Friday, January 23, 2004

Greetings from J-List January 23, 2004

Hello again from all of us at J-List!

Rice is the staple food of Japan, and it's eaten pretty much two or three times a day by most Japanese. Japanese usually eat white rice, steamed in electric rice cookers that are owned by virtually every household (we have two or three in our house). Rice is usually eaten as a side dish to other foods (hamburger steak, sashimi, salmon, etc.), and the food you eat as a main course along with your rice is called "okazu." Supposedly, the idea of eating a small amount of a main dish with a lot of rice comes from Japan's wartime past, when everyone was poor and had very little to eat except rice. The best rice in Japan comes from Niigata Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan side of the country (the Snow Country in Kawabata's famous novel). It's called Koshi-Hikari, and restaurants proudly boast of serving only this type of rice to their customers. The Japanese have a couple of different words for rice, depending on what form it's in. "Genmai" refers to rice in its natural state, and "kome" (KOH-meh) is processed, uncooked white rice. Rice in its cooked form is "gohan," and this word is also used to refer to all food, not just rice. Similarly, "sake" refers to all alcoholic beverages, not just sake.

The fact that Japanese love to eat so much rice is the probable reason so many Japanese women seem to have problems with constipation -- after all, rice is supposed to firm up your stool, and they eat it every day. One report I saw on TV here said that 47% of Japanese high school girls and 57% of career women report problems with constipation ("benpi" in Japanese, in case it ever comes up in Trivial Pursuit). The high rate of constipation can cause other health problems including a tendency towards some cancers, and women have even been known to die when their intestines ruptured from an accumulation of waste products. Rice is very important to the Japanese, but perhaps some of them should consider eating less?

It's been said that South Korea is "the nearest country and yet the farthest away" from Japan. Despite being extremely close to one another geographically and genetically, and despite billions of dollars of trade flowing across the Sea of Japan (the Koreans hate that name by the way), it's often amazing how little understanding there is about customs on both sides of the water. Over the past few years, though, there've been real steps at meaningful cultural exchange between Japan and South Korea, helped in part by the co-hosting of the 2002 World Cup. Many Koreans such as KPOP singer BoA and actress Yoon Son Ha are regular faces on Japanese TV, and as of January, a ban on Japanese culture in Korea has been lifted, allowing Japanese music and other forms of culture to be sold in Korea. We hope for lots of happy interchange between the two countries now and in the future.

At J-List, we really believe that Japan's interactive dating-sim games are great, and so we carry virtually every English-translated game available in our San Diego warehouse for your convenience. We're happy to announce the next great game to be released: G-Collections' new Heart de Roommate, in which you play Yusuke, a boy who finds yourself living in a girls' dorm with some very beautiful female roommates. A innovative new dating-sim game for Windows computers, the story is divided into 26 anime-style episodes, complete with opening credits, "eyecatch" breaks before commercials and more. In stock and ready to ship out to you right away!

For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you, described below. To view all products updated in the past 3 days, click:

  • First, for all who love Totoro, we've added some high-quality plush toys from Sun Arrow, Japan's famous maker of toys for nearly 100 years
  • Also, a majorrestocking of popular Totoro and Studio Ghibli items, including the Knitting Bou Nezumi from Spirited Away, the Totoro Soot Sprite keychain and more
  • For fans of our delicious Japanese snacks, we've added many new items for you, including Indian Chai flavored chocolate snacks (wow!), Barbecue flavored "scone" snacks, and some delicious Japanese potato chip and sesame munchies
  • Domo-kunfans, we've restocked the super large Domo-kun stuffed plush, the largest Domo they ever made!
  • From Medicom Toy, we've got a deluxe set of six detailed Kubrick figures from Dragon Head, the popular anime and manga, a fabulous item for collectors
  • Also forfans of unique Japanese toys, we've got a set of six classic steam locomotives from Japan's golden years, a great item for trainophiles all over the world
  • We've gota great new Tomica die-cast metal car in stock, the Nissan Cima, sold in the U.S. as the Infinity Q45
  • For Hello Kitty fans, we have a great form-fitting pillow which will make sleeping more comfortable, and make it fun to sleep with Kitty
  • We've got more wacky Japanese folding fans that are very traditional and nice to look at
  • We'veadded more stock of the popular Japanese brush pens which let you write flowing Japanese calligraphy
  • Forsushi fans, we've got some handy "temaki" sets which allow you to make rolled-type sushi easily
  • J-List carries unique DVDs from Japan, and we've added stock of My Neighbor Totoro (the official Ghibli release with full subtitles and many extras) as well as OH! Mikey vol. 4 (both region 2)
  • For all students of Japanese (or just about any other subject), we've gotten in more stock of the Zebra Check Set study aids, which help you memorize any information, the way the Japanese do
  • Finally, we've got wacky Japanese stamps, more music boxes for anime collectors, fresh stock of the deluxe 120 cm loose socks, and more!

