Friday, August 15, 2003

Greetings from J-List August 15, 2003

Hello and Happy Friday from all of us in Japan!

First of all, the J-List image server, which serves up product images for the site, was down for about 90 minutes today, due to a router upgrade issue. Sorry if you were trying to view the page at that time. Everything is fixed now though!

My daughter is back from her month stay in the U.S., and once again, we're utterly floored by the ability of the human brain to assimilate a second language in an incredible short amount of time. While Rina was in San Diego she made many friends at Girls Scout girls and actually was more comfortable with English than with Japanese, amazing since she uses Japanese 99% of the time while she's in Japan. When she told us all of how she went to Disneyland and rode Splash Mountain, everyone was amazed at her perfect American pronounciation. Due to Japan's difficult syllable-based phonetic system, the Japanese say "su-pu-RA-sshu ma-OOn-ten."

When a person learns a foreign language they actually develop a second personality, which takes over when they're speaking that language. In Japanese, my personality is very different, and I'm often surprised at how different both halves are. Japanese tend to be humble, and in Japanese you often use the word "sumimasen" (excuse me) where Americans would say "thank you." My wife is much more assertive in English than she is in Japanese, since English is built that way -- you always say the subject of sentences and use "yes" or "no" to clearly indicate your opinion, unlike in Japanese where meanings are often more vague and nuanced. It's been very interesting watching the development of an "English personality" in my children, too. In English, Rina is very cute and feminine, since she usually plays with other girls in English, but in Japanese, she's a pure tomboy, even using the male first person pronoun ("boku," used by boys, instead of "atashi" which is used by girls).

Have you ever wondered who's on Japanese money? Well, we'll tell you. The Japanese 1000 yen note features the famous 19th Century novelist Souseki Natsume, who wrote such famous books as "I am a Cat" and "Kokoro." As part of the Japanese education system, the first sentence of famous novels is memorized by students, and nearly all of his novels are famous (his face adorns one of our funny Japanese T-shirts, too). The 5000 yen note sports the face of Inazo Nitobe, one of the "forefathers" of modern Japan, and among the first Japanese to become fluent in English (he was a student of Professor Clark, an American who founded Sapporo University, and left the famous words "Boys, be ambitious"). Nitobe toured Europe and the U.S. to observe how the government and military worked, for later incorporation into modern Japan. The 10,000 note, pretty much the "basic" unit of currency in Japan (roughly equal to a $100 bill), features Yukichi Fukuzawa, another modernizer in the Meiji Period, and founder of Keio University.

Since our son got to go to Kyoto while Rina was in the U.S., now it's her turn to take a special trip, and this weekend we're going to Fukushima, a prefecture in Northern Japan. Fukushima is famous for many things, including ramen, hot springs, and in the winter, lots of snow. It's also the home of Licca-chan Castle, a small theme park dedicated to Licca, the cute fashion doll made by the Takara toy company. My wife collects Licca dolls and we've always wanted to see what Licca's Castle was like. We'll tell you when we get back!

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

  • First, just in time for the potential political career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, we've got a very detailed series of Terminator 3 miniature toys for you, with full sets available!
  • We've got a superb item we've wanted to carry for years: Japanese happi (sometimes called "happy coats"), small cotton kimonos that are worn in the summer festivals in Japan -- we've got several in stock, including some that are quite large for our big gaijin customers
  • For bento fans, we've got two deluxe bento boxes in stock for you, both featuring large compartments for holding delicious rice and "okazu" (the word for whatever you eat with your rice), built-in eating utensils, and more
  • If you like our fun Japanese snack foods, enjoy newly posted items, grape and blueberry milk candy, tasty miso-stewed fish, yum
  • Also for the summer, we've got some cool adhesive pads that relieve the pain of sunburn
  • If you've got a cool car, make it cooler with a fuzzy gear shift cover from Japan -- we've got some in stock
  • See small things close up with a cool miniature magnifying glass, which can be attached to objects to make it easy to work with
  • Kitty fans should enjoy the cute Hello Kitty Cubys phone mascot, which blinks when your cellular phone rings (works with 1.5 GHz phones)
  • Then enjoy a really cool item, a high-quality PVC anime statue of Mizuho from Please Teacher, a beautiful item that comes with metal framed glasses and her trademark Pocky candy
  • For Domo-kun fans, a pair of really cool printed notebooks for you, which capture all the cuteness that is Japan's most famous monster
  • Then, for fans of "The Dog" items, which have recently spread from Japan to the U.S., we've got some great doggie stickers for you
  • Finally, look for cute bento related items, delicious new Japanese tea and miso soup products, fresh stock of Lotte No Time gum which brushes your teeth and Blue Toppo baked pretzels, and more!

