Friday, August 01, 2003

Greetings from J-List August 1, 2003

Hello and TGIF from all of us in Japan!

It's Friday in Japan, and I'm taking a rare day off to take my wife and son to Kyoto for the weekend. Kyoto is the ancient capital of Japan, and is one of the most beautiful places in the country, with thousands of years of history, famous temples, breathtaking castles, and more. I've been to Kyoto half a dozen times in the 12 years I've lived in Japan, and never get tired of it, but I realized that I'd never brought my son to see the city. He loves samurai dramas on television, and I'm sure he'll be impressed with going to the actual places and seeing the real thing. My favorite places in Kyoto include Nijo Castle (the castle used by Ieyasu Tokugawa, Shogun of Japan), Ryoan-ji (the most famous rock garden in Japan), Kiyomizu Temple (nearly destroyed by Godzilla in a few of his movies), Kinkaku-ji ("The Golden Pavillion" that was burned down in 1950 by an insane Buddhist priest), and Sanjusangendo Temple, where 1,000 gold-plated wooden statues from Buddhist tradition stand in peace (supposedly, you can find your own face among them if you look). Also, near Kyoto are the Byodo-in (the temple that appears on the back of a Japanese ten yen coin, a real treat) and in Nara, Todaiji, the largest wooden building in the world, which houses the largest bronze statue of Buddha in the world.

There's another reason we're going to Kyoto, one that doesn't have much to do with temples or shrines: the Art of Star Wars exhibition is playing at the Kyoto National Museum, and the only way I can go see it is to go down there while it's still showing. I missed out on the cool Star Wars exhibitions that played in various American cities over the past few years, but I'm not going to miss this one!

A major challenge for men learning Japanese is to avoid picking up the nuances of women's speech, but since we're often learning from female teachers or girlfriends or wives, a lot of the input we receive is from females. There are many specific phrases that make up "female" Japanese, such as tag particles on the ends of sentences ("ne" or "kashira" on the ends of sentences, both of which mean "Isn't it?" or "Don't you?"), or using first-person pronouns that only females use ("atashi" instead of the more usual "boku"). If you learn too much female Japanese, you sound like you're gay. To balance myself out while learning Japanese back at college, I read lots of Fist of the North Star manga, which pushed me in the other direction, making me talk like a ridiculous parody of a macho man. When learning a language, there's no substitute for having native speaking friends of both sexes who can provide feedback to you. One great resource for me at SDSU was the Japan-America Friendship Club, a group where Japanese learning English and all students interested in Japanese could mingle and make friends. I wonder if it's still around?

Before I duck out of here for our Shinkansen trip to Kyoto, we've got some
great new products for you. They include:

  • First, for fans of Domo-kun, who ate up our offerings last time, we've got some more cool Domo-kun toys for you, including a super deluxe giant Domo-kun plush friend, and a very detailed PVC keychain that's very cool
  • For fans of die-cast cars from Japan, enjoy a boxed set of two police cars from Tokyo's famous Wangan area, very authentic and cool
  • For fans of ultimately cute things, check out the Digi Charat highly detailed magnet/pin figures we've got
  • For fans of snacks from Japan, enjoy several items, including Calpis soft candy (yum), hot barbecue potato chips from Chip Star, dried squid and more
  • Also, some old-style Japanese lemonade, great for the summer, made with Hiroshima lemons
  • If you love wacky Hello Kitty stuff, we've got a totally fun Kitty Block Stamp Case, which holds your official Japanese name stamp (if you have one), or else just display it since it's so cool
  • Morning Musume, the cute team of JPOP idols, is a major force of cute culture throughout Japan -- we've gotten fresh stock of the hardcover photobook of Rika Ishikawa, one of their cutest members
  • Also, enjoy fresh stock of Harumi Nemoto's bold and sexy photobook "Marvelous"
  • Want to relax? Try the special foot pads we've got in stock -- stick them to your feet and feel the tiredness flow out of your body
  • We've got more wacky notebooks from Japan with laughable English on them ("This memo is easier for you to carry. Besides, it's useful for you")
  • Also, great for summer, more Inviting Cat wind chimes which are beautiful and sound great
  • Finally, look for more candy and cooking items from Japan, Bon Curry boil in bag curry (non-spicy), healthy miso soup, health masks that you can wear when you have a cold, and more