For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. To view all new products, click this link:

  • First, check out the new Monthly Chisato Morishita, featuring amazing photos of one of Japan's most beautiful ladies
  • Then see limited stock of some popular magazines, including more items posted starting at just $5
  • We love Japan's tradition of leg fetish photography, and we've added a new photobook for you
  • Then enjoy the delightful swimsuit photos of Izumi Yokoyama, an amazing Race Queen popular in Japan now
  • Also,a superb offering with Hikari Kisugi and Kirari Koizumi, two very special Japanese idols
  • For 18+ manga fans, we've added some great new comics, including the newest Maya Miyazaki Presents, cute cosplay manga, and a dynamite work by Hidemi Amano
  • Also, we've restocked several popular manga for you, including Blue Eyes (all volumes)
  • We've got more excellent doujinshi for you to check out, including amateur comics based on Bluer than Indigo, Sakura Wars and more
  • For yaoi fans, we've added a great new manga for you too -- Aim For My Heart and Let's Fall in Love
  • For our DVD customers, we've got some excellent new items for you, starting with The Stewardess Best 4 Hours, 240 minutes of all-stewardess action (region free)
  • Sola Aoi, aka Sora Aoi, is one of our all-time favorites in the JAV world -- see her in a new release that features mult-angle features (region free)
  • From SOD, enjoy the "pure select" performances of stars like Ai Kurosawa, Kokoro Amano and Kyoko Ayana in a great new best-hits release (region free)
  • For fans of girl-on-girl action, we have a new release by Soft on Demand in which girls must battle other girls, with sexy results (region free)
  • We've loved Akira Watase ever since she appeared on the JAV scene some years ago -- see her in a bold new release from Wanz Factory with some of her best performances ever (region free)
  • Then from Moodyz, enjoy a wonderful new release starring Manami Suzuki in a beautiful tropical land
  • Finally, look for a big update to our DVD stock, including Anna Ohura's DVD works, Stars!! with Monoka (sigh...), more 4-hour DVDs full of the best girl-girl performances you can find, and more!

Remember that J-List offers automatic discounts on many items that we make available. Looking for some DVDs? Get 4 or more and get an automatic 15% off. Looking for some Japanese dating-sim games? Buy 4 or more and get a great bit 20% discount. Some of our wacky Japanese T-shirts with messages like "I'm looking for a Japanese Girlfriend"? Get 3 or more and get a 10% discount. All discounts are automatic at time of checkout.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Greetings from J-List January 21, 2004

Hello again from J-List!

Japan is an interesting country, often being pulled this way or that by various outside influences. Japanese people go to a Shinto Shrine to pray on New Year's Day, turn to Buddhism for death-related customs such as funerals, have Christian weddings, and import customs like Valentine's Day and Christmas just to balance things out. Japanese can be quite superstitious, and many people here pay attention to their horoscope using the Western astrological system, although more tend to follow to the Buddhist system of lucky and unlucky days -- when getting married or taking delivery of a new car, for example, you always make sure to do it on the "lucky" day, called Taian. Japanese are also very big on using feng shui to improve the flow of energy in environments.

