One of my favorite aspects of life in Japan is the Japanese love of bathing. I love both onsen (hot springs) and sento (Japanese public baths), and take the kids every chance I get. These baths are also favorites of another, more shady group in Japan, the Yakuza, Japan's mafia. The Yazuka (a name which comes from the numbers 8, 9 and 3, losing numbers in a popular Japanese dice game) came about in their present form after World War II, when soldiers returned to a defeated Japan without any skills but fighting and violence. It's common to see these men, with beautiful full-body tattoos, in many public baths, although family-oriented establishments have signs near the front doors forbiding customers with tattoos from bathing. The other day, we were in a nearby public bath (it was called "Genki Land") when my kids saw their first-ever yakuza, dragon tattoos and all. We smiled politely and talked with them for a while -- although the Yakuza are involved in a variety of crimes all around Japan, most are very polite unless you cross them. I was once asked by a Yakuza gentleman at a sauna I frequented if I would be available to teach his kids English. While it would really have been an interesting spin on my experience with Japan and something interesting to tell my grandchildren, I declined his offer.
It sounds corny, but as a foreigner living in Japan, I try my best to project a good image of Americans to the Japanese. I never throw trash on the ground, and even take trash bags to the park sometimes to pick up cans we see on the ground with my kids. (Note about Japan: there are never enough trash cans.) I do my best to make sure my kids follow "bath rules" at public baths, since their actions reflect on my country. And whenever I find myself around children when I'm wearing sunglasses, I take my sunglasses off no matter how bright it may be outside. This is because, to Japanese kids, a big foreigner wearing dark sunglasses is sure to appear frightening, in the same way that, say, a group of large black men from the 'hood might make white, suburban kids uncomfortable. It's not due to any lack of political correctness or anything, it's just the way it is, and when you're going to live in a foreign country it's best to be realistic about such things.
Today is White Day, the day that Japanese confectioners and retailers have decreed will be the day men give something back to women who gave them a gift on Valentines Day, one month ago. While white chocolate is a favorite, other popular items include candy, cute character goods that say "Thank You" and more. If you got some chocolate from a Japanese girl on Valentines Day, be sure and give her something today!
J-List carries great region free DVD players for fans who want to be able to view DVDs from all around the world, not just from the local Walmart. We've got a great new player for you, a great unit with many high-end features including Progressive Scan Video (480p) with 3:2 pulldown support for unparalleled video quality, no-hassle region free playback, support for both PAL and NTSC, and more. We now have a great lineup of three region free units -- the value-priced Sampo DVE612, the small-footprint OITO Mini DVD Player, and now this great unit from CyberHome!
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for fans of beautiful Japanese models and Race Queens, don't miss the dynamite Hyper Genic 2003, featuring hot and famous swimsuit models like Yuko Ogura, Chisato Morishita, Megumi and more -- also includes a super large poster of Yuko-chan
- Also, see the lovely swimsuit beauty Yumi Sakai in a photobook shot in Hawaii
- For fans of the famous anime of Tezuka Osamu, we've got two figures from the Metropolis animation which are very rare and special
- Also, look for several restocked items such as the Race Queen Hundred Costume photobook, very popular items available to buy again
- For fans of the very popular Sailor Moon musical stage show, we've got a great DVD version of the 10th Anniversary Performance, featuring beautiful costumes and multi-angle viewing (region 2)
- For fans of our Japanese snacks, enjoy many items, including curry rice in a foil bag, fun apple-shaped chocolates from Meiji, delicious strawberry Choco Baby and a traditional favorite, spicy rice crackers with little fish
- Also, see fresh stock of some popular items such as furikake (delicious food you sprinkle over write rice), gummi cola bottles, miso soup, and more
- For those with a traditional Japanese bent, see our fun miso soup bowl sets, which we've restocked
- Incredibly detailed miniature toys are really popular in Japan these days, and we've got full sets of two great series: classic Japanese food found in restaurants, and delicious desserts from Japan!
- The Nostalgic SF Vehicle Collection, featuring toys from Space 1999 and other classic shows, is proving incredibly popular, so we've gotten fresh stock of all sets, including the full set + rare item -- also, a three-piece set is now in stock for you
- For Totoro fans, a cute plush baby rattle from Sun Arrow that's incredibly cute
- We've stocked several Hello Kitty items, including Hello Kitty toilet paper (makes a great gift for those who eiher love or hate Kitty)
- Also, a dynamite item for Totoro lovers -- a deluxe Totoro wall clock that will blow away your guests when they see it!
- We love funny signs in Japanese, basically anything that would confuse a Japanese who happened on them -- look for "It is forbidden to urinate here" stickers and fun bath signs in stock now
- Finally, look for a super handy shoulder or back massager, a happy tissue box cover that will brighten any room in your house, the ultimate way to cut and dice boiled eggs, more Japanese chopsticks, and more!
For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products. They include:
- For fans of great Japanese adult magazines, enjoy several new items, including the new Video Boy, the all-purpose magazine of Adult Video culture in Japan, with dozens of top stars appearing inside
- Also a rare treat, we've got limited stock of the new Dela Beppin, featuring hto gals like Miwa Ohshiro
- For fans of nude Japanese photobooks, we've got some great items for you, including Ryoko Mitake's dynamite "Limited" photobook
- The beautiful girls of Russia and Eastern Europe have been really booming in Japan these days, and we've got a great "European Fairy Tale" photobook shot by the famous Garo Aida
- Korean women are some of the most beautiful and mysterious in the world, and we've got a great magazine and DVD combo item for fans of these dynamite woman -- a rare treat!
- For fans of Japan's dynamite hentai manga, we've got a superb deluxe manga boxed set that comes with a large format book, calendar, bishoujo CD, and moer
- Also, great manga offerings from some of Japan's top artists and studios
- For DVD lovers, enjoy many great new titles, starting with Aya Mizuki's "No Cut!!" release from Kuki, with three hours of her sex, including her debut (region free)
- For fans of Japan's stocking fetishism, enjoy a new Super Fetish Club release, with special focus on the stockinged feet of beautiful women
- Lesbian kissing DVDs are always a popular item, and now Soft on Demand has released the last in the "Obscene Kisses of Amateur Girls" series (region free)
- Also from SOD, enjoy the erotic sex of Itsuki Wakana, an incredibly beautiful girl with a lithe Japanese body (region free)
- We've got another Angel Premium 2-DVD set in featuring a whopping 180 minutes of the best of the Angel series by Idea Pocket, including 20 hot stars who are mostly retired and impossible to find now (region 2)
- Finally, enjoy a major restocking of DVDs, including Women's Adult Video Wrestling, the best-selling Atlas Integral 6 hours disc, Dogma's 1.5 year anthology and more!
Remember that J-List carries that great symbol of Japanese wacky pop culture, the Hello Kitty Vibrating Shoulder Massager, which is of course intended as massager for your neck and shoulders, although some would call it a Hello Kitty vibrator. A licensed Sanrio item sold only in Japan, the unit features high and low massage modes, and a beautiful image of Kitty and her rabbit friend. It looks just great, in or out of case -- display it as the objet d'art de culture populaire that it is. Why not get a few, and give them out as gifts? Unfortunately these are out of production and no more will ever be available, so our current stock is all we'll ever have.
The J-Mate site has been updated again, with a great interview with Sayaka Tsutsumi (one of my own favorites). Also, look for newly posted reviews of many great products, including products you can get right here at J-List. The URL is http://www.jmate.com/