Saturday, May 05, 2001

Greetings from J-List May 5, 2001

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

The Japanese use a lot of English words in their daily life, and depending on your age, spoken Japanese is often peppered with English words like stance, better, pretty, and so on. But when speaking Japanese, you have to "convert" the "English" words a bit before using them. The word "energy" is used in English, but it's pronounced with a hard G -- if you want people to understand you, you learn to pick up the new pronunciation, although it sounds odd at first. "Vitamin" is pronounced "bitamin," with a stress on the second syllable. Sometimes words come in via England, so they're unfamiliar to Americans like me -- a car's hood (bonetto), for example. And some "English" words aren't even English, but come from other languages, such as arubaito (part time job), anket (questionnaire), karte (a medical chart), and ruksak (a backpack). Because all foreign words are written in the Japanese katakana writing system, Japanese people tend to think that all these words are English.

Well, White Day is approaching. This is a silly Japanese day in which men must give a gift -- usually white chocolate -- to women who gave them chocolate on Valentine's Day. Convenience stores jump on the occasion to sell all manner of silly gifts, including many forms of chocolate. Men have an obligation to give chocolate back to people who gave them something, and shops know that they will sell a lot of "obligation chocolate" (giri choco) by March 14.

After several years of mocking Mazda's Bongo Friendee mini-van for having the strangest English of any Japanese car (right up there with the Mitsubishi Thanks Chariot and Toyota's Super Saloon), the versatility of this interesting, fun car finally wore me down, and we bought one. The continuing poor performance of the Japanese economy means that auto makers have to work hard and compete on price, so that helped our decision. The way you buy a car in Japan is quite different from how it's done in the U.S. Here, you always order a car and pick it up in 2-3 weeks, rather than getting it off a dealers' lot that day. Virtually all dealers are operated by the auto makers directly -- thus, you find only Mazda's at the local Mazda dealer (or maybe some Fords, since Ford owns most of Mazda). And as with deciding the date of your wedding, it's important to pick your car up on a "lucky day" according to special Buddhist calendar, to avoid problems and unhappiness. You can see the Bongo Friendee at

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

  • First, some very nice 18+ products on our 18+ pages
  • By customer request, we've created a great new page for you -- Anime DVDs, where we'll carry the unique anime DVDs released here in Japan. these anime DVDs are always of the highest quality, and while they are expensive, they give a lot of value (6 episodes per disc, long playing times). For starters, we've got the first two discs of Mach Go Go Go, the original series known as Speed Racer outside Japan, and the fantastic OVA Complete Collection of Iczer One -- with the entire anime series on one DVD!
  • We love updating our Wacky Things from Japan pages, but unfortunately, we got so much cool, bizarre stuff in stock that the page got overcrowded. So, we've made a Wacky Things (Cute) page to go with our Wacky Things (Main) page. We've added some great items to this page, including a super Hello Kitty box with lid and drawer (so cute for your desk) as well as fresh stock of many popular items
  • Finally, our popular Wacky Things from Japan page has also been updated, with a spiffy back massager (great for people who get itchy backs), the ultimate milk carton sealer (certified as being "really cool" by my mother, who bought them as gifts when she came to Japan), and more.

Remember that you can get any three of our $24.95 bishojo anime games for $70, shipping in US/Canada included. This is like getting $20 off, and it's a great deal. You can choose from Hentai Anime Poker, Three Sisters' Story, Season of the Sakura, Runaway City, Nocturnal Illusion, May Club, or even the enigmatic Transfer Student (which really, really come out some day). These games are in English, and are uncensored, so they're really cool.

Thursday, May 03, 2001

Greetings from J-List May 3, 2001

Hello again from Japan, where "bimbo" refers to someone without any money...

I'll teach you four words of Japanese, which have to do with family relationships -- oniisan, oneesan, ojisan and obasan. They mean, respectively, older brother, older sister, uncle and aunt. But the words have a different nuance when applied to peopple who aren't related to you. Oniisan and oneesan can be applied to any friend aged 12-28, while ojisan and obasan are generic words for "middle-aged man" and "middle-aged women." Whether a given adult is an "oniisan" or an "ojisan" (i.e., perceived as being young or old) depends on the person who is perceiving, and sometimes it can be a grey area. At 32, I consider myself young at heart, certainly nowhere near middle age, yet from Japanese kids' point of view, I fall squarely into the "ojisan" demographic. A cornerstone of Japanese humor falls around these concepts -- a young woman who is called "obasan" by a child, when she consideres herself to be an "oneesan." It comes up in anime all the time.

