Friday, December 20, 2002

Greetings from J-List December 20, 2002

Hello again from your friends in Japan!

Late December is here, and 2002 is quickly winding down. In Japan, this is the season for "bounenkai," which means year-end party, or literally translated, "forget-the-year party." In Japan, you never have a New Year's party before the new year actually arrives; instead you have year-end parties to meet with friends over drinks and look back on the past year and reflect. Companies have these parties, too, a time to get together and look at how the year went. The J-List bounenkai is tonight, in just a few hours. We'll gather at a local pub-restaurant, eat sashimi and udon and jumbo croquettes and "mix pizza," and of course down lots of beer.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the luckiest guy on Earth. I get to live in Japan, and work with a special team of Japanese and American staff members in a company that sells unique and fun things from Japan to great people all over the world. I'm married to a beautiful Japanese woman, and I live in a liquor store (it's true -- the first floor of our house in Japan is a rural Japanese liquor shop). I get to live in Japan, but because you never stop loving your own home country, I get to go home to the States (living in Japan will cause you to refer to the USA as "the States" all the time) several times a year. Since we go home so often, we get the benefit of comparing prices between Japan and the U.S., and buy items in whichever country has them at the better price. My wife saw an Infomercial for Roomba, that robot that vacuums your room for you, and was about to order it from the Japanese seller for $400. I checked the Internet and verified that it could be found in the U.S. for half that price, and so I got one for her.

The New York Yankees are getting a new star, as Hideki Matsui ends his nine year career with the Tokyo Giants to join the wave of players going to play in the Big Leagues in the USA. When he played at the famous Koshien games, the World Series of high school baseball here, his team lost because he was intentionally walked every time he got to the plate. The unfairness of this made him famous among baseball fans, and he was picked up by the Tokyo Giants at a salary of $1 million, an incredible sum for a young Japanese player. Matsui returned the favor by hitting the most home runs of any rookie in Japanese baseball his first year with the Giants. He holds the 2nd highest batting average in Japanese baseball currently, and leads baseball in career homeruns and RBIs. His number is number 55, which is "go juu go" in Japanese. This sounds close enough to Godzilla that someone decided to give him that name. We hope he does well! (Expert baseball information provided by Tomo.)

Speaking of Godzilla, we've got a great item for you today: Bandai's Hyper Godzilla series, a collection of six different Godzilla monsters and enemies for them to fight. Each figure come with little vehicles for the monsters to destroy, as well as delicious ramune (lamune) candy, with the taste of that famous marble-in-the-bottle drink from Japan. And full sets are available!

For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:

