Friday, March 07, 2003

Greetings from J-List March 7, 2003

Hello from Japan, where the word for violence is "rambo."

Japan is a long country shaped like a reversed letter "L." Historically, most of the cultural development in Japan has taken place in the Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara), or in the Kanto region, where Tokyo is. The Tohoku region of Japan, the northern 1/3rd of the main Japanese island of Honshu, is much quieter and less developed, lacking much of the clanging trains and freeways that can be found in areas closer to Japanese cities. In my days as a bachelor, I hitchhiked around Japan quiet a bit, and one of my favorite areas has always been northern Japan -- what it lacks in famous castles and battlegrounds and shrines it makes up in quiet rural charm. One place I enjoyed going to was Aizu-Wakamatsu, the scene of one of the last battles of the conflict between the feudal samurai and the pro-reform Restorationists, who were trying to modernize Japan. Rather than submit to becoming "modernized," the last remaining group of samurai chose to commit seppuku. It's a grim but fascinating place to visit.

When you go to Northern Japan for the first time, you may notice that many of the place names are really strange -- although they're written in kanji, the names have the impression of being part of another country altogether. The reason is that the Ainu were the inhabitants of the Tohoku area for centuries, and left their impression on the region even as they were pushed farther and farther north by Japan's growing feudal culture. The place names are so odd that if you write them down in kanji and asked Japanese from another part of the country to read them, very few would be able to do so.

Japan's cold northern region is home to enka music, the "country music" of Japan that has a very unique sound and is enjoyed by truck drivers. Filled with themes of one's wife running away to Hokkaido to marry another man, of images of the cold Tsugaru Straits between Honshu and Hokkaido, it plucks at the heart in ways few other kinds of music can. A popular song a few years ago captured the joy an old man felt at seeing his first grandchild. I fell in love with enka when I came to Japan and learned some of the songs -- there's nothing more fun than a gaijin getting up in a karaoke bar to sing a very traditional Japanese song. Two famous enka singers are Yoshi Ikuzo and Sen Masao. They both hail from Aomori Prefecture, at the very top of the main Japanese island of Honshu. One man is from the Tsugaru Peninsula, on the left side of the prefecture, and the other is from Shimokita Peninsula, on the right side. There's friendly feud between the two men about the intelligence and bathing habits of inhabitants from the other side.

J-List offers subscriptions to various magazines from Japan, with a wide variety of great titles available each month. We've made a change to our magazine subscriptions, eliminating the 6- and 12-month prepaid subscriptions in place of revolving "reserve subscriptions" that allow you to get the current issue sent to you automatically, until you ask us to stop. (People who have currently subscriptions will continue to get the rest of their issues.) The new subscriptions include great magazines like Urecco, Gal's Dee, Bejean and Gokuh, and there's a price break for subscribers, too.

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

  • First, for fans of Studio Ghibli's popular anime films, we've got the new release of Omoide Poro Poro ("Only Yesterday"), their classic story of Japan in the Showa era and of a girl growing into a woman -- complete with English subtitles!
  • Everyone loves Totoro, and we've got two new Totoro music boxes by Sun Arrow in stock for you
  • For fans of sexy Japanese swimsuit idols, Race Queens and so on, we've got some nice new photobooks, including Ai Ito's pretty photobook
  • Also, we've got a new pocket sized "Chinkame" photobook for fans of the very lovely Kaori Manabe
  • For lovers of Japanese snacks, we've got tasty furikake (salmon flavored, my favorite), a great "choco caramel" treat, and delicious Gummi Apples
  • Also, for those who don't have enough "yogurt mint" gum in their lives, we've got some in stock for you today!
  • If you've got a computer (and you probably do if you're reading this), you need a Flavor Mini Vacuums, which make it easy to keep your computer and keyboard free of dust and dirt, and they come in cool fruity colors
  • We have fresh stock of the English DVD of She, The Ultimate Weapon, the special version that comes with a great PVC figure of Chise
  • We love traditional Japanese things from Japan, and we've got a great set of erasers that look like Japanese classical sweets and green tea -- so cool!
  • We love the fun Kubrick and Be@rbrick toys, and we've got a funky new series, Kuma-Ku from Jun Planning
  • For fans of Japanese Tomica die-cast cars, we've got a Mitsubishi Pajero Rally Type in stock -- very spiffy
  • We've got some great anime toys, including a super-deluxe "full paint figure" from Azumanga Daioh that is unbelievably cool, as well as a fun bubble-blower for Ojamajo Doremi fans
  • For fans of bilingual manga, which features both English and Japanese on each page, we've got a major update for you with fresh stock of Chobits vol. 1 & 2, as well as the popular Ghost in the Shell bilingual comic by Shirow Masamune
  • The limited edition Shirow Masamune-designed mouse, which works perfectly with English Mac and Windows machines, is so popular it keeps selling out, but we've got more in stock for you!
  • For fans of Sanrio character goods, we've got some nifty items for you including Pom Pom Purin cups and plates, a cool case to keep your Japanese name stamp, and more
  • For all students, we've got fresh stock of the Zebra Check Set, which helps you memorize any information (also good for studying Japanese)
  • Also, we've restocked the popular "Paper Stitch Lock" that "stitches" sheets of paper together, so you never need a staple
  • Finally find many wacky things from Japan, including a portable ashtray that's great for smoking outdoors, a cute pencil case with insane English on it, great Japanese cotton swabs for removing make-up, some florescent ball-point pens, and more!

