Saturday, December 22, 2001

Greetings from J-List December 22, 2001

Greetings from Japan, where a hamburger with a bun is a hamburger, but hamburger meat alone is a "hamburg." Consequently, a hot dog with bun is a "frankfurter" but a dog by itself (say, on a stick) is just a "frankfurt."

One of my life's goals has been achieved today -- I have officially received my "eijuuken," or my permanent resident visa for living in Japan. I drove to the administration office for foreigners' visas today and got the stamp in my passport. Since I've lived in Japan almost ten years and am married to a Japanese national and have kids here, it was not that much of a problem for me, but this isn't the case for millions of other foreigners living in Japan, who have a harder time of it than I do. I have a friend who's a major Japanophile and who wants to live in Japan all his life, but because he's single, it's much harder for him to show the authorities why he should be given permanent residence status.

Incidentally, although it's possible for foreigners who get Japanese citizenship (all the Hawaiian sumo wrestlers like Konishiki do it), I wouldn't go to the trouble myself. There are too many little "plusses" when you're a foreigner living in Japan. For one, you get to use an International drivers' license all the time, rather than having to switch to a Japanese license. Since you're not in the computers of the Japanese police, you never get traffic tickets if you get stopped for something.

When you learn a language, there are always some things that are more complex than the language you're coming from. If I were to learn Spanish, for example, I'd have to deal with feminine and masculine nouns, which don't exist in English. In English, we use "wear" or "put on" for just about any kind of object of clothing you could think of, but the Japanese have different words for where you're wearing the item in question. For anything going on your legs or feet (shoes, pants, etc.) the verb for to wear is "haku." For anything you wear around your abdomen, or for dresses, the verb is "kiru" (the "ki" from this verb is part of the word kimono, which really just means "thing that you wear"). Put something on your hands, like a ring or gloves, and you use "suru," and anything worn on the head is "kaburu." Similarly, the Japanese have two concepts for cold, one for cold in the air around you, and another for things that are cold to the touch. If the air around you is cold, you use "samui," but if you're washing dishes in cold water, the words is "tsumetai." Whichever one comes out of your mouth, it's pretty certain to be there wrong one for the situation you're in. Foreigners making mistakes like using the wrong word for cold are "cute" to the Japanese, kind of like Japanese making L/R mistakes (e.g., the Japanese sent us Viagra last December because we couldn't get an election).

We've improved the organization of the DVD pages slightly. Now, all of the non-SOD Indies DVDs (which are almost without exception zoned for region 2) appear in grouped with Japan-release hentai DVDs and other region-2 zoned DVDs together on the new "Indies, Hentai & Region 2" page. This way, those who have region-free players or can view the DVDs on their computer's DVD-ROM drives can find all the region-2 DVDs in one place, and we can get away with a simpler organization.

Speaking of region 2, since it's a fact of life that some DVDs from Japan (adult indies and Japan-released anime and hentai DVDs) are going to have the region encoding, we've made a new DVD Region 2 Help page, incorporating all our links to hacks and informative pages on how to view region 2 DVDs. The simplest solution to to the problem is to buy a region-free DVD player. The model we recommend, the Sampo DVE-611, is a low, low $129 from several online resellers. See our new DVD page for the links.

For the pre-weekend update, we've got some very nice items for you. They include:

  • First, the excellent new Bejean, the famous extra-wide adult magazine from Eichi Publishing -- features everyone from Kanabun to Hitomi Hayasaka and more
  • We've also got fresh stock of some more discounted magazines, as well as the new issue of the very hardcore "wet" magazine Aishite Ageru (I'll Love You)
  • If you dig Japan's outrageous kogals, the girls with questionable moral, we've got a large-format Cho Mach!! for you
  • Other photobooks are in stock, including the excellent swimsuit hardcover photobook by Mayumi Uehara, a beautiful new Photoshot with Mai Hagiwara and many other lovely ladies, fresh stock of Mai-chan's "Tennyo" photobook, and more
  • For leg lovers, we've got some stock of the sold-out Mini-Suka Deluxe June issue, which features excellent "low angle" photographs
  • Also, fresh stock of many formerly out of stock photobooks, including several in the Bishoujo Memorial series, and the long-lost photobook of Bauko Euchi, on the photobooks page
  • On our manga page, we've got several excellent new volumes by Tsukasa Comics, Orange Comics and others, as well as fresh stock of the very nice "Heartthrob on a crowded tain"
  • We also have some new doujinshi for you, including new works from Ryu-Seki-Do and more
  • From Soft on Demand, a bunch of region-free DVDs for you, including two fun productions that make use of their Magic Mirror Bus -- Amateur Bukkake, and the all-new Magic Mirror Reverse Nampa, in which lovely ladies engage in "boy hunting"
  • Kurumi Morishita's "Forbidden Privates Garden" was one of the best-selling lesbian titles ever, and now it's out on DVD for fans of this great gal
  • Another region-free release, and a super one for swimsuit fetish fans (yes, they think of everything here in Japan), the Swimming Girl series features hot AV idols like the popular Shinobu Kasagi performing in Olympic-grade name-brand swimming suits
  • Another interesting performance is Kitora!, an erotic "Sentai" production in the spirit of Kamen Rider and Kikaida, parodying the best Japanese rubber monsters and Power Ranger's style fighting
  • On our slightly reorganized adult DVD and video pages, we've got some great new items, including top-notch erotic performances by two classy Japanese actresses, Ayaka Fujisaki and the silky Manami Suzuki, released by Moodyz
  • From Wanz Factory, we've got a new super leg fetish production, this time featuring the excellent Kaori Shimizu, followed by Marin Kobayakawa's own "How to Perfect"
  • If you like the popular fetish known in Japan as "new half" or "Mr. Lady," we've got a new video for you from GloryQuest
  • For the bargain-minded, find many big bargains on the Discount Videos page, which come with free shipping, to boot
  • Finally, for anyone who appreciates the beautiful grace of stripper Kaori Shimamura, we've got a nice soft porn DVD for her fans
  • For fans of the Kodansha Bilingual Comics, which let you enjoy famous Japanese manga in English and Japanese, we've got Cardcaptor Sakura vol 5 and Love Hina vol 8 in stock
  • If you're into Macross, we've got a very cool limited-run die-cast metal recreation of two Valkyrie slips, and it comes in a display case that's to die for
  • Two other unique items on the Anime & Toys page are a dynamite Kubrick figure of Tony the Tiger, and the ultimate item for the Seattle Mariners fan, cute little Ichiro action figures!
  • For fans of cute things from Japan, especially Hello Kitty (the symbol of "cute" after all), we've got a bunch of new items, including fresh stock of the sold-out Hello Kitty Happiness Bags, Hello Kitty cake mix (make a kitty-cake in just 1.5 minutes), Hello Kitty mayonnaise cups, Hello kitty chopsticks, Hello kitty cupcake papers, and of course fresh stock of our trademark Hello Kitty toilet paper
  • Since cute Japanese hamsters are fast becoming their own category of item, we've got more Hamster Club bento boxes, fork and spoon sets, a new Hamster lollipop + hard candy item, and more Hamutaro Gum (not hamster-flavored, as far as I know)
  • We've got more wacky signs for you, including fresh stock of wacky "Emegency Exit" sign plates that come complete with tape for mounting
  • On our Japanese snacks & food page, enjoy a tasty new set of miso soup, with bits of fried tofu in them (tastes great, even if it doesn't sound so good in English), as well as fresh stock of the sold-out March of the Koalas chocolate-filled koala cookies
  • Finally, new items on our "traditional" things from Japan page include some nice chopsticks that are easy for foreigners to eat with, some onsen (hot springs) bath powder for your bath, and more.

J-List carries monthly subscriptions to many Japanese magazines in two categories. First, we've got "timed" subscriptions (6 or 12 months) to magazines like Urecco, Bejean and Gokuh, for which you pay up front but get free issues with your subscriptions. You can get some anime, manga, JPOP, hobby and other magazines sent to you each month from Japan, while they're hot on the newsstands here, via our "reserve subscription" system, which allows you to get each month's magazines sent to you automatically, until you tell us to stop. Tomo and Yasu work hard to bring these magazines to you, and are often driving around Isesaki to bookstores when we don't get enough issues sent to us by our distributors, and we're glad we can make these items available to you.

Some time ago, J-List had a "text-based mailing list" via which we'd sent text versions of updated J-List pages to people who requested to be added to the list. With all the updates to the site over the summer, this list stopped going out, but we've fixed the scripts that were broken, so customers can now once again request the jlist-text list. If you want notification of J-List product including lists of actual products (good for people who can't view the J-List site all the time), and don't mind the long emails, just reply to this and asked to be added to the list.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Greetings from J-List December 19, 2001

Greetings again from that magical place on the other side of the sea, Japan!

