Saturday, February 16, 2002

Greetings from J-List February 16, 2002

Hello from Japan on a bright and sunny Saturday.

In Japanese, words are made from kanji, the Chinese characters that have meanings built into them. When modern hospitals came to Japan and a word for "operating room" was needed, they built a word out of the meanings in the Chinese characters. Sometimes, though, the meanings of words breaks down when their definitions change. The Japanese word for preschool teacher was "hobo" (literally "protecting mother"), but like words like fireman, stewardess and mailman in English, it needed upgrading to a term that didn't refer to a particular sex. The new "correct" is "hoikushi" (a professional-sounding word that means care-giver). A family with only one parent is called "boshi katei" which literally means "household of mother and child," but this word doesn't serve its purpose very well if the single parent is male. And Japanese who spent several years overseas then returned to Japan are called "kikoku shijo" or "girl-children who have returned to this country." The terms is used for males as well as females, despite the fact that the "girl" meaning is built into the word.

A fun part of learning Japanese is memorizing the "counters." In Japanese, you use different words for counting different objects depending on what shape they are. If you're counting sheets of paper, you count with "mai" (ichi mai, ni mai, san mai, and so on). For any long, cylindrical object, you use "hon" (which changes to pon or bon depending on the preceding word), e.g. ippon, ni hon, san bon, and so on. (Roppingi, if you want to know, means "six trees" -- roku plus the "pon" counter, and ki is Japanese for tree.) Small animals are counted with "hiki" (which changes to piki or biki), cows and horses are counter with "tou" (ittou, ni tou, san tou), birds with "wa," and any large machine like a car is counted with "dai." There are some difficult ones to get down -- for example, an umbrella is counted with hon/pon because it's long and cylindrical, but when it's opened, it's in a different shape. How do you count it? Does the Space Shuttle count as an airplane or a spaceship when counting. We used to bug my Japanese teacher, Higurashi-sensei, with questions like that.

We've reorganized our Anime & Toys page so that they're hopefully laid-out more logically for you. Now all anime & toy items are posted on each category, Anime Figures, Stuffed Animals and so on, as well as on a handy new "View all Anime & Toy Items" category, so you can browse everything we've got in stock at once. And speaking of stock, J-List has been able to make available the extremely cool and rare Totoro stuffed animal line from Studio Gibli, including the super-giant-massive Sleeping Totoro that is 32 inches high! Feedback on the new categories is always appreciated.

For the pre-weekend update, we've got a bunch of cool items for you, including:

  • First of all, we have great new magazines for you, including the new Video Boy and Best Video issues, super "all purpose" adult video magazines with lots of information and pics, as well as new kogal and amateur magazines!
  • For fans of Japan's beautiful Race Queens, check out the deluxe Cool Girls EX which we've got in stock for you, featuring the Mario Racing Team and more
  • For photobook fans, we've got fresh stock of many popular items, including Race Queen Miki Munemasa, with lower prices on many of our photobooks
  • For hentai manga fans, we've got another great selection of new items for you, with fresh stock of new volumes as well (including the incredibly popular High School Planet Prowler)
  • For hentai art book collectors, we've been able to locate fresh stock of the popular Yui Shop books, but stock is limited so snap them up before they sell out again
  • If you love doujinshi, we've got more fresh-from-the-Comic-Market works for you. Also, we've reposted some of our popular lower-priced doujinshi works, with new scans so you can see what they're like. Check them out!
  • From Soft on Demand we've got a nice DVD: "Study of men's penis with innocent girls." It's interesting to see the reactions as a room full of inexperienced girls see and touch a penis for the first time
  • Also from SOD, enjoy the "lewd talk and multi-angle" of Nanami Yusa, which features many scenes with multiple angels that you can change with your DVD controller
  • We've got a new "Swimming Girl" fetish DVD for you, for fans of spandex and swimming pool sex
  • For Anna Ohura fans, a great new large-breast fetish release on video, Complete Bust, featuring some superb erotic performing by this busty lady. As the cover says, "That's Excellent Big Bomb!"
  • Finally a very special item from Waap Entertainment, a super bukkake release that's got to be seen to be believed. This rare work is very special because it was produced by M's Video Group, aka MVG, an indies video company so aloof and popular that their products are almost completely unavailable except through one retail store the company operates
  • We've got more good news: it turns out that the DVD releases of the bold and interesting indies AV studio Aroma are region-free, so you can play them on any DVD player! We've posted some of very interesting fetish titles for you, and will get in more soon
  • Finally, we've got fresh stock of many of our popular DVD titles, including several Aika Miura indies DVDs, and Bunko Kanazawa's excellent "Kageki" production which happens to be subtitled in English, Chinese and Korean!
  • Borderline 3 ~ Frozen Beach was out of stock for a few weeks, but we're happy to report that it's back from the CD duplicators. Borderline 3 is a great collection of hentai parody CG from illustrator Sakaki Naomoto (who designed the J-List logo, hence we've got a soft spot for his works). Get free shipping on this and all doujin-soft CD works this month!
  • Finally, the first issue of AG, the Super Erotic Anthology Comic, is in stock, and we've already processed those with subscriptions. AG is a great idea from Icarus Comics, an English-language manga compilation magazine that will carry translated hentai manga from Japan and the U.S., and we hope everyone at J-List will support their efforts (we know we will -- look for articles by yours truly as well as other content J-List fans will enjoy)
  • We have the above-mentioned Giant Totoro that is so cool we couldn't believe it when we saw it -- if you'd like a giant icon of Japanese pop culture in your room, we've got one for you!
  • Also, we've got fresh stock of the very popular Totoro "tin toy" series, including the sold-out Totoro Bus Stop playset, which features many characters from the film in a wind-up toy
  • For Oh My Goddess! (Ah Megamisama) fans, fresh stock of the sold-out PVC/soft vinyl figures of Belldandy, Urd and Skuld
  • The only-released-in-Japan Hot Wheels toys have attracted interest, so we've posted more, authentic Hot Wheels recreations of some of the most famous Kamen Rider (Masked Rider) motorcycles + figures ever made
  • If you love Morning Musume, the 13-member cute girl idol group, you can get their newest idol cards and enjoy their pretty faces
  • For fans of the popular Bilingual Manga (in English and Japanese) from Kodansha, we've restocked the Love Hina and Oh My Goddess titles -- read them in English!
  • If you love Japan's snacks and food, we've got many new items for you, including a delicious new set of "raw style" miso soup, a delicious set of dried salmon furikake that you sprinkle over rice, and the famous Mill Make, a delicious coffee-milk flavored powder you mix with milk, consumed universally by all elementary school kids in Japan (thus everyone says "natsukashii" when they drink it)
  • For lovers of sweeter things, we've got a delicious "air in chocolate" from Lotte as well as a highly recommend item, Meiji "Poifull" sweet jellybeans
  • Our authentic Japanese headbands (hachimaki) are very popular, and we've got a new one posted for you, "Will Power"
  • J-List carries the only authentic Japanese "loose socks" (worn by high school girls) you are likely to find, and we've got fresh stock of "socks glue" which you apply to keep your socks up
  • Finally, check out a cool Japanese way to remove oil from your face, a super set of pens that is really four pens, cute chopsticks and chopstick holders, fresh stock of our popular tofu storage box and best-selling Hamster Club bento box, and in celebration of the Olympics, a cool Gold Medal!

At J-List, we love all forms of Japanese pop culture, from Hello Kitty vibrators to beautiful Japanese things. We've got stock (although it's going fast) of the wonderful Gummi Sushi, individually wrapped packages of Japanese gummi candy in sushi shapes, perched atop marshmallow "rice."

Are you an anime fan in Canada? If so, be sure to check out Anime North, a great convention that you should be sure to get to. For more information, see their homepage at http://www2.animenorth.com:1080/

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Greetings from J-List February 13, 2002

Greetings from J-List, your friends in Japan!

Well, Valentine's Day is right around the corner. If you've watched much anime at all, you may know that Valentine's Day works a little differently in Japan than in the rest of the world. Here, girls give chocolate to the men in their lives, be it husbands, fathers, boyfriends or potential versions of the latter. The stores positively overflow with all kinds of chocolate-related products, ranging from beautiful packages to little trinkets for, say, the men in the office that women don't really like (this chocolate that you must give even though you don't want to is called "giri choco" or "obligation chocolate"). You can get more than just chocolate for Valentine's Day though -- this year, heart-shaped tofu and heart-shaped rice crackers with messages written in them with soy sauce. Men who receive gifts from women must return the favor on March 14, "White Day," a completely artificial day in which white chocolate is given back to females.

Japan is a nice place, but living here is probably not for everyone. For one thing, it's earthquake country, and small to medium sized quakes are not uncommon at all. Last night, northern Kanto received a pretty sizable jolt, a "3" on the Japanese scale of Earthquakes (around a 4 on the Richter Scale) which caused no damage but caused my Star Wars figures to fall over (there was a disturbance in the Force, ha-ha). Coming from California as I did, it wasn't too hard to get used to the quakes in Japan, but those from places that aren't used to earthquakes might be a little nervous here.

