Friday, August 16, 2002

Greetings from J-List August 16, 2002

Hello again from Japan, the home of a popular "creaming powder" for coffee known as "Creap."

One unique side of Japan are the "love hotels" that pop up here and there throughout the country, especially in rural areas. Because Japanese young people usually live with their parents into their 20s (or indefinitely, if they're the oldest son or daughter), it can be difficult for couples to find time for privacy. So they go to a love hotel, where they can enjoy "rest" (2 hours of privacy) or "stay" (all night). Formerly known as "motels," which causes some confusion when Japanese go to the U.S. and see motels there, the rooms inside love hotels have everything couples might need -- exotic baths to clean themselves, a condom on the pillow, toothbrushes, and so on. Many love hotels are organized around a theme, such as the Queen Elizabath (a giant hotel that looks like a ship), or rooms that look like the Forbidden City in Beijing. The most famous love hotel in Gunma is called The Rock, and everything in the rooms is based on Alcatraz -- but it's so popular, you have to wait to get in. Since couples going to a hotel want privacy, the hotels make sure they never need to see anyone -- at some places, you can check out by phone, and put your money in a tube that will be delivered to the front desk.

I've talked before about Japan's tendency to give in to the "tyranny of the masses" -- for example, skim milk is impossible to find in Japan because most Japanese like thick, creamy milk with 4.7 per cent milkfat, so only the majority gets what it wants. In a similar show of over-uniformity, Japanese parents tend to "fix" children who show signs of left-handedness, and force them to use their right hands -- this happened to my wife when she was a child. The rationale when my wife was young was that kids need to learn how to do math using an abacus, which can only be used with the right hand. Supposedly they don't "fix" lefties anymore, but I distinctly remember my wife gently "correcting" our son Kazuki when he was a baby and tried to do something with his left hand. Incidentally, my wife has the equivalent of a brown belt in abacus calculation, and can sit there and add up complex numbers even by moving her hand over an imagery abacus -- she doesn't need a real one.

For the new update, we've got an extra special selection of new items for you, including:

  • First, we have a cool treat for Macross/Robotech fans: the new series of *transforming* toys from Banpresto -- all five of the very cool Valkyrie fighters (full sets also available)
  • If you love Astro Boy, the very first Japanese animation series ever, we've got fresh stock of the beautiful recreation of Astro Boy in flight, complete with case
  • For Hello Kitty fans, we've got a really cool series of "collectible mascots" that come with cute little metal suitcase tins, they're great!
  • We've gotten in fresh stock of the Studio Ghibli DVD player, a beautiful designed player that comes with many great extras, including full Dolby and DTS support, two remote controls (including an "acorn remote" that is just too cool), and English menus. Supply of these players is really drying up in Japan, so get yours before they become unavailable
  • For fans of our fun Japanese snacks, we've got several items, including green tea flavored choco sticks, tasty "honey black candy," tasty Japanese rice crackers and miso soup, and more
  • If you love Gamera, the huge flying turtle monster, we've got a cool Gamera 2 Perfect Analysis data book that's really cool
  • Also, fresh stock of one of our most popular (and wacky) items, sushi gummi, fruit flavored gummi "sushi" on marshmallow "rice" with chocolate soy sauce -- it's so fun to eat!
  • For fans of Japanese gum, we've restocked several varieties, and added a super strong mint gum for people worried about "etiquette" and bad breath
  • We have cute notebooks, including a Little Twin Star coloring book and a new Hamtaro "free note" (i.e. a notebook with blank pages you can draw in) with included "rocket pencil"
  • For collectors of beautiful trading cards from Japan, be sure to check out the Seventh Sanctuary cards we just got in
  • A cute but slightly weird-looking character called Umi-Nin (Sea-Man) is in stock, if you're a fan of off-color Japanese plush characters
  • We've restocked our famous authentic loose socks and loose socks glue (which is used to hold the socks up high)
  • For fans of Inu Yasha, the hit anime by Rumiko Takahashi, we've got the film comic of the theatrical release in stock
  • If you love Japanese food, especially noodles, we've got a great way to enjoy them!
  • Finally, check out a funky ice cube tray, a wacky wooden sign to hang up when you've got a broken heart, a way to keep mosquitoes away while outside, and more!
  • For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products. The new items include:
  • We have the new issue of the oversized Bejean, and a lovely issue it is, filed with beautiful adult video idols from Japan
  • For fans of magazines that come with sampler Video CDs, enjoy the new PC King, with 2 hours of sampler video for you!
  • We've got some very nice new hardcover photobooks in stock, including a beautiful one with the Nana Natsume's pure nude, and a great item for fans of Garo Aida
  • For doujinshi collectors, we've got some nice new in stock doujinshi for you, although they will go fast since they're all brand new releases from the summer 2002 Comic Market and we've only got limited stock of each
  • Also for fans of hentai illustrations, we've got some excellent new hentai manga, including a super new issue from Shiwasu no Okina (comes complete with color pages and a set of four collectible cards)
  • Also for manga lovers, we've got a major update of back in stock items, including other Shiwasu no Okina volumes, books by Chataro and more
  • We have fresh stock of the very lovely The Newest Anime Collection, an art book with information on hentai anime in Japan
  • If you love the excellent English-dubbed hentai DVDs we've been adding to the J-List site, we've got more for you, four new boxed sets of excellent hentai anime, and all uncensored! All stocked in San Diego, too...
  • For fans of adult DVD entertainment, we've got some very nice new titles in, starting with a new "obscene lesbian kissing" DVD from SOD, which features all amateurs (region free)
  • There's a great "Sperm Lesbian" 2-in-1 production with 140 minutes of excellent performances by top AV stars (including Nao Hirosue) (region free)
  • We have two great new indies performances by a new company, Janes -- see super hardcore sex with Ai Nagase and Shinobu Kasagi (both region free)
  • AV director Tohjiro has created a new "best hits of hugging from behind" erotic DVD series, which sounds silly, but it's really erotic and cool to see (region free)
  • Finally, fresh stock of several DVD titles, including Adult Video Wrestling (pro wrestling with an erotic twist), the best of Ami Ayukawa, as well as many region 2 DVDs (good for those with region free players!).

Remember that J-List carries 6- and 12-month subscriptions to some of our most popular adult magazines, like Urecco, Gal's Dee, and Beajean. We also carry many other magazines by revolving subscription, a system by which we reserve each current issue of that magazine for you every month. Check out our magazine subscription pages for more information!

The "top 5" lists have been updated again, so you can see what everyone else is buying at J-List. Click on each list to bring up those items on the J-List site.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Greetings from J-List August 14, 2002

Hello again from your friends in Japan!

It's August, and in Japan, that meant heat and humidity. And for fans of baseball, it also means it's time for the "World Series" of high school baseball, Koshien. Named for the stadium near Kobe where the games are played, Koshien is a national series of games to determine which team from each of Japan's 48 prefectures will win the championship. There are many fans of high school baseball, and the games are televised, so fans can follow their favorite teams and players. The dream of being on a team that goes to Koshien is very big with middle-aged Japanese men, many of whom relive their own youth each year through the Koshien games. There's an entire category of high school baseball comics in which the goal of the characters is always to go to the "dream stadium" at Koshien. (The artist of one of the most famous of these baseball mangas, Touch, happens to hail from Isesaki, where J-List is located.)

In many ways, you can sum up Japanese education with two words: inclusion and competition. Throughout elementary and junior high school, one of the main goals of the Japanese educational system is to organize all children into happy, secure units where they feel that they're members of the group. For everyone to function in harmony with each other, each member must be more or less the same "color" as everyone else, so wild variations in individuality are quietly discouraged. In junior high school, students are forced to join clubs (tennis club, volleyball club, drama club, etc.), which further teaches them the dynamics of getting along inside a group. After junior high school, it's time to learn about competition: students must take a difficult test to get into the high school of their choice, and there's a lot of competition to get into the best schools (it's possible for students to fail the entrance exam and become "high school ronins," who go to no school while they prepare to try again next year). In high school, events like the race for the Koshien baseball championship introduces more competition, which of course culminates in the famous university entrance exams, which students must take if they want to get into a good university.

