Friday, August 31, 2001

Greetings from J-List August 31, 2001

Well, Friday is here in Japan, and everyone at J-List is ready for a hard-earned weekend.

I was asked about pronunciation after Wednesday's update, so I thought I'd give a little lesson on pronouncing Japanese. First, understand that Japanese is a syllabic language, meaning that sounds always come in consonant+vowel pairs, e.g. ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, never just a "k" sound by itself (except the "n" sound, which can appear alone). So when you see a long name like Tokugawa, just break it into four chunks, "toe ku ga wa." There are no "diphthongs" in Japanese -- a vowel all by itself is treated as a syllable separate from what it's next to, so a name like "Miura" would be said as three syllables, "MEE-oo-ra." Vowels are easy as pie in Japanese -- there are only five, the same five in Spanish. They are

A "ah" as in "fall"
I "ee" as in "feel"
U "oo" as in "fool"
E "eh" as in "way"
O "oh" as in "go"

Here are some sample names:

Akira Fubuki -- AH-kee-ra FOO-bu-ki
Yukichi Fukuzawa (on the 10,000 yen note) -- YOO-ki-chi foo-koo-za-wa
Shiori Inoue -- SHE-oh-ree EE-no-oo-eh


Most languages in the world use just these five vowels, but phonetically, there are 12 used in American English, which makes it harder for English speakers to know how to pronounce something they see. Remember that all letters are always pronounced, and all the rules of English, such as "silent e" don't exist -- thus, the name "Tomoe" is pronounced as "toe-moe-eh" and no as "Tomo." I have some interesting information on my personal homepage, located at http://www.peterpayne.net, but we're in the middle of upgrading that page. I'll post a note when the site is open once again.

When you're an expatriate gaijin, living in Japan, it's interesting to observe what goes on psychologically with other foreigners. For one thing, foreigners have an odd "nervousness" when it comes to seeing other foreigners in trains, etc. There are several "stages of eye aversion" that we seem to pass through, during the first year or two of living in Japan. Secretly or openly, gaijin always hate foreigners whose Japanese is better than theirs, such as Dave Specter, a famous American who speaks fluent Japanese and appears on numerous "variety" shows for no reason other than he's American and it's "cute" to see him speaking Japanese. (He dies his hair blonde, too.) Gaijin like me, who were very big on learning Japanese, universally hate to be told "nihongo ga jozu" (your Japanese is very good), since this means that it's good, but not good enough (if you're truly fluent in a language, people will just talk to you normally without complimenting you on your language abilities).

Our little Kaori-chan is growing up. Today is the day she officially filed her marriage license at the City Office, and now she's Kaori Kawashima, Kaori Ida no longer. To Japanese, the date the paperwork is officially filed is the actual "wedding anniversary," and the actual date of the ceremony is far less important. I've known Kaori since I was her English teacher, seven years ago. We'll keep you posted on her upcoming wedding in October.

Our comment about the DVD categories was cut off in the last update. Basically, we added categories for our Japanese adult DVDs that are subtitled in English, Chinese and Korean, for Soft on Demand's "bukkake" (sperm fetish) titles, and also for lesbian DVDs. Sorry about that.

For this weekend's update, we've got an extra-special selection of nice items for you, including:

