Friday, June 28, 2002

Greetings from J-List June 28, 2002

Greetings from J-List again, on this lovely Friday evening. This update is coming to you from Tokyo. I'm here on business, but wanted to complete the day's update on time, so I'm sending it via my iBook.

In Japan, there's a famous chain of restaurants called Anna Miller's. A great American-style establishment serving "Boston style" food that's really good, and their pies can't be beat by any restaurant in Japan. But Anna Miller's is famous for another reason: their sexy waitress uniforms, which feature very short skirts and, er, support for various parts of a woman's anatomy. As part of the general Japanese boom in "cosplay" (costume play, i.e. dressing up in various uniforms or costumes), the Anna Miller's sexy waitress uniforms have become famous throughout the country, and are as recognizable to Japanese as the Playboy Bunny is to Americans. To see what the uniform looks like, just search for "waitress cosplay" on the J-List site and see what comes up -- the bishoujo game Viper M1 also features a girl wearing this famous costume on the cover. Supposedly, the best place to experience Anne Miller's is the restaurant in Meguro, Tokyo (the girls are supposed to be the prettiest there, according to Tomo, who is an expert). I'm heading there for dinner tonight with a friend, so I'll check it out. The official homepage of Anne Millers can be seen at http://www.imuraya.co.jp/annamillers/index.html . (It speaks volumes of the company that they don't have their own .com or .co.jp site in the year 2002.)

Tomorrow is the official unofficial opening of Star Wars: Attack of the Cones in Japan, and all around the country theatres are showing special sneak-previews. I'll be waiting in line with the rest of the fans, despite the fact that I saw the film in the U.S. last month -- it's sort of a "fan thing" to want to wait in line and see the movie on the first day. One thing I will not do is pay to see the film in a "standing room only" showing, though. In Japan, they cheerfully continue to sell tickets to movies even after all the seats are sold out, although more modern theatres are slowly switching to an assigned seating system, where you are pre-assigned to a certain seat as on airline flights. You can generally buy beer in most modern Japanese theatres ("I'm talking about a glass of beer"). Movies in Japan are unfortunately very expensive -- $18 for adults in most showings, but better theatres in Tokyo charge $24 for an event like Star Wars. Of course, we willingly pay these prices.

If you've ever wondered why Japanese people may seem to have a thicker accent than people from some other countries when speaking English, the fault lies with Japanese being a relatively impovershed language phonetically. In the various dialects of American English, there are 12 phonetic vowels which we pronounce, but in Japanese, there are just five, and all sounds in the language are limited to a strict syllable-based sound system. Also, the Japanese have only one set of sounds that corresponds to L and R, which causes much confusion for them when learning to pronounce some words. As a result of these incompatibilities, some English words just don't work very well when imported into Japanese. As I've said before, most Japanese think the film "Lord of the Ring" is really "Road of the Ring" because the words lord and road are the same when said in Japanese. There's an anime called Bubblegum Crash, but I'm not really sure it's "crash," since "clash" and "crush" would also be the same when pronounced in Japanese. One of the most famous problems caused by incompatibilities in the Japanese phonetic system is the word "election," a word whose meaning changes quite a bit if you get the L/R wrong.

For the update today, we've got many nice new items for you. Our anime, snack, wacky and other items include:

  • For fans of Japan's lovely swimsuit idols, some new items, including a great card series featuring the beautiful Yumiko Shaku
  • Various snack items, including new fried rice mixes from Japan that are delicious, new miso soup, and more
  • A new bento set, perfect for fans of Japan's boxed lunch culture
  • For anime and toy fans, several new items, including a fabulous recreation of Astro Boy with a high-quality case, new Japan-only Hot Wheels, and more
  • J-List loves the high-quality pre-painted anime statues produced in Japan, and we've gotten stock of two positively incredible items from Final Fantasy VII
  • We have new Hello Kitty items, including Hello Kitty wet tissues perfect for removing your makeup at the end of the day (great for carrying with you, too), a deluxe Hello Kitty dish, cup and chopstick set that makes a great gift, more Hello Kitty onigiri (rice ball) maker, and more!
  • Many other wacky items that could only come from Japan.