We're sometimes asked why items shipped from Japan aren't available through shippers like FedEx or DHL. Unfortunately, while these companies have partnered with Japanese shipping companies to serve the international market, in reality the rates these companies charge is outrageously high -- FedEx wants $40 to deliver a single DVD, for example. If you want to order our unique products from Japan and are in a hurry, we recommend EMS, a very speedy mail service brought to you by national post offices. EMS rates are very affordable, and we can get your package to you in about four business days in most cases. And you can track your package on the web to find where it is. We've recently lowered our rates for EMS, and added separate rates for Asia/U.S./Canada, and Europe. Because the package will be delivered by your normal postman, there's no problem shipping to PO Boxes, too. Thanks, and enjoy the new lower rates!

An artist we've been honored to work with is Borderline creator Sakaki Naomoto, an artist who creates CG images for distribution to fans at Japan's famous Comic Market (these CG collections are called doujin-soft in Japanese, since they are a "software" version of doujinshi). We've been promoting this artist's works for years -- he created our official mascot character -- and for the rest of the month, we're offering free shipping (US/Canada) on his great collections of artwork on CD-ROM. You can now get Borderline 2 ~ Breathe and Borderline 3 ~ Frozen Beach, and we'll pay the shipping!

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

  • First, a great item for Star Wars fans: a talking R2D2 game in which 2-4 players put "tools" into R2's body as the game progresses -- select the wrong slot, and R2 "explodes," shooting Luke's lightsaber from the top of his head. It's cool, and only released in the Japanese market by Tomy!
  • For Japanese toy fans, we've got a super-deluxe Fujiko Mine from the Lupin III universe, complete with three outfits to put on
  • Also, a cute set of "trading figures" of the cute character Ruri, from Martain Successor Nadesico
  • For Hello Kitty fans, a beautiful Sanrio Kitty digital watch made by Casio that's really cool
  • Hamtaro is heating up in the U.S., and we've got a cute item for you: little plush hamster mascots that are useful as keychains and come with delicious Ramune candy (full sets available)
  • We have new and back-in-stock swimsuit idol, Race Queen and other photobook items for you, including the very sexy photobook of Yu Abiru
  • For fans of our Japanese snacks, we have many new items for you, including delicious Japanese "Puchirin" hard candy, Japanese soy sauce candy (they taste better than they sound), and more
  • Also, a huge restock of snack items, including Hamtaro Candy w/ Figure, delicious Ramune candy, spicy wasabi, and more
  • Japan has many cool things, and one category we like are the very cool eyedrops which wake you up by stimulating your eyes. We've gotten in some nice new eyecare items for you, including one suitable for kids (non-stimuilating)
  • We love things with funny English on them, and we've got some fun and functional pencil cases for you (on our "study items, notebooks" page)
  • For Kubrick fans, an esoteric item: figures from the French film Amelie, that was a big hit here in Japan
  • Finally, look for a little fashionable backpack popular with kogals in Japan, a Japanese "inviting cat" lucky phone strap, fresh stock of Japanese "fude-pens" (pens that let you write as if you were using a Chinese brush), Hello Kitty spoons, bento boxes, unique Japanese ear cleaners, "The Dog" items, and more!

