Friday, July 26, 2002

Greetings from J-List July 26, 2002

Greetings to all J-Listas from your friends in Japan!

First of all, a note about the site. There's a temporary problem with our secure certificate which is causing browser errors when you try to check out. We're working on the problem and should have it fixed soon, but you can still check out normally through the site (just ignore the errors). Or if you like, you can use the secure email form at https://www.jastusa.com/Merchant2/contact.mv? to give us your order until the problem is fixed.

Poor Yasu. Two nights ago a thief broke into his car and stole his wallet containing $200 in cash, as well as some other valuables. What's more, the person used his bank card to withdraw all the money from his account (his card PIN was set to his birthday, never a good idea). Fortunately there was only $200 in the account, but it still shook him up pretty bad -- however, considering the fact that you can withdraw up to $10,000 through Japanese ATMs, it was good that he didn't have any more money in the bank. A year ago, someone broke into Kaori's car and stole her stereo, too. Famous for years as one of the world's safest places, with very little crime, the ongoing recession here is unfortunately changing this part of Japan for the worse. The liquor shop that my parents run has been robbed three times in the past six years, too, each time netting several thousand dollars. It's really disappointing, and we hope things turn around soon.

Despite the trends in crime in Japan, Japan is generally a happy, harmonious place, where most people have a built-in sense of "joshiki" or common sense, i.e. a unified idea of the way things should be done. Kids all go to school and study (there is no homeschooling in Japan), husbands are the "daikoku-bashira," the large black pillars that support the family by working, supported by their wives, who keep the family running smoothly and control household finances. With so much homogeneity, though, there is the problem of the Tyranny of the Majority at times, which manifests itself in small ways. In Japan, there are almost no vegetarians, and foreigners who want to live vegetarian often have trouble "getting along" in Japan as nearly everything here contains something that was made from animals. There are many Mormon missionaries in Japan, who aren't allowed to drink beverages with caffeine in them, but in Japan, everything has caffeine, period. In Japan, too, most people love milk with 3.7 per cent milk fat or higher -- it's thick and delicious, they say. When I came to Japan in 1992, it was very hard to find low fat (1%) milk without searching several stores. Now, low fat milk is generally available, but non-fat milk (which I like, when I can get it) is impossible to find. The "majority" just doesn't want it, so no one produces it.

We have tons of cool items for you today, including:

  • First, we sold out of the popular Studio Ghibli region 2 DVD players yet again, but managed to get another ten units just in time. They are on the site now, but they are still going fast. If you're looking for an incredibly unique DVD player for watching region 2 discs, Mr. Miyazaki at Studio Ghibli has designed the perfect item for you! Incidentally we found a few features of this player that we forgot to mention, including a full English menu mode, CD audio playback, and Dolby and DTS sound support. Also, we've posted translations of the remote control and manual for our customers who aren't fluent in Japanese.
  • Also, we've restocked our popular Lasonic DVD players in our office in San Diego, after our stock got quite low -- these players are portable, take up very little space, and can be easily set to any DVD region via the remote control (including a "region 0" that plays all discs)
  • For anime and toy fans, some cool new items, including three beautiful soft vinyl figurines of Gin Rei from the Giant Robo anime (very sexy)
  • Also, new Kubrick items, including the brand new Kubrick Trigun figures, as well as "blank" Kubrick figures that you can get creative with
  • We've got new nice photobooks of Japanese idols, like the hardcover photobook of Mika Sakamoto, so charming and pretty
  • For fans of Domo-kun, the odd little brown guy that is the Spokesmonster of NHK, Japan's national broadcasting system, we've got a cool phone strap/keychain for you
  • Fans of our Japanese snacks and gum can check out the newly posted items, including milk candy, delicious summer "Poifull" (a kind of gummi jelly bean), and the first ever gummi calcium we've carried
  • We've restocked several Japanese chewing gum items, and also added a delicious Ramune soda flavored gum that's really fizzy!
  • If you're an aficionado of Japan's sumo wrestling, we have stock of a cool collectible card series that has all the famous wrestlers
  • We've got some cool Hello Kitty items, including a very nice "pacchin bracelet" that snaps around anything, your wrist or ankle -- and it's so cute
  • Also, another dynamite item for newlyweds, a Hello Kitty and Daniel and "keep forever" vase that is just beautiful
  • Finally, see a funky ice cube stick tray, a neat organizer for your closet, some great ways to massage your feet, funky wooden Japanese message signs and more!

