Friday, September 20, 2002

Greetings from J-List September 20, 2002

Hello again from Japan, where the 7-to-9 p.m. time slot on television is known as "golden time."

Despite receiving six years of English instruction (more if they go on to college), most Japanese don't get the hang of English. There are many reasons why this is, including an odd stress on performing on written tests in the Japanese educational system, constant use of Japanese in English class, and the fact that most of the teachers of English aren't very competent at speaking English naturally. Unlike Europe, English is not used in daily life here at all, and even Japanese who like English have little chance to practice it. Another problem for Japanese trying to speak English is that the phonetic systems of the two languages are very different: all sounds in Japanese are syllables, with no consonants appearing by themselves (except the letter N). Forcing English words through this "katakana strainer" is what gives Japanese people their famous accents. (If you want to see more about Japanese phonetics see my overview of the Japanese language at my personal homepage, http://www.peterpayne.net)

Yes, English is a very difficult language. American English may be especially hard, with our wide variety of dialects and our tendency to speak fast and be in a hurry all the time. Some words seem to be made just to torment Japanese learners of English as a Second Language (or "ESL" as we former English teachers say). First, L and R are not separate concepts to the Japanese, so they spend their lives trying to master the difference between these two sounds (very dangerous with words like "election"). Consonant clusters like the "pl" in "please" are also difficult, and the strong "r" consonant in words like girl, world and dirty is a challenge, too. My five year old daughter, who is selectively bilingual (she forgets her English when she wants to, which is usually when I want to speak English with her), is a savant when it comes to pronouncing these hard-to-say English words. Sometimes when my daughter is in a bad mood and wants to push her mother's buttons she'll "correct" her mother's English pronunciation. Then the sparks really fly...

There can be a world of difference between the social customs of Japan and countries like the U.S. Business customs like bowing and the giving and receiving of business cards, which are very important in Japan, can be confusing to visiting foreigners. A J-List reader found an interesting article that may help you if you're coming to Japan on business. The URL is http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/17/business/17CUST.html .

At J-List, we love to bring you delicious and unique snack foods from Japan. One of our favorite items are Glico's Pocky, a fantastically delicious chocolate stick snack. Because of the heat and humidity in Japan, we can't carry Pocky during the summer. But now that the heat is past, Pocky is returning to J-List! Check out the new flavors of delicious Mousse Pocky new for Fall 2002!

For the pre-weekend update we've got an extra special bunch of items for you, including:

  • Mentioned above, we've got several great flavors of this year's Mousse Pocky in stock (and see the link to the new TV commercial on the product page, too)
  • Also for snack fans, a new flavor of Mill Make, a delicious milk flavoring that's been enjoyed in Japan for decades
  • Do you love Japan's cherry blossoms? We've got a neat book that shows the 23 best places to see 'sakura' in Japan
  • Licca-chan is a cute fashion doll from Japan's toy maker Takara, and we've got some spiffy "retro Licca" keychains based on dolls sold in the 1960's and 70's
  • For Totoro fans, we've got fresh stock of the super-popular Totoro backpacks that sold out so fast last time
  • Also, we've gotten in cool new Japan Hot Wheels, including two vehicles from Ultraman: great toys licensed and sold only in Japan
  • Also: an Ultraman phone strap/keychain that is to die for, it's so cute
  • Retro things are popular in Japan now, and there's a wacky and cool item: a little robot figure made out of a box of Meiji Fruit Drops, very cute and fun
  • We have two new trading card sets in stock: cute idols like Miho Yoshioka in the Media Project series, and a new Inu Yasha trading card series that's also very cool
  • We love bento boxes from Japan, and bento culture in general, and we've posted several new high-end bento boxes for you to enjoy
  • For Macross fans, a new die-cast metal 1:144 scale model of the CG-19A from Macross Plus, very cool indeed
  • For Hello Kitty fans, some new items, including a cute way to make coffee
  • For swimsuit idol fans, we've got fresh stock of Yuko Ogura's dynamite hardcover photobook (but stock will go fast)
  • For fans of cute Japanese waitress uniforms, we have an authentic book that presents information and pictures of famous restaurants and cake shops around Japan
  • We love the high-quality pre-painted resin statues available in Japan, and we've got a cool item for you: a 1/6 scale statue of Sakura Kinoshita from Cardcaptor Sakura
  • Finally, check out Hamutaro bento boxes, more Japanese noodle trays, cool onigiri makers that help you make authentic Japanese rice balls, and more!
  • For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products. The new items include:
  • For fans of Japan's unique adult magazines, we have the new oversized Bejean, as well as several other nice amateur magazines and more
  • We have great photobooks in stock, including the hardcover photobook of Kaoru, as photographed by Aida Garo, and other items as well
  • Another special item, a tripple-thick issue of Photoshot DX, filled with some of the best girls in all Japan (23 of them to be exact, with 224 pages)
  • If you like Japan's leg fetish photobooks, check out the new Fetish Venus, it's cool
  • For bargain hunters, check out the newly posted DVD Dash, which features a magazine and full 120 minute DVD full of great Japanese amateur AV (much of it subtitled in English and Chinese)
  • For hentai manga collectors, another volley of good erotic comics from Japan, including some nice works from Masaki Makitou and more. Also, a new issue of Electric Fighting Daughters that's filled with sexual parody of "game girl" characters
  • Also, fresh stock of some popular books, including the manga of Yui Toshiki (of Yui Shop fame)
  • For fans of doujinshi, we've got new stock for you: two great new books by Team IBM, with incredibly good erotic artwork and more
  • Also, a new yaoi offering for fans of Japan's famous homosexual comics
  • For DVD lovers, we've got another selection, starting with "The Testicles Kick of Amateur Girls," featuring pretty girls who kick men in the balls (region free)
  • A nice 2-in-1 release from SOD, see female orgasms (shiofuki) and male cum-shots filmed in super slow-motion -- another very interesting (region free)
  • We've stocked some of the popular and much-requested Aroma DVDs, including Temptation Lesbian and The Hill of Pussy (female pelvic arch fetish) (region free)
  • A good item for fans of "lesbian kissing," a new Obscene Kisses of Amateur Girls release, which asks female friends to experiment with their first lesbian deep kiss (region free)
  • For fans of Bauhaus and their beautiful soft porn DVD releases, enjoy Misao Aikawa's beautiful new release (region 2)
  • A super item for fans of Wanz Factory, see their best works, starring 16 top-notch AV stars! (region 2)
  • Also, a super selection of erotic AV from Moodyz, get 240 minutes (4 hours) of their best works from 2001 (region 2)
  • Finally, see many newly restocked items, including the popular Violent Shoot starring Yuuna Akimoto (region 2) and more!

The J-Mate page has been updated with another review, this time the popular "Nanami Nanase Answers the Flagrant Requests of Semen Maniac with Smiling Face." In addition to reviews of Japanese hentai games, DVDs and more, read interviews with Japanese AV idols in English, allowing you to understand what's going on inside the minds of these girls. The URL to J-Mate is http://www.jmate.com/ J-Mate is our way of saying thanks to our customers for making J-List a success. Reviews of products are most welcome, too!

J-List carries many unique items from Japan. One popular category of items are the "loose socks" that high school girls wear, which we sell in 80 and 120 cm lengths. You can also get "socks glue" to hold your socks up. Great for cosplay at anime conventions, or just to wear for that authentic Japanese style.

Finally, the top 5 list has been updated, so you can see what other people are buying at J-List. Check it all out!

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Greetings from J-List September 18, 2002

Greetings from Japan, home of the original canned coffee (first canned in 1969 by the Ueshima Coffee Company of Kobe, Japan).