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

  • For fans of Japan's famous adult magazines, we've got new ones for you, including the new Gokuh, a great oversized issue filled with lovely AV idols
  • For sexy photobook fans, enjoy an erotic new leg fetish photobook with lost of "costume play," as well as an erotic rip-off of the famous Yellows series
  • Also, the incredibly beautiful model "Aoba" who not only poses elegantly in a new photobook, she goes far beyond
  • In a rare item, we've got an all-gaijin book for fans who want to see beautiful blonde Western women through the eyes of the Japanese
  • For hentai manga artists, we have some great new books, including a superb one by Bijogi Junction and a dynamite new work by Takuma Harazaki (!)
  • Also, a big restock of adult manga, including the Blue Eyes series from Tohru Nishimaki and the excellent Sex Beast Vaginass series!
  • We've posted even more high-quality hentai DVD titles and boxed sets from Nutech, which ship out of our San Diego office for your
  • For Japanese adult DVD lovers, we've got an extra-good lineup for you today, starting with a superb selection of 150 minutes of her works, from Kuki, with never before released photos, too (region free)
  • From Soft on Demand, a superb new Deep Kiss Contest with eight drop-dead girls, exploring the deep eros of lesbian "deep kissing" (region free)
  • Also from SOD, a wacky new "Magic Mirror" release in which girls do outrageous things inside the one-way-mirror windows of the Magic Mirror box car (region free)
  • In a new offering from Dogma and famous AV director Tohjiro, Kurumi Morishita is your "M sister," receiving whatever cruelty you want to dish out (region free)
  • Also from Dogma, the lovely Ai Hiyoshi plays an erotic female doctor in a great new fetish production (region free)
  • The lovely and busty Sakura Sena looks beautiful as she performs in a new release from Marx Bros.
  • Finally, we've restocked many DVDs, including back-in-stock lesbian titles, excellent works by Soft on Demand and other studios, and several of our most popular soft porn DVD releases (Mai Hagiwara, Anna Ohura, Maiko Kazano, etc.).

We get a lot of questions about the sizes of our funny Japanese T-shirts. All our shirts are 100% cotton shirts purchased and printed in the USA, using 6.1 lb cotton, the same as Hanes Beefy T. The sizes are standard USA sizes, so hopefully it's not difficult for you to select the size you need. Because we want to serve all our customers, J-List goes out of our way to stock all sizes for our shirts, from size S all the way up through XXXL. All sizes are in stock at all times in our San Diego shipping center, so please let us know how we can serve you?

The J-Mate site has been updated yet again, with a review of the just-posted Deep Kiss, one of their best works in the series ever. You can also read a new English interview with the director of the Deep Kiss series, Chie Sugawara. Only from J-List and J-Mate! The J-Mate site's URL is http://www.jmate.com/

Monday, August 12, 2002

Greetings from J-List August 12, 2002

Greetings from Japan! I had an uneventful trip back to Japan, and it's nice to be home again. Although I'd forgotten how hot and humid Japan is in August...

Before I came to Japan ten years ago, I had many pre-conceived notions about what I would find. One was that the Japanese were very cool on the subject of religion and I would not find many Japanese with strong religious beliefs. Although this has held true for the most part, I was surprised to find that there were many religions active in Japan, including Baptists (I was asked to play "Santa-san" at the Maebashi Baptist Church my first Christmas here, because they thought it was more authentic to have a gaijin Santa), Catholics (there's a Catholic church in Maebashi that was mysteriously saved when the city was bombed in the final days of World War II), Mormons (they give free English lessons to get converts), even Jehova's Witnesses. The Church of Scientology exists in Japan (it's called "Koufuku no Kagaku" or "The Science of Happiness"), as well as several Japanese religious movements, some of which are quite dangerous, the most famous of these being the Aum Shinrikyo group that was responsible for nerve gas attacks in Tokyo in 1995 as well the tragic murder of a lawyer named Sakamoto and his family.

One powerful religion that has its roots in Japanese Buddhism is called Soka Gakkai, the only "evangelical" Buddhism I've seen. It's quite easy to compare Soka Gakkai to Mormonism, as it is a relatively new religion that claims roots going back thousands of years (it aims to recreate what members consider to be the "true" Buddhism, Nichiren, established in the 13th century AD); and members actively work to spread the religion to others. Soka Gakkai exploded as a religious movement after World War II, and grew so powerful that they made their own political party, the Komeito, which is the third largest party in Japan (although there are supposedly no longer any official ties between the party and the religion). There's a lot of criticism of some of the tactics the group has used in the past to get new members, and a quick search on Google brought up pages that were both very much for and against the group. If you're interested in seeing the official homepage of Soka Gakkai International and its form of Buddhism, the URL is http://www.sgi-usa.org/

For the new update, we've got a huge list of cool new items from Japan just for you. They include:

  • First, we've got a most excellent item for Star Wars fans, a series of five characters and vehicles released in the Japanese market by Tomy -- only sold in Japan, and extremely cool for fans of classic Star Wars moments!
  • Also, a drop-dead cool item for fans of Hayao Miyazaki's popular film Spirited Away, we have limited stock of the Spirited Away Collector's Edition, featuring a very detailed recreation of Yubaba's inn, three beautiful posters, a dynamite book *in English* with background on the film and Miyazaki's other movies, the movie on DVD, and more
  • We love the excellent hardcover swimsuit and sexy idol photobooks Japan prints, and we have new ones for you, including the very sexy Ayu Okakura, and more
  • For anime and toy collectors, we've got some nice from-Japan-only items, including an excellent (and huge) Bastard!! "high end figure," and a cool Gio Gio's Excellent Adventure item as well
  • Also, another excellent "wedding Kitty" set of plushes, featuring Hello Kitty and her hubby, Daniel, getting married in traditional Japanese style (we've recently restocked the other one we had in stock, too)
  • For fans of Hello Kitty, we've got a super new Hello Kitty "Pet Bottle" (Kitty is your pet, get it?) featuring one of 12 very cute Kitty characters and delicious fruit-flavored hard candies inside
  • Also for Japanese snack fans, we've got several new items, including delicious blueberry candy, sweet mints, new delicious miso soup, and much more!
  • If you love the popular anime Love Hina, we've got a very nice set of collectible trading cards that are lovely
  • Finally, see many new "wacky things from Japan" including fans, a spiffy Hello Kitty toothbrush for your little ones, a Doraemon water balloon maker, a super way to shine shoes, and more!


For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products, as you can probably imagine. They include:

  • First, the excellent new issue of Urecco, overflowing with dynamite AV idols and nude models that are just beautiful
  • Other great magazines too, including the very sexy Nurse no Oshigoto (A Nurse's Job), and more
  • We have new and restocked nude photobooks, including a great new pocket-sized erotic photobook that features fabulous photography with an "nameless" amateur model
  • Also, a great leg-and-costume fetish photobook featuring a huge A-list of top AV stars and great sexy lingerie
  • For collectors of Japan's unique erotic comics, we've got another update of great titles for you, along with restocked titles for you, too
  • J-List now stocks U.S. release hentai DVDs from Nutech and other companies, all translated into English and totally uncensored -- we've posted boxed sets of some great titles, including Welcome to Pia Carrot 1 and 2, EL and the famous Cool Devices (all are region 1)
  • For erotic DVD lovers, see many new items posted for you, starting with a superb performance by Akira Watase, who is hunting male virgins in a new release from SOD (region free)
  • Also very cool, Ruri Anno learns how to eat "bukkake" in the hilariously named "How do you do, Mr. Semen?" (region free)
  • The lovely Nozomu Momoi is fucked and teased for four hours straight in a great release from Million (region free)
  • See the "virgin performance" (the first on-camera hardcore sex) of four dynamite AV idols in an *English subtitled* release from HMP (region free)
  • For lesbian fans, we've got a really lovely all-female performance from Glory Quest (region free)
  • For indies fans, a very nice erotic "Nama Guerilla" performance by Yuuna Mizusawa, who willingly has sex in public places (region 2)
  • Finally, Tomo's done a restock of many popular DVDs, including Holed Panties vol. 1 (fun with scissors, panties and CCD cameras), new tekoki and bukkake DVDs, Airi Kago having sex in a dancing school, and more!

Remember that J-List carries many cool things from Japan. One category we like a lot are the bilingual manga from Kodansha, which feature real Japanese comics with dialogue both in English and Japanese. Great for students of Japanese or anyone who just wants to enjoy the comics in English, you can enjoy titles like Love Hina, Cardcaptor Sakura, Ah My Goddess, and more.