Saturday, March 02, 2002

Greetings from J-List March 2, 2002

Hello again from your friends at J-List!

My wife and daughter are in San Diego now, taking a little mini-vacation before we get busier in the summer. Anyone who's married probably knows how much fun it can be to have the whole house to yourself to rattle around in, and I'll be doing some fun things with my son while my wife and daughter are in the U.S., including some serious onsen (hot springs) trips.

There's no doubt about it -- the Japanese really love their tea. While in a 7-11 the other day, I counted no less than a dozen brands of bottled or canned tea for sale, mostly variations on Japanese green tea and Chinese oolong tea. In addition to the normal Western canned tea like Kirin's Afternoon Tea, which are the only teas with sugar added, many brands competed for shelf space, including Kirin's new Nama-cha, Sapporo's Kyo-ryoku-cha, Asahi's Marocha, the popular Soukenbi-cha by Coca-cola, various blends of jasmine tea, and my own personal favorite, Asahi's "Chugoku no Ryokucha". As the market for bottled tea products heats up, manufacturers come up with ways to get you to buy their products, offering larger or smaller packages, keychains that you get free with the bottle of tea, and so on. Unlike the U.S., where adding sweetener to products is an unfortunate requirement in most cases (bottled green and oolong tea we've bought in the U.S. even contained honey to sweeten it), all Asian teas are completely unsweetened, and the unaltered, slightly bitter taste is really delicious. Sapporo tried to bring its unsweetened oolong tea to market in California some years ago, but their efforts weren't successful.

In case you wondered why beer companies like Asahi, Kirin and Sapporo are so busy making bottled tea products, the short answer is that Japanese companies pretty much do everything, rather than focusing on one category of products or services, as U.S. companies often to. All beer makers also have beverage bottling businesses, to better compete in all markets -- JT, aka Japan Tobacco, also sells beverages, although drinking a refreshing drink that was bottled by a tobacco company can give one pause. Do you want to reform your home? Panahome, the construction company operated by Panasonic/National, will be happy to help you. Panasonic bicycles are also very well-known in the marketplace. Hitachi is famous for consumer products, but they also make Japan's speedy bullet trains. Sony has a popular line of high-end make-up products, and a life insurance business, too. When we built the J-List office, one of the companies we considered was Toyota Home, a division of Toyota that will build you a home in chunks in their factory, and truck it out to your land for later assembly. Whereas American companies like Apple or Compaq pretty much stick to one main business, it's quite common for Japanese companies to branch out into many areas.

As part of our ongoing quest to bring you just about every form of fun Japanese pop culture possible, J-List offers a unique service, a selection of anime, yaoi and other manga, JPOP, fashion, swimsuit idol, hobby and adult magazines by "reserve subscription." This basically means that we'll send you the newest issue of the magazines you want each month, automatically, until you ask us to stop. Since J-List gets these magazines in at the same time as the Japanese newsstands and sends them to you automatically, you can always be assured of having the latest issues. We've frankly got an incredible lineup of magazines, which Tomo works very hard to maintain, and to help you figure out which excellent Japanese magazines you'd like to get each month, we've updated all our scans with fresh ones so you can see how good the items are.

For the pre-weekend update, we've got an extra special volley of new items for you, including:

