Friday, January 03, 2003

Greetings from J-List January 3, 2003

Hello again from all of us at J-List!

I took an hour off work today to attend my daughter's "sankanbi," parent's day at school, when mothers and father come to see their kids in class (although I was the only father there). I've always been impressed with how much attention Japanese give to the education of their children, and many Japanese take a very active interest in what their children are learning. But education in Japan is very different from the U.S. First of all, Japan has chosen to standardize nearly all aspects of education on a national level, so that all aspects of learning, from textbooks to desks to how classes are structured, is decided by Japan's national Ministry of Education. School is quite strict in Japan, and there's only one "right" way for kids to do anything -- my daughter got in trouble for calling her older brother by his name (Kazuki) instead of using the word "oniichan" (Japanese for older brother), like all the other kids.

Japan's school system is undergoing many changes. Some of the changes are good -- for example, public schools recently ended the practice of holding classes on the first and third Saturdays of the month, to allow children to spend more time with their family. However, other changes bode ill for Japan's future. In postwar Japan, one of the pillars of society was that success could be achieved by excelling at academic competition, and the image of diligent students working hard to get the coveted top spot in the class rankings or to pass the difficult university entrance exams is a good one. However, public schools are no longer allowed to rank students by performance, and the old "hensachi" system, which was a numeric value assigned to all schools based on students test scores, has been outlawed. Also, despite the shrinking number of students and large number of universities operating at a loss now, a total of twelve new public, prefectural and private universities are coming on-line in Japan next spring, with more on the way. All of this means that, as Japan's population of students continues to shrink, it will be easier for students to get into the school of their choice without studying, which will mean even a degree from one of Japan's top schools may be meaningless in the future. This is why I'm planning to send my kids to school in the U.S.

If you've paid attention while watching Japanese anime or JAV, you've probably picked up on the word "ne." This is an interesting Japanese grammatical particle that usually goes on the ends of sentences and serves several purposes, mostly related to asking for confirmation of information or agreement with an opinion. Here are two examples:

"Aisu kohii futatsu desu ne?" You'd like two glasses of ice coffee, is that right? "Kyou wa atsui desu ne." It's hot today, isn't it?

Other functions of the all-purpose Japanese particle "ne" include softening a sentence so its meaning it less harsh ("Chotto furotimashita ne." You've gained a little weight, haven't you?); emphasizing what you want to say ("Kondo chanto kiite kudasai, ne." Please listen closely next time, alright?); working as a pause in sentences, like "um" in English; and to get the attention of the listener before saying something. Girls use "ne" more often than men and with a higher intonation, so males should use the word with caution lest they appear effeminate.
We're happy to report that poor Daisuke, who injured his knee and had to spend a month in the hospital, is back at work and is doing very well. He's still going to "rihabiri" (rehabilitation) several times a week, but it's great to have him back.

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

  • First, for fans of Japan's excellent miniature toys, called "candy toys" since they usually come with candy inside, we have super detailed replicas of booths at Japanese festivals, with full sets available
  • For Hello Kitty fans, a fun to play "Hello Kitty Yo-Yo Fishing Game" that you play just like you do at Japanese festivals
  • For anime fans, we have super action figures from Dragonball Z, designed for the Japanese market by Bandai
  • Then enjoy some really cool items: Japanese traditional taiko drums that really work -- they look and sound great
  • We've got more wacky Japanese signs for your room, made of real pine
  • For fans of traditional Japanese food, we've got cool noodle trays and two different bowls for miso soup, very nice
  • We've got some great Japanese snack treats for you, including delicious almond Fran chocolate and almond sticks, Oreo Choco Sticks that you will love, and traditional rice crackers that are a favorite around here at J-List (Brent and I eat them every day)
  • Also, great new miso soup with baked shiitake mushrooms inside, yum!
  • Restocked snack foods include Kabaya Tiramisu Pocky-like snacks, Hi-Chew tangerine, coconut Pocky, more wacky "Kiss Mint Gum" and more
  • For fans of our unique only-sold-in-Japan toy items, we've gotten a bunch of new stock in for you, starting with a major update of our super detailed miniature food items -- look for fresh stock of all items, including miniature Japanese food, family restaurant food, Chinese food from Yokohama's Chinatown, "train station bento" miniatures and more
  • Also, we've restocked the cool Japan Hot Wheels Mach 5, a super collectible item for Speed Race fans (like me)
  • We've also added fresh stock of all the popular Groomy plush toys from Elecom, which feature soft chamois bottoms that you can use to keep your computer monitor clean
  • Also great for anyone with a computer, we've fresh stock of the cute Massage Rabbit and Soft Squeeze Rabbit, which are great for relieving stress
  • Finally, for those studying Japanese, we've added stock of all our popular Canon Wordtanks electronic study aids, which are *the* way to effectively study Japanese.

