Saturday, September 15, 2001

Greetings from J-List September 15, 2001

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

The sad and shocking events of this week continue to unfold, and of course we are watching them on Japanese television and on the web. There is some good news to report, however: of the estimated 500 Japanese who were reportedly inside the WTC buildings during the attack, all but 24 have been confirmed safe. The missing Japanese included twelve employees of Fuji Bank, three from Chuo Mitsui Bank, and two from Nomura Securities. One Japanese was also on United Flight 11, a 2nd year student at Waseda University who was vacationing in the U.S. Despite the tragedy, we're glad that so many were able to escape to safety.

Many J-List customers were affected by the events of September 11, being either physically close to the World Trade Center or affected in other ways. One customer's cousin, Paul "Pauly" Stamper, was the fire captain of the 113rd Batallion in New York, and was one of the first rescuers to arrive at the scene of the attack. Paul stuttered when he spoke, and he was described as a somewhat unlucky man, who had two cars stolen in the space of a week; but he had a heart of gold. He is missing and presumed dead at this time, lost when the first building crumbled. We pray that a mircle can somehow happen and Paul and others can be found safe.

The Japanese government swiftly reacted to the attacks, and Prime Minister Koizumi gave full support to the U.S. stance against terrorism after a 10 minute phone conversation with Presiden Bush. It was a good speech, although it lacked the emotion of Prime Minister Tony Blair's, with sympathy for "our friends, the Americans." Unfortuately, while Japan wants to help in any way possible, they are forbidden against using any military force outside of their borders by the Japanese constitution, but they will help in other ways. The Japanese stock market fell 400+ points the day after the attacks, going under the 10,000 mark for the first time in 17 years -- $1 invested in 1984 would now be worth exactly $1, ouch -- but has been stable since then.

With air flight disrupted, shipping delays are unfortunately unavoidable. We're making sure all packages are prepared for quick shipment as soon as mail to the U.S. resumes. In some cases, mail already sent will be returned to our offices in Japan, and we'll resend it as soon as we are able, at no extra charge. Mail to Asia and Europe is not disupted, and we're making sure to get all packages out to those regions on a daily basis, too.

If you've tried to get any work done this week, I'm sure you know how hard it's been. In the aftermath of all this, it's very difficult to care about business at all. However, we find our minds screaming to get back to some kind of "normalcy." So, we're updating the J-List site with new products as we try to move forward as best we can -- we sincerely ask your forgiveness if this seems improper. We're trying to post items we have a lot of stock of this weekend, so that the items will still be waiting for you if you want to take some more time. Thanks for your understanding.

So, for this first update, we've got some nice new items added to J-List, including:

  • First, we've got two very nice new issues of Penthouse for you, both Penthouse Japan and Penthouse Special, with very nice models inside, including the lovely Megumi Yasu, one of our new all-time favorites
  • Other new Japanese magazines include the very nice Mini-Teen, and the ever-popular Gal's Shower, which always manages to sell out quickly
  • For fans of Japanese idols like Yuuka and Wakana Sakai and Maki Gotoh, we've got Hakkutsu Original, which features embarrassing and early shots of these girls from before they were famous
  • Some nice new photobooks for you, with new items posted as well as fresh stock of some of our popular items -- including Mami Gotoh's "Morning Baby" and Aoi Minori's popular "Juice" photobook and more
  • We've got another popular magazine + disc combo item, this time a magazine with a super DVD, filled with 138 minutes of Japanese AV footage for you -- a very nice sampler, and a great bargain, too
  • For our manga fans, we have several all-new volumes, including new books by Tsukasa Comics, AV Comics and more
  • In addition to the newly posted manga, we had a major order of hentai manga arrive, including long back-ordered books as well as recent additions, so we've posted our new stock for you
  • We got tired of the G-Taste series, the excellent line of erotic art books by Hiroki Yagami, selling out all the time, so we made a massive order -- we now have *all* the G-Taste books in stock for you
  • For yaoi lovers, see the new volumes of b-Boy Zips , new featuring very innovative "yomi-kiri" (single story) dramatic m/m stories
  • We have an excellent doujinshi for fans of Yumiko Takahashi's classic anime, with super hentai parody of Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku and Ranma 1/2
  • We have a new adult video from Soft on Demand's "Natural High" label, part 2 of the best-selling Bukkake Circle in the Blue Sky
  • For SOD DVD fans, check out "Global Girl Fighter of Sea, Wind & Earth" (three fighting girls who fight evil -- you can toggle them from costume, underwear or nude using the multi-angle feature on your DVD remote)
  • Also for DVD lovers, see the very nice Night Blue Gal's 2001, featuring 120 minutes of very nice performances by four Japanese AV idols, including the lovely Koharu Tohno
  • We've made a major restock of our popular Japanese gum, including Black Black (the caffeinated spicy gum recommended for truck drivers and college students), La France gum (delicious pear-flavored gum), and Ume gum (Japanese plum)
  • Also, fresh stock of several popular Japanese snack items, including traditional Pocky, our ever-popular sake candy, and Japanese kuro-ame (a classic Japanese hard candy)
  • Were have some nice "traditional" items on the Wacky Things (traditional) page, including a beautiful new Japanese "congratulation" envelope, and a Japanese "kabe-kake," a wall hanging based on how they used to cover open windows back in the Edo period
  • We have a new "wacky" wooden sign for your bathroom, and fresh stock of the eternally popular "it is forbidden to urinate here" wacky sign
  • Finally, our "wacky things from Japan" page includes some new items, including an all-new non-stick rice scoop, a cool storage item modeled after a steel paint bucket, which would look great on your desk, fresh stock of Hello Kitty toilet paper and chopsticks, and by request, more of the very cool Japanese "tube squeezer" that allows you to squeeze all the toothpaste, make-up, etc. out of tubes. Very wacky!

