Friday, November 23, 2001

Greetings from J-List November 23, 2001

Greetings and salutations from your friends at J-List!

Our warmest Thanksgiving wishes to everyone on this American holiday weekend. Thanksgiving is a uniquely American event, and when you're an expat living outside of your home country, it's honestly difficult to remember it as I do when I'm at home. Tonight I will get Kentucky Fried Chicken -- there is no turkey to be had in Japan for love or money -- and we'll do our best to mark the occasion.

There is no American-style Thanksgiving in Japan, but today is a holiday. My chance of the calendar, Friday is Kinro Kansha no Hi, or Labor Thanksgiving Day. This is a pretty run-of-the-mill Japanese holiday in which we're supposed to give thanks to those who work hard to keep Japan running. As with all holidays added since the 1980's, it's a thinly disguised attempt by the Japanese government to stimulate the economy, since the assumption is that people spend more money on holidays. As far as I can tell, there are no special customs or events associated with the Kinro Kansha no Hi, except that manual laborers, such as those who do road construction, work extra hard on this day (they get higher pay for working on holidays).

A second cow has been found with BSE (mad cow disease), this time in Hokkaido. As if the Japanese economy needed any more problems, now they have to worry about consumers fleeing all domestic beef. The government is doing its best to reassure people, with many a Japanese politician eating platefuls of beef on TV to show that it's safe to eat, but Japanese consumers are very worried, and domestic beef consumption has dropped 30% after seeing images of cows in the U.K. falling over pathetically while trying to walk. Meanwhile, imported beef from the U.S. and Australia is soaring, and McDonald's is broadcasting a cute commercial showing a family taking their daughter to McDonald's, where all the meat served is "Aussie beef that you can trust."

Several customers had trouble accessing the J-List site around Thursday. We've tweaked the site, and think the problem has gone away, but if you experience any errors, please email us right away. Also, in an unrelated problem, several of the items we posted on Wednesday didn't show up on the site, including the new issue of Cream and Emily Yoshikawa's very lovely photobook. They're on the site now -- sorry about that.

A huge volley of calendars have come in, including the long-awaited Ah My Goddess, Love Hina and You're Under Arrest calendars. If you had preordered these items, we've already contacted you to let you know they're on their way. The extras we ordered are posted to the J-List site, although we already wish we had ordered more -- if you want these great 2002 Japanese calendars for your room, please don't wait to order them, as Japan is a very seasonal place, and once calendars are gone they will be gone til next year. Since most of the calendars we've ordered are in stock, Yasu and I undertook the arduous task of opening the calendars and taking pictures of the inside pages, so you could get a better idea of how nice they are than the small thumbnail scan we had posted before. Check out all the updated calendar images, on the site now.

For this special weekend update, we've got an extra-special lineup of products for you, including:

  • First, the new issue of Gokuh is a very special one, featuring Anna Ohura and Nao Oikawa and all the most lovely Japanese AV idols and models
  • For fans of Beppin School, we've got another excellent issue for you. As with the last issue, the back cover has been damaged and cut away, so we're selling the issues we have at a discount
  • If you want to keep up-to-date on the Japanese bisujoujo ("pretty girl") gaming world, we've got an excellent hentai magazine, Push!!, which includes a CD-ROM filled with demos, sample images, computer wallpaper and more
  • For those who love "hitozuma" (married women) and women over 30, we've got an interesting gouka-bon (high-end fetish photobook) featuring married women age 30-42
  • For fans of magazines that come with sampler video CDs inside, we've got the new Club Indies EX vol. 3, which features 3+ hours of AV in MPEG format for your enjoyment
  • We have a fistfull of excellent new photobooks, including the incredibly sexy Ran Enoki photographed by Garo Aida, and a rare photobook by Haruki Mizuno, shot on location on the elegant island of Bali
  • For fans of Japanese "rape play," we've got the new K.O. in stock
  • We have some great new manga volumes in stock by some of Japan's most popular manga studios, as well as a restock of some very popular "dick girl" books that
  • For yaoi lovers, a very exotic "hard boys love" anthology of material from several yaoi artists -- highly recommended
  • We've posted lower prices for most of the excellent Pure Beauties soft porn DVDs, which feature some of Japan's most lovely idols in super DVD format
  • If you dig doujinshi, we've got a great volley of truly excellent new books for you, from the past summer's doujinshi, and all of excellent quality -- unfortunately we only have one of each book, so they will go fast
  • For fans of the lovely new "indies" idol Nanami Nanase, we've got an extremly special item -- the First Nanami Nanase Fan Thanks Day, in which the slender, pretty Nanami-chan says "thank you" to her fans by sucking off 54 of them in one day. One lucky fan is even selected to receive much more...
  • Also from Soft on Demand, a great new tekoki & lewd woman DVD by Kurumi Morishita, followed by a dynamite "2 in 1" tekoki DVD for fans of hand-job fetishism
  • If you like DVDs that explore lesbian themes, we recommend a new DVD by Kitty High (this is a region 2 DVD)
  • For fans of leg, nylon stocking, mini skirt and high heel fetish themes, we've got a very special DVD for you by SOD's Hamlet label
  • We have restocked the delicious "limited release" dark chocolate Mousse Pocky. which is only available in the winter -- this is a delicious and fluffy treat from Japan
  • For those who have some Japanese down already, we've got a handy kanji dictionary, for looking up Chinese characters by stoke order or radical
  • We have a new Kubrick toy item for Evangelion fans, the mass-production Eva 05 unit with Kaoru figure
  • Finally, we've got more zany items from Japan for you, including a great way to make drip coffee Japanese style, an all-purpose "cusion case" that you can use to protect many things (I use it to safeguard my Powerbook G4), and more!

