Monday, January 05, 2004

Greetings from J-List January 5, 2004

Hello again from J-List!

First of all, a full hard drive caused a dozen or so orders received over the weekend to show as incomplete on our end -- we received the orders but not the email addresses or names of the people who made them. If you ordered something through the J-List website on Saturday or Sunday and haven't received the second email from us, please contact us so we can get your order processed properly.

We had a fun weekend. Our kids don't get out enough since we're so busy with J-List, so we took them to beautiful Yokohama to show them the city, hitting such famous sites as Chinatown and the Gaijin Graveyard and Yokohama Marine Tower in Yamashita Park, the tallest lighthouse in the world (I've wanted to see it since I saw episode 15 of Robotech back in high school). Yokohama is a fabulous place, steeped in history and international culture, and I've always felt drawn to it -- maybe that's because my hometown of San Diego is similar in many ways, and in fact, Yokohama and San Diego are sister cities. We took the kids to have some fun at Hakkejima Sea Paradise, an amusement park and excellent aquarium located on an artifically created island in Yokohama Bay. We loved riding the rides, but had the most fun in the aquarium, a very well-designed system of tanks and windows that allow you to get inches away from some amazing marine life, and meet eyes with beluga whales, dolphins, penguins and more. There's also an escalator that goes up through a massive tank of aqua life, so that there are fish on all sides of you and above you. It was pretty cool.

In Yokohama we stayed in a Western hotel, one of the high-rise hotels popular in the major Japanese cities known as "city hotels." Staying in a city hotel is a totally Western experience -- everything from the beds to the bathtubs to the food in the restaurants is based on a slightly exaggerated ideal of what a fine hotel in America or Europe would be, as seen through Japanese eyes. It was actually a bit of a culture shock for my family and I -- we're so used to the rhythm of a Japanese-style inn, with tatami rooms, futons, cotton yukata and large communal hot spring baths, that the city hotel took some getting used to.

At the amusement park there was an Anna Miller's restaunt, which we happily ate at. Anna Millers' is a famous chain of "Boston style" family restaurants that's really good, and their pies can't be beat. But Anna Miller's is famous for another reason: their sexy waitress uniforms, which feature very short skirts and, er, support for various parts of a woman's anatomy. As part of the general Japanese boom in "cosplay" (costume play, i.e. dressing up in various uniforms or costumes), the Anna Miller's sexy waitress uniforms have become famous throughout the country, and are as recognizable to Japanese as the Playboy Bunny is to Americans. To see what the uniform looks like, just search for "waitress" on the J-List site and see what comes up -- the bishoujo game Viper V16 also features a girl wearing this famous costume on the cover. Supposedly, the best place to experience Anne Miller's is the restaurant in Meguro, Tokyo -- the girls are supposed to be the prettiest there, according to Tomo, who is an expert. If you're ever in Tokyo and want to experience some delicious food and pretty waitresses, just go to the Meguro or Ebisu train stations on the Yama-no-te loop line and take a taxi to the restaurant.

Now I'm at Narita Airport, about to make the leap from Japan to California again. I'll be attending the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas from Jan 8-12. If you'll be at the show and want to stop by and say hello, we'd love to see you! For more info on the show, see http://adultentertainmentexpo.com

For the new update, we have a whole lot of new items for you, from magazines to photobooks to doujinshi/manga to DVDs to anime toys to wacky things from Japan and more -- a great volley of new items for you to browse and enjoy! Also, look for freshly restocked items from Japan from our extensive selection of unique products from Japan for you. We hope we can serve you in some way!

Remember that J-List carries thousands of cool things from Japan, including the really cool miniature "candy toy" (called this because you usually get some ramune or other candy in the box). Our favorites include the full sets of Street Fighter II replica figures, the excellent Urusei Yatsura figures, and the replicas of famous foods found in Japan, like sushi, traditional Japanese dishes and miniature bento boxes sold in train stations all around Japan. Because we want you to be satisfied with these great toys, we go the extra mile for you and create full sets that you can buy -- so there's no need to buy two dozen toys and throw away all the duplicates. Please note that these candy toy items are all out of production, and no more will be available -- so if there's something you want to get, we recommend you get it before our stock runs out.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Greetings from J-List October 4, 2004

Japan is ecstatic about the achievement of Ichiro, Japan's current favorite son, who beat the record for most hits in a season set back in 1920. The Japanese like nothing more than having one of their own gain recognition around the world, and names like writers Yukio Mishima and Kenzaburo Oe and directors Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki have a special place in the hearts of people here because they raised Japan's image internationally. The Japanese are great fans of baseball, and to have one of their own distinguish himself in the Big Leagues like that makes everyone very proud here.

As always, it's interesting to watch the unfolding of American politics from outside the U.S. I can really get a bird's-eye view of my own country, looking in from the outside, and I've had interesting discussions with British, Canadian and Australian expats about various aspects of American politics. As the U.S. election approaches, Japanese newscasters regularly follow the campaign, giving commentary on every facet of the battle for president, which is often a tall order since there are so many differences between America's electoral system and the Parliamentary system that Japan uses. Gaijin like me are able to vote in the election too, thanks to the absentee ballot system, which Japanese are always amazed at -- they don't have anything like that for Japanese living outside of Japan. While I've voted for candidates from both parties in my life, I am personally concerned about one party -- GOP or Democrat -- controlling both houses of Congress as well as the Presidency. I believe it's fundamentally healthier for America when power is shared between both parties, which forces them to struggle and reach compromises that are good for all of us.

Time for some trivia. In case you were wondering what the Japanese use to estimate the size of a person's privates, well, we'll tell you, and then you'll know. Unlike in the U.S., where the size of the hand often indicates male size, here the size of a man's nose in relation to his face supposedly indicates whether or not he is well endowed. So if you've got a large nose and come to Japan, you may find yourself surprisingly popular with girls (although your mileage may vary). In similar silly Japanese fashion, the area inside a woman's ear (the little cavity formed by the bottom of the "S" shape) supposedly indicates the general size of her womanhood.

If you use a XML news reader, you can follow updated J-List products easily with our RSS feed, which lets you easily check your favorite blogs and news sites (the link to our "R" feed is http://www.jlist.com/feed.xml). We'd had some problems with our feed which might have caused errors to appear in some readers, but we believe we've fixed them now. Feedback on our RSS feed is always appreciated.

We have a wonderful update for you today, with many great items. First of all, the first batch of 2005 calendars has come in, and we've posted them to the site post haste -- no waiting! We'll be getting more and more calendars in over the next few weeks, so if the item you want to get still says "preorder" it means those calendars haven't come in yet, but will be in soon, so feel free to order it. We've also gotten our stock of the Otaku Catalog, the collection of essays on otaku culture released at the international symposium on architecture and culture in Venice, Italy. It's very interesting reading for anyone interested in Japan's unique sub-culture.

Remember that J-List carries authentic Japanese "loose socks" in two different sizes, and also carries "socks glue" which you can use to glue your socks to your legs to hold them up. Worn by virtually all Japanese high school girls (except those who go to strict schools where they are forbidden), they look great when bunched up just so. Enjoy a little slice of Japanese fashion culture courtesy of J-List -- they also go great with the authentic high school uniforms we sell, too! Great for cosplay, too.

Greetings from J-List October 4, 2004