Friday, February 08, 2002

Greetings from J-List February 8, 2002

Hello and TGIF from your friends at J-List.

Japanese animation is famous all around, and it seems that in any country you go to now, kids will know about Gundam and Sakura-chan and Kero-Kero and CLAMP. A lot of anime doesn't gain much of a following outside of Japan, though, mainly because it's too difficult to understand for foreigners and isn't available translated into English. Two of my family's favorite anime shows are broadcast on Sunday night, and together they bringing the fun of the weekend to a close and serve as a beacon to a simpler age in Japan.

First, there's Sazae-san (sa-ZA-eh sahn), a show about the Isono family's weekly adventures, which always manage to teach some Japanese social moral in a reassuring way. The main character is Sazae, a 23 year old housewife, who lives with her husband Masuo and their extended family. It's set in the present, but it's kind of a simplified version of the present, where there's no decade-long Japanese recession, no bursting economic bubble, and everyone in the neighborhood knows everyone else. Everyone in Sazae-san has names that have to do with the sea -- Sazae's name means sea snail, Masuo's name comes from sea trout, and so on. This show has been on the air since 1969, with a new episode every week. In last week's episode, the Japanese practice of throwing beans at imaginary demons and shouting "In with happiness! Out with devils!" was taken up, with grandfather Namihei (whose name means "wave") explaining to the children: "No one believes that there are really devils running around. Instead, we embody all our fears about sickness and death in the form of devils, and feel better by chasing them away." Another lesson learned.

After Sazae-san, we watch Chibi Maruko-chan, another "feel good" anime that has been running for a mere 12 years. Instead of taking place in a simplified version of the present, it's actually based in the past, in the late 1970's. Maruko is in the 5th grade, and as she goes through her life, we're able to reflect on the simple days of two decades ago through Maruko's eyes while being taught a lesson about the present at the same time. In a recent episode, Mariko had to write an essay about what she thought the 21st century would be like, and what she wanted to do when she was grown. She decided she wanted become a manga-ka (a comic book artist), and thus it was revealed that Mariko herself was really drawing the world of Chibi Maruko-chan, and each episode was really taking place inside her mind. (For more information on these and other anime running in Japan, see http://www2.gol.com/users/mmcb/modall/TVAnime.html).

We've got some long-awaited good news for you: after over two years of delays and "final testing," we're pleased to announce that the long-awaited Transfer Student will finally be shipping soon, probably by the end of March. We've spent so much time trying to finish this title, we're almost sorry to see it ship (just kidding). A great multi-scenario game for Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP, and for the first time, the Macintosh platform (OS 7.5-9 for now, but we will be updating this and all our Mac-compatible bishoujo titles for OS X in when we are able), we think this game will be worth the admittedly ridiculous long wait. You can pre-order the game and lock in free shipping when it is ready to go out. Thanks for your support and patience!

For the pre-weekend update, we've got an extra nice selection of items for you, including:

  • First, since great new magazines, including the elegant and stylish Penthouse Japan and Penthouse Special, produced entirely in Japan and featuring only Japanese models shot by Japanese photographers
  • Also some nice amateur magazines, including the very nice Amateur Girl's Data, and a new magazine for fans of "beautiful breasts" of just the right size
  • For photobook fans, we've got some really nice new offerings, including a special item featuring Japanese AV stars like Jun Kusanagi, Maria Yumeno and many more who have appeared in the U.S. edition of Playboy (the photobook is a "scratch and sniff" photobook)
  • From Cream, we've got a great new book, Bloomer Girl, featuring six possessively lovely models including Maiko Kazano, Yuri Sakurada and more
  • Of course we have many new manga volumes posted for you, including some excellent erotic works by World Comics you won't want to miss
  • For DVD lovers, we've got many nice items for you, starting off with the super new Zenra Sports DVDs (aka Stark Nakedness Sports Series), which gives you *200 minutes* of the best of the Zenra videos for a very good price (region free)
  • There's a new fetish in town, "tall woman and small man," in a bold new AV from Deeps', in which men have sex with the extremely tall amazon Yumika Kitagawa, 6 feet tall (region free)
  • For fans of the lovely Kurumi Morita, see the "private and sex life" of Kurumi-chan in a very nice DVD release for her fans (region free)
  • See the best AV performances of Ami Ayukawa, the lovely professional AV actress with breasts of golden brown, n the new Complete Collection of Ami Ayukawa (region free)
  • For indies fans, the slender and silky Kaori Shimizu has a great performance for you, in which she satisfies you desire to see many fetishes, from tekoki to glasses fetish and more
  • We've got a new DVD from the G-Taste live-action sexy cosplay DVD, featuring the lovely and elegant Hikaru Kawamura dressing up in a variety of cute costumes
  • Finally, we have a major restock of DVDs and videos by one of the most popular ladies in the Japanese AV world, Anna Ohura -- check out all the newly restocked items
  • For fans of the 1960's sci-fi classic Thunderbirds, we've got a treat for you -- a deluxe figure + vehicle set from Tinibiz, similar to the popular Kubrick toy line
  • Also: stock of several of the very cool Planet of the Apes figures based on the original movies, only made for Japan
  • For fans of Neon Genesis Evangelion, we've got a new card series featuring nothing but lovely images of Rei Ayanami, a very cool item indeed
  • For fans of cute things from Japan, we've got these Hamster-shaped figures and chocolate-filled Hamster cookies that are just great, as well as fresh stock of the sold-out Strawberry Chu-Hi
  • We love Japan's lovely photobooks, which capture lovely Japanese girls in their glossy pages -- see the newly posted idol items on the Id
  • We've restocked our trademark (?) Hello Kitty toilet paper
  • For those who missed out on our popular Japanese calendars, we've got a few scattered items which we're selling below our cost -- see the photobooks page for more info
  • We've got new study-related items posted, including a great new Japanese notebook with removable sheets and funny English on the front, and a beginning notebook for those who want to learn kanji
  • Finally, look for a slew of other cool items on J-List, including new regional maps of Japan (Kyushu and Chubu), a nifty "herbal pad" that will take the tiredness out of your sore feet, a deluxe package of gauze masks which are used in Japan to guard against cold germs and pollen, a super "coffee dripper" for making coffee by hand, and more!

J-List sells many fun and unique things from Japan. One category of item we sell are Japanese snack and food items, including Japanese Pocky, Tomato Pretz, Japanese gum and many other items. All of these items are stamped with a freshness date, and everything we sell is well within that date. So you can be reassured that the wacky Japanese food items J-List sells are fresh and good to eat.

Just a second mention in case some missed it before -- we have had some the J-List shopping cart lose some orders over the past two weeks, so if you made an order but never heard from us (aside from the automated "thanks for your order" email that the J-List website sends out automatically when your order is completed), let us know and we'll look into it right away. We are closing in on the intermittent problem and hope to have it solved very soon.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Greetings from J-List February 6, 2002

Hello again from your good friends in Japan!

First of all, we've been finding that some customers have had problems checking out of the J-List website recently. The checkout seems to go through fine, but due to some bug we're working very hard to squash right now, the order doesn't show up on our side. If you made an order over the past week or so but haven't heard from us about it, would you please email us and we'll check into it ASAP? As always, you can use the "secure email form" as an emergency backup if you experience problems at checkout. Thanks in advance!

One thing Japan has that they don't have in the U.S. are CD rental stores. In general, anyplace that rents videos in Japan will also have a large music CD section where you can rent anime, JPOP and western music, either singles or albums, for around $3 per disc. It's very convenient, although the practice of allowing rental of music CDs has caused friction between the shops and American record companies in the past. I'm a big fan of Apple's elegant iPod, and use mine all the time (it holds the entire 13-CD Lord of the Rings BBC radio show with plenty of room to spare, what more can you ask for?). It's always fun to hit the CD shop and see what new discs are available for rental so I can listen to them on my iPod.