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

  • For fans of high-quality Japanese magazines, we've got the new Bejean, the oversized magazine that has been one of the top adult magazines in this country for years -- this month's issue is really spectacular!
  • Then enjoy the new issue of Aishite Ageru ("I'll Love You"), a great hardcore magazine featuring real amateur Japanese girls in love hotels
  • For photobook fans, we've got the wonderful lingerie photo magazine of Sayaka Isoyama, and the very erotic "Sexual Desire" photobook offering of Miyoshino
  • Also, explore the erotic world of onanism, with the beautiful Kaede Matsushima in her new glossy photobook, followed by the sweet sexy photographs of Ami Ishii's "Kiss"
  • For our hentai manga collectors, see some great new erotic books for you, including Fujio Okamoto's High-Leg Venus, Shamefull Princess by Toen Comics, and the excellent erotic Fight for Justice, by MEE-kun
  • Also, look for several restocked manga books, including the best-selling Colors Anthology Comic (with great hermaphrodite fetish), a superb "wide manga" work
  • Also, we've gotten the newest issue of the very erotic Bootleg, featuring super hentai artwork and a Tohru Nishimaki Blue Eyes special!
  • For yaoi fans, enjoy some really cool yaoi trading cards -- they are so cool! -- as well as various freshly restocked yaoi manga for you
  • Enjoy some great new erotic DVDs from Japan, starting with the new 3-hour No Cut!! release of Mizuho Asahi, a lovely and small-bodied AV star from Japan (region free)
  • The five lovely Million Girls -- Nao Oikawa, Hitomi Hasegawa, Saori Kamiya, Hitomi Hayasaka and Ran Monbu -- go on an erotic "Million Mystery Tour" that fans will not want to miss -- 210 minutes of action! (region free)
  • Then enjoy the excellent Lestcha 2, which features the tender lesbian kissing and sex of two beautiful lesbian idols (region free)
  • Then explore the world of "Perfect Anal," featuring anal sex and ass-centric fetish with ten beautiful AV stars (region free)
  • Then enjoy the "Bukkake, Nakadashi and Anal Fuck" of Ami Nakamura, a beautiful Tokyo girl who does it all for you, including having sex with a bunch of guys on a fishing boat in Tokyo harbor, a first in Japan's adult video world (region 2)
  • Then enjoy great fresh stock of some of our most popular erotic DVDs, including Campaign Gal Party 7.5 Hours (great for Race Queen fans), Anna with a Change of Costume (Japan's bustiest AV star), 24 Hours Bukkake Semen, Gokkun Bazooka with Kokoro Amano, and Yui Kayama's great bukkake title "Mydol Semen."

Remember that J-List stocks virtually every English-language Japanese dating-sim game available, with great games from Peach Princess, G-Collections, Hobibox, and JAST USA. You can also preorder some of the great games that aren't shipping yet but will be available for preorder, such as the upcoming Brave Soul, a fabulous action RPG world in which you form parties and go on quests with beautiful companions who fight alongside them. We've updated the descriptions and graphics for Brave Soul, so preorder it now for free shipping when it ships!

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Greetings from J-List August 13, 2003

Hello again from your friends at J-List!