The CM-Watch page has been updated with some new Japanese TV commercials. CM-Watch is just our way of saying thanks to our customers for allowing us to bring Japanese pop culture to you in all its many forms. You can access CM-Watch at http://www.cm-watch.com (Quicktime required). Remember you can support CM-Watch by buying a cool limited edition CM-Watch T-shirt at J-List, too!

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Greetings from J-List November 21, 2001

Greetings from Japan, where it's not polite to stick your chopsticks straight up in your rice ("only dead people" do this).

I've got a new "keitai," or portable phone. Seeing all the interesting things Kaori and Harumi did with their phones, my wife and I broke down and bought new ones. The model we got is the latest thing from J-Phone, one of several cellular phone companies that compete to bring interesting services to Japanese consumers. It features a full color display and a tiny camera on the back, and can take pictures and send them as email attachments. It has a built-in calendar application, can send and receive email (including images sent by others), and can even browse the web, although it doesn't have enough memory to view normal pages (sites have to be specially formatted for the small screen). It has dozens of sounds and songs you can set for your phone's ringing effect, from Canon in D minor to dogs barking to new songs you download. It also can execute Java applets, allowing you to download dozens of games -- there's even a bishoujo game you can play on your phone. Online banking, JR train schedules, fortune telling and a "digital character" Yuki Terai are some of the things you can do with the phone. This phone set us back about $75 per phone, but most of the other phones in Japan with fewer features can be had for around $20 each -- very cheap. If you want to see some samples of the pictures the phone takes, here are pictures of the lovely ladies of J-List (including the newest face at J-List, Mayumi-chan, who started work two days ago).

http://www.jlist.com/c1/01-11-21_18-02.jpg
http://www.jlist.com/c1/01-11-21_18-03.jpg

I got my phone the same day my iPod arrived (J-List is an all-Macintosh company, after all), so I've got my hands full of cool techno-gadgets right now, I can tell you...

The "name suffixes" (such as -san) used in Japanese are a well-known part of the Japanese language, and the various nuances attached to them are quite interesting. In several of JAST USA's bishoujo games, the translators chose to leave the suffixes in the English translation, allowing the nuances to be experienced even in the English version. "-san" is the "basic" name suffix that everyone has heard of. It is very polite, and is used to create distance between the person speaking and the person they are speaking to. Usually used with the last name (e.g. Fujita-san), it's also used with the first name (Tomo-san) to show politeness while also showing familiarity at the same time. Two other name suffixes, "-chan" and "-kun," are ostensibly used when talking to girls and boys, or women and men (e.g. Kaori-chan, Yasu-kun). Add the -chan or -kun suffix to a name denote closeness and friendship. Younger people never use "chan" or "kun' to refer an older person, it would be rude. Another name suffix, "-sama", is a used when talking to extremely high-ranking people (e.g., a feudal lord), but it isn't used today at all, outside of anime.