  • First, we've got some great magazines for you, including Gaos, featuring lovely Japanese kogals, as well as fresh stock of several issues of the popular Gal's Shower and many value-priced magazines on magazine page 3
  • For photobook fans, see several new offerings, including Haruka Igawa's very lovely new photobook release, Eri Kitayama's lovely seminude hardcover, as well as fresh stock of some nice items, such as Midnight Gals and Love Sketch
  • Also for our loyal leg fetish fans, we've got fresh stock of the very nice Hyper Mousou leg- and stocking-fetish photobook
  • For lovers of the excellent G-Taste sexy illustration art book series by Hiroki Yagami, check out the new Selected Visual Card Collection, featuring some of his best artwork ever!
  • For doujinshi lovers, we've got a nice update for you, with stock of two excellent new doujinshi works from our friends at Okachimentaiko, as well as a very nice erotic Ah My Goddess book -- with lots of stock of each, so everyone can get theirs
  • In addition, we've got fresh stock of even more doujin-soft releases, CD-ROM based CG collections for fans of Japan's "doujin" culture
  • Love our erotic manga lineup? Well, we've got new offerings for you this evening, including some excellent new books by Tsukasa Comics, as well as a general re-stock of many popular items for you
  • If DVDs are your thing, we've got two new offerings, including M-King's 8 hour AV special -- that's 480 minutes of AV! Also, the extremely busty Naomi Yamaguchi performs eagerly for you in a new release from Level 4
  • We've also got a cool video item: Oto kakeru san, a great "sound of sex" fetish video that only Soft on Demand could think of
  • For yaoi fans, we've also got four, count 'em, four new issues of b-Boy Zips for you, for fans of these highly dramatic erotic manga stories
  • We've got several new items on the anime toys page, including another of those cool Gatchaman figure sets (only one though, so get it fast if you want it)
  • For snack fans, we've got fresh stock of Japanese soft, shreaded ika (squid), as well as some more of that delicious teriyaki nori
  • We've got tons of new "wacky" items for you today -- starting with fresh stock of interesting Japanese notebooks and other study items, with funny English, on the Notebooks, Study Aids page
  • On the Traditional Japanese Stuff page, we've got some cool items, including authentic Japanese bamboo ear cleaners, and fresh stock of those lovely Japanese "congratulations envelopes" that you give at weddings
  • Find more of our unique Japanese headbands on the Headbands and Stickers page
  • Finally, on our main Wacky Things from Japan page, find a super no-stick rice scoop, an ice cube tray that makes funny shaped ice cubes, a little bottle of Snoopy eyeglass cleaner, fresh stock of the best-selling Japanese brush pen, and more!

We've had problems with our outgoing mail server truncating some of the lines in our mail, so we're going to try hard-encoding the linefeeds this time. If you experience any weirdness with this mail, please let us know. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Greetings from J-List August 29, 2001

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

Japanese history is interesting to study, and one of my favorite periods is the Meiji Restoration, during which a handful of political radicals staged a coup against the Shogun-led government and create a constitutional monarchy under the Meiji Emperor. During the two decades after the 1868 restoration, the new leaders of Japan (who are considered the Forefathers of modern Japan today) wrought an incredible number of changes to the country, forcing the last Tokugawa Shogun to surrender his power and his vast holdings of land to the State, getting the samurai class, which received a welfare-like stipend of money from the government, to support the new changes and give up their birth-enabled entitlement, and creating Japan's first constitution. Japan was ashamed at its terrible weakness when dealing with Britain and the U.S., and its goal was to create a modern nation that could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the powers of Europe. To that end, Japanese men like Yukichi Fukuzawa (founder of Keio University, his face is on the Japanese 10,000 yen note) traveled to Europe and U.S. to study how best to modernize their institutions. Now, these reformers are respected by Japanese in same way as John Paul Jones and Paul Revere are in the U.S.

Renaming everything was one important goal during this period. To make sure the old loyalties and political groups could not interfere with modernizing the country, all the old "han" (kingdoms) into which Japan was divided at the time were erased, and new "ken" (prefectures) were created along different lines. (The name in Japanese for the removal of the "han" and creation of the "ken" is "Haihan-chiken," if you ever want to impress a Japanese person with your knowledge.) Thus, every place you can go to in Japan has two names, the modern name and the "old" one. Gunma Prefecture's pre-Meiji name was Joshu; Hokkaido was known as Kozuke-no-kuni. The capital of Edo was renamed during this time, too: it became Tokyo.

An unimportant bit of trivia I've picked up about Japanese: when they have the radio on, they don't pay much attention to it. As a result, they don't care if the radio station features nothing but people talking, playing very little music, and as a further result, Japanese radio almost always consists of people talking about music and current events, rather than the actual music. Whenever we go to San Diego, we're absolutely overjoyed at the dozens of excellent radio stations available, playing interesting songs from the 80's, 90's, in a myriad of genres. The Japanese are far ahead of the U.S. in terms of chairs that massage your back while you sit in them, but the Japanese version of "radio culture" leaves much to be desired. On the plus side, NHK's AM radio station does have live sumo wrestling coverage all afternoon.