It's mid-august in Japan, and to millions of Japanese sports fans that means -- high school baseball! High school baseball is really big in Japan, and teams from each of Japan's 47 prefectures try all year long to win the right to go to Koshien Stadium near Osaka, where the national championships are held. To go to Koshien is the dream of every high school baseball player, and the fact that there are dozens of manga and anime series about high school baseball tells you that a lot of people find the subject romantic and interesting. The creator of Touch, most famous baseball manga of the 1980's, was born in Isesaki, where J-List is based, and baseball fans here seem to have an extra keen affinity for Koshien, reliving their youth while they watch the games that are broadcast on national television. They're also watching for the professional stars of the future -- Hideki Matsui gained national attention while he was at Koshien a decade ago, when he was walked every time he got up to the plate by pitchers who feared his powerful swing, creating a public outcry. This year Gunma Prefecture is represented by Kiryu Daiichi High School. Go team!

Japan's has two religions: Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan which worships spirits (kami) in natural objects; and Buddhism. Showing their usual skill at adapting concepts from outside Japan and rearranging them to suit their needs, Shinto and Buddhism were fused together so that the two could coexist peacefully without war or conflict. One of the major themes to religion in Japan is that Japanese turn to Shinto for events that have to do with life (weddings, baby christenings, wishing for good fortune in the coming year), and Buddhism for events that deal with death (funerals, ceremonies for remembering past loved ones). So invisible is the line between Shinto and Buddhism that many young Japanese don't really understand the difference between a Shinto shrine ("jinja" in Japanese) and a Buddhist temple ("otera").

The most important day of the year to Japanese is January 1st, which is the day most Japanese head to their favorite Shinto shrine to pray for good luck in the coming year. But the second most important time of the year to Japanese is the Obon holidays, which runs from August 13-15. Ostensibly a kind of "homecoming day" for the souls of deceased family members, it's a time when Japanese usually return to their "real home" (jikka), i.e. their parents' home, and get together as a family, eat, drink -- not unlike Thanksgiving in the States. Like the anniversary of a person's death, Obon is a time to visit the graves of family members, to clean them with water, light an incense stick, leave fresh flowers, and update the deceased on family events, so they know they haven't been forgotten. There's a big rush out of Tokyo during this time of year, as everyone tries to leave the city early so they can avoid the packed trains -- and in a few days they'll all be coming back.