For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products. They include:

  • First, new magazines, including the new Gal's Dee, the popular magazine for fans of Japanese women of "D" cup or larger -- the new issue features the lovely Yui Morishita and many more
  • Also, for fans of our bargain priced magazines on page three, we've got new discounted items for you
  • We have some nice photobooks for you, too, including Do Ero, a very interesting fetish photobook
  • For fans of manga, we've got new volumes for you, along with several back-in-stock popular items -- also, the excellent volume 5 of Blue Eyes has finally been released!
  • Also, a nice new doujinshi item that's all in English, a very interesting work for fans of Japan's unique fan-made doujinshi comics
  • For DVD collectors, we've got some nice new titles for you, including "Itsuki Kinoshita Answers the Flagrant Requests of Semen Maniacs," an excellent new bukkake/semen fetish title from SOD
  • Also, a new release in the best-selling No Cut!! DVD series, which gives you three full video releases over three hours on one DVD -- this one features the lovely Asuka Ozora
  • Also, a new release from M's Video Group's famous president Kazuhiko Matsumoto and Soft on Demand, the first tie-in of a famous manga story with an amazing bukkake AV production
  • Many more items!

Remember that J-List carries a wide variety of snacks from Japan, with about 100 different items in stock at all times, with everything from Pocky (popular chocolate covered sticks) to Shigekix (super-sour "hard gummi") to Japan's famous spicy caffeine gum, Black Black. All items have a "freshness date" printed on the packaging, and we guarantee that all the items we sell are within the date when the items are sent to you. So check out our fun snacks section!
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Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Greetings from J-List June 26, 2002

Hello again from your friends in Japan!

First of all, we apologize for the problems we had with the non-adult version of the J-List site after Monday's update. Due to a bug in our product importing script, nearly all the J-List products were not showing up when viewed from the non-adult pages, including the newly-posted high school uniforms, all our wacky Japanese T-shirts, and so on. What's more, some adult products were appearing when customers clicked the link to see all new products posted over the last 3 days. The problem has been fixed, and everything is back to normal. We're very sorry for the mistake!

It's said in Japan that America is a horizontal society, and Japan is a vertical one. Unlike America with its ideas of total equality between races, sexes, and so on, Japan is quite happy having up-down relationships in which one individual is higher in rank than another. You can see this in the concepts of "senpai" and "kouhai," which translate as a senior or junior in a school or organization. Senpai/kouhai relationships come up in anime a lot. For example, when a student enters the first year of high school, the students who are in higher grades are his senpai, a word which combines the concepts of "upperclassman" and in many cases is almost like a mentor. Everything that passes between a senpai and a kouhai will be colored by the idea that the first is higher in rank than the second -- even the language they use with each other will very different, with the younger student using "keigo" or polite Japanese, and the older student using informal language. The concept of senior/junior exists in organizations and companies, too -- even right here in J-List. For example, when Tomo came to J-List, Kaori became his senpai (since she'd worked here longer), despite the fact that he was older than her. Despite the Japanese using these up-down relationships in their daily life, Japan is ostensibly a classless society, with around 80% of the country reporting that they believe themselves to be "middle class" despite obviously differences in their income.

I was driving in Maebashi the other day, when I saw a sight that really brought home some of the challenges Japan is facing at the dawn of the 21st Century. A chain of toy shops that had gone bust during the long Japanese recession (assisted by Toys R Us, whose business in Japan is booming), and the shop I saw had been replaced by a company selling Buddhist altars and gravestones -- important products in aging Japan, to be sure. It was amazing to see lines of Japanese-style gravestones and varying sizes and styles of altars lined up where children's toys had once been sold, and it signified to me how much Japan had changed in the past decade, and how it would continue to change still.

