Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Greetings from J-List May 12, 2004

Hello again from all of us in Japan!

Japan seems to be the home of the "boom" -- as each year crawls by, it's amazing to see the kinds of things that become popular with young people here. In the past, we've seen some interesting fashion trends among Tokyoites, including the dog tag boom, when all the kogals were wearing military ID tags with their personal information on them; the Union Jack boom, which saw millions of Japanese sporting the British flag on their clothes; the infamous thick sole sneaker boom, when girls wore shoes that made them 6-10 inches taller; and one of my favorites, the camisole boom, when every girl in Tokyo seemed to be walking around in her underwear. There was even a boom called "my boom," in which everyone found something to be interested in, even if you were the only one in the world who cared about that thing. Currently, Japan seems to be on a big health drink kick, with many new amino acid drinks appearing on the market. Bottled green tea is very popular too, especially ones with flavonoids that reduce blood sugar. Japan is having a "gay boom" right now -- a new wave of funny comedians, very effeminate and fashionable, appear regularly on a wide variety of TV shows. Supposedly in Tokyo there's a trend towards men who are interested in wearing make-up, just like girls. Called "Morios," these men put heart stickers on their faces and dress in outrageous fashions like the kogals of a few years ago -- you cold almost call them "koguys." At J-List we're having a bit of a boom, too: all the male Japanese staff have shaved their heads, in preparation for Japan's hot and humid summer.

The Japanese are a very clean people, with many traditions tuned to keeping things sanitary. Japanese bathe every day, taking nice long baths to relax away the day's stress and get the body really clean. Shoes and anything to do with the feet are considered unsanitary, and so shoes are removed when you enter a home, and are never washed in a washing machine. When using a public restroom, many Japanese prefer the seatless Japanese-style toilets to western-style sit-down toilets because nothing important touches the toilet itself. But there are times when Japan doesn't seem like such a clean place. In public restrooms, it's common for a plastic cup to be placed near the sink, presumably so that anyone who's thirsty can help himself to a drink of water -- despite the fact that any number of others might have used the cup in the past. Similarly, at Japanese shrines, there's often a metal cup that you can use to drink the purifying water. To my American sensibilities, hundreds of people using the same cup hour after hour isn't the most sanitary thing in the world. (To see what Japanese toilets are like, here is a link: http://www.jlist.com/japanese_toilet.html)

J-List carries dozens of English-language bishoujo games because we love this genre of romantic, fun game from Japan. We're happy to announce stock of the newest title, Jewel Knights Crusaders, a super "sentai" (fighting team) parody featuring the Jewel Knights, female defenders of justice who gain fighting power by doing naughty things. A great new dating-sim game for Windows computers, in stock in our San Diego office now -- and of course shipping is just $1 (US/Can; half price for international customers) during our special sale!

