Friday, July 30, 2004

Greetings from J-List July 30, 2004

You probably know that the Japanese eat whale, which is "kujira" in Japanese (some trivia for you: Godzilla got his name by combining this word with the word "gorilla"). While this practice is hard for liberal-minded Westerners to accept, the Japanese have traditionally eaten whale meat for hundreds of years -- my wife even remembers having it served as part of her school lunch when she was in elementary school, although they don't do this anymore. As an American, I've always been quite shocked at the Japanese ability to eat whale, but I believe that people should always strive to avoid hypocrisy wherever possible. That's why, when I noticed whale sushi on the menu at our favorite sushi restaurant, I decided to order some, so I could better understand the position of the Japanese before I argued against it. To tell the truth, whale meat tasted like an oil slick, and in the end I was even more confused about why anyone would go to such extremes to eat these creatures.

My home town of San Diego has just two seasons: sunny and slightly less sunny. In contrast, Japan is an extremely seasonal place, with hot, humid summers, freezing, windy winters, and two rainy periods during the year. There are some unique smells that are associated with seasons here. Right now it's hot, and mosquitoes are biting with a vengeance, so my wife burns Japanese mosquito coils at night, which make a pleasant incense smell that instantly reminds me of summer. Likewise, when winter rolls around, most people bring out portable kerosene heaters, which have a unique pungent smell to them when you first turn them on. That first smell of kerosene in December brings back a flood of fond memories of winters past.

One of our favorite places in Japan is Karuizawa, a small resort town in the mountains about 150 km from Tokyo. Originally a postal town during the Edo Period, it was adopted by missionary Alexander C. Shaw in 1886, who built a summer home there because it reminded him of his native Scotland. Now it's one of the most beautiful towns in Japan, frequented by tens of thousands of Tokyoites who want to enjoy the cool mountain air, ride rented bicycles beneath the trees, or shop in the small boutiques. It's a nice place, but a little too popular during certain times of the year, like Golden Week or the Obon Buddhist holidays, when an ungodly number of people flood the town. Since our son is in San Diego right now, we're taking our daughter to a nice onsen (hot springs) hotel in Karuizawa this weekend, to give her a special treat.

We're happy to announce that the Zenra Ballerina series from Soft on Demand has been nominated for Best Film at the 11th Charity Erotic Awards in London and is a finalist. We're very proud of the special recognition this excellent product has received, and SOD is equally happy. We hope it will win!

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

  • First, for Macross fans, superb treat: the Macross Collection Series 2, featuring fabulous soft vinyl figures from the Macross series (full sets in stock!)
  • Shirow Masamune fans, we have the new Intron Depot 4 art book, filled with his incredible artwork and original characters
  • For Japanese snack lovers, enjoy "Neru Neru Nerune," a fun treat you make by adding water and mixing until the mixture turns into soft candy
  • Also, delicious coffee roasted peanuts (?), authentic ramen noodles, tasty squid jerky, and other tasty snacks from Japan
  • The Frog Style character series continues to take Japan by storm -- we've got super cute gashapon (capsule toys) featuring super cute frog wind chime keychains, so cute!
  • Next, enjoy all-purpose "can cases" for Hello Kitty fans, which look great and securely hold anything you need to store inside
  • We've got some great swimsuit idol photobooks too, including the lovely hardcover offering of Mayuko Iwase
  • Also, the gorgeous new issue of Race Queen Fan, a great photomagazine featuring the lovely Endless Lady Miki Kobayashi
  • Get a great massage with the "massage fish" rolling massager we've got in stock -- I've got one at home and love mine!
  • If you have a cat, we've got a cute cat toy that he will love, a furry mouse on a stick that he'll want to chase and play with
  • Summer is here and it's hot -- we've gotten in more stylish and cool wooden geta shoes for ladies, with beautiful kimono-fabric designs that look great
  • Enjoy a Japanese onsen (hot springs bath) outside of Japan with foaming bath tablets, which we've got in stock for you
  • Also, a great bamboo chopstick holder (also good for keeping pens handy)
  • Studying Japanese? We've restocked the wonderful kanji workbooks for grades 1-4 for you
  • We've reduced the prices on some of our popular Japanese T-shirts to make room for more designs -- enjoy a great close-out price on our "I will pass the test" good luck T-shirt!
  • For fans of Kill Bill, we've restocked the Japanese release DVD, which features the scenes that were cutout of the U.S. release of the movie -- a great item for collectors! (region 2)
  • Also: the last stock we'll ever get of the amazing photobook of Chiaki Kuriyama, aka GoGo Yubari from Kill Bill
  • For your kids this summer, fresh stock of the affordable Japanese "happy" coats, very cheap because they're made of paper
  • Daisuke has restocked the popular miniature food toys by Re-Ment, so perfectly detailed and fun to display (full sets are in stock so there's no need to buy duplicates and throw them away)
  • Finally, delicious wasabi flavored rice crackers, a handy way to keep your tongue free of plaque, and more!

