Japan is a strongly democratic country, and I've always been impressed with how much a part of life in Japan voting and elections are, especially with older Japanese. Japan uses a parliamentary system that was based on England's, which can be a little confusing to my American mind at times. There are many small and medium sizes political parties in Japan, including the Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto, the second largest party), the Social Democratic Party (Shaminto, they're headed by Takako Doi, one of the most famous female politicians here), the Japan Communist Party (they favor elimination of the consumption tax), Koumeito (the political party formed by members of the Soka Gakkai religion), and so on. But for almost the entire history of postwar Japan, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (Jiminto), which has strong support in rural prefectures, has had almost complete run of the country, losing power only once in the mid 1990's. An annoying aspect of elections here is that candidates are allowed to drive around in trucks with big loudspeakers on them, thanking everyone within earshot for their support and promising to work hard for their constituents. We're in "election mode" in Japan right now, and I can hear the candidates from outside my window even as I type. It's really quite annoying.
One of the engines that drives Japanese society and makes Japanese people the way they are is called "hito no me" (HEE-toh noh meh), which translates as "the eyes of others." In all that you do in Japan, there is the sense that you're being watched by everyone around you, and that if you stray too far outside the invisible lines of what is acceptable you'll be judged harshly. This tendency to be concerned with how you appear in the eyes of people is a big part of Japanese daily life, and it's part of the reason why Japan can seem a very homogenous place when viewed from the outside. In Japan, you throw your garbage out on set days, and knowing what kind of trash is okay to put out on any given day can require a Master's Degree in Trashology. But if you don't follow the rules and put exactly the right trash out that morning (not, by the way, the night before), you'll suffer the ire of the ever-watching people around you, which subtly causes you to conform in ways that no threat of fine or punishment could. Since most people in Japan are considerably thinner than they are in the States (at 100 kg, I am gargantuan for Japan, and have been asked by Japanese if I was a K-1 fighter), there is always that pressure to conform to the others around me and lose weight--which is a good thing of course. In the U.S., we try to value adversity and individuality, and if we saw someone walking under an umbrella even though it wasn't raining outside, we might chuckle and say that he dances to his own tune. But in Japan there's less chance that doing something that no one else is doing will be viewed in a favorable light.
Related to "hito no me" is the idea of "joshiki," a word which translates to "common sense" but means much more. The Japanese all seem to have a built-in common sense, ideas about the way things work, and they are very much in harmony with each other. It is "joshiki" that all kids will go to school to be taught and brought up as happy citizens of the society, and so there is homeschooling in Japan. Similarly, it is common sense that babies be born in hospitals, and so there is very little in the way of alternate birthing here. An American friend of mine who was pregnant planned on having her baby and going back to work a few months later, but unfortunately, this goes against the "joshiki" rule that mothers should spend the first few years at home with their children before coming back to work, and she found herself blocked at every pass. This "all powerful common sense" that the Japanese seem to possess is always at work in Japan.
J-List carries three reliable region-free DVD players in our San Diego which we highly recommend for anyone who wants to enjoy viewing DVDs from other regions, such as Japan (certain discs are zones for region 2) and Europe. All three players we sell have passed the rigorous "J-List acceptability test" and will be great additions to your home as a main or spare DVD player. To help you choose one of these great players, we've dropped prices on all three of them, to $88 and $98 for the two transportable Lasonics and $109 for the deluxe Cyberhome. They make great Christmas gifts, too! Units ship daily from San Diego.
J-List sells both adult and non-adult products, and we separate all products into two sections, non-adult and 18+. In the past, we've posted the popular swimsuit idols like Yuko Ogura, Yinling and Chinatsu Wakatsuki in the PG section, since they weren't adult products. However because of the rather, ah, stimulating nature of some of the swimsuit photos we've decided to create a new section for these very photobooks and DVDs and list them in the adult section, instead.
We'll be switching the J-List images server, which delivers J-List product images, to a faster server that will be able to bring up images much more quickly. We plan on making the switch during the weekend. As usual, if you notice any problems with the J-List site, please email us and we'll take care of it right away.
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- For fans of our new high-quality acrylic Hello Kitty blankets, which are soft and colorful and really make you warm, we've got more cool items: My Neighbor Totoro blankets in various sizes!
