Mai, by Bauhaus, featuring full uncensored hair nude and more
  • For fans of Japanese gum, we've got a great new item from Lotte -- "Assist" gum, a tasty, tangy sports gum that files you up with lemon-lime taste when you're tired or thirsty
  • We've got several cool Wacky Things from Japan for you, including a handy canvas bag with an ukiyoe print on it, miso soup with natto (fresh, not dehydrated!), and a sign that says "Now hiring part-time help" in Japanese, and more
  • When I was a child, I loved nothing more than Ultraman, the silvery-rubbery hero who defended the peace of the Earth from various evil monsters. Now we've got the really cool Hyper Ultraman set of Ultraman toys from Bandai in stock on the Anime Snacks page. Full sets are available!
  • Another really cool item from Bandai, only available from Japan, is the Record of Gundam War, a set of four miniature "battle scenes" which you assemble to recreate a scene from Gundam history. Each item includes two battling Gundam mechs, a background, and various props to add to the 3D realism. Very cool!

If you'd like to see more information on the excellent new bishoujo games from Peach Princess, stop by the Peach Princess official site at http://www.peachprincess.com. In addition to a great downloads section, tended to by Ms. Kumiko herself, there's a very useful discussion board where you can talk over all issues of Japanese bishoujo gaming. Tell them Peter sent you!

Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Greetings from J-List April 10, 2001

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

The Japanese approach to family structure is very different than in the U.S. In Japan, a family has a "jikka" or "real house," where their parents live. At certain times during the year, mainly New Years' Day and Obon, a holiday that's kind of a cross between Thanksgiving and Halloween, people return to their jikka to be with family. Usually the oldest son is the one who stays with his parents, taking over the family business if there is one. My wife is an only child, so there was a lot of expectation for her to remain in her house, despite the fact that she wanted to live in America. When I married her, it was expected that we would live in the house and "see to things" (including taking care of my wife's parents as they grow older).

My mother and nephew stayed with us for a week, and it was interesting hearing some of their observations about Japan. My nephew, a typical 12-year-old Pokemon-loving teenager, was interested in many things, too, from the way they play Auld Lang Sine in stores when it's time to close (so you know to hurry up and leave) to stoplights that are horizontally oriented instead of vertically, as they are in the States. My mother, who is really into strict bedtimes for children, was aghast to see my kids staying up til 10 pm most nights. It's a different paradigm -- in Japan, kids don't really have bedtimes, but go to sleep when they are sleepy. It's aided by the fact that Japan's day is about 2 hours later than the U.S. -- school starts at 9 am, not at 7 am, as it did for me, and people usually from 10 to 6, not from 9 to 5. So it all works out.

For this evening's update, we've got some extra-special items in store for you, including:

First, we've got several excellent new magazines, including the excellent new Penthouse Japan and Penthouse Special, not one but two issues of Iketeru Peach-Ass Girl, and another of those cool magazines that show embarrassing photos of Japanese idols

For photobook fans, we've got some excellent items, including the new Tennyo, featuring the lovely Yoshinaga Mika as photographed by Miyazawa Masaaki, and the incredibly erotic Strawberry Diary 2, by the famous Aida Garo

We've got fresh stock of several sold-out photobooks, including the very cool "From the bathroom with love," the sultry Honjoh Sayuri's "Bedrooms" and Ikeno Hitomi's sizzling S&M photobook

For fans of amateur Japanese girls, check out Gal's Special, featuring all-amateur content in a great all-color format

For hentai manga lovers, we've got some excellent new postings, along with fresh stock of several extremely popular manga offerings that had been sold out and backordered for a long time -- check out out always well-stocked manga pages now

If you like erotic doujinshi, we've got two cool ones for you, both based on Love Hina, the popular new anime

Yaoi fans should check out the two "boy's love anthology" items we've posted for you, each featuring a great collection of yaoi artwork and themes

For erotic DVD and doujinshi fans alike, we've got a cool item: Street Fucker, a 120 minute DVD filled with all parody Street Fighter live-action costume play sex, starring the very pretty Shirakawa Narumi as Chun Li, Sakura and the STII characters

For AV fans, we've got two great videos for you -- the charming Tomosaki Rin in "I'll Give You Help Onanie" (female-assisted masturbation) and Fujisaki Ayaka in a fantastic breast-fetish video "A-Class Busty Criminal"

The extremely popular G-Taste series continues in the latest G-Taste DVD, the Kannazuki Mai Edition

One of the most requested anime items on J-List has been the Love Hina anime series, and we're happy to announce that you can order the Love Hina DVDs on our Anime DVD page. This is a wonderful anime based on one of the most popular manga in years, and we think it's really cool

For fans of the popular game Kanon, we've got the official Kanon Trading Card Game version 2.0 in stock

Speaking of Kanon, check out the Kanon Personal Phone Strap on the anime & toys page, before it's gone, along with several other cool things for fans of Ultraman and Yamato

We have two excellent flavors of Lotte's Xylitol chewing gum on the Japanese gum page. Xylitol is a new product from Finland that promotes tooth health, and this is a great-tasting gum from Japan that incorporates it. In Blueberry Yogurt and Orange Soda flavor!

We've got a nutty item for you on our Japanese stickers & signs page -- Super Buddha! We guarantee that if you put this on your car, you'll be unique

Finally, our always-fun Wacky Things from Japan pages have been updated weather real Japanese subway map; a "stick-free" rice scoop with holder, great for anyone who eats Japanese-style rice; a cooling "relax mask" that reduces puffiness around your eyes; a deluxe keychain that makes losing your keys very difficult; and the only stainless steel drinking cup you'll ever need.

Over the years, we've carried many interesting products, including Japan's unique bishoujo (aka hentai) games in English. One of the first companies to translate these games into English was Otaku Publishing of the UK, and when they stopped selling the games, we bought the last of their stock. That stock is nearly gone now -- Return to Paradise Heights is down to the last 25 copies or so. So if you haven't played this classic game and want to, get it fast!