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

  • For fans of Japan's famous 18+ magazines, we've got the new issues of Penthouse Japan and Penthouse Special, both featuring all-Japanese girls who will knock your socks off
  • Next, enjoy a new issue of More & More DVD + color magazine, this time featuring the sexy elegance of Kyoko Ayana (!)
  • For fans of Japan's gorgeous hardcover glossy photobooks, we recommend the amazing photobook of Maiko Tohno, a gorgeous "Zero Woman" from Japan
  • For fans of Japan's H manga, we have some dynamite books for you, including a new offering from the famous LINDA, a superb fantasy manga from Shinobu Hattori, and The Hot Water of Tsuyako
  • We've restocked many manga titles too, including the Dark Crimson series by Urushihara, Buttagiri Sisters, Teacher Mirako's Huge Panic, and more
  • We have a new yaoi comic too, for fans of Japan's famous shonen'ai dramatic comics, as well as fresh stock of the popular Muscle Man series
  • For our new update, we've got lots of great DVDs for you, starting with 4 hours of the fabulous Marina Matsushima's best works with Total Media Agency (region free)
  • Then from indies studio Dogma, a "Restrictive Chair Trance" offering starring Kurumi Morishita and Shoko Mikami together in a delightful performance (region free)
  • Next, the lovely Haruna Harada takes on a park full of homeless men hanging out in a park -- an amazing performance by SOD's Martian Devil label (region free)
  • From Deep's, a bold disc featuring two sexy actresses who are very tall (172 cm, or 5'7") (region free)
  • Mai Sakashita is back with a superb 3 hour DVD from Wanz Factory -- the slender, velvet-smooth JAV starlet really shines in this disc! (region 2)
  • Then from Moodyz, a selection of 14 all-natural Tokyo girls tasting the sweet kiss of other females (region 2)
  • Finally, we've restocked some great DVDs for you, including Akira Watase's Complete Collection, Zenra Japanese Drums, recent titles by Sora Aoi and more!

J-List carries a unique item you'll never find anywhere: sushi clocks with wax sushi that's hand-made by Japanese wax food artists for perfect detail. Ever since I saw these detailed clocks in Japan I've been on a mission to obtain these fantastic items for J-List customers, and now we've got all the excellent sushi clocks in stock. Not only are the sushi pieces totally realistic, the hands of the clocks are chopsticks! To help you choose one of these amazing and unique items, we've lowered the price of all sushi clocks -- check out the new lower prices on these amazing items. (They make unforgettable gifts, too.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Greetings from J-List July 28, 2004

Hello and Happy Monday from your friends in Japan!

It is interesting to observe the differences between Japan and the U.S. For one thing, it's an accepted concept that American companies usually "stick to their knitting" and only make products you'd expect them to make. Dell makes computers, and Ford makes cars, and if Ford started making computers we'd all wonder what they were smoking. But in Japan, it's quite common for companies to enter a wide range of businesses. You know Sony for their home electronics, but in Japan, Sony is also famous for life insurance, online banking and high-end make-up products. Building homes is big business in Japan, and companies like Panasonic and Toyota own companies that build homes under those brands -- there's even a builder called TBS Housing, operated by the Tokyo Broadcasting System, of all people. Mitsubishi is famous for their cars, but they're also busy making trains and home electronics and selling securities, and they are the leading manufacturer of pencils in Japan. All the big beer manufacturers have booming soft drink businesses on the side, so Coca Cola decided to try this process in reverse: they've introduced their first alcohol free beer, called Sky Malt, in the Japanese market.

As a man, living in Japan means being at peace with having women around you when you're in the buff. While some may have the impression that men and women bathe together regularly in Japan, kon'yoku or mixed bathing is actually very rare these days. However, there's an unwritten rule that female staff may enter the men's public bath to clean at any time, despite the natural state of all the men bathing inside. Usually the women are "obasans" (older women in their 50s or so), but every once in a while an attractive younger woman will come in to straighten the buckets or check the bath temperature, causing the occasional dash to hot water by gaijin who shall not be named. Bathing in public baths (sento) and hot springs (onsen) is a fun part of life in Japan, and something my family and I are big fans of. By and large, being in the buff in front of others is something you don't give a second thought to -- it's just part of the culture here.

