Friday, December 05, 2003

Greetings from J-List December 5, 2003

Hello and Happy Friday from J-List!

Winter is approaching, and days are getting chillier. It's the season when Japanese get ready for wild and fun Christmas parties and quiet, solemn New Years' celebrations -- the opposite of the way it's done U.S. It's also the time of year that drivers prepare for Japan's endless cycle of winter road construction, as local governments hurry to use up their construction budgets before the end of Japan's fiscal year next March. Everywhere I drive for the next three months, I know I'll face constant delays as roads are torn up and put down again, in an eternal cycle of government-sponsored inefficiency. The main problem is a law that dictates that 100% of the taxes collected on cars and gasoline must be used to build more roads, with no exceptions, despite the fact that Japan already has plenty of roads that work just fine. It's a major political issue in Japan, with most of the "old guard" politicians in Japan's ruling Liberal Democrat Party supporting the ongoing wasting of resources because of effective lobbying by Japan's construction companies. Japan spends a whopping $9 billion a year on its roads, an amazing sum considering that the U.S. spends $11 billion yet is 25 times as large (Japan's annual public works expenditures would allow it to build the Panama Canal every year). Yet despite the fact that Japan is so in the red that its credit rating is lower than that of Botswana, this massive waste is allowed to go on, in the name of preserving jobs. The idea that Japan's leaders are so ineffectual that they can't fix this terrible situation makes me grieve for my adopted country.

One word you learn pretty early when studying Japanese is "gaman suru" which means to endure or tolerate something. If a restaurant is too warm, most Japanese will "gaman" or put up with unpleasant situation rather than asking the restaurant staff to turn the heat down. Again and again we see examples of Japanese faced with a problem doing nothing about it, just putting up with the situation, instead of proactively doing something to fix it. This tendency to show extreme patience is considered a virtue here, and it may be in some situations. But my wife and I refuse to join the rest of Japan in putting up with what needs to be changed: whether it's speaking out about the lack of a non-smoking section at a restaurant or tactfully recommending that the soba noodle sauce might taste better if it were chilled rather than served at room temperature, we nearly always speak our minds. It's not easy going against the grain in Japan, and we really stand out sometimes, but we figure it will help Japan in the long run.

Well, Musashimaru, the last Hawaiian sumo wrestler active in Japan's sumo association, has retired, after being plagued for many months by a wrist injury. Musashimaru, 32, was the second wrestler to attain sumo's highest rank of Grand Champion (Yokozuna), and he weighed a massive 522 lb (237 kg) at his highest point. With his retirement, there are no more Americans active in sumo, although there are several Mongolian and one Russian rikishi (the Japanese word for sumo wrestlers). Mongolian wrestler Asashouryu is the only current Grand Champion in sumo right now.

For fans of Hayao Miyazaki's fabulous masterpiece Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, we're extremely proud to have the Limited Edition Collectors' Box in stock for you, which comes in a huge box with many cool extras, including a beautiful framed illustration by Mr. Miyazaki, a painted resin model of the great Ohmu, the Nausica ceramic statue, and the DVD in a special DVD cover, also designed personally by Mr. Miyazaki. Because of the size of these massive boxes, they must be sent by EMS -- but that's good, because it means they'll still get there in plenty of time for Christmas!