Since Japan used the Chinese calendar until the 1873, they also maintain some elements from that system, such as animal years, e.g. the year of the dog, the snake, etc. 2004 is the year of the monkey, and this is the birth animal for any babies born this year -- I was born in 1968, also a monkey year. But there's an unfortunate Japanese superstition surrounding women born in the year of the horse when the element fire is dominant -- most recently in 1966. Females born in this year, called Hinoeuma-no-onna or Fire Horse Women, are supposed to be un-tamable, shrew-like women who devour men, and there is subtle discrimination against them, especially by older Japanese. Eager to spare girl-children the pain of this superstition, many couples avoided having children in 1966, which caused the birth rate to plunge in that year -- very silly. If you want to see what birth animal you are according to the Chinese zodiac, here is a chart:

The topic of the role of women in Japan and how it differs from the West is a very complex one. For starters, Japan is definitely a man's paradise where men are uniquely able to take the lead in just about any area they want, politics, business, you name it. In the U.S., the very act of a boss asking his female employee to get him a cup of coffee calls up any number of sexist images, but here, no one would think anything of such a request. Although there are laws against discrimination in the workplace as well as "seku-hara" (sexual harassment), there are many visible signs that Japan is for the most part a Man's Country. The best example of this was the lightning speed with which Pfizer's popular pill for men was approved for sale here by Japan's Diet, comprised almost entirely of the drug's target market. How about the Pill? Although available for 30 years in the West, birth-control pills remained illegal to dispense until a few months after the arrival of the popular drug for men, when Japanese lawmakers sheepishly admitted the double standard and approved it for sale. And yet, although Japanese women have consciously decided not to embrace Western-style feminism, they don't lack for control at all -- just ask my wife. Like almost all Japanese households, my wife handles all finances, making sure money is saved for important events, and generally protecting the happiness of the whole family.

Japan has had a strong tradition of love-simulation games, which allow you to interact romantically with beautiful anime girls, and we've worked hard over the year to support awareness of this unique form of Japanese entertainment. J-List carries virtually every English language dating-sim game in print, with all titles in stock in our San Diego warehouse. Because we're a little overstocked on some titles, we've got a great new offer for you: two "special sets" of great games from G-Collections. Get the classic game DOR plus your choice of two other G-Collections games for $95 (normally $135), or DOR plus three games for just $135 (normally $185). Choose from Kango Shicyauzo 1 or 2, Kana, Chain, Horny Bunnies, or Come See Me Tonight. A super chance to complete your bishoujo game collection!

Remember the January DVD sale! Because our fiscal year is ending on Jan 31st, we're having a special sale on all DVDs -- get an extra-large 20% discount when you buy 4 or more DVDs from Japan. Check out our great selection of titles now, before the ones you want sell our and this special DVD sale ends!