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

  • For fans of Japanese adult magazines, we've got some nice amateur and love hotel magazines featuring very lovely girls and Japanese couples, including the new issue of the very detailed Do-Up
  • Also, a magazine just for fans of "good girls" doing bad things called Miss Virginity's Secret Report
  • We have a great magazine + sample DVD combo item, we've got DVD Wonderland vol. 3 in stock for you
  • We've got some nice hardcover photobooks in stock for you including the lovely nude of Mayumi Sawaki, very lovely
  • For Japanese hentai manga fans, we've got more in stock for you including the excellent AERO by Tenma Comics and vol. 2 of the Sinful Days hentai comic
  • Also, look for freshly restocked items, including the Change! CD-ROM manga, the popular Fetish Doll manga series and more
  • Also, we've posted several new doujinshi titles for you, although stock is limited (so check the site quickly before they sell out)
  • For DVD fans, we've got some great titles for you, starting with a new Blue File offering for fans of Sanae Asou, with a whopping 4 hours of her best works (region free)
  • We have another DVD for advanced leg fetishists, with a strict focus on stocked feet -- very erotic (region free)
  • Fans of Akira Watase will enjoy her hardcore "Beauty Female Detective" in which she has many hard-boiled, hard-core adventures (region free)
  • Enjoy a great "BBS Production" from SOD, based on a suggestion on SOD's fan BBS, a super "Lesbian Fight" in which four girls fight with sex to see who can make her opponent come the fastest (region free)
  • We've got two great DVD releases from Wanz Factory, the best of their dynamite Hip & Vagina series, which features low-angle sexy AV featuring some of Japan's top sex stars (region 2)
  • We've restocked several soft porn DVDs, including Maiko Kazano's Memories, Yuko Ogura's sweet DVD offerings and more
  • Finally, Tomo has posted fresh stock of several popular titles that had been sold out before -- please see all the new items.

Remember that J-List has some of the last stock anywhere of the popular Hello Kitty vibrating shoulder massager, which has been one of the most popular items in J-List history. Sadly, no more of these great items will be available in the future, as the company that made them got into a spot of trouble with the Japanese tax authorities, and Sanrio has revoked their license. Since our current stock is all we'll ever get, we recommend anyone who's interested in this great pop culture item to get one before they're all gone. Get 3 or more and save 15% -- they make really great gifts!

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Greetings from J-List March 5, 2003

Hello from Japan, the home of yogurt flavored butterscotch candies -- yum.