Since we've got so many hundreds of DVDs in stock at all times, we'd decided to add some categories to the DVD pages,

For today's J-List update, we've got some nice items for you, including:

  • Three Sister's Story, the best-selling bishoujo game from JAST USA, has been a huge hit over the years, with its rich story and interesting characters. We're a little overstocked on this title, so we're having a sale -- with $10 off on this great game. It's a great introduction to Japan's interactive adult adventures, so get it today!
  • We've got some excellent new magazines, including the new issue of the popular Ok!, Sennin-giri (a nice amateur kogal magazine), and the very erotic Hit Parade vol. 2
  • Also for fans of our unique adult magazine items from Japan, we've got a major restock of previous sold-out issues, with new items appearing on all three magazine pages -- including lots of back-in-stock $5 and $6 mags! Check new the top of each magazine page for the new items.
  • For photobook fans, see fresh stock of many very nice items, including Garo Aida/Airi Kago's Strawberry Diary photobook, Cam-Girl Fetish (for fans of Campaign Girls, similar to Race Queens), Love Target and Weekend Party, and more -- all with lower prices, too
  • Fans of Yellows, the erotic photography series by Akira Gomi, should see the Yellows 2.0 Photographs, the mini-photobook documenting 100 lovely nude Japanese women
  • For doujinshi lovers, we've got another must-see update of new items for you, with some incredible new works for you, all from the recent Comic Market -- check out the new items before they're gone!
  • In addition to the new doujinshi, we've posted a fresh slew of very high-quality 'doujin-soft' CD-ROMs, underground CG and other works made by doujinshi artists who publish on CD-ROM instead of in a book format
  • Of course we have new erotic manga for fans of Japan's incredibly talented hentai manga artists -- see new works by Tachibana Seven, Persona, Fujimi Comics and more! We've also got a nice restock of other items, too, including fresh stock of many popular sold-out items
  • For DVD lovers, we've got some nice new items, too, including a super new Idol Semen for bukkake fans, starring Rin Tomosaki, and Do Lesbian 2!, an excellent all-ladies lesbian DVD from Soft on Demand
  • For anime and toy fans, we've got a super phone strap/keychain of E.T. (so cute), and a rare figure of Gizmo from Gremlins 2, as well as fresh stock of the sold-out My Neighbor animated alarm clock
  • On the Wacky Stickers and Signs page, we've got more cute Japanese stickers, that wish "long life and happiness" and more -- great for gift-giving or sticking on letters or postcards
  • For Japanse snack fans, we've got handy individual packets of delicious Japanese "sauce," a great new flavor of Shigekix, the extremely tart "hard gummi" treat (which I highly recommend, it is delicious), as well as fresh stock of Pucca (chocolate-filled fish-shaped crackers) and more
  • Finally, on our Wacky Things from Japan pages, find two different authentic Japanese bento boxes, a nifty item to organize your cords and cables, Japanese study cards (for studying vocabulary), and a delicious "etiquette pipe" that will freshen your breath, containing aloe and lemon!

Monday, August 27, 2001

Greetings from J-List August 27, 2001

Greetings on this lovely Monday afternoon, from J-List.

Something I've noticed about Japanese from my first months here: every few months, they'll get the urge to move everything around, just for a change of pace. Well, today was our day to be Japanese and move everything around, taking the opportunity to do some serious cleaning while we were at it. My new dual 800 mhz Power Macintosh G4 arrived, so we've been moving computers, rerunning ethernet wire, and generally making things work better. It's much better to have things clean around here...

