Saturday, September 28, 2002

Greetings from J-List September 28, 2002

Hello again from Japan, where the most common kind of coffee ordered in restaurants here is known as "American coffee."

One of my favorites from my YBIJTLW list, located on my personal homepage: "You've been in Japan too long when it takes you several seconds of deep thought to recall the first name of the President of the United States." It's true -- you'd be surprised what living in a foreign country can do to your ability to recall seldom-used information, or even remember some English vocabulary words. Try going years without ever hearing or uttering difficult words, like "gynecologist" or "irreplacable" -- they can be quite difficult to dredge up from the depths of your memory, even if English is your native language. It's especially bad for native English speakers who work as English teachers in Japan, because you can go for months without hearing any English except the simplified utterances of your students, which invariably begins to affect your English in a negative way. In the same way that living in a country like India or New Zealand would begin to affect your own spoken English over time, living in Japan can takes its toll, too.

One of the core concepts to Japanese society is an unstated belief that all Japanese are basically "the same" (known as the Myth of Japanese Uniformity). While Japanese would be insulted at anyone insinuating that "all Japanese look alike" to foreigners (although I've been told by Japanese that all foreigners look alike to them), they do have a tendency to see all Japanese as coming from the same stock and having the same features, which is a useful social engine for creating a unified national identity. Here's the rub: in reality, there is a wide variety of features among "Japanese" people, with obvious influences from Korean, Mongolian and Ainu blood, differences in skin color and the depth of facial features, size of the eyes, and so on. Conveniently for their harmony-based society, the Japanese don't "see" differences in facial features of their own people, allowing everyone to get along on a more even plane.

One group that is somewhat outside this umbrella of uniformity are the Ainu, the indigenous people who lived in Japan from prehistoric times. As culture took root in the Kansai region of Japan, rising with Buddhism and trade after 593 A.D., the Ainu people got pushed further and further north. Now the "Ainu" (defined as people who describe themselves as Ainu, as opposed to people with Ainu blood in their veins but who consider themselves Japanese) live mainly in Hokkaido and on smaller islands, including the disputed islands occupied by Russia after World War II. Ainu living in Hokkaido often come into conflict with the Japanese government, such as when the government wanted to build a dam that would displace hundreds of Ainu.

For bishoujo gaming fans, we're happy to announce that Viper Paradice, one of the freshest and most entertaining concepts in the English hentai gaming world, is in stock and shipping now! This is a great game in which you assume the role of one of four lovely females from the Viper games, and play against other human or computer-controlled characters to get points and collect all the erotic Viper movies. A great new game from Hobibox Europe, and in stock in San Diego!

For the new update, we've got lots of nice items, including really cool backpacks for kids featuring Hello Kitty and "Shinkansen" (the Sanrio characters for boys who love trains), more of the excellent Totoro music boxes (great for collectors) and plush toys, great new bento boxes, fresh stock of only-sold-in-Japan Star Wars plush toys and other items, more of the cool Jin-Roh figures and Japan Hot Wheels, stock of the excellent Original Pocky and Men's Pocky, a great line of anime toys based on classic anime shows, and more! For our adult customers, we've got some very nice items, including a new photobook by the lovely Maiko Kazano, new and restocked hentai manga, a great erotic new DVD release from Akira Watase, fresh stock of dozens of top-selling adult DVD titles including the Very Best of Million, Desire Lesbian and CC Idol, fresh stock of rare back-issues of Urecco, Gal's Dee and others, and much more!

Do you love the anime films of Hayao Miyazaki? One of his best-ever films is coming out on DVD in just a few days -- Castle in the Sky, Laputa. It's available for preorder from J-List, so reserve your copy now! Laputa is one of the best of all the Studio Ghibli works, and is an excellent film that no anime fan should be without. The Japanese release contains the full English dubbed version, as well as English subtitles. It's a region 2 release.

Remember that J-List sells region-free DVD players that allow you to view DVDs from all over the world, even PAL DVDs from Europe. And, the two Sampo units we sell have a feature (unsupported, but it works well) that removes Macrovision, making the players "VCR friendly" -- a great additional feature for you. Best of all, our players are very affordable, with the Sampo DVE-612 starting at just $109. All DVD players are stocked in San Diego for your ordering convenience.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Greetings from J-List September 25, 2002

Greetings, programs, from all of us in Japan!