Japan has a new "muscle idol" these days: Bob Sapp, a former player with the Minnesota Vikings who is now a professional wrestler and fighter in K-1, has a huge following of fans in Japan and appears in dozens of TV commercials and on TV variety shows here. His combination of a big, scary body and teddy bear cute looks have caused fans to go gaga over him. The Japanese tend to have extra curiosity about black men, who seem "extra foreign" to them (compared with white and other gaijin), and this has no doubt helped Bob build his career in Japan. In one recent variety show, famous "talents" (that is, actors and singers) had to play rock, paper, scissors with him, but he kept making scary faces at the Japanese guests, causing them to run screaming off the stage. It was a fun spectacle to see. See some magazine covers featuring Bob here:

In the U.S., the cornerstone of television has traditionally been the 30 minute situation comedy, although it seems like the networks plan to make it the reality show, if what I can tell from the videos of American TV my mother sends me is correct. The Japanese watch American sitcoms dubbed into Japanese (one of my wife's favorites was "Bewitched," shown in Japan as "My Wife is a Witch"), but there is no Japanese version of this American creation. In Japan, the core television show is the 1-hour drama, which traditionally is shown over 15 episodes, one per week, building up to an exciting and romantic climax. Japanese TV networks such as TBS and TV Tokyo and Fuji TV all compete to make the most interesting "trendy dramas" with famous Japanese stars such as Takuya Kimura (the "Brad Pitt" of Japan) or Nanako Matsushima (the pretty actress who starred in the Japanese version of The Ring if you've seen it). When I was a university student in San Diego, I learned Japanese partially by watching Japanese dramas on the Japanese channel. They're a unique and fun part of Japan pop culture, as full of repeated themes and inside jokes as Japanese animation. For some information on Japanese dramas (often called "doramas" by fans, in imitation of the way the word is pronounced in Japanese), here:

Japanese names are interesting to study. Japanese put their family names before their first names, so that Yuko Ogura's name is really Ogura Yuko if you're speaking Japanese. It can be confusing, which is part of why we developed the J-List search engine to bring up the same results no matter what word order you search with. Japanese female names often have "ko" in them (Keiko, Miko, etc.), which means "child." Boy's names, on the other hand, often reflect their status in the family. If a boy is the oldest son, he'll often have a name that indicates this, by having the number 1 or the word "first" in it. The most "vanilla" sounding names in Japanese (i.e., the names that correspond to John and Mary Smith in English) are Taro and Hanako Yamada. Japanese names usually use kanji, Chinese characters, and just as there are various spellings for Western names, there are often many ways to write a person's name in kanji. The government maintains a list of "accepted" kanji that can be used for registering the names of babies, and sometimes Japanese get into fights with the government when the characters they want to use for their child's name aren't on the list. Some years ago, a family decided to name their child "Akuma" (which means "demon" in Japanese). The government wouldn't allow them to use this name, so they settled on just the first character as the child's name.

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

  • First, for Sailor Moon fans, we've got three dynamite PVC figures of Usagi, Ami and Rei in their classic poses -- very cool
  • Also for anime fans, a really fun coloring book for Tokyo Mew Mew fans
  • Jiji, the black cat from Kiki's Delivery Service, has always been a huge favorite at J-List, and everything we get in stock for Jiji fans seems to sell well -- now we've got a really cool Jiji soft doll from Sekiguchi
  • For Hello Kitty fans, enjoy some great new items, including a fun "Catch de Pon!" game (play catch with a Kitty ball)
  • For fans of cute Japanese idols, some great new hardcover photobooks, including Kaori Koshi's first cutie photobook and a new offering from the very popular Yoko Matsugane
  • For fans of Asian bathing, we've got two Korean style items for removing dead skin cells from your body in the bath or shower
  • J-List carries dozens of DVDs of Japanese films that have English subtitles, and we've got a new title for you, Ping Pong, an exciting film of ping pong and life (region 2)
  • For fans of Japanese snack foods, we've got some nice items, including Morinaga Hi-Chew soft candies, Anpan Man fruit candies, kimchee flavored seaweed snacks and the enigmatic "yogurt butterscotch candy" by Chelsea
  • Also, we've got stock of Lotte's delicious Mint Blue, a chewing gum as fresh and minty as the sea -- complete with packs of gum that say "Yes, Chewing!" on them
  • For collectors of teddy bears, we've got a great new items from Japan -- a series of very detailed soft vinyl antique teddy bears based on the famous teddy bears past
  • For Blythe fans, we've gotten in fresh stock of the Every Blythe cute figures from Takara
  • Chobits is the top anime and manga in Japan today, and we've restocked the red-hot Chobits trading cards that sold out so fast last week
  • We've got fresh stock of DVDs and photobooks by the lovely Yuko Ogura, on her way to becoming one of the most famous Japanese idols outside Japan
  • We've done a major update of our popular bento boxes and related items, with fresh stock of several deluxe bento box sets and more
  • We love wacky signs in Japanese, and we've got one for your room ("Post no bills")
  • Finally, look for traditional Japanese miso soup bowls, a cute pencil case with funny English on it, a cute tote bag from Japan, fresh stock of chopsticks and more!

