There's no doubt about it: living in Japan will make you a better driver. The combination of driving on narrow roads with many twists and turns, dodging pedestrians walking along the streets that are too narrow for sidewalks, and parking rear-end first into tiny parking spaces, will polish your driving skills so much that you'll get compliments when you go back home. There's one problem though -- living in Japan will also make you forget anything you ever knew about your car's engine. Because cars here must receive a special check-up (called "sha-ken") every two years, it's customary for drivers to leave every minor technical aspect of their car's performance up to their car dealer or local mechanic. Even simple things like tune-ups and oil changes are nearly always left to professionals. The only time I've even lifted the hood (which the Japanese call the "bonnet," borrowing the British term) is when a cat managed to climb into my car's engine compartment to sleep, only to be ripped to ribbons when I started my car.
One of the biggest changes I've seen in Japan in the thirteen years I've lived here is a major opening of the economy to products from the outside. When I got here in 1992, finding a store that sold Doritos was a major find, and the only non-Japanese beer in the whole country was Bud. Now Japan is a much more open place, with many new products from America and Europe easily available in Japanese stores. However, some of the foreign brands in Japan aren't new at all, but have been here for decades. P&G (Proctor & Gamble) has been here for thirty years, so long that Japanese don't really consider brands like Pampers and Whisper to be a foreign at all. McDonald's is another company that started early in Japan -- I've actually been asked by Japanese if they have McDonald's in America. But perhaps the foreign brand most familiar to Japanese is Switzerland's Nestle. They entered the Japanese market officially back in 1961, and as a result nearly all their products, from Ritz Crackers to Oreos to Kit Kat, enjoy dominant positions in Japan. In 2001 they ran a 40th anniversary commemorative TV commercial, showing clips from all their past commercials for Nescafe instant coffee. It was pretty cool.
J-List is your source for quality T-shirts with wacky Japanese messages on them, and we've got dozens of bizarre and fun shirts for you to choose from, from the very racy to the merely hilarious. Today we've got two new shirts for you: super cute "face" shirts of our Domo-kun parody shirt and of a soft and fluffy anime favorite, Totoro. These original shirts are printed on quality 6.1 lb T-shirts which look and feel great, and they're printed with the highest quality screenprinting method for longest life. Check out our new designs!
We had another problem with our RSS feed not updating -- but it's really been fixed this time. Now you can track newly updated J-List products with any standard RSS/XML reader.
For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. They include:
- First, for fans of Japan's highly developed culture of cosplay, that is, dressing up in super-cute costumes, we've got the new issue of Gothic & Lolita Bible, featuring tons of photos and information on gothlife, complete with patterns you can use to make outfits and a deck of gothic playing cards
- For Star Wars fans, we've got a great only-sold-in-Japan set of incredibly detailed diorama toys -- full sets are available, but stock is limited
- Look for another major restocking of Domo-kun products, including the Domo-kun mini mascot, the Domo plush keychain, the deluxe Domo plush toy (medium) that is the best-selling Domo item hands down, and much more
- It's hard to live in Japan without falling in love with at least a couple members of Morning Musume, the JPOP group that holds Japan it sway -- we have a great hardcover photobook featuring the lovely Mari Yaguchi
- For fans of My Melody, one of the most popular Sanrio characters all over the world, we've got a great treat: a "decoration mug cup" that will make everyone at work envy you
- We love to sell cool things that represent Japan to us -- one such item are the timeless "Kimono Licca-chan" series, featuring Takara's famous fashion doll in traditional Japanese outfits. We have a nice summer yukata version of Licca in stock today
- For fans of our Japanese snack treats, enjoy delicious soy sauce flavored rice crackers (yum), tasty bonito fish you can eat right out of the pack, and delicious gummy treats from Meiji that contain real fruit juice