  • First, we've got new magazines for you, including the new Bejean (a very nice issue this month!), as well as new kogal and amateur hardcore magazines for your enjoyment
  • If you like our photobooks, we've got some nice new hard- and softcover books for you, including a very nice "on the set collection of shots of Japan's top AV idols, from Audaz
  • One of more most popular categories are our leg, stocking and mini-skirt fetish photobooks, and we've got the new Mini-Suka Deluxe in for you, although stock is limited this time around, so get it fast if you want it
  • If you like hentai manga, you've come to the right place -- we've got an extra nice selections of a half-dozen all-new works for you, including the very cool "Leave it to the Bunny Maids"
  • For DVD fans, we've got some nice items, starting with the Private Onanie (which comes from the word onanism, and means masturbation) of ten girls aged 19-23, from Deep's (region free)
  • The lovely Sakura Kawai dresses up in a variety of sexy anime costumes and performs for your pleasure, in a new DVD from Big Morkal (region free)
  • In a DVD market where more and more lesbian sex is done with "penis band" (strap on dildos) and the like, Moodyz director Kei Morikawa has filmed the "real lesbian" with soft, gentle lovemaking and more (region 2)
  • Finally, the long-awaited and very-often-requested Milky Cat bukkake videos are finally available through J-List -- we've got the first titles, The Gansha series, posted now (VHS only)
  • For fans of the Leiji Matsumoto masterpiece Space Cruiser Yamato, e.g. Star Blazers, we've refreshed our stock of the very nice Yamato trading cards from Cardass
  • Our only-available-in-Japan Hot Wheels are proving to be more and more popular, so much so that we sold out of all the ones we've posted. We now post more stock of the Thunderbird and Back to the Future cars, as well as a rare collector's edition of the Mach 5 from Speed Racer (oh, this is so cool)
  • The Dog, the series of ultra-cute plush little dogs from Japan, has sold beyond our wildest expectations, and to say thanks, we've gotten another major restock of these cute little guys for you
  • A classic item, the PVC figure of Asuka Hoshino from Sentimental Graffiti, is in stock, and it's very lovely indeed
  • For Licca-chan fans, we've got a little figure that's a recreation of the Licca doll issued in 1967, a really cool classic item
  • If you'd like to follow the adventures of Anpan Man (that is, Bean Paste Man), and his two friends, White Bread Man and Curry Bread Man, check out the little plush toys we've posted to the stuffed animals page
  • For lovers of traditional wacky stuff from Japan, we've posted a nifty new sake bottle with cups (great for drinking hot sake), as well as a traditional bamboo sign for your bath
  • If you dig Japanese gum, we've got a tasty item for you, Lotte's "Fruit of the Bubble" gum that features little blueberry gum with larger pieces of yogurt flavored gum, all in a great container
  • For fans of our Japanese food and snack items, check out Lion Ramune candy, super butter-and-soy-sauce flavored Popcorn that is one of our favorites here, and a delicious treat, "Chii-kama" (that is, cheese and kamaboko), a delicious snack that goes well with beer
  • Finally, look for Hello Kitty tissue and toilet paper, fresh stock of wacky signs from Japan (like "please remove your shoes"), more handy chopsticks and bento related items, and more!

One of my own favorite hentai/bishoujo games, which I still find myself playing late at night despite my own busy schedule, is Hentai Anime Poker. Featuring five different games of strip poker, including Texas Hold 'Em, the game allows you to "plug in" other anime opponents, so you can play for hours. It comes with full instructions too, in case you're not up on all the rules of Poker, and it's a great way to practice against some challenge players who are also cute anime girls. As a special thanks to our bishoujo game customers, we're offering our "POKERPACK" (the Hentai Anime Poker CD-ROM with all four downloadable packs of opponents) for an even better price, just $24.95, $10 off the normal price and half the price of buying the game with the download packs separately. The offer ends this month.

Finally, the "top 5" (which is really a top 10) has been updated for the past week, so you can see with one click what items have been selling the most.

Thursday, February 28, 2002

Greetings from J-List February 28, 2002

Hello again from your friends in Japan!

Now that Harry Potter-mania has died down, it's time for Lord of the Rings to make its debut in Japan. Starting March 2nd, all of Japan will thrill to the adventures of Tolkien's famous fantasy work. The official title of the film in Japanese is "Lord of the Ring" in English (written in the katakana syllabary, as these are foreign words), rather than "Yubiwa Monogatari" (The Tale of the Ring), as the novels were named. Through an unfortunate accident of Japanese phonetics, millions of Japanese will think that movie is called "Road of the Ring" (as in, the road that the ring travels in its various adventures). Other words that are difficult for Japanese include Pizza Hut (everyone thinks it's Pizza Hat), cone and corn (Japanese think that ice cream cones are so named because the cones are made from corn), and curb/curve (two different words in English, but they get mixed together in Japanese).

It's very hard to get along in Japan without learning some Japanese. Contrary to what you may think about living in a country, it is very difficult to pick up a language automatically, and even if you are living in Japan, effort is required. One of the best ways to learn Japanese, I've found, is to set a goal and work towards it all year long. The Japanese have given us a perfect goal in the Japanese Ability Test (Nihongo Noryoku Shiken), a test given each December which is a standardized way to know your Japanese level. There are four levels to the test, starting with level 4 (hiragana, katakana and about 100 kanji), and going all the way up to level 1 (which is required for any foreigners who wish to enter a Japanese university). You can take the test at various cities around Japan, and also around the world. For more information, see this http://www.jflalc.org/proftest/ Incidentally, I've made some information and general advice on what is involved in learning Japanese on my personal homepage, at http://www.peterpayne.net/ in case it's useful to anyone.

We knew the cute little plush toys in "The Dog" series are cute and fun to touch and play with, but we had no idea how popular they'd prove with J-List customers. We're glad, but we've started to sell out of these cute little dogs, which have cute, oversized heads and small bodies. If you're interested in more cute The Dog items, we've got more for you, starting with the line of The Dog pens (they have little doghouses on them, with cute pictures of dogs inside).