The first drama co-produced between Japan and Korea is on the air right now, Friends. Starring the popular idol Kyoko Fukada and South Korean star Won Bin, it's an interesting drama about the problems two young lovers have being together in spite of all the differences between Japan and South Korea. It's a very interesting story, and it's interesting to see "Fuka-kyon" (her nickname) speaking Korean. For more info on the drama, see the official site here: http://www.tbs.co.jp/friends21/ (Japanese only). Japanese dramas are a major part of entertainment life here in Japan, and are popular all over Asia and America. I'm sure this drama will be very popular, too.

J-List sells thousands of DVDs each month. The vast majority of the DVDs we sell are region-free, meaning you can view them with any DVD player in the world, but anime, hentai and most of the Indies releases are region 2. We recommend the Sampo DVE-611, a popular low-end DVD player that you can pick up for $109 or so that can easily be made to play discs from all regions. But if you've got a PC with a DVD-ROM drive and use DVD playback software like Software Cinemaster, PowerDVD, or WinDVD, there's a simple (and free) patch available that will make it easy to play region 2 DVDs from J-List and anywhere else. The URL is http://www.inmatrix.com/files/dvdgenie_download.shtml

For today's update, we've got another very nice selection of great items from Japan, which the staff of J-List has worked very hard to bring you. They include:

  • First, new magazines for your enjoyment, including ones for fans of kogals, amateur girls in love hotels, embarrassing photos of famous idols like Yuuka, and a new one -- a magazine for fans of "micro girls" (below 4'10")
  • We have some rare items, some premium issues of Nowon from the mid 1990's including some great appearances by the wonderful Naoko Iijima
  • For photobook fans, we've got some nice newly posted items, including the very bold nude by model "Mariko"
  • Manga fans, be sure to check out our newly posted hentai manga offerings, including great works by Japan's top hentai artists and studios
  • Yaoi lovers, we apologize for letting our stock get so low, but we'll take care of the situation soon. In the meantime, we have stock of two very nice new yaoi homosexual Japanese comics
  • For doujinshi collectors, we've got another volley of really nice erotic underground comics, put on sale at Japan's past Comic market
  • DVD collectors, we've got many new items for you, including the very nice First Love, a super sampler DVD with ten of Japan's hottest AV stars including Emily Yoshikawa and more (region free)
  • The lovely Airi Kago allows herself to be tied up and toyed with in a very erotic new DVD from Soft on Demand "I'm sorry I'm all tied up" (region free)
  • For fans of jukujo (older, experienced women), we've got a very nice DVD featuring Yukari Sakurada's very bold "Cosplay, Jukujo, Bukkake" performance (region free)
  • The very nice G-Taste live action sexy idol DVDs have been released, and we've got the first two volumes -- they feature sexy Japanese women play-acting in very nice costumes, and they're just great (region 2)
  • For fans of the erotic AV of Waap Entertainment, we've got a super new 2-DVD Chijo (slut) performance (region 2)
  • Finally, we've had a major restock of DVDs, including Nanami Nanase Answers the Flagrant Requests of Bukkake fans, SOD's Semen Bust and Semen Paradise, the no-mosaic lesbian DVD My First Experience, and much more
  • For fans of the Crystal Card nude AV idol trading cards, we've got fresh stock of the 2001 vol. 1 series for you
  • In our quest to bring you really cool new Japanese anime figures, we've got two new ones: Naru-chan and Shinobu-chan from Love Hina, and they are really to die for
  • For lovely Japanese idol fans, we've got some beautiful photobooks for you by Japan's lovely race queens, swimsuit idols, and more
  • New Bento-related items, including fresh stock Picky's Bear Japanese bento boxes and other items
  • For Star Blazers/Yamato fans, fresh stock of the Yamato Chronicle trading card series from Cardass
  • We've restocked many popular anime and toy items, including the Star Wars super deformed toy line and the Macross Plus VF-11B transforming Battloid toy, and the lovely Love Hina Skyluv Project Naru-taking-a-bath toy
  • Also: fresh stock of our very cool Ichiro baseball action figures
  • We've got cool new health items, like the "sticky type" hand and body warmers that keep you warm for up to 12 hours, as well as cool Japanese hot springs tablets for your bath
  • Newly updated on our snacks and food pages are Vegetable and Fruit gummi candy (yes, you read right) -- it sounds funny, but it's really good
  • Also: a major restock of popular Mousse Pocky, including dark choco, white choco and the surprise hit green tea/matcha
  • We've got a rare treat for Hello Kitty fans, collectible boxes of chocolate snacks that come with Hello Kitty traditional kokeshi (carved wooden dolls) and daruma (statues that bring good luck)
  • Besides all the other cool things J-List sells, we carry Japan-release anime on DVD, including the very nice Hayao Miyazaki films that are being released here with full English subtitles and dubbed tracks. We've gotten fresh stock of the popular Princess Mononoke DVD that's loaded with extras you can't see outside of Japan (region 2)
  • Finally, look for many odd wacky things from Japan, including new Japanese "fude pens" (pens that write like Japanese writing brushes), notebooks that help you master the hiragana writing system, beautiful Japanese writing paper notebooks, and more!

