Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Greetings from J-List July 2, 2003

Hello again from Japan, where apartments have funny names like "Apartment Cream Soda."

One reason I love living in Japan is that I love the food here. Someone once told me that if you don't like the food in a certain country, it's impossible to be happy there, and I can believe it. Every day my wife and I eat lunch together, and our favorite local restaurants include Ran Ran, a nearby ramen and gyoza (aka "pot stickers") restaurant, Gin (Mediterranean pasta and fish), Tsukiji Sushi (conveyor-belt sushi, delicious even though we live in landlocked Gunma Prefecture), and Soba-gura (a traditional Japanese soba and udon place). Today, though, we went to MOS Burger, a popular chain of hamburger restaurants -- the MOS stands for "mountain, ocean, sunshine" and doesn't remind Japanese of anything that grows on trees. During the ongoing Japanese recession, MOS Burger has had a hard time fighting off McDonald's low-cost food offerings, but even though there's a huge difference in prices -- "Makudonarudo" charges 59 yen for hamburgers compared to 290 for MOS's burgers -- MOS still has lots of customers. Part of this is because there's always something new at MOS Burger: today I had a Nan Chili Dog, a chili-covered hot dog wrapped in Indian nan bread. Mmm.

"You've been in Japan too long when NHK warnings about landslides, heavy rains, lightning or fog make you feel reassured that someone is benevolently watching over you." NHK (Nihon Housou Kyoukai, aka Japan Broadcasting Association) is the BBC of Japan, a public broadcasting network that keeps the whole country knitted together into one big happy in-group. Operating a normal entertainment channel and an education-only channel, along with two "BS" (Japanese parlance for broadcast satellite) stations, NHK brings out some pretty good programming, including samurai dramas to teach the history of Japan, interesting educational shows, and even some of the most popular anime series, like Cardcaptor Sakura and Gainax's Nadia/The Secret of Blue Water. Every Sunday you can watch Nodo Jiman (lit. "proud of my throat"), a show which travels around to different rural cities in Japan and lets people get up and sing karaoke to the whole country. NHK also puts on Kouhaku (lit. "red/white"), the end-of-year music show that features everybody who's anybody in the JPOP world, broadcast on December 31st around the world. As in Britain, NHK's straight-laced newscasters define what standard Japanese is by their very existence, and they never use words that aren't 100% Tokyo dialect. NHK is funded by Japanese households directly -- each family pays a monthly NHK fee of 2000 yen, paid directly to the NHK man who comes by once a month. My wife and I have found that the older you get, the more interesting NHK becomes, and you watch more and more of it.

The Japanese also have some interesting customs when it comes to their cars. First of all, auto theft is quite uncommon here, so it's not at all rare to see someone leave his beautiful Nissan Fairlady Z parked in front of the "combini" (convenience store) with the engine running. The idea that his car might be stolen just doesn't enter into the thinking here, so it's perfectly safe. Japanese cars have the steering wheel on the right side of the car, as in England, and the Japanese have perfected the art of starting the car without getting in it (since the ignition is easily accessible on that side of the car). When stopped at a light at night, it's considered good manners to turn your headlights down to "park" so you don't blind the person in front of you, and when someone lets you go ahead of them in traffic, flashing your emergency lights at them once or twice conveys your thanks -- although this is done by polite Tokyo drivers, not Gunma locals, who have bad driving manners. Japanese love their cars, and there are many interesting products that allow drivers to deck their vehicles out, including bizarre and interesting accessories, gaudy air fresheners, and flashing lights that are great for picking up girls.

Announcing the July Photobook Sale! J-List gives you automatic discounts when you buy several T-shirts, DVDs, manga comics, or dating-sim games. Now when you buy 4 or more photobooks (either hardcover or softcover), you can get a hefty 20% off automatically at checkout. Since J-List currently has over 200 photobooks in stock, including nude, JPOP and swimsuit idol, cosplay and more, we know you can easily find a great selection of photobooks that you'd love to save money on. Japanese photobooks are beautifully printed on glossy paper and are beautiful to behold. For purposes of this sale, a "photobook" is any non-periodical printed photographic book. You can find all sale items by searching for "photobook discount."