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

  • For fans of erotic magazines from Japan, we've got the great new issue of Deka Melon (Big Melon), featuring hardcore Race Queen that you'll love
  • We've also got the new issue of Aishite Ageru, e.g. I'll Love You, featuring great amateurs in love hotels
  • For Japanese photobook fans, we've got some great items, including a delightful photobook by Yuka Hirata, the delightful swimsuit photos of Mariko Okubo, and more
  • Also, fresh stock of some really rare and cool photobooks, which won't be available again -- great items for Yuko Ogura and Yinling fans!
  • We have some great erotic hentai manga for you, including the delightful Compensation of Ai by Do Comics, a 2 volume set of the Bad Slayers series by Hit Comics, and EX Comics excellent Milky Onsen
  • Also, we've got some restocked manga for you including Keep On Puru-Run My Sweet Baby, and more!
  • For G-Taste fans, we've gotten in the very nice 2004 calendars for this year, but we only have three and no more will be available
  • For our DVD customers, we've got some really fabulous items for you, starting with 4 hours of the very best sex of Saori Kamiya, a delightfully erotic AV star on the Million label (region free)
  • Then enjoy more top-quality leg fetish action from Japan, with Tights Variation, everything you ever wanted to know about long-legged Japanese women in erotic stockings and tights (region free)
  • TMA brings you a whopping 10 hours of top adult video action, with cosplay and more by Japan's top adult stars (region free)
  • Nampa is the act of men picking up girls on the street -- now see "reverse nampa" in which lesbians pick up Japanese kogals in Tokyo's Shibuya region and ask them to try their hand at lesbian kissing (region free)
  • Also for "reverse nampa" fans, see the erotic sex of girls who pick up guys and have sex with them, brought you by SOD's famous female adult video director Chie Sugawara (region free)
  • Then, we've got a new Actress Restraint Maniac series DVD featuring fun bondage play by Azusa Kyouno, a delightful and erotic adult video star
  • Finally, we've got fresh stock of popular erotic DVDs from Japan, including Sayaka Tsutsumi's Masterpiece Concentration, Ami Ayu's 4-hour MAX file, erotic Gymnastics Girls, Eighteen Pleasure, and more!

Remember that J-List is having a big $1 shipping sale on all English-translated dating-sim games, interactive story-based PC games in which the story is to make beautiful anime girls fall in love with you. A unique slice of pop culture for adults from Japan, we've worked hard to bring these great games to our customers since they first appeared back in 1996. Coupled with our 20% discount for buying 4 or more titles, this makes it a great time to complete your bishoujo game collection!

Greetings from J-List January 3, 2003

Hello and "Akemashite Omedetou" from all of us at J-List! The New Year is here, and J-List is happy to be back to work. We think 2002 is going to be our best year yet!

2002 will no doubt bring many new things to many new people. For Japan and Korea, 2002 is the Year of Cooperation and Good Relations, as the two countries are jointly hosting the World Cup. Everywhere you look there are signs of improved friendship between the two countries -- everything from Korean film getting more attention in Japan to Japanese food companies bring more Korean tastes to customers. After the problems of last year, we're very happy to see these changes. 2002 is also the Year of Soccer here in Japan, and about 40% of TV commercials manage to work the sport into whatever they're selling. I have to admit that I'm not the biggest soccer fan in the world, but it is great to see everyone get so excited. Harumi, the girl who lovingly wraps outgoing J-List orders, is a huge soccer fan. If anyone knows how we could get tickets for any of the Japan games (tickets were not available to the public here at all), please let us know and we'll pass the information on to her.

I received some questions about international drivers' licenses when I mentioned them before, so I thought I'd give information on them. Annoying spam bouncing around the Internet aside, the international drivers' license system basically allows you to go to a foreign country and, along with your normal valid license from home, drive legally. Japanese can go to the Japanese version of the DMV and get a Japanese version of the IDL and drive in the U.S. for up to 6 months, for example, and Americans can do the same in Japan (they get up to 1 year of driving, however). I once got an international driver's license made at a passport photo shop, but was told by a Japanese policeman that the only ones that are really legal (and which will help you out if you're in an accident) are the ones issued by AAA (Triple A). For foreigners living in Japan, it's generally more convenient to keep an IDL and renew it each year. Because you're not in the Japanese computer system, it's virtually impossible to get a ticket for anything in Japan.