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

  • For fans of great adult magazines, we've got some nice ones in stock for you, starting with Gal's Dee, the magazine for fans of beautiful busty Japanese gals (D cup or higher) including the lovely Kyoko Ayana
  • Also, see other great items like a special issue of Suppin Evolution, a great issue of Let's Do Good Things (hardcore love hotel sex) and more
  • For fans of Japan's beautiful hardcover photobooks, some great items in stock, including Imoto Alpha vol 2 featuring the lovely body of nude model Sayaka
  • Also, see many restocked photobook items including the popular Minori Aoi "Beyond the Blue Sky," Kaoru's Private Collection photobook, and the Yellows photobooks
  • For fans of Japan's bondage themed AV, enjoy the new MPEG Aido Club, featuring a magazine and DVD packed with fun bondage samplers (region free)
  • Enjoy some of Japan's most beautiful and elegant busty idols in a super Giant Breast Idol, including Nao Oikawa, Chihiro Inoue and many more
  • For hentai comic fans, enjoy the excellent artwork and erotic stories of Japan's top hentai artists, including vol. 1 of Michael Plan by Distance and a super anthology of the best hentai works of the Zero Shiki comic company
  • For fans of excellent erotic doujinshi, amateur comics that parody famous anime characters, we've got a superb all Gundam issue of Next Climax Magazine
  • Also, we've got a nice new yaoi comic in stock for you about romantic love and sex
  • Also, for fans of the incredibly well-known hentai artist U-Jin, we've restocked his best-selling "Candy" erotic illustration book for you
  • For erotic DVD fans J-List has some great new items in stock for you, starting with a new The Idol series by Kuki, this time featuring 3 hours of the lovely sex of Miyuki Kasuga (region free)
  • See the super-erotic Ran Asakawa as an erotic "Queen & Slave" in an erotic new offering from Alice Japan (region free)
  • In a new Soft on Demand "Magic Mirror Bus" DVD, female friends are challenged to do things for money -- $50 to show your bra, $100 to show your panties, $400 to have sex in a car, and more (region free)
  • Also from SOD, enjoy "Everything about Kyoko Ayana" in a superb DVD offering compiling her best performances (region free)
  • Madoka Ozawa is one of the sexiest and most venerable AV stars in Japan today -- now see this special woman in a super-erotic cosplay release from Moodyz (region 2)
  • Also very cool, a "Catalog of 15 Beautiful Girls" documenting their beauty and charm, similar to the Yellows series by Akira Gomi (region 2)
  • Finally, look for freshly restocked items including Ganari Takahashi's works, Minori Aoi's lovely "Love Theory," Lesbian Max 4 hours and more "clothed sex" fetish!

J-List has a new category on the left-hand side of the website, a "View All Products" link, allowing you to view all the products on the J-List site (there are quite a few of them...). Items are listed in most-recently-updated-first order, so the most recently updated items are always at the top. You can also click the "view items updated in the last three days" link located on the main J-List page to see the latest products.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Greetings from J-List March 3, 2003

Greetings from Japan, where people bow while talking on the phone (I do it too...).

