Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Greetings from J-List July 10, 2002

Hello from a very wet Japan. We're about to be visited by Typhoon No. 6, a big, mean storm that's set to touch down in the Kanto region (where Tokyo and Gunma are) sometime during the night. Hope we don't get washed away!

You may be familiar with the word "otaku." A formal word which really means "you" or "your family," it's come to describe people who get carried away with their hobbies. The most famous otaku are the anime otaku, fans of Japanese anime who fill their rooms with anime goods in an attempt to get "the perfect collection." There are many other kinds of otaku, from military otaku to perfume otaku to train otaku, and so on. There seems to be something about the Japanese psyche that opens them up to going all-out in the pursuit of their hobbies. Unfortunately, while foreigners are often happy to use the word otaku to describe themselves, I really have to advise against using the word in front of Japanese people. In Japan, the concept of people getting carried away collecting doujinshi, Zippo lighters, and little stuffed dogs is cute, but the idea of being an otaku is really not a positive one to the Japanese mind -- just as you might not know what to think about a person who boasted about what a "Trekkie" he was. My advice is to hide your otakuism from Japanese people until they know you better, to avoid misunderstandings.

One thing I admire about the Japanese is their single-mindedness and ability to stay focused on a goal. When I married my wife and moved to Isesaki, I noticed a man in a nearby field, spending his Sunday afternoon with his RC helicopter (one of the expensive ones), flying it around the field and landing it. (He is an RC otaku.) Well, it's been eight years since then, and that man is still in that field every Sunday afternoon, playing with his RC helicopter (sometimes his friends bring various airplanes, too). Over the past eight years I've gone through many changes, but I have to respect that man for his steadfast adherence to his true love. Likewise, this steadiness can be seen in Japanese TV, with anime staples that have been on the air for decades and thousands and thousands of episodes -- mainly Doraemon (the "robot of cat type" who comes from the future to be with his friend, Nobita-kun) and Sazae-san (which follows the happenings of the Isono family every week, brought to you by the Toshiba Corporation). The longest running movie series in history is also from Japan -- "Otoko wa Tsuraiyo" ("It's Tough Being a Man") followed the traveling salesman Tora-san around Japan year after year, for a total of 48 installments (it's in the Guiness Book).

We've got good news for bishoujo gaming fans: we are going to be carrying the great new games from G-Collections. A new company translating some of the best games from Japan, the first four titles are going to be excellent, with superb graphics, compelling and emotional game stories and more. You can preorder "Kango Shicyauzo ~ I'm Gonna Nurse You", "Kana ~ Little Sister", "DOR" and "Chain ~ The Lost Footprints" now and get free shipping when the games come in!

For the new update, we've got lots of nice items for you, including:

  • First, we're happy to see the reaction to our newest wacky Japanese T-shirts, "I want to be Japanese" and "Sexual Power" -- we've posted a white version of the Sexual Power shirt for you, too
  • We have a very special item for Hello Kitty fans: the very cool Hello Kitty ' Daniel "Wedding Kitty" plush sets, with several versions available
  • Also for Hello Kitty fans, several new items, including new mayonnaise cups (use them in bento boxes, or to store just about anything), as well as more of the beautiful kimono-clad Kitty toys we posted last time
  • We have a great new My Neighbor Totoro music box in stock, featuring all three Totoros doing their "dance of the acorns"
  • We have new items for your kitchen including new adult-sized chopsticks, a great item for fans of Ojamajo Doremi, and more
  • Newly posted snack items include super spicy Japanese potato snacks, delicious Japanese Ramune candy, herbal throat candy, and more popular chocolate covered sun flower seeds
  • Also, fresh stock of Kitty hot cake mix, and an item we recommend to everyone, delicious Japanese barley tea (mugi cha)
  • For fans of Japanese Race Queens and swimsuit idols, see the new photobooks and other items we have for you, including a great photobook for Morning Musume fans
  • Also in stock, a funky and wholly Japanese way to clean your ears
  • We have fresh stock of the deluxe Hamster Club bento box and related items, always popular with J-List customers, and other bento items as well
  • Finally, find soft and fun things to hold, a new Japan-only Hot Wheels Mach 5 version for Speed Racer fans,

