Saturday, March 30, 2002

Greetings from J-List March 30, 2002

Hello on a warm but windy Saturday from your friends at J-List!

Soccer fever continues to grow in Japan as we approach the World Cup, co-hosted by Japan and Korea, and soccer fans in Japan are getting more and more excited (our own Harumi-chan is one). The sport has managed to work its way into about a quarter of all TV commercials shown in Japan. To the Japanese, the most "kakko ii" (KA-koh EE, which means "cool") player is by far Nakata, who quit Japan's soccer league and is now a world-class soccer player in Italy. He's also fluent in Italian, and video of him speaking at press conferences are aired almost nightly here. Japanese love to have one of their own accepted internationally, especially in Europe. Remember that part of Peter's Unified Theory of Japan is that they secretly wish they were part of Europe -- why else would they make the DVD region codes for Japan and Europe the same? You can see pictures of Nakata at his official site here: http://nakata.net/official/

Part of coming to live in Japan from the U.S. means getting used to the metric system, the system in use pretty much everywhere in the world except America. It's quite easy, really -- you just learn to gauge what centimeters, meters, kilometers, and kilograms are in your mind, and you'll be used to it in no time. I've lived in Japan so long now that I only know my shoe size in centimeters (26.5 cm), and I don't know my weight in pounds at all (not that this is always a bad thing). They also use the Centigrade scale for measuring temperature, which means that when it's 3 degrees outside, it's just a little above freezing, and when it's 40 degrees in the summer (with matching high humidity), it's time to get indoors and find some industrial strength air conditioning.

The poor cherry blossoms are really taking a beating this Spring. Blossoming a full 17 days earlier than the normal date due to warm weather, they were subsequently frozen by below-zero temperatures, doused with cold rain, frozen and rained on again, and now we've got a strong wind to blow the flower petals away. We'd better hurry and do our "hanami" (flower viewing) before the fleeting existence of the sakura disappears for good this year.

We've got lots of nice items for you this weekend, including restocked manga, DVDs, various reduced priced magazines, anime toy items, and more. Incredibly, J-List has over 2000 items in stock (sometimes we can't believe it ourselves), so there's almost certainly something really special waiting for you in our product pages. Remember that you can view the most recently updated items on the J-List site via the "three days link" on the J-List main page.

Remember that J-List offers two ways to get great magazines sent to you each month. First we have 6- and 12-month subscriptions to magazines like Urecco, Bejean and Gokuh, with 1 or 2 months free with your pre-payment. We also offer "revolving subscriptions" to other magazines on per-month basis -- we'll send you the latest issue before it's even put on the Japanese newsstands each month, until you ask us to stop. We have subscriptions to great anime, manga, bishoujo game and anime character, toy and hobby, JPOP, Japanese fashion, and other magazines available.

That's all for today's update -- we hope you are having a great weekend, wherever you are in the world!

Thursday, March 28, 2002

Greetings from J-List March 28, 2002

Greetings to all of you from J-List!

Japan has changed in many ways in the almost ten years that I've lived here. One has been the elimination of Saturday as a day of half-attendance at work and school. In the "old days" (1992), many companies as well as all government offices and public schools had required half-day attendance on Saturdays, which seemed very alien to my American sensibilities. During the 1980's, Japan realized it was not an up-and-coming nation that had to work extra-hard to rebuild itself in the world economy, but instead had "arrived" and could take it easy. Half-days for government offices and public schools were phased out, and the "era of leisure" was declared. (Most private schools still elect to keep required Saturday classes, to avoid having their academic standards eroding.) Compared with what Japan was like at the beginning of the 1990's, when salarymen worked through holidays and rarely saw their families, I'd say it's certainly a change for the better. On the other hand, the economy here has gone through three plodding recessions in the past decade. One way to look at the present lack of growth in Japan's GDP might be that it has been caused partially by extra emphasis on working less and "taking it easy."

Japan has a national network of freeways, but they're quite different from what you might be used to in the U.S. or Europe. First of all, they're not free at all -- you pay a toll to use them, about $5 for us to drive 20 km to the next city over, or around $25 to go the 100 km into Tokyo. Paying to get to where you're going faster isn't much fun, but if they didn't charge the tolls then everyone would be using the roads, which would defeat the purpose. Unfortunately Japan's freeways are not linked up with each other very often, so it's quite common to have to drive a ways on one road, get off and drive on normal roads for two hours, then take the next freeway. Japan's freeways are very well designed and easy to drive on, but if you're visiting from overseas and want to drive around Japan, there's one potential challenge awaiting you: virtually all major roads are named with long, difficult kanji names (when they are named at all), rather with, say, easy to read numbers, as the interstate freeway system in the U.S. The freeway nearest our house is called the "Kita Kanto Odan Doro" which means the North Cross-Kanto Road. To get to Tokyo we head south on the "Kan-Etsu Kosoku Doro" which means the Kanto-Niigata Freeway. It's just part of being in Japan.