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

  • First, for fans of the wonderful works of Shirow Masamune, we are happy to announce stock of the Intron Depot figures, with *full sets* (including alternate color versions) in stock for you! This is a great series of figures and J-List is proud to have them in stock for fans!
  • For fans of our Japanese snack foods, we've got several new items, including new onigiri seasoning, delicious new types of miso soup, boil in bag curry that's very spicy, candy that makes your skin supple, and more
  • We've gotten in delicious Beer Pretz, a limited item that's only sold in the summer -- the crunchy, spicy pretzel sticks go great with beer on a hot summer's evening
  • Also great for summer, we've gotten in stock of Japanese mosquito incense, which kill mosquitoes and full your room with the smell of summer in Japan
  • For fans of sweet Japanese idols, enjoy the super cute photobook of Sayuri Anzu, who will surely charm your heart
  • We've got a new item for Blythe fans: the new series of cute Every Blythe PVC figures based on the 1970's cult doll
  • If you love Hello Kitty, we've got a cool Kitty "name thermos" that you can carry cold drinks in, and write your name on the outside, as well as fresh stock of other items
  • Also, Usako Friends is the super cute bunny character series that's taken Japan by storm 0-- see some cute Usako Friends stickers, complete with silly English
  • For fans of the popular online anime game Ragnarok Online, we've got a great fantasy parody manga for you
  • For the fashionable, a pair of jaguar skin all-purpose cases that would hold anything from cigarettes to an iPod
  • We've got more authentic Japanese chopsticks in stock, with pretty pictures of sakura (cherry blossoms) on them
  • For fans of Kubrick, the very high-quality toys from Medicom Toy, we have a set of four characters from the popular Berserk anime
  • Also, for Spirited Away and Hayao Miyzaki fans, a deluxe set of PVC figures from the hit film, as well as a huge restocking of Totoro items including several music boxes, more Knitting Bou plush toys, Jiji the Cat knapsack and plush keychain,
  • Also one of my favorite items, we've gotten in the plush Fox-Squirrels from Laputa and Nausica, great toys from Sun Arrow
  • For fans of the very, very cute: fresh stock of Nyanko Restaurant, cute plush cats baked into traditional Japanese foods
  • We are in love with the miniature toys that are so popular in Japan right now -- you can preorder full sets of the upcoming Traditional Japanese Foods series from Re-Ment
  • Also, a very cute piggy bank that you'll love having in your room
  • We've restocked the Noble Homme DX Double Bento Box, a deluxe double-decker bento box that comes with chopsticks and spoon built into it -- we recommend this great bento box for everyone with hearty appetites
  • Finally, check out a popular anti-perspirant for women in Japan, a way to put a trash can anywhere in your house, sushi makers,

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

  • For fans of Yulia Nova, the beautiful and oh-so-busty girl from Russia, we have the new issue of Bachelor -- as always, we're not allowed to show you pictures of Yulia from inside at the request of the Japanese copyright holder, but her feature is so lovely!
  • Then enjoy the new issue of Do-Up!, the magazine that features super Tokyo amateurs in love hotels
  • For photobook fans, enjoy several new items including the super Japanese erotic nude of Rika Sonobe, who shows her lovely nude in a traditional Japanese onsen (hot springs)
  • Then delight in the super nude of Ran Asakawa in her all-Ran Spirit photobook, which comes with a super-sized full body poster for you to hang up
  • Also: a super pocket-sized version of the Kaoru Private Collection, the lovely nude photos of model Kaoru as shot by Aida Gao that will knock your socks off
  • Daisuke has also added a slew of restocked photobooks that go great with our photobook sale, including items by Nao Oikawa, Mai Hagiwara, Koike Eiko, Sora Aoi and more
  • The erotic artwork of Satoshi Urushihara is famous around the world -- now enjoy his incredible new hentai art book Love, an incredible glossy presentation of some of his best-ever art
  • For hentai manga fans, several great new books including erotic maid fetish, super erotic cat girl, bondage and more, as well as a restocking of a dozen or so popular items including Irodori, Cheeky Petite Angels, and more
  • Also, a big restocking of the popular b-Boy Zips yaoi anthologies, which feature 250+ pages of yaoi artwork centered around famous themes
  • And for doujinshi lovers, a treat: new works by Kebero Co. Ltd and Q-bit, including a great erotic tribute to Laura Croft
  • For fans of our unique toys for adults, we've gotten in fresh stock of the cute Rabbit Rotor as well as the Hello Kitty Deluxe Shoulder Massager
  • For our DVD customers, we've got a great cosplay sex release featuring Evangelion, Sakura Wars, and Street Fighter II costumes and lovely girls (region free)
  • Then enjoy the elegant sex of Ryoko Mitake, the slender and stylish Japanese AV star (region free)
  • Super erotic girls from Eastern Europe is really popular right now -- enjoy a new Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! with Vienna and Hungary Girls (region free)
  • Then see the super erotic "Video Left of Private Sexy Life" of Ai Nonohara, a sweet new face from Soft on Demand -- she's a super "micro girl" who's just 4'9" (150 cm) tall!
  • Then enjoy some "lesbian plus man lover" action with two beautiful girls who have sweet sex, but don't mind if men join in too (region free)
  • Finally, one of our favorite stars in Japan's AV world is the sultry Mirai Hoshizaki, and you can enjoy her wet new release from Bunny's Bunny -- it's a fabulous erotic release for fans of bold Japanese Indies adult DVDs (region 2)
  • Finally, see a huge restocking of erotic DVDs, including Riho Nanase vs Multinational Fuck, Aika Miura's Fantastic, Sora Aoi's erotic Blue Sky, and fresh stock of Lesbian Heaven 4 Hours Special.