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

  • First, see the above-mentioned new bishoujo games which you can order right now!
  • For fans of beautiful Japanese AV idols, see the new Cospet, a fabulous all-cosplay magazine by the makers of Urecco that's got 20 of Japan's top gals for you
  • Also for cosplay fans, a very special "sexy cosplay" photobook that features top gals like Megumi and Yuko Ogura, and comes with little paper dolls you can play with!
  • For photobook fans, enjoy several new nude photobooks, including the lovely hardcover offering of Sayaka Yoshino and some new "petite eros" series books (very small all-color photobooks that are pocket-sized)
  • Japan is always interested in "new half," e.g. chicks with dicks, and we've got a nice new photobook of authentic dick girls in stock
  • We have an excellent lineup of great manga for you, including top-quality works by Angel Comics, Mujin Comics and more
  • Also, yaoi fans, check out fresh stock of several items posted for you
  • For fans of KITE, the hentai anime, we've restocked the popular art book for you, as well as the Bishoujo Anime Catalog RX
  • There's a top-quality series of adult trading cards posted, too, based on the Rhythmic Gymnastics bishoujo game
  • For DVD collectors, we have many new items as usual, starting with a "graduation AV debut" of a girl fresh out of high school (region free)
  • Naive rich girls engage in "penis study" in a great Soft on Demand DVD, seeing and touching a man's penis for the first time -- their reactions are great to see (region free)
  • For Ai Nagase fans, a super 2-DVD powerhouse release, that comes with an extra gift: a piece of fabric cut off the actual uniform she was wearing (region free)
  • For fans of lesbian themes, two gorgeous ladies star as "The Sensual Sisters" in a new erotic release from HMP, and this is subtitled in English, Chinese and Korean! (region free)
  • Enjoy the sweet costume play of Asuka Ozora, as she wears many great anime costumes for your fantasy-fulfillment (region 2)
  • Finally, we've got a large update several DVD titles for you, including the excellent DVDs of Mai Hagiwara, Maiko Kazama, Kaori Kuraishi, and many more!

Remember that J-List is the only place you can get the excellent and authentic high school uniforms from Matsukameya of Nagoya. These are extremely well made uniforms that are famous all over Japan, and they're just beautiful. They're not cheap, unfortunately, but we know that you will be totally satisfied with the high quality of Matsukameya's products. And coming soon! By customer request, we'll soon be offering men's high school uniforms!

My kids and I are currently enjoying the excellent Walking with Dinosaurs and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts DVD series by the BBC, which are "documentaries" of animals that lived long ago. If you've got kids who dig dinosaurs, the DVDs are very educational, and really fun to watch as well. I recommend them 100%!

Monday, July 08, 2002

Greetings from J-List July 8, 2002

Hello and Happy Monday from all of us in Japan!

Summer has arrived, and that means that one of Japan's twice-yearly gift-giving seasons is here again. In July and again in December, people all over Japan buy gifts, called Chugen (in the summer) and Oseibo (in the winter), to give to certain people. Students and the parents of students give gifts to teachers to foster goodwill, for example, and companies give gifts to the companies they do business with as a way of saying thanks for the past year of business, and "korekara mo yoroshiku" (a phrase that is difficult to translate, it basically restates the hope that they continue to help you in the future). Selling the boxed gift sets is big money in the downtrodden Japanese economy, and Japanese companies compete to make the most attractive packages of cooking oil, detergent, canned drinks, vacuum-packed hams, to attract consumers' attention. Starbuck's Japan has started selling its much-renowned coffee beans in handy Japanese gift sets in its stores, and even HagenDaaz is getting into the act: you can send a box of delicious ice cream to anyone in Japan, and it will be delivered via Yamato Transport Company's "cool" delivery trucks, which keep the contents at a frosty temperature.

Another aspect of the Japanese "kokumin-sei" (their "national personality") is the Japanese attitude towards seasons. First, the Japanese are keenly aware that Japan has four very distinct seasons and (as humorist Dave Barry has pointed out) are likely to stop you on the street without warning to tell you about them. The Japanese are finely tuned to their seasons, and naturally know when to dress more or less warmly depending on the weather, unlike the poor gaijin living here, who are always dressing out of season and sticking out. The Japanese only do certain things in certain seasons, too. After August 3st, when summer vacation officially ends, virtually no one goes to the beach because "summer is over." I remember taking a trip by train to Enoshima, a beach near Yokohama, to take in the waves in early September. For some reason, what I was doing seemed to be crossing some invisible line to the Japanese, and several people tried to stop me from going. In a similar fashion, there is a very narrow window from September to November or so, when really cool anime, JPOP and idol calendars are available in Japan (and through J-List, too). Outside of this very small "calendar season," it's nearly impossible to find a calendar for sale in Japan for love or money.