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

  • First, for fans of Japan's highly developed gothic fashion culture, we've got a great anthology of all that is Goth, from manga artwork to clothes to articles on the influences of gothlife from around the world
  • We love the tacky Japanese miniature toys that are so popular these days, and we've got a new series for you: Amazing Weapons, featuring recreations of the bizarre funny inventions of World War II
  • For fans of kogal street fashion, we've got the super cote photobook of Hitomi Saito, a very cute contemporary Japanese girl, and the super cute swimsuit loveliness of Yurina Sawatari
  • Then enjoy fresh stock of CG Mag, the great magazine devoted to Cam Girls, which is really another word for Race Queens...
  • If you love Japanese comics, we've got the new issue of Dengeki Gao, a great 450 page manga that's filled with great stories, as well as fun extras for you to collect
  • For fans of our delicious Japanese snacks and food items, we've got several new things for you, including fresh watermelon juice powder (great for the summer), mentaiko spaghetti sauce (don't ask what mentaiko is, trust us), vegetable furikake, delicious caramel popcorn from Japan, and more
  • Also, a major restocking of delicious Pretz baked pretzel sticks from Japan, including Crispy Pizza Pretz, Tomato Pretz, and one of our favorites, Spicy Chicken Beer Pretz, which goes great with beer
  • We've got a very highly refined all-purpose canvas case for you, which holds documents, pens, electronic devices, you name it -- very cool, and it even gives off "minus ion" (negatively charged ions) for a feeling of well-being
  • Also for those interested in Japan's minus ion craze, we've got a spiffy pass case that allows you to organize all your cards, money, train pass etc, by Dr. Ion
  • For fans of traditional things from Japan, we have some great "his and hers" chopsticks featuring famous images from Kyoto
  • For Kitty fans, we've got some great Sanrio items for you, including beautiful Kitty stickers, a plush Kitty bean-bag toy, and a great spoon and straw combination item
  • Play the Japanese game of Go anywhere with a cool magnetic portable Go set we've got for you - if you don't know how to play, we provide a link to a complete guide for you!
  • Then for fans of funny English, we've got a great all-purpose canvas bag that says "communicating a hot affection"
  • For Disney fans, look for fresh stock of the very cool Steamboat Willy black and white Kubrick figures, a true collectors item
  • Also, we've restocked the Studio Ghibli PVC complete figures from Totoro and Khakis Delivery Service, very cool and very detailed
  • Also, we've restocked the ultra-realistic miniature Sushi toys from Re-Ment, with both full sets and individual items available
  • We have more items for your kitchen, including delicious Ikari Sauce, which is called "tonkatsu sauce" or just "sauce" in Japanese -- but it's one of the most delicious things the country has to offer!
  • We've posted the very cool Showa Enamel Signboards in full sets -- the full sets had not been posted on Monday, sorry about that
  • For fans of Hayao Miyazaki's excellent films, look for fresh stock of The Cat Returns and Lupin III: The Castle of Cagllostro, two excellent films that are provided with full English subtitles (region 2)
  • Finally, check out fresh stock of soy sauce fish bottles for bento, more ear cleaners with lights built into them, new varieties of miso soup, more authentic Japanese chopsticks, fresh stock of our popular bento boxes and onigiri makers, and more!

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

  • For fans of beautiful Japanese girls with big busts, we've got the new issue of Gal's Dee in stock, bursting at the seams with hot girls from Japan, including Aoi Sora, Cocolo, and the busty and erotic Kyoto Ayana
  • Also, we've got the new issue of "I Want you to Look at Me," which features incredibly cute Japanese amateurs age 18-20 having sex in love hotels
  • For photobook fans, enjoy the superb glossy photobook of Hikaru, a new and super-cute nude idol from Japan
  • Also, for fans of Japan's famous sexy idols, we've got a super new issue of Sabra Girls, featuring the best idols from the pages of Sabra -- Yuko Ogura, Megumi, Chisato Morishita, Chinatsu Wakatsuki, and more!
  • For our DVD customers, we've got some great new titles for you, starting with 230 minutes of the best sex of Mio Nishino, a beautiful star from the late 1990's who is retired now (region free)
  • Then enjoy the Gokkun Debut of Umino Shinju (whose name means "Pearl of the Sea"), who does it all in a great bukkake release from SOD and Natural High (region free)
  • Then enjoy the best sex of Soft on Demand, with 27 great scenes featuring their best AV stars, with a focus on wet female orgasms ("female gushing") (region free)
  • From Moodyz, enjoy a re-release of the "Mission of Lesbian" of bright AV star Devi, who takes on many beautiful and tender Japanese amateurs for her "first time lesbian" (region 2)
  • Then enjoy the great new Dream Woman release featuring our current fave Asuka Sawaguchi, who really fucks up a storm in this great bukkake special (region 2)
  • Finally, look for fresh stock of many DVD titles, including Zenra (all nude) Volleyball, more fun in the Magic Mirror Boxcar, and Semen Beauty Treatment.

Remember that J-List carries cool Japanese shoes and footwear, including great "tatami sandals" that are made out of the material tatami mats are made from. We also carry an item I personally feel all parents of young children should buy, Japanese shoes for children with squeakers inside -- when children walk, their shoes make a fun squeaking noise that they love, and it allows parents to always know exactly where their children are in a crowded store. It's a wacky but very useful thing from Japan which we've wanted to make available for years.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Greetings from J-List August 11, 2003

Hello again from Japan, where the American shampoo Pert is marketed under the product name Rejoy.