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

  • For fans of Japan's highly developed hentai dating-sim games, a real treat: the first "sexual training game" in English. You are responsible for training a trio of sexually frustrated housewives, with many detailed attributes for each girl (sensitivity, obedience, anal training) rising and falling depending on your skill with them. Can you satisfy the beautiful wives and find the happiness you seek? In stock and shipping now -- no waiting!A great new game of sexual training from G-Collections, Hitozuma Hime Club
  • We love Japan's beautiful and erotic magazines, and have the new issue of Urecco Gal for you, filled with stylish Japanese AV stars decked out as kogals
  • Then enjoy some amateur kogal action with Senningiri (which means "Girls who have had sex with over 1000 guys ")
  • Following this, we've got great leg, mini-skirt and stocking fetish fun for you with the new Minisuka Deluxe, a square-backed magazine that is loaded with quality -- features Asuka Sawaguchi, Akira Watase, and the super Cocolo
  • For photobook fans, we've got a new stylized erotic photobook featuring Aoi Sola in some truly timeless photos
  • Then enjoy some first-class Japanese bondage in a new Girls in Bondage S&M photobook
  • We've got top-quality Japanese erotic manga, with several new offerings including the Victorian era maid fetish of Contents C and the very erotic "Beautiful and Talented" comic by Yasuhara Tsukasa
  • Also, fresh stock of several popular manga titles, like Dokkin Sister Minako and the very erotic Tokyo Pop
  • For yaoi fans, a major restocking of some of our most popular Muscle Man comics
  • If you love Japanese hentai games, we've restocked the Viper GTB art book, loaded with artwork and data from the popular game
  • For DVD fans, some great titles for you, starting with a very erotic offering of Asuka Sawaguchi's strictly selected best works (region free)
  • Then enjoy some quality lesbian action in "Lesbian Cunnilingus" (region free)
  • Three stylish Sistas delight you with their sweet sex -- includes the slender and beautiful Rina Usui, one of my personal faves (region free)
  • Then enjoy 4 hours of coplay sex action, with anime, stewardess, police woman, and much more, all included for you (region free)
  • Then, find many restocked DVD titles for you, including the return of Asumi Kawashima, Lesbian Max 4 Hours vol. 2, The Lingerie (famous AV stars wearing erotic lingerie for your pleasure), the best bukkake of Waap Entertainment, and more!

Remember that J-List's famous Japanese T-shirts, with bizarre messages like "Beware of Perverts" and "I'm proud of my sexual power," are in stock and available for immediate shipping from our San Diego warehouse. All shirts are printed in the U.S. and all are full American sizes. If you're unsure what size you are, note that you can easily check the sizes of our shirts in inches or centimeters -- just look for the "Shirt size" link below each shirt. This is great for our customers outside the U.S. who may not be sure what their size is in U.S. sizes. If you buy 3 or more of these cool shirts, you get an automatic 10% off through the shopping cart, too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Greetings from J-List July 30, 2003

Hello again from a very hot Japan!

The J-List server change went pretty well. There was a bit of a rough patch around 6 pm California time when the server acted up, but overall we're pleased with the smoothness of the changeover, and with the speed of the new server. If you experience any problems with the site, please let us know. Be sure to try the new text-based browsing feature, which allows you to view many products at once -- great for customers with slower connections.

In Japan, there's a fun custom called "753" which is pronounced "shichi, go, san" in Japanese. It's basically an excuse for parents to get extremely beautiful photographs of their sons (at age 5) and their daughters (at ages 3 and 7) taken. Our daughter is six but by her school year, she's considered seven years old this year, so we took her to the local photo studio to get some beautiful pictures taken, in kimono and traditional Western gowns. Actually, the real 753 photographs are taken in the fall, but because it's a big event for parents, you usually get two sets of pictures taken, in case one doesn't come out very well. I've posted pictures of Rina-chan (who is still in the U.S. getting her annual dose of English) on my personal homepage, if you want to see them. The direct link to the pictures is here: http://www.jlist.com/rina753.html

When I came to Japan, one of the first things I was fascinated with were the toilets here. Japanese-style toilets, which you squat over to use, were among the strangest things I'd ever seen, of course, but happily you only see these in public restrooms or in very old houses. Normal toilets in Japanese homes are very similar to those in the U.S., but they usually have a little sink at the top where water comes out of a faucet -- a handy way to wash your hands after doing your business. The water in the sink falls into the tank where it waits for the next person to come along and flush. Japanese are masters at invention, and the toilet seats which wash your butt, called washlets, are very popular throughout Japan (we have one in our home). They have features like bidet, a warm air dryer and a "water massage" function. If you go into older houses in Japan (at least outside of Tokyo), you can still find what the Japanese call a "bo-ton," a big tank in the ground that must be emptied every few months -- it gets its name from the sound of stuff falling into the tank.

