Monday, May 24, 2004

Greetings from J-List May 24, 2004

Hello and Happy Monday from all your friends in Japan!

Japan is buzzing about the special summit between Prime Minister Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jung Il held on Sunday, regarding the status of the families of former Japanese abducted to North Korea. Mr. Koizumi brought back with him the five children of two couples of Japanese abductees, who were happy to be reunited with their parents even though they don't speak Japanese, but he was unable to make headway regarding the family members of abductee Hitomi Soga. Her husband is Charles Robert Jenkins, an American soldier who defected to North Korea in 1965, and he refused to come to Japan for fear of being handed over to the U.S. military. A quick scan of CNN's website shows me that the issue of the abductees is not on the forefront of the world media, but it's a very important issue to the Japanese -- how would Americans feel if the hostages had been held in Iran for two decades, instead of 444 days? While Koizumi was praised by many for making headway on the long-standing problems with North Korea, he received the standard lambasting by the opposition parties for not accomplishing everything he could have, as well as by family members of the ten abductees who have been reported as dead by North Korea. The information they provided on the fates of the ten abductees is rife with errors, causing many to believe at least some of them may still be alive.

Mongolian Sumo wrestler Asashoryu has done it again, winning his third Sumo tournament in a row with a win against rival Hokutoriki, who had ended his outstanding 35-bout winning streak a few days before. The only current Yokozuna (Grand Champion, the highest of seven ranks in sumo) now that Hawaiian wrestler Musashimaru has retired, Asashoryu is at the top of his game. He has one problem though: he's terrified of earthquakes. There are no earthquakes in his home country of Mongolia, but we get shaken regularly in Japan.

One thing I admire about the Japanese is their single-mindedness and ability to stay focused on a goal. When I married my wife and moved to our city, I noticed a man in a nearby field, spending his Sunday afternoon with his remote controlled helicopter (one of the expensive ones), flying it around the field and landing it -- he's what you'd call an RC otaku. Well, it's been ten years since then, and that man is still in that field every Sunday afternoon, playing with his RC helicopter (sometimes his friends bring various airplanes, too). Over the past decade I've gone through many changes, becoming an informal ambassador of Japanese pop culture to the world, but I really respect that man for his steadfast adherence to his hobby. This Japanese tendency for steadiness can be seen in Japanese TV, with anime staples that have been on the air for decades and thousands and thousands of episodes -- shows like Doraemon (the "robot of cat type" who comes from the future to be with his friend, Nobita-kun) and Sazae-san (which follows the happenings of the Isono family every week, brought to you by the Toshiba Corporation), both running non-stop since 1969. The longest running movie series in history is also from Japan -- "Otoko wa Tsuraiyo" ("It's Tough Being a Man") followed the traveling salesman Tora-san year after year, for a total of 48 installments (it's in the Guiness Book), until actor Kiyoshi Atsumi died at age 68.

We're happy to report that Peach Princess's long-awaited dating-sim game Gibo - Stepmother's Sin will be shipping very soon. We hope all fans of English-translated dating-sims will consider picking up this title, which is really a great game. Preorder now for free shipping when it's released!