A long chapter has come to an end in Japan, with official confirmation on the fate of ten Japanese abducted to North Korea more than twenty years ago. Despite two decades of denials by the North Korean government, they surprisingly admitted everything at a summit which took place between Kim Jong Il and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Tuesday. Six of the persons abducted, which included a Japanese girl of 13, were confirmed dead; four are still alive, some married to North Koreans now. It was very good to receive final word on the fate of those kidnapped, but it was a shock to the families who received word that their loved ones were dead, and it was very moving to see them speaking at the press conference about their sadness. There's honestly a lot of anger of the North Koreans for bringing such sorrow to Japan, although people are relieved to finally know the fate of the abductees.

Sometimes the functions of words work differently in different languages. When I first got to Japan, some friends took me to a sento, a public bath with a sauna. It was late, near closing time for the establishment, and we were a little late getting out of the bath, which caused inconvenience for the staff who were trying to clean up so they could go home. I thanked the lady at the counter as I left, using the Japanese phrase "arigatou gozaimashita." But my Japanese friends corrected me, saying I should apologize instead, using the word "sumimasen deshita." I was confused. Why apologize when I'm trying to thank the lady for letting us stay past closing time? "Thank you sounds cheap," I was told. "In this case it's better to use words of apology." In many situations, it's customary to use "sumimasen" (pardon me) instead of "arigatou" (thank you) in exactly the same situation.

Learning Japanese can be fun, especially when you try to master some famous Japanese tongue twisters (yes, they have them in Japanese too). One famous one is very simple: "bus, gas, bakuhatsu [ba-KOO-ha-TSU; it means explosion]." It's hard to say it five times fast. Another one is "Niwa niwa, niwa niwa-tori ga iru" which means "There are two chickens in the garden." Still another one is "Tonari no kyaku wa yoku kaki kuu kyaku da" which means, "The customer next to me is a customer who eats a lot of oysters."

For the new update, we've got another cool volley of rare and wacky things from Japan, including:

  • First, a really cool limited series from UHA: a series of extremely authentic replicas of Japanese war helmets used in Japanese history -- it's really cool!
  • If you love Japan's sexy swimsuit idols, check out the hardcover photobook of Megumi, one of the top models in Japan today
  • Also, a sexy swimsuit idol DVD from the lovely Sorami Hagawa
  • For collectors of toys, we've got a dynamite "great pictorial of world miniature cars" featuring toy card and model cars from around the world -- the pictures are just great
  • We've got fresh stock of some cute things, including the Japan-licensed Snoopy Tea Server and the Mi-ke Neko alarm clock (both very cool)
  • We've got fresh stock of Japanese "fude pens" (pens that write like beautiful Chinese writing brushes), including a new color
  • Also, two fun items: a realistic-looking crab's leg pen that you can pick up things with, and a wacky fish keychain that opens when you pull a string (very silly, trust us)
  • For fans of our snack items, we've got CC Lemon candies (very good), some Japanese traditional hard candies, and tasty Tako Yaki (octopus balls) flavored snacks!
  • We love the Hayao Miyazaki film My Neighbor Totoro, and have new Totoro music boxes for collectors
  • New Hello Kitty items including a soft, plush Hello Kitty pillow, a fun Hello Kitty toy car and many other cool items
  • For collector of extremely nice Japanese anime statues, we've got a scale replicate of Kei from the Dirty Pair in stock
  • Finally, see new chopstick and bento box sets, new cute Pop Animal items for your kitchen, a handy Japanese wallet, and more!

