Saturday, February 22, 2003

Greetings from J-List February 22, 2003

Hello from Japan, where a steak made with ground beef is a "hamburg" and a frankfurter out of its bun is a "frankfurt."

Although cities like Tokyo have excellent train and subway systems, in most parts of Japan the only way to get around is a good old car. Japan's version of "car life" is a little different from what is found in the U.S., though. First of all, there are almost no independent car dealers, and virtually all new cars are sold through retail locations operated directly by Japan's auto makers. You never drive away with a car the day you go in to buy it, but instead "order" it, and it's made to your specifications at the factory and delivered three weeks later. They drive on the left side of the street, which is difficult to get used to at first, but is not so hard as long as you just look at other cars and drive on the same side of the street they're on. In the U.S., some drivers leave their headlights on for safety during the day, but it's never done here, and Japanese will follow you to tell you that you've left your lights on if you keep them on during the daylight hours. While honking a horn at another driver can cause road rage in the U.S., here a short "beep" is the universal way of saying thanks and good-bye as you pull away here in Japan. Most drivers turn off their car's headlights at intersections (often leaving the parking lights on), as a courtesy to drivers who might be blinded by their lights on the other side of the intersection. In Tokyo, where drivers drive with consideration for others (unlike Gunma, where we live), a two-second flashing of the hazard lights is the correct way to say "thank you" to the car behind you when he lets you in front of him. In Japan, traffic lights have a 3 second delay between when one light changes to red and the next one changes to green. By unwritten rule, Japanese drivers universally make use of this time to speed their car through the intersection, despite the red light, since they know they've got several seconds before the other cars will be moving. For a poorly-understood reason, the color for "green" (as in a green light) is "blue" in Japan -- all Japanese use the word "ao" (AH-oh) for the color of a green light, although this word really refers to the color blue.

For one reason or another, some phrases in English have burned themselves on the collective consciousness of the Japanese, and are quite famous here. When an American named Dr. Clark (universally known as "Clark-hakase" HA-KA-say) went to Sapporo to help establish what would become Sapporo University, he left the following advice to his Japanese hosts: "Boys, be ambitious!" (i.e., strive to achieve excellence in all that you do). These three words are studied by all Japanese, and somehow manage to pop up all over the place in one form or another. (There's a manga and anime called "Boys Be..." that is based on this phrase.) When pop singer Momoe Yamaguchi retired from singing, she sang a song to her fans that went "Thank you for your kindness...thank you for your tenderness" and as a result, virtually all Japanese over 30 know this famous phrase. Famous speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln ("Government for the people, by the people, and of the people") are studied in school the same way we studied Shakespeare in the U.S., too.

"You've been in Japan too long when you're speaking English with your gaijin friends, but all references to money are in Japanese." This is a funny phenomenon, but true: even when speaking English, gaijin living in Japan will tend to use Japanese for numbers and yen money amounts. The reason is that the Sino-Japanese numeric system, which came from China, is clunky when converting to the Arabic numeric system. The number system used in Japan revolves around the unit 10,000 ("man," pronounced "mahn"), rather than 1,000; thus, the number 10,000 is "1 man" (ichi mahn), 20,000 yen is "2 man" (ni mahn), 100,000 is "10 man" (juu mahn) and so on. The conversion from one numeric system to the other is just frustrating enough that most foreigners will be happy to leave their numbers in Japanese, as long as the person they're talking with understands the words. Thus a gaijin living in Japan is likely to say, "I bought a new cellular phone, but it cost me 2 mahn en" (20,000 yen), or, "My car broke, and it's going to cost 10 mahn en to fix it" (100,000 yen).

