Friday, May 10, 2002

Greetings from J-List May 10, 2002

Hello and TGIF from all of us in Japan!

One thing I've learned from my years in Japan is that the Japanese are greatly concerned with child-raising and education. All around the city I live in you can see signs with slogans of wisdom from the local PTA, like "Weak-minded children come from over-protective parents" and "Children learn respect for their parents by watching how their parents respect their own parents." (One of my goals is to find a list of all of these slogans and post them, translated, to my personal homepage.) Often Japanese parents care too much about education, and push their kids too hard to study so they can get into the best universities. Mothers who do this are a kind of caricature in Japanese society, making their kids study at after-school cram schools (called "juku"), take English conversation lessons, and study with private tutors. They're called "education mamas" (kyoiku mama), and I've met more than a few during my years as an English teacher in Japan.

I think, however, that all that has passed in the past fifty years of Japan's educational system is heading for a change. With a rapidly aging population and very low birth rate of 1.35 babies per woman, the number of children under the age of 15 at a postwar-low, just 18 million or 14.3 percent of the population here. This amounts to a "famine" of young people which currently affects much of Japan -- including educators in Japan's after-hours juku schools as well as companies that make things that kids want to buy. In parts of Japan, they have had to close public school and combine school districts because of the shrinking number of kids. In Japan, kids are made to study harder to prepare for entrance exams for high school and college, a policy that has been very good for the Japanese in the past. However, I worry about a long-range degradation in the quality of education here, as the standards of Japan's high schools and universities are lowered as more school chase fewer students. As far as my wife and I are concerned, we're planning to send our kids to school in the U.S. whey they reach that age.

I've spent the week testing out my own Lasonic DVB-090 DVD player, which J-List currently sells, and I've added to the description on our website. It really is a nifty player, with many nice touches, such as separate fast forward/fast back and chapter forward/back buttons on the remote, a screen zooming option, reliable "set and forget" region free feature which is fully reversable, and all major remote control buttons replicated on the player itself, so you can use it even if you don't have the remote handy. If you're interested in viewing all the DVDs from Japan and are looking for a great buy, we recommend the DVB-090, but if you're interested in a region free player that's a little higher-end, please wait a little while. We plan to expand our line of DVD players to include ones with more features, such as progressive scan and Dolby/DTS sound support, soon.

For the pre-weekend update, we've got an extra-special update for you, with some really nice new products, including:

  • First, we've got some very nice new magazines in stock, including Pink Labyrinth, a very stylish erotic amateur magazine featuring kogals in love hotels
  • The double-thick bukkake magazine Gal's Shower remains one of the most popular magazines in our history, and we've got the great new issue for you
  • A beautiful item for sexy swimsuit idols, the new Scholar DX features a great look at Japan's most lovely girls
  • A rare and special treat for photobook collectors, we've got two deluxe works featuring Bunko Kanazawa and Reina Muragami, which feature incredibly beautiful nude photos -- and they're, ahem, very, very detailed!
  • We have other new photobooks for you, too, including the beautiful photobook of Mayu Koizumi (107 cm J cup, wow!), photobooks by Rin Tomosaki and Aya Otosaki, the erotic Shinobu Kasagi, and fresh stock of some older items (Aida Garo)
  • We've got a good offering of erotic hentai manga, with some excellent new books this time, including Body Language, the fantastic illustrated manga with 32 color pages!
  • For DVD fans and collectors, we've got some very nice new items for you, starting off with another four 2+ hour releases in the oh-so-popular SOD Memorial series, with Bunko Kanazawa, Mai Kazama, an erotic psycho-drama, and more (region free)
  • Also, by happy fortune, we were able to restock the full sets of the SOD Memorial DVDs -- you can own ALL 40 of these fabulous titles, over 8 days of constant AV viewing, for a very low price! (region free)
  • Dogma, the label of famed AV director, has gone independent, splitting off from their parent company Soft on Demand -- see a great new "female bukkake teacher" performance starring Kurumi Morishita commemorating their independence (region free)
  • Also from the new Dogma, a super lesbian performance, Do the Lesbian Act! (region free)
  • We've got a super "Private Observation of Female Body" performance by the excellent Wanz Factory, allowing you to learn everything about the erotic Yuka Igarashi (region 2)
  • Finally, we've got fresh stock of several titles, including the highly recommended Yinling of Joytoy and several other titles
  • For anime fans, we've got some nice new anime toy and other items in, including a really cool new My Neighbor Totoro wooden alarm clock,
  • Also, we've gotten in fresh stock of the popular Kiki's Delivery Service 2-disc set DVD, truly the best release of this film anywhere in the world
  • Newly added Hello Kitty items include Kitty sushi makers, Hello Kitty chopsticks, Hello Kitty savings banks, and more
  • Also, we've got some really nice new bento-related items in, including a deluxe new 2-section bento box, more of the complete sets of bento boxes and other items, and just in time for Hamtaro to be broadcast on American TV, more cute "Hamster Club" bento box sets
  • For your kitchen we've got some nifty items, including a great way to cook fish or mochi (rice cake), a bowl-and-chopstick set, a spiffy cutting board from Japan, and a really cool Hello Kitty coffee cup!
  • For collectors of Licca-chan, the cute fashion doll by Takara, we've got a very cool "Major League Baseball Licca" series in stock for you
  • For snack and candy fans, we've got fresh stock of furikake, including red salmon for making onigiri with, delicious soft candy with cherry gummi inside, and a cool item, Lord of the Rings chips
  • Finally, look for spiffy Japanese pens that write in many colors, Japanese play money, some very cool plastic hiragana letters for learning Japanese, and more!

