Friday, August 13, 2004

Greetings from J-List August 13, 2004

Japan can be a superstitious place, with many beliefs that people in the West would have trouble understanding. Some of these seem to have to do with water. For example, after a woman gives birth, it's bad luck for her to touch water for three days, so her mother will generally do all the dishwashing and laundry during that period. It's no big deal to remodel your house, but if you relocate anything to do with water, like your kitchen or bathrooms, it might bring bad luck to the family. My policy on these beliefs is, since I have no evidence that they're wrong, they might be correct, so I never dismiss them outright. Japanese kids have a cute superstition they do here, called "shoe weather forecasting": they take off a shoe and throw it as hard as they can. If the shoe lands upright, it will be a nice day tomorrow; if it lands on its side, look for clouds; and if it lands upside down, it will rain.

At J-List, we're able to act as a kind of "ambassador of pop culture" between Japan and the West, something we really like doing. I get a lot of email from young people who really love Japan, asking me for advice on how they can live here someday. By and large, the time-honored way for English speakers to work in Japan is by teaching English as a Second Language, and before I started J-List, I taught ESL to Japanese kids, high school students and adults. ESL isn't for everyone, but if you'd like to know more about it, I've got a (recently updated) article on my personal homepage (http://www.peterpayne.net) for you. Of course, when I get mail from young people interested in Japan, I always make sure to tell them to think about university first and foremost. When I look back at my life, virtually everything good that I've been able to achieve was made possible by my four very interesting years at SDSU. If you're a young person wondering how you can come to Japan some day, by all means plan on going to a challenging 4-year university first -- everything else will probably click into place after that.

Native English speakers don't think about it very much, but English can be really convoluted and confusing, with grammar and vocabulary borrowed from almost every other language on Earth. During my time as a teacher, I was often hard pressed to explain the "why" of grammar and word usage to my students, who wanted to understand the structure of English, not just hear what the correct answer was. Language is ultimately based on grammatical rules -- for example, there's a rule governing the intonation of words that can be both nouns and verbs (e.g. record a record, present a present to someone, subject the subject to a test). Even slang and dialects like eubonics are based on their own sets of rules. During my time as a teacher, I really got to learn my own language.

J-List carries three different DVD players that allow you to enjoy DVDs from any country, including the region 2 anime and special DVDs which we sell at J-List. We offer three units by Lasonic, made for the U.S. market with one year warranties and manuals in English. We sell the low-priced DVD-7890, the ultra-compact DVD-800, and the full-featured player with karaoke, the DVD-7880K. All players are in stock in our San Diego office right now, ready for you to order.

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

  • First, we're big fans of the miniature food toys by Re-Ment which include traditional Japanese meals, sushi and extremely detailed miniature cakes. Their newest series captures the "Dream of American Life" with such replicas as steak, airline food, Halloween candy, snack at a movie theatre and more! (full sets are in stock)
  • For fans of traditional footwear from Japan, we have some beautiful Japanese "geta" (wooden shoes) that are fabulous -- great for wearing or displaying in your home
  • A super item for summer: we've got beautiful Japanese wind chimes that sound great in the breeze, and feature a uniquely Japanese look with the kanji for "ice"
  • Also for the hot months, we've got a great fan that will keep you cool no matter what you're doing this summer, as well as pleasant "cool" bath powder that makes you feel minty fresh even when it's hot out
  • For Eva fans and collectors, we've got the "Real Model" of the Eva-01 Test Type, a super toy from Sega
  • Want to learn to draw manga? We've restocked several of the popular How to Draw Manga books for you
  • Also: a super new toy from Japan, the die-cast metal bike from Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira is in stock, complete with stand, many accessories and a figure of Kaneda to ride it -- this is a cool item!
  • For fans of our Japanese snack foods, enjoy tasty Konnyaku Gummy treats with healthy fruit inside, delicious ramune candy, and a great item for fans of esoteric traditional snacks from Japan: a super value pack featuring a total of 39 items for you to taste and try inside
  • Restocked snack items include more Pocky Reverse, delicious Tea Doc chocolate treats, Dice Caramel, Peko-chan Milky Candy and more
  • Would you buy a washboard from Japan? We've got one, and they're very handy to have around
  • We have a great color manga by Katsuya Terada, a horrific tale of a bizarre trip to the west
  • Next, a parody of Young Magazine featuring gorgeous Mari Shimomura, nicknamed Young Marilyn
  • For JPOP fans: a super photobook of Aya Matsuura, the incredible shining star of the JPOP world -- comes with a punch-out desktop display for her fans
  • We have a great combination toothpick case and business card holder that is very traditional and cool
  • Fans of Hello Kitty, known as Kitty-chan in Japan, we have a great all-purpose hand mirror in stock today, as well as fresh stock of the popular Kitty USB mascot
  • Domo-kun fans -- we've got more great stuff for you, including restocked keychains, memo pads, the deluxe stuffed plush toy, and the Domo-kun business card holder
  • For students of Japanese, we've restocked the inexpensive Canon Wordtank IDC-310, which is a very compact unit yet it features the "jump" feature that makes it useful to gaijin to look up kanji characters
  • We've added stock of various wacky parody items too, including toilet paper that helps you go to the bathroom, fun Japanese headbands, and more
  • Another unique item we sell is StitchLock, the incredible "staple-less staplers" from Japan that knit sheets of paper together for you -- we've restocked several items, including the deluxe StitchLock Zn
  • Finally, look for some great traditional and wacky things from Japan, including Japanese notebooks paper, a great Buddhist money bank, more capsule-type marker pens, and other cool items!

