Friday, May 17, 2002

Greetings from J-List May 17, 2002

Hello again from the soon-to-be-very-wet Japan! (Japan's dreary rainy season is starting...)

The Japanese language has got to be one of the most vague, nuance-filled languages that exist in the world. Japanese is an SVO language (the word order is subject/verb/object, not subject/object/verb as English is), and it's related to Korean, and possibly Turkish and Basque (go figure). When speaking the language, it's very common to omit the subject, since it's usually known to the speakers, and often other parts of the sentence are cut as well. When my wife says to me, "Iku?" at noon, I know that she is saying "Shall we go to lunch now?" even though all she actually said was "Go?" There are many words and phrases that communicate meaning in ways that are very subtle. For example, the word "chotto" means "a little bit" in Japanese, but if you ask someone if they liked the taste of some food and they said "Chotto..." the implication would be that the food didn't taste good, but that the person wanted to say this in a more subtle and polite way. Leaning Japanese means more than just learning vocabulary words and hiragana and kanji -- you have to tune your ear to what is being said around you even if it's not actually spoken.

Japanese is interesting grammatically. It's an "agglutinating" language, which means that a lot of information (past tense, passive voice) is expressed in the form the verb takes. The plus side is that there no "helping verbs" to learn in Japanese -- "He would have been able to come" -- but it does make it difficult to memorize the various forms of verbs. Japanese has grammatical "particles" that neatly denote parts of the sentence, such as the subject ("wa"), the object ("o" -- nice and easy to remember), a particle for "in" or "to" (it's "ni" or "in" spelled backwards), and so on. If you're interested in a "bird's eye view" of Japanese, I've posted an article on the subject, along with ten Japanese sentences you can memorize, on my personal page at http://www.peterpayne.net

The "top 5" categories have been updated for the past week, allowing you to see what anime, toy, magazine, DVD and other items are hot right now.

For the pre-weekend update, we've got another great collection of fun and rare items from Japan, including:

  • First, we've got more nice new magazines for you, including new amateur, hitozuma and love hotel magazines
  • Also, a nice treat, some classic issues of Dela Beppin from the early and middle 1990's
  • For fans of "nurse fetish" we've got a new photobook for you, Immoral Hospital
  • If you love Japan's erotic manga comics, we've got some nice ones in stock for you, including Gommene, a 2-volume set by Umino Sachi, breast fetish manga, bukkake manga and more
  • We've got a great new doujinshi by Kenix, one of our most popular doujinshi circles, parodying the popular anime One Piece
  • And we've got some new yaoi in for you, including the "Hard Boy's Love Anthology" Trans 4
  • For fans of our beautiful nude, swimsuit and idol photobooks, look for several new products, including the damned fine hardcover photobook of Hitomi Hayasaka
  • For DVD collectors, we've got some nice items, including Hitomi Hayasaka's wonderful soft-porn DVD that goes with her photobook (region free)
  • For fans of cosplay, in which girls dress up like anime or game characters, we've got the new Big Morkal Cos-Players, with some nice characters! (region free)
  • Our "Adult Video Wrestling," which features an erotic take on professional wrestling, is always a popular item at J-List, and we've got a new *200 minute* in-the-ring sex-fest (region free)
  • We love the erotic and sexy Nao Oikawa, who has become one of Japan's top AV stars, and now you can see her as the Super High Class Soap Lady (region free)
  • Also from SOD, Ryo Hitomi and Mao Misaki become "one-day naked employee" at the company, with some erotic results (region free)
  • From Moodyz, the popular Indies Japanese studio, come Moodyz Musume, an erotic AV idol team of four girls who do things Morning Musume can't legally do (region 2)
  • We have a really erotic and romantic bukkake performance by Marina Kyouno, entitled "Semen and Love and Sex"
  • Finally, we've restocked our DVD pages with many new products with a dozen or so items available for immediate order once again, including several volumes of "The Kageki" series, which is subtitled in English (!)
  • We're happy to report that we've gotten in fresh stock of our best-selling Lasonic DVB-090 region-free portable DVD player, which allows you to view all DVDs from Japan and all over the world
  • If you're a fan of Japan's lovely swimsuit idols and Race Queens, be sure to check for newly posted items on the Idol DVD and More page
  • We love our fun Japanese snacks, and we've added more, including Japanese rice crackers, Japan-only Mentos, fresh stock of delicious super-sour Shigekix, Tomato Pretz (one of my personal favorites), furikake, more Pocky (the last we'll get before summer), and delicious Banana Chocolate, little banana-candy chocolates that are fun to eat
  • For fans of Japan's professional wrestlers we have some unique Japanese action figures based on Japanese famous wrestlers
  • We've also got more items from the popular "The Dog" series, including new cute little dog straps (Shiba, Papillon, Welsh Corgi), as well as
  • We also have a special item: a beautiful ceramic music box of Totoro featuring a Totoro playing an ocarina, great for collectors
  • For Gundam fans, we've got some rare items, metal and plastic Gundam toys that are of the highest quality, from Bandai
  • Finally, look for new cute items from Japan (including Hello Kitty), new