The sounds coming out of people's cellular phones here in Japan continue to get more and more interesting. In addition to selecting many different songs that play when your phone rings, and allowing you to download them off the Internet, Yasu's phone allows you to select various sound effects from 80's video games -- so instead of a normal ringer, his phone plays sounds from Xevious or Space Invaders. Another recent addition is the "get on the train, the train is leaving" music that plays on the train platform on the Tokyo Yama-no-te train line. Nearly everyone in Japan carries a "keitai" (cellular phone) or a "pitch" (the nickname for PCS, aka PHS, phones), and competition among phone providers is always cutthroat.

The About J-List page has been updated, with information and pictures of Yasu, the newest face here at J-List, along with manga-ized pictures of my kids.

The J-List site had some problems on Wedesday, and was inaccessible off and on for several hours. We apologize for the problems, and are working on a permanent, long-range fix that will also incorporate many often-requested features. Currently, many of the large graphic images have been removed from the site and will come up as dead links. Please view the smaller images until we get this problem fixed.

For today's update, we've got some great new items for you, including:

  • For one thing, we've got some nice new magazines, including a new issue of Peach Water, a super swimsuit and sailor suit fetish magazine, and Cotton, a deluxe "Photoshot" format item for all fans of Japanese girls
  • On magazine page 3, we've posted several new low-price magazines, including some of our popular $5 items that always sell so well
  • For MPEG lovers, there's a cool item -- the DVD & Video CD Perfect Guide, a hefty magazine with *three* Video CDs filled with cool Japanese AV sampler mateial -- 3 hours in all!
  • For fans of Japan's elegant hardcover glossy photobooks, a very special item -- and one that saddens us. We've posted stock of the *final* photobook of the delictible Hagiwara Mai, and the beauty of this girl must be seen to be believed
  • We have fresh stock of several items on the leg fetish photobook page, including Bikyaku Club, for lovers of Japanese legs
  • We have a nice update of erotic manga for you, with several all-new offerings, as well as fresh stock of the "A Wonderful Feeling" series, re-released by the publisher
  • For dojinshi lovers, we've posted some nice limited-stock items, too -- check them before they're gone!
  • We've also posted some nice and elegant Gundam Wing yaoi dojinshi, too
  • For DVD fans, we've got two very nice offerings -- a great double "Mature Flowers Blossoming" set, featuring two lovely mature women who definitely know what they're doing; and Morishita Kurumi's performance as the "masochistic nurse" in Tohjiro's Female Body Laboratory
  • For collectors of region 2 DVDs, another very special item -- a super 3 hour sexual performance by the lovely Ichigo Milk, who attained popularity with J-List fans with her great "Tennyo" photobook release last year
  • For Japan AV video fans, two cool items: a re-release of Iijima Ai's "Mejiri" AV performance (great for collectors of this series), and a super erotic anime cosplay video, featuring Chun Li, Lum, Cutey Honey, Sakura, and more
  • For those interested in the new biligual comics from Kodansha, we've posted vol. 2-4 of the Love Hina English manga volumes for pre-order, on the Anime & Toys page
  • Also for anime fans, we've posted some back-issues of Newtype, the excellent Japanese animation "moving pictures magazine" -- see the Anime & JPOP magazines page (on the Anime master category)
  • We've had great success selling Japanese tea on J-List, and now we've posted two new varieties to the Snacks & Food page -- authentic Chinese Jasmine tea, and a cool item, Chinese Diet Slim tea, great for dieters
  • There are new items on the Stickers & Signs page, including new wacky wooden signs with Japanese messages on them that only J-List could bring you
  • Finally, we've got some cool items on our Wacky Things from Japan page for you, including fresh stock of our popular hiragana and katakana study notebooks, an elegant Japanese replacement for your fannypack, and more!

Remember that you can find many interesting (?) articles on Japan, such as the "You've been in Japan too long when..." list, on my personal homepage at . You can also search past J-List updates since the beginning of J-List.