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

  • For fans of gorgeous Tokyo girls, we've got the new issue of Yo!, featuring beautiful bad girls and a giant pull-out poster
  • Then, we have the new issue of Karami, a super photomagazine dedicated to a single JAV star -- this issue features Nana Natsume, the luscious top name in Japan's video world
  • Then from Sabra, enjoy the gorgeous Spicy Girls issue featuring Sayuri An, a knock-you-off-your-feet gorgeous girl from Japan's pantheon of sexy idols
  • Also for photobook fans, a great item featuring Race Queen Toshimi Horiguchi's "Body Heat"
  • For fans of Japan's quality H manga, enjoy a tale of very enjoyable punishment, a fantasy teacher to make your dreams come true, the ultimate Amazon Princess, and more
  • We've restocked many H manga too, including Cafe de Murata, Futanari Premium, Buttagiri Sisters, Illustrated Maya Miyazaki and more
  • Also, we've got a dynamite item for yaoi lovers too: Touch Me On a Starry Night, by the talented artist Tori Maia
  • For our DVD customers, enjoy some fantastic new releases for you, starting with Monbu Ran's Very Best vol. 2, featuring a staggering 4 hours of her best performances ever, by Million (region free)
  • Then enjoy the "futanari" performance of Shuri Himesaki, who plays a girl who has sprouted something very surprising, and puts it to good use (region free)
  • From SOD, a new project: Tokyo girls who are made to watch couples performing on an video set, who then become excited and want to join in on the action (region free)
  • Then from Deep's, an exploration of female pleasure with the mouth, featuring 20 different beautiful actresses (region free)
  • Senna Kurosaki is a dark and gorgeous JAV actress from Japan -- see her in a dynamite new release from the stylish Wanz Factory, featuring 3 hours for you (region 2)
  • Tomo has added another volley of DVD titles to our free shipping sale -- these discs come with free SAL or airmail shipping so you can save lots on them!
  • Finally, look for some great restocked DVD titles, including the Female Best Complete vol 1-3, Female Card Game and great works by Mai Sakashita

Remember that J-List carries cool Japanese shoes and footwear, including great "tatami sandals" (setta) that are made out of the material tatami mats are made from. We also carry an item I personally feel all parents of young children should buy, Japanese shoes for children with squeakers inside -- when children walk, their shoes make a fun squeaking noise. Kids like to wear shoes that make noise, and parents will appreciate being able know exactly where their kids are in a crowded store. It's a wacky but very useful thing from J-List.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Greetings from J-List August 11, 2004

Hello again from J-List!

Japanese family names can be interesting to study. Generally, family names are written with two kanji, using the Japanese readings of the characters. Many names are made using elementary words for things around us, e.g. yama (mountain), ta (rice field, also pronounced da), village (mura), island (shima, also pronounced jima), center (naka) and so on. I would imagine that Japanese with "down to earth" last names like Yamada and Tanaka came from families that grew rice back in the Edo period, but this is impossible to verify since all Japanese seem sure that their ancestors were samurai (you get used to this when you live in Japan for a while). I've heard that Japanese who have the character for "gold" in their names, e.g. people named Kanai (gold + well), are probably of Korean ancestry -- the Korean last name Kim means gold -- much like anyone with "Mac" in his name probably had great-grandparents from Ireland. To see what some common Japanese names look like in kanji, see this link: http://www.jlist.com/d1/kanjinames.jpg

The Olympics are coming once again, and Japan is preparing for massive coverage of every event. Japanese are natural sports fans, and they love nothing better than to do well at sports and gain international recognition. Sales of high-end televisions are way up in Japan, as people upgrade their TVs so they can enjoy the games in gorgeous plasma flat-panel color. It seems that every third TV commercial on right now advertises something to do with the Olympics. We hope that judo star Ryoko Tamura will get a second gold medal!