Incidentally, a Buddhist altar is an altar that is kept in the house of the oldest son of each family (in my house, my wife's mother is the oldest daughter, so our altar is kept at our house). When a person dies, their name is written on a beautiful wooden tablet (which costs $10,000 to make by the way) and put inside the altar to assist them in the afterlife in some way that is frankly incomprehensible to my gaijin mind. In some sects of Buddhism (such as Tendai), an actual statue of Buddha is placed inside the altar, but in the sect practiced by my wife's family (Nichiren), there is no statue. In Nichiren Buddhism, the main focus is not on Buddha (i.e., the Indian mystic named Siddhartha Gautama who attained enlightenment 2500 years ago), but is instead about remembering and worshipping one's ancestors, since without your ancestors you wouldn't exist. Because the house that has that family's Buddhist altar is considered the "main house" (in Japanese, jikka) for that family, Buddhist altars actually help keep families together, since family members return regularly to their "main house" for New Year's Day and other religious events. If you want to see what a (non-Nichiren) altar looks like, see this page: http://www.josyuya.com/english.html

For the new update, we've got lots of nice new items for you. For our general-interest customers, the new items include:

  • First, we've got stock of the very cool Thunderbirds toys from Konami, a series of seven toys that you put together easily -- and boy, are they cool
  • For anime fans, we've got some rare issues of anime magazines from the mid-1990's, with Tenchi Muyo, Macross Seven and more
  • Newly added snack and food items include delicious new hard candy (including some great Hello Kitty candies in a cute container), more Japanese miso soup, and fried rice
  • Also: fresh stock of popular items like Pucca Chocolate (chocolate-filled fish crackers), Bisco (cookies for babies or adults), Fruit of the Bubble (very fun Japanese bubble gum), Black Black caffeine candy, and more
  • Speaking of Hello Kitty, we've got some very rare Hello Kitty postcards books, and other cute items such as Hamutaro pocket tissues, and more wacky Japanese food erasers
  • Do you love Ultraman? We've got two cool Ultraman figures that are very poseable and also make Ultraman beam sounds when you press their chests
  • For fans of Star Blazers/Yamato, we have a very nice 1/6 scale figure of "Fuhrer Desler" (known as Leader Desslock in the English show)
  • Avoid the agony of not having enough chopsticks for guests with our packages of disposable chopsticks
  • Just in time for summer, we've got stock of Japanese mosquito incense, spiral-shaped coils that emit a pleasing smoke which positively defines "summer" to people living in Japan -- it also keeps mosquitoes away
  • We've restocked several of the Japan-release DVD titles we carry, including the English-dubbed and -subbed My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service (both excellent animated films by Mr. Miyazaki)
  • We have a very interesting Japanese clock with the old names of Japanese months in place of the numbers (very cool)
  • Also, more stock of funny English notebooks, Japanese kanji practice notebooks (for students), cute cotton swabs for babies, and more.

For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products. They include:

  • First, several new magazines, including the new issue of the oversized Gokuh, featuring incredibly sexy photos of Hikari Kisugi, Hitomi Hasegawa, Misa Nishda and many more
  • Also new amateur and "nampa" magazines, for fans of Japanese amateur girls in love hotels
  • We have a new DVD Bishoujo Club magazine + DVD combo in stock, too (lots of sample material)
  • We have several new nude photobooks, including a rare treat for fans of Russian nude models (whose books are largely available only in Japan, go fig), and a great new Yellows photobook featuring the excellent nude photography of Akira Gomi
  • Also: for fans of Japan's high school uniforms, there is an exhaustive study of them in the new High School Uniform Catalog, including photos of very pretty models wearing uniforms from Japan's most famous schools
  • We have a super array of new manga for you, including new hentai comics by Tsukasa, IC and Angel Comics, as well as freshly restocked books
  • Also: a rare treat, we've got some extremely rare doujinshi in stock, including rare hentai works for Star Blazers/Yamato (!)
  • For our DVD customers, we have a bunch of new titles in stock, starting with "Nao Oikawa will Assist your Masturbation" by the excellent Soft on Demand (region free)
  • For fans of cosplay, see give top-notch stars in a very nice costume fetish release by Deep's (region free)
  • Girls who strap on pretend cocks and act like guys are popular in Japan now, and Nao Hirosue's "Penis Venus" is a bold new release from Dogma and Tohjiro (region free)
  • Kuki's "My Sister's Panties" series has been one of their strongest series ever -- now see 4 hours of the best footage on a new DVD (region free)
  • Japan's hentai anime is famous for outrageous things like foot-long tongues coming out of demons' mouths and huge, tentacle-like penises -- now you can see Sally Yoshino in a new DVD that aims to capture this in live-action (region free)
  • For indies DVD fans, see the lovely Mirai Hoshizaki in Delivery Fuck (just call her up and she'll come to your house right away -- oo!) (region 2)
  • One of the most famous of the small indies studios is Milky Pudding (Milky Purin) -- they're famous for their small-budget style productions which have very high values. See scenes from 100 of their most famous productions in a new DVD! (region 2)
  • We mentioned Kaori Shimizu's "Black men and Japanese girl" DVD release last time, but it was accidentally not posted -- we've posted it now though
  • Finally, we've restocked several indies and pro titles, including the FERA World Fuck soccer parody, Moodyz Musume, and the excellent Fetish Lesbian.