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

  • First, we've got a dynamite item for Shirow Masamune fans: the new Treasure of Togihime illustration collection, which includes all works (including some very cool alternate versions of his most famous artworks) -- you can fix calendar stickers to the pictures to make a customized desktop calendar, too!
  • For fans of the Japanese love of cosplay, creating anime costumes, we've got the new issue of CosMode, featuring tons of photos of fabulous costumes as well as a pattern that you can use to create your own
  • Star Wars fans, we've got a cool soft vinyl figure of Jango Fett for your collection
  • Fans of the Japanese pop quartet Speed, we've got a cool reissue of one of their most popular photobooks ever -- see all four girls in beautiful glossy shots that will knock your socks off
  • For fans of innovative off-the-wall Japanese short films, we've got the new Grasshoppa! DVD, featuring fabulous films that are subtitled in English (great for OH! Mikey fans too)
  • We love cute things from Japan, and we've got a really fun Kitty thermos/bottle with pop-up straw in stock for you, along with fresh stock of our popular Hello Kitty ceramic mug (large)
  • Also, more fun Japanese egg bath toys -- a bath egg that dissolves, bring a sweet "strawberry milk" fragrance to your bath water and revealing a Snoopy toy
  • For fans of Jiji, the popular black cat from Kiki's Delivery Service, we've got some cool "vibrating Jiji" plush toys (similar toys have proven very popular in the past, and these have been hard to reorder or keep in stock)
  • Also, a very small plush of the really cool "No Face" (Kaonashi) from Spirited Away
  • We've got some cool traditional Japanese dishes for your kitchen, including a miso soup bowl and a cool square cup for drinking sake
  • Speed Racer fans, we've restocked the popular Mach 5 Hot Wheels, sold only in the Japanese market
  • For your desk, an all-purpose sturdy steel basket to keep the things you need in
  • For fans of our Japanese snack items, we've got delicious "Koeda" (which means "twig" in Japanese) stick snacks, in chocolate/strawberry and "black cocoa" flavor
  • Also, strawberries "frozen" in white chocolate, spicy cracker rings, and various freshly restocked snack items
  • Also, enjoy tasty senbei rice crackers in various flavors (shrimp, seaweed and crab)
  • We've restocked our popular miniature Japanese food items, including the best-selling Washoku Zanmai series, extremely detailed replicas of traditional Japanese food, as well as my own favorite, miniature supermarket food items from Japan
  • We've got a handy clip for your portable phone, which helps keep it from getting lost
  • Finally, see more wacky signs in Japanese, some extremely well made chopsticks, more wacky maps from Japan, and other cool items!

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

  • For fans of truly beautiful Japanese women, we've got the new Karami Photo Magazine, featuring the delightful erotic body of Akiho Yoshizawa
  • Then see the incredible beauty of the Best of Sabra Girls, featuring 40+ superb models like Yoko Kumada, Yuko Ogura, Waka Inoue, Yinling and more -- don't miss this superb special issue
  • For fans of the Japanese fetish known as "New Half" (She Male or Mr. Lady), we've got a new gouka-bon format photobook in stock
  • We've also restocked the very lovely Yulia Nova photobooks, but the stock we have now is all we'll have ever -- the books are out of print
  • For hentai manga fans, we've got some great items for you, including the delightfully erotic Introvert Eros vol. 3, an erotic fantasy work from Delta Comics and the superb Dawn of the Silver Dragon
  • Also, a big restocking of our popular hentai mangas, including sold-out works like Noble Illusionist, Equation of the Immoral, and Full Course
  • We have a great volley of new doujinshi comics for you, as well several "doujin soft" CD-ROMs, featuring fan-created works like games and cosplay photographs
  • For our DVD fans, we've got some great new titles for you, starting with the lovely No Cut!! release of Haruka Tsukino, a fresh, clean adult film star from Japan (region free)
  • Then enjoy the lovely Ai Kurosawa dressing up as your favorite anime characters in Animetic Costume Play (region free)
  • From Soft on Demand, enjoy a new "Sperm Lesbian" release, featuring lesbians who also like to do it with men in the mix (region free)
  • Then enjoy the delightful sex of Momo Takai and Rua Mochizuki, who are happy to assist your masturbation (region free)
  • From Moodyz, see the super indies debut of Hikari Kisugi and Kirari Koizumi, performing a smorgasbord  of sweet sex in sunny Okinawa (region 2, 2 DVDs)
  • We've also restocked several popular DVD titles for you, just in time for our special January DVD sale!

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!

Monday, January 19, 2004

Greetings from J-List January 19, 2004

Hello again from Japan!

It seems that no recent invention has changed our lives as much as the portable phone, and this is true in Japan as well. Cellular phones (called "keitai" in Japanese) are extremely popular here, and there are currently 80 million subscribers to the various cell phone companies in Japan -- more than 60% of the entire country. Cell phones have many nifty features, like Java so you can play games, GPS sensors, and vintage 80's video game music and sound effects for the ringing sound (Yasu is really big on this). But the most popular "killer app" has proved to be phones with digital cameras built into them, which were created by J-Phone (now owned by Vodafone) as a way of competing with telecommunications giant NTT and industry-dominating Docomo line of phones. The latest phones feature cameras that are actually good -- megapixel and higher, with support for removable media to store the pictures on.