There's a wacky thing that Japanese do to money: fold a 1000 yen bill so that Souseki Natsume (the 19th century novelist who adorns the Japanese 1000 yen note) makes sad or happy faces, depending on which way you look at the bill. We'll teach you how it's done so you can amaze your friends with this great Japanese trick. First, take a bill and make an outward fold where each of his eyes are. Make an inward fold through the middle of his face, so that his eyes are higher than his nose (like little mountains). If you look at the bill from above, the face will look sad; from below, and he'll look happy. Virtually all Japanese known this silly trick, and would be surprised if any non-Japanese knew it. To see pictures of what it looks like when done with Japanese money, look at this picture: http://www.jlist.com/c3/souseki.jpg . If you don't have any Japanese bills lying around, it should work pretty much the same with other bills, too. (Souseki Natsume, author of many famous novels in the Meiji Era, is the face on our wacky "I am a Hentai" T-shirt, in case you were wondering who he was.)

While stand up comedy is a staple of humor in the U.S., the style of the jokes don't necessarily translate to other countries, such as Japan. In Japan, there are several traditional forms of comedy, which have roots going back a century or more. One popular form of Japanese comedy is called Manzai, a kind of comedy routine from the Kansai region of Japan that hails back the days of Abbott and Costello. It consists of a team of two (usually) men, a straight man ("tsukomi") and a dumb partner ("boke" [boh-kay]). The two spar off against each other, with the straight man getting angry and short-tempered at the mistakes his dumb-witted friend makes. Manzai is a very popular form of comedy here, and many of the most famous comedians in Japan got their start in Manzai comedy. I have a theory that, when he was mining Japan for inspiration for the Star Wars films, George Lucas got the idea for C-3P0 and R2-D2 from Japan's Manzai comedy.

Our funny Japanese T-shirts continue to be an extremely popular items -- thanks to everyone for making them so successful! Because our shirts are printed in the USA, all our shirts are full U.S. sizes. Some customers, especially those outside of the U.S., have expressed confusion about how the sizes translate to actual measurements, so to help you find the right size for you, we've added a size table with the width and length measurements of all shirts. See the new "size information" link posted below each T-shirt item for this new size information.

We're doing an experiment with the mailing list this time to try to solve some problems with line feeds appearing twice (making our message appear double-spaced). If you have any problems reading this message, please let us know (if possible, a screenshot would be appreciated too).

For the new update, we've got some excellent items for you, including:

  • First, we've got a great new magazine available by monthly revolving subscription: Figure King (Figure-Oh), a great magazine that presents hundreds of anime figures and toys in each issue
  • For fans of unique Japanese toys, we've got several cool items from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, and up-and-coming anime and manga that will be showing in the U.S. soon
  • We've got new swimsuit idol items for you, for fans of Japan's cute bikini babes
  • Trying to learn Japanese? J-List carries many items to help you, and we've got a cute new one: a Hello Kitty hiragana practice workbook that comes with stickers and a hiragana poster you can hang up
  • Also, we've restocked the handy Campus Word Books, which are great for learning a foreign language because you can organize the words you're studying
  • We've got some great Hello Kitty items for you, including a beautiful large-size wedding photo stand that'd make a thoughtful gift for any happy couples you know, another super cute Hello Kitty car, a Kitty paper shredder, and more
  • We've got some great bento items for you, including a cool new three-piece bento box complete set, as well as fresh stock of our Giraffe and Deluxe bento sets
  • For Chobits fans, we've got some new items in stock, including (limited stock) of the very nice postcard book
  • Diablock is a funny Lego's like block set that's been sold in Japan for years. Now they've released very cool Diablock figure keychains, and we've got them for you
  • For Japanese snack fans, we have two delicious new flavors of Mousse Pocky -- White Chocolate and Strawberry -- along with delicious new furikake, fresh stock of miso soup, and more
  • Finally, look for pencil leads for standard mechanical pencils (like the funny injection needle pencils we posted last week), funny chopsticks, more fun fish shaped soy sauce bottles, and more!