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 a great figure in the Super Excellent Series, Cammy from Street Fighter II
  • Also, a super cute character keychain set for the One Piece TV animation
  • Japan's toy maker Tomy has a great line of die-cast cars, and we've got a limited edition set of three classic Toyota cars in a cool package for you (including the popular Prius)
  • Also very cool, a series of Choro-Q cars and figures for Lupin III fans
  • For bento fans, look for two great new bento boxes that come with their own chopsticks and secure straps, along with some great all-purpose bamboo chopsticks that are extra-easy to eat with
  • If you love Gundam and robots, don't miss the excellent Tokyo Robot News, featuring tons of fan information and artwork for fans of all robot anime
  • For fans of our Japanese snacks, look for many new items, including delicious rice cracker and fish snacks, crunchy Japanese almonds, and two great new flavors of Pretz (spicy curry and hotcakes n' syrup)
  • For Sanrio fans find many cool items, including a Kitty photo album and Kitty bath salt, for an authentic hot springs experience
  • We love Hamtaro, and have been selling cool Hamtaro goods for years -- see a deck of Hamtaro character cards in stock, now
  • We've got fresh stock of some popular items that had been sold out, including cool Totoro items, Edward Scissorhands Kubricks, and only-sold-in-Japan Hot Wheels
  • Also, don't forget to check for fresh stock of the popular Studio Ghibli music boxes, which are of very high quality and fun to collect -- we've got Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke and other music boxes in stock
  • Also, for fans of our very soft and warm My Neighbor Totoro blankets, we've gotten the last of the stock we'll have this winter
  • Finally, find many cool "Wacky Things from Japan" including an all-purpose soft case, a great Japanese wind chime, more dissolving onsen tablets for your bath, and the best toilet brush you've ever seen!

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

  • For fans of beautiful Japanese nudes, we've got the new Bejean, the oversized magazine that is filled with beautiful adult video actresses, like Mai Hagiwara, Maiko Kazano, and many more
  • Also, the new issue of Aishite Ageru, or "I'll Love You," a great hardcore magazine featuring real couples in love hotels
  • Also very lovely, the new issue of Panst Best, featuring 45 lovely, leggy girls including the sizzling Akira Watase
  • For fans of huge, beautiful photobooks enjoy the great hardcover offerings of Sachi Asaoka as well as the huge glossy photobook of Kaori Shimamura
  • For fans of Japan's unique hentai comics, we've got some great new volumes in stock for you, including a super all "cute ears" anthology manga featuring lovely girls with cat ears, Chobits-type ears and more
  • For Sailor Moon hentai fans, enjoy a major restocking of the Paradise Lost doujin anthologies, which parody the characters of this great anime
  • For yaoi fans, we've got a great 2-volume yaoi work of science fiction that's beautiful to look at
  • Also for fans of the excellent hentai doujinshi of Okachimentaiko, we've got a great new book in stock
  • For fans of Peach Princess's bishoujo games, we have fresh stock of the excellent Yuri of the Imperial City wall scroll
  • For DVD collectors, some great items, starting with a really "natsukashii" (nostalgic) 3-in-1 by Mari Misato, the former AV legend from the late 80's and mid-90's (region free)
  • From the excellent Dogma and director Tohjiro, see a "Lewd Women Battle" between Ran Asakawa and Kurumi Morishita -- just beautiful! (region free)
  • The lovely Rina Takase stars in The New Secret Semen Club, in an elegant bukkake release from SOD (region free)
  • See the lovely Ai Nagase enjoy a little "reverse soap" as she becomes the client at Tokyo's most famous soaplands, on the receiving end of the fun this time (region free)
  • A new "inexperienced girls penis study" concept from Moodyz, enjoy the new "Clothed Female Naked Male" DVD release! (region 2)
  • Finally, look for various newly restocked items for DVD collectors and fans!

We love bringing you the most wacky Japanese T-shirts imaginable. Our shirts are all 100% cotton and are printed in the USA, and all sizes are full U.S. sizes. We carry a full range of sizes, from size small all the way up to 3XL, to serve nearly any customer. And now, we're happy to offer 4XL sizes for our black and white shirts (which we call our "Yokozuna Special"), for those customers who should need the larger size.

Do you love the anime films of Hayao Miyazaki? Remember that J-List stocks all the excellent region 2 DVD releases for Studio Ghibli movies like My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky Laputa, Princess Mononoke and his Lupin III classic, The Castle of Caliostro. These DVDs are released in Japan directly by the studio and include many features that make them great for collectors. All discs feature English subtitles and/or dubbed tracks and are great for fans who want the definitive versions of these anime classics overseen by Mr. Miyazaki himself. The only catch is, you need a region free DVD player to watch them -- and J-List humbly recommends the two excellent units we currently sell.