- Also, look for many restocked items, including Wata Gum which looks like cotton candy, delicious "Fruit of the Bubble" gum, Charcoal Roasted Coffee Candy, and our popular cold-water mugi-cha (barley tea) bags for summer
- Also, a dynamite item from Japan: famous rice crackers that come with Kabuki Frog keychain mascots, the famous Frog Style character with gorgeously painted kabuki faces
- Summer to the Japanese means going to festivals and playing "Kinyo Sukui" or "Save the Goldfish," a game where you have to catch goldfish with paper scoops -- we've got some fun goldfish toy items for you today, including a complete goldfish game you can play with your kids
- Another fun item for summer: a Hello Kitty water pistol, complete with Kitty and her rubber ducky
- We've restocked our popular Dr. Ion pens that come with massage tips for tired shoulders
- Then, enjoy a level of style only available from Japan with MagCatch Pen Stand, a quality aluminum pen with a heavy magnetic base that holds your pen securely, ready for you to to reach for it
- Make sure your family's chopsticks are always hand with our deluxe chopstick holders, which both dry chopsticks and hold them for you
- We have another nice item for summer: charcoal wind-chimes, which make a lovely sound when the breeze blows
- Do you love the stylish kogal Pinky figures? We've restocked the Pinky Street figure + photobook set for you
- We've got more cute Japanese character memo pads, including the super cute Usa Hana (OO-sa HAH-na) and Shinkansen characters from Sanrio
- Finally, look for even more uniquely Japanese ways to clean your ears, more Japanese pens with very fine points for precision, a way to keep your washing machine clean, and more!
For our 18+ customers, we've got many new products. The new items include:
- For fans of gorgeous Japanese women, we've got the new issue of Gal's Dee, featuring girls with a side D or larger cup, like Ami Sakuragi (98 cm G cup)
- Also, the premier issue of Gal Max, featuring gorgeous girls aged 18-24
- We have a new issue of Cho Very Good!! The Movie, a super all-kogal magazine featuring a 2 hour DVD of sample quickies for you
- When Yasu told us he'd found the perfect beauty, we didn't believe him, but he was right: Reon Kadena's new all-natural photobook is simply amazing, and we recommend it highly
- We've also restocked several photobooks, including Kyoko Fukada's dynamite gothic photobook release (Tomo is a big fan of Fuka-Kyon)
- We have some super new H manga for you, including Dogu, a super exploration of the mind of ecchi manga creator Dozamura, as well as AC Comic's Lying Body and an excellent work by Yoshimitsu Kura
- Restocked manga include all volumes of the popular Pururun Seminar series, Heroine Insult, P-Total Bio Chemical, Futanarikko Love and more -- check them all out
- Yaoi lovers, we've got a nice new manga for you by Be Boy Comics and Kazusa Takashima
- For our DVD customers, we've got some great titles for you in time for the end of our special "Thanks Sale" -- starting with the lovely "Fresh Pleasure" of Kyoko Nakajima (region free)
- Next, enjoy more Woman Announcer Insult Play, in which four elegant newscasters (announcers) insult and punish each other (region free)
- Next, two gay men do battle with the gorgeous small-bodied Kaori Kobayakawa in an extremely stylish performance (region free)
- Natural girls from around Japan show off their bodies in a new release from Hajime Planning -- this time see the lovely girls from Japan's northern Tohoku region (region free)
- From Moodyz, enjoy a "6P" (manage a six) with three gorgeous Japanese women and three big black guys from the USA (2 discs, region 2)
- Then from the famous studio Waap Entertainment, enjoy some good Japanese "Gock n' Roll" with lots of fun "gokkun" themed performances for you, performed by Momo Iizawa (region 2)
- Finally, we have some great newly restocked DVDs including some classic all-girl indies DVD titles, fresh stock of Gold Bird and Euro Angels, some new "Concentration" DVD releases, and more!
Remember that J-List stocks the delightfully meticulous classic food replica items from Re-Ment and other companies, which recreate famous food of the world -- sushi, Japanese traditional dishes, desserts of the world, delicious food items from a miniature supermarket -- in such detail you won't believe they're not edible (you even get little silverware/chopsticks). Great for display or for use as play food for dolls. Full sets of all items are available, so you don't need to worry about getting duplicates and throwing them away.