For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products, including:

  • For fans of the top-quality magazines published by Eichi Publishing, we've got the new issue of Bejean, filled to the brim with beautiful Japanese AV idols
  • Also, several new issues of amateur and "hitozuma" (married woman) fetish magazines for you
  • We have several nice photobooks, including leg fetish and nude hardcover works by Atsuko Okamoto and the lovely Junnai
  • There's a DVD and magazine combination "Complete Works of Ai Nagase" that's very nice, great for fans of her long career in indies adult video (region 2)
  • Also, a bold item, a medical fetish photobook that features incredible artistic photographs shot in the style of the early 20th century
  • We've got in two more Japanese bishoujo games that come with art books from the series, great for fans and collectors of bishoujo games in Japanese
  • We've also restocked some of our popular hentai art books, including Yui Shop, the X-Change and Tokimeki Check in art book, and the very popular La Blue Girl illustrations books
  • For manga collectors, many top-flight items for you, including the dynamite Splady Casty, an incredible manga by the creator of the Vaginass series, and much more
  • If you've ever wanted to hold the lovely Ai Kurosawa in your arms, you can, with the new inflatable Love Pillow (called a "Dutch Wife" in Japanese), that is fully functional!
  • For DVD collectors, some excellent new titles for you, starting with a super Anna Ohura DVD (!) with 180 minutes of her high-quality cosplay erotic performance! (region free)
  • Another must-buy title is the Very Best of Million, with 240 minutes of great sampler footage (region free)
  • From Soft on Demand, Nao Oikawa plays as the "Beauty Female Doctor in Obscene Horrible Ward," a new production for her fans (region free)
  • Another "penis study" DVD, in which naive girls see and touch mens' penises for the first time (region free)
  • An excellent *4 hour* amateur erotic DVD from Yellow Box is also in stock, with great gals for you
  • For region 2 DVD collectors, enjoy the very best of "gokkun" (swallowing) fetish by the mighty Waap, with many lovely AV actresses performing on this disc (region free)
  • Finally, a large restock of DVDs, including fresh stock of the Big Morkal DVD Anthology, Super Angle of Manko with Mirai Hoshizaki, Ai Nagase Remix, Hotaru Aki's "The Idol" DVD, and much more!

The J-Mate site was down for a day or so due to a server error, sorry about. It's back up, and with a new interview for fans of the lovely Kyoka Usami, one of my personal favorites. Remember that we're very interested in receiving reviews of products for J-Mate, so if you have something you want to review for others, please contact us! The J-Mate site is at http://www.jmate.com/

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Greetings from J-List July 24, 2002

Hello again from your friends in Japan!

Rice is the national staple food of the Japanese, and almost everyone eats rice with one or two meals each day. The word "okazu" means "food that goes with rice" -- i.e., any dish you eat alongside white rice, such as fish, chicken, or "hamburg" steak -- and figures into most every evening meal. The most delicious rice is koshi-hikari, and the most famous region of Japan for growing this rice is Niigata Prefecture (the "snow country" in Kawabata's famous novel). Older Japanese often imagine that bread plays the same role to Americans as rice does to the Japanese, that we plan each and every meal around what kind of bread we have today, but of course this isn't usually the case. Japanese can be very silly about rice -- the exact same stalk of rice that tastes good grown in Niigata Prefecture would certainly taste terrible if grown in California or Thailand, for example, and Japanese universally oppose the importing of rice from other countries. Rice and protecting the way of l ife of farmers who grow rice is a major political issue, and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party draws the majority of their support from rural farmers and Japan's rice farming unions, who occasionally decide to stage demonstrations in cities, driving their tractors and broadcasting loud slogans about how important rice farming is to Japan. Much of Japan's desire to be self-sufficient with regard to rice comes from the events of World War II, when much of the population starved.

Another food the Japanese get a lot of mileage out of is the soybean (daizu in Japanese). The Japanese make many things out of soybeans, including soy sauce, tofu (soybean curd), miso (a paste that looks like peanut butter to American eyes, but is used in all kinds of cooking), abura-age (fried tofu, it tastes better than it sounds), and of course, the famous Japanese delicacy natto, or fermented soybeans. Virtually all Japanese dishes use something that comes from soybeans, and companies advertise on TV that their soybeans are the of the highest quality. Kikkoman, the leading maker of soy sauce in Japan (they were founded 400 years ago), advertises that all its products are made from "100% perfectly round soybeans."

J-List accepts credit cards directly through our secure server, and this is by far the method most customers choose to pay for orders from J-List. But if this isn't convenient for you, we can also accept payment through Paypal, the convenient online payment service. Also, good old-fashioned check or money order payments, sent to our PO Box in San Diego, are also more than welcome. Sometimes customers in Europe and other countries find it more convenient to send cash in US dollars, and this is fine, too, although please take careful precautions when sending.