  • First, for baseball fans, we've located limited stock of the excellent Ichiro figures, fun to collect and display
  • Blythe is the name of a great (but slightly weird looking) doll made back in the 1970s in the U.S.. The doll was shown in a TV commercial in Japan, and suddenly they're the hottest thing the Takara toy company can make -- and we've got more in stock
  • Tare Panda (literally "drooping panda") is a super cute panda character from Japan -- we've got a super Tare Panda doll that you can dress up!
  • Also for fans of rare toy items from Japan, we've got fresh stock of the Totoro tin toys, the Japan-only plush Yoda, the Totoro apron that sold out in record time before, and fresh stock of the "Makkuro Kurosuke" Soot Sprites from Totoro/Spirited Away
  • For fans of Japanese lovely idols, enjoy the photobook of Lucky Legs, an oddly named but very sexy idol team
  • For Hello Kitty fans, we've got some nice items for you, including Hello Kitty potato chips, super fun Hello Kitty Mini Town Story playsets, fresh stock of Hello Kitty ear cleaners, and more
  • Japan is really gaga over Hamtaro, the super cute hamster who is taking the world by storm -- check out the hamster-related items we've got, including a fabulous deluxe pencil case with many cool features
  • Look for new wacky stickers in Japanese, including limited stock of the famous "It is forbidden to urinate here"
  • For fans of Japanese snacks and candy, enjoy more Gravel Choco (a new flavor), Hamtaro lollipops with pop rocks, chocolate candy that comes with a character stamp, and more
  • Also, fresh stock of some popular items, like Candy Bubbles (bubbles that you can eat), Ultraman Tomato Pretz, miso soup, furikake and more
  • Our sale on "The Dog" has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams, so that we have next to nothing in stock -- but we've posted a few items we found, er, hiding in our stock room, for those who can't get enough of this uniquely Japanese item
  • For your kitchen, more Japanese miso soup bowls (can't keep these in stock), and a fun cup for children that's got funny French on it
  • For lovers of Loose Socks, we've got a new size in stock, attractive 70 cm loose socks, which look great when bunched up (hold them up with "socks glue" for best effect)
  • For those wanting to learn like the Japanese do, we've got fresh stock of the Zebra Check Set, which makes it easy to drill yourself on information and memorize it, no matter what you're studying -- they're great!
  • For Tokyo Mew Mew fans, we've restocked the super cute Ichigo Mew figures
  • For fans of anime cards, we've got some really cute cards for the Candy Strip anime, some great "sticker gum" for Sailor Moon lovers, and more
  • Finally find a handy Quartz clock, a super item for Paddington fans, a Bad Batz Maru pencil case, more sushi makers, and more!

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

  • For fans of Japanese adult magazines, we've got the new Bejean, just loaded with beautiful girls like Mai Hagiwara, Maiko Kazano and more
  • We love photobooks, and have some nice ones for you, including the Hadaka (Nude) File, a book documenting the nude bodies of lovely Japanese girls
  • Also, enjoy the first nude photobook of the lovely Shiho Asakura, a charming
  • For fans of Japan's CG characters, we've got a killer extra large photobook of "Virtual Beauties" like Yuki Terai -- a super item that's not to be missed by CG fans!
  • For hentai manga lovers, enjoy many new works, including erotic comics by Japan's top manga houses, including some hentai comics drawn by female artists, too
  • We've got more great DVDs for you, starting with the lovely No Cut!! collection of three full video releases of the lovely Mami Kobato (whose last name means "small pigeon" in Japanese) -- 240 minutes! (region free)
  • From Dogma, enjoy their "1.5th Anniversary" featuring their very best works over the past 18 months -- a great sampler with all their best works, and the price is great (region free)
  • Akira Watase, the sultry lady whose remade herself into a red-hot indies idol, performs some of her best work in an erotic offering from Dogma (region free)
  • Enjoy a new twist on bukkake, filmed in slow-motion with high-speed cameras, a new and very erotic DVD release from Soft on Demand (region free)
  • Finally, from Deep's, a great new offering, Dance Dance Lesbian, featuring very sassy and bold lesbians in some of the most fresh and erotic lovemaking we've seen in a long time (region free).

Remember that J-List has cool items you never knew existed in stock. On our "Stationary and Study Items" page we have Japanese fude-pens, pens which have brush points so you can write as if you had a calligraphy brush. Why not browse our "wacky things from Japan" and see what we've got for you?

Also remember we've still got dozens of calendars in stock, including excellent and unique large-format calendars with lovely Japanese idols and Race Queens, anime calendars, funny character calendars, and more. Our prices are great, and you get free tubes if you get 2 or more calendars. Thanks for helping us clear out our stock of 2003 calendars!

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Greetings from J-List December 18, 2002

Hello again from Japan, the home of cars with great names like the Suzuki Perky.