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

  • For magazine fans, we've got the very nice new Urecco Gal, which features dozens of beautiful kogals and famous AV stars dressed in flashy kogal style
  • For fans of beautiful Japanese swimsuit idols, check out the issue of Megumi, an entire magazine dedicated to one of the top sexy idols in Japan today
  • Also, a great photobook featuring the lovely Otoha, one of loveliest busty idols in Japan, and a cool pocket-sized photobook with the lovely Madoka Ozawa
  • Look for other new and back in stock hardcover photobooks, including an interesting look at Japan's bondage themes through photography and art
  • We have some nice new hentai manga items posted for you, including some excellent "That Beauty of Neighbor" featuring excellent girl-next-door type stories
  • Also, a restocking of great books for you, including the Magical Love, Blue Eyes, After School Seven and Sexbeast Vaginass comic items
  • For yaoi fans, we've got a nice new issue of b-Boy Zips, the anthology manga with great yaoi art and stories (and 240 pages per book)
  • For DVD fans and collectors, we've got another great volley of items for you, starting off with a new Endurance Contest in Blazing Inferno, in which four lovely AV idols must endure a heat-filled room -- if they leave, they will must have sex with a room full of men waiting outside (region free)
  • The lovely Ruri Anno stars as the Highest Class of Soap Lady in a new "soapland play" DVD from SOD (region free)
  • From Dogma, enjoy a great release from Kurumi Morishita in which you get to be her "virtual stalker" (region free)
  • Also from Dogma, enjoy a top-quality lesbian DVD featuring two lovely girls who must have sex with each other despite the fact that they've never met each other before -- pretty cool (region free)
  • For region free DVD player owners, enjoy a new Super Angle of Manko offering from Wanz Factory, featuring the beautiful and erotic Chika Kawamura (region 2)
  • A new item from Moodyz, four lovely AV idols who work in a Sperm Bank will accept your deposits (region 2)
  • For fans of the Pure Venus Japanese soft-porn DVD series, we've added limited stock of these very nice items, including very limited stock of the Maiko Yuuki soft porn offering and fresh stock of Akira Fubuki's out of print soft porn DVD -- check them out
  • Finally, we've restocked several DVDs, including Ami Ayukawa's Bejean title, the excellent Shake It! tekoki series, and the first work we ever carried by Ai Nagase -- see all the new items!

Remember that 2003 calendars are currently available for preorder, but since the window for ordering is so narrow, we won't be able to reliably accept orders for calendars past the 20th of October or so. There are so many wonderful calendars from Japan, far too many for us to stock enough so to guarantee a great selection we ask that you get your order in quickly. Thanks! We've got many wacky calendars, like the Joy of Sushi and a calendar featuring beautiful bento displays of Japanese boxed lunch, traditional photos of Japan, great Japanese contemporary artists, and great anime calendars. Please check out our 2003 calendar pages today! Remember, too, that preorders are never charged until we get your calendars in and they're ready to go out to you.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Greetings from J-List September 23, 2002

Hello again from Japan!

Well, the Autumn Sumo tournament is over, and Hawaiian wrestler Musashimaru has won. He defeated the top Japanese wrestler, Takanohana (the only other Grand Master in the Sumo league; all the other giants of the Sumo world have retired recently), who has been plagued by leg injuries for months. With this victory, Musashimaru has passed the number of tournament victories of Takanohana, quite an achievement for a gaijin. If you'd like to see information on these two wrestlers, see http://www.sumo.or.jp/eng/meikan/rikishidata/rikishi.php?A=1 (for information on Takanohana) and http://www.sumo.or.jp/eng/meikan/rikishidata/rikishi.php?A=36 (for information on Musashimaru). Sumo wrestling, the national sport of Japan, has been around for hundreds of years. Six times a year, the wrestlers meet at different arenas around Japan and fight one bout a day for 15 days. The wrestler with the best win-loss record is the victor. For an excellent overview of the sport, the Nihon Sumo Kyoukai has a very good page -- the URL is here: http://www.sumo.or.jp/eng/index.php