With my wife and both of my kids at our home in the U.S. right now, I'm having the time of my life, as only a married man in an empty house can. Every night I'm free take myself to the sento (public bath), come home and run the air conditioner at full blast, enjoy an extra beer from the liquor shop downstairs, go to bed at 4 am, you name it. It's fun!

When I came to Japan in 1991, I was extremely motivated to learn Japanese, since there's no such thing as learning a language automatically, just by living in a country. I took advantage of every opportunity to advance my study, listening JPOP music and watching Japanese dramas, which are great fun to watch and full of new vocabulary words to learn. Outside of my English classes, I made sure I spoke only Japanese with the people around me. Then one day I was in Tokyo, looking for a coin locker to put my bags in -- a middle-aged Japanese salaryman who was clearing his out said "Please use this one" to me in English. I responded, thanking him in fluent Japanese, but after that I realized that I'd done him a disservice. This man would probably have only have a few chances to use his English each year, and yet I had spoke to him in Japanese -- so I resolved to make myself use more English with Japanese people who wanted to speak it to me. Yesterday, I was swimming when a elderly man swam up to me, wanting to talk in English about swimming in the U.S. compared with Japan. I pretended not to speak Japanese, and he seemed very happy to be able to use his English with a real life gaijin.

However, one thing gaijin who attain fluency in Japanese can attest to, is that some doors close the more Japanese you learn. Japanese often think of foreigners as very fun to be around, and part of that fun flows from both sides not being able to understand each other perfectly. If you go out to karaoke with Japanese, they'll enjoy themselves more if you sing a ridiculous version of "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire than if you're able to belt out the latest enka hit by Hiyoshi Hikawa. At bars and clubs, too, there's a certain "English factor" at work, which can make people who don't speak Japanese more popular than gaijin who can read all 1945 characters of the "joyo kanji" (the characters designated for "general use" by Japan's Ministry of Education). Perhaps it has to do with the mystique of foreigners -- if they are able to communicate easily in Japanese, that mystique isn't present. In academic settings, too, sometimes you can know too much Japanese. I've got an American friend who's a professor at a university in Kyushu. He wants to take level 1 of the Japanese Ability Test, the highest level gaijin can attain, but most of the professors he works with haven't passed the same level of the corresponding English test, the Eigo Kentei Shiken. Since he doesn't want to appear to be putting his superiors down by getting a higher level than them, he's decided he won't try for level 1 of the Japanese test.

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

  • First, for Hello Kitty fans, we've got some cute items you can't find outside of Japan -- look for a cute all-purpose container made of PVC plastic, and a great metal coin purse that makes a great accessory -- also metallic Kitty stickers too!
  • If you love fun snacks and food items from Japan, we've got many items for you, including a chocolate-filled baked cookie from Meiji, delicious salmon and cream spaghetti sauce, funky Doritos from Japan, and cute animal-shaped candies that have been enjoyed in Japan for decades
  • The Japanese are fans of replicas of items from the postwar era, and J-List carries many cool miniatures recreating things from those days -- now we've got a series of nostalgic enamel signs advertising popular products that are as famous in Japan as Normal Rockwell is in the States
  • If you're interested in the famous game of Go (also called Igo in Japanese), we've got a deluxe Go board and piece set for you!
  • Want a funny item from Japan? How about a denim wallet that comes complete with a pocket?
  • For fans of funny erasers, we've got some nice ones in stock -- including a cute set of sea creature erasers in stock today
  • Domo-kun fans, be sure and check out the pocket tissue we've got for you, featuring Domo-kun, Usajii (Old Man Rabbit), and the cute Ta-chan
  • For fans of the excellent Gothic & Lolita series, which J-List sells through our "revolving subscription" system, we have fresh stock of the popular Homemade G&L pattern book, so you can make the clothes at home!
  • For fans of super-realistic Japanese miniature food toys, we've restocked the Puchi Sample Series from Re-Ment, with the Japanese dessert and Chinatown series
  • Also, we've posted fresh stock of the cute photobooks that show Japan's popular high school uniforms, great for cosplay fans
  • Finally, see more great chopsticks from Japan, sushi makers, wasabi powder (many uses for this) and kim chee flavored furikake, and more -- check out all the items we have for you!