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

  • First, we've got the new Cosmo issue in stock for you, a fantastic perfect-bound photobook that features all the best of Japanese cosplay, along with a pattern that you can pull out and use to make your own costumes
  • Christmas is a big deal in Japan, but in the final analysis, New Years' Day, with its themes of quiet renewal for the new year, are more important to the Japanese -- and we've got some traditional Japanese decorations on our site for you!
  • For Miyazaki fans, we've got fresh stock of one of my personal favorite items, the Castle in the Sky Laputa playing cards (which I use when playing games with my kids)
  • Gackt is a JPOP singer who is without a doubt the single most sexy Japanese man -- enjoy limited stock of his really cool photobook
  • For fans of unique erasers, we've got some cool items: sets of traditional Japanese toys like kendama, Japanese yo-yos and Japanese traditional tops, which are real erasers that you can really play with
  • For fans of Sanrio's characters, we've got some cute Sanrio snacks, delicious and fun to eat
  • Then enjoy more classic Japanese snack foods, including spicy furikake for your rice, more delicious varieties of Ochazuke, newly posted for you
  • Also for snack fans, we have a huge update of products for you, with many items restocked -- Pocky (all flavors), Miso Butter Pretz, Fran chocolate sticks, fun to eat Gummi Sushi, and Black Black caffeine gum
  • We have some more wacky Japanese signs with thought-provoking slogans on them, for those who love the aesthetic beauty of kanji characters
  • We have more traditional Japanese bowls, which make it fun to eat Japanese foods including miso soup
  • From the very cool character goods company San-X, we've got a rare item: super-cute "bottlecap friends" toys featuring their most famous characters, including Koge-pan, Tare Panda, Nyanko Restaurant and more (with full sets available)
  • We love unique toys from Japan, and we've got more of the Tomica mini-cars, beautiful die-cast toys cars that are uniquely Japanese
  • For completed figure fans, we've got toy models of Cliff Fitter from Star Ocean, a really cool figure made by Kotobukiya, and a beautiful cold cast completed model of Rei Ayanami
  • We've restocked the popular Welsh Corgi Groomy plush pet, too, a great friend for your computer
  • Finally look for fresh stock of traditional Japanese report paper and "Check Set" study aids (great for students), delicious almond Toppo, and more!

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

  • First, we've got a great stylish nude magazine called Ero-Pop, featuring the super stylish sex of authentic Japanese amateurs in what we've come to call "Japanese Girls in Underoos"
  • Then we've got a great erotic magazine with 120 minute DVD featuring the fetish of beautiful Japanese girls having sex with bit black guys from the U.S.
  • We have some great erotic photobooks for you, including Nao Oikawa's super sexy new photobook Megami, featuring the popular fetish of gymnastics and leg-bending flexibility
  • Then enjoy the sizzling photobook of Yasuko Akiba, so sexy in her frilly cosplay outfits that you will not believe your eyes
  • For fans of hentai manga from Japan, we've got more excellent new volumes for you, starting with A Summer Drop by Tsukasa Comics, the best of Female Teacher manga by Toen Comics and a great erotic manga for Christmas
  • Yasu has posted various new stock of erotic comics, including Do Tomorrow Is a New Day?, Tanu-Puri Chan, Immoral Scenario, The Ties That Bind, Very Satisfied with Five Body Parts and more
  • Also, look for fresh stock of Youhei Kozou's superb CG collection, which is made available to J-List customers in uncensored form, something even Japanese fans don't get to enjoy
  • For yaoi fans, we've got the great new issue of Hertz, a compilation manga featuring the works of a dozen talented yaoi artists
  • For DVD fans, we've got more great titles for you, starting with Ran Monbu (aka the French dessert "Mont Blanc"), appearing in both a normal and a deluxe edition of Let's Cum Face Ayaya, in which she parodies the famous JPOP idol Aya Matsuura (region free)
  • From Soft on Demand, enjoy the Fan Thanksgiving Day of Kokoro Amano, in which she says thanks to her fans by performing sexual acts on them -- a great new edition of this popular title (region free)
  • For SOD Outlet fans, enjoy the delightful Saint Roshutsu offering, featuring the Japanese fetish of "roshutsu" or getting naked and having sex in public places (region free)
  • The lesbian DVDs of U&K are famous all over Japan, and the studio produces only high-quality lesbian adult video --- we've got a great new production for you starring Shoko Mikami and Naomi Hirose (region free)
  • For fans of bondage play, enjoy the erotic Actress Restraint Maniac presentation of Asuka Sawaguchi who is bound, teased and made into a sexual plaything for your enjoyment (region 2)
  • Finally, look for restocked erotic DVDs like Mariay Yumeno & Anna Ohura in I Love H, Kanabun in Project B, and fresh stock of the popular Mourning Dress Sisters.