Everyone knows that the Japanese take their shoes off when they go into a house. To the Japanese, shoes, and anything to do with the feet, are inherently "dirty." When you enter your own home, you take your shoes off at the lowered foyer, called "genkan" in Japanese, and leave them there. If you have a lot of shoes on the floor of the genkan, you can store them in the handy and stylish shoes holder, which stores your shoes for you. (This is a good thing. Like American women, Japanese women love to accumulate shoes, my wife included.) Leaving your dirty shoes near the front door means that the house is much cleaner, and much easier to keep clean. For inside the house, Japanese always wear slippers, and if a gaijin goes to a Japanese person's house, the Japanese person will give him slippers to wear, even if they're much too small for his feet. It's always sort of "funny" to see people in American TV and movies wearing shoes indoors (kind of like seeing Pocari Sweat for the first time). Although we try to "live like Americans" when we go to the U.S., most of my Japanese family (including myself) quietly leave our shoes near the front door when back home.

One interesting thing about Japanese, at least in rural areas like we're in: they don't move. Japanese tend to stay on the same land for the most part, especially if they own land that their family has owned for a long time. In the U.S., people move all the time, because of job changes, children born or growing up and leaving. This cause people to shift into natural "bands" based on their demographics -- wealthy people in one area, moderate people in another area, and so on. In Japan, this doesn't happen: for the most part, it's not uncommon to have very wealthy people living near moderate farmers, and so on.

For the first fine J-List update of the week, we've got some very nice items for you, including:

  • First, some excellent Japanese erotic magazines, including the very nice Amateur Girl, and a beautiful Photoshot-format deluxe item for fans of those kawaii sailor uniforms, Bloom vol. 3
  • If you're a fan of amateur sex and magazines with Video CDs inside, check out Amateur Hamedori Paradise, featuring the lovely Nana Hosho, 2 hours of AV action, and more
  • Always popular with customers, we've got new $5 and $6 magazine items on magazine page 3
  • For photobook lovers, we've got some very nice hard and softcover items, including Miho Ariga's busty comeback photobook, and the erotic nude of the sulking Aiko Kawamura
  • Doujinshi fans often express frustration that we've only got single issues of so many of the books we offer. Well, we agree, and so we've got new doujinshi for you from the Okachimentaiko folks, and there should be stock enough for everyone (for a while, at least)
  • Also for doujin fans, a fresh batch of doujin-soft, including some fantastic hentai CG collections and more (only single copies of these are available, unfortunately)
  • For fans of Japanese erotic manga, we've got some excellent new volumes posted, as well as fresh stock of several favorites that had been sold out
  • If you love the very interesting world of Japan's yaoi comics, featuring incredible artwork and sexual themes (because "boy's make exciting drama"), check out the new issues of b-Boy Zips we've posted to the yaoi page
  • For DVD lovers, we've got some nice new offerings for you as well: A "coupling" of rape play (Race Queen/Teacher with glasses) from Soft on Demand, and for fans of erotic anime cosplay, Izumi Morino performs sexually wearing some of anime's best costumes
  • Thanks to those who pointed out the error with the Honami Seki Strawberry Diaries vol. 3 -- the image has been corrected (and what a lovely image it is)
  • If you love Japan's sexy Race Queen idols, check out a super Best Of Race Queen DVD by SOD, featuring such popular RQ's as Miho Yoshioka, Yinling (from Taiwan) and Momo Miura -- this DVD is code-free, too (like nearly all the DVDs we sell)
  • For fans of anime's best robot heroes, we've got fresh stock of the Giant Robo keychain/phone strap/camera strap, on the anime toys page
  • On Wacky things -> Wacky stickers & signs, find more interesting Japanese sign plates, including "it is forbidden to wear shoes here" (for people who are living in Japanese style, by taking their shoes off), as well as a classic Japanese emergency exit sign
  • For fans of Japanese notebooks and stationary, we've got two spiffy square-back notebooks that have very high-quality paper, and funny English on them, too -- see Wacky things -> Notebooks, study aids
  • People tell us they like the traditional Japanese snacks we've been offering, so we've got more: four different varieties of interesting Japanese traditional hard candy
  • Finally, we've got a great restock of Hello Kitty toilet paper (both types), Hello Kitty printed chopsticks (one of our strongest selling 'wacky' items), a stylish Japanese whistle, and more!

We've moved J-Mate (www.jmate.com) and CM-Watch (http://www.cm-watch.com) to a new server, and have updated both sites. We're still checking for bugs and problems, but if you haven't been by these two sites, our gifts to you for making J-List a success, stop by and see how things are running.