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

  • First, for fans of Japanese film, we have the new release of Onmyoji II, a fascinating tale of Japan in the 9th century (region 2)
  • For fans of Naruto, we've got a great item: a manga that's a collection of popular doujinshi dedicated to Naruto and friends
  • Morning Musume is one of the top idol groups in Japan, full of cute bounciness that is uniquely Japanese -- we have a great photobook of Maki Gotoh, their most famous former member
  • We love the detailed miniature "candy toys" that Japan is famous for -- today we have a cool replica of a street in the Showa era (1925-1989), a wonderful bygone time
  • Also very cool, we've got 1/144 scale replicas of the most famous fighters of World War II, a great series from Bandai
  • Then enjoy another treat from Japan: realistic replicas of Japan's most famous trains, made of die-cast metal
  • For fans of our Japanese snacks, we've got more furikake and ochazuke, traditional foods you eat on top of rice, as well as delicious Strawberry Hi-Chew from Morinaga
  • Restocked snack items include Petit Pizza crackers, Nova Rabbit chocolate, Cocoa flavored Pretz, and the amazingly delicious Poiful colorful jellybeans
  • Also, look for fresh stock of the best-selling Bubble Balls, delicious candy balls with "fizzing" taste inside -- we've added stock of cola, ramune, melon, grape and lemon
  • Then enjoy delicious Hamtaro bubblegum, a great item from the makers of Felix the Cat bubblegum]
  • Zoid fans, we've got a great PVC figure of Chris Tasker, complete with stand
  • Then we've got another wacky item: little ramen bowels that hold gum erasers, fun to play with
  • We've restocked the popular Hidamari no Tami, or Sunshine People, toys, which rock their heads from side to side, powered by solar energy
  • Totoro lovers, we've added many cool items for you, including the Totoro magnet sets, plush Totoro toys, and more
  • We've also restocked the Groomy plush computer pets, which feature soft chamois bottoms which you can use to keep your monitor clean -- very handy and so cute!
  • Wordtank users, we've restocked our popular electronic dictionary cases, which you can use to protect your Wordtank
  • Also for anyone studying Japanese, we've restocked several dictionaries, including Japanese-Japanese, kanji and katakana -- they're handy and very affordable!
  • For fans of truly wacky things from Japan, we've got more of the Salmon Strap, a phone strap/key holder that looks like a fish, and it opens its mouth when you pull a string
  • For anyone wanting to do some power-erasing, we've restocked the popular electric erasers for you
  • Look for fresh stock of several Japanese Girl Collection Nagomi series items, including the tea holder
  • Finally, look for more Cup Noodle coffee cups (a favorite of mine), more shiatsu shoe inserts for women, more wacky pens from Japan, bilingual Chobits manga, and other great items!

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

  • For fans of Japan's 18+ magazines, we've got the new issue of Ryu-Gu, or the Court of Dragon, featuring top-name JAV idols and Tokyo girls inside
  • Then we have the new issue of Yasashiku Shite Ne, or Please Be Gentle with Me, featuring authentic performances from love hotels
  • We have a great magazine + DVD item for fans of silky, long Japanese legs with stockings, a great item
  • Photobook collectors, we've got a great new item for you, the delightful glossy photos of Satsuki Aida, age 19
  • Then check out a great "private photobook" featuring the playful love of lovely girls from Tokyo
  • Also for photobook lovers, check out the dynamite hardcover photobook of Miyu Inaba, yum
  • H manga collectors, we've got a great volley of new comics for you, including Uniform Game by Hit Comics, a new anthology of great H themes, the latest volume of Love Junkies and more
  • Also, we've got many restocked comics, including Pururin Seminar (all volumes), I Cup Idol, The Girls who Belongs to the Nation, and more
  • Yaoi fans, look for fresh stock of popular books too, including the Gush Mania series
  • We have some super DVD titles for you today, starting with a great "Concentration" release featuring Hiyori Shiraishi, who shows you her lovely performance (region free)
  • Campaign Girls are an alternate form of Race Queens, extremely gorgeous girls who promote F-1 racing and advertise companies in Japan with their bodies -- enjoy a great authentic performance with two real former Campaign Girls from V&R Planning (region free)
  • Next, we've got another "study" DVD from Soft on Demand in which 100 Japanese girls poke, prod and learn all about guys' favorite parts (region free)
  • Then prepare for a very amazing "chikan bus ride" featuring all female members (region free)
  • From Wanz Factory, Noa Torigoe (TOE-ree-GOH-eh) shows you her silky long legs and gorgeous feet, a great new release for leg fans (region 2)
  • We've restocked the popular "BLAME! And so on..." by Tsutomu Nihei, as well as the sold-out
  • Then enjoy great restocked DVDs, including more wacky Erika Nagai beating up on guys, Akira Watase's best releases and Ami Ayukawa's Super Angle of Oppai (region 2).

Remember that J-List is the only place you can get the excellent and authentic high school uniforms from Matsukameya of Nagoya. These are extremely well made uniforms that are famous all over Japan, and all uniforms are custom made to your size. Although they're a little expensive, the quality is exceptional -- of the hundreds of uniforms we've sold over the years, we've never received anything but positive comments from our customers. We've just lowered our prices on the summer skirt, so why not take the plunge and get yourself an authentic high school uniform from Japan? With the summer convention season coming up, you or your loved one would look great in one!