Japanese portable phone companies continue to duke it out, trying to give customers better features and keep NTT and NTT Docomo (the "Microsoft" of Japan) from swallowing their market share. J-Phone stresses their phones with cameras in them (now they've got little flashes for the phones), and AU boasts the Qualcomm "CDMA" phone standard, allowing you to go to several cities in Asia and America and use your Japanese phone (if you don't mind paying $3 per minute). Now the first GPS phone has appeared -- if you get lost, just call up a map of Tokyo on your phone and find out where you are. The idea sounds good, but after finding that I can't even view Yahoo on my own Internet-enabled phone, I have to say I'll wait and see how the technology unfolds.

The "Express Checkout" feature of J-List is now live, and so far it's working really well. Basically, if you've already checked out once, you can make subsequent orders using the express checkout, and quickly select shipping, billing address, and payment method from a pull-down list. To add a new address or payment method (credit card, etc.) to your account, just check out once the old way, and the new information will be remembered. Just a note, by the way, that credit card numbers are not stored on the server at all -- just the last four numbers are, for maximum safety.

For our first update of the new year, we're coming out swinging, with a great lineup of new items for you. including:

  • First, we've got the excellent new Gokuh, the oversized erotic
    magazine from Eichi Publishing (great for Ami Ayukawa and Ichigo Milk fans)
  • For Anna Ohura fans, we have limited stock of the dynamite
    "Bauhaus Mook" filled with nothing but photos of the lovely 101 cm busty
    idol
  • We've got other mags for you too, including some really nice
    amateur and kogal sex books, and a new issue of EX CD-ROM (a value-priced
    adult magazine with a free video CD of footage)
  • We have two great DVD ' magazine combos -- DVD Wow, featuring 2
    hours of super pro AV, and a rare treat, Aika Miura and Hikaru Oishi in a
    bold bondage magazine + DVD coupling
  • Just because we love you, we've got a super line-up of new
    photobooks for you, featuring lovely girls like Shinobu Kasagi and Maria
    Yumeno and more -- both hardcover and softcover photobooks in stock
  • If you are into Japan's manga erotica, enjoy the double portion
    of books we've posted for you, including the excellent "Refrection"
    (Reflection) by the renowned hentai artist Okawari, the uncensored erotic
    manga Engine Room, and more, as well as fresh stock of some great manga
    works that were sold out
  • A sneak peak from the December Comic Market, we've got a
    beautiful "Busty Girls of Doujin" calendar, with 13 large pages capturing
    beautiful huge-breasted anime girls -- but we've only got three, so hurry
  • For DVD and adult video lovers, we've got another can't-be-beat
    volley for you -- first, from the new Hot Entertainment there's a superb
    120 minute lesbian DVD with great lesbian eros (region free)
  • From Soft on Demand, three great DVD titles: the lewd "Semen
    Hospital" (a very erotic place to get medical care), a new "Study of Men's
    Penis by Innocent Girls" in which 18 year old girls see, touch and "study"
    a penis for the first time, and a great rape-play offering (all
    region-free)
  • From Moodyz, a superb erotic "soap girl" performance by Bunko
    Kanazawa (DVD-2)
  • If you love the delightful Rin Tomosaki, you'll love her new
    cosplay DVD by Wanz Factory, with anime, maid, sports wear and kimono
    erotic costumes
  • From Audaz, a very erotic "busty lesbian orgy" (VHS) and a
    dynamite "Violent Shoot" performance by Maria Yumeno (DVD-2 or VHS) -- best
    of all, you get a free packet of sex lotion in each Audaz DVD
  • A cool new offering from Aroma, a beautiful actress is deprived
    of the senses of sight and hearing as she's teased and fucked
  • Also: a fun erotic "Morning Tekoki Musume" video for fans of
    the pop group, and a super performance with the lovely Ai Nagase
  • Finally, for fans of S'M themes, a very cool "Bondage Battle"
    with three lovely AV idols, including Maiko Yuuki
  • For fans of the incredibly high-quality "cold cast" figures
    made in Japan, we've got limited stock (exactly one) of two beautiful
    figures from Kia Asamiya's manga Duplex Divine. The figures are truly
    incredible and must be seen to be believed (we'll order more so we have
    stock in the future)
  • Also on our anime ' toys page, we've got some cool stuffed
    black cats from the Miyazaki film Kiki's Delivery Service
  • We've lowered the prices of our color bishoujo T-shirts based
    on Peach Princess's games, as we close out our stock to make room for
    making new shirt designs. Help us out by picking up some Peach Princess
    T-shirts!
  • If you like being able to buy the Japanese snacks and food
    items J-List sells, we've got some delicious Lamune candy (in many
    flavors), as well as a major restock of some of our most long-selling
    items, Milky Strawberry candies, the delicious Milky white carmels, and
    more
  • We've got some wacky traditional items for you, including some
    cool Buddhist prayer beads (which you can also use as fashionable
    bracelets), a super traditional bamboo dish, and more
  • Finally, find a slew of all-new Wacky Things from Japan for
    you, including a Hello Kitty pocket tissue holder (works with the J-List
    tissues you get free with each order, too!), a jumbo deck of playing cards,
    the ultimate food storage containers for your kitchen, a rare Japanese pan
    that can make square omelets, and a great vacuum attachment that will get
    your house really clean, and more. Please stop by and check out what we've
    got for you!