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 work of pop culture art that it is. Why not get a few, and give them out as gifts? If you get 3 or more you get 15% off automatically. Production has totally stopped on this item, and we expect that they're going to start to get very rare in the near future.

I've updated my personal homepage at http://www.peterpayne.net with the J-List updates for the past few months. In addition to searching old J-List updates, you can read through several articles I've posted, which will hopefully be of use to Japanophiles.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Greetings from J-List June 30, 2003

Hello again from Japan and J-List!

One of my favorites from the "YBIJTLW" list, located on my personal homepage: "You've been in Japan too long when it takes you several seconds of deep thought to recall the first name of the President of the United States." It's true -- you'd be surprised what living in a foreign country can do to your ability to recall seldom-used information, or even remember some English vocabulary words. Try going years without ever hearing or uttering difficult words, like "gynecologist" or "irreplaceable" -- they can be quite difficult to dredge up from the depths of your memory, even if English is your native language. It's especially bad for native English speakers who work as English teachers in Japan, because you can go for months without hearing any English except the simplified utterances of your students, which invariably begins to affect your English in a negative way. You find yourself speaking too slowly, pronouncing words too carefully, and avoiding some words you know listeners won't be able to understand. If I lived in New Zealand, it's natural that the Kiwi English being spoken around me would come to affect my own language -- and this is what happened, actually, when I lived there for a year when I was a boy, and I had to re-learn American English when I went home. Similarly, living in Japan can affect your English language skills in mysterious ways.

Another problem is what's referred to linguistically as interference. When speak two languages, information from one language can sometimes mess with information from the other language, causing confusion and embarrassment. In Japanese the words for splinter (a sliver of wood you get in your finger if you're not careful) and thorn (the prickly things on a rosebush) are the same: toge (TOH-gay). I know that a splinter and a thorn are two different concepts in English, but once in the U.S. when my daughter got a splinter in her foot, I got the two words confused in my head. When my mother heard me asking to help get the "thorn" out of my daughter's foot with tweezers she wondered what I was talking about. ^_^

Another major area of interference between English and Japanese are numbers: the Sino-Japanese numeric system, which came from China, is fundamentally 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 as in the Arabic system; 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, if 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).

Do you have Paypal? In addition to major credit cards, checks, bank and postal money orders and (in extreme circumstances) cash sent through the mail, we gladly accept Paypal for payment of orders. Paypal is a handy service that makes it quite easy to send money around the world over the Internet. While Paypal is quite popular in the U.S., our customers in Europe without credit cards haven't had a single "best" way to pay for purchases at J-List. Since Paypal is available in 38 countries and can work with US$, CDN$, Euros and U.K. pounds, we strongly recommend it to customers all around the world. To create an account go to http://www.paypal.com (to open a non-U.S. accounts, click the "worldwide" link).