Remember that J-List is the home of the original Wacky Japanese T-shirts, with messages like "Beware Perverts on Trains" "I'm Looking for a Japanese Girlfriend" and "Beware of Perverts." Our shirts are all printed in the USA on quality 6.1 lb 100% cotton shirts, and all sizes are full U.S. sizes, with size S through 3XL available in most designs. To double check what size shirt is best for you, click the size link below each shirt description to see the measurements of our shirts in inches and centimeters. Order three shirts and get 10% off!

Monday, December 01, 2003

Greetings from J-List December 1, 2003

Hello again from Japan, home of cars with funny names like the Mitsubishi "That's."

There are many approaches to learning a foreign language -- the Army Method (stress on learning through memorization), the Grammar Translation Method (learning a language by parsing its grammar), the Communicative Method (leaning by speaking and listening in the target language), the Natural approach (trying to replicate the steps that children go through when they learn a language). Another approach is the "get attention" method, which I'll label the Social Feedback Method to give it a proper name. Basically, you learn whatever vocabulary and phrases that will make you the life of the party among your new linguistic group, be it cute ways to begin conversations with attractive Japanese girls or interesting phrases that will amuse Japanese people around you. I have a friend who worked his way across Asia using this method, learning just enough of the local languages to be social and have fun with his hosts, and he swears by it.

It's "shinmai" season in Japan right now, when "new rice" (the rice that was harvested in October) makes its way into the marketplace, and everywhere in Japan, restaurants and stores advertise that they're using delicious, fresh rice in their products. Although annual consumption of rice decreases every year, as the Japanese diet slowly changes, the Japan still eat rice two or three times a day. Rice is so ubiquitous that the word for cooked rice (gohan) is used to refer to any meal, even if it doesn't include rice. Virtually all Japanese cook rice in an electric rice cooker, which allows rice for the whole family to be prepared with the press of a button. Companies like Mitsubishi and Zojirushi complete to bring the best rice cookers to market, with features like automatic timers, inner pots made of copper to simulate the taste of cooking rice a hundred years ago and the ability to bake bread.

The country music of Japan is known as enka, a style of sad traditional music that probably originated in Korea and which is the most popular music in Japan with Japanese over 40 years of age (truck drivers also love it). Enka songs often deal with the more bittersweet aspects of life, drinking alone in a cold bar, pouring your own sake because your wife left you. Sung by both men and women, enka songs capture the sweet pain that we all feel in life. Enka songs often employ tremolo vocals, singing while changing the pitch of your voice (not totally unlike yodeling), to express the emotion of the singer. Because enka songs are the last thing Japanese would expect a gaijin to be able to sing, I always made a point of singing enka whenever I go to karaoke -- it's really fun. Here are some samples of enka if you'd like to hear what it sounds like (Real Player required).

http://www.okada.de/archive-japanasitis/enka2/images/mizunash.ram
http://www.okada.de/archive-japanasitis/enka2/images/sute.ram

