Friday, December 19, 2003

Greetings from J-List December 19, 2003

Hello from Japan, where Phillips and regular screwdrivers are known as "plus" and "minus."

Despite the fact that I live in Japan, I can go down the street and find such familiar American stores as K-Mart and Sav-On. They have nothing to do with the American companies though: the names were "borrowed" by Japanese chains who apparently wanted to give their market share a boost by using an already-established name. The Japanese have a lot of respect for America and Europe, and since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they sometimes copy names and ideas wholesale. Other examples of this phenomenon include a convenience store chain Hot Spar, which lifted its name and corporate logo from the European Kwikspar store chain, and the Japanese men's magazine Weekly Playboy, which has nothing to do with the U.S. magazine.

Probably no language relies on foreign loan words as much as Japanese. From technical terms to the names of various professions to music groups like Every Little Thing and L'Arc~en~ciel, the Japanese use words borrowed from other languages every time they speak. Just as some English speakers will pepper their speech or writing with French (raison d'etre, coup de grace), Japanese use of English projects a certain image of cosmopolitanism that Japanese words don't always carry. Similarly, sometimes a concept can't be expressed accurately in Japanese, so an English word is assigned to the new concept -- for example, the English word "address" (adoresu) refers to email addresses, while the Japanese term juusho describes a mailing address. But the Japanese language has given plenty of words to rest of the world, too, and more than specific terms like sushi, anime, manga and hentai. When my kids walk to school every morning, they go in a group of other kids for safety, with the oldest acting as the leader for the group, called the "hancho" -- and this is the origin of the word honcho. You may have cooked a meal on a small hibachi, but a real hibachi is a traditional hearth found in Japanese homes a century or more ago. And tycoon (taikun) was a word foreigners used for the shogun back in the late Edo period. Language is so much fun!

There's a really useful phrase in Japanese that can be used in a variety of situations: "okage-sama de" (oh-KA-gey-sama-deh, with a hard 'g' on 'gey') which literally means "thanks to you." For some reason, the Japanese often respond to compliments by turning them back on the person doing the complimenting. For example, if someone were to compliment me on my being able to write a certain kanji character, I could say "Okage-sama de" to them -- "Yes, thanks to you." This seems to imply that I'm thanking that person for teaching me the character, even if I'd never met the person before, but that's the way the phrase is used -- it's a meaningless polite word for virtually any situation. If you want to have fun with Japanese people, pull the phrase out suddenly and watch how they react.

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

  • First, for fans of Japanese bento culture, celebrated in anime and manga, we've got a deluxe double-decker bento box that's great for those with big appetites -- check it out
  • We have a great item for New Years', a kimono-clad Hello Kitty with plush monkey that's so cool
  • For fans of our unique Japanese snacks, enjoy traditional cherry flavored hard candy, unique Sweet Potato Chips and more
  • Just in time for the Holidays, we've got a really cute Japanese "Christmas Type" Hanauta no Tami character, who moves his head from side to side
  • Then enjoy a great LED light that will light up any place, and lasts practically with lithium batteries
  • For Hello Kitty fans, we've got some really cool soft cases that you can store anything in -- digital camera, iPod, you name it (I keep my Zaurus in one)
  • From Japan's Skynet maker, we've got a replica of the Delorean from Back to the Future 2 that lights up --- such a cool toy from Japan!
  • Fans of Japanese swimsuit idols should check out the new trading cards of the sexy Sayaka Isoyama, all new photographs of this delightful girl in glossy laminated trading cards
  • For fans of Shirow Masamune's Ghost in the Shell anime series, we've got vol. 12 in stock for you, and it's a non-stop roller coaster of action for all anime fans
  • We have fresh stock of our popular authentic Japanese Loose Socks, which are worn by high school girls throughout the country -- available in 70 and 120 cm versions
  • Also, we have fresh stock of the popular Socks Glue, which you use to glue your loose socks to your leg -- something only the Japanese could have come up with
  • We have some cool metal signs in Japanese for people who want to have a little piece of Japan in their kitchens
  • We have more photobooks featuring photos of pretty high school uniforms, for fans of costuming or of Japanese uniforms
  • Also, fresh stock of Gothic Taste, a superb all-gothic manga that captures the state of gothicism in Japan today
  • For toy fans, we're restocked many items for you, including the Haro Gundam alarm clocks, Totoro playing cards, cute Studio Ghibli plush keychains, and more
  • Also, fresh stock of several popular anime music boxes, from Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and more (stock is limited though)
  • For Evangelion fans, see fresh stock of the popular soft vinyl figure of Asuka in sexy swimsuit
  • Finally, we've got some cute individual candy toy items, fresh stock of Japanese gum from Lotte, and more!