One of the secrets to doing business in Japan is navigating the often frustrating mazes of distributors and suppliers, which are organized into multiple tiers that can be very confusing. We're happy to report, however, that we've broken through one barrier and are finally able to make Domo-kun goods available again, after more than a year of getting in very little new stock. Domo-kun is the official spokesmonster for NHK, Japan's version of the BBC, and his cute face is famous all over the world. "Domo" is a polite word in Japanese that can be used in many situations in Japanese, casual greetings, when thanking someone for something, and so on. Enjoy the great new Domo-kun items we've got on the site for you!

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

  • In addition to a bunch of new Domo-kun toys, mentioned above, we're happy to report that the long-awaited Star Trek Official Museum series of detailed Star Trek replica toys has come in -- we've posted full sets as well as other pre-made sets to the site now (you never have to worry about getting random ships and duplicates of ones you don't want)
  • If you love Hello Kitty, we've got a great Kitty plush pet that cleans your computer screen, just like Groomy
  • For fans of our Japanese snacks, look for several new items, including Picola strawberry cookie rolls, more fun March of the Koalas chocolate cookies, sherbet you can make at home, and more!
  • Also, boil in bag curry, delicious miso soup, and sour plum-flavored pretzles -- Japan is such a fun place
  • A great item for summer, we've got some Japanese wind chimes that are just great
  • At J-List, we love to promote the study of Japanese -- look for two brand new Canon Wordtank electronic dictionaries that are great for learning Japanese, as well as reduced prices on all other Wordtank models
  • For fans of the miniature food replicas that are popular in Japan these days, look for fresh stock of the dynamite Japanese food, both full sets and random boxes
  • For fans of collecting wacky erasers, which are popular in Japan, we've got some cool Japanese erasers replicating Japanese drinks, as well as more fun sushi erasers for you
  • We've posted limited stock of the popular Final Fantasy X-2 CG art book to the site -- these are the last we will be able to get, so hurry if you want one
  • We love the eerie and beautiful artwork of Shin Takahashi, creator of She, The Ultimate Weapon, the amazing anime series that features English subtitles on the Japanese DVD (a rare treat) -- check out Shin's new perfect art book, in stock
  • Did you look through the beautiful 2004 calendars we posted last time? Well, we added another ten or so, calendars that we felt were really special and wanted everyone to look at
  • We've also gotten in fresh stock of Japanese study materials including kanji notebooks and the cute Hamtaro hiragana guidebooks, as well
  • Finally, portable ash trays who want to exercise good smoking manners, cute Hello Kitty ear cleaners, fresh stock of our Japanese eyedrops that will wake you up, and more!

Remember that J-List carries excellent magazine by our "reserve subscription." This means that you can get great anime, JPOP, fashion and other magazines sent to you as soon as the new issue is out in Japan -- a few days earlier than newsstands receive them here, in fact. We recommend great items like Young Magazine Uppers, a superb manga magazine that features Shirow Masamune's great posters in special issues as well as great comic art from some of Japan's best manga-ka (manga artists). As always, payment through any method is fine (credit card, Paypal, check or money order) and you can stop your subscription at any time.

My friend Chris is traveling around the world on his BMW motorcycle with a Japanese friend. He's having a great time, and is somewhere in Uzbekistan now. His homepage is at http://www2.gol.com/users/chrisl/travel/ if you want to check it out.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Greetings from J-List July 28, 2003

Hello again from all of us in Japan!

One complex topic is the role of women in Japan, and how that role differs from the West. For starters, Japan is definitely a man's paradise where men are uniquely able to take the lead in just about any area they want, politics, business, you name it, and where a woman will actually get a man a cup of coffee without thinking twice about it. Although there are laws against discrimination in the workplace as well as "seku-hara" (sexual harassment), there are many visible signs that Japan is for the most part a Man's Country. The best example of this was the lightning speed with which Pfizer's popular pill for men was approved for sale here by Japan's Diet, comprised almost entirely of the drug's target market. How about the Pill? Although available for 30 years in the West, birth-control pills remained illegal to dispense until a few months after the arrival of the popular drug for men, when Japanese lawmakers sheepishly admitted the double standard and approved it for sale.

