Friday, August 23, 2002

Greetings from J-List August 23, 2002

Hello again from all of us at J-List!

Each language has its own set of different features. Some languages are tonal, where the meanings of words can be very dependent on pitch and intonation, while other languages have genders for nouns. Linguistically, Japanese is related to Korean and some Oceanic languages. Happily, it is not a tonal language, although there are a few words which use intonation, just as there are in English -- for example, record (the noun, stress on the first syllable) is slightly different from and record (the verb, stress on the second syllable). When speaking Japanese, one thing you have to watch for are long and short vowels. For example, the syllables "o" (pronounced so that it rhymes with "toe") and "oh" (said the same, but with a longer vowel) are completely different concepts in Japanese.

The long and short vowels in Japanese can cause challenges when trying to write Japanese words and names in English, too. Because the extra letters only cause confusion to English speakers, the long vowels are often cut. For example, instead of writing the first name of Panasonic founder Kounousuke Matsushita with all letters, you could get away with writing "Konosuke" and it wouldn't make a difference how the name was pronounced in English. The Japanese dating sim games we sell at J-List are called "bishoujo games" which means "pretty girl games." Should this word be transliterated as "bishoujo" or with a short vowel, e.g. "bishojo"? There's no difference in pronunciation in English, and shorter words are easier for people to remember, but one possible snag is that "shoujo" means "girl" while "shojo" (short vowel) means "virgin" -- oops. The name of Yuka, the popular swimsuit idol who has turned into one of Japan's most famous celebrities, would be more accurately written "Yuuka" (since it's a long vowel). Which is better? If accuracy is what's important, we have to all start writing Tokyo as "Toukyou" and Osaka as "Oosaka," but no one wants to do that, I'm sure. It was because of these potential transliterational problems that we worked quite hard to make the J-List search engine "smart" so that it would come up with the same results whether you searched for, say. "yuuka" "yuhka" or "yuka" -- the search engine maintains a list of "search synonyms" and checks against that list when you perform a search for products.

Want to know a Japanese joke? In Japanese, the word for Prime Minister is "souri" ("sori" but with a slightly elongated first syllable), which sounds like the English word "sorry" to the Japanese. "Sori," a similar-sounding word, means "razor." Japanese kids have a stupid saying that has endured for decades: "I'm sorry, hige sori [beard shaver], jori jori [the sound of rough, unshaven whiskers]." If you're ever talking to a Japanese person, and they apologize to you for something, come back at them with "hige sori, jori jori!" [HEE-gay SO-ree, JOE-ree JOE-ree] and watch them jump out of their shoes in surprise.

For the pre-weekend update, we've got some very nice items for you, including:

  • For fans of our Japanese toy items, we've got some nice ones, including some only-released-in-Japan Star Wars mini-puzzles that are great
  • Also, Jin-Roh, a very scary figure from Kaiyodo with a range of advanced weapons
  • If you love The Dog, the cute series of Japanese dog character items, we've got a very nice series of cute The Dog ashtrays -- "here's a little something for you!"
  • We've got fresh stock of snack items for you too, including a delicious Hello Kitty package of various snacks, delicious Hello Kitty crab flavored fried rice (really, it's good!), and a favorite item of ours, Baby Star dried, toasted ramen noodles, which you eat right out of the package -- we've got great mini-packs in stock for you!
  • Bergamot is a North American herb with a pleasant smell and taste somewhat reminiscent of oranges -- now you can try the new Bergamot flavor Japanese gum, from Lotte!
  • We've got some new photobooks in stock for you, including the lovely hardcover photobook of Grace, a beautiful and sexy swimsuit idol, and the beautiful kogal Sayaka Uchida's super new offering
  • At J-List, we love to promote the study of Japanese language, so we carry various study aids (basically things Peter wishes he had access to back in 1987 at SDSU). We've added a super-cute Hamtaro hiragana notebook as well as several varieties of kanji and kana practice notebooks, for all students of Japanese!
  • Speaking of Hamtaro, we have a cute new series of little Hamtaro figures for you to play with and collect -- great for new Hamtaro fans!
  • Licca-chan is the fashion doll from Takara that's famous all over the world, and we've got a fun punch-out Licca paper dolls set for you to play with
  • We have new only-from-Japan Hello Kitty items for you, including a Kitty toolbox you can put things in, a spiffy Kitty airplane clock and stuffed airplane plush (hailing back to the Kitty of the 1970s), and more
  • We've got two very nice bento boxes in stock, very sturdy bento boxes with two sections, one for white rice and a higher section for your main course -- very nice
  • Finally look for cute "Pop Animal" magnet clips, a great way to keep your cold drinks cold, and more!