J-List carries many unique items, including many items that are very cool to give others as gifts. Whenever I go back to the States and find myself in need of gifts for my family (called "omiyage" oh-MEE-yah-geh), I never have to go farther than the J-List stock room. Anyone who has a dog will sure fall in love with our line of Japanese dog plush toys known as "The Dog." If they're into silly things, we've got some nice items, from Hello Kitty toilet paper to funny Japanese T-shirts to Japanese items to decorate your home. We hope we can help make gift-giving more enjoyable in any way we can.

At some time during the next week we'll be upgrading the server the J-List system is on, moving to one with more power and memory which will allow us to better serve our customers. We'll also be upgrading the shopping cart itself to squash some bugs we've been dealing with. We think it will go well, but server changes are always hairy things, so if you should experience any problems with the site or with email, please let us know.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Greetings from J-List May 13, 2002

Hello again from your friends in Japan!

Yasu and I went down to the Tokyo Toy Show at Tokyo Big Sight, and were treated to all the upcoming offerings of Takara, Bandai, Tomy and all the other big names in toys. There was some kind of device that translated what your dog was saying when he barked, more Japan-only Matchbox releases, a Gundam cockpit you can really ride in, many cool Licca-chan doll items, some fun remote control toys, new Kubrick toys, and more. They even had some real live Race Queens! Of course all of us at J-List work really hard to find fun and interesting things to carry at J-List, and we'll continue our hard work.

I remember my confusion when, coming to Japan, I went to my first Japanese juku (cram school) to teach English conversation, not knowing what a juku really was. Basically, in Japan, students attend normal school until 3 or 4 pm, and then they often attend one of thousands of these evening and weekend schools scattered around Japan where they study various subjects, math, science, English and kokugo, which means "national language" (i.e., Japanese). Some very old-style jukus teach abacus, Japanese brush writing, and so on. In every neighborhood you can find several juku run by people living in that area, each catering to a slightly different age group or specializing in this subject or that. Study during compulsory education (elementary and junior high) is relatively stress-free for Japanese kids, and they go to juku as much for the social aspect (hanging out and studying with friends) as anything else. But when students prepare for high school and college, for which an entrance exam is required, they must buckle down and study, and there are jukus that do nothing but help students get into the high school or college of their choice.

If you try to get into a college but fail, you are a "ronin" (a masterless samurai), and most ronin go to "prep schools" (yobiko) which are large schools that do nothing but prepare students for getting into the college of their choice. It is actually possible, although it's very rare, for a 15 year old to try to get into a private high school but fail, thus making them a "junior high school ronin" who doesn't go to school while they prepare to take the tests again next year. This is very rare, about one person in 10,000, but one of my students did this. Actually, since high school is not required in Japan, a certain number of youths in rural prefectures decide not to go at all, and start working instead -- to Japanese, this is the epitome of "baka" (stupid) and is avoided by most of them.