For today's update, we've got an extra special selection of cool items, including:

  • First, several great magazines for you, including the new Bejean (which is fantastic), new Kogal magazines, and more
  • We've got the very nice DVD Japan in stock, which features a full color magazine and 138 minute sampler DVD for a great price (region 2)
  • For photobook fans, we've got several very nice items, including the hardcover nude photobook of the lovely Manami Shimizu, fresh stock of the famous Rie Miyazawa nude photobook, and more
  • We have some very nice hentai manga for your enjoyment, including works by EC Comics, AV Comics, and more
  • For yaoi fans, we've got two excellent new items for you, with very bold and hardcore shonenai for your enjoyment
  • For our DVD customers, we've got several top-quality items for you today, including a superb lesbian kissing DVD from Deep's featuring some of Japan's most lovely AV idols (region free)
  • The waif-like Nanami Nanase shines in her latest erotic performance, The Santa Claus is Coming to My House, in which she plays a very lovely "Santa girl" giving a special present to her boyfriend (region free)
  • One of my personal favorites is the lovely Kyoka Usami, and now her great indies production CC Idol, one of the most interesting peeing fetish productions I've ever seen, is available on DVD! (region free)
  • Then: we get a lot of requests for unique items at J-List, and one of the most unlikely are requests for videos of Russian adult video idols, which are extremely popular inside Japan for some reason, and very hard to get. See Yulia Nova's fabulous large breast videos in stock now! (VHS)
  • For fans of incredible bukkake performances, enjoy the latest Fuuka Sakurai offering from Waap, with the odd name of "Disgrace Novel Story of the Spermatozoon Palace" (region 2)
  • For anime lovers, we've got a very special item for you: the DVD release of Porco Rosso, aka The Crimson Pig, aka Kurenai no Buta, a popular Hayao Miyazaki feature release film which features English and French subtitles and dubbed tracks on 2 DVDs! (region 2)
  • For fans of our anime toys, we've got a great update for you, with a deluxe Cosmo Zero (aka Astro Fighter) from Yamato/Star Blazers, a very rare blue Battroid from Macross, and a deluxe Devilman "completed figure" for fans and collectors
  • Also: fresh stock of Ah My Goddess competed figures, the Kiki's Delivery Service figures, and the Japan-only Hot Wheels from Bandai
  • If you love My Neighbor Totoro, we've got a beautiful Neko Bus (cat bus) plush from Studio Ghibli and Sun Arrow, with incredible detail and a soft plush feel
  • Other hopelessly cute items include a lucky Totoro strap that's very cute, a rare item for fans of Bambi, and some new and back-in-stock Hello Kitty items (including fresh stock of our oh-so-popular Hello Kitty vibrators)
  • We have some cool "traditional" Japanese items for you, including a complete Japanese calligraphy set, a beautiful savings bank patterned after the collection boxes in temples, and moer
  • For anyone who loves trains, we've got two great bullet train toys for you, with great all-die cast construction and detail
  • We've got some great new snack items, including candies flavored after popular Japanese drinks (CC Lemon, etc.), and a fragrant and good-tasting gum from Lotte that smells like azaleas (really, we're not kidding)
  • Also, we've had a major restocking of our candy and snack items, including fresh stock of Black Black Candy, Sushi Gummi, sake candy and traditional kuro ame, the super-tart shige-kix "hard gummi," and the popular Pocky with Morning Musume limited edition stickers inside
  • We've got fresh stock of several varieties of the popular "The Dog" stuffed plush toys from Japan, with cute, oversized heads
  • Finally, look for other cool items, including Hello Kitty toilet paper, new funny bento boxes with funny English on them, delicious and healthy miso soup mix, real chopsticks from Japan, and ways to help you learn Japanese!

J-List brings you many interesting items, including English-translated bishoujo games, which we're happy to have been involved with for so many years. By far one of the best games to come along in years has been Tokimeki Check in!, the two CD-ROM game about an unwilling proprietor of a traditional Japanese hot springs hotel, and many interesting girls who come through the in. We're always happy to receive warm feedback from customers on this game and our other titles, and we certainly hope you'll give this fun genre a try. Tokimeki Check in! features beautiful graphics, full voice and a CD-quality soundtrack, too.

Monday, March 25, 2002

Greetings from J-List March 25, 2002

Hello again from that fun and wacky place, Japan.

Before I started J-List back in 1996, I was an English teacher, and spent several years teaching ESL -- that's English as a Second Language to us teacher types. Although teaching English was often very challenging and difficult, it was fun because I got to meet so many Japanese people of all ages, and learn from them. I was immediately surprised by the strong impression that America was a "free" country, unlike Japan -- although none of my students had much idea what free really meant. One of my students wrote, "Japanese teachers always want children to be the same. But America is more free. They don't have school uniforms and strict, strange rules." By far the biggest question I was asked was, Did I have a gun when I lived in America? Of course the answer was no, but Japanese were interested in America's fixation with guns. I remember struggling to explain English grammar in ways that were useful to my students. They wanted explanation of gerunds and particles and infinitive verbs, and me saying "Mm, that sounds right to me" is not what they wanted to hear. If you are interested in seeing some of the collected (and silly) writings of my former students, I've posted some on my personal homepage at http://www.peterpayne.net/