I remember when I first started learning Japanese, I wondered how Japanese text entry could work on a computer. I pictured some horrible keyboard with hundreds of keys, but in reality, they just use the same QWERTY keyboards we do. Japanese input is accomplished through a front-end processor, basically a program that ships with all Japanese computers, which takes the text you enter and lets you choose which kanji (or hiragana, or katakana) you want to put into your document. After typing some Japanese text, you convert it with the space bar, and the front-end processor will bring up the characters it thinks you want. When you get used to the system, you can enter Japanese text quite quickly. Some front-end processors are better than others, though -- Kotoeri, which comes with Mac OS 9 and OS X, tends to get the wrong character pretty often; third party companies in Japan offer replacement front-ends that are more efficient. (The one we recommend is EGBridge, and it's available for all major OSes including Mac OS X.)

It's nice to see Spirited Away getting a lot of good reviews and generating lots of buzz in theatres in the U.S. We love the film and hope it does well in the U.S., especially since it may be Mr. Miyazaki's last film. If you're looking for showtimes for the film, you might try http://www.fandango.com/ . Of course, we've been selling the excellent 2-disc DVD release of the film since it came out in Japan, and we've got them in stock for you if you want to order this excellent film now. Since it's fully subtitled in English (also French), you won't have to endure any bad English dubbing that may have found its way into the American release of the film. Like all anime releases in Japan, it's a region 2 DVD, but happily, we've got region free DVD players in stock for you too!

2003 calendar preorders are coming along nicely. So far, both of the Chobits calendars are in the lead, showing the strong popularity of this excellent anime show, followed this year by several of the nude calendars (Ryoko Mitake and Hitomi Hayasaka especially). Yuko Ogura, a favorite swimsuit idol of mine, is proving very popular, as is the lovely Eiko Koike swimsuit idol. Anime calendars like the Studio Ghibli and Tenchi Muyo offerings are also doing great. We're happy to see some Japanese faces like Rena Tanaka (a cute "girl next door" type of young actress popular on Japanese TV) developing a following around the world -- I wonder if they know they've got fans outside of Japan? JPOP calendars like Morning Musume, Maki Gotoh and Ayumi Hamasaki are selling well, and we've also been happy with the sales of the "sexy idol" calendars like Yinling, Fumika Suzuki and the Japan Race Queens calendar. Remember that the sooner you preorder your 2003 calendars, the easier it is for us to get them for you. J-List makes over 250 of the excellent calendars printed in Japan each year to you, and we hope you'll browse our selection and see what we've got. Order 4 or more calendars and your mailing tubes are free.

For the new update, we've got lots of cool stuff from Japan for you, including:

  • For fans of the rubber hero Ultraman, the original hero to defend Japan from terrible monsters, we have a deluxe large-size soft vinyl figure that is very cool
  • For fans of the very Japanese "Mi-ke Neko" alarm clock and picture frame, we've got two very nice Japanese mirrors that feature these very cute characters and traditional settings
  • If you like Japan's lovely swimsuit idols and Race Queens, enjoy the new items we're posting for you today
  • Also, we've got fresh stock of some nice items, including the Morning Musume photobooks and more
  • We've also got a new high-quality My Neighbor Totoro music box from Sun Arrow, a great item for collectors of Totoro items
  • We have some cool Hello Kitty items that you can't get outside of Japan, including two very cool Kitty notebooks (complete with funny English on them), Kitty pencils and erasers, and a cool Japanese Kitty correction tape dispenser
  • Also, a very cute Hello Kitty "Dental Care Kit" with everything you need to take care of your teeth on the road
  • Parody goods are popular in Japan right now, and we've got a nice item for you: a series of ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil that look like injection needles full of blood
  • Want to get attention? We've got a cool rubber mask of the golden Great Buddha statue in Nara, Japan, that's just too wacky
  • For fans of our snack foods, enjoy the new Pucchi Kitty Chocolate, delicious squares of chocolate in three flavors for Kitty fans
  • Also in stock, we've got new items like Okinawa Black Sugar Pretz, new miso soup and furikake, fresh stock of Pucca (chocolate filled fish-shaped crackers),
  • Also very fun, we've got tubes of Japanese wasabi and "karashi" mustard that are really fun keychains with lights inside them
  • We love Tomy's line of Tomica mini-cars, small die-cast toy cars that are compatible with Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars, and we've got new cars in stock for you (including the Toyota Prius)
  • Finally, look for Japanese diet tea, a handy way to cut hard-boiled eggs, more fun with bento boxes, wooden signs with messages on them, Thunder Bunny goods, and more!

