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!