It's said in Japan that America is a horizontal society, and Japan is a vertical one. Unlike America with its ideas of total equality between races, sexes, and so on, Japan is quite happy having up-down relationships in which one individual is higher in rank than another. You can see this in the concepts of "senpai" and "kouhai," which translate as a senior or junior in a school or organization. For example, when a student enters the first year of high school, the students who are in higher grades are his senpai, a word which combines the concepts of "upperclassman" and in many cases is almost like a mentor. Everything that passes between a senpai and a kouhai will be colored by the idea that the first is higher in rank than the second -- even the language they use with each other will very different, with the younger student using "keigo" or polite Japanese, and the older student using informal language. The concept of senior/junior exists in organizations and companies, too -- even right here in J-List. For example, when first Tomo came to work here, Kaori became his senpai (since she'd worked here longer), despite the fact that he was older than her. Despite the Japanese using these up-down relationships in their daily life, Japan is ostensibly a classless society, with around 80% of the country reporting that they believe themselves to be "middle class" despite obvious differences in their income.

Recently I had to admonish my son and some of his friends (who are all in the first grade) for using rude language at some third graders. Besides being in a position to get the tar beat out of them, they were being rude and disrespectful to kids who were in a senpai relationship with them. This is Japan, I told the kids, and in Japan you speak politely to those who are older than you. When you're older, the same respect will be shown to you by younger kids. Several Japanese parents were listening and were amused at the sight of an American giving such a speech to Japanese children. The Japanese have the impression that America is a "free country" where everyone says whatever's on their mind no matter what, so they were probably surprised at my views.

For gaijin living in Japan there are senpai/kouhai relationships, with foreigners who've lived here longer being "higher" in rank than foreigners just off the plane. When I came to Japan, a friend took me under his wing, showed me around until I got my "gaijin legs." Since having a higher rank means more responsibility, my friend picked up the tab for meals we ate together, as a senpai would do for his kouhai in a company or other organization. Years later, a new teacher came to work at the school I was teaching at, and I knew it was time for me to return the favor, showing the newcomer what he needed to know to live in Japan, and picking up the drinking tab, too. It was a very Japanese thing for me to do.

Our "Looking for a Japanese Girlfriend" and "Looking for a Japanese Boyfriend" shirts have been incredibly popular items ever since we brought out our first wacky T-shirts five years ago. From time to time, we've gotten requests from customers for female sizes of the "girlfriend" shirt and men's sizes of the "boyfriend" shirt, but hadn't been able to make these shirts available until now. Now, we're happy to announce that we'll make these shirts on a special order basis (please allow one week for the T-shirt to be made). Options for the special order T-shirts have been added to the J-List website -- add a shirt to your cart to see the new size options.

For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:

  • First, for Hayao Miyazaki fans, we've got the DVD release of Heisei Tanuki Gassen, or Raccoon Wars, with full subtitles in English and French (region 2)
  • For fans of unique figures and toys from Japan, we've got the G-Taste Trading Figure Collection, vol. 2, in stock for you
  • If you love Ultraman Tiga, we've got stock of the deluxe super-large Tiga "Multi Type," a superb item for collectors
  • Also, we've got a cool figure of Monkey from One Piece, that's really fun to play with
  • If you love Japan's sexy swimsuit idols, enjoy Duomo, a photobook of a dozen lovely models photographed by Shin Yamagishi
  • For fans of our unique Japanese snacks, enjoy Hello Kitty cereal, delicious pudding chocolate snacks, tea flavored Pocky sticks and more
  • We have some great Hello Kitty items only available from Japan, including a fun Kitty sticker and activity book, a deluxe Hello Kitty Rubik's Cube-like puzzle, and more
  • For bento fans, we've got some nice new items, including a bento box for soccer fans
  • For fans of Sanrio goods, we've got a super cute Shinkansen item, which we think is so cute
  • Finally, find cute stationary items with funny English (or Italian) on them, a great way to carry your bento box, a super cute Little Twin Star keychain set, and more!