For the new update, we've got some great items for you, including:

  • First, we have the new Urecco, and it's a beautiful one, with a great selection of the best Japanese AV lovelies for you, Ai Kurosawa, Megumi Osawa, Hitomi Hayakawa, Hitomi Hasegawa, and more
  • We have new indies, amateur and kogal magazines in stock, including the always-popular Cho Mach! featuring an erotic tribute to kogal culture
  • Also: fresh stock of many nice discounted magazine items, including popular $5 and up issues of Urecco that had been out of stock (but really hiding in our stock room)
  • We've got a positively dynamite leg, stock and up-skirt fetish photobook, capturing 15 famous AV stars and 17 amateur gals in their lovely, leggy beauty
  • Look for some nice new photobooks, including the photobook of Rui Sakuragi, the top Japanese AV idol of the mid-1990's
  • Also in stock, the lovely EX CD-ROM, which features a full color magazine and CD-ROM (video CD) filled with sample movies
  • For bishoujo game fans, enjoy a full Japanese erotic game, Yuukan Shinshi (Bourgeoise Gentleman), and a full art book, for a great price
  • We have a great update of hentai manga for you, with some excellent new adult comics, including the new issue of Pururun Seminar (!) and the positively beautiful Tale of G Street by Hot Milk Comics
  • For DVD lovers, we've got many new items for you, starting with the last of the SOD Memorial DVD releases, four new full-length titles at great prices, including the "Worst 10 Titles of SOD History" (region free)
  • Soft on Demand founder Ganari Takahashi is personally directing the career of the lovely new star child of Soft on Demand, Ruri Anno, in her excellent 2nd erotic DVD release (region free)
  • The lovely Sara Akikawa has lovely, long legs, and you will love her new leg fetish offering from Deep's (region free)
  • In sumo wrestling, there are 48 ways to defeat your opponent, and in Japanese traditional sex, there are 48 sexual positions -- see them all in a great new DVD we've got in stock now (region free)
  • For lesbian fans, enjoy the new Les Gal Paradise, featuring 16 girls who show you their first hardcore lesbian sex (region free)
  • From M's Video Group and Waap Entertainment, a wonderful new Minami Hoshikawa "Album of G Cup Semen" (region 2)
  • Also, a great restocking of DVD titles for you, including Mai Hagiwara, Anna Ohura, Street Fucker, Lesbian Girls' School, and many more
  • For fans of Japan's lovely Race Queens, swimsuit idols and other beautiful women, we've got new items in stock for you, including an all-new Fumika Suzuki DVD!
  • J-List also carries Japan-only releases of anime, including the films of Hayao Miyazaki with full English subtitles and dubbed versions on the discs -- and we've gotten in fresh stock of Porco Rosso, one of my favorite of his films
  • Look for more Hello Kitty items, and new Hamutaro cute items as well -- including a massive restocking of the most popular bento box in our history
  • Want to be stylish like Japanese kogals? We've got a small bag with leather strap that is all the rage in Shibuya these days
  • We've got nice new snack items in stock for you, including a Ramun geletin drink you can enjoy, delicious traditional Japanese hard candies, and a big restocking of our runaway hit, gummi sushi
  • If you're getting ready for the World Cup, or if you're just patriotic, we've got some killer bamboo folding fans with national flags on them (USA, Spain, Britain, Germany, Korea, Japan, France, Italy
  • We have some cute new Ultraman little Tinibiz figures in for you, and for fans of "The Dog," some extremely cute straps for your portable phone or keys
  • Japan has a highly developed and interesting Pro Wrestling world, and we've got some more fun pro-wres action figures in stock for you
  • Also: for fans of the anime and manga Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne (er, God-Wind Pirate Jeanne), the very cute shoujo story from Ribbon, we've got the deluxe art book for you
  • Finally, look for authentic chopsticks from Japan, more unique Japanese pens and funny English notebooks, unique Japanese soy sauce holders, a cute traditional coin bank, more odd "flowers of the world clothespins" and more!

Remember that J-List carries authentic Japanese "loose socks," those outrageous baggy socks that high school girls wear. They're great fun to wear, and are good for anyone putting together anime cosplay. If you're looking for

I see we're almost out of our popular Lasonic region-free DVD players -- we have only 4 in stock as of this writing. If our stock runs out, you can still order them, and we've got 150 of the units on order.