First of all, we're extremely happy to announce that all 18+ images on the J-List website have been put back to normal, with no more annoying yellow censors. We thank everyone for their understanding while we fixed that unpleasant problem. To show our appreciation, we're announcing a one-week-long "Thanks Sale" (to use a popular Japanese term). For the next week, you can get a special 20% discount on purchases of 4 or more DVDs, and a whopping 25% discount on purchased of 4 or more bishoujo dating-sim games. All DVDs and games are part of the same. We've got the best customers in the world at J-List, and we want you to know we appreciate you!
The Japanese do love tests. In addition to their world-famous college entrance exams, the Japanese have standardized tests for just about everything, with levels that are similar to the belt colors in karate and judo. Just about every subject, from abacus to waapro (word processing) to accounting have national tests that students and adults are encouraged to study for and take. The most famous test in Japan is Eiken, a series of English ability tests that Japanese students take over the course of their lives -- level 3 while in junior high school, level 2 while in high school, and level 1 if they really want to try a challenging test during or after college. There are standardized tests for Japanese brush writing, penmanship, memorizing train schedules, and even a test for calculating rapidly and accurately with a calculator. All sports have their own various standardized tests, too, to provide a series of goals for students learning to play the sport. My son takes skiing lessons every winter, and he's progressed quite well by clearing each level of the skiing tests -- he's only 9 and he can already ski down slopes I wouldn't walk down.
For gaijin like you or me, there's another useful test: the Nihongo Noryoku Shiken or the Japanese Ability Test, taken each December at various cities around the world. It's a standardized test that checks all aspects of Japanese comprehension. There are four levels to the test, designed so you can take one each year as you advance in your Japanese studies. Level 4 tests basic kana and the first 100 kanji, levels 3 and 2 are progressively harder, and level 1 is a really difficult test required for all students who want to enter a Japanese university. Japan's test mania may seem odd, but I think it is a good way to motivate people to study and better themselves. If you'd like to take the Japanese Ability Test and are near Los Angeles, see http://www.jflalc.org/proftest/ (do a Google search for other cities). Note that if you are interested in taking the test, you must sign up soon, so don't delay -- many a gaijin has worked up his or her courage to challenge the test, only to forget to sign up by the cut-off period, which is in late summer.
Today is Friday, and that means I'll be taking the kids to our favorite public bath. Bathing in hot springs ("onsen") and public baths ("sento") is a popular pastime in Japan, and despite the hard economic times of the past few years, Japan's public bathing sector never stopped growing. Our favorite bath is called Yura no Sato, or Hot Water Village, and offers over a dozen different baths to enjoy, from traditional Japanese "kama" baths which are basically giant metal pots to baths with rocks on the bottom which massage your feet, several saunas and more. It's a lot of good, clean fun, Japan-style.
We had a bug in our RSS feed, which caused the feed to not update properly. We've fixed it now. You can use any standard RSS feed reader to quickly note when the site has been updated, see the newest 120 products, and access J-List's updated pages easily. RSS readers let you set up feeds from your favorite websites so you can quickly check for updated information. If you have any questions about the RSS feed, please let us know.
