Friday, June 15, 2001

Greetings from J-List June 15, 2001

Hello again from your friends in Japan!

If you ever want to really learn a subject, try teaching it. I never knew how much I didn't know about my own native language until I became an English teacher in Japan, and it was a great experience for me. You become aware of so many aspects of your own language when you teach it. I also paid attention to the rules that govern English pronunciation. For example, North American speakers of English usually stress the second syllable of a three syllable word -- my son's name (Kazuki) is usually pronounced ka-ZOO-ki by English speakers, rather than with a slight stress on the first syllable. This "American accept" of Japanese sounds cute and pleasing to the Japanese however, and sometimes they go out of their way to use it -- TV commercials for the Konami game company here always end with an American saying the name of the company as "ko-NAH-me."

It's always interesting to compare the U.S. and Japan. In Japan, American-style breakfast cereal is slowly taking root, as Kellogg's Japan and Calbee battle for market share with their Corn Frosty and Choco Crispy products. (I never buy Kellogg's cereal here, it's way too expensive.) When I was growing up, I loved to find the little toys that came in cereal, but here, manufacturers haven't taken that approach. Instead of breakfast cereals, Japanese children can get their fix of silly toys from the monthly kids magazines that are so popular here, like Tomodachi and Tanoshii Yochien, which are magazines for kids which are also filled with fun things, from punch-out cardboard robots to Pokemon stickers or cards, little cardboard sushi so the girls can play "mother," and more. The competition among the magazines is fierce, though, and these magazines are always trying to come up with cooler things for the kids than their competitors.

Calling all big and little guys and girls! J-List has made a name for itself with funny and bizarre T-shirts with Japanese messages like "Hen na gaijin" (I'm a straight foreigner) and "watashi wa H" (I'm H). We're closing out our current T-shirts to make room for new designs, and we're just about there -- however, several of our shirts have sold out of sizes L and XL, leaving a few mediums and several size XXL shirts in stock. To help you help us get rid of these shirts, we've reduced the prices on them even more. Several of the shirts still come with free shipping, too, so they're really cheap. Check out the Wacky Japanese T-shirts page, now!

For this evening's update, we've got some more excellent items for you, including the following:

  • First, we've got some great new magazines, including the charming new Video Boy and Best Video, which feature all the latest lovely AV idols from Japan, and Aishite Ageru ("I'll love you"), a popular sperm-fetish magazine
  • We have some more of our popular "one shot" magazines, single issues posted at low prices. See them on near the top of magazine page 2
  • For photobook lovers, we've got some nice items, including Kawai Azusa's busty photobook and several new hardcover items. We've also gotten in fresh stock of some items that had sold out recently, so check out the photobooks page
  • We have another update to our manga pages, both Page 1 and Page 2 -- check out the all-new manga volumes we've posted (we think you'll like them)
  • Also for manga and doujinshi fans, we've got fresh stock of the very cool Denno Buto Musume (Electronic Fighting Daughter), a series of super "game girl" hentai dojinshi stories compiled into a nifty anthology manga
  • For dojinshi collectors, we've got a great selection of some cool single-issue dojinshi. However, since the automatic shopping cart is not working right now, the books might be sold already despite their appearing on the page as available. If the doujinshi you want to buy isn't available, we apologize in advance
  • We have two excellent new DVDs in from Soft on Demand. In "Hitomi Ryo Best Selection," enjoy the best moments of this stylish AV idol's AV career. In "An Ideal Day of the Married Woman," see the unfaithful sexual acts of two Tokyo "hitozuma" (married women)
  • Also very nice -- Kanazawa Bunko's Lovely Heroine, reissued on DVD at a lower price by Uchu Kikaku
  • In the first Blue Sexual Desire series video, acclaimed AV director TOHJIRO got tired of filming Morishita Kurumi's sex and decided to taste her himself. Now, in volley two, he's going after the innocent Nagase Ai, in a self-directed adult video featuring himself as both cameraman and AV actor
  • For fans of Japan's lovely swimsuit idols, we've got a new region-free DVD featuring the charming and lovely Ue Sayaka as she is filmed in bikini, sexy costumes, and even boxing gloves
  • If you're a fan of Japan's zany professional wrestling characters, we've got a treat -- two very cool toys based on the Great Muta, a popular Japanese wrestler who "transforms" from his "normal self" into a supernatural being
  • As noted above, we've reduced the prices on our remaining Funny Japanese T-shirts
  • If you're a Pokemon fan, we've got exactly one copy of the 2001 desktop calendar in stock, discounted, on the anime and toys page
  • Ever needed to write something in Japanese? Check out the katakana stickers on the stickers & signs page, wacky but also very useful
  • Just in time for summer, a product that we at J-List love very much: Japanese mugi tea, a barley tea that is the runaway favorite of Japanese during the unbearable summer months. Now you can enjoy healthy mugi tea all the time, with the cold water tea bags we've got on the Japanese snacks and food page
  • We've gotten in fresh stock of several of our unique flavors of Japanese gum
  • Finally, our new Wacky Things from Japan include a bizarre new keychain/camera strap/key holder that's a zipper (yes, a zipper) -- zip it around your wrist to keep from losing your keys. Also, new katakana story books (for anyone trying to learn to write Japanese), and more!

There's been some kind of weird change in how credit card processing for the UK works, and the result has been some confusing address verification errors with UK buyers. We apologize in advance for any confusion, and will work to push your orders through with as little hassle as possible.

Monday, June 11, 2001

Greetings from J-List June 11, 2001

Hello again from Japan, where the Yellow Pages are called the Hello Pages.

Japan is reeling from a terrible tragedy this weekend. On Friday, a man entered an elementary school in Osaka and ran amock with a knife, killing 8 and injuring 13. The slain students were all first- and second-graders, aged 6 and 7, in what is one of the bleakest days in memory in Japan. Japan has had a string of tragic incidents of this kind over the past five years, including school stabbings with deadly "butterfly knives" of teachers by students, younger children by older bullies, as well as murders by young people. While nothing compared to the sad events that occur in the U.S., the terrible trend underscore instabilities with Japan's society. As a parent of young children, this unfortunate event has left my blood chilled.

The latest issue of Newsweek (the International edition, not the U.S. one) had an interesting story on the trend towards young people in Japan not caring to find full-time jobs. I've noticed this too -- more and more, a class of "freeters" (young people who prefer to work part-time jobs, changing every few months) is emerging. In Japan, there are three kinds of jobs: seishain (full-time jobs, with all benefits and annual bonuses), "part" (part-time jobs with some benefits), and arubaito (from the German word albeit, this word means week-to-week part time jobs). In the old days, life was very simple -- you studied hard to get into a good collge, entered a good company, and stayed there all your life. Now that lifetime employment is basically out the window, fewer young Japanese want to follow the same path their parents did. I wonder what repercussions this trend will have on Japan over the next decade or so?

One of the major complaints by foreigners living in Japan is the dentists here. Basically, Japanese dentists are famous for taking a certain job and making it take weeks. I've had three root canals done while living in Japan, and each time the dentist managed to break the work up into at least eight visits. I suspect that they do this because the Japanese medical insurance system limits the amount they can charge for each visit -- probably around $50 -- so they have to break up the job into many visits. Still, it's far from fun to have to go back again and again and again just to have a tooth filled.

If you look at the J-List site, you'll see that we've "forgotten" to end the 10% off on all magazine, manga, photobook and art book orders sale. We'll leave it up through the weekend, so if you want to save some money on that Golden Stage manga set or that Ohura Anna photobook you've had your eye on, we won't mind...