When Western couples are going to have a baby, they might consult a book of names, which presents a list of possible names for boys and girls along with background on each, what the etymology of each name is, and so on. Japanese have similar books, but it's a bit more complicated, as there are "lucky" and "unlucky" names depending on which kanji you choose for the names. My son was to be named Kazuma, which is "kazu" (peace) and "ma" (horse), but my wife consulted a Buddhist priest, who warned us that names with animal kanji in them were bad luck and would result in an unhappy life for the child. So we changed it to Kazuki, which is "kazu" (peace) and "ki" (tree), which is much luckier. The number of strokes in a name is also important in Japan. When we named our daughter Rina, we chose the name partially because it has the exact same number of strokes as my wife's name, another lucky sign. (To see the characters for "Kazuma" and "Kazuki," see this link: http://www.jlist.com/kazuki.jpg) Incidentally, the Western custom of naming a son after the father is never done in Japan (except for Lupin III, who is really half-French, half-Japanese, so he doesn't count).

Another belief system that holds sway in Japan is feng shui, a Chinese system that states that there are certain types of energy that can be harnessed in the way buildings are placed, and in the way objects are laid out in a room. Certain layouts, for example, just seem to "flow" better according to the feng shui system, allowing energy to circulate around the room and move freely, which brings good lines of energy into your life. The layout of the city of Hong Kong is organized along feng shui rules. Colors are also important, and certain colors are associated with money, love and good fortune.

For today's update, we've got another major volley of products for your enjoyment, including:

  • First, we've got some great new magazines, including the new Gal's Dee, filled with lovely girls who are all size "D" cup or larger, and the two new issues of Penthouse Japan and Penthouse Special, both with many surprises
  • For fans of the lovely Fuuka Sakurai, enjoy a special all-Fuuka magazine published by Karami
  • We've got another volley of our popular discount magazines for you, with magazines from $5. Also, another low-priced (slightly damaged) issue of Beppin School for you!
  • For photobook lovers, we've got a large volley of "back from the dead" items for you, which were out of stock but were really sleeping in our stock room -- it's an excellent chance to get some items that will not be available again, and at excellent prices
  • A killer new photobook is Ai Nagase's delightful hardcover offering, "Sentimental Journey" (we'll probably sell out of this item quickly, but more are already on order)
  • For leg lovers, see the very erotic Scoop! which features leg, stocking and "low-angle fetish"
  • We've got fresh stock of the very nice Yellows 1.0 and 2.0 photobooks
  • If you love Japan's unique bishoujo love simulation games, we've got a cool art book for you -- fresh stock of the excellent X-Change 2 and Tokimeki Check in! art works book
  • For manga lovers, see some excellent new works for you, including popular tentacle sex & dick girl themes
  • Also: a major restock of some of the most popular books we've ever sold, with works by
  • For doujinshi, even more all-new hentai works from Ryu-seki-do and more
  • We have fresh stock of some of the b-Boy Zips yaoi manga for yaoi fans
  • We have another large volley of AV videos and DVDs for you from Japan's interesting "indies" world. From Waap, we've got an all-new performance by the lovely Aika Miura, followed by a "Chijo" (slut) performance by the unforgettable Mirai Hoshizaki
  • From Moodyz we have a very nice erotic performance by Bunko Kanazawa (includes tickling fetish) and a very new "lewd sisters" offering featuring the lovely Nao Hirosue
  • We have several excellent items from Soft on Demand, including the very erotic Nanami Nanase in "Three Sisters who Love Semen," Miho Fukada as an ultra-high class "soap girl," a great bust fetish DVD with Hitomi Matsuda, and the conclusion to the best-selling "Rape Samurai"
  • From the excellent Wanz Factory, we have a new bust fetish offerings by Chihiro Inoue and Maria Yumeno, and the only region free DVD Wanz Factory has released, a killer Bunko Kanazawa cosplay erotic fantasy
  • Finally, we've got a great hentai anime DVD for fans of the romantic hentai manga artist Yutaka Tanaka
  • If you love Ah My Goddess, you might be happy to hear that the Kodansha Bilingual Comics have come out -- we've got good stock of volumes 1-3 on our site now
  • For fans of very cute things from Japan, we have these cute little Ultraman toys from Tinibiz, and useful "sandwich box" and more bento boxes for Hamster Club collectors
  • Mayumi has been working very hard to bring more "wacky" items to J-List, and we've restocked many popular Hello Kitty items, everything from toilet paper to Kitty-chan travel cases and more
  • If you love traditional Japanese items, we've got elegant new chopsticks, a beautiful folding fan, and an odd traditional Japanese sweet that's admittedly only for the brave
  • We have a new extra-large size of Hi-Chew on our Japanese snacks page, in Green Apple and Strawberry flavors
  • For fans of the popular anime show Love Hina, we've got limited stock of a VERY nice soft vinyl figure series that you simply must see
  • Finally, see many very rare and useful items for you, like fresh stock of the very popular Japanse warming pads, more fun maps of areas of Japan, a cute velvet dog keychain, more Japanese days-of-the-week magnets, and onsen (hot springs) powder for your bath!