While much of this male-ism is pure unfairness to women on the part of Japan's bull-headed men, it's important to realize that Japan is not America or Europe, and things are the way they are here partially because people prefer them that way. The reason that nearly all women work through their twenties then quit to get married and have children (such as Kaori, J-List's first employee) isn't due to some external pressure for her not to maintain a career; it's because that's generally considered the road to happiness for most women here in Japan, and they genuinely want to do things this way. Of course women don't like all aspects of this male-oriented society. Part of the reason things don't change is that the Japanese have a powerful talisman that allows them to deal with any unpleasant situation: the three words "shikata ga nai." This phrase means "it can't be helped," and Japanese they use regularly when they encounter anything that they feel they can't change (the more colloquial "sho ga nai" means the same thing). It's important to note that feminism never took root with Japanese women at all, and this is part of the reason why Japan looks very strange when viewed from the outside. In general, the Japanese family is a simpler thing than it is in America -- the husband in a family is the "daikoku bashira," the "big, black pillar" that supports the family; the wife usually concerns herself with education of the children and managing the home, although many balance this with work. And for the record, in virtually all Japanese families, the wife is the one who handles the household finances, doling out a small monthly allowance to her husband for him to spend on drinking with his friends and making sure the financial goals of the family are met first.

Yes, men and women are very different in Japan, and these differences are built into the Japanese language in ways that an English-speaker would have trouble comprehending, since English is largely unisex. From birth, there are different pronouns for boys and girls to use. Guys use the polite "boku" or the rough-sounding "ore" (OH-ray) to refer to themselves, but girls get the more feminine-sounding "watashi" or "atashi" (or if they're trying to be annoyingly cute, they'll use their own names in place of the first-person pronoun, like they do in anime). For the second person pronoun, men often use masculine-sounding "omae" (OH-mah-aye) or the slightly condescending "kimi," but women usually use the neutral "anata." There are quite a few words which the Japanese use every day but which sound incredibly sexist if you analyze them. The most common word for husband is "shujin," which really means master. Two common words for wife used by older Japanese are "kanai" (lit. "in the house") and "okusan" ("Mrs. Interior"), implying that wives never leave the home. Of course, these are just words and no one considers their meanings all that deeply, but it's still interesting nevertheless. If you'd like to read more about what Japanese words say about the role of women in Japan, by all means read Womansword by Kiddridge Cherry, which was out of print for several years but has been re-released. Here's a link:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/4770028881/petersreadinglis/102-6078621-7400135

The J-List server update is being executed even as I type, and we think we'll be done with it very soon -- probably by the time you read this. The new server is much faster, with four lovely processors and tons of memory and fast disks, to handle J-List's needs for years to come. One new feature which we think you'll like is the improved Text Only browsing. In any category, click the Text Only button at the top of the page, and you'll be greeted with a tight list of products that's much easier to browse if you have a slower connection.

Announcing the start of 2004 calendar preorders! Yes, it's that time of year again: we've gotten the first of our great 2004 calendars up and available for you to preorder. For those who aren't familar with "calendar season," hundreds of incredibly beautiful JPOP, anime, photographic, traditional, nude and other calendars are sold in Japan each year, towards the end of the year. The calendars are released in two groups -- the first, which include traditional, art, photographic and some nude calendars, are posted now. The majority of other calendars, which include most of the JPOP, idol and anime items, will be posted in a month or so, but in the meantime, please browse the excellent 2004 calendars we've put up for you now. Preorders for calendars will be held for you, and we'll send your calendars when they come in in October or so. If possible, payment with credit card is preferable for calendar orders, since we can hold them without charging until the calendars are in stock. The window for preordering these large-size glossy calendars is short, and we'll have to close all preorders around the middle of October. So get your orders in! Calendars require mailing tubes for us to send them to you in pristine condition -- tubes are $3 (two calendars can be sent in one tube), and if you order 4 or more calendars, your tubes are free!

Want to work at J-List? We're hiring staff for our San Diego location. Applicants should have knowledge and interest in J-List's products, preferably including dating-sim games, and have good Internet and computer skills and experience shipping products. You'd also need to be able to start quickly. Please email at peter@jlist.com for more information.