Incredibly, we managed to sell out of *all ten* the Studio Ghibli DVD players we added on Monday. We managed to get a few more, but they will become very hard to get in stock soon. If you want one of these really cool region 2 DVD players, which are meticulously designed by Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki, we recommend that you order yours soon.

For the new update, we've got some very nice items for you. They include:

  • First of all, we have yet another great and wacky
    Japanese T-shirt for you (we're on a roll, can you tell?). A remake
    of one of our best-selling T-shirts, this shirt says "Philosophy of
    Hentai" (Hentai Tetsugaku)
  • For fans of unique toy items from Japan, we have more
    Totoro items, including the very cool stuffed toys from Sun Arrow --
    including, by customer request, the REALLY BIG Totoro (32 inches high)
  • Also, more Japan-release Hot Wheels, including the
    Japan-only Mach 5 from Speed Racer
  • We love Japan's sexy swimsuit idols and Race Queens, and
    we've got some nice items for you
  • if you love Godzilla and are a kid or a grown-up, we've
    got two cool Godzilla "sound photobooks" with tons of pictures --
    they make famous Godzilla sounds when you press the buttons!
  • If you need to pour water over a gravestone to show
    respect for the dead, we've got the perfect item for that
  • For bento fans, we've got restocks of several items,
    including a deluxe bento set with everything you need for Japanese
    boxed lunch
  • J-List carries authentic Japanese chopsticks for adult
    and kids, and we've got some new varieties in for you today
  • As usual, we have some cool Hello Kitty items, including
    toothbrushes, pins, and more
  • Also: another very rare only-available-in-Japan Hello
    Kitty item for your kitchen, a super Hello Kitty oven toaster that
    you can use to prepare all kinds of food and brighten your kitchen!
  • We love to promote the study of Japanese, so we carry
    items like notebooks that help you learn hiragana, practice your
    writing of Japanese and so on. Now we've got in very spiffy Campus
    Vocabulary Word Books which are great for studying any foreign
    language!
  • Finally, look for funny ways to clean your ear, super
    cute erasers, and much more!

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

  • For fans of the lovely adult magazines we carry, the new
    issues of Video Boy and Best Video, the great "all purpose adult
    video magazines"
  • For fans of hentai magazines, check out the new issue of
    Push, with excellent new game information and two CD-ROMs of stuff
    for you to check out
  • For those who like Video CDs with their magazines, we
    have the new MPEG Indies, filled with great information on the
    hottest idols in Japan's AV world
  • We have nice new erotic photobooks, including the very
    sexy girls of Mighty Agent (a sexy idol unit who fights evil and
    poses in cute costumes), as well as a great new leg and stocking
    fetish photobook
  • We have a great high-end bondage photobook for fans of
    the very erotic Shinobu Kisugi
  • Also, fresh stock of that timeless classic, Rie
    Miyazawa's bombshell nude photobook Santa Fe
  • For hentai manga fans, we've got a great update of erotic
    works for you, including the popular Mini Suka Police erotic comic
    series, fresh stock of the very popular Irodori, and more!
  • For doujinshi collectors, fresh stock of The Great Work
    of Alchemy (TGWOA) vol. 10
  • Also, the fabulous hentai art book of Satoshi Urushihara,
    Venus, available from the publisher once again!
  • For DVD collectors, we've got some great titles for you,
    starting with Nanami Nanase in a "champion ship" match with three
    famous AV actors to see which can make love to her the most
    skillfully (region free)
  • Another great new release from SOD, enjoy tekoki at the
    SOD Hand Job Clinic (region free)
  • See more of the greatest works of Kurumi Morishita in
    vol. 2 of her DVD History (region free)
  • Cosplay is always fun, and there's a great new Pia Carrot
    erotic cosplay from TMA (region free)
  • The lovely Natsuki Abe performs in a great *English
    subtitled* DVD, featuring wide screen, multi-angle and multi-story
    (region free)
  • For fans of the excellent indies erotica from Audaz,
    enjoy the Violent Shoot (region 2)
  • Finally, a variety of freshly updated and restocked DVD
    and VHS items!

J-List is happy to be able to carry the high-quality high school uniforms of Matsukameya, of Nagoya, Japan, through an exclusive arrangement. You can choose from several styles of really excellently made summer or winter uniforms, perfect for use in anime cosplay at conventions, etc. We have gotten many request for male high school uniforms (the black ones), and we're happy to say that we'll have something available for you soon.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Greetings from J-List July 22, 2002

Hello again from all of us in Japan!