Each country has what the Japanese call a "kokumin-sei" or "national personality" -- the various things that the French do, or the British, or Americans, which each group generally has in common. A major aspect of the Japanese national personality is called "seiyou suuhai shugi" which means "worship of the West," a hopeless desire to be like America and Europe. This is expressed in many ways, but mostly in the way they imitate the West, both in various institutions, as well as in less subtle ways. Tokyo Tower is, of course, a giant recreation of the Eiffel Tower (they made it 33 meters higher), and the large mountain range going through the main island of Honshu are known as the Japanese Alps. The current Crown Prince of Japan supposedly lives in a palace that is perfect scale model of Versailles in France. If you go to Chiba Prefecture, you can see "the Dover Cliffs of Japan," an area that is said to resemble the beautiful Dover Cliffs in England. And one day I was walking up the Spain-zaka ("Spanish Hill") in Shibuya, in Tokyo, and I realized that they had lifted the name from the famous Piazza di Spagna in Rome. Japan's great love and respect for America and Europe manifests itself in interesting ways.

For today's update, we've got a lot of great items for you, including:

  • First, we've got some excellent new magazines for you, including new amateur and hitozuma (young wife) and more
  • For fans of kogals, those outrageous girls who dress in outrageous outfits and wear bizarre makeup, we've got a new Cho Very Good photobook filled with famous AV idols
  • We've got the new Mini Skirt Deluxe in stock, however the last issue we had sold out in record time -- we hope the 20 copies we have last long enough for you to get yours
  • Also for leg lovers, we've got the lovely Just Fit photobook of Natsumi Shiose, with many great fetish themes
  • We've got a special treat for fans of classic and premium adult photobooks, some classic and very rare issues of Nowon from the mid-1990's
  • For photobook fans, look for the new hardcover photobook of Ai Kurosawa, as well as restocking of several popular items for you
  • For hentai manga collectors, we've got wonderful stock of several new large breast, bukkake, and "naughty tentacles" fetish manga, along with several back-in-stock books, too
  • We have many great DVDs for you, as usual, starting with the very nice Bondage Battle 2 starring three "beautiful solders" who battle for your enjoyment (code free)
  • A new Masterpiece of Soft on Demand is in, featuring clips from 73 tiles made in the last third of 2001 by the excellent company (code free)
  • From SOD's Deep's label, a stellar Big Bust Fruit DVD, featuring the very chesty Miku Sakuragi
  • For fans of Bauhaus's uncensored soft porn DVDs, enjoy the lovely Megumi Ohsawa and her hair nude DVD (code free)
  • We have another very nice M's Video Group bukkake video for you, for true fans of these extremely rare works (VHS)
  • For lovers of Shinobu Kasagi, the white-hot indies star, we've got a bizarre new production with lots of hardcore, shot at bizarre camera angles (code 2)
  • If you are a fan of bikini sex fetish themes, enjoy the great All Bikini Summer Gals special from Kuki (200 minutes!) (code 2)
  • Finally, we've restocked several items, Miyu Azuki's popular No Cut, Aika Miura's Between the Semen, Mirai Hoshizaki's dynamite How to Perfect, and the excellent Chaos
  • For anime fans, we've got some cool toy items in, including very rare Macross 7 transforming toys, a die-cast metal Valkyrie VF-19, soft vinyl "completed figures" of Princess Mononoke and more
  • For Hello Kitty lovers, we've got several nice items, including a deluxe tissue holder, a fun Kitty letter set, a deluxe Kitty piggy bank, and more
  • We have the ultimate in fun coffee cups, a ceramic cup with lid that perfects mimics the famous Japanese ramen brand Cup Noodle
  • For fans of our increasingly popular Japanese snack and gum pages, find all kinds of newly posted items, including delicious cola hard candy, Van Houtern cocoa candy, delicious super sour Shigekix in grape flavor, and a Japanese treat that you really should try, cheese-kamaboko
  • Also: a rare item, Kanebo's unique Choco Gum, chocolate gum
  • We've always liked carrying the bizarre and fun stickers with Japanese messages on them, such as "It is forbidden to urinate here" and we've got several back in stock for you
  • Finally, look for other fun items such as an all-new sushi maker, super hot springs powder for your bath, Japanese bowls and other items for your kitchen, and more!

J-List carries many delicious snack items, and one of our favorites is Pocky. Pocky is basically a straight pretzel stick covered with delicious chocolate, strawberry, whipped green tea cream, or just about anything else. It was introduced by the Glico food company and is a major "category killer" in the Japanese market, often imitated but never bested. J-List carries an excellent selection of Pocky flavors for you to enjoy, so please see our excellent selection (if you buy 10 or more boxes of one type, you get a 15% discount). Please note that we can't carry Pocky and similar chocolate products in the summer, due to the heat and humidity in Japan. We'll be closing out our selection of Pocky over the next month or two, so if you wan to try some, you should hurry.