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

  • For fans of adult magazines from Japan, we've got the excellent new issue of Urecco Gal, featuring Japan's sassy kogals and street girl fashion culture
  • Also very nice, the perfect bound Mitsumete Hoshii ("I want you to look at me"), featuring 99 lovely girls in love hotels
  • For lovers of beautiful hardcover photobooks from Japan, we've got a superb one by Nao Oikawa, featuring her dynamite sexy body and beautiful glossy photographs
  • Bondage is a popular fetish in Japan, and we've got a super Sanwa Mook featuring the "Memorial History of Japanese Bondage" (it's very detailed)
  • We love Japan's bishoujo gaming culture, and we've got a great art book for you, the One2 ~ Eternal Promise visual collection book
  • Also, don't miss out on the stock of Yui Shop before they sell out again
  • We've gotten in fresh stock of the popular Rabbit Rotor, the cute vibrating little rabbit popular with Japanese women
  • For fans of hentai manga, we've got some great items, including Machino Henmaru's Wholesome Hentai Girl and several volumes of the excellent ongoing erotic manga Love Junkies by Kyo Hatsuki
  • Also, for yaoi fans, new yaoi comics for those interested in Japan's male/male romantic comics
  • For DVD lovers, enjoy many new released, starting with Max-A Anniversary III, featuring 4 hours of only the top AV idols (Aoi Minori, Ryoko Mitake, Sally Yoshino, the list goes on) (region free)
  • Enjoy a look at Japan's soaplands, image clubs, cosplay health clubs, and other places where men can buy favors from beautiful women (region free)
  • Sayaka Tsutsumi is one of Japan's most popular AV starlets -- now you can enjoy her best erotic works courtesy of Soft on Demand (region free)
  • Also from SOD, enjoy a super "virtual sound sex" featuring digitally mastered audio that brings the sound of sex to you (SOD recommends that you listen to this with headphones on) (region free)
  • For fans of lesbian and nurse fetish themes, enjoy the new Sweet Love Clinic by Hot Entertainment (region free)
  • Then, from Wanz Factory, the great makers of quality erotica with plenty of sass, see Uta Komori (whose name means "lullaby" in Japanese) on a great private date (region 2)
  • Finally, we've got fresh stock of several great titles for you, including Cocolo's super DVD release, more Manko of Russian Girls, My Mother is a Nymphomaniac, Too, Like Me, and more!

Remember that J-List sells the Sampo DVE-612 DVD player, a very reliable region-free DVD player that has many features, including the ability to play VCD/MP3/Audio discs and DVDs from all countries, PAL and NTSC support (so you can play European discs in North America and vice versa), and more. It's a great item that we've sold hundreds of to satisfied customers. If you want to enjoy all the DVDs at J-List (both region 2 as well as "region free"), we recommend this player. And our price is just $98.

Like Star Trek or the Lord of the Rings? Then logic dictates that you see the video of Mr. Spock singing the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins if you haven't yet. I found a link here: http://www.game-revolution.com/download/trickyl/goodies/Video/baggins.mov (not sure if it will stay up when everyone on the list accesses it, but search Google if it stops working). Quicktime required.

The J-Mate website has been updated again, with a new review of Nao Oikawa's top-flight cosplay, Nao Oikawa Beautiful Breasts Cosplay, which is a must-see item for fans of anime parody and erotic cosplay. The URL is http://www.jmate.com/

Monday, December 16, 2002

Greetings from J-List December 16, 2002

Hello again from Japan, the only country in the world that would make vegetable yogurt (it was billed as a "yogurt salad").

Japanese is a linguistically impoverished language -- there are only 5 vowels, all paired into syllables with consonants (ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, etc.). This is where the thick accent Japanese speakers of English sometimes have comes from -- from birth, the repertoire of sounds they make is far more limited than speakers of other languages. For some phonetic reason, Japanese lacks the sound "ti" (sounding like "tea") as well as the linguistically related "di" sound (sounding like "dee"). Without a way to express these sounds in Japanese, foreign words like "Disneyland" and "party" could not be correctly represented, and subsequently entered the Japanese language as "Desneyland" and "parteh," which sound strange to the English ear. A "patch" was introduced at some time in the last few decades, basically a way to express "ti" and "di" in the katakana writing system, but unfortunately for a generation of older Japanese, they learned a slew of foreign loan words with the older, strange pronunciations. Now, pronouncing words like "panty" as "panteh" or the letter T as "teh" (rhyming with "way") is the mark of an old fogey here (although, as a foreigner, it's kind of fun to pronounce these words wrong on purpose sometimes)

