Friday, November 28, 2003

Greetings from J-List November 28, 2003

Hello again from all of us at J-List!

I took an hour off work today to attend my daughter's "sankanbi," parent's day at school, when mothers and father come to see their kids in class (although I was the only father there). I've always been impressed with how much attention Japanese give to the education of their children, and many Japanese take a very active interest in what their children are learning. But education in Japan is very different from the U.S. First of all, Japan has chosen to standardize nearly all aspects of education on a national level, so that all aspects of learning, from textbooks to desks to how classes are structured, is decided by Japan's national Ministry of Education. School is quite strict in Japan, and there's only one "right" way for kids to do anything -- my daughter got in trouble for calling her older brother by his name (Kazuki) instead of using the word "oniichan" (Japanese for older brother), like all the other kids.

Japan's school system is undergoing many changes. Some of the changes are good -- for example, public schools recently ended the practice of holding classes on the first and third Saturdays of the month, to allow children to spend more time with their family. However, other changes bode ill for Japan's future. In postwar Japan, one of the pillars of society was that success could be achieved by excelling at academic competition, and the image of diligent students working hard to get the coveted top spot in the class rankings or to pass the difficult university entrance exams is a good one. However, public schools are no longer allowed to rank students by performance, and the old "hensachi" system, which was a numeric value assigned to all schools based on students test scores, has been outlawed. Also, despite the shrinking number of students and large number of universities operating at a loss now, a total of twelve new public, prefectural and private universities are coming on-line in Japan next spring, with more on the way. All of this means that, as Japan's population of students continues to shrink, it will be easier for students to get into the school of their choice without studying, which will mean even a degree from one of Japan's top schools may be meaningless in the future. This is why I'm planning to send my kids to school in the U.S.

If you've paid attention while watching Japanese anime or JAV, you've probably picked up on the word "ne." This is an interesting Japanese grammatical particle that usually goes on the ends of sentences and serves several purposes, mostly related to asking for confirmation of information or agreement with an opinion. Here are two examples:

"Aisu kohii futatsu desu ne?" You'd like two glasses of ice coffee, is that right?
"Kyou wa atsui desu ne." It's hot today, isn't it?

Other functions of the all-purpose Japanese particle "ne" include softening a sentence so its meaning it less harsh ("Chotto furotimashita ne." You've gained a little weight, haven't you?); emphasizing what you want to say ("Kondo chanto kiite kudasai, ne." Please listen closely next time, alright?); working as a pause in sentences, like "um" in English; and to get the attention of the listener before saying something. Girls use "ne" more often than men and with a higher intonation, so males should use the word with caution lest they appear effeminate.

We're happy to report that poor Daisuke, who injured his knee and had to spend a month in the hospital, is back at work and is doing very well. He's still going to "rihabiri" (rehabilitation) several times a week, but it's great to have him back.

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

  • First, for fans of Japan's excellent miniature toys, called "candy toys" since they usually come with candy inside, we have super detailed replicas of booths at Japanese festivals, with full sets available
  • For Hello Kitty fans, a fun to play "Hello Kitty Yo-Yo Fishing Game" that you play just like you do at Japanese festivals
  • For anime fans, we have super action figures from Dragonball Z, designed for the Japanese market by Bandai
  • Then enjoy some really cool items: Japanese traditional taiko drums that really work -- they look and sound great
  • We've got more wacky Japanese signs for your room, made of real pine
  • For fans of traditional Japanese food, we've got cool noodle trays and two different bowls for miso soup, very nice
  • We've got some great Japanese snack treats for you, including delicious almond Fran chocolate and almond sticks, Oreo Choco Sticks that you will love, and traditional rice crackers that are a favorite around here at J-List (Brent and I eat them every day)
  • Also, great new miso soup with baked shiitake mushrooms inside, yum!
  • Restocked snack foods include Kabaya Tiramisu Pocky-like snacks, Hi-Chew tangerine, coconut Pocky, more wacky "Kiss Mint Gum" and more
  • For fans of our unique only-sold-in-Japan toy items, we've gotten a bunch of new stock in for you, starting with a major update of our super detailed miniature food items -- look for fresh stock of all items, including miniature Japanese food, family restaurant food, Chinese food from Yokohama's Chinatown, "train station bento" miniatures and more
  • Also, we've restocked the cool Japan Hot Wheels Mach 5, a super collectible item for Speed Race fans (like me)
  • We've also added fresh stock of all the popular Groomy plush toys from Elecom, which feature soft chamois bottoms that you can use to keep your computer monitor clean
  • Also great for anyone with a computer, we've fresh stock of the cute Massage Rabbit and Soft Squeeze Rabbit, which are great for relieving stress
  • Finally, for those studying Japanese, we've added stock of all our popular Canon Wordtanks electronic study aids, which are *the* way to effectively study Japanese.