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

  • For fans of Japan's professional adult video stars, we've got the new issues of Video Boy and Best Video, both excellent sources of information and beautiful photographs of Japan's top idols
  • Then enjoy the love hotel sex of cute Japanese amateurs in the new issue of Yo!, with lots of cute kogals aged 18-22 for you including a funny feature, "The Fucker in the Rye"
  • For photobook collectors, we've got some great new items for you, starting with a super new erotic photobook by Taiwanese sexy idol Yinling that will make your eyes pop out of your skull
  • Then enjoy a super sexy hardcover photobook by Toko Ushikawa, one of the top Race Queens in all Japan
  • Then enjoy the sweet bikini photographs of Ryo Asada, a delightful Japanese swimsuit idol
  • For hentai manga collectors, enjoy some great new items, including Megumi Ureshino's Peach Angel, the erotic Marugoto Punyu Punyu, innovative erotic manga from Usura, and more
  • Plus we've got a great volley of restocked adult comics, including Cherry Berry Jam, Past Princess, Shoku Nyu, No Bra and more
  • For our DVD customers, enjoy a super collection of hardcore sex by Miyu Sakita, a great DVD at a special price (region free)
  • Then enjoy the deep eroticism of erotic performance swimsuits in a great new release by Image Maker, great for underwater fetish fans too (region free)
  • Then enjoy a new entry in Soft on Demand's Deep Kiss series, in which girls are asked to experiment with their first lesbian kissing and nude touching (region free)
  • Then see more Penis Study Fetish from SOD, a series in which inexperienced girls aged 18-20 see, touch and prod penises for the first time -- their reactions are priceless (region free)
  • From Waap Entertainment, enjoy the super bukkake hardcore of VIP Shower, which stars three top-notch adult idols in a festival of sperm (region 2)
  • Finally, we've stocked up on several great discs for the weekend, including Mika Kitagawa's Stars!! release, Nao Oikawa's High Class Soapland, The Other Side of COCOLO, Female Masturbation Study and more!

Do you like Japan's dating-sim games? Got questions about the games and would like to find some answers? We recommend you head over to the Peach Princess BBS and meet the warm and friendly bishoujo gaming fans who can be found there. They'll welcome you and give you any information you may need. The PeaPri BBS can be found here:

Remember that J-List now sells long-sleeve and hoody versions of our popular wacky Japanese T-shirts, like "Looking for a Japanese Girlfriend" "Beware of Perverts Touching Women on Trains" and so on. A great way to wear a wacky Japanese message and stay warm at the same time!

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Greetings from J-List December 17, 2003

Hello again from your friends in Japan!

As you probably know, the Japanese take their shoes off when entering homes and some businesses, including J-List. To the Japanese, there's nothing dirtier than shoes, and so homes here have a "genkan" or low area near the front door where shoes are left (we built one of these into our home in San Diego). When inside the house, Japanese usually wear slippers, however there's one problem: although the Japanese excel at many things, the slippers sold here are nearly always too small for big gaijin feet. Thus when visiting a friend's home, we quietly forget to put on the offered slippers, hoping they won't notice.