In response to the rise of camera phones, an innovative company has come up with an "alibi service" for people with inquisitive spouses. After registering with the system, you can store a picture of yourself as a cropped image and paste it over other background images stored in the phone. If your wife suddenly calls and asks you to take a picture of your current location and send it to her, so she can check to see if you're really working late, just send her a picture of yourself against a background of your desk at work, and she'll never know you were really out drinking with your friends, or engaged in some other activity. There are other "alibi services" too. At J-List, we subscribe to a Japanese cable radio service that allows us to listen to 440 radio channels, including radio stations from California, New York, and London. Several of the channels the company offers are to help people who need an alibi, providing background sounds of pachinko parlors, crowded pubs or train stations -- which allow people to fool their significant others into believing they're somewhere they aren't.

It can be quite interesting to analyze Japan's car names. Above all, car names must sound "kakko ii" (cool, stylish), and since nothing sounds cooler to the Japanese ear than English, most cars here get their names from English words -- like Honda Life and Subaru Legend, or Nissan's Sunny and March (sold as Nissan Micra in Europe). But many other names come from slightly altered English, so that they cause the same emotional response while being original. Words like Carolla or Tercel or Sylphy or Premacy sound like English, but car companies can still "own" the original names. In recent years, Japanese car companies have started mining Spanish as a source for car names, resulting in cars like Daihatsu's little van Vamos (I love that name), Nissan's El Grand, Toyota's Carina and Familia, and Mitsubishi's Diamante and Viento, and the oddly named Pajero. Japanese cars must never, ever have Japanese names, since that would be "kakko warui" (un-cool, bad style) -- Japanese are always amused to learn that the Suzuki Jiminy was sold as Suzuki Samurai in the U.S. However, there are some cars whose names started out as Japanese words before being "English-ified." Toyota Camry, for example, gets its name from "kamuri," which means crown in Japanese -- which is funny, since Toyota sells a higher-priced sedan here called Toyota Crown, and in the past as sold the Toyota Corona, which means crown in Spanish.

Announcing the J-List January DVD Sale! J-List is a Japanese corporation and our fiscal year ends Jan 31st. J-List has thousands of cool items from Japan in stock, but at the end of our year we have to pay taxes on that stock. Rather than do that, we'd rather sell it to you, which is why we're having a great sale on all our extensive stock of DVDs from Japan! For the next ten days only, you an get an extra-large 20% discount when you buy 4 or more DVDs from Japan! Check out our great selection of titles now, before the ones you want sell our and this special DVD sale ends!