The J-Mate site has been updated again, with new reviews (the lovely SOD Racing Gals DVD and Ai Kurosawa's softcore sex DVD) and recent English interviews with Shinobu Kasagi and Hitomi Hasegawa. J-Mate is a great place where you can learn more about Japan's AV culture and get information about some of the bishoujo games, DVDs and other products available at J-List. The URL is http://www.jmate.com/

Monday, June 24, 2002

Greetings from J-List June 24, 2002

Hello again from all of us at J-List!

We noticed many differences between Europe and Japan while we were there, but one area was very familiar to us: they use the Metric system, just as Japan does. Unfortunately it hasn't taken root with Americans, but the Metric system is very easy to get used to, as all gaijin who come here to live can attest. Instead of miles, you use kilometers (1 mile = 1.6 km, or about half again as long). Instead of inches, you use centimeters (1 in = 2.5 cm), so just divide by four, which makes a distance of 4 inches into 10 cm. (Through some fluke, TV screens are measured in inches in Japan.) And liters are not hard to get used to -- a liter is a little less than 1/4 of a gallon. Unfortunately, I don't think the U.S. will ever be able to adopt the Metric system without some sort of benevolent dictatorship being imposed.

The oldest known settlements in Japan are in Iwakuni, Gunma Prefecture, which happens to be about 20 minutes from our house. We were bored on Sunday, so we decided to take the kids to the museum there to show them the stone tools of people who lived as far back as 50,000 years ago. (They also have a full skeleton of a mammoth, too, a great things for parents wanting to entertain their kids.) Although Western Japan, with great former capitals like Kyoto and Nara, may had a greater influence on Japan history in the last 1500 years or so, the Kanto region was a very culturally active region in Japan's prehistory. During the Jomon Period (the age of pottery) and Yayoi Period (when the Japanese first started cultivating rice), the area where Gunma Prefecture now occupies was settled by many ancient people. Also, the region was very active during the area of the Mound Builders (from the 4th through the 7th century AD), and throughout Northern Japan you can find thousands of burial mounds.

At J-List, we always strive to make rare and unique products available to our customers. We're happy to announce that J-List is teaming up with Matsukameya, a famous maker of Japanese high school uniforms, to make them available to everyone around the world. Matsukameya is a maker of top-quality high school uniforms, with a variety of styles and colors. Each uniform is hand-made for you when you order it, and a wide variety of sizes are available for fans around the world (actually, Matsukameya designs their female uniforms so that even men can wear them, if they are so inclined). They're great for cosplay at anime conventions! See the new School Uniforms page for all our uniform tops and skirts, and be sure to check the size chart before ordering.