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

  • For magazine loves, we've got several new magazine items, including the lovely Pirara, featuring the erotic bodies, open legs and anal-fetish photographs of some beautiful idols from Japan
  • The new issue of MPEG Indies is in stock, featuring a full magazine and 2 video CDs, which will play in computers or most DVD players -- 2 hours of excellent sampler material from 53 DVD titles for a great price!
  • We love Japan's hardcover photobooks, and we've several new ones for you, featuring bondage and domination Japanese-style, a lovely kogal swimsuit photobook, and more
  • Also, we stock many of the "Chinkame" (CHIN-kah-meh) books, which are super-small pocket sized erotic photobooks that you can take anywhere -- and we've got a great new Smart Girls series photobook that is dynamite
  • Of course we have fresh stock of hentai manga from Japan, including a half dozen or so all-new volumes for you to choose from, including a new uncensored work from Ippei Ikoma, a super "Beautiful Wife in Underwear" hentai comic with 350 pages, and more
  • Also, a large-format manga and art book from hentai illustrator Mirai Ozaki that is beautiful drawn and features great romantic sexual stories
  • For doujinshi fans, a rare treat: new erotic releases by Tohro Nishimaki (creator of Blue Eyes) and Amanojack, the #1 selling "dick girl" hentai artist at J-List
  • For fan of Japanese AV, we've got another selection of titles for you, starting with a new "No Cut!!" DVD from Kuki that gives you 180 minutes of sex with the beautiful Nana Kawashima for a low price (region free)
  • Deep's has a new entry in their popular "Holed Panty" in which a small hole is cut in the model's panties, allowing for many interesting activities (region free)
  • The sultry and sexy Rina Usui, a new AV idol with long, luscious legs, a slender and erotic body and enormous sexual energy, in a new offering from Dogma (region free)
  • We have a dynamite new production from IEnergy, a SOD company, featuring three of the top idols in Japan today -- Ai Nagase, Nozomi Momoi and Sayaka Tsutsumi, as the sexy and erotic "mini skirt police," in a 260 minute production! (region free)
  • From Moodyz, one of our favorite companies, three beautiful Japanese idols go to the USA to perform "American Hardcore in Los Angeles," with an American actress and three big, black dudes (region 2)
  • Also from Moodyz, three college students to go beautiful Guam for their graduation vacation and end up having an incredible lesbian adventure (region 2)
  • Finally, we've gone through and reduced prices on many titles that we've got in stock, including Soft on Demand and the last of our high-end bukkake video titles from Milky Cat and M's Video Group -- get these items before they're gone!

One of the most popular items in J-List history is the Hello Kitty shoulder massager, an instant cult item all over the world. We're down to a few boxes of this popular item, so if you're interested in getting one, you should hurry before they go out of stock. We'll restock, of course, but as is always the case in Japan, we're never sure when the item will become unavailable. So get yours while you can!

Remember that through the end of the month we're giving free shipping (US/Canada) on Borderline 2 and 3, two excellent collections of hentai CG artwork by a talented Japanese artist, Naomoto Sakaki-san. We hope you'll pick up these excellent titles before this offer ends!

The J-Mate site has been updated again, with reviews of two titles, Akira Watase's "Virgin Hunter" by SOD, and Anna Ohura's lovely "Anna with a Change of Clothes." The URL is http://www.jmate.com/

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Greetings from J-List August 21, 2002

Hello from Japan, where everything is as different as it could be from the U.S., it seems sometimes. Even the number to dial for emergencies is the reverse -- in Japan, you dial 119.