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

  • First, for Totoro lovers we've got some great new items for you, including a superb set of three Totoro figures and May acting out a famous scene from the timeless animated film by Hayao Miyazaki
  • Also, cute magnets of Bou from the popular movie Spirited Away, as well as restocked items from all of Studio Ghibli's films including the large Laputian robot from Cominca
  • If you love Chobits, the excellent manga series by CLAMP, enjoy the bilingual Chobits comics, with both English and Japanese printed right in the book
  • For Astro Boy fans, a cute item: a Choro Q vehicle that features Atom flying on top
  • We've got some great Japanese swimsuit idol photobook items including the sexy "May Be Dream" photobook of Makiko Fujii
  • For fans of cosplay and Japanese high school uniforms (which we sell), we've got a superb pair of photobooks that show the prettiest girls from famous high schools, showing the prettiest uniforms you've ever seen
  • For Hello Kitty fans, a great item, a cup with straw that your little one (or you) will love to drink from
  • We've got a variety of authentic Japanese train pass cases, to hold your train pass, or if you don't have one, then any other cards you may want to carry
  • For fans of Japanese snacks, some great items, including Japanese Collon cookies (they're good, really), delicious clear soda-flavored candy, super cute Mickey Mouse cookies filled with chocolate, and an ume (plum) flavored drink for the summer
  • Also, we've gotten the cool retro package of Bon Curry, the handy boil-in-bag curry that you just pour over white rice and eat
  • English can be difficult for the Japanese, and we've got a wacky wooden sign that welcomes guests to your home -- You are Welcome!
  • For Tomica (which is short for "Tomy Miniature Car") we have a cute Pokemon bus and a Coca Cola Event Car, in stock for you
  • For fans of Yuka, the super-cute Japanese idol, we've got the making of DVD for her hit film "When You Sing about Love" (filmed in Australia) (region 2)
  • I loved the Space Cruiser Yamato/Star Blazers anime when I was a child, and am glad to be able to carry some cool items for people in the same boat as me (no pun intended) -- see the die-cast Yamato toys we've got in stock now
  • There's been a huge amount of interest in the Sesame Street Kubrick toys, and we've gotten in fresh stock of full sets -- but snap them up quickly because these things have a way of disappearing from distribution fast
  • For Sailor Moon fans, we've restocked the oh-so-cool Sailor Moon PVC figure series, look at them now
  • Also, for Shirow Masamune fans, see many new items, such as his Ghost in the Shell bilingual manga and Jashin Hunter illustrated novels,
  • Also, for fans of the Japan-only Hot Wheels, new Kamen Rider vehicles that are just too cool
  • A dynamite item for fans of the space program: a deluxe Kubrick tribute to the first astronauts, complete with orbiting vehicle, cosmonaut Yury Gagarin and the first dog to orbit the Earth
  • Also, for Final Fantasy loves, fresh stock of the high quality PVC figures released this month!
  • Finally, look for a funny pencil case with French on it, a handy all-purpose wooden box that feels like old Japan, more tasty miso soup and kimchee furikake, Hello Kitty dental floss and more!

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

  • For fans of lovely Japanese AV queens, we've got the new issue of Bejean, the oversized Japanese magazine filled with top stars like Yuko Ogura, Megumi, Saori Kamiya, and more -- they come with 3D glasses too!
  • Then enjoy the new issue of Gotcha!, a great hardcore bukkake magazine featuring really pretty amateur girls
  • See elegant busty Japanese girls with breasts up to 102 cm in size in a great new hardcore Big Bust Paradise
  • For photobook fans, don't miss the great Million Girls hardcover photobook, a selection of great erotic photos from the top five girls in Million's pantheon -- Nao Oikawa, Hitomi Hasegawa, Saori Kamiya, Hitomi Hayasaka and Ran Monbu!
  • For hentai manga fans, we've got several great new offerings for you including the dynamite Illustrated Maya Miyazaki, one of the most talented hentai artists we've seen in an age
  • Yasu has also posted a ton of fresh stock of hentai comics, including Yuwaku by Mujin Comics, the Urotsuki-doji-style Tokyo Requiem, and the dynamite Colors Anthology comic -- see the dozen or so restocked items
  • For fans of hentai art books, enjoy the fantastic Hanafuda, the large-format full-color erotic tale of animal lust and kemono themes
  • Also, a great doujinshi anthology manga, th new Lovely Collection vol. 2, featuring incredibly erotic anime parody of Chobits, Please Teacher, and more
  • For our DVD fans, we've got the 5th and final Bring Up Ecstasy 4 Hours erotic offering from Million -- see 4 hours of Ran Monbu (e.g. Monbu Ran, e.g. Mont Blanc, the famous French dessert) (region free)
  • Then see the very best lesbian sex ever filmed by Dogma director Hitoshi Nimura, with six fabulous erotic stars selected for you (region free)
  • Then see great sex with girls in bloomers, those elastic sports shorts, in a new offering from SOD's Natural High (region free)
  • Then enjoy a great pair of performances by Shinobu Kasagi and Shino Isshiki, featuring a tale of two sisters who learn of true love and sex, in a new offering from Soft on Demand and Deep's (region free)
  • Cosplay is a major fetish in Japan, and girls dressing up as anime characters in adult DVDs is popular too -- see a great "cosplay bukkake" performance by Hitomi Hasegawa, as she get fucked and ejaculated upon by men while wearing many cute costumes (region 2)
  • Then, we've got a superb erotic show for you by Rua Mochizuki, a new erotic offering for fans of various fetishes, by Wanz Factory (region 2)

Finally, a general restocking of all-nude (Zenra) sports including All Nude Basketball -- great fun!
Remember that J-List carries many cute items for your kitchen, including bento boxes and accessories, Japanese chopsticks (both basic ones for general use and cute chopsticks), sushi and onigiri molds, wacky Japanese kitchen containers, and more. Please check out the "Kitchen and Bento" section of the Wacky Things from Japan page!