Announcing the J-List Summer DVD Gift Sale! Until the end of the month, or while supplies last, we'll be giving away free DVD gifts for every $100 in adult DVDs you buy. It's our way of saying thanks for supporting J-List!

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

  • First, we have two great new wacky Japanese T-shirts for you, which say "Completely Confident in my Sexual Power" (a great item for guys looking for Japanese girls), and "I Want to be Japanese" (for anyone who secretly wish they were born in Japan) -- in stock now!
  • We love the beautiful swimsuit models Japan has to offer, and have several new photobook (and a magazine + DVD item!) for fans of Sayaka Uchida, May Iikubo and more
  • For anime and toy fans, we've got a major restocking of some of our most popular items, including the Totoro tin toy series, all the Love Hina SkyLuv dolls, and the oh-so-popular Japan-only Star Wars items (including the Light Saber)
  • Also, a restocking of the popular Love Hina bilingual comics which allow you to read both the English and the Japanese
  • We love the series of character goods and plush toys called "The Dog" and do our best to bring these great items to you all. There's a new line of very nice coffee mug, saucer and spoon sets for dog lovers, in stock
  • For Macross fans, stock of the very cool transforming VF-1A Valkyrie from Bandai (Rick Hunter/Hikaru Ichijo Skull-1)
  • For lovers of Gamera, we have a nifty "Gamera Special Graphix" book filled with pictures and behind-the-scenes shots of the Gamera films
  • Also from Bandai, two really cool female robots from the Mazinger Z (Tranzor Z) universe, with extra-cool breast missiles that really shoot
  • Also, we always carry lots of only-found-in-Japan Hello Kitty goods, and we've got a cool new series of kimono-clad Hello Kitty stuffed toys that will brighten any room!
  • Also, other cool Hello Kitty items for you, including new fork and spoon sets, a cool "holder magnet," and fresh stock of the very popular Hello Kitty Collector's Mascot series, featuring little Kitty characters from all over Japan
  • Also for fans of My Melody, the popular Sanrio character, we've got a suntanned "Hawaiian My-Melo" that's so cute
  • We've got new snack items, including new miso soup, fried rice mix, tasty rice crackers, more onigiri, furikake, and more
  • Also: fresh stock of delicious mugi tea, the #1 drink of the Japanese during the summer
  • For collectors of music boxes or fine Snoopy items from around the world, we've got a very rare and special item, a beautiful Snoopy leather music box that is just too cute!
  • Finally, look for cool items for your kitchen, a great cloth and wood shopping bag, traditional Japanese green tea cups, and more!

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

  • For magazine fans, we have several new items for you, including new amateur items, kogal magazines, and new bargain magazines for you
  • For photobook lovers, we have some great new erotic photobooks for you, including the dynamite new Rio Sannomiya release for you, and more
  • Also, a unique item for fans of female nude tattoo photography, however stock is limited (if our stock sells out, we'll be able to order more)
  • We've been receiving more requests for new manga from Japan, so we're posted a nice update today, with several new volumes from several different artists and manga studios
  • For DVD fans, we've got many new items, including the new Deep Kiss and "Would you like a hand job?" DVDs that were accidentally not posted on Friday (sorry about that) (both are region free)
  • If you love the sweet face of the new "good girl of Japanese AV," Hitomi Hayasaka, enjoy her new DVD release (region free)
  • By Tohjiro and Dogma, there's a new White Sexual Desire, a great exploration of bukkake themes by one of Japan's best indies studios (region free)
  • Nao Oikawa goes back to the love hotel where she first lost her virginity to relive those memories again in a great new production from Moodyz (region 2)
  • And forfans of the bold and erotic Wanz Factory, there's a new "Super Angle of Manko" release which is shot almost entirely with a fish-eye lens positioned between Ruu Hoshino's legs (region 2)
  • Finally, various new in stock DVD items posted by Tomo!

J-List customers tell us that the #1 way they hear about J-List is through word-of-mouth. We're very glad to hear this, and we're always happy to accept referrals! If you've got a friend who might be interested in our unique brand of Japanese pop culture, why not tell them about J-List, or ask them to sign up to our J-List updates? Thanks! Hello and Happy Monday from all of us in Japan!