Several customers told us they had problems logging into or otherwise accessing the J-List site yesterday. We think we've found the culprit, but if you experience any problems with the site, please email us at peter@jlist.com right away. As always, if you have a problem with the J-List shopping cart but want to make a purchase, you can use our secure email form at https://www.jastusa.com/Merchant2/contact.mv?

  • For this evening's update, we have a very nice update for you, with many new items, including:
  • First, J-List carries all the excellent bishoujo game titles from Himeya. Two of the best sellers are the Eve Burst Error and Adam the Double Factor, a two-game series. We've made a special set for customers who want to get both games and save $15
  • We've got some excellent new magazines for you, including the new Urecco Gal, a special issue of Urecco for those who love beautiful kogals, and also a brand-new issue of the ever-popular Cream
  • Also for adult magazine fans, several very nice amateur girls, one magazine dedicated to anal fetish themes, and something for fans of "komadam" (more experienced women aged 26-38)
  • We have new photobooks, including the lovely hardcover photobook of Emily Yoshikawa, and a bold photobook featuring Chinese model Yinling
  • We've got some excellent new erotic manga for you, including several very hardcore works with popular themes, and another restocking of very popular manga volumes that had sold out and been removed from the page
  • If you like yaoi manga, we've got a very nice shatacon book filled with classic story and themes
  • For fans of Japan's "doujin" (underground) culture, we've got several CD-ROMs featuring "doujin-soft," erotic CG images that doujin artists distribute in digital form, rather than printing books (doujinshi)
  • For Soft on Demand DVD fans, we've got some excellent new DVDs posted for you, including a super "SOD Semen Best Selection," a tribute to the company's bukkake and zamen productions over the years, followed by Kendo Women vs Rape Devil, another excellent "erotic martial arts" release
  • For Ai Nagase fans we've got not one, but two new DVDs for you: Ai wo Kudasai, an erotic production from Big Morkal featuring the cute indies idol, and She is my Little Angel, a new erotic release with Ai-chan decked out in the outrageous fashion of a Kogal
  • When is seminude more erotic than nude? When the model is the lovely Serika Utsunomiya, and the director is the famous TOHJIRO from Soft on Demand
  • In a rare "reverse fucking" video that only SOD could bring you, three lovely women perform rape and humiliation with strap-on dildos
  • We've got several new wacky Japanese signs with messages on them, including a sticker that reminds you to keep everything neat and in its place
  • If you're studying Japanese, we have some things to help you, including kanji practice notebooks, very cheap Engligh to Japanese and Japanese to English dictionaries, and more
  • We've restocked several "cute" items, including more Hello Kitty toilet paper, more Hello Kitty printed lunch bags (my 4 year old daughter recommends these), and fresh stock of the Picky's Bear bento box
  • We have an update in our Japanese snacks and food page, with new furikake (delicious food you sprinkle over rice), more delicious Tomato Pretz (tomato flavored pretzel snack, go figure), and more traditional Japanese hard candy
  • Finally, for fans of our "wacky" items from Japan, find more funny ice cube traps that make funny-shaped ice, a new "ball point type" fine-tipped correction pen (the Japanese make them the best), a handy highlighting pen you can turn into a fashion accessory, a cute traditional Japanese game, and more!

The top 5 lists have been updated, so you can see what's selling well at J-List these days.

J-List takes great pride in the wide range of Japanese popular (and just plain crazy) culture we're able to bring you. For example, if you're a fan of older Japanese AV idols who have retired and whose videos are quite hard to find, we've got a selection of re-release DVDs featuring their performances. If you have hobbies like models or anime or Japanese rock music, we carry monthly subscriptions to magazines on our pages. We've also got Pocky!

Monday, November 19, 2001

Greetings from J-List November 19, 2001

Hello again from Japan!

We continue to watch the events from Afghanistan as they develop. We've seen a great deal of reporting on the Northern Alliance and the four main races that make up the country of Afghanistan. Japan is very fortunate in that regard -- thanks in part to its history and to its isolation, Japan is able to think of itself as a "unified" country where everyone is the same as everyone else and, to a large part, there is no discrimination of Japanese by Japanese. I've never even noticed a tendency by some Japanese to think down on Japanese from another part of the country (although people from Ibaragi Prefecture sure talk funny). This unification is helped along by a social system that encourages inclusion in groups and treating of others as equals, and since the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when reformers kicked out the old Tokugawa Shogun to create a constitutional monarchy under the Emperor, getting Japanese to think of themselves as one large group has been a major goal. This unification of spirit is everywhere you look today -- although Japanese have a wide variety of income levels, fully 80% of Japanese think of themselves as "middle class."