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

  • For fans of Japanese magazines, we've got a great treat: the new issue of Dela Beppin, featuring top stars from Japan, sexy OLs (Japanese for "office lady" or female office workers), tons of erotic cosplay photos, and more
  • For fans of beautiful Japanese girls and ass-centric erotic photos, we've got the new issue of Anal Shower in stock for you
  • For photobook fans, we've got some great new items for you, including the delicious sexy photobook of Yoko Mitsuya, Megumi Osawa's erotic 2nd photobook, and a wonderful snapshot of Rubi Aiba's super first nude photobook
  • Restocked photobook items include Minori Aoi incredibly popular "Beyond the Blue Sky," Nao Oikawa's hardcover "NAO" photobook, Yuko Ogawa's "Love Heart" and more
  • Also, don't miss the great items we've got the Yulia Nova fans -- two different sets of incredibly lovely Yulia postcard sets, highly recommended for collectors!
  • We've got a great combination hentai manga and erotic magazine for you: the new issue of Hip & Lip, loaded with beautiful girls and sexy manga
  • For fans of hentai manga, we've got a special oversized item for you: the superb Hermit Health Method by Misakura Nankotsu, loaded with beautiful color pages
  • Also, look for newly posted normal hentai manga, including the very sex Slave Girl Week, and more
  • Look for fresh stock of several popular hentai comics, including Married Woman Mitsue, Bomber Girl Crush, World of Cat Ears, and fresh stock of the popular Paradise Lost erotic Evangelion comics -- also fresh stock of dynamite Psikyo Visual Arts Poster Book
  • For yaoi fans, we've got the new issue of Love Come, which is short for Love Comedy, as in "The Story Love Comedy that your heart is tickled" -- fresh stock of sold-out items too!
  • If you love Japan's bishoujo games, we've restocked the Viper GTB Official Fan Art Book, as well as the excellent Tokimeki Check in and X-Change art book as well
  • For fans of Japan's unique professional AV, we have the delicious and dynamite No Cut!! release of Aya Mizuki, with 3 hours of her sweet sex for you (region free)
  • Then enjoy the bukkake and gokkun of Sonan, the girl who starred in her first adult film one second after her 18th birthday arrived, in a new work from SOD (region free)
  • Also from Soft on Demand, see superb lesbian kissing fetish, including slow kissing and lesbian kissing while in the nude (region free)
  • The Dream Woman series from Moodyz features "gorgeous actress meets semen shower" -- see the dreamy bukkake action of Senna Kurosaki (region 2)
  • Then see the super willing sex of Mai Haruna, the lovely and busty AV star who will fulfill your every erotic wish -- you are her little king, darling! (region 2)
  • Finally, Tomo has added fresh stock of some popular titles to the DVD pages and reduced the prices of others -- check out all that we've got in stock for you!

Remember that J-List gives you great discounts on buying multiple items. Want to pick up some manga? Buy 4 or more and get 15% off automatically. Want to pick up some great photobooks? You get 15% off if you get 4 or more. How about the excellent English-translated Japanese dating-sim games we carry? Get 4 or more and take 20% off! Discounts are taken off automatically at checkout.

Also, remember that almost all of the DVDs that J-List carries are zoned for "all" regions, meaning that you can view them on any DVD player in North America, or on any computer with a DVD drive in it. The exceptions to these are anime DVDs issued in Japan (such as the Studio Ghibli DVDs of Spirited Away), Japanese films released in Japan, and most "indies" adult DVD titles by companies like Moodyz and Wanz Factory. If you wish to view Japanese region 2 DVDs in the U.S., including European region 2 PAL titles, we humbly suggest the feature-packed region free DVD players we carry in San Diego.