Just in case you've gotten the "Nostradamus" mails that have been bouncing around the net, please note that they are bogus. For more information, please see this page:

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Greetings from J-List September 12, 2001

Greetings and prayers from Japan on this terrible day. The World Trade Center attacks occurred around 8 pm, Japan time, and there was nothing to do but watch the horror unfold along with everyone else, but in Japanese rather than English. I listened to Japanese interpreters as they parsed the information coming in from CNN and other news sources, wishing I could turn off the Japanese track and hear it in English, and I watched various Japanese experts on "tero" (terrorism) give their opinions as the awful night wore on. Happily, the confused reports of "eleven more planes hijacked" that were being reported on the Japanese news did not turn out to be true.

The Japanese have a great respect for America and the city of New York, and it was the highest point of pride for a Japanese company or bank to have its offices in the famous World Trade Center buildings. There were 31 Japanese firms in the two buildings, including some of the most famous banks and trading firms such as Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank and Fuji Bank, and it's thought that there were 500 Japanese -- office workers, translators, secretaries and investors -- in the two buildings. As the events unfolded, the Japanese media did their best to verify when groups from one bank or another were confirmed safe, but it was difficult at best. Japanese chosen for duty at the New York branches of their respective firms were probably exceptional employees who has worked hard to master English so they could have the privilege of working in New York. We pray for the safety of these people, as well as for the safety of all J-List readers in the New York and Washington areas.

Details are still sketchy at this point, but it's very easy to feel anger over this, the "Pearl Harbor" of our generation. In addition to the lofty goal of "bringing those responsible to justice," I certainly feel that the political claims of those responsible should be totally forfeit, no matter what they are. Maybe this can be adopted as new political doctorine a result of this tragedy.

It's a great shock for everyone. My wife has been to many parts of America, including the World Trade Center buildings, and has flown on the American Airlines Boston to Los Angeles flight that was hijacked. Also, I was supposed to go to New York next month to attend an anime convention, but I've put those plans on hold. Part of the horror comes from the fact that I fly a lot, and to think that something like this could happen...well, there are no words. Unlike most people in the U.S., I've had a night to sleep on this, being 14 hours ahead of California, and I hope you all can experience a more peaceful night than I did.

Good night, and God Bless America.

Monday, September 10, 2001

Greetings from J-List September 10, 2001

Hello again from Japan, where the hours when the most viewers are watching television is known as "Golden Time."