The Japanese do many things that perplex the gaijin who live here. One is the way they crouch while waiting for a bus or a train, called "yankii-zuwari" or "sitting like a yankee." Basically, they squat very low, somehow managing to put their heels flat on the ground, rather than balancing on their toes. It's very hard for most gaijin to achieve this pose, yet Japanese find it very comfortable, probably because they learn this posture using Japanese toilets, which have no seat (you squat over them). In Japanese usage, a "yankee" refers to teenagers who are "bad kids" -- the kind of teens who refuse to go to school, who smoke, who hang out in game centers. They're somewhat related to "boso-zoku," the motorcycle gangs who ride around Japan making as much noise as they can, and some grow up to become yakuza. We're not sure why the English word yankee came to refer to the bad seeds among Japan's youth, but one idea comes from the fact that rebelling Japanese youths often dye their hair blonde (or orange, as close as some of them can get), and maybe it comes from this (foreigners = Americans = blonde hair to the Japanese mind). If you want to see a picture of what yankii-zuwari looks like, Tomo demonstrates it for you here: http://www.jlist.com/yankee_zuwari.gif.

It's very hard to get along in Japan without learning some Japanese. Contrary to what you may think about living in a foreign country, it is very difficult to pick up a language automatically, and even if you are living in Japan, constant effort to learn the language is required. One of the best ways to learn Japanese, I've found is to set a goal and work towards it all year long. The Japanese have given us a perfect such goal in the Japanese Ability Test (Nihongo Nouryoku Shiken), a test given each December which is a standardized way to find your Japanese level. There are four levels to the test, starting with level 4 (hiragana, katakana and about 100 kanji), and going all the way up to level 1 (which is required for any foreigners who wish to enter a Japanese university). You can take the test at various cities around Japan, and also around the world. For more information on where you can take the test in your country, see this: http://www.aiej.or.jp/examination/jlpt_guide_e.html. (If you're in the Western U.S., this page: http://www.jflalc.org/proftest/). Incidentally, I've made some information and general advice on what is involved in learning Japanese on my personal homepage, at http://www.peterpayne.net/ in case it's useful to anyone.

Well, the six units of the Studio Ghibli DVD player we got in sure went out the door fast -- they sold out in record time. We're currently seeing what we can do to get more stock for you. If you want to reserve one of these items, just buy it normally through the J-List site and we'll hold the order for you.

We have a cool new T-shirt for you, a very esoteric one with its roots in Japan's history. In 1853, American Admiral Perry brought his "black ships" off shore near Yokohama to force Japan, then a completely closed country, to open her ports and trade with the outside world. It touched off a very interesting quarter century in which Japan was forced to abandon its old ways and build a completely new nation, wiping away nearly all its old samurai-era institutions. As young Japanese rallied around the Meiji Emperor, their slogan was "sonno joi" or "Respect the Emperor, Expel the Foreign Barbarians." Now this wacky slogan, very famous and known to all Japanese, is available on a Japanese new T-shirt from J-List!

We're also very happy to announce that Transfer Student, the long-awaited bishoujo game for Windows and Macintosh, is finally in stock and shipping. Having worked so hard to get this title out, I feel I don't quite know what do say except thanks for all the customers who were so patient during the long delays. We wouldn't have made it without you! Transfer Student is the "last" of the games from JAST, the bishoujo game maker that had a huge influence on the genre of Japanese love simulation games in the 1980s and 90s. Unfortunately, JAST went bankrupt in 1999, a victim of the long Japanese recession. Transfer Student is a great multi-scenario game incorporating all the best of JAST's bishoujo game themes, and we hope you will check it out!

In addition to the above-mentioned items, we've got a bunch of nice new and back-in-stock items for you, including a very cool recreation of famous Japanese foods (which we're selling in full sets since they're so cool), plus new snack and candy items (including new varieties of miso soup, very popular), new Hello Kitty products that are very cute, more Japanese calligraphy pens, and much more. For toy fans, find cool Kubrick series toys and Evangelion items, fresh stock of cool anime figures, and other things from Japan. Newly added adult items include many nice volumes of erotic manga and photobooks by the lovely Yinling and Russian Yulia Nova, fresh stock of the popular Viper GTB erotic art book, loads of fresh stock of adult DVDs, and more! So please check out the J-List site for all that we have to offer.

Did you know you can view all updated products on the J-List site by clicking the link right below the top-5 list? It's a good way of seeing all updated items in all categories easily.

Well, that's all for now. Until next time, we'll see you on the web!