Japan's vending machines are very wacky -- there are automated machine selling everything from rice to cameras to beer. If you want to see some of Japan's wacky vending machines in action, see this link: http://www.jlist.com/japanese_vending_machines.html

Monday, May 10, 2004

Greetings from J-List May 10, 2004

Hello again from all your friends in Japan!

Japan is currently full of anxiety over the future of the national pension fund system, the equivalent to Social Security in the U.S. Although citizens are ostensibly required to pay into the fund each month, there is no enforcement of the system, and as a result, many self-employed Japanese refuse to make their payments. It turns out that several high-ranking politicians in the current government had skipped a few years worth of pension payments, even while they contemplated new ways to require Japanese citizens to pay into the system. Both Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, the soft-spoken middle-aged man with "bar-code hair" who was the voice of the government during the Iraq hostage crisis, and Naoto Kan, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, Japan's only important opposition party, have both resigned their posts to take responsibility for the problem. The issue of what kind of lifestyle Japan's aging citizens can expect over the next few decades is big in Japan right now -- Japan is after all a country with a high cost of living, where real estate doesn't grow in value and a 1% return on a certificate of deposit is considered great.

No matter how long I live in Japan, there's an area of the Japanese language I just can't seem to pick up: Japanese abbreviated numbers. Often, numbers such as phone numbers on TV commercials are expressed as spoken Japanese words, with each syllable corresponding to a number according to some complex phonetic system that's impossible for gaijin to figure out. Want to order the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper? Just dial 026-999, which somehow corresponds to "ofuro de kyu-kyu-kyu" or "Let's get squeaky clean in the bath." Back in the mid-90s, before cell phones became the norm, Japanese young people carried pagers ("pocket bells") that could display numbers, and it was common for friends to communicate between themselves using these bizarre number-based messages. For example, to send "good morning" you'd send 084 ("oh-ha-yo", short for ohayo gozaimasu). The Japanese also teach multiplication tables to their kids quickly using these confusing number messages -- by the end of the second grade, my son had memorized all his times tables.

There's an unfortunate phenomenon that affects all Japanese who use computers or "waapro" (word processors) at work: they lost almost all ability to write Kanji, or Chinese characters. With the steady acceptance of computers into Japanese life, many people use keyboards all day long, and as a result, almost never actually write characters by hand. Because kanji is a very structured system, not writing it for long periods of time makes you forget how to write (although reading ability is retained). I imagine this happens not only with Japanese, but with all cultures that use kanji. I am affected by this problem as well, as I almost never hand-write Japanese anymore, and it's shocking when I go to write an easy character but can't bring it up in my mind.

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

  • First, for fans of 80s and 90s anime, we have a treat: selected Japanese music CDs for you to check out, including some dynamite Macross CDs that are impossible to find
  • If you love Ruroni Kenshin, this is your lucky day: we've got the new Samurai X Story Image Figure series, with full sets in stock for you
  • For any students of Japanese, we've restocked a popular item: traditional Japanese report-writing paper (genko yoshi)
  • Manga is claiming its place in the world's popular culture -- be on the leading edge with the new issue of Monthly Dengeki Gao, with over 550 pages of brand new Japanese manga stories and cool stuff
  • For fans of Japan's gorgeous swimsuit idols, enjoy the new hardcover photobook of Aya Hirayama
  • Next, we have a cool item for fans of the Thunderbirds show: Mega Bloks toys (compatible with Lego)
  • For fans of Tomy's "Tomica" die-cast cars, we've got the new Toyota Prius 2003-2004 model in stock
  • Fans of our Japanese snacks, enjoy delicious Chelsea Fruit Yogurt candies, delicious Bisco cookies loved by kids in Japan, and a fun item, chocolate eggs that you open to reveal a cool Disney figure inside
  • Also, a new item: delicious Sapporo-style miso ramen that you can make at home
  • We've restocked many snack and gum items, including various furikake (food that you sprinkle over white rice), delicious miso soup varieties, soy milk candy, Dakara "Pocari Sweat" gum, and various sugarless Xylitol gum varieties
  • Dragon Quest fans, we have a neat new toy series featuring the monsters from the classic game series
  • We've got another great all-purpose stainless steel case that can be used to carry medicine or just about anything else -- or use it as a portable ashtray if you want to practice good smoking manners
  • We've got a handy item that cleans venetian blinds for you easily, very hand to have around the house
  • For Totoro and Studio Ghibli fans, we have some great new items, including a music box from Kiki's Delivery Service, deluxe plush keychains, plush Totoro toys that are to die for, and more
  • Godzilla fans, we've restocked the popular Godzilla 2000 phone strap/keychain, so you can take big G with you anywhere you go
  • Finally, we've got an all-purpose soft case that can hold many things, fresh stock of our authentic Shogi board and wooden pieces, more chopsticks and items for your kitchen, and many other great items!