There's a really useful phrase in Japanese that can be used in a variety of situations: "okage-sama de" (oh-KA-gey-sama-deh, with a hard 'g' on 'gey') which literally means "thanks to you." For some reason, the Japanese often respond to compliments by turning them back on the person doing the complimenting. For example, if someone were to compliment me on my being able to write a certain kanji character, I could say "Okage-sama de" to them -- "Yes, thanks to you." This seems to imply that I'm thanking that person for teaching me the character, even if I'd never met the person before, but that's the way the phrase is used. If you want to have fun with Japanese people, pull the phrase out suddenly and watch how they react.

Calendars continue to fly out the door, and more and more of them are selling out right before our eyes. We've gone through and knocked down prices on another two dozen calendars to help you help us get them out the door. We especially recommend the very lovely Japanese idol calendars, which feature beautiful Japanese actresses, race queens and swimsuit idols captured in huge poster-size glossy sheets. Our prices are rock-bottom now, and coupled with our buy-two-or-more-get-free-mailing-tubes offer, you can really save on some fabulous 2003 Japanese calendars. Because the calendars we sell are not available outside of Japan, you've always got a unique piece of the country to put on your wall and impress your friends all year long.

For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:

  • First, for anime and toy fans, we've got several nice new items for you, including a beautiful Tokyo Mew Mew fashion doll and a deluxe Chun Li figure from Marmit o Also, a limited edition flexible "magnet figure" set for Lupin III fans, from Unifive o For Hello Kitty lovers, we've got some great items, including a traditional money bank, a fun Kitty hamburger stand toy, Kitty oil absorbing paper, and fresh stock of the #1 product in the history of J-List, the Hello Kitty shoulder massagers o We've restocked the popular Studio Ghibli anime DVDs for Totoro, Laputa, Spirited Away, which feature fabulous prints of the movies and English dub/subtitles o If you want to try some fun snack and food items from Japan, we've got you covered -- enjoy Japanese jellybeans, baked potato crackers and real steamed squid from Hokkaido! o Also many restocked items, including the hit item Gravel Choco, delicious chocolate that looks like little rocks o We have some nice bento/kitchen items for you, including a cute chopstick case, a "Pop Animal" bottle opener, a super non-stick rice scoop, and more o For anyone who takes medicine, we've got what may be the most convenient "carrying pill case" we've ever seen o For fans of Japanese hot springs, we've got fresh stock of the excellent "Bub" tablets that dissolve in your bath like Alka-Seltzer o We've got nice items like Japanese origami paper, dry curry mix, and interesting incense sticks for you to check out o Finally, look for a super-handy business card carrier, a nifty large postcard book with cute cat characters, a fun Sanrio name tag for your items, and more!

Don't forget that J-List is giving free shipping on all Peach Princess games this month, so you can get great titles like X-Change (a sex change comedy game) or Snow Drop (a romantic love simulation game in a winter wonderland) and save money. This offer will end at the end of the month.

Also remember that J-List carries many items from Japan, which we group together as "wacky things from Japan." These range from unique character goods to things you can use to help learn Japanese to other items that, while they might not be necessities, are just plain cool (Hello Kitty toilet paper comes to mind). A lot of the items we sell are perfect for gifts, and Mayumi works very hard to keep the Wacky Things categories well stocked. We love selling these fun items, since it gives us a chance to actually bring you something cool that you can buy and touch and use, rather than just telling you about the neat things they have in Japan. Check out our excellent and wacky things from Japan, today!