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

  • First, for Domo-kun fans, we've got a super set of Domo-kun postit notes, that you can use to really brighten up the office
  • We've got some cool Medicom Toy products in, including individuals of the Kubrick Alien, and a deluxe detailed Planet of the Apes figure that's really cool
  • For fans of the super-cute Morning Musume gals, we've got a great hardcover photobook of Nozomi Tsuji, whose nickname is "Nono"
  • For fans of Japan's incredible tradition of creating detailed 3-D anime models and figurines, we've got two new issues of Figure Maniacs, filled with top-quality photographs of the most incredible toys you've ever seen
  • Then enjoy the newest issue of Gothic & Lolita Bible, filled with super photographs of all the best gothic fashion that Japan has to offer -- along with a do-it-yourself gothic pattern, right in the book!
  • For fans of swimsuit idols from Yellow Cab, the most famous talent agency in Japan, we humble recommend the delicious new photobook of Eriko Satoh, who looks great
  • We have some really cool Japanese cloth banners that feature the wisdom of Japan, including the Ten Commandments for Health and more
  • Hello Kitty fans, we've got a great item for you: Kitty placemats that are incredibly cute and very unique
  • We have some great all-purpose canvas bags with classical Japanese images on them, very attractive
  • Also, some great traditional Japanese trays that look like they're made out of lacquered wood (but ours are more economical plastic)
  • For fans of Japanese snacks, we have some unique items today -- delicious chestnut flavored Toppo just for winter, traditional ochazuke (one of my favorite foods), salmon furikake, and Calpis soft candy
  • For those studying Japanese or any language, we've restocked our popular Campus Word Books, great Japanese notebooks for recording vocabulary words
  • Finally, look for fresh stock of our popular wacky notebooks with funny English on them, more Hello Kitty items including a cute Kitty photo case, and more!

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

  • First, prepare to enjoy Yuko Ogura and Japan's other sexy swimsuit idols as you've never done with the new issue of Sabra
  • Then, the new issue of "I'm Gonna Ask You Out" is in stock, featuring hardcore with real Japanese amateurs
  • Enjoy a full color magazine and 4 hour sampler DVD, in the new Ura DVD Deluxe vol. 1
  • For Ran Asakawa fans, a real treat: her boldest, most erotic photobook ever, which includes parodying of The Matrix (Ran-chan as Trinity works really well)
  • For hentai manga collectors, we have some great items in stock, including Yuki Tomoka's The Love Affair in the Sunny Place, Megastore Comics's DV, and a superb erotic comic work by Takuma Harazaki (!)
  • We have some great new erotic doujinshi for you, including an all-Gundam Seed parody comic and a hentai parody of Aura Battler Dunbine
  • For our yaoi customers, we have a great anthology of stories with works by eight different talented yaoi artists
  • For DVD customers, we've got some great items, starting with the 2nd "No Cut!!" release of Haruka Tsukino, with three hours of her beautiful sex at a great price (region free)
  • Then enjoy the super-busty Marina Matsushima in her newest release, Tease Fetish Angles in Ultra Breasts (region free)
  • For leg and stocking fans, we've got a great new erotic release by Shinkosha featuring erotic and thrilling bondage-themed let fetishism (region free)
  • From Soft on Demand, enjoy the erotic sex of Ayami Sakurai, the horse-riding male virgin hunter (region free)
  • Then enjoy great lesbian sex in "My Female Teacher is My Lesbian Pet 2," featuring Naomi Hirose and Mei Asou (region free)
  • Then from the popular Bejean, enjoy the beautiful erotica of Hitomi Hayasaka as you've never seen her before (region 2)
  • Finally, look for many restocked DVDs, including Aika Miura's Fantastic, Re-MIX 3-in-1 DVD releases by Ayami Sakurai and Sakurako Kaoru, 32 Lecherous Ladies Lesbian Maniax, more great erotica with Anna Ohura, and more!

Remember that J-List is your place to find wacky and bizarre Christmas gifts that your recipients will remember for years. If they love Japan -- and who doesn't? -- we have hundreds of items that would be great to give to them, from bizarre T-shirts to cool Japanese calendars to delicious snacks and more. Our staff is working at a very fast pace to make sure all packages go out in a timely manner, so you can get your gifts in time for Christmas. Be sure to browse our great items and see what'd be good for the people on your list!

Want an easy way of browsing J-List products? Click the "view products updated in the past 3 days" link below the top 5 lists on the J-List main page. Or want to browse J-List's 2500+ products easily, sorted into most-recently-updated order? Click the "view all products" link in the upper left hand corner.

The J-Mate site has been updated with a new interview, this time with the lovely Asuka Sawagichi. Read what makes this delightful AV starlet from Japan tick! The URL is http://www.jmate.com/