As December moves on and the weather gets colder, Japanese start to think about eating -- mikans! Mikans, or mandarin oranges, are wildly popular in Japan in the winter, and all stores are well stocked with large and small bundles of mikans for customers to buy. In December, Japanese give winter gifts to people they want to show thanks to, such as teachers, bosses and so on. Businesses also give year-end gifts to the companies they do business with, exchanging special boxed sets of coffee, canned juice, foods from a special part of Japan. This year J-List received an extra special gift from one of our suppliers: a large box of delicious mikan oranges from Shizuka Prefecture, and we've all been savoring the sweet delicious taste of them all week long while we work. (See "Local Gift Goods" set on the J-List website for detailed miniature versions of these gift items, including the mikans we received.)

Whenever you learn a language, one of the first things you generally learn are the "bad" words -- that's just plain human nature. Most students of Japanese are surprised to find that there are almost no really bad words in the language -- if you define bad as in, words that kids aren't allowed to use. "Kuso" (the "s" word) is used regularly on children's anime in Japan, and most kids use it normally while playing with nary a word from their parents. "Baka" (stupid) is the catch-all insult, used in almost any situation (Japanese from the Kansai region say "aho" instead). Variations on the above two words include "baka-jijii" (stupid old man) and "kuso-babaa" (sh--ty old woman). The various applications of the "f" word don't translate into Japanese at all -- the word doesn't exist in Japanese, although virtually all Japanese know the English word, along with the English word "sekkusu." The only really "bad" words in Japanese is "manko" (referring to a woman's reproductive organ) -- a word as embarrassingly close to "mango" as election/erection is for Japanese speakers of English. This word is so bad, it's usually written with a circle or "X" or a circle in place of the middle letter. As always, exercise caution when using these words so that you don't offend any Japanese around you. For more information on Japanese terms, see the glossary.

Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of another unique 2004 calendar selling out, never to return. Because J-List wants to foster interest in all forms of Japanese pop culture, from anime to JPOP to Japanese's culture of worshipping sexy swimsuit idols, we carry hundreds of 2004 calendars every year. Now calendar season is winding down, but we've got hundreds of really fun large-format calendars that would look great on your wall, or on the walls of friends and family members (they make great gifts). The glossy printing on Japanese calendars is beautiful to behold, and the large calendars showcase the photographs beautifully. Why not browse our extensive selection of Japanese calendars and see which you'd like to get? Order 4 or more and get free mailing tubes and a 15% discount.

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

  • First, for Domo-kun lovers, we've gotten in fresh stock of some of the most popular Domo-kun items, including the deluxe plush toy that can stand anywhere
  • Macross fans, we've got a great treat for you: fresh stock of the cool Macross Battroid and Gerwalk figures released by Arii
  • For fans of our unique Japanese snacks, we've got some great new items for you, including a limited edition of Morinaga Choco Ball candies sold only in the winter -- enjoy new Caramel Macchiato and Cheesecake flavors!
  • Also enjoy delicious rice crackers from Kameda, the #1 maker of rice crackers in Japan, as well as the very cool Dice Caramels, sold in Japan for decades
  • We've added stock of many snack items too, including White Cocoa Melty Kiss, Baby Star Ramen, wonderful Pocari Sweat powder, and our best-selling sake candy
  • Macross fans,
  • Want something unique from Japan? We've got some really cool Finding Nemo character toys sold only in Japan -- two cute characters per bag
  • Morning Musume fans, we've restocked some popular Mo-Musu photobooks which are very hard to find -- get them before they're gone!
  • For anyone taking medication, we've got a very handy and compact weekly pill case from Japan
  • For Tomy car fans, we've got a cool replica of the Panasonic Toyota F-1 racing car, a very cool toy from Japan
  • We've got two great new issues of Figure Maniacs, beautiful perfect-bound photobooks which capture the incredible detail of Japanese anime figures and sculptures
  • Want to make some really unique ice cubes? We've got some fun ice cube trays from Japan for you
  • We have some more wacky Japanese signs, this time metal signs with funny pictures and Japanese messages printed on them
  • We have a super Japanese "carpet roller" that you can use to keep your carpet or clothes free of dirt and hair, a very handy item
  • We've restocked our world-famous Hello Kitty toilet paper in both pink and green, and added fresh stock of the Poop Aid toilet paper which helps you go to the bathroom
  • Other wacky items we've restocked: more Japanese headbands, our cool tattoo shirt that makes you look like a yakuza, and more
  • Also, for bento box fans who are also hearty eaters, we've restocked our popular large-size Wimbledon Bento Box
  • We love to bring you seasonal items from Japan, and we've got a great one for you: Hello Kitty hagoita boards which you can use to play hanetsuki, traditional Japanese badminton that's played around New Year's Day
  • Finally, look for even more wacky chopsticks from Japan, a very unique Japanese way to clean your ears, more beautiful Japanese "congratulations envelopes," even more Japanese New Year's stamps, and more!