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

  • First, we've got a great large-size 1/5.5 scale replica of Mizuho Kazami from the hit anime series Please Teacher, a superb item for collectors of high-quality anime statues
  • For lovers of our unique bento boxes, we've got three great new items for you, beautifully colored bento boxes that come with adult-length chopsticks and chopstick holders
  • Then enjoy new snack foods from Japan, including a great new flavor of Koala no March (March of the Koalas, the favorite food enjoyed by Crayon Shin-chan), Korean barbecue-flavored pretzles, chilled fruit desserts from Japan and delicious seaweed that you can eat as a snack
  • Also, fresh stock of the cult hit Felix the Cat strawberry gum from Japan, one of our most popular gum products
  • For lovers of Japanese swimsuit and sexy idols, see the glossy offering of Misako Yasuda
  • For fans of high school uniforms, we've added stock of several popular photobooks featuring uniforms of famous schools, great for cosplay fans
  • For Hello Kitty fans, a great treat: plush toys of Kitty and Daniel in Japanese yukatas, enjoying summer festivals in traditional Japanese style, as well as other wacky items sold only in Japan
  • Then we've got a very stylish new Blythe toy series in, a deluxe Petite Blythe doll that comes with everything you need to dress her up and even make clothes for her
  • Then enjoy new Totoro items, including the Mei & Totoro PVC keychains, and several popular plush items
  • Then enjoy a beautiful PVC recreation of Japanese actress Aya Ueto dressed like a beautiful female samurai
  • For people who want to live like the Japanese do, we've got a cool train pass that you can use to carry credit cards and other forms of ID
  • And for all those times when you don't have a bag with you, we've got fresh stock of the very wacky Bag in Bag
  • For Japan Hot Wheels fans, a treat: a beautiful die-cast replica of K.A.R.R., the arch-nemesis of K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider 2000 -- wacky and totally esoteric -- as well as fresh stock of K.I.T.T.
  • We love the highly detailed miniature toys that are so popular in Japan these days -- look for fresh stock of the oh-so-cool Train Station bento and Showa-era public bath, which we highly recommend
  • Also, we've got fresh stock of virtually all the popular Groomy plush pets, which feature soft chamois on their bottoms to allow you to clean your computer monitor when it gets dirty
  • We've got more wacky Japanese stickers for people who want to surround themselves with Japanese messages
  • Finally, a way to apply cold or heat to anything, a great starter set for learning shogi, the chess of Japan, more Sanrio ice cube makers, a fun way to clean your ears the way the Japanese do, and more!


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

  • For fans of Japan's busty AV stars and amateurs, we've got a great new issue of Gal's Dee, which features hot ladies ilke Mai Satoh, Marina Matsushima, Cocolo and Sora Aoi for your enjoyment
  • Then enjoy a great magazine + DVD, which gives you 5 full hours of great quickies and sample video
  • For fans of Japanese photobooks, which feature beautiful glossy photography and the most beautiful girls, we've got some new offering sof ryou, including the erotic first photobook of Kokoro Amano, fresh stock of Smart Girls Remix, and more
  • Also, for Yuko Ogura lovers, we've restocked several items including her most popular photobooks
  • Then, not to be missed, we've got a great new pocket photobook format work with incredibly bold and sexy shots of Japan's hottest gals, including "girls in underoos"
  • Also, fresh stock of the wonderful nude photobooks of Kaoru, as seen by the camera of Aida Garo
  • For our hentai manga fans, some great works for you, including the erotic sex of Caster Ayako (yes, the Japanese even have a place for newscaster hentai fetish in their hearts), and the super "dick girl" sex of Parasiter Miki!
  • Also, vol. 2 of the dynamite Chirality, the delightful hentai manga by hentai master Satoshi Urushihara -- don't miss this deluxe sized volume, with a music CD!
  • We've also restocked several popular adult manga volumes, including Sweet Trap, Soft Cream, Alice Second, and the very nice Libido in the Beaker
  • For our DVD collecting customers, we've got some special items for you, starting with the 4-Hour Non-Stop Ecstasy of Asuka Sawaguchi, who is expertly fucked by some of Japan's most famous male AV stars (region free)
  • Then see Everything About Ran Asakawa in a new release from Soft on Demand, with super-fine digital mosaic (region free)
  • Then enjoy some "gyaku nanpa" (where girls pick up guys) in the Magic Mirror, SOD's rolling adult video studio on wheels -- they pick up guys at the beach and take them into the Magic Mirror for grat sex (region free)
  • Big black men from the U.S. teaming with hot Japanese stars is a big fetish in Japan -- see a great new performance in the Black Swap in L.A. series, by Moodyz (region 2)
  • Then see the super busty sex of three great sars, with both lesbian play and hardcore sex, in "Triple Big Breasts Makes You Satisfied" (region 2)
  • Finally, look for freshly added stock of popular DVD titles, including Sakura Sena's busty sex, Mai Hagiwara's sexy "b Live," bondage mania with many famous adult video stars, and more!


Remember that J-List has many discounted adult magazines on magazine page 3, starting at just $5. Since J-List has so many different unique products -- over 2000 individual products, believe it or not -- we've got something for everyone no matter what your interest in Japan, and for every budget as well. Remember that J-List products make great gifts, too, which the recipients will likely never forget.

The J-Mate site has been updated, with a new review, this time a review with four female staff members who help out on the set of Japan's AV studios. It's quite interesting to read their comments on the state of the Japanese adult video world. The URL is http://www.jmate.com/