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

  • First, we've got a great item: a cool new issue of Gal's Shower, the popular wet-themed Japanese magazine
  • Also, for fans of Japan's indies JAV, we have an issue of the all-indies DMM featuring two special 120 minute DVDs
  • Then we've got a nice magazine for fans of "Oneesan" types, a word which can mean older sister but in this case refers to women aged 22-28
  • Photobook fans, check out the gorgeous glossy photobook offering of Saori Kamiya, Yugure no Toki (Sunset Time)
  • Don't miss the gorgeous hardcover photobook of Shinobu Ikehata, the luscious Japanese "Relax Angel"
  • We've also got a new "Chinkame" (small pocket format) photobook featuring the private Polaroids of 11 popular JAV stars
  • For H manga lovers, we have some nice new comics posted for you, including the very cool anthology Gorgeous Sisters Stories by Tsukasa, the lovely Caramel Lip by Tenma Comics, and Runaway Daughter by AV Comics
  • Yasu has restocked many manga volumes, too, including Michael Plan, Skirt Chasers, Condensed Milky, Beast Toys and more
  • Also, from the excellent people at Behind Moon who make such wonderful hermaphrodite-themed doujinshi and CG collections, we've got their latest: a cool new CD-ROM of dynamite images for you
  • For DVD collectors, we've got some great new items, starting with the great Blue File DVD release of Naho Ozawa, featuring 3 complete video releases compiled onto one disc for you (region free)
  • Then welcome yourself to the Max Cafe, a very special place where the stylish Ryoko Mitake is waiting to serve you (region free)
  • Then, for fans of Soft on Demand's wacky "newscaster play," enjoy the lovely Nana Natsume who brings you all the "H news" (region free)
  • We've got another "teacher's pet" DVD by SOD, too, featuring the lovely Mizuki Yoshizawa and Minami Aoyama (region free)
  • Next up, return to Hungary to see the dynamite performances by natural girls there, filmed by Japanese directors and Japanese actors (region free)
  • Then we've got the lovely Kazuha Murayama starring in a great new wet offering in the Dream Shower series -- don't miss it (region 2)
  • Finally, we've restocked many popular DVD titles for you, including Super Angle of Oppai by Anna Ohura, Kyoko Ayana Complete, and great titles by Ami Ayukawa, Mai Sakashita and more!

Remember that we're still having our great $1 shipping sale on all English-translated dating-sim games. Since we've got a huge variety of games in stock for you, with a variety of themes from romantic to dramatic school sim to comedy and more, we hope you'll check out what we've got for you!

Also remember that J-List carries excellent magazine by our "reserve subscription." This means that you can get great anime, JPOP, fashion and other magazines sent to you as soon as the new issue is out in Japan -- a few days earlier than newsstands receive them here, in fact. Hundreds of customers are getting great new Japanese magazines through J-List, and we are happy to serve you all. Payment through any method is fine (credit card, check or money order, etc) and you can stop your subscription at any time.