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

  • First, for fans of Panda Z, the super cute panda robot piloted by young Pan Taron, we've got a 5-figure set in stock for you that's cool beyond words
  • Then for Evangelion fans, we've got two dynamite China-dress clad figures of Rei and Asuka, complete with bases for you to display them proudly
  • Spirited Away fans, we've got a very special item for you: a super-sized plush of Bou Nezumi, the purple mouse version of Bou, made by the famous Japanese toy company Sun Arrow
  • For fans of our Japanese snacks, we've got some great new items for you, including delicious spicy rice crackers, chocolate tai-yaki (a new twist on a popular Japanese treat), and delicious potato fry snacks
  • Also, the J-List staff keeps making a liar out of me, adding more flavors of Pocky after I've announced that no new Pocky would be added before summer -- the last flavor of the season is delicious banana Pocky, as well as a restocking of other flavors, including original and Kyoto Pretz
  • And for fans of Japanese bubble gum, we've got a tasty new treat: grape flavored bubble gum by Marukawa, as well as fresh stock of the popular Hamtaro Gum full boxes
  • Also great for fans of Japanese chocolate and snacks, we have plush versions of the most famous treats by Meiji, including Chocolate Mushrooms, Apollo and Pucca, great for attaching to your keys or your phone
  • For Sanrio fans, we've got a super cute solar-powered Hello Kitty calculator that would look so cute on your desk
  • Also, restocked Kitty items, including the Kitty Remote Control, the deluxe Kitty coffee cup, and more
  • And from artist Seiichi Hayashi, more of his beautiful Japanese Girl Nagomi works, including a stylish all-purpose notebook and oil-removing sheets, to remove unwanted oil from your face
  • Want to learn Japanese? We have more cute study cards for you, this time cards which help you learn animal names and hiragana
  • For fans of Kill Bill, we have a treat: a superb photobook of Chiaki Kuriyama, who played GoGo Yubari in the first film (stock is limited, but more copies are on order)
  • Then enjoy a wacky item: a "paper idol" set featuring a 3D paper doll of idol Minako Komukai that you can put together
  • The lovely Megumi Okina looks great in a special new swimsuit photobook too
  • Do you smoke? We've got another portable ashtray that helps you keep your ashes and butts away from the environment (plus it's very stylish)
  • Or if you've recently quit smoking, we've got a wacky sign that says "I'm in a bad mood because I've just quit smoking"
  • The Japanese can be quite interested in good luck charms of all types -- we've got a "power stone" that promises to increase your luck in gambling and games of chance
  • We've restocked several snack items, including the Astro Boy Choco w/ toy, Bright Lighton Choco, miso soup, and spicy soy sauce peanut snacks
  • Miyazaki fans, we've restocked many items, including the Totoro and Spirited Away stamp set, the Fox Squirrel plush from Nausica/Laputa, the deluxe Fuka Fuka Totoro plush, and more
  • Domo-kun fans, enjoy many newly restocked items too, including the deluxe Domo-kun plush, notebooks, a new strap and more
  • Finally, fans of Shirow Masamune, we've restocked the excellent Ghost in the Shell Limited Edition DVD, which includes the storyboards from the film and super limited packaging (region 2).

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

  • For fans of Japanese 18+ magazines, we've got the perfect bound Yasashiku Shite Ne, e.g. Please Be Gentle With Me, featuring real couples and Tokyo girls
  • Then enjoy a special deluxe magazine featuring the "big bast" [sic] of 13 positively gorgeous JAV idols
  • For fans of Japan's bold hardcover photobooks, enjoy a new Bond work, featuring the elegant photos of Emi Yokoyama
  • Also, a great photobook dedicated to two very cool subjects, women in men's shirts and eyeglasses, starring Maki Ogawa
  • Then observe 70 authentic Tokyo girls living in their private rooms in a great photobook item, "Rooms and Underwear"
  • Restocked photobook items include the gorgeous Mihiro work M+6, the gorgeous LCC Gold Romanian gymnast photobook, Sora Aoi's lovely photobook, and more
  • For our H manga customers, we've got some great new offerings for you, including Sister Complex by the talented Yuuki, a bold new "hermaphro" work by Angel Comics, and more
  • We've restocked some great comics for you too, including How to Make a Widow, Queen Bee, Melty, Equation of the Night and more
  • Also for yaoi fans, we have some excellent new works for you, including the new issue of Deep Aqua, the excellent anthology of yaoi works
  • For our DVD customers, we've got a great lineup of products for you, starting with the Real Private Life of Office Ladies, a 4 hour extravaganza from Big Morkal (region free)
  • Then from Samansa, enjoy a great self-produced work by the lovely Sora Aoi (aka Sola Aoi), (region free)
  • Next, we have a great 2-disc offering from Dogma featuring Kurumi Morishita, assisting you while wearing amazing costumes (region free)
  • Soft on Demand's lovely Nana Natsume is your personal High Class Soap Lady in a new release from SOD, featuring dynamite action as only Japan could envision it (region free)
  • From SOD's Deep's label, the lovely Marie Kurosawa shows you her very first "whale spouting" (as they call it in Japanese) (region free)
  • Then from Moodyz, enjoy a great new Dream Woman series offering with the lovely Asuka Ozora, directed by "Alala Kurosawa" (region 2)
  • Finally, we've got various restocked DVD titles, including the Palm of Hitomi Hayasaka, the excellent Girl's School, and a restocking of various Concentration series titles, which are all value priced.

Remember that J-List carries dozens of super cool "candy toy" (miniature toys that usually come with candy inside, called "shokugan" in Japanese) items from Japan, with many varieties of cool items -- anime figurines, replicas of famous battleships, super detailed replicas of Japanese food and sushi, Star Trek vehicles and more. They're great to display, and since we offer full sets of virtually all toys we sell, so you don't have to buy duplicates, you can save time, money and aggravation. We also stock cool display cases to put them in!