For our new update, we've got many nice items. Our anime, snack, T-shirt and wacky items include:

  • First, the aforementioned Japanese school uniforms that we're so proud to be able to carry
  • We have some very nice new sexy idol and swimsuit/Race Queen photobooks, hardcover and softcover
  • For fans of sexy idol trading cards, we've got the very nice "trading card bible" of Natsuki Kato in stock
  • In Japan, they have these killer eyedrops that refresh you and wake you up --- and we've got them in stock now (both for guys and for girls)
  • For Kubrick collectors and Evangelion fans, we've got all three of the brand-new Kubrick figures sets in stock now, and they are really great
  • Also, we've finally gotten in fresh stock of the Castle of Caliostro 2-DVD release that features both English subtitles and dubbed tracks, along with many valuable extras for Miyazaki fans (region 2)
  • For Hello Kitty fans, many new items, including two great bento box cloth bags (but you can use them for anything), cute facial oil wipes, and a very spiffy Hello Kitty item for your car
  • Fresh stock of the incredibly-popular Hello Kitty vibrators (we had 500 in stock when we went to Germany, but had almost sold out of all of them by the time I came back)
  • Also, fresh stock of our unique and authentic Japanese loose socks (both 80 cm and 120 cm sizes)
  • For Star Wars fans, a very cool item indeed: a 1/7 scale pre-painted soft vinyl model of Darth Vader, created by the famous Kotobukiya and ArtFX just for the Japanese market (you must see it to believe it, it is so cool)
  • Finally, more cool items such as a great Japanese wooden coin bank, cool accessories for those who want to imitate the kogal way of fashion, and more!

For our adult customers, we've got many new items, too. They include:

  • We have several new magazines for you, starting with the very nice new Bejean, the excellent oversized adult magazine from Eichi Publishing (featuring one of my favorites, Yuko Oguro, on the cover)
  • For fans of all things anal, we've got limited stock of the popular Shake Hip for you, too (it's, ahem, rather detailed)
  • We have an excellent selection of new photobooks today, with great new hardcover books by the sexy Yinling, the first nude photobook of Yuka Suzuki, and many more
  • Also: a nice "Accidents" photobook by Kishin Shinoyama, featuring the lovely Ai Kurosawa (!)
  • We've got the new CD Indies Deluxe in, featuring a full color magazine and two full Video CDs for you to enjoy viewing
  • For manga fans, we've got more new volumes in stock for you, including the excellent Heaven or Hell Advanced by Blue Blood, a 2-volume set of Bomber Girl, and much more (also many back-in-stock books)
  • For yaoi fans, we've got two great new yaoi comics in stock, too
  • If you love Japan's adult DVDs, we've got several new ones, starting with a great "Sentai" production (fighting team, like Power Rangers) from Soft on Demand, with 210 minutes of footage on 2 DVDs (region free)
  • SOD's "Best Selection" series DVDs give you the best moments of their thousands of productions -- now you can enjoy the best AV performances of Rin Tomosaki (region free)
  • From Dogma, we've got an excellent new production with Kurumi Morishita and Shinobu Kasagi, a very artistic and erotic "dangerous drama" that features lesbian performances and more (region free)
  • The sweet and charming Mai Satoh has been a regular in Japan's top magazines lately, and now we've got her DVD in stock (region free)
  • Emily Yoshikawa (aka Emirie Yoshikawa) is Japan's first "Latino" AV idol (she's half Japanese, half-Dominican Republic) -- now see a great 3 hour "3 in 1" with her (region free)
  • For region 2 fans, we've restocked the popular "Twice" featuring the elegant Kaoru Tsunoda (region 2)
  • Finally, in a great new release from Moodyz, the beautiful Kaori Shimizu goes to America to find some great, big black men and have sex with them, in a "yellow cab" DVD that is spectacular (region 2).

Remember that J-List carries virtually all English-language bishoujo games that are in print, so you can find all the best games in one place. Peach Princess, Hobibox Europe, JAST USA and Milky House, we've got them all and all are in stock. Japan's bishoujo games are an interesting kind of interactive love-simulation game that's unique to Japan, and we hope you'll try out some of them. If you're unsure which games you think you'd like, feel free to email us for a recommendation!