Did you know that Kanazawa Bunko is named after a train station in Kanagawa Prefecture, near Yokohama? If you read J-Mate, you would -- you can read interviews with her and with dozens of lovely adult video idols from Japan on J-Mate. And the site has been updated, with new interviews (Rio Sannomiya and AV director Turbo Muigo), as well as reviews of many great DVDs, English bishoujo games and more!

When you order something from J-List, you don't just get service with a smile from Kaori, Harumi and the rest of our Japanese staff, you also get Japanese advertising tissue. J-List includes a pack of advertising tissue (which are handed out in front of train stations in Japan) with every order. If you want to get more, we sell a box containing 12 packs of our special pocket tissue at our cost, just $1.60. Then you can give this fun and unique Japanese pocket tissue out to your friends! Just search for 'tissue' on our website to find this item.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Greetings from J-List May 8, 2002

Greetings again from all of us at J-List!

The Japanese have invented a new product category to help combat traffic problems at toll gates: Electronic Toll Collection, which is basically a computer system you put in you car, which lets you speed through toll booths, paying the toll automatically as you drive through. It seems kind of silly, but if it helps reduce traffic in Tokyo, I am all for it -- and already Japanese makers are competing to bring out the smallest or the thinnest ETC hardware for your car. i wish they'd chosen a different name for it though -- when I look at the ETC lane, my gaijin eyes see "etc." as in "et cetera," as in, this lane is for these types of vehicles, and that lane is for all others. It's confusing for me, and I know what ETC is -- I imagine that somewhere in Japan, foreign visitors are driving through the lanes, thinking that they are special toll booths for non-Japanese to use.

We got some comments on Japanese adaptions of food from around the world, so we thought we've give some more details. One popular dish in Japan is "gratin" which is, to the Japanese at least, pasta that's cooked in a white or cheese sauce, then baked. (In the anime Nadia of the Mysterious Sea, the "Grandis Tank" is nicknamed the Gratin, a joke that's hard for Americans to get.) One of my favorites is "doria," which is rice with white sauce (sometimes ketchup), put in a casserole dish with cheese on top -- then everything is baked until the cheese is crispy and hot. One of my favorite foods of all time is "hamburg doria," doria with a hamburger (salsbury) steak, baked into it. Another delicious food my wife is sure would be a hit in the U.S., are croquettes (from France), which to the Japanese, at least, are potato patties that are fried all crispy (they're great with curry powder inside, too). Finally, Japanese love castella, a tasty sweet cake from The Netherlands.

Unfortunately we had a problem with Tomo's computer -- several days of outgoing mail had not been sent, but was sitting in the outgoing mail box. The end result was that some customers who had paid for their orders received "awaiting payment" notices. We apologize for any confusion -- if you received a mail from us and don't know what to make of it, email us and we'll straighten it out.

For our new update, we've got a ton of very nice new items for you, including:

  • First, we've got in several nice magazine items for you, including several new amateur and kogal magazines, and a new and rare item for busty Japanese girl fans
  • For photobook lovers, we've got several excellent adult photobooks, including the interesting erotic photobook of a love doll named Candy Girl which have to be seen to be believed, as well as new Chinkame erotic works
  • Also, check out fresh stock of Anna Ohura's fantastic photobook "Mischief"
  • We have some excellent hentai manga works for you, with newly published works by some of Japan's most popular artists and manga houses -- also, fresh stock of a dozen or so back in stock manga titles, with some very nice ones for you
  • For DVD fans, we've got another large update, starting with another volley of the oh-so-popular SOD Memorial Series -- four new value-priced DVD releases for SOD fans (region free)
  • Then, ever since Nanami Nanase went off her all-semen diet, she went and got fat -- so SOD president Ganari Takahashi has put her on an erotic training program designed to slim her down (region free)
  • SOD's Magic Mirror Bus (a bus with one-way glass inside, called a "magic mirror" in Japanese) helped make them famous, and now we've got the full boxed set available for order (stock is limited, but more are already on order) (region free)
  • Adult Video Wrestling, which features real sexual "pro-wres" up on the stage, is a huge hit with J-List fans -- so we've gotten a new DVD in stock for you! (region free)
  • We were also happy to see the interest in Korean adult video, and we've got a new title posted -- For Fairy, starring the lovely Charin Gahee (region free)
  • Another beautiful soft porn offering from Bauhaus, enjoy the lovely beauty and youth of Kaori Kuraishi (region free)
  • We've got another excellent "Super Angle of Manko" release in which 90% of the camera angles are from the point of view of the woman's genitalia -- this stars Ai Nagase and Mai Kuramoto (region 2)
  • Also, we've restocked a large number of our popular DVD titles, including Kyoka Usami Best Selection, Touching Breasts for the First Time, Let's Do Sex with Ai Nagase, How to Perfect and many more!
  • Tomo has added to our new Japanese film DVD collection, with a very interesting psychological tale of fear and triumph (region 2, English subtitled)
  • Anime fans should check out the very cool Ceramic Totoro light, which casts a beautiful orange glow when you turn it on
  • Also: the very nice glossy artbook of Ken-ichi Sonoda, featuring all of his best works printed in a beautiful book
  • We've got some great new "The Dog" plush toys in stock, including a whole new series (The Doggie Mascot 2nd), with Longhair Chihuahua, Shetland Sheepdog, Maltese, and more!
  • Also, we've made full sets available of the "The Dog Small Size" plush toys, the super-small and cute plush doggies -- so you can buy the whole set and save
  • Look for some cool Hello Kitty items, including a new (less expensive) Kitty Wall Clock that is really cool, Hello Kitty fans in time for summer, delicious Hello Kitty snacks, and more!
  • If you've got kids who are into Pokemon, we've got a deluxe Pokemon play house, which comes with cute little Pokemon figures, a great item for any little 'un
  • We have a big update of delicious new snacks from Japan, including peanuts and rice crackers, delicious red salmon furikake, Strawberry and Coconut Pocky, more chocolate filled banana candy, and a great new item: a gummi tree that has all the signs of the zodiac on it for you to eat
  • Also: the super-spicy sugarless caffeine gum Xylish Hyper Cool is a hit, and we ran out, so we get more in stock for you to order!
  • For those who want to be in sync with Japan's lovely female culture, we've got limited stock of the new Girl Pop
  • If you love Japan's Race Queens and other sexy idols, check out the new offerings on the Idol DVD and More page
  • Also very cool: Morning Musume Bottle Mascots, cute little Mo-Mus characters you can put on any standard bottle
  • Finally, see a fun map puzzle of Japan, more Japanese chopsticks, and more!

J-List carries many interesting products, and one of our favorites are the "bishoujo games" (which means "pretty girl games") from Japan. These are basically interactive love-simulation games for Windows (a few are for Macintosh), in which you play through an interesting story, interacting with pretty anime girls to reach one of several possible game endings. In one game- X-Change, you play a boy who is changed into a girl through a chemistry accident, and it leads to some rather interesting adventures. You can see all the bishoujo game products we carry under the Bishoujo/Hentai Game link on our site.

Monday, May 06, 2002

Greetings from J-List May 6, 2002

Hello again from your friends in Japan, J-List!

We're right in the middle of Golden Week here in Japan, and yesterday, we re-learned the rule that you should never try to go anywhere in Japan during Golden Week. We decided to take the kids to a small town in the mountains of Gunma famous for flying huge koi-nobori fish kites, so we set out in our Mazda Bongo Friendee. Well, this seemed like a great idea to about 500,000 other people, mostly from Tokyo, and we all ended up sitting in one long, unpleasant traffic jam on mountain roads so narrow you couldn't turn around. We stuck it out for a while, but in the end decided to find a nice mountain stream where the kids could splash around instead. Whenever making plans to visit Japan, be sure to avoid the last week of April/first week of May!

In Japan, there are often concepts that are very difficult for Westerners to grasp. One measurement of beauty here is related to the number of creases in a person's eyelid when their eyes are open -- one crease ("hitoe" hee-TOE-eh), two creases ("futae" fu-TAH-eh) or three ("mie" MEE-eh). (As always, there's no silent 'e' in Japanese, or magic 'e' as they call it here.) Single-creasers have slender, traditionally Asian eyes, while those with more creases have larger eyes that look European to the Japanese, and getting plastic surgery to change the appearance of your eyes is quite popular among TV stars. I have to admit, I'd never considered that people had different numbers of creases in their eyelids until coming here -- it was a totally alien concept to me, and I still can't tell how many creases a person's eyes have, even today. Another measure of beauty, having a "high nose" is an important feature for anyone who wants to enter modeling. I never really thought of noses as anything other than "big" or "small" before coming here, but apparently there is more to a person's nose than meets the eye.

In case you were wondering what the Japanese use to estimate the size of a person's privates, well, we'll tell you. For a man, the size of his nose in relation to his face supposedly indicates whether or not he is well endowed. So if you've got a large nose and come to Japan, you may find yourself popular (your mileage may vary). In similar silly Japanese fashion, the area inside a woman's ear (the little cavity formed by the bottom of the "S" shape) supposedly indicates the general closeness of her womanhood. And in case you wanted to know, a popular slang word for the genitals of men and women are "son" (musuko) and "daughter" (musume).

We've got some nice items for you tonight, with newly restocked and posted manga, magazine, photobook, DVD, Hello Kitty and other fun pop culture items. J-List carries nearly 2000 products at all times (this really bowls us over, too), so if you browse our site by category or search for items you're interested in, we're sure you can find some cool things from Japan either for yourself or as great gifts for others.