The Japanese love their 4 seasons, and when Dave Barry says that a Japanese is likely to stop you on the street and tell you how wonderful Japan's four seasons are, he is not making it up. But Japan has many seasons, all unique and different from the rest. First comes winter, then "windy winter," which is much worse. Then comes "sakura viewing season," which is supposed to be part of spring, but it's usually bitter cold, so it feels like part of winter. After Spring come the month long rainy season, followed by summer. Right now, summer has ended, and we're in "typhoon season," when Japan is pummeled by one storm after another. Finally comes autumn with its beautiful red leaves, then winter again. Right now we're enjoying rain every other day, and as I write this, a big typhoon is on its way to the Tokyo region. Hope it doesn't hit too hard.

The Japanese use a lot of English in their daily lives, but it's often impossible to identify it sometimes after the Japanese get through with it. If you ask your boss for a raise, but he says no, it's "NG" (which stands for "no good") -- a TV "blooper" is also called an NG. The letter "W" stands for "double" to the Japanese, thus a washing machine might be advertised as "W [double] Power." If you want to check your weight, you'd better ask for a health meter -- the English term "scale" is used in Japanese, but only meaning something's size in relation to something else. Sometimes Americans are confused by alien terms that are British English -- I didn't know that the hood of a car was a "bonnet" in British English until I came to Japan. If you want to tell someone to not worry about something, you can say "Donmai!" which comes from "Don't mind!" Similarly, when someone is backing their car up, you can tell them it's okay to come back further by saying "Orai!" which comes from "Alright!" Many English words have been imported into Japanese, but with different pronunciations -- "energy" is pronounced with a hard "G," and "vitamin" comes out like "bitamin" (bee-TA-min). Finally, many of the foreign words used in Japan, like "anket" (a questionnaire), "arubaito" (a part-time job) and "ruksak" (a backpack) don't come from English at all, but that doesn't stop the Japanese from trying to use them during English conversation class.

For this evening's update, we've got the following new stuff for you:

  • First, we've got some great new magazines for you, including the new Urecco, which features some beautiful Japanese gals as Rio Sannomiya, Manatsu Hirose and Ami Ayukawa
  • For hentai fans, we've got the new issue of Push!!, featuring not one but two CD-ROMs filled with goodies, with nothing but the newest titles from Japan
  • For fans of high-end bondage and S&M from Japan, we've got a new volume of The Most of Beautiful Slave, featuring 14 lovely ladies inside...
  • For hentai manga fans, we've got a nice update, including excellent erotic titles from Angel Comics, I.C. Comics, and a nice erotic "boy meets girl" manga by Yutaka Tanaka
  • For doujinshi lovers, we've got an excellent update for you, with both new single-issues as well as good stock of several excellent erotic doujinshi -- check out the new offerings!
  • For fans of DVD, we've got a super erotic production featuring Rin Tomosaki, the popular AV idol who appears frequently in Japan's adult magazines
  • Also, for fans of Soft on Demand's very erotic works, we've got an all-new *4 hour* DVD celebrating their "5 1/5 year anniversary," featuring their "worst" productions ever -- although in reality this disc has some of their greatest stuff, including some of their most bizarre ideas ever. No materials duplicated with the SOD 5 years anniversary special, too...
  • Also for DVD fans, fresh stock of some of our most popular DVD titles, including wonderful DVDs by Mai Hagiwara and Anna Ohura
  • We're having a sale on many of our region 2 DVDs, as we close out many of these titles we've kept in stock. Check out the DVD region 2 page for the new bargains. This is a great time for those with region-free DVD players! (and remember, see the top of the region 2 DVD page for info on how you can view these discs).
  • We've got some nice new snack items, including a delicious "super soda" flavor of Shige-Kicks, the super-sour "hard gummi" candy, and a great boil-in-bag curry rice for kids
  • For fans of lovely Japanese swimsuit idols, we have fresh stock of the Last Alive cards in stock
  • We've got a new wacky Japanese sign for smokers on the Wacky Stickers & Signs page
  • We've got some very nice traditional Japanese items in stock for you, including a very nice "simulated" lacquerware bowl and tray (ours is plastic, not polished wood), as well as some excellent chopsticks with ukiyoe pictures on them
  • If you love our wacky things from Japan, we've also got some nice items in for you, including our popular map of Japan, a quality stainless steel cup from Japan, and more!

We've added an easy "one click" link in our outgoing auto reply mails, which makes it easy for Paypal users to pay for their orders. Paypal is a system that lets you pay for things over the Internet directly, from either a credit card or your (U.S.) checking account. It's quite easy to use.