J-List also carries the Pure Beauties soft porn DVD series out of our San Diego office. Since we're overstocked on many of these titles, we're having a bit of a sale -- look for reduced prices on these nice items, as low as $14.95 now.

The J-Mate site (http://www.jlist.com) has been updated, with a super interview with Ai Nagase, one of the biggest-selling girls at J-List and all throughout Japan. She gives a great snapshot of he life as one of the top AV idols in Japan and why she chose the life she chose. J-List sponsors J-Mate as a free service to our many customers as a way of saying thanks for your ongoing support. Remember if you ever want to review a Japanese DVD, game or anything else for J-Mate just email us. Thanks!

Monday, February 04, 2002

Greetings from J-List February 4, 2002

Hello from Japan, on this wonderful Monday evening.

Well, Goro-kun has finally returned to Smap. Smap is a famous team of five male "talents" (idols) who amuse Japanese each week with comedy, singing, dancing and gourmet cooking with a different special guest each time (they once presented George Lucas with a toy light saber as a joke). One of their number, Goro Inagaki, got into trouble with the police by trying to drive away from a police officer who was giving him a traffic citation (he hit the policeman in the leg with his car, resulting in a small injury). In the ensuing scandal Goro was removed from the hit show Smap x Smap, but now that the problem is behind him, he's back.

Japanese concepts of "love" can be a little complex. First of all, there are two words for love, "koi" and "ai" -- if you want to fluster a Japanese, ask him to explain the difference to you. Put simply, koi refers to romantic, sexual love you have while dating, and ai is a broader, more philosophical word which includes the love you feel for your wife/husband and family over the course of your life. Two words for lover are "koi-bito" and "ai-jin," both of which are written with the characters for love and person, but their nuance is very different since koi and ai have different meanings. I've been told by a Japanese friend that the reason Americans have a higher divorce rate than Japanese is that they expect the "koi" part of a relationship to continue forever, rather than recognizing that the passion and romance of the "koi" love is replaced by the cooler, longer-lasting "ai." Japanese rarely tell each other that they love each other directly (which would be "ai shiteiru" in Japanese), and images in movies and on TV of married couples who kiss often and say "I love you" seem very American to Japanese people, although younger people seem to be moving in this direction. When Japanese do confess love, they use the lower-key words "suki desu" (lit. "I like you").

One of the features of Japanese is that there are multiple words for "you" and "I" to choose from, and which word you choose says a lot about how a person perceives himself. The basic word for "I" is "watashi," and this is what is used in formal settings (also as "watakushi") -- this is the first word students of Japanese learn. Girls get a cute version of this word -- "atashi" -- and good boys are supposed to use "boku," a good all-around word for males to use in most any setting. Rough and tough boys, as well as men who want to project their manliness, will use the men's first-person pronoun, "ore" (oh-rey). Kenshiro, of Fist of the North Star, uses this term, and since I learned much of my early Japanese from reading Fist of the North Star manga, I overused it for several weeks and really embarassed myself. For "you," the formal word is "anata," but "kimi" (a familiar word for use among friends) is also popular with both men and women (however it's rude to use this word to someone older than you). The men's word "omae" is used by men who think they're pretty manly, or from a man talking to his girlfriend. A person's choice of what words he uses for "I" and "you" reveals much about his personality and self-image. A cute little girl will use the term "atashi" or "watashi" and play with Licca-chan dolls; young boys, such as my son, will experiment with acting tough by using the word "ore" and acting strong, like his father.