April 1 is only a few weeks away, and in Japan, that means one thing: road construction. Japan's fiscal year ends on March 31st, and as in the U.S., government bodies that have money left in their budgets have to give it back at the end of that time. Since in Japan, the construction industry is roughly equivalent to the military in the U.S. in terms of its occasional use as a means of spurring the economy, every road construction company in Japan is tearing up some road somewhere around this time of year. Usually this is just a pain in the neck -- it means that everywhere you go, you can expect road crews to be doing construction on a perfectly good road -- but this year is different. The road we use to get to J-List is a narrow dirt-and-gravel road that becomes a quagmire of mud during Rainy Season, but finally, the road has been upgraded to "asphalt status." The road crew will be paving the road this week. The downside is that we can't get into the J-List parking lot...

We've been making some improvements to the J-List site. First of all, you can now use Booleans like "or" and "and" to search the J-List site. Search for "aika or bunko" if you want to find all products with either Aika Miura or Bunko Kanazawa in them. To find only products with both girls, search for "aika and bunko." The default is the same as it always was ("and") so searching for " aika miura dvd" will still bring up a list of Aika Miura's DVDs. Because we've been fiddling around under the hood, please let us know if you experience any problems with the J-List site in any way, especially when trying to check out after a purchase. As always, feel free to use the secure email form at https://www.jastusa.com/Merchant2/contact.mv? if you have a problem with the site.

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

  • For magazine fans, we've got some nice ones, including the new Urecco Gal (filled with lovely kogals for you), as well as a special Beppin School that we're posting at a big discount as in past months
  • For photobook lovers, we've got the lovely photobook of Aki Osawa back in stock (for now)
  • If you like Japan's erotic leg fetish items, be sure and see Rina Kurihara's very erotic photobook "Premium," featuring Race Queen, nurse, bus guide and other leggy fetish cosplay
  • For bondage and female domination fans, see Sniper EVE, a "mistress culture magazine for adults"
  • For manga collectors, we've got some beautiful new volumes for you, including new works by Hiyo Hiyo, one of the most incredible hentai artists in Japan today (includes tentacle sex themes)
  • Also: a major restock of some of our most popular adult manga titles, including Blue Eyes, Alice First, the popular Explosive Breast Newscaster Anzai-san and more
  • For fans of the hentai works of Yui Toshiki, the excellent creator of Yui Shop, we've got fresh stock of the Yui Shop CD-ROM, for Mac and Windows, and it works great in English Windows or Mac OS
  • We've got lots of great DVD items for you, including the very erotic new Do Lesbian! in which Mei Sawaga and Rumiko Hasegawa don "penis bands" (strap on dildos that look like real penises) and pretend to be men (region free)
  • The Japanese know their fetishes, and they also know that nothing feels quite like flannel pajamas against your nude body -- and now there are two "Private Sex of Pajama Play" DVDs for your enjoyment (region free)
  • For indies lovers and fans of the lovely Maria Yumeno, see the new "Face" release from Audaz, filled with superb erotica starring this lovely, busty lady (VHS)
  • For those with region 2 DVD viewing capabilities, a special item -- the Best of Uchu Kikaku, a super *4 hour* (240 minute) compilation of their best AV titles (region 2)
  • Thanks to Tomo, fresh stock of some top-selling DVD titles, including Semen Paradise 2 and All About Ai Nagase
  • Also, we've got a nice restock of many of the popular Deep Kiss lesbian kissing video titles from Soft on Demand, which have been best-sellers for more than two years
  • Finally, in San Diego, we've restocked several of the popular Pure Beauties softcore DVD titles for you
  • Japan is known for many things, and delightful Japanese swimsuit idols are one of them. One of the top idols in Japan right now is the sweet and charming Yuko Ogura, and we've got her dynamite idol DVD (region 2)
  • For fans of our new deluxe "cold cast" anime statues which we're trying to bring to you, we've got a beautiful 1/6 scale "completed model" of Kaolla Su, an incredibly detailed recreation of the brown-skinned girl from Love Hina
  • On our anime & toys page, we've got other cool items, including a Japan-only Hot Wheels release of the Delorean from Back to the Future (totally cool) and a deluxe Bruce Lee figure, phone strap and keychain set
  • By customer request, we've made the beautiful Captain Harlock Leiji Matsumoto figure set available in full sets, so you can get all the figures at once
  • Look for interesting new traditional items from Japan, including a sake/tea cup with coaster and a very nice bento box used to serve food to guests
  • We've got a rare "retro Hello Kitty" mascot with chocolate snack that is too cool to believe (stock is limited, we'll order more soon)
  • We have stock of two series of cute bishoujo and anime trading cards, which are very cool indeed
  • Also, a rare item indeed, a phone strap/keychain/camera strap featuring characters from Shusaku, the famous bishoujo/hentai game and anime from Elf
  • On our snacks & food page, we've got fresh stock Sakuma Drops hard candy, and a great new item, Japanese green tea (matcha) candy!
  • Finally, look for other cool items, including new "non-cute" bento boxes, authentic Japanese "fude-pens" which are pens that write like beautiful calligraphy brushes, a deluxe world map from Japan, with Japan right in the center, and a great way to boil eggs!