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

  • For fans of erotic magazines from Japan, we've got the great new issue of Deka Melon (Big Melon), featuring hardcore Race Queen that you'll love
  • We've also got the new issue of Aishite Ageru, e.g. I'll Love You, featuring great amateurs in love hotels
  • For Japanese photobook fans, we've got some great items, including a delightful photobook by Yuka Hirata, the delightful swimsuit photos of Mariko Okubo, and more
  • Also, fresh stock of some really rare and cool photobooks, which won't be available again -- great items for Yuko Ogura and Yinling fans!
  • We have some great erotic hentai manga for you, including the delightful Compensation of Ai by Do Comics, a 2 volume set of the Bad Slayers series by Hit Comics, and EX Comics excellent Milky Onsen
  • Also, we've got some restocked manga for you including Keep On Puru-Run My Sweet Baby, and more!
  • For G-Taste fans, we've gotten in the very nice 2004 calendars for this year, but we only have three and no more will be available
  • For our DVD customers, we've got some really fabulous items for you, starting with 4 hours of the very best sex of Saori Kamiya, a delightfully erotic AV star on the Million label (region free)
  • Then enjoy more top-quality leg fetish action from Japan, with Tights Variation, everything you ever wanted to know about long-legged Japanese women in erotic stockings and tights (region free)
  • TMA brings you a whopping 10 hours of top adult video action, with cosplay and more by Japan's top adult stars (region free)
  • Nampa is the act of men picking up girls on the street -- now see "reverse nampa" in which lesbians pick up Japanese kogals in Tokyo's Shibuya region and ask them to try their hand at lesbian kissing (region free)
  • Also for "reverse nampa" fans, see the erotic sex of girls who pick up guys and have sex with them, brought you by SOD's famous female adult video director Chie Sugawara (region free)
  • Then, we've got a new Actress Restraint Maniac series DVD featuring fun bondage play by Azusa Kyouno, a delightful and erotic adult video star
  • Finally, we've got fresh stock of popular erotic DVDs from Japan, including Sayaka Tsutsumi's Masterpiece Concentration, Ami Ayu's 4-hour MAX file, erotic Gymnastics Girls, Eighteen Pleasure, and more!

Remember that J-List is having a big $1 shipping sale on all English-translated dating-sim games, interactive story-based PC games in which the story is to make beautiful anime girls fall in love with you. A unique slice of pop culture for adults from Japan, we've worked hard to bring these great games to our customers since they first appeared back in 1996. Coupled with our 20% discount for buying 4 or more titles, this makes it a great time to complete your bishoujo game collection!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Greetings from J-List November 26, 2003

Hello again from all your friends at J-List!

Although you may think of trains when you think of Japan, you really need a car to get around unless you live in a large city like Tokyo or Nagoya. In Gunma Prefecture, where we live, there are train lines connecting the cities, but without a car it'd be very inconvenient to get anywhere. Buying a car here is a little different than it is in the U.S. For starters, nearly everyone buys cars from showrooms operated by the manufacturers (Mazda, Toyota), rather than from third-party dealers. GM's Saturn dealerships were directly based on this model. Since you're buying a car directly from the company that made it, they have total control over the buying experience and can come up with innovative ways of presenting their products to customers. Nissan has done just that with the launching of "Carest Zama," the first large-scale "car mall" twice the size of Tokyo Dome, where prospective auto buyers can browse over 100 of Nissan'a new cars, test drive them in an on-premises driving track, get service and buy various car-related products, and entertain their kids. When you buy a car in America, you usually drive off the lot that afternoon, but in Japan, virtually everyone orders the car they want, choosing color and options, and waits for it to be delivered in three weeks.

Something that causes some frustration in Japan is the sha-ken system, which is basically a total vehicle check-up all cars must get three years after a new car purchase and every two years after that. A combination safety check of all parts of the car, smog certification and tune-up, getting your car sha-ken'ed can cost anywhere from $500 to $1500 depending on how large the engine is and on the age of your car. (Part of the sha-ken fee is a road-use tax, and another part is the minimum car insurance that all drivers must carry.) Since the sha-ken fee is so expensive, Japanese usually use it as an excuse to buy a new car instead, which of course makes car manufacturers happy. On the one hand, sha-ken acts as a kind of ongoing "over-use" tax, punishing drivers who don't buy new cars every 3-5 years, and gaijin living in Japan are usually livid when they hear about all the money they have to pay to keep driving. On the other hand, having a solid safety check of all cars on a regular basis makes driving much safer, and cars almost never break here. In fact, I've only had one car problem in my twelve years in Japan, when a cat trying to get out of the cold climbed into my engine compartment, only to be ripped to shreds when I turned on my car.

What color are your eyes? All Japanese people have brown eyes, although if you ever ask them what color their eyes are, they'll tell you "black" (because the center of the eyes are black, as opposed to the iris). Japanese are often interested in the eyes of foreigners, since they come in different colors, something totally unknown in Japan (although they do have color contact lenses here). When I tell Japanese that my eyes change color depending on what I'm wearing, ranging from green to hazel to blue, they usually don't believe it's possible. My wife and I are studying Spanish, and I've been asked by my teacher, a Japanese who grew up in Peru, if I saw the world through a blue or green tint because of the color of my eyes.