One thing you learn when living in Japan: every region of the country has some food that it's "famous" for, which is used to promote the image of that part of the country. People who travel to those cities are expected to get excited about that food and buy some to bring it home, if possible (they're really big on buying souvenirs for family members in Japan). In Osaka, the famous food is tako-yaki, or balls of batter with pieces of octopus mean in them, and the best tako-yaki can be found at Otako-ya's in the heart of the entertainment district, near the famous "Glico" neon sign. In Kyoto, the highly-developed style of food known as kaiseki ryori, in which you eat a very complex multi-course meal that is beautifully prepared, is famous. Kyushu (the southernmost Japanese island) is famous for ton-kotsu ramen, ramen with a white soup, while Fukushima Prefecture (North of Tokyo) is famous for kita-kata ramen, which has curvy noodles. Gunma Prefecture, where J-List is based (right in the exact center of Japan's main island of Honshu) is famous for "sauce katsudon," a breaded, fried cutlet of pork with a delicious sauce on top of it, one of my son's favorite foods. In Takasaki, one city over from where we are, the famous food is "Daruma bento" or a bento (lunch box) that's in the shape of a bright-red daruma doll.

Japanese, like all languages in the world, comes in many different dialects. The fact that Japanese tend to move less, often living their whole lives in one area, helps make dialects more pronounced than say, in the U.S., where the population tends to be more mobile. When older Japanese from rural Japan are interviewed on TV, it's not uncommon for the TV station to put subtitles on so everyone else will understand what is being said. Standard Japanese is defined by the Ministry of Education as the Japanese of Tokyo, and that's what is taught in textbooks around the country, but many other dialects of Japanese have much more "flavor" to them. The most well-known is Osaka-ben, the dialect of the Osaka region, and it seems to be the official dialect of comedians and entertainers on Japanese television because of how funny it can be. If you want to try out some Osaka Japanese on a Japanese person, say "Osaka-ben ga wakara-hen" which is saying, I don't understand Osaka dialect, in Osaka-ben.

For the mid-week update, we've got a lot of cool stuff for you, including:

  • First, for collectors of rare toys items from Japan, we've got the super-cool YF-21 die-cast metal fighter from Macross Plus, complete with moveable wings and a cool display box
  • For fans of The Dog, there's limited stock of a cute dog "mini T-shirt" keychain
  • Two very popular and cute characters from Japan are Anpan Man (Bean Paste Bread Man) and Doraemon (a robot-cat who comes from the future). We've got cute new toy items in for fans of these uniquely Japanese creations
  • If you love Japanese race queens, see the new issue of Cam-Girl Collection, filled with lovely "campaign girls" from Japan
  • For lovers of Japan's youthful idols like the lovely Yuko Oguro, enjoy the new issue of Spica
  • For fans of Japanese snacks from J-List, we've got several new items to try, including "cheese kamaboko" (a cheese and steamed, pressed fish snack, which tastes better than it sounds), Anman Pan cookies, and a rare item for Star Wars fans
  • Also, a big restock of snack items, including new miso soup, sukiyaki flavored furikake, and more
  • Also, cool items for your kitchen, including an ice cube tray that will make perfectly round ice cubes, as well as fresh stock of our popular bento boxes (all colors).

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

  • For magazine fans, we start off with the excellent Mini-Suka Deluxe, the popular leg, stocking and mini-skirt fetish magazine from Japan (stock is limited, but we'll get more in later)
  • For fans of amateur sex in love hotels, we've got several new items too, including the new issue of Love Con, short for Love Hotel Complex
  • Makiko Esumi is a beautiful model and actress in Japan, and looks great in her new nude photobooks which are incredibly erotic
  • Also, J-List carries the popular photobooks of Russian model Yulia Nova, whose works are not available in the U.S. and Europe -- and we've restocked these for you
  • We've got another excellent volley of brand-spanking new doujinshi from the Comic Market, great for collectors of Japan's amateur adult comics, however not that these books will go fast!
  • For collectors of hentai manga, we've got a huge update of new items for you, including Toen Comics' "Teacher, Forgive Me" and "Family Play's, Honey Life"
  • Also, another large update of back-in-stock manga items, including Sex Crime, Under the School Uniform, and Three Sisters' H Story
  • J-List carries the dynamite G-Taste series of hentai art books, and we've restocked vol. 1
  • If you love Japan's adult DVD titles, we've got some very special ones, starting with the new Premium release by Janes, starring the white-hot Sayaka Tsutsumi, the erotic young indies idol who is on her way to being #1 (region free)
  • See the best performances of Kurumi Morishita's career with Soft on Demand in her third History DVD, with the best of six complete productions all on one disc (region free)
  • Nao Oikawa is your sultry "teacher pet" in a new "female teacher" fetish from Soft on Demand (region free)
  • Ringo Kihara is the new star of indies AV maker Dogma, headed by the famous Tohjiro, and she goes on a "summer sex training camp" to learn how to get better at sex (region free)
  • From the very talented Moodyz, a new and very tender lesbian performance about sex between an older, experienced woman and a young, naive girl (region 2)
  • Finally, a new "Japanese woman vs. big black men" production from Moodyz, the very erotic Akira Watase takes on a troop of big black guys from Los Angeles -- very interesting to see! (region 2).

I've on my way out the door early today, on my way to Tokyo on business. I'm meeting a friend from Italy, and will be taking him to my personal favorite sightseeing spot in Tokyo, the Anna Miller's restaurant in Meguro, famous for having the sexiest waitresses in all Japan. See you when I get back!

Monday, August 19, 2002

Greetings from J-List August 19, 2002

Greetings and salutations from Japan!

When I came to Japan in 1992, I excepted to see nothing but little tiny cars, because of course everyone in Japan had to be smaller than in the United States. I was surprised to see some very full-sized cars, such as the Toyota Land Cruiser and the ultra-huge Mitsubishi Pajaro. While Ford's massive Explorer is a bit big for most Japanese roads, it's not uncommon to see Chevy Blazers and PT Cruisers driving around, and we drive a Saturn (the first one sold in our prefecture). For drivers who want to maximize fuel economy, there is a class of car in Japan called "kei" (which means "light" in Japanese), which are identifiable by their yellow license plates. These cars all have 1000 ml-or-smaller engines and have very small, light bodies, about the size of a Geo Metro. Many types of cars come in small "kei" versions, including miniaturized SUVs and even vans (Daihatsu makes a tiny van called Vamos). The cars are legal for street and freeway use, although their lighter construction means a higher rate of fatalities in the event of an accident, so many avoid driving a "kei" car for this reason. There are benefits to driving Japan's smallest class of car, however. Japan's annual automobile tax is calculated based on the size of your car's engine; the more economical the car, the lower your tax. Tomo pays just $30 a year for his Honda Life, a "kei" car, but an owner of a large-engine sedan might have to pay $1000 or more.

When you learn a foreign language, one concept you catch early on is that a given word will often have many different meanings or nuances when used in another language. One of the first words students of Japanese learn is "genki," which is used in the Japanese greeting "Ogenki desu ka?" (Are you well?). In the context of this greeting, genki means "fine" or "well" and you can reply to this greeting by saying "Hai, genki desu" (Yes, I am fine). But genki can have other meanings, such as describing children running around ("energetic"), or someone beaming with happiness about something, or someone getting healthy after an illness. The word can also refer to a man in a state of sexual arousal. Studying a foreign language teaches you a lot about how words work and makes you think about your own language, too.

For today's update, we've got a super mix of products for you including:

  • First, we've got an item that I personally love, a very high-quality soft vinyl figure from the famous Hayao Miyazaki film Castle in the Sky Laputa
  • A fun item from Japan, we've got an Ultraman coin bank that gives you toys when you put money in, just like the machines in front of supermarkets
  • We love Japan's super sexy Race Queens, and have a nice photobook for you
  • Also, swimsuit and Japanese model photobooks, including a new offering from the lovely idol Megumi
  • We sold out of our plush Totoro backpacks in record time when we posted them last month, but we've got more for you now -- they're so cute!
  • We've got some cool items for fans of Hello Kitty, including a Hello Kitty recorder that plays real music, Hello Kitty band aids and wet tissues, little Hello Kitty and Daniel mascots, and more!
  • Also, a fun "exploding Kitty" game you can play with your friends
  • The very cute anime Tokyo Mew Mew is taking Japan by storm, and we've got several of the cute doll figures from Takara in stock
  • We have some delicious snack items for you, including sesame seed cookies (they're good, trust us), new miso soup and "Grave of the Fireflies" Sakuma drop candies, and more
  • We've also got a new "Ocean Mint" flavor of Japanese chewing gum, for those who didn't know the ocean wasn't minty
  • Finally, look for more Japanese "fude pens" (pens that make beautiful writing, as if you were using a Chinese writing brush), neat things for your kitchen, a beautiful Japanese "congratulations envelope" for giving money as gifts, and more!

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

  • For magazine fans, we have several nice amateur and love hotel magazines in stock for you
  • Also, fresh stock of discounted magazines on our "magazines under $7" page, too
  • We've got some very nice hardcover photobooks with lovely Japanese models in them, including the positively dynamite Ayami Sakurai (a massive G cup), and more!
  • The Japanese have many fetishes, and one developed one is "medical fetish": women being examined in the nude, probed with various instruments by doctors. The new issue of Karte Club is in for fans of these themes
  • A manga magazine we're happy to support of AG, the "art, sex and CG culture" which features *English translated* hentai manga by Shiwasu no Okina, famous at J-List, as well as many other great works -- and volume 4 is now in stock in San Diego
  • We have another volley of excellent Japanese hentai manga for you, including both all-new books from Hit Comics and Tsukasa Comics and more, as well as fresh stock of several volumes (updated by Yasu)
  • Also, another great treat for doujinshi collectors, another volley of very nice brand-new books purchased from the past Comic Market -- get them fast, since they won't last long
  • For hentai DVD fans, we've posted even more of the popular adult anime DVDs from Nutech, all translated into English with both English dubbed tracks and subtitles, and all uncensored! (stocked in San Diego)
  • For Japanese adult video fans, we've got several new DVDs for you too, starting with a new No Cut!!, a wonderful collection of 180 minutes of prime footage starring the lovely Asuka Sawaguchi (region free)
  • See super-famous idols try their hand at "super bishoujo kissing" in a new production from Hajime, starring Nao Oikawa, Yuna Akimoto and Sayaka Hijiri (region free)
  • The lovely Nozomi Momoi is subjected to teasing and sexual torture, but is totally forbidden to speak or utter any sound at all, in a fun new production from Soft on Demand (region free)
  • See a great science-fiction AV in SOD's bold bukkake release "The Coming Sperm War" (region free)
  • Ai Nagase is the younger step sister dreams are made of in a great new release by Dogma (region free)
  • Another popular fetish in Japan is swimsuit fetish, the way wet swimsuit material looks against a woman's body. See a great new "Swimming Girl" series release (region free)
  • Finally, we've restocked several other titles from Kuki, Soft on Demand and other studios, see them all!

At J-List, we love DVDs, and are happy that we can provide so many unique titles to our customers from Japan. 95% of the DVDs J-List sells are "region free" meaning you can use them in any player, but some discs from Japan -- Japan-released anime, hentai and high-end indies 18+ DVDs -- require a special region-free player to view. J-List stocks three different players in our San Diego office for your convenience, two different models by Sampo and a nice compact unit by Lasonic, that will play NTSC and PAL discs from all regions. And our prices are also excellent!

Want to know the history of the invention of the elevator? The background of special characters we use in English, like the ampersand? The story of the first submarines? Next time you're in a bookstore or at Amazon.com, pick up one of the Uncle John's Bathroom Readers, a really handy book filled with all kinds of trivia and fun information. Articles are very short, usually 1-2 pages, so you can read one in its entirety while visiting the bathroom. I swear by them, and when I buy them for gifts for others they tell me how much they enjoyed them.