Friday, July 25, 2003

Greetings from J-List July 25, 2003

Hello again from Japan, where a car's horn is called "klaxon," a blinker is a "winker" and lipstick is known as "rouge."

J-List is based in Gunma Prefecture, located right in the middle of the main Japanese island of Honshu -- the city of Shibukawa, about 30 km from where we are, is the actual geographic center of the country, and they have a big "Heso Matsuri" (Belly-Button Festival) there every summer. Gunma, pop. 2 million, is close enough to Tokyo (100 km) that Gunma-ites consider themselves part of the Tokyo area, although in actuality life here is very different. Outside of the three major cities of Maebashi, Takasaki and Isesaki, it's very rural, and you can see farmers peeing in their fields quite often (urinating outdoors is a favorite past time of many Japanese men). Although landlocked Gunma is far from the sea, we've got grand mountains and great skiing just an hour up the freeway (which costs around $20 each way to use, so it's not very free). Kyoto might be the place you think of when you think about beautiful old castles and thousand-year-old temples, but Gunma's culture is much older, and we have the highest number of burial mounds from Japan's ancient culture (which ran up through 400 A.D. or so). All Japanese regions carefully cultivate a "meibutsu" (literally "famous thing"), something that tourists will be compelled to eat or buy when they go there. For example, Nagoya is famous curry udon (udon noodles in a curry soup), and Osaka's "takoyaki" (balls of batter with cooked octopus meat inside) is the best. Gunma's specialties are yaki-manju (bread with miso and sauce on them) and sauce-katsudon (pork cutlet cooked in a delicious sauce, eaten over rice). Gunma is also famous for Prime Ministers, and several of Japan's leaders hail from our little prefecture.

Since there's not much to do at night in Gunma Prefecture, young people with too much time on their hands invented the "Rotary," which is where you basically drive in and out of the local train station looking for members of the opposite sex to pick up. Men hitting on women is called "nanpa" (if a girl hits on a guy it's reverse nanpa, or gyaku nanpa). Men will usually drive very flashy cars to try to attract females, complete with neon lights mounted inside and under the cars. Most women in Japan drive cars that look cute or feminine, like the Nissan March (sold as the Nissan Micra in Europe) or the Toyota Vitz. I used to drive a March, and was often approached by guys around the train station -- they were always surprised when the girl they were trying to hit on turned out to be a big gaijin instead.

We're happy to report that Creamy Angels 3, the really excellent collection of hentai artwork by Japanese artist Mashitaka, is in stock and shipping now. The collection of "doujin" artwork, which includes six different CD releases by the artist, captures the artist's love of Ah My Goddess erotic parody, with plenty of bukkake and hermaphrodite themes for fans of extreme hentai. In addition to Creamy Angels 3, Transfer Student is back in stock after being backordered for several months (we were waiting on the new master CD).

Remember that we're always removing our wacky Japanese T-shirts from stock to make room for new designs. Currently, we're closing out the popular baby doll versions of "Looking for a Japanese Boyfriend" and "I want to be Japanese," as well as both current colors of the Akira GoGo parody shirt, and the limited edition "American Devil" shirt. Please check these great shirts out before the size you need sells!

For the pre-weekend update, we've got an extra special volley of cool products from Japan for you. They include:

  • First, we've got a great treat for PEZ collectors: great Disney PEZ toys sold only in Japan - really nicely made, and great for collectors!
  • The Japanese film Battle Royale is a hit all over the world, and its sequel, BR II, is breaking records in Japan right now -- we have a photobook of the lovely Ai Maeda from the film
  • A fun item for fans of sushi and of Takara's Choro Q line of toy vehicles, we've got full sets of wind-up sushi racers that are fun to play with
  • Also, enjoy the "kawaii" (cute) Sayaka Isoyama who stars in a great new Chinkame-format photobook
  • For fans of Shirow Masamune and his Ghost in the Shell anime series, we've got the new disc for you, vol. 8, with episodes 15 and 16 of this incredible new anime series for you (region 2)
  • For fans of Japanese snacks, we've got several new items, including Japanese onigiri mix, "grill n' mustard" flavored potato chips, cute koala cookies, and more
  • We love the die-cast cars from Tomy's Tomica line, and there's a great new one: the distinctive Will Cypha car that is one of the most popular in Japan today
  • For older drivers, a funny bumper sticker that says "I'm A Nervous Driver"
  • For fans of Japan-style cute, a cute Nohohon Park towel, mirror and tissue pack
  • Japanese oil-removal paper is used all over the world by people who want to wipe oil from their faces -- here's a super-sized package of oil-removal paper for you, made of real washi paper
  • We have a cool leather wallet that features a space for a train pass, if you want to be extra Japanese
  • For Kitty fans, a fun Hello Kitty hamburger that you can play with, great for display
  • We've restocked our wacky Loose Socks Glue, which you use to keep your loose socks stuck to your leg just so
  • Also, just in time for summer, great Japanese mosquito coils, which you burn like incense to keep annoying mosquitoes away
  • Finally, see more funny Japanese food-shaped erasers, more onigiri makers and bento boxes, as well as Hello Kitty wrapping paper from Japan!

For our 18+ customers, we've got some excellent adult products for you. They include:

  • For fans of delicious Japanese AV idols and sexy models, we have the new Urecco, the #1 selling magazine at J-List, loaded with incredible girls and great photography
  • For those who like harder core, enjoy the new Shuffle, the magazine that features all lovely amateurs in love hotels
  • Then enjoy MPEG Hits, a great "mook" (Japanese parlance a cross between a magazine and a book) that features two VCDs with great kogal and bukkake action, and many famous stars
  • Miyuki Uehara is a lovely create from Japan, and you can see her hardcover photobook in stock now
  • As mentioned above, Creamy Angel 3 is shipping and Transfer Student is back in stock, too
  • For manga fans, some superb new works for you, including new hentai from Fujio Okamoto, superb erotic sex from Megastore and more!
  • Also, a real treat: an excellent new deluxe-sized manga by Satoshi Urushihara, complete with music CD!
  • For doujinshi, we've added stock of the incredibly popular Dulce Report works, which feature incredible hermaphrodite erotica for you
  • For yaoi fans, a new manga of love and sex with classic yaoi themes by Kojima Nazuki
  • For adult DVD fans, we've got some great new items for you, starting with the debut sex and 3 hours performance of Aiai Sakura (region free)
  • Then enjoy the first lesbian performance of the pure and lovely Chiharu Moritaka, who performs with Ruri Anno and the busty Maria Yumeno for the first time (region free)
  • Then see the best of the AV series known as "We were fell a victim to an act of nympho" (we just love wacky Japanese English) (region free)
  • See more beautiful Russian girls performing for you, including their lovely anal sex (region free)
  • From Moodyz, see some great sex in the bath starring Bunko Kanazawa, the long-reigning Queen of Adult Video in Japan (region 2)
  • Finally, look for great newly restocked DVD titles including the Big Morkal 2003 Anthology (4 hours of AV for $15), and the amazing, Anna Ohura and Maria Yumeno's "I Love H," and fresh stock of Gold Bird and Euro Angels!

Remember that J-List offers you discounts for buying multiple items. Want to get some great bishoujo games? Pick up 4 or more and get 20% off. Looking for hentai manga? Get 4 or more books and get 15% off. You can also get 15% off 4 or more DVDs. All discounts are calculated automatically at check out and show in the final total when you check out.

The J-List server move will be taking place during the weekend. We expect things to go smoothly, but if there are any hicups please let us know and we'll check things right away. Thanks! We look forward to many happy years with our new high-speed server, which will offer lots of new features for J-List customers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Greetings from J-List July 23, 2003

Hello from beautiful San Diego once more. In a few hours I'll be on my way back to Japan, taking yet another trip across the Pacific. It's been a great visit home, and I'm ready to go back, heavily laden with taco sauce from Taco Bell and other cool things I can't get in my adopted country.