J-List carries over 200 different photobooks from Japan, with beautiful idols and models, famous JPOP singers, and lovely nude photobooks. It's a great time to browse J-List's huge selection of photobook items, for two reasons. First, we've found fresh stock of some really rare items that were previously sold out, and have added them to the site. Also, for the rest of 2003 we're giving an extra big discount to customers who buy 4 more photobooks together: a whopping 20% (discount automatically applied at checkout).

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

  • Because we genuinely feel it's our duty to make cool and unique products available to you from Japan, we're happy to have Tomy's Micro Aqua miniature aquariums, which recreate real fishtanks in every detail for you
  • The Paper Stitch Lock, a great device that "stitches" sheets of paper together so you never need staples, has been one of our biggest sellers -- now we've got a deluxe version that comes in different colors
  • For Domo-kun fans, we've restocked the popular Domo-kun towels and washcloths
  • We love the high-quality Totoro toys of Sun Arrow, a famous Japanese toy company famous for their high quality products -- we've got more Makkuro Kurosuke, er, Soot Sprites in stock for you
  • Japan's unique toys, like Blythe and Kubrick, really come alive in the new issue of Dolly Bird, featuring a special look at the most stylish toys you've ever seen
  • We have more wacky Japanese signs for you, including one for people with men in the house who can't keep from missing the toilet
  • We've got fresh stock of the popular FX Neo eyedrops, which wake you up when you're sleepy -- a very popular item
  • We love cute things from Japan, and one of our favorites is the UsaColle Friends (short for Usako Collection and Friends) -- enjoy eyeglass wipes and origami paper
  • For Hello Kitty fans, we've got lots of cool things you can only find in Japan, including a set of Kitty kitchen figures, a delicious way to make ice cream with Kitty, and a Kitty microwave cake set
  • Then try some delicious traditional Japanese tastes including furikake, sweet bean soup, and more
  • We've restocked the popular Japanese spicy caffeine gum Black Black, advertised by Jean Claude van Damme
  • One of our best-selling DVD titles is Happa-Tai ("Fig Leaf Army") who were a big hit in the States -- we have "Yatta!" back in stock for you
  • Finally, look for more bizarre Japanese pins, fresh stock of cool Every Blythe miniature figures, fresh stock of 120 cm authentic "loose socks" and more!

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

  • For fans of Japan's beautiful erotic photography, we've got the new issue of Urecco, the "hybrid skin magazine" that features top-quality AV stars like Aoi Sora, Hitomi Hayasaka, Asuka Sawaguchi, and more, and Urecco is now an all-color magazine too!
  • We've got a great item for you next, a full color magazine that comes with a 125 minute sampler DVD and a life-sized poster of Aoi Sora
  • Then enjoy the new issue of Meets Girl (as in "boy meets girl") featuring real Japanese amateurs age 18 to 20 in love hotels with their boyfriends
  • We've got the wonderful hardcover swimsuit photobook of Noriko Satoh, age 18, and she looks really great
  • Then enjoy the delicious body of Tsukasa Kato's new photobook release, Rindoh
  • We have some super new erotic manga for you including Yutaka Tanaka's great new Shiawase H, the very erotic manga Ayame by AV Comics, and a very grown-up erotic manga by Action Comics
  • Also, a real treat for fans of Japan's highly developed tradition of hermaphrodite erotica, a new work by Amanoja 9 ("Amanojack") in his best-selling "TS I Love You" series
  • For doujinshi fans, we've got two great new doujinshi from the famous circle Ochimentaiko, for fans of Akira Minazuki's erotic busty women, and a super Zeta Gundam hentai doujinshi
  • For DVD fans, we have a great volley of new releases for you, starting with a new Body Concept erotic leg fetish from Shinkosha (region free)
  • Then enjoy the super natural and shy sex of Momo Takai in her adult film debut (region free)
  • Ai Nagase fans, Deep's has put together a great collection of 4 hours of her best hardcore works, and for a super price (region free)
  • Miku Hasegawa and Ai Shimura look great as they perform lesbian sex and 3P (three people, e.g. manage a trois) with am extremely lucky man (region free)
  • Enjoy the lesbian kissing of beautiful Japanese ladies in the new Les Kiss by U&K, the famous all-lesbian adult video studio (region free)
  • Then have a feast of bukkake in Semen Club, which features delightfully slutty women playing with sperm (region 2)
  • Finally, look for various restocked and reduced price DVD titles, with many more that ship with free SAL shipping!

Remember that J-List carries many items featuring the beautiful Russian nude idol Yulia Nova, including magazines, videos and more. Since J-List is the official representative of Yulia Nova, we have the best selection you'll find anywhere. Buy 3 or more Russian Beauties/Yulia Nova items and get an extra 10% discount, too.