Apple's iPod mini has come to Japan with a big splash, and Japanese fans are going ape for the tiny digital music player. Thousands of fans lined up outside Apple's flagship Ginza store for a chance to buy one of the stylish players last month. Even during the long recession of the past ten years, Japan has always been a country that appreciates the value of quality goods, and companies like Louis Vuitton does a third of its worldwide sales here.

At J-List, we love the unique PC dating-sim games from Japan, and carry virtually every title available. We're happy to announce the newest title from G-Collections, Come See Me Tonight 2, which will be shipping in a couple of days. You are Kensuke, a member of the family that operates the famous Kagetsuke Shinto Shrine. When your grandfather announces that the big festival will be broadcast on television, you must choose one of the four lovely shrine maidens to make the event a success. What's the catch? It's the custom here that the climactic "dance of the shrine maidens" includes some intimate romantic coupling. What are you going to do?

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

  • First, for Range Murata fans, we've got his brand new Illustration Book featuring incredible creations made from his designs
  • Next: J-List is the creator of our original Wacky Japanese T-shirts, and we have dozens of great shirts for guys and girls. By request, we've added XS to several popular shirts for girls, so that our extra small customers can enjoy them too
  • Japanese snack fans, enjoy the amazing chocolate covered strawberry creams from Meiji, mmmmm
  • Also, fun cheese potato snacks, delicious ramune candies, Tomato Pretz, March of Koala Coconut type, and various restocked Japanese chewing gum varieties
  • For fans of remote controlled toys, a really fun item: a RC Yellow Submarine, which you charge for 90 seconds then send it under water to go wherever you send it
  • Fans of the timeless anime Captain Harlock, we have a great capsule toy set featuring all the characters of Leiji Matsumoto's famous work -- available in a full set (no need to buy duplicates and throw them away)
  • Next, for Hello Kitty fans, we've got some amazing light-up LED magnets, which you can put anywhere -- very cute and unique
  • Also, some cool Sanrio Bubbling Bath tablets that are really fun to use
  • Next, we've got an all-purpose soft case suitable for holding books, documents, laptop computers, or just about anything
  • When Japanese cook in the kitchen, they usually use extra-long cooking chopsticks to protect the hands from burns -- we've got some of these handy items in stock now
  • For summer, we have an elegant fan for you, made of bamboo and kimono-like cloth material
  • For Ghibli fans, we've done a big restocking of popular Totoro and other items -- look for Totoro, Spirited Away and Porco Rosso keychains, various Totoro plush toys, and more
  • Also: a big restocking of great Domo-kun items, including all three plush Domo-kun cubes, the extra-large Domo-kun huggable pillow, the HUGE stuffed plush pillow, Domo-kun post-it notes, and more
  • We've added more wacky parody items, including funny signs for your car
  • Studying Japanese? Memorize like the Japanese do -- we've restocked the Zebra Check Sets, which make it easy to memorize any material you are studying
  • We love traditional Japanese things, and we've added stock of the popular Hanafuda Japanese card game
  • We also carry fude (FOO-day) pens, which allow you to write like you were using a Chinese writing brush -- look for various restocked items
  • For fans of the famous Gothic & Lolita series, we've gotten in additional stock of the original Homemade G&L patternbook, with many costume patterns you can use to make your own outfits
  • Finally, a cute happy face pool toy, more takoyaki makers, miniature "go" that you can play anywhere, fresh stock of the gorgeous Kitty Kabuki Series dolls, and more!

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

  • For fans of Japan's popular magazines, enjoy the new issues of Video Boy and Best Video, both filled with gorgeous professional JAV starlets
  • Also, a dynamite "mook" featuring the beautiful photographs of Tomoko Sato -- complete with 3D glasses!
  • For photobook fans, the incredibly beautiful Akiho Yoshizawa's new hardcover glossy book is a real treat
  • Next, enjoy the "Secret