Remember that J-List is having two sales right now, a big doujinshi sale (which is really a buy-5-doujinshi-get-$20-off sale), and a free-shipping sale on all bishoujo game and hentai CG collection CD-ROMs. Why not take advantage of these sales and save some money, too?

The J-Mate site has been updated with a great interview with one of the queens of Japanese AV today, Aika Miura, allowing you to see inside this woman's head and learn about the adult video world in Japan. It's very interesting. We've also got reviews of Maiko Kazano's lovely soft porn DVD, and the very shocking White Sexual Desire from SOD (links are posted from J-List's product pages, too). The URL is http://www.jmate.com

Just in case you don't know about the Onion, one of the main benefits of the Internet as far as I'm concerned, a parody newspaper which comes up with such jokes as "New 10-10-911 saves Emergency Victims up to 30%," you should check it out. The URL is http://www.theonion.com/

Monday, December 17, 2001

Greetings from J-List December 17, 2001

Hello again from Japan!

When is the color blue really green? When you're in Japan. For some reason that we're not able to fathom at all, the color green is often called "blue" ("ao" or "aoi") in Japanese. When foreigners come to Japan, they learn that the color green is "midori," but when you see a green traffic light, Japanese universally describe he light as "ao" (blue). If you go to Aomori Prefecture, don't look for a "blue forest" because there isn't one, but there are plenty of green forests. When they buy fresh vegetables, Japanese say they want to find the ones that are "ichiban aoi" (the most blue). Why is this? Tomo thinks that it's because a long time ago, there was another kanji that described the color green, but it unfortunately had the same reading (pronunciation) as the normal character for blue, "ao." Through some mechanism that is beyond my comprehension, certain objects (the green of a traffic signal, the green of a leaf on a tree) are described as "ao" (which means blue today), while the actual color green is "midori." Like bowing to a vending machine that has just verbally thanked you for making a purchase, it's all part of the wackiness of living in Japan.

There's an unfortunate phenomenon that affects all Japanese who use computers or "waapro" (word processors) at work: they lost almost all ability to write Kanji, Chinese characters. With the steady acceptance of computers into Japanese life, many people use keyboards all day long, and as a result, almost never actually write characters by hand. Because kanji is a very structured system, not writing it for long periods of time really makes you forget how to write (although reading ability is retained). I imagine this happens not only with Japanese, but with all cultures that use kanji. Sadly, I am affected by this as well, as I almost never hand-write Japanese anymore, and it's shocking when I go to write an elementary character but can't bring it up in my mind.

I remember reading through old Saint Seiya manga, while in college in the 80's, and wondering why they always write the blood type of each character along with their name, age and astrological sign. In Japan, though, it's believed that you can tell a lot about a person's personality and character traits from his blood type. Type A people are neat, tidy, and plan things meticulously, almost to a fault. Type B are "going my way" (as the Japanese say), meaning that they do their own thing without worrying about the eyes of others, and don't plan things out in advance. They can be messy, and tend to act on impulse (I am B, and my wife is always commenting on why do some things I do based on my blood type). Type O people have a private world inside their minds, supposedly, and they're quick to become passionate about something, but then change to something else just as easily. Type O people are the ability to lead others. Finally, AB have "two faces," one that they make in front of some people and another one they keep to themselves. Like the various beliefs (myths) that are related to Buddhism (such as, you're not supposed to sleep with your pillow pointing north, as this is reserved for the dead before cremation), the Japanese blood type beliefs are hard to get used to at first, but when you live here long enough, you start thinking there might be something to them after all...

We thank all customers who have helped make the 2002 Calendar Season such a big success. We've still got almost 100 2002 wall calendars in stock, almost all in the "attractive swimsuit model or actress" category (although we have quite a few of the Bondage Nude and airbrush tattoo erotica calendars too). If you can find it in your heart to take a calendar or two off our hands, we'd appreciated (and we've reduced prices yet again!) Also of note are the Ryoko Hirosue and Norika Fujiwara desktop calendar/diaries that are very cool.