There are a lot of words that the Japanese invent that are fun to learn. One word that most fans of anime learn pretty quickly is the "H" (the letter H), which when said with a Japanese accent sounds like "ecchi" (also written "etchi"). Said by some to stand for the first letter of the word "hentai" (which means "sexually perverted" in Japanese), the word "H" is basically used to describe any kind of sexual situation or person. If a person thinks about sex too much, he is "ecchi," and a euphemism for having sex in Japanese is "H suru" (literally "to do H"). Whatever its origin, "H" (ecchi) is a part of Japanese culture and language, be it in anime, manga, television dramas and so on. For a rather deep discussion on the word "H" and related words, see this page:

Studying the names of Japanese companies can be interesting. For example, I'll bet you never knew that Kyocera is short for "Kyoto Ceramics." The number one car company in Japan is Toyota, which is located in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture (near Nagoya) -- but the company came first, and the city changed its name to Toyota City in 1959 "to reflect its bright prospects to develop and prosper as an automobile city." The number two Japanese car company is Honda, founded by Soichiro Honda to make motorcycles after the end of World War II. Mazda, which is more than half owned by Ford now, is really called Matsuda in Japan, but they came up with the name Mazda so they could sound less Japanese in foreign markets. Datsun's name has an interesting story -- DAT were the first letters of the names of three founders, and they considered the company they were founding to be their son, thus DATSON. However, "son" (with a long vowel, so that it rhymes with bone), means "loss" or "disadvantage" in Japanese, so they changed it to "sun," a much more cheerful word. Datsun was later bought out by one of its distributors, Nissan (which means "Made in Japan" -- if you said "America-san" it would be "made in America"). Subaru, based near J-List, is the Japanese name for the star cluster we called the Pleiades. Some popular beer companies are Asahi ("morning sun"), Kirin (named after a magical Chinese dragon), and Suntory (the president's name as Tori-san, so he reversed it to come up with the name of his company).

There's no doubt about it -- the Japanese really love their tea. While in a 7-11 recently, I counted no less than a dozen brands of bottled or canned tea for sale, mostly variations on Japanese green tea and Chinese oolong tea. In addition to the normal Western canned tea like Kirin's Afternoon Tea, which are the only teas with sugar added, many brands competed for shelf space, including Kirin's Nama-cha (lit. "fresh tea"), Sapporo's Kyo-ryoku-cha (Kyoto-style green tea), Asahi's Marocha ("mild tea"), the popular Soukenbi-cha by Coca-cola, various blends of jasmine tea, and a new tea that labels itself as the traditional tea of Okinawa. As Japanese get older, teas to help control blood sugar are also experiencing a "tea boom." As the market for bottled tea products heats up, manufacturers come up with ways to get you to buy their products, offering larger or smaller packages, keychains that you get free with the bottle of tea, and so on. Unlike the U.S., where adding sweetener to products is an unfortunate requirement in most cases (bottled green and oolong tea we've bought in the U.S. even contained honey to sweeten it, something inconceivable in Japan), all Asian teas are completely unsweetened, and the unaltered, slightly bitter taste is really delicious. In the summer, the Japanese love to make mugi-cha (a tea made from barley), and we'll be there, making it available to everyone in teabag form.

At J-List, we love Japan's interactive love-sim games, and we carry virtually every English hentai game in existence. We're happy to announce the $1 shipping sale on all hentai games this month, which makes it a great time to complete your collection of great games! Don't forget that we give a 20% discount with any four or more games, and you can use this discount on top of the $1 shipping sale. All titles are included in this great sale, including G-Collection's newest title, which we've posted to our site today.

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

  • First, for fans of Hayao Miyazaki's films, we've got a super plush "Kitsune-risu" (Fox Squirrel), sidekick of Nausica of the Valley of the Wind and also seen in Castle in the Sky Laputa -- it's really soft and great to touch
  • We've got a great selection of snack items, including McVitie's chocolate cookie balls, dried squid (it goes really good with beer, trust us), tasty salmon furikake, and more
  • For fans of Japanese gum, we've got Dakara gum, a delicious flavor similar to Pocari Sweat (it helps replenish your body's minerals, great for athletes)
  • Also for fans of Japanese gum, we've got an item that isn't gum at all -- but sticky notes that look like famous brands of Lotte gum!
  • For fans of great anime toys from Japan, we've got a lot of items, including a cool figure from Ruroni Kenshin
  • Also, a great series of Robot Animation Heroines from the famous anime shows of the 1980's by Sunrise
  • We love Blythe more and more as we see her fans find J-List -- we've got a deluxe Pucchi Blythe that comes with a hand-knit sweater, jeans, and many fun accessories
  • For Gundam fans, a line of "Haro Capsule Toys" that come with a cute capsule shaped like the robot Haro, each containing a beautiful statue from the Gundam universe
  • For fans of cool figures from Japan such as the Kubrick line, we've got a really rare series of "architectural character" shaped like animals -- a rare item you should check out
  • Tomy takes pride in the die-cast metal cars they make in their Tomica line, and we've got a great series of four classic Honda cars, a great item for collectors
  • For Hello Kitty fans, we've got some beautiful items including two Hello Kitty "Hina doll set" that capture Kitty and Daniel in traditional Japanese poses
  • If you're a fan of the Japan-only Hot Wheels we've got fresh stock for you, including the hard to find Thunderbird Hot Wheels, fresh stock of the original Back to the Future Delorean I, and more
  • For bento fans, look for a deluxe large bento box we've got for you, as well as a handy package of chopsticks for those embarrassing moments when you don't have enough chopsticks
  • For fans of authentic Japanese sailor uniforms that we sell, made by Matsukameya of Nagoya, we've got a new light blue color uniform available for order
  • Finally, look for restocked items, such as real Japanese incense, sushi making molds, delicious miso soup, Hello Kitty bag sealers and more!