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

  • First, for all fans of fantastic anime figures and garage kits, we've got the 2003 All That Figure photobook from Hobby Japan, just loaded with fantastic photos of these amazing 3D anime statues and figures
  • Also, we have a great polystone statue of Mizuho Kazumi from the great anime Please Teacher, that'd be great for your room
  • Ayaya fans, we've got a great new hardcover Aya Matsuura photobook in stock for you, filled with great photographs of this amazing Japanese singer and idol
  • We're big fans of the detailed food replicas that are popular in Japan, and we make sure to carry all these great items -- now you can find the new Dessert Shop Series 2, with ten great desserts that Japanese love (full sets are available too)
  • Then enjoy a pair of cool "Hawaiian Wedding Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel" from Sanrio, sold only in Japan
  • Also, a really cool trading card series based on the hentai game Street Angel Kurumi
  • We've got another really cool Blythe doll that comes with a full-head costume to wear, very stylish and nifty
  • Studying Japanese? We've restocked our popular J-E and E-J dictionaries as well as our 4-character word and Japanese proverb dictionaries, really fun to study
  • Also, we've gotten in more stock of the very popular Chobits Bilingual Manga vol 1 & 2, so you can enjoy this great manga by CLAMP and see both the original Japanese and a full English translation!
  • Also, after several months of being backordered all over Japan, we've managed to get in more of the Ghost in the Shell Bilingual Manga too, which features color pages and an all-new translation of this most excellent work (much better than the Studio Proteus one)
  • Japanese smoke a lot, but they try to practice good smoking manners, which one TV commercial calls "Smokin' Clean" -- if you smoke, you can do your part by carrying a portable ashtray which allows you to avoid dropping ashes and butts on the ground
  • We've got some great snack items for you today, including traditional "tonkotsu" ramen flavored snacks, traditional "sakura daikon" snacks, and delicious poppable castella cakes that have been popular in Japan for centuries
  • Also, a cool candy version of the famous ramune bottle soft drinks, but you can eat these!
  • One of our favorite foods in Japan is gyoza, aka Pot Stickers, the delicious Chinese dumplings you dip in a sauce that contains soy sauce, vinegar and spicy sesame oil -- now you can try to make your own with cool gyoza makers that we have in stock
  • If you're a collector of antique teddy bears, we've got a rare and cool item: Japanese miniature toy replicas of the most famous teddy bears of the 20th century
  • Finally, we've got more cool Japanese maps, fresh stock of the rare "socks glue" which you use to glue your loose socks to your legs, more disposable chopsticks, and more!
  • For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. They include:
  • For fans of Japan's professional JAV stars, we've got the new Video Boy, filled with great stars like Nao Oikawa, Kurumi Morishita, Alice Ogura, Aoi Sora and more
  • We've also got the new issue of Meets Girl (as in "boy meets girl"), featuring real sex in love hotels by gorgeous amateurs
  • Then enjoy the new Video Girls, a special magazine with 120 minute DVD for you to enjoy
  • For photobook fans, enjoy the delightful sexy swimsuit photos of Moeco Matsushita, a charming and beautiful swimsuit idol from Japan
  • For fans of Japan's bondage and domination fetishism, we've got the new Eve Grande all-color photobook, brimming with great photographs for you
  • We've got some great new erotic comics for you, including Tsukasa Comics' Milk Communication, fetish with Female Teacher Izumi or Maid Ayaya, and an erotic comic detailing sexual between people who used to be just friends -- you will love these new books
  • We've also added fresh stock to our manga pages, with great works like Kuikomi Scanty, The Secret of Me and Her, Yuwaku - Seduction, Gothic Taste and more
  • We have another dozen or so all-new doujinshi from the past Comic Market, with great erotic comics based on famous anime shows
  • For our DVD fans, we have some great new DVD titles for you, starting with Azumi Kawashima's delightful softcore release - "Azumi's Smile & Nude Make Us Happy" (region free)
  • Then enjoy the very nice new project from Soft on Demand, in which female friends must look at various girls' genitalia and guess which belongs to their friends (region free)
  • Also from SOD, a massive harem of beautiful girls who give themselves willingly to men (region free)
  • There's a great new release in the "black men vs Japanese girls" series by Moodyz, this time featuring Ann Nanba (An Namba) taking on a roomfull of black guys from the U.S. (region 2)
  • Then enjoy the wonderful new release of "Nao." (she always has a period after her name, in imitation of Morning Musume.), featuring some of her best cosplay and bukkake work ever (region 2)
  • Finally fresh stock of several DVDs including cosplay, lesbian, and other great titles, just in time for our special DVD sale!

Remember that J-List sells wacky T-shirts with message like "I'm looking for a Japanese girlfriend" (our most popular shirt ever), "Respect the Emperor, Expel the Foreign Barbarians" "It is forbidden to take a bath with your tattoo" and so on. Why not browse our selection of T-shirts today? Because your satisfaction is important to us, J-List goes the extra distance for you, stocking a wide range of sizes (from small to XXXL for most shirts), so everyone can enjoy our fun Japanese T-shirts. They're printed in the USA and all sizes are full American sizes. If you're not sure exactly what size you need, the measurements for the shirts in centimeters and inches is displayed via the "Click here for size info" link. We also have hoodie and long-sleeve sweatshirt versions of our unique designs, too!