For the new update, we've got a bunch of very special items for you, including:

  • First, we've got the excellent new issues of Video Boy and Best Video, two great magazines for fans of professional adult video idols in Japan
  • For fans of amateur adult magazines from japan, check out several new items we've posted for you, too
  • For photobook lovers, we've got the lovely hardcover photobook of Sachie Koike, fresh stock of the super photobook of Maria Yumeno, and more
  • The Yellows series has long been a popular item at J-List, and we've restocked the very nice Yellows 3.0 China Version, featuring nude photography of models from mainland China
  • For hentai manga fans, we've got fresh stock of all-new books, including the excellent manga works of Amanojack (aka Amanoja9, with the 9 read as "ku" in Japanese), of dick girl manga fame
  • Also for manga collectors, a major restock of popular books that had sold out, including Stripper Mai, Mercy's File, and Reflection
  • If you prefer yaoi manga, we've also gotten in stock of several of the popular B-boy Zipz, the anthologies of homosexual comics with each volume organized around a certain theme
  • For fans of great manga for adults published in English, we now carry single issues and subscriptions for Pulp, the very nice manga magazine from Viz
  • For fans of erotic DVD from Japan, we've got some great items for you, starting with the 2-in-1 "Cock Suckin' and Fuckin' Shakin' Contest" for bukkake/tekoki fans (region free)
  • If you like Japanese AV idols dressed up in anime costumes, we've got the outrageous Big Morkal Cosplayers DVD, featuring Sayaka Hijiri in a variety of cute anime costumes having sex (region free)
  • Another bold release from Japan, we've got the Adult Video Wrestling Special, featuring erotic hardcore professional wrestling (region free)
  • A favorite of mine, Mirai Hoshizaki, stars in her very lovely "How to Perfect" release, which lets you know everything about this lovely girl
  • Finally, three very lovely professional AV idols star in Semen Drunkers, a very nicely done production for fans of high-quality indies DVD from Japan
  • Since The Dog has proved such a big hit, we've followed it up with another really cool item, official The Dog pens, which each feature a little doghouse with a different dog inside, atop a quality ballpoint pen
  • From Bandai come more Japan-only Hot Wheels toys, with some truly cool Hot Wheels toys from Thunderbirds and Ultraman
  • If you love and follow Japan's cute idols, be sure and check out the issue of Kindai, a "break idol" magazine that features information on all the up and coming idols in Japan
  • Our bento boxes (authentic Japanese lunchboxes as seen in anime) continue to grow in popularity, and we've added fresh stock of new "Picky's Bear" bento box today
  • For fans of our popular Japanese snack and food pages, we've got a very special item by customer request: the Morning Musume limited edition of Pocky and Men's Pocky, which feature cool stickers of the cute girls from Morning Musume
  • Also, a major restock of our snack and food pages, including the ever-popular Sushi Gummi (little gummi sushi on marshmallow "rice"), Green Tea Pocky, Shigekix (super-tart hard gummi), and Japanese Kuro Ame (black candy)
  • For gum lovers, fresh stock of the bizarre but tasty Lemon Tea Gum, and an all-new item, Fruit of the Bubble, from Lotte
  • For Hayao Miyazaki fans, we've got a very nice Black Cat purse from Gibli and Sun Arrow
  • Finally, we love to sell wacky things from Japan, like Japanese maps for your wall, or funny Japanese notebooks with funny English on them and what not, and we've got lots of fresh stock for you!

We've enjoyed selling the best bishoujo games in English to you over the years. Several games, including Virtual Reality Dating Simulator May Club and Three Sisters' Story, are nearing the end of their print runs. If you'd like to get these very nice games, you might want to snap them up before we run out of them.

J-List customers tell us that the #1 way they hear about us is through word of mouth. This makes us happy, since we love what we do and wouldn't trade it for anythiing. If you know anyone interested in fun things from Japan, why not tell them about J-List?

Monday, February 25, 2002

Greetings from J-List February 25, 2002

Greetings from Japan!

My five-year-old daughter Rina has reached a milestone: she's lost her first tooth, and now she looks like a Canadian hockey player. In Japan, when a child loses a tooth, it's customary to throw the tooth on the roof of your house (if the tooth was a lower tooth) and under your house (if the tooth was an upper tooth), so that strong and healthy teeth will grow in. The American custom of putting the tooth under the child's pillow so that the Tooth Fairy (ha no yousei) can come and take it away, replacing it with money, is totally unknown in Japan, but the idea delighted my daughter so much that we opted for the American custom this time around.