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

  • First, for fans of great Japanese love-sim games in English, a new title: G-Collections' Do You Like Horny Bunnies? -- a game with an odd name but really cute hentai bunny girls, and lots of superb uncensored action
  • For fans of Japanese adult magazines, we've got some nice ones, including bukkake and amateur magazines in stock
  • If you're a fan of Bachelor, the magazine that follows super-busty idols from Japan as well as all over the world, we've got their great 25th anniversary special issue in stock
  • For fans of beautiful Japanese models in panty stockings, mini-skirts and high heels, enjoy the super erotic Panst Flash, featuring 208 satisfying pages!
  • We love the beautiful Aoi Sola (ala Aoi Sora), whose name means "blue sky" in Japanese -- see her erotic new hardcover photobook
  • If you're a fan of Japan's highly developed bondage culture, don't miss Bunko Kanazawa's all-bondage photobook, which we've got in stock for you
  • For fans of silver age Japanese AV, a new photobook featuring the hottest "Diamond Girls" including Kimiko Matsuzaka (!)
  • For fans of the Viper series, a great official art book for Viper RSR, filled with superb art, sketch work and character designs
  • For hentai manga collectors, see the excellent new volumes we have in stock for you, including Past Princess, a superb wide manga of fantasy and sex by Angel Comics
  • Also, we've got a great restocking of popular hentai comics including Queen Bee, Saint Costume Play School and more
  • Also for yaoi fans, we've got a new issue of Love Me in stock for you, as well as restocks of other items for you
  • If you love doujinshi, don't miss the excellent Suki Suki Lum-chan, a superb Urusei Yatsura erotic doujinshi we've got for you
  • If you love Japan's adult video world, enjoy some great DVDs, starting with Hitomi Hayasaka's "2 in 1," and including her first on-camera anal sex (region free)
  • We love Ami Ayukawa for her sleek and elegant body and great sex -- see a superb *4 hour* collection of her erotic performances in a new Blue File DVD release (region free)
  • For fans of adult video pro wrestling, which is taking Japan by storm, a great DVD you won't want to miss, with a sup 300 minutes of footage (region free)
  • We're big fans of Sally Yoshino and have carried her works ever since she debuted back in 1996 -- now see the very best of Sally's works with Soft on Demand on one disc (region free)
  • Enjoy the sweet sex of Kirari Koizumi, as captured by Soft on Demand, in a new release for you (region free)
  • For fans of the huge fetish of "black bukkake," watch as Akira Watase and Miyoshino take on a whole bunch of black guys and American AV star Jessica in a new release from Moodyz (region 2)
  • Finally, a variety of newly restocked DVD titles from Japan's best studios, for you!

Remember that J-List is the only place you can get the excellent and authentic high school uniforms from Matsukameya of Nagoya. These are extremely well made uniforms that are famous all over Japan, and they're just beautiful. They're not cheap, unfortunately, but we know that you will be totally satisfied with the high quality of Matsukameya's products. The company prides themselves on offering a huge variety of sizes for customers, so no matter what size you are there's a uniform for you. Please browse the great Japanese high school uniforms we've got for you!