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

  • First, for fans of Japanese bukkake, we've got the new Gal's Shower in stock for you, and it's a really great issue
  • Also in stock, magazines featuring Japanese amateurs, couples in love hotels, and more
  • Fans of beautiful kogals will enjoy Gal Mode, a magazine featuring beautiful kogals (and AV stars dressed in kogal style) in sexy bikini and more
  • Also, new and restocked nude photobooks for you, for fans of Japan's excellent nude photographers
  • We have another great update to our hentai manga section, with a large number of excellent new books in stock for you
  • The Paradise Lost Evangelion hentai mangas we posted last week sold very well. Although availability will continue to decline for these books, we've got more in stock for you
  • For doujinshi lovers, an extra special selection of doujinshi which were obtained at the past Comic Market -- check out what we've added as they will go fast!
  • For DVD collectors, we have another great selection of products for you, including a superb 3-in-1 DVD featuring three complete AV video releases of Hikari Kisugi (region free)
  • For fans of huge breasts, enjoy a massive *4 hour* offering from Yellow Box (region free)
  • We love Nao Oikawa for her beautiful body and erotic style. Enjoy her newest Soft on Demand release in which she performs your wildest fantasies for you... (region free)
  • The busty Eri Yukawa stars in a great new installment of Dream Shower, from the fine folks at Waap Entertainment (region 2)
  • Enjoy a top-notch performance by indies queen Akira Watase, Do You Wanna Fuck? (region 2)
  • Finally we've got fresh stock of some other hardcore DVD titles, including Akira Watase in LA (Japanese girl vs. big, black guys from the USA), Chinese AV star Emily, fresh stock of the Deep Kiss series, and more!

Remember that J-List sells cool Star Wars related items that are only sold in Japan, including the dynamite Tomy Star Wars displayable figure and vehicle set (we're down to only a few full sets left in stock), the cool large soft vinyl figures of Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker and a Clone Trooper from Epoch, and really nice Star Wars plush dolls. See our Star Wars section (in the Anime & Toys master category) or search for "Star Wars" to see these items.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Greetings from J-List September 16, 2002

Hello again from all of us in Japan!

Sometimes gaijin get all the luck. While I was in college, my favorite band was a Japanese group called Psy-s (pronounced "size"). They're quite a minor band, not even known to many Japanese, although anime fans know a few theme songs they did (the "Angel Night" open song from City Hunter, the opening theme from To-y, and a few others). When I came to Japan ten years ago, I naturally wanted to attend my favorite band in concert, which I did, taking the train down to Tokyo where the concert was being held. It was fun, although slightly unnerving being the only gaijin in a crowd of about 5000 Japanese fans. It turns out that the vocalist of the band, Chaka, had seen me in the crowd (since I stood out so much); I wrote her a fan letter, one thing lead to another, and we became friends. It's kind of unfair to all the Japanese fans who didn't stand out quite as much at the concert, but I didn't mind of course. One good thing you can say about Japan: unlike most of life, sometimes it's unfair in your favor.

It's funny how the Japanese are more advanced then the U.S. in some areas, and very far behind in others. Areas that the Japanese excel in include home electronics (duh), but they're also very good at manufacturing incredibly soft blankets made of acrylic fibers. We've given these soft, warm blankets as Christmas gifts to our family in the U.S. and they've been very well received. Japanese refrigerators are quite pricey ($1000-1500 or so), but they're cool, with many neat features like the ability to open from the left or right side, family voice mail, and on ours, a special pull-out drawer made specially for storing wine. Japanese toilet seats that wash your butt (and dry it) are famous, but Japanese toilet paper holders are also really cool, too -- you can replace the toilet paper roll with a single smooth movement of one hand. They have nifty accessories for cars here, including curtains for the inside of your car and neon lights that illuminate the bottom of the car, used by Japanese young men to attract girls. Whereas American electrical cords are apparently required by law to all be blocky and ugly, Japanese extension cords are cute and come in many colors. On the other hand, they have no Mexican food to speak of here in Japan, no salsa, no nachos; bagels are also an alien thing to the Japanese, and are very hard to find; and Japanese peanut butter is, well, so over-sweetened that no American could be happy eating it.

J-List has thousands of cool and unique things from Japan for you. Many of the products we sell would be excellent Christmas gifts for the ones close to you, such as our 2003 calendars, as well as many other fun and wacky things from Japan. Why not consider giving wacky things from Japan this year? If so, it's a good time to start making plans, as the holidays will be here before you know it!