Did you used to watch Land of the Lost? We found landofthelost.com to be quite an interesting website. Check it out!

Greetings from J-List February 22, 2003

Hello from Japan, where a steak made with ground beef is a "hamburg" and a frankfurter out of its bun is a "frankfurt."

Although cities like Tokyo have excellent train and subway systems, in most parts of Japan the only way to get around is a good old car. Japan's version of "car life" is a little different from what is found in the U.S., though. First of all, there are almost no independent car dealers, and virtually all new cars are sold through retail locations operated directly by Japan's auto makers. You never drive away with a car the day you go in to buy it, but instead "order" it, and it's made to your specifications at the factory and delivered three weeks later. They drive on the left side of the street, which is difficult to get used to at first, but is not so hard as long as you just look at other cars and drive on the same side of the street they're on. In the U.S., some drivers leave their headlights on for safety during the day, but it's never done here, and Japanese will follow you to tell you that you've left your lights on if you keep them on during the daylight hours. While honking a horn at another driver can cause road rage in the U.S., here a short "beep" is the universal way of saying thanks and good-bye as you pull away here in Japan. Most drivers turn off their car's headlights at intersections (often leaving the parking lights on), as a courtesy to drivers who might be blinded by their lights on the other side of the intersection. In Tokyo, where drivers drive with consideration for others (unlike Gunma, where we live), a two-second flashing of the hazard lights is the correct way to say "thank you" to the car behind you when he lets you in front of him. In Japan, traffic lights have a 3 second delay between when one light changes to red and the next one changes to green. By unwritten rule, Japanese drivers universally make use of this time to speed their car through the intersection, despite the red light, since they know they've got several seconds before the other cars will be moving. For a poorly-understood reason, the color for "green" (as in a green light) is "blue" in Japan -- all Japanese use the word "ao" (AH-oh) for the color of a green light, although this word really refers to the color blue.

For one reason or another, some phrases in English have burned themselves on the collective consciousness of the Japanese, and are quite famous here. When an American named Dr. Clark (universally known as "Clark-hakase" HA-KA-say) went to Sapporo to help establish what would become Sapporo University, he left the following advice to his Japanese hosts: "Boys, be ambitious!" (i.e., strive to achieve excellence in all that you do). These three words are studied by all Japanese, and somehow manage to pop up all over the place in one form or another. (There's a manga and anime called "Boys Be..." that is based on this phrase.) When pop singer Momoe Yamaguchi retired from singing, she sang a song to her fans that went "Thank you for your kindness...thank you for your tenderness" and as a result, virtually all Japanese over 30 know this famous phrase. Famous speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln ("Government for the people, by the people, and of the people") are studied in school the same way we studied Shakespeare in the U.S., too.

"You've been in Japan too long when you're speaking English with your gaijin friends, but all references to money are in Japanese." This is a funny phenomenon, but true: even when speaking English, gaijin living in Japan will tend to use Japanese for numbers and yen money amounts. The reason is that the Sino-Japanese numeric system, which came from China, is clunky when converting to the Arabic numeric system. The number system used in Japan revolves around the unit 10,000 ("man," pronounced "mahn"), rather than 1,000; thus, the number 10,000 is "1 man" (ichi mahn), 20,000 yen is "2 man" (ni mahn), 100,000 is "10 man" (juu mahn) and so on. The conversion from one numeric system to the other is just frustrating enough that most foreigners will be happy to leave their numbers in Japanese, as long as the person they're talking with understands the words. Thus a gaijin living in Japan is likely to say, "I bought a new cellular phone, but it cost me 2 mahn en" (20,000 yen), or, "My car broke, and it's going to cost 10 mahn en to fix it" (100,000 yen).