Once again, all of us at J-List would like to wish you a peaceful and prosperious Happy New Year. "Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegai shimasu" is what Japanese say when they greet each other for the first time each year, and it's an odd phrase that is really hard to translate accurately -- something like "Please let us serve you again this year" is pretty close. So...please let us serve you!

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Greetings from J-List January 1, 2003

Hello and "Akemashite Omedetou" from all of us at J-List! The New Year has just broken in California as I type this, and the new year is less than an hour old. It feels like a good one so far!

New Year's Day (Oshogatsu in Japanese) is the most important of holidays in Japan, a quiet time to spend visiting family and going to the local Shinto shrine to pray for good luck in the new year. In the same way that Christmas is a quiet time and New Year's can be loud in the U.S., Christmas in Japan is an excuse to have a loud, fun party, but the first day of the New Year is something solemn and special. Although we're in San Diego this year, we've had a very Japanese Dec. 31st, including eating of Japanse soba noodles (called "toshi-koshi soba," which means "crossing into the New Year noodles," they're supposed to bring you long life), eating mochi (pressed rice cakes) and more. Unfortunately we couldn't find Kouhaku, the huge music show that features virtually everybody who's anybody in Japan, on any of the international channels on our cable TV.

Starting a new year is a good time to look back and take stock of the past year. 2002 has been nothing less than spectacular for all of us at J-List, thanks to the kind support of our many customers and readers around the world. We've had incredible success bringing many cool new categories of products to you, from region free DVD players to Japan's interactive love-sim games to loose socks and Pocky and our unique Japanese adult products. We like to think of J-List as a giant dodecahedron (a 20-sided die), floating in space, and the J-List staff are little people living on the surface. Each great category of things from Japan we're able to make available to our customers is one "face" of the die, and every few months we discover a new side to the surface (Studio Ghibli music boxes, funny Japanese T-shirts, Hello Kitty and Totoro blankets) and make new wacky things available to our customers all around the world. I wonder if we'll ever run out of new areas to discover? I honestly don't think so, as there will never be an end to cool things from Japan.

In Japanese, they have a phrase which is used at the start of a new year. It is KORE KARA MO YOROSHIKU ONEGAI SHIMASU, which is very difficult to translate into English accurately. It basically means "Thank you for your past support, and please continue your cooperation in the future." All the J-List staff, both in Japan and in San Diego, appreciate your support of our little company. Together, we hope to seek out and explore new worlds of cool pop culture from Japan!

For the first update of the new year, we've got newly added and restocked items for you in virtually all categories. For fans of Japan's bishoujo games, be sure and check out the brand-new Sensei 2, a great new game coming out from G-Collections, which is up for preorder now (although the game will be shipping in just a few days). Also, we've posted a great new DVD player with progressive scan and many high-end features to the site -- it's not in stock yet, but you can order your copy now and we'll send it out when we get them in. Finally, we've really (and we mean really) slashed prices on the remaining stock of 2003 calendars -- the prices are really low, so please find it in your heart to help us by taking some of them of our hands. Please enjoy all the great new items we've posted for you today!