- By customer request, we've restocked the Sesame Street Kubrick toy series, which is an incredibly cool series of block figures from Medicom Toy (full sets are in stock)
- Morning Musume, the cute JPOP idol group, continues to charm fans all over the world -- we've got a great hardcover photobook for their fans
- Do you love Japanese snack foods? We've got some cool new items including authentic Japanese "samurai" rice crackers, delicious yakisoba that you can eat without cooking, and for Doraemon fans, wonderful Doraemon ramune candy
- Also, every year we sell the silky and delicious Melty Kiss chocolate fudge from Meiji, which is only sold in the winter months -- we've gotten the first Melty Kiss of the year in for you, and it looks delicious
- For fans of Japanese gum, we have some taste new grape flavored stick gum from Bourbon, and fresh stock of delicious Green Gum from Lotte, which makes you think of a fresh forest
- We've got fresh stock of several snack items, including Okinawan Black Candy (kuro-ame), a real treat, strawberry flavored Milky candy, and Shigekix, the super tart "hard gummi candy" that's really fun to eat
- For fans of super detailed Japanese toys, we've got an all-die cast metal replica of the Delorean from Back to the Future, a fabulous item made by Skynet
- Hello Kitty fans, we've got some cool items sold only in Japan -- a rally fun Kitty portable phone for kids that lets you talk to Kitty in Japanese, a fun paint set, fresh stock of Hello Kitty Pretz, and more
- The G-Taste characters from Hiroki Yagami's daring art book series are famous -- we've got a super new set of figurines that come in "gashapon" capsules, with full sets available
- For fans of wacky Japanese English, we've got some hilarious stickers that feature funny designs and funnier English -- "Use them anywhere you need for your safety"
- We've got a new wacky "Power Stone" in stock, a good luck charm that promises to increase your friendship with others
- Finally, look for a way to keep thermoses clean, a handy all-purpose pouch that can carry anything, fresh stock of Hello Kitty toilet paper, more great hot springs powder, more Pocky, and other great products from Japan!
For our adult customers, we've got many new 18+ products. They include:
- We've got a nice new adult magazine in for you, Dela Beppin, the "deluxe beppin" that features tons of Japan's cutest, most famous adult stars and amateurs
- For fans of the delightful Nao Oikawa, currently the top name in Japan's adult video world, we've got a great photobook featuring the most incredible photographics of Nao-chan, on a special trip to Hokkaido
- Then catch the first issue of Bitch! featuring erotic hardcore by famous stars like Rina Usui
- Also, the lovely new issue of Deka Melon ("deka" means huge), which features super erotic gals in high Race Queen form, showing you their sexy slender legs and erotic nudes
- For hardcover photobook fans, we've got some excellent items for you, starting with the superb nude and cosplay of Mihiro, age 20
- Sayaka Uchida looks great, too, in her oh-so-extreme sexual bikini photobook offering, that will really knock your socks off
- Various restocked photobooks from Japan include several by Yuko Ogura, the super-cute high school uniform Pictorial Pocket Book, and Yurika Itoh's I-LU-CA
- Japan's erotic dating-sim games are famous all over the world, and we've got a great color "visual art works" book for Libido 7, an all-lesbian bishoujo game
- For hentai manga fans, we've got some great items for you, including Deep French Kiss by Takayuki Kusano, Bondage Breasts by Toen Comics and more great new erotic manga for you
- Also, for yaoi lovers, the new issue of Gush Mania, featuring compilations of extreme yaoi stories by ten artists (we loved the homosexual Nazis)
- We've also got freshly restocked adult manga, like Love Colle vol. 5, the very stylized Radical Vector, and various restocked yaoi items too
- J-List carries interesting adult toy products sold in the Japanese market, and we've restocked several popular items, including "Japan Rotor" vibrators (all sizes), the Super Magical Mitten, the Japanese Clitoris Cap, and the life-sized Hitomi Hayasakai Love Pillow
- For adult DVD customers, enjoy several new offerings, starting with Izumi Hasegawa's fourth delightful No Cut!! DVD release, featuring three hours of her sweet sex for one low price (region free)
- Then enjoy superb Adult Video Wrestling as only Japan can bring it to you, with Fuck Down! featuring stars like Nanase Nanami and Mai Haruna going at it in the ring (region free)
- From Soft on Demand, a very special treat: a 8 Years Anniversary Special that shows you 4 hours of the best SOD works since their creation, organized into useful sections (bukkake, lesbian kissing, tekoki, penis study, and so on) (region free)
- Then for fans of the Japanese fetish of "roshutsu" or going nude outdoors, we've got an erotic offering on SOD's outlet page (region free)
- From Moodyz, we've got another dynamite "black men vs. Japanese girl," this time with the lovely Airi Niiyama giving it up in "Beautiful Maiden and Black Man's Sex" (region 2)
- Ran Asakawa is an erotic adult video star from Japan, and she gives you first-flight treatment in The Complete Ran Asakawa, 3 luscious hours long (region 2)
- Finally look for various restocked DVDs, including Sayaka Kusunoki's top-selling yaoi-erotic Shonen A and more!
Remember that J-List carries dozens of super cool "candy toy" (miniature toys that usually come with candy inside, called "shokugan" in Japanese) items from Japan, with many varieties of cool items -- anime figurines, replicas of famous battleships, super detailed replicas of Japanese food and sushi, Star Trek vehicles and more. They're great to display, and since we offer full sets of virtually all toys we sell, so you don't have to buy duplicates, you can save time, money and aggravation. Check out all our candy toys items!