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 a great figure in the Super Excellent Series, Cammy from Street Fighter II
  • Also, a super cute character keychain set for the One Piece TV animation
  • Japan's toy maker Tomy has a great line of die-cast cars, and we've got a limited edition set of three classic Toyota cars in a cool package for you (including the popular Prius)
  • Also very cool, a series of Choro-Q cars and figures for Lupin III fans
  • For bento fans, look for two great new bento boxes that come with their own chopsticks and secure straps, along with some great all-purpose bamboo chopsticks that are extra-easy to eat with
  • If you love Gundam and robots, don't miss the excellent Tokyo Robot News, featuring tons of fan information and artwork for fans of all robot anime
  • For fans of our Japanese snacks, look for many new items, including delicious rice cracker and fish snacks, crunchy Japanese almonds, and two great new flavors of Pretz (spicy curry and hotcakes n' syrup)
  • For Sanrio fans find many cool items, including a Kitty photo album and Kitty bath salt, for an authentic hot springs experience
  • We love Hamtaro, and have been selling cool Hamtaro goods for years -- see a deck of Hamtaro character cards in stock, now
  • We've got fresh stock of some popular items that had been sold out, including cool Totoro items, Edward Scissorhands Kubricks, and only-sold-in-Japan Hot Wheels
  • Also, don't forget to check for fresh stock of the popular Studio Ghibli music boxes, which are of very high quality and fun to collect -- we've got Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke and other music boxes in stock
  • Also, for fans of our very soft and warm My Neighbor Totoro blankets, we've gotten the last of the stock we'll have this winter
  • Finally, find many cool "Wacky Things from Japan" including an all-purpose soft case, a great Japanese wind chime, more dissolving onsen tablets for your bath, and the best toilet brush you've ever seen!

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

  • For fans of beautiful Japanese nudes, we've got the new Bejean, the oversized magazine that is filled with beautiful adult video actresses, like Mai Hagiwara, Maiko Kazano, and many more
  • Also, the new issue of Aishite Ageru, or "I'll Love You," a great hardcore magazine featuring real couples in love hotels
  • Also very lovely, the new issue of Panst Best, featuring 45 lovely, leggy girls including the sizzling Akira Watase
  • For fans of huge, beautiful photobooks enjoy the great hardcover offerings of Sachi Asaoka as well as the huge glossy photobook of Kaori Shimamura
  • For fans of Japan's unique hentai comics, we've got some great new volumes in stock for you, including a super all "cute ears" anthology manga featuring lovely girls with cat ears, Chobits-type ears and more
  • For Sailor Moon hentai fans, enjoy a major restocking of the Paradise Lost doujin anthologies, which parody the characters of this great anime
  • For yaoi fans, we've got a great 2-volume yaoi work of science fiction that's beautiful to look at
  • Also for fans of the excellent hentai doujinshi of Okachimentaiko, we've got a great new book in stock
  • For fans of Peach Princess's bishoujo games, we have fresh stock of the excellent Yuri of the Imperial City wall scroll
  • For DVD collectors, some great items, starting with a really "natsukashii" (nostalgic) 3-in-1 by Mari Misato, the former AV legend from the late 80's and mid-90's (region free)
  • From the excellent Dogma and director Tohjiro, see a "Lewd Women Battle" between Ran Asakawa and Kurumi Morishita -- just beautiful! (region free)
  • The lovely Rina Takase stars in The New Secret Semen Club, in an elegant bukkake release from SOD (region free)
  • See the lovely Ai Nagase enjoy a little "reverse soap" as she becomes the client at Tokyo's most famous soaplands, on the receiving end of the fun this time (region free)
  • A new "inexperienced girls penis study" concept from Moodyz, enjoy the new "Clothed Female Naked Male" DVD release! (region 2)
  • Finally, look for various newly restocked items for DVD collectors and fans!

We love bringing you the most wacky Japanese T-shirts imaginable. Our shirts are all 100% cotton and are printed in the USA, and all sizes are full U.S. sizes. We carry a full range of sizes, from size small all the way up to 3XL, to serve nearly any customer. And now, we're happy to offer 4XL sizes for our black and white shirts (which we call our "Yokozuna Special"), for those customers who should need the larger size.