We've added a new sub-category to the Anime and Toys section, for the high-end anime figures that are so lovely. These figures are highly detailed anime statues, made with the "cold cast" method of manufacturing, and we're going to work hard to keep these in stock for you in the coming months. Right off the bat, we've got stock of the very nice G-Taste cold cast figures from Hiroki Yagami for you (check them out).

For the first update of the week, we've got another nice volley of items for you, including:

  • First of all, new magazines for you, including indies, young wife and magazines for fans of older ladies, age 25-40
  • For video CD fans, we've got the new Video CD and DVD Soft Catalog, which features two video CDs of sampler footage with a great magazine
  • For photobook fans, we've got several new hardcover photobooks including the lovely nude of Rina Okada and An Sakurai's lovely first photobook
  • Fresh stock of the sold out "Fascination" (anal photobook) which is always a popular seller
  • We've got fresh stock of In-Gi, the very nice bondage magazine + DVD combo item
  • Also: a bold parody of Akira Gomi's Yellows in which 100 women Japanese women show everything about themselves, in many interesting ways
  • We have some very nice erotic manga for you, including many new works as well as fresh stock of some popular titles that we've been able to reorder
  • For DVD fans, we've got several great new offerings -- from SOD we've got the DVD version of Natsumi Kawahama's very erotic "Tekoki Lewd Woman" (region free)
  • Also from SOD, we've got the very interesting "Semen White Paper," a very detailed and dramatic erotic bukkake title (region free)
  • If you love more mature and experienced women, enjoy the Jukujo Best Selection DVD from SOD, featuring the best over-25 AV work they've ever done
  • For indies fans, enjoy an all-new VIP Shower, featuring bukkake and sperm-fetish erotica with three lovely and famous Japanese actresses
  • A new release from Audaz in the Face series, this is the lovely performance of Lum Nagase (aka Ramu Nagase), who is the ultimate "virtual girlfriend" in this great new release
  • Finally, from Momotaro Eizo, a charming new "girl next door" sexual performance from the lovely Kaori Shimizu (region 2)
  • For fans of lovely Japanese idols, be sure and see the sweet and charming Yoko Mitsuya and Mao Miyaaji starring in Mix Juice, a very enjoyable Japanese sexy idol DVD featuring these two girls (region 2, shot in wide screen)
  • On our newly christened High-end Anime Figure page, we've got two newly posted beautiful figures in Hiroki Yagami's G-Taste series, and they are really beautiful to behold. We have only one of each figure and expect to sell out quickly, so more will be on the way soon
  • Also, we've gotten in stock of the brand-new Ah My Goddess figures from Hobby Base -- Urd, Belldandy and Skuld -- these are very nice PVC figures with bases
  • We have many nice "traditional" items for you, including a very nice Japanese flower pot, a large rice bowl, and a very nice sake bottle with matching ceramic cups
  • Speaking of sake, we've restocked our Japanese snack and food page with two very popular items, sake candy and Kuro Ame (black candy)
  • Fresh stock of many popular items, including the Hamster Club bento box (our best-selling Japanese lunchbox by far), more Japanese "socks glue" for your loose socks, and limited fresh stock of the very nice sushi gummi treats
  • Also, a delicious "kimchee fried rice mix" that's a popular dish in Japan (and Korea)
  • Finally, look for super cute metallic Hamster pins, funny Japanese dictionaries, a beautiful Japanese tattoo, kit, a great sushi-making bamboo roller, an all-new Hello Kitty onigiri maker, and more.

Do you have a retail shop or online business? J-List sells some of the products on our site on a wholesale basis, and maybe we can help you out. For more information, see the wholesale link on the J-List page, below the product categories.