Memorizing the names of the months in English must be difficult for Japanese, but it's easy going the other way -- the months in Japanese are all just numbers followed by the kanji for month (e.g. ichi-gatsu is January, ni-gatsu is February, etc.). They get their revenge, though: although the days of the month in Japanese are expressed with numbers, just like in English, there are special names for the first ten days of the month, which must be memorized, always a chore for gaijin learning Japanese. The days of the week are interesting, too -- each is associated with a kanji that represents the original European origin. The days of the week are Getsu-yobi (lit. "moon day"), Ka-yobi ("fire day" since the first character for Mars is "fire"), Sui-yobi ("water day," from the Japanese name for the planet Mercury), Moku-yobi ("wood day," from Jupiter), Kin-yobi ("gold day," from Venus), Do-yobi ("earth day," from Saturn), and Nichi-yobi ("sun day," from good old Sol).

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, a very special item for Evangelion fans: super sexy figures of Rei and Asuka featuring the most gorgeous plugsuits you've ever seen, and cat tails and ears
  • For fans of super cute JPOP group Melon Kinenbi (Melon Anniversary), we have a special hardcover photobook in stock for you
  • Naruto fans, we have a great treat for you: Naruto gashapon (capsule toys) with all the great characters from the series -- we have full sets so you don't need to worry about getting duplicates and throwing them away
  • Add a touch of Japan to your home with "noren," special Japanese curtains which you hang in doorways
  • For fans of our wacky Japanese message T-shirts, we have some cool new products for you: bizarre signs to hang in your car and bafflement to everyone
  • For fans of our Japanese snack foods, we've got a sampling of tasty corn snacks with flavors like takoyaki (fried octopus balls), teriyaki burger, and the famous natto (fermented soybeans)
  • Then enjoy classic shrimp-flavored rice crackers, yummy melon flavored candies for summer, and tasty chocolate er, cotton candy
  • Restocked snack items include delicious Toppo and Pretz (which don't melt in the hot summer months, unlike Pocky), several varieties of gum including Black Black caffeine gum, and powdered Pocari Sweat drink mix
  • We have some new wacky Japanese condoms for you, which parody the Japanese horror classic The Ring
  • For people who want to have cool Japanese things around them when they study, we have a handy pencil sharpener that's incredibly advanced and cool to look at (it matches other "Flavor" items we sell too)
  • Hello Kitty fans, we've got some really cute Kitty Frisbees that you can throw and catch -- three different colors to choose from
  • Next, enjoy another elegant wing chime that uses pieces of charred wood to make a pleasant sound when the wind blocks
  • To all fans of Japanese toys, we hope you've bought at least one Sun Arrow plush so you can see how great the quality of these amazing toys are -- we have a new "Sho Totoro" (the cute white one) plush that is so soft and well made, you'll want to hug it
  • Among the 2000+ products we sell, some of the most popular are Japanese refreshing eyedrops -- we've got a new type of extra-refreshing eyedrops that are good for anyone with contact lenses (hard or soft)
  • Are you studying Japanese? We've got fresh stock of the very popular Canon Wordtank G50, the dynamite new Wordtank with many fabulous features for serious students of Japanese -- we've got a great new price too
  • Also for anyone studying Japanese: we have fresh stock of the Chobits bilingual manga by CLAMP and Princess Knight by the famous Tezuka Osamu -- enjoy these great works
  • Finally, find more Domo-kun plush squares that are incredibly cute to display, more useful flashcards that help you learn Japanese words, tasty and fun "whistle ramune" candy, and more!

Remember that J-List offers dozens of amazing original T-shirts, printed in the USA on quality U.S. size T-shirts. Note that since we're always introducing new designs to the site, we have to close old designs out. We currently have several shirts designs that are being removed from the site, which you can buy at special prices. Check the site now before your sizes are sold out.

Also remember that you can browse the J-List/ websites easily using our "text tree" browsing feature, which allows you to see all products in all categories easily, without images or descriptions. Click on a product you want to see more about and it will come up quickly. To access this feature, click the "text browsing" link on the left of each page, or the "text tree browsing" bar at the top of product categories.