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

  • For fans of Japan's incredible adult magazines, we've got the new Bejean (bijin = beautiful woman in Japanese), a great oversized magazine featuring Japan's top adult and sexy idols
  • For lovers of Japan's "gouka-bon," square-backed all-color fetish photobooks, we've got a new item for fans of New Half, aka dick girls
  • For fans of Japan's incredible photobooks, enjoy the solemn and beautiful nude of Nagisa Ohsaki
  • Then a special item for you, we've got a Flash Special photobook that features seven of Japan's all-time most popular adult stars, including Sora Aoi, Nao Oikawa and Ran Asakawa -- see their wonderful nude photographs coupled with beautiful poetry in Japanese
  • Then see the delightful sexy photographs of Yui Ichikawa, the beautiful swimsuit and sexy idol from Japan
  • Then see the charming Chiharu Kazuki (I always have to laugh at her name, since my wife's name is Chiharu and my son's name is Kazuki), her bright, exciting hardcover photobook
  • J-List carries unique adult toys sold only in Japan, and we've restocked our popular Japan Rotor, Mr. Pink and Vibrating Ecstacy Brush
  • For hentai manga fans, we've got some more great items for you, including the hopelessly cute and erotic Bluesky Melody, Nyanko MIC's Addicted to Flesh, and fun peach-colored breasts from Action Comics
  • We've also got a big restocking of adult manga titles for you, including more than a dozen books -- Stripper Mai, Shell, Miku's Sexual Diary, and more
  • Hentai gamers, enjoy a rare trading card set of Desire, the popular game from Himeya, which we've got in stock now
  • For our DVD customers, we've got some great items for you, starting with the Masterpiece Concentration of Sayaka Tsutsumi, featuring her best sex compiled onto a great low-price DVD for you! (region free)
  • Then see 4 hours of all-lesbian action from Big Morkal, with plenty of strap-oon dildo lesbian fucking, oral sex and more (region free)
  • For fans of Japan's highly-developed leg, stocking and up-skirt fetishism, we've got a new Flare & Right Skirt fetish DVD, with a hefty dose of sexy high heels and even tall boots -- wow! (region free)
  • Enjoy an all-lesbian soapland DVD, featuring the beautiful Yui Asahina in her first all-female experience (region free)
  • For fans of sexual cosplay, we've got ten lovely adult video stars who wear super sexy costumes, from the Budweiser Girl to sexy maid to glasses-clad OL and more (region free)
  • For indies fans, enjoy the super-erotic new Face release from Audaz, featuring the beautiful face and sex of Shuri Himesaki (region 2)
  • Finally, find many restocked DVD titles, including Lesbian Ecstasy Best vol. 1 and Lesbian Kiss, various Mai Hagiwara DVDs, and more!