For the new update to the J-List page, we've got another great volley of products for you, including:

  • For fans of high-quality Japanese magazines, find the new issues of Urecco (featuring Hitomi Hasegawa, Rio Sannomiya and many more), as well as another old favorite, the lovely Cream
  • We have added more bargain magazines to magazine page 3, for the thrifty-minded out there
  • If you dig video CDs with your magazines, see the new Amateur Hamedori Paradise, featuring some lovely footage on two VCDs that you can play on your computer or most DVD players
  • For fans of Japan's bishoujo (hentai) games, we've posted some backissues of the popular Push!! (which features a CD-ROM, so really get a great value)
  • For lovers of Japanese hardcover photobooks, we've got a huge update for you, with many new hardcover photobooks as well as fresh stock of some items we've sold out of -- all at reduced prices, too
  • Japanese have many interesting sexual themes in their adult products, and one of them is rape-play. For fans of these themes, see the fresh stock of K.O. we've posted
  • Japan's hentai manga have become famous all over the world, and no matter how many we keep in stock, J-List customers tell us they'd like to see more. So we've got a very nice volley of new erotic manga, as well as many back in stock items for you
  • For yaoi lovers, see a new issue of Double, the "Danger & Desire Comic" too
  • If you love doujinshi, we've added more for you, including some very cool works by Ryu-seki-do that are new to J-List
  • Our new dedication to bringing you really cool AV from Japan's top independent AV studios continues, and we've got another big update for you today. From Soft on Demand, find an excellent performance by Kurumi Morishita, a super "coupling" of two Idol Zamen bukkake performances onto one DVD, and Airi Kago performing "reverse fucking"
  • From Wanz Factory, we've got a tremendously good leg fetish DVD from Mirai Hoshizaki, a chance for you go to on a "happy date" with Ai Nagase, and the very lovely Honey Morimura being made to do shameful things
  • Moodyz is another very bold company, which J-list customers have requested for many months. Newly in stock is an amazing 2-video production (180 minutes) in which four lovely AV girls go to Los Angles to perform with gaijin (two black guys, two white guys and a white woman) -- very interesting!
  • Also from Moodyz, a super all-new performance featuring the lovely Madoka Ozawa, out of retirement and acting again
  • Waap has many nice productions, and for Waap fans, we've got a great Dream Shower starring one of my favorite actresses, Lum Nagase, followed by a super "busty lesbian orgy" offering
  • From Aroma, a great live-action "cat girl fuck" with "Hello Kichi"
  • Finally, in a new addition to our lonely "Indies videos (other)" page (where we'll feature productions from companies that are smaller, but still make fantastic products), see one of the hottest Kyoka Usami videos we've ever seen
  • Finally for DVD customers, look on DVD page 2 ($35 and under DVDs) for some extra cheap and discounted items from Tomo
  • We have many neat new toy items here at J-List. First, we've got some very cool "blank" Kubrick toys, which you can detail yourself. Gundam fans will enjoy the very cool RX-78-NT1 Gundam from Gundam 0080. And for gamers, we've got some very cool and very rare Capcom game girl figures
  • Also: fresh stock of the Godzilla 2002 figure (the large one) and the "super deformed" Chewbacca
  • We've got some cute metallic Hamster Club stickers, for those who find themselves doodling little anime hamsters (we warn you that this show might be the next Pokemon, if they decide to bring it to the U.S.) as well as Hamutaro and Pokemon gum (with cool stickers inside)
  • We love the interest J-List customers are taking in Japanese New Years' customs, and so we've added some more cool traditional Japanese items, including a square Japanese "masu" cup for drinking sake in the New Year, and some Japanese envelopes for giving New Year's money gifts to young ones
  • On our popular Japanese snacks and gum pages, we've got more super-sour Shigekix and fresh stock of "Ramune" Hi-Chew Kids
  • We have a new funny Japanese sign plate in stock, in case you want to decorate your room with funny Japanse signs
  • Also: new designs of Hello Kitty
  • An item I've wanted to carry for a long time, the Japanese "green leaf mark" (aoba mark) which drivers who have just gotten their drivers' licenses here must put on their car
  • J-List is fast becoming a major provider of Bento boxes and related items to the world, and we've got fresh stock of some of our most popular items for you
  • Finally, see a nifty leopard-skin scarf to help you keep warm in the winter, more excellent Japanese warming pads (which will keep you warm in the winter), new Japanese study cards to help you learn Japanese, and more!

Bewildered at Bishoujo? Confused about Kogal? Head hurting over Hentai? If you're confused at some of the terms used on the J-List site and this updates list (which can be quite out there, we admit), be sure to check out our online J-List Glossary of Terms -- the link is on our site, right below the product category listing on the left side of your browser window. We explain all confusing terms from Anime to Tekoki and more. If there are any terms we haven't covered adequately, please let us know.