America and Japan are quite different from each other -- even something as simple as names can be very different. My daughter and I came to the U.S. with Daisuke Furuta, one of our employees from Japan, and Rina enjoyed having one more person to speak Japanese with in the U.S. However, she called me aside to ask me why all the people in America called him by his first name, Daisuke, rather than by his last name with "kun" (the name suffix usually used for boys or men), e.g. Furuta-kun. You'd usually use the last name with -san in formal situations (e.g. Furuta-san), and -kun if the person you were talking to was male, and was fairly well known to you. -chan, the suffix usually used for girls, is used with the first name, e.g. Rina-chan or Kaori-chan. Sometimes the last name only is used to refer to someone, usually among males or schoolmates (Tomo might call Daisuke by his last name only, e.g. "Furuta, come over here"). Using the first name only, e.g. "Daisuke," is somewhat odd in Japanese, and implies an extremely close relationship, hence my daughter's confusion about everyone in America calling Daisuke by his first name. Once I called a female student of mine at home and asked her mother if she was home. I accidentally referred to the student by her first name only, and her mother was immediately on her guard, wondering what kind of relationship this gaijin had with her daughter (I was innocent, honest).

When you become bilingual in a language, you learn a lot about how your own brain works, what processes go on when you learn new vocabulary words (every act of learning involves a physical change in your brain, the creation of a new synapse from one cell to another), and so on. It makes you think about the nature of language in general and consider deeply parts of your own native language that you've taken for granted all your life -- in short, it's really cool. The act of translation from one language to another is really something, too: it takes place deep inside your brain, on a level below your conscious thoughts, like a process in a computer that's running in the background. You place some English in the "buffer," and then something happens in your brain, and in a few seconds Japanese is waiting for you to retrieve it. You can almost hear the "ding" in your mind as the translation "cooks" and is done, without any conscious awareness, at least as far as I've experienced.

When it comes to translation, though, there's one direction to go: from your second language to your native language. If I am translating from Japanese to English, I'll be able to do it just fine; but woe is me if I try to translate from English to Japanese. I know this because I tried it once. My father, who was a nautical engineer who built advanced hydrofoils, had to get a patent of his translated into Japanese, so he asked his Japanophile son to do it for him. Wanting to impress my Dad, I agreed, and two months of hard labor later had produced what had to be the most hilarious patent translation ever seen in Japan. I learned my lesson and now politely refuse any requests for translations into Japanese. I believe that 90% of the "wasei eigo" (literally "made in Japan English"), e.g. the silly English words the Japanese come up with, are inadvertently created by Japanese asked to translate from Japanese to English -- they are doing their best but are basically translating the wrong direction.

The J-List staff in Japan has gotten another great update of products for you. The newly added items include a great deluxe art book for Please Teacher (one of my favorite anime shows), great toys for SD character and Masked Rider fans, a great collection of short films by seven directors including Ryuhei Kitamura, fresh stock of super Shirow Masamune items, Hello Kitty ice cube makers, new gum and candy items, more cool toys only available in Japan, and more! For adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products, with great new DVDs ("Heating Double Manko"), a super all-cat girl fetish photobook, more penis teasing fetish, a new Aida Garo breast fetish photobook, .hack hentai manga and other great adult comics from Japan, many newly added and restocked adult DVDs, the new issue of Dela Beppin, and other great products.

The J-List Server Move is coming up in a few days. The new server is going to be great, about ten times the raw power to serve up J-List pages, and several other new features. As always, we expect things to go smoothly, but problems may occur. If you notice any oddness with our site over the next few days, please let us know. Also, if the order system breaks, you can order through the secure email form located at .