Remember that J-List carries over 2000 unique products from Japan. One of the most unique ever is the Hello Kitty vibrating shoulder massage, a licensed Sanrio item that has been one of the best-selling products at J-List for two years. Sadly, the massagers are totally out of production and will never be made again. We've got the last stock of these unique items in all Japan, but our stock is rapidly being depleted as a dozen or so sell every day. If you want to own a really bizarre piece of Japanese pop culture, get yours before we run out for good! If you get 3 or more, you get an automatic 20% off at checkout.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Greetings from J-List December 15, 2003

Hello and Happy Monday from your friends in Japan!

Like the English language, Japanese has been greatly influenced by its neighbors, mainly Chinese and Korean, and like English, it can be quite complex as a result of this intermingling. Japanese is written with no less than three different writing systems, each with a different role to play. First there's Hiragana, the flowing syllabary that is the backbone of written Japanese, 46 symbols that are used to express all the sounds used in the language. Katakana is a different version of the same 46 symbols, which are used to write foreign names and loan words like "happy wedding" "melty kiss" and "amenity communicator." The actual meaning of words is expressed through kanji, Chinese characters, which are used to express virtually all complex concepts. Just as the eye reads word like "presidential" or "democratic" as a single unit, processing all the letters instantly, kanji are processed by the brain as gestalt concepts -- Japanese written using only hiragana and katana, such as in childrens' books, are very difficult to read because of the lack of kanji. I am a big fan of the Lord of the Rings, and like checking the Japanese versions of the books to see how passages read (Galadrial sound really cool in Japanese). But when I bought my wife a copy of The Hobbit, I was disappointed: because the publishers considered it a children's book, it used almost no kanji at all, making it nearly impossible to read.

Christmas is around the corner -- have you ordered your Christmas cake? Christmas cake is a major tradition in Japan, an excuse to bring home a big cake for the family on December 24th. No matter where you go, from convenience stores to supermarkets, you'll be bombarded by advertisements for delicious looking Christmas cakes in store windows. To be sure to get the cake you want, you usually have to reserve it in advance. A standard Christmas cake is a double-layered white sponge cake with white frosting and strawberries on top. The concept of cake on Christmas sounded very odd to my American ear when I first heard the term, but the Japanese appear to have taken their idea from the British and their tradition of baking cakes for Christmas. Other Britishisms used in Japan: a car hood is a "bonnnet," the last letter of the alphabet is usually "zed," toilets are labeled "W.C.," and the term "pants" always refers to underwear, never to your trousers.

Seen a certain way, the Japanese can appear quite superstitious. Certainly, there are many superstitions here that seem odd to foreigners, such as, don't cut your fingernails at night or you won't be able to be with your parents when they die, don't whistle at night or snakes will come and get you, don't give gifts in sets of four since four means "death" in Japanese, and so on. Many of these beliefs come from Japan's death-oriented Buddhism -- it's bad luck to sleep with your head to the north ("kita makura"), as dead people about to be cremated are laid with their heads to the north. Similar to this, there's a complex system of lucky and unlucky days according to a Buddhist calendar, with six different days that cycle throughout the month. It's good luck to get married or start construction on your home on the luckiest day (called Taian), but if you were to get married on the unlucky day (called Butsumetsu, the Dying Day of Buddha), you'd probably end up divorced and unhappy. Virtually all Japanese want to get married on Taian, and wedding halls are packed to the gills on these lucky days. When buying a car, it's also customary to take delivery of it on one of these lucky days, to avoid traffic accidents.