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

  • For magazine fans, please enjoy the new issues of Best Video and Video Boy that we've posted for you, two very nice all-purpose adult video magazines that track all AV companies in Japan
  • Also, we've got the new issue of Shuffle in, which is very popular because it really pushes the limits on amateur sex in love hotels
  • We've got an older issue of Photo Shot in stock too, featuring such lovelies as Hikaru Kawamura, Mai Shiina and Akari Yamasaki (girls who are hard to find these days since most are retired
  • Also very cool, the "goodbye" nude photobook of Megumi Osawa, and a beautiful bondage and lingerie photobook featuring some lovely models
  • We've got fresh stock of many nice items, including the sexy photobooks of Rio Sannomiya and Maiko Kazano, and more
  • For hentai game fans, the new issue of Push is in stock, featuring two CD-ROMs of demos and other goodies just for you, as well as tons of information on the current bishoujo games selling in Japan
  • For bargain hunters, we've got the very nice Adult DVD Paradise, which features 150 minutes of AV on a Japanese DVD (region free) along with a magazine
  • For hentai manga fans, we have an extra cool selection of hentai comics, including a great large-breast dick-girl offering from Suzuran Comics, a compilation of the classic "Cambion" Vampire Savior hentai manga, and much more
  • Also, newly posted issues of the popular Angelic Impact, compilations of hentai doujinshi from Fusion Project, and fresh stock of the cool Chobits hentai anthology Chokotto
  • Also, we've got fresh doujinshi for you, including some extremely rare and special items from Koh Kajiwara (!)
  • Look for fresh stock of many sex toys that are only sold in Japan, including the New Magical Mitten, the inflatable love pillows of real Japanese AV idols, the deluxe Hello Kitty massager, and more
  • For DVD fans, we've got some great new items for you, starting with fresh stock of the best-selling Big Breast Girls' School, which stars a host of famous AV idols like Wakana Sena -- and it's subtitled! (region free)
  • See the lovely Ryoko Sawayama in a huge festival of bukkake in Soft on Demand's Endless Fucker, directed by Tohjiro (region free)
  • See eleven lovely Japanese girls show you their masturbation in a new release from Deep's (region free)
  • Enjoy the lovely "peach colored lesbian deep kiss" brought to you by the bold and popular Aroma Planning, a very cool AV studio highly recommended by our own Yasu (region 2)
  • We love Akira Watase, and there's a super new DVD release from Wanz Factory for fans who want to inspect every crack and crevice of their favorite AV idol (region2)
  • For fans of sexy Japanese Race Queens, enjoy the new DVD of Toko Ushikawa (region 2)
  • Finally, look for restocked DVDs like Nanami Nanase's "Body Reconstruction," the lovely Stars 3-hour release from Megumi Osawa, the very erotic Mini Skirt Police parody from IEnergy, and more!

Remember that J-List is having a free shipping sale on the Peach Princess bishoujo games. Get any of their currently shipping titles and get free shipping in the U.S. or Canada, or half off your shipping for international orders.

Also remember that J-List makes dozens of magazines available through our "reserve subscription" system. Basically, we'll pre-reserve the current issue of each month's magazine for you and have it in the mail to you by the time it's in bookstores here in Japan -- a few days earlier, since we get our stock earlier than most bookstores. We've got many different anime, toy, JPOP/JROCK, idol and other magazines available. (We also sell adult magazines like Urecco and Gal's Dee via a 6- or 12-month subscription system as well.) See the magazine subscription pages on our site for more information.