Do you love the anime films of Hayao Miyazaki? Remember that J-List stocks all the excellent region 2 DVD releases for Studio Ghibli movies like My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky Laputa, Princess Mononoke and his Lupin III classic, The Castle of Caliostro. These DVDs are released in Japan directly by the studio and include many features that make them great for collectors. All discs feature English subtitles and/or dubbed tracks and are great for fans who want the definitive versions of these anime classics overseen by Mr. Miyazaki himself. The only catch is, you need a region free DVD player to watch them -- and J-List humbly recommends the two excellent units we currently sell.

Did you used to watch Land of the Lost? We found landofthelost.com to be quite an interesting website. Check it out!

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Greetings from J-List February 20, 2003

Good evening from Japan, where calories are always corrected labeled as "kikocalories."

First of all, sorry for the problems with our mailing list. Due to a glitch with our ISP, the list went out a day late. Also, the non-adult list contents were sent out to the 18+ list members, making some think that they were on the wrong list. Sorry about that!

No study of Japan is complete without mention of two major themes, tatemae and honne (TAH-tay-MAH-ae and HON-neh). These are two difficult concepts, which are woven into the fabric of Japan as a nation. Tatemae could be translate as the ideas expressed in public or the way we pretend society is, while honne is the way we really feel, or the way the world really is. Often tatemae are the things you say to people in certain social situations, even though you don't feel that way inside. When I see my wife, who has mastered English and lived in the U.S., talking with the other mothers in the neighborhood who have never been outside of Japan, I can see some tatemae in action: she has to hold her own real opinions back much of the time. Tatemae can also exist in the society at large. For example, gambling is illegal in Japan, so you win "prizes" at Pachinko parlors, which you "sell" for money at small shops located conveniently next door. Prostitution is also illegal, yet there are "soaplands" where a beautiful girl will give you a "full body wash" in a bath (including one in Shibuya, located right behind a police station). And on Tokyo's busy Kan-Nana Bypass, the speed limit is a meager 40 kph (24 mph), but anyone actually going that speed would surely cause an accident -- so everyone speeds along at 90 kph (55 mph).

As time goes by, younger Japanese become more and more dissatisfied with the "little white lies" of tatemae around them. They become more direct and less subtle, which causes frustration in the generation of older Japanese who like their social relationships to be a little fuzzy. Japanese students, who learn six years of English while in school, often have a fixation about English speakers, that they "always say exactly what they think, no matter what." In a situation where you might reply in a very vague manner in Japanese, you'd often reply with a straight "yes" or "no" in English, and they think that directness applies all the time. The truth is that we have plenty of tatemae in English too -- times when it's improper to say something to someone even though it may be the truth. My wife has a Japanese friend living in Los Angeles who really goes overboard, always saying whatever's on her mind no matter what, including comments on the weight and eating habits of people she hardly knows. We don't invite her over very often.

It is the winter of our discontent in Japan right now, with roads everywhere blocked by sudden road construction that materializes around this time of year. Japan's fiscal year ends on March 31st, and as in the U.S., government bodies that have money left in their budgets have to give it back at the end of that time, so they work hard to spend the money instead. It's said that the construction industry is to the Japanese government what the military is to the U.S. -- construction of roads and housing is core of the Japanese economy, and most Japanese don't have a problem with road crews tearing up perfectly good roads to fix a pipe that wasn't broken, if it's for the common good. Throughout the past decade of off-and-on recession in Japan, the government has embraced public works as a way to kick-start the economy, spending endlessly on roads and bridges that are largely unnecessary, spending enough to build the Panama Canal each year. This deficit spending has not helped the economy and has only succeeded in lowering Japan's credit rating with Moody's (not Moodyz) to below that of Botswana.