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

  • First, for fans of the very rare Kubrick toys from Japan's famous toy company Medicom, we've got some limited-edition Rocky and Rocky II Kubrick figures -- these are totally cool!
  • For fans of Blythe, the eerie doll series from Takara, we have a cool new Pop-Up World Blythe, so stylish and fun to display and collect
  • We have more capsule toys, aka "gashapon," this time really cool miniature figures from Dead or Alive (and full sets, too!)
  • For fans of traditional Japanese items, we have a cool Daruma Ladder game, in which a Japanese daruma head talks down a ladder -- really fun to play with!
  • For fans of our Japanese snacks, we have the super-thick and creamy More Fran, a stick treat like Mousse Pocky that is fantastic to eat
  • Also, fresh stock of delicious Oreo Stick snacks (sold only in Japan) and Coconut Pocky (yum)
  • Then enjoy two favorites from Japan: spaghetti sauce with tarako (cod roe), and ume-jiso (ume and basil)
  • Also, some cute Sanrio candies that are fun to eat, and come with a beautiful tin
  • For Hello Kitty fans, we've got some cool items, including a "Minus Ion Ring" to wear that looks great and will improve your well being with negatively-charged ions
  • For fans of wacky things from Japan, we've got some wacky Japanese stickers in stock for you
  • Want to enjoy some delicious Japanese rice? Serve it up with our non-stick rice scoops, which attach to the side of your rice cooker, or anywhere
  • We've got more authentic chopsticks from Japan, from fun "fortune telling chopsticks" that tell your horoscope in Japanese, to cool ukiyoe chopsticks for you to use at home
  • Finally, enjoy fresh stock of wacky English notebooks from Japan, a great way to clean your glasses, a great way to keep your bath clean of hair and dirt, and more!

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

  • First, we've got the killer new Urecco, filled with the most dreamily beautiful Japanese adult video stars fro you
  • For fans of the unique Japanese fetish of "hitozuma" (lit. "a person's wife," or married woman fetish), we have a new all color magazine featuring unfaithful wives for you
  • For hardcover photobook fans, we've got some great items for you, starting with Maria Hirai's delightful Naked Angel offering
  • Then take in the super sexy photobook of the experienced and mature Kaori Yamaguchi
  • Yuko Sakurai looks fantastic in her super sexy photobook, sporting her giant K cup breasts
  • Then take in the beauty of Aya Satonaka in her sizzling swimsuit and sailor uniform photobook, just great
  • For hentai manga fans, we've got some great new items for you, including a super all-dick girl anthology, the erotic Experienced Reporter, and a great costume play hentai manga
  • For yaoi lovers, we've got a new Chara Collection, featuring 200+ pages of great yaoi comic art and stories from Japan's top artists
  • For our DVD collecting customers, we've got some great items for you today, starting with a 240 minute re-mix of Sakurako Kaoru's most lovely sexual performances (region free)
  • Then enjoy the erotic anime cosplay of three lovely AV gals in a new all-cosplay DVD -- the price is great, too! (region free)
  • Let fetish fans, enjoy the low-angle erotic poses of four great Japanese leg queens, in a great 180 minute DVD from Big Morkal (region free)
  • Enjoy the fresh sex of Yui Hasegawa in a new release from Soft on Demand, featuring the unpretentious erotic performance of this lovely adult video idol from Japan (region free)
  • Then see the lovely "Fainting Lesbian Kiss" from SOD's Deep's label, a great exploration of lesbian hardcore sex and kissing fetish by three positively beautiful girls (region free)
  • Finally, another dozen or so DVDs have been added with free shipping, allowing you to get these great erotic DVDs from Japan and save!

At J-List, we love the DVD format. Although 90% of the DVDs we carry on J-List are "region free," meaning you can play them in your home DVD player as-is, Japan-released anime DVDs such as the Hayao Miyazaki anime movies, all Japanese films, and some "indies" adult DVDs are zoned for region 2 only, which requires a special player. We stock three great region free DVD players for customers who want to watch DVDs from around the world: the multi-featured Cyberhome DVD CH-500, the convenient and affordable Lasonic DVF-982, and the even more affordable DVF-8092. Each one is perfect for enjoying DVDs from around the world, including Japan (region 2) as well as Europe (PAL discs). Our excellent players are stocked in San Diego for your convenience and we ship daily. Why not see our unique code-free DVD players today?

Recently sighted in Japan: A really wacky air filtering system called Cleanpoo.