Although foreigners living here tend to value individualism, there are many benefits to this "sameness" that Japan enjoys. It makes it much easier to shape national policies on things like education, and in fact, Japan's compulsory education is planned on a national level, not in cities and counties and school boards, as is done in the States. People seem to have a built-in unified "common sense," which is called "joshiki" in Japanese, which guides them in their lives. Kids all go to school and study (no homeschooling here), husbands are the "daikoku-bashira," the large black pillars that hold up the family. Wives either work a little to help support the household, or take care of the home as a full-time housewife. There's more harmony and less discord in Japan.

This leads to the problem of the Tyranny of the Majority at times, though, which manifests itself in small ways. In Japan, there are almost no vegetarians, and foreigners who want to live vegan have trouble "getting along" in Japan, as nearly everything here contains something that was made from animals. In Japan, too, most people love milk with 3.7 per cent milk fat or higher -- it's thick and delicious, they say. When I came to Japan in 1992, it was very hard to find lowfat (1%) milk without searching several stores. Now, lowfat milk is generally available, but non-fat milk (which I prefer) is completely impossible to find. The "majority" just doesn't want it, so no one produces it. Caffeine is another problem -- the Japanese drink all kinds of tea, nearly all of which contains caffeine. If you're Mormon, as a friend of mine was, you are forbidden to drink caffeine, yet there was almost nothing for him that didn't have caffeine in it except water. In the end, he went home.

For the first update of the week, the J-List staff has assembled some extra-special items for you, including:

  • First, some very nice new erotic magazines from Eichi Publishing, including the new all-purpose adult magazines, Best Video and Video Boy
  • We have several new photobooks, too, including a new semi-nude from Garo Aida and the very sexy "visual queen" Yoko Naito
  • For manga fans we've got a super selection of both new hentai manga (including the dynamite "Shell" from Harazaki Takuma), as well as another major restocking of our popular sold-out manga volumes
  • For lovers of bondage and S&M, we have the superb "Abnormal Photography," featuring the truly beautiful bondage nudes of a dozen lovely models
  • Also, fresh but limited stock of the DVD SM Collection, featuring a magazine with fully stocked DVD with 120 minutes of excellent material on it
  • From SOD, we've got three totally excellent DVD releases for you: the long-awaited DVD release of "In those days, I have known 2 pretty nymphos" (love that English title) with Ai Nagase; followed by a dynamite Love Zamen "4-in-1" featuring the best bukkake fetish ever; and the new Masterpiece of Soft on Demand, with video from 59 titles
  • One of the best-selling DVDs ever has been the Big Morkal DVD Anthology, which featurs *3 hours* of great sampler footage from their productions, for just $20. Now vol. 2 is out, with another 180 minutes of very special Japanese erotica for you, at a great price!
  • For lovers of Japanese swimsuit idols, we've got another very nice swimsuit DVD with very sexy video of the lovely Haruka Igawa
  • We have a new anime card game from Bandai and Cardass, the Magical Paradise Card Game 2, in stock now
  • For dog lovers, we've got some beautiful metallic stickers with images of famous dog breeds and funny words in English -- good for owners of poodles, collie, American cocker spaniel, and afghan hound, on the Japanese headbands and stickers page
  • We have a delicious new flavor of Hi-Chew, Lemon Squash, with real vitamin C (I'm eating some as I type this now, it's really good)
  • Also for Japanese snack food loves, we have fresh stock of the most popular Japanese snack food, Pocky, with fresh stock of both original chocolate Pocky, and Tsubu Tsubu Ichigo (made with real strawberries)
  • Also: fresh stock of our "looking for a beautiful woman" stickers
  • For fans of Japanese fashion dolls, which is a big world unto itself, we have a very cute "Jenn"y" doll in he spring high school uniform -- great for displaying
  • For fans of traditional Japanese things, we have a really cool new Japanese piggy bank in the shape of a Buddhist temple contribution box, as well as more attractive Japanese chopsticks
  • Finally, our "wacky" page has a new bento item for Picky's Bear fans, a beautiful long head-band for Gunbuster fans, fresh stock of bizarre Japanese ear-cleaners with lights, and more.