Remember that J-List carries many interesting and delicious kinds of Japanese chewing gum, including major varieties from Lotte. The most popular is by far Black Black, the spicy caffeine gum that's never failed to amaze us with the speed with which it sells out every day. Other popular flavors are Blue Berry, Ume, La France (that's French for "pear"), Coffee and Lemon Tea.

Monday, February 11, 2002

Greetings from J-List February 11, 2002

Hello again from your friends in Japan!

Japan is underground a crisis of trust right now, as news of the wrongdoings of Snow Brand, a major manufacturer of milk, dairy and meat products, continues to come out on a daily basis. Last year, one of their milk manufacturing plants caused a major outbreak of food poisoning because of poor standards of cleanliness, with 14,000 people getting sick. And now, it's come out that they've regularly been changing the labels on processed meat products, so they could sell beef from prefectures inside Japan that have had cattle found with BSE (mad cow disease) as if they came from other parts of Japan. They also relabeled Australian beef as Japanese product, and tried to get recompensation from the government for the potently BSE-infected beef. The failure of the company is complete, and no one in Japan is willing to give them another chance this time. McDonald's announced that they will be giving away shares of the company's stock with all Happy Meals sold in Japan (just kidding about that last part).

The economic news in japan continues to be bad, and things may get worse this year. The long ongoing recession in Japan has brought an end to many established concepts, which were firmly in place when I came to Japan back in 1991. One is shuushin koyou, or lifetime employment, which used to be the norm for many Japanese. Now, few expect to work at the same company all their life. In the time that I've been living here, I've seen Japan go from a very closed country, where you couldn't get Doritos without searching all over town, to a much more open one (we even have Corona and Zima at my in-laws' rural liquor shop). Along with the openness, though, has come increased competition from producers outside Japan, and a slow, steady erosion of the manufacturing base, as goods are produced less and less in Japan and more in other Asian countries and China. It's very similar to what the U.S. went through in the 80's, when services assumed a larger role than manufacturing in our economy. We hope Japan can find something like the Internet to fall back on.

The recession has also changed Japanese society in another way. Previously, Japan had a very homogeneous society, with everyone feeling as if they were a part of the overall group. If you polled 1000 Japanese, about 800 of them would tell you they considered themselves middle-class, despite the fact that the average household has over US$100,000 in cash savings (and this in a country where banks pay 0.02% interest). Now, however, I feel that Japanese company builders have divided into two distinct groups, those who are succeeding and those who are not. On Japanese television, there's quite a lot of analysis about the changes in the economy, and what companies are flourishing in the recession and why. In one case, a small furniture company in Osaka has found success by dressing its employees in muscle-man suits (suits that make the person look like he's got bulging muscles), and having them stand out on the street, to encourage people to drive to his store and see their furniture. Companies that aren't working hard to innovate in the current Japanese economic climate cannot hope to survive and flourish in the future.

Today is a holiday in Japan, Kenkoku Kinenbi, or National Foundation Day, which is supposedly the anniversary of the founding of Japan back in 660 BC by Emperor Jimmu. I had to find this information on the Internet, by the way, since no one I asked had any idea what National Foundation Day was about, whether it commemorated Japan's first constitution in the late 1800's, or Japan's post-war constitution, or what. It's just Yasu and me today, with everyone else off, but I'm going to leave poor Yasu alone and take the kids up to the mountains in our Mazda Bongo Friendee so they can see some snow before it all melts. Sorry, Yasu!

For today's update, we've got some nice items. For our adult customers, look for new magazines (including the new Dela Beppin and more), the erotic "Ura Karami" featuring many nice shots of Japan's top AV idols, fresh stock of the Brave Soul and Tokimeki Check in! art books, lots of new and back-in-stock hentai manga including yaoi manga, newly posted hentai doujinshi, fresh stock of some of our best-selling DVDs, and more!. For our non-adult customers we have many nice items, too, like a beautiful notebook that looks like it came out of the Edo Period, more delicious Hamutaro hamster-shaped gummi candy, fresh stock of the popular Darth Maul "super deformed" figure, and some really cool Ultraman and Alien Baltan figures.

We've recently posted compatibility information for Windows XP on our bishoujo CD-ROM games for fans of "hentai" games. Unfortunately, the currently on-sale Three Sisters' Story (as well as Season of the Sakura and Runaway City) won't work in Windows XP or 2000, even in Windows 95/98 compatibility mode. It is possible to play the games by making a DOS boot floppy that will allow the games to be played on an XP computer. For information on how to do it, see the JAST USA support page at http://www.jastusa.com/Merchant2/support.html. Incidentally, we've got very limited stock of Season of the Sakura on the site right now, as we found some hiding in our warehouse in San Diego. Get them before they're gone...