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

  • First, for we've got some great Sanrio and Hello Kitty items that are only sold in Japan
  • If you love Japan's anime video game world, we've got a super art book of .hack // TheWorld, a smash hit fantasy video game featuring all the anime and characters of the Playstation 2 game
  • We love Shirow Masamune's great manga works, and we're happy to have stock of the *bilingual* manga to Ghost in the Shell, which features both English and Japanese text as well as beautiful full color printing
  • I am a big fan of Ultraman and am happy to be able to sell a new toy + candy series, featuring the famous monsters of the original Ultraman series, each very detailed and complete with base for displaying and ramune candy inside
  • Also very cool, we've got a new Large and Medium Totoro keychain from Sun Arrow
  • For fans of Blythe, the eerie but fascinating-looking doll from Takara, we've got more Pucchi Blythe figures, fashionable and really fun to collect
  • For fans of cute anime girls, enjoy the Figure Maniacs soft vinyl figure of Mei Uzuki from Gao Gaiger Final
  • Sailor Moon fans have something special: a super-cool Sailor Moon headset with microphone, so you can sing karaoke just like a Japanese idol singer (comes with a video too)
  • For fans of our unique Japanese snack foods, we've got delicious Meiji "Precious Milk" chocolate squares, fun Anpan Man chocolate lollipops, some really funky (but delicious, trust us) dried squid, and for Kitty fans, delicious filled marshmallow balls that are really fun to eat
  • Also, some delicious strawberry chewing gum with Xylitol, an ingredient popular in Japan that aids the health of your teeth and fights cavities
  • Look for restocked items, such as miso soup (always a hugely popular item at J-List), furikake (food which you sprinkle over white rice), and more
  • For anyone looking for something wacky from Japan, enjoy "gum erasers" that erase pencil marks normally, but they're soft like chewing gum and smell great -- we've got cola and jasmine in stock
  • We love Japanese pens and stationary, and are happy to have some really handy Japanese pens in stock -- they come in beautiful color and the pens look like crystals when you write
  • For those who like wacky Japanese messages, we've got some nice wooden signs with amusing messages on them
  • Finally, look for super-cute Japanese happy face reflective stickers, a great way to relieve stress from your feet, more cool Hamtaro dress-up dolls, Japanese origami paper, and more!

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

  • First and foremost, we've got the dynamite new issue of Urecco, chock full of positively beautiful Japanese gals like Akira Watase, Kaede Matsushima, Ryoko Mitake as a cosplay angel, and lovely covergirl Masa Sato
  • For fans of lovely hardcover photobooks, see the erotic offering of Shien (photos by Seiichi Nomura) and the lovely pure nude photobook of Yui Asahina, with the odd title of "Shoot Up!"
  • Also, another "Chinkame" format photobook, which features incredibly sassy photos of kogals in true Tokyo style
  • For lovers of erotic manga, find many new excellent books, including the fantastic "A Married Woman as Mitsue" and Fujimi Comics' "Shiri-Chiri" that is just incredible
  • For DVD lovers, we've got more dynamite European girls for you, with two new titles featuring French and Russian girls -- this is an incredible series that we really love (region free)
  • The Adult Video Wrestling series by Kings Video features really excellent and realistic action in the ring, with real dedication shown by all participants towards putting on a good show -- enjoy a new 2 hour AV pro wrestling release today (region free)
  • Japan's fetish for "panty stockings" (known as "panst" in Japanese) is quite famous -- see a delightful all stocking, leg and toe fetish DVD for you (region free)
  • We love Kuki's No Cut!! series, which gives you 3 hours of superb AV action on one low-price DVD -- enjoy the super sex of Sakurako Kaoru (region free)
  • For fans of extremely high-end Japanese lesbian DVDs, we hope you'll try out the new offering from the Le-Zu-Bian series, featuring a memorable performance by Yukari Kano and Yuka Kato (region 2)
  • Finally, look for fresh stock of other DVD titles including the sold-out Czech and Hungary DVDs, sure to be runaway hits, as well as Mourning Dress Sisters, Endless Lesbian, All Nude Challenger, Akira Watase's Lewd Woman Kiss & Sex, and more!

Remember that J-List stocks many items for fans of "cosplay," the Japanese hobby of dressing up like your favorite anime or other character. From actual items you can buy and wear (including the line of excellent high school uniforms from Nagoya's Matsukameya, sold exclusively through J-List) to a full line of comics, DVDs and dating-sim games that cater to cosplay fans, we know we've got something for you.

Recently overheard: "I am the Lorax. I speak for Hello Kitty for Hello Kitty has no mouth."