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you:
- First, for those who want to explore Japan's love of "minus ion" products, we've got something very special for you: a Sanrio Hello Kitty hair dryer that emits negatively charged ions as it dries your hair
- Also for Kitty enthusiasts, we've found more limited stock of the soon-to-be-gone-forever Hello Kitty Massager, the coolest pop culture item the world has ever seen
- The lovely Kyoko Fukada, an actress and singer who is famous all over Asia, has an amazing new photobook release for you capturing her in the most amazing Gothic & Lolita outfits
- For fans of Ruroni Kenshin, aka Samurai X, we've got another dynamite Story Image Figure series, with five extremely detailed figures for you to display anywhere (full sets in stock)
- Fans of Tomy's die-cast Japanese cars, we've got some cool new items, including the Toyota Harrier, aka the Lexus RX300, and very cool Toyota Probox
- Fans of delicious Japanese snacks, we've got a new flavors of Pretz for you, delicious traditional treats, and with tasty ramune and other snacks that are fun to munch on (and very affordable, too)
- Other Hello Kitty items include a really cool Kitty watering can as well as various restocked Sanrio items sold only in Japan
- We live to bring you wacky and unique things from Japan -- we have a new electric eraser that makes it easy to permanently remove pencil marks from paper, something only the Japanese could have thought of
- For your car or home, we have a great wire clip system that makes it easy to stick anything anywhere -- trash bags in your car, holders for the things you need in your daily life, and more
- At Japanese weddings it's customary to bring a cash gift in a beautifully decorated envelope -- we've got the envelopes in stock for you today
- For anyone with a notebook computer, we have two positively wonderful laptop bags from Japan's top computer peripheral maker Elecom
- Budding manga artists, we've made a major restocking of How To Draw Manga books, with all the most popular titles back in stock for you to order
- Look for fresh stock of several Studio Ghibli items including the Totoro Collection plush toys, the No Face keychain and music box, various soft Totoro toys and more
- We stock great Japanese films on DVD -- look for fresh stock of the wonderful Grasshoppa vol. 1, as well as Takeshi Kitano's ZATOICHI and more
- Finally we've got an all-purpose box from Japan, more of the popular Cup Noodle coffee cups that perfectly mimic the famous Japanese staple food, and more!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. The new items include:
- For lovers of Japan's high quality 18+ magazines, we've got some great items for you, including the new issues of Penthouse Japan and Penthouse Special, featuring only Japanese models shot by Japanese photographers
- Then enjoy the beautiful photo-magazine of Miwa Ohshiro (Oshiro), the gorgeous swimsuit idol who will make your eyes pop out of your head with her new offering
- We've also reduced the prices of many of our magazines, starting at just $5 -- check out the great bargains we have for you
- Photobook collectors, enjoy the sweet natural photographs of Yuuka Sawachi, which will amaze and delight you
- For H manga fans, we've got more superb works for you, including an anthology of stories about women who go after inexperienced men, an excellent comic about female teachers, and a great new book from Pon-Takanada
- We've also restocked several popular manga, including the Blue Eyes series, Legend of Demon Coming, and great works by the powerful manga artists Hiroyoshi Kira, Azuki Kurenai and Shiwasu no Okina
- Yaoi fans, we have another dramatic story of boy's love by the talented Kanako Meiji
- DVD collectors, we've got some great new items for you in time for our special sale -- starting with 4 hours of the most dynamite performances by Yui Asahina (region free)
- Next, we've got a selection of super low-angle "Noble Legs by Costume Play," including the silky, sexy legs, stockings and high heels of many dynamite ladies
- From SOD's best-selling Zenra series, we've got a naughty version of Swan Lake performed by extremely talented natural ballerinas -- don't miss this amazing new release! (region free)
- Next, see the very best of SOD's popular Idol series, featuring the best wet performances by Izumi Hasegawa, Nao Oikawa, Nanami Nanase and more (region free)
- Then from Moodyz, Cocolo fulfills all your fantasies in Illusion Hospital, a bold nurse-themed work from one of Japan's top indies studios (region 2)
- Then enjoy an amazing sports camp where fabulous full-size girls engage in all kinds of exercises to improve their bodies and their health (region 2)
- Finally we've got fresh stock of new DVDs, including Nao's wonderful Dream Shower, 4 Hours of Back Dynamite, All Girls' School 4 and many other titles!
Remember that J-List specializes in candy toys, miniature, affordable toys that often come with candy inside (hence the name). There are many different kinds of these great toys: realistic figures based on anime, deliciously realistic replicas of famous Japanese foods, replicas of Sony's AIBO robot dogs, and more. One series I especially love are the Furuta Star Trek replicas: extremely detailed and realistic starships from the timeless TV and movie series. They're very popular, and we ordered over 3000 of the ships two months ago, yet incredibly our stock is disappearing fast. Because we know that most collectors want to get full sets and avoid buying random duplicates, we're happy to make full sets of most items available. Browse our anime and toy pages for all these great toys that we have for you!