Japan is a pretty nice place, and like many foreigners, I like living here. Japanese are very friendly to us gaijini, and there are not too many hardships associated with living here. Although Japan has become more and more open to outside thing, from Doritos to Starbuck's, there are always some things that gaijin just can't seem to get easily in Japan. One are shoes: in Japanese stores, the largest shoe sizes kept in stock are 28 cm, around a size 10 in the U.S. Going skiing and renting ski boots is also a challenge for gaijin with larger feet. Fortunately I wear a size 26 1/2 cm shoe, so I can buy my shoes here. T-shirts in Japan are often "free size," which is the Japanese way of saying "one size fits all" or "this shirt will not fit you, gaijin, get your shirts sent from home like everyone else." Finally, an item that can be difficult to procure here in Japan are U.S. condoms. Japanese condoms are just fine, of course, but they're quite a bit thinner than most condoms in the U.S., and can feel smaller. Many gaijin can't use them (for the obviously reason) or aren't comfortable using them (for fear that they might provide less protection). By the way, Japanese condom use is the highest in the world, since the Pill was only recently legalized for sale in Japan -- it took just a few months for the Japan's male politicians to approve Viagra, but 30 years for the Pill.

Japan is going ape over a cute line of plush toys called "The Dog" (the Japanese like to attach "the" to words). A very high-quality line of plush toys designed and released by Japan's Tsuburaya (the company that brought you Ultraman, in case you wanted to know), these lovable plush dogs are "strange ratio," meaning that their heads are much too big for their bodies, resulting in an incredibly cute "super deformed" look that is just too cute. Details on each dog include soft skin, stitched noses that look and feel cool, like dog's noses, sad, pouting eyes, and cute little dog-bodies. They come with string so you can hang them anywhere, or display them, or carry them with you all the time. We've got these very cute items on the new Stuffed Animals pages, so check them out now. Full sets are also available.

For our Monday update, we've got a bunch of excellent items for you, including:

  • First, some great new Japanese adult magazines for you, including the new issues of Shuffle, Gachinko Musume, and other nice amateur and kogal magazines
  • For fans of low-cost magazines (and we know you're out there), we've got new magazines on magazine page 3, including some rare and lovely backissues of magazines from 2+ years ago
  • We have several really nice new photobooks for you, including the very erotic hardcover nude photobook of Harumi Hitose
  • If you love Japan's sexy Race Queens and Campaign Girls, see the new Racq Queen Magazine ("Can Gal Magazine"), a super sexy photobook featuring all the best RQ's in Japan today
  • We have some rare hentai game and anime art books that are very cool, and will prove to be very hard to find if you don't pick them up soon
  • We have fresh hentai manga in stock, including some very nice offerings by Japan's professional adult manga-ka (manga artists)
  • J-List carries the biggest selection of quality Japanese erotic DVDs you will find, and we've got more items for you, starting with a fantastic new erotic performance by Ai Nagase (who is Tomo's favorite girl) (region free)
  • Bunko Kanazawa has done some of her best erotic work with Soft on Demand, and now they're reissued her "Tekoki Lewd Woman" release at a great new price (region free)
  • For those interested in not just "tekoki" (hand job) but love as well, check out the new romantic/erotic offering from Deep's (region free)
  • A very special item for fans of the lovely Aika Miura, courtesy of Moodyz, a great bukkake & zamen fetish DVD for collectors
  • Finally, the new M's Video Group and Waap Entertainment combination DVDs have proven to be an amazing seller, and we've got more on order since the ones we had sold out. We've got a new item for you, the very special Encylopedia of Semen 2001 by Waap and MVG!
  • On our plus & stuffed animal pages, we've got the above-mentioned incredibly cute plush series called "The Dog" (both individual and full sets are in stock).
  • For fans of Japanese snacks and food, we've got several new items for you including delicious tamago and nori (egg and seaweed) furikake that's great for kids, real Japanese miso soup of "nama" (raw) type (real miso, not freeze-dried), rare Sesami Street cookies, and chocolate strawberries on a stick
  • Also: successor to the incredible hit product Black Black, the caffinated spicy gum with menthol that keeps you awake, we've got Black Black Candy!
  • For fans of the hit Rumiko Takahashi we've got a very cool line of Inuyasha display figures which are very detailed and come with their own stands
  • For fans of Licca-chan, the cute fashion doll from Takara that is the demure, cute and innocent "anti-Barbie," we've got some cute Licca stickers
  • For Godzilla fans, a cool Godzilla vs. three monsters playset that is really nifty
  • Finally, find many other cool items, including fresh stock of loose socks "socks glue" to hold up your loose socks, limited stock of our popular "Lunchon" non-cute bento box, fresh stock of the Evangelion Kubrick cute anime toys, and much more!

We're having a special this month on our licensed "doujin-soft" CD-ROMs, which are collections of CG artwork collected from Japanese hentai illustrators at the Comic Market, the mecca of Japan's underground doujinshi culture. We think these collections are great for all collectors of adult computer graphics artwork, and so we're giving free shipping (in the US/Canada) this month. Among the really nice titles we recommend are the Borderline series, the Creamy Angel bukkake CG series, Light Up! (a fun rock-paper-scissors game for Mac/Windows), and of course the classic hentai Evangelion CG collection, Dream World II.