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

  • First, for fans of our Japanese T-shirts, we've got another cool item for you: yet another excellent and very wacky T-shirt, this one featuring a famous message found in 7-11 convenience stores
  • If you love Japan, why not get a Japanese flag? We've got some in stock now
  • We love the sexy swimsuit angels of Japan, and have stock of the new Sayaka Yamamoto magazine and DVD combo item (region 2)
  • Also, we've got a superb DVD featuring six lovely swimsuit idols for you, including Sachie Koike and Erika Ito (region 2)
  • Our bento boxes are a consistently popular item, and we've got two new ones for you for fans of the cute character Elmo
  • The Domo-kun character good we posted last week proved very popular, so we've got more items for you: a Domo-kun "eye pillow" that helps you rest, a keychain, and fresh stock of the phone/camera straps that are so cute
  • We have some cool Hello Kitty items for you, including Kitty fax coversheets (very cute), and Hello Kitty pocket tissue. Let's be friend -- we'll have a cheerful time!
  • For fans of Japanese pro wrestling (there's a worldwide cult out there, believe it or not), we've got some very cool Japanese Pro Wrestling figures in stock
  • Japanese boys like trains, and so the creators of Hello Kitty have created "Shinkansen," a cool character series for boys, and we've got some nice items in stock
  • At J-List, we love to promote the study of Japanese, and so we sell Japanese study aids. We've got a new item for you, a cool Zebra Check Set that helps you memorize anything from Japanese to English to History
  • For Hamtaro fans, a really cute Hamtaro letter and sticker set
  • Also, if you like Kubrick, we've got more of the cool "generic" Kubrick figures that you can use to customize your own
  • Finally, look for other cool items, including new Race Queen items, fresh stock of the Spirited Away film comics, and more!

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

  • For magazine fans, we've got the new Urecco, and a lovely issue it is, with Race Queen Ran Enoki on the cover and many lovely gals inside
  • Also, we've got some other nice magazines for you, including a rare issue of Top Speed
  • We've got some nice photobooks in stock for you, including Rei Ito's beautiful nude hardcover offering, and a spunky new "Chinkame" format nude photobook starring Mai Hagiwara (!)
  • Also, a dynamite photobook entitled Costume Play featuring the best hentai anime cosplay we've seen -- and it comes with a pair of girls' underwear, too!
  • To go along with our hentai manga sale mentioned above, we've posted a bunch of brand-new hentai comics for you, with a half-dozen all-new manga posted to the site, and all part of the 15%-off sale
  • Also, we've got new doujinshi, including two books from the Plump Pop series (good for fans of er, large girls)
  • For fans of hentai DVD, enjoy our new postings, with several very nice uncensored hentai anime titles newly posted (and stocked in San Diego too!)
  • We've got lots of nice AV DVD titles for you, starting with the very debut hardcore performance of Aoi Sora (whose name means "blue sky" in Japanese) (region free)
  • Enjoy 4 hours (240 minutes) of amateur and pro AV from Big Morkal, in their great new Ultra Nuke Max (region free)
  • Soft on Demand has a very cool "Female Cat Fight Championship" release in which six AV stars fight it out in the ring, pulling each other's clothes off and more (region free)
  • Also from SOD, enjoy the newest Idol Semen series, featuring superb bukkake action with the beautiful adult video idol Eri Imai (region free)
  • For fans of the new rising star in the Japanese AV world, Nozomi Momoi stars in the erotic new AV Special Training Department from Wanz Factory (region 2)
  • For swimsuit idol fans, we've got Girl's Pop, a sexy swimsuit idol DVD that's just lovely (region 2)
  • Finally, Tomo has restocked some titles from Waap, including DVDs by Akira Watase, Aika Miura and the excellent Gokkun Best Selection.

Remember that J-List sells really nice region-free DVD players, and we've got three different ones to choose from: the Sampo DVE-612, a solid, fully-featured play that should fill most everyone's needs; the Lasonic DVB-090, a small-size portable player that will fit just about anywhere; and the deluxe Sampo DVE-681P, Sampo's first region-free player with progressive scan. All our DVD players are fully region-free, and also support PAL and NTSC playback on any TV. Best of all, these players are all very affordable, and are all backed by the manufacturers full 1-year warranty, as well as J-List's policy of standing by anything we sell. If you're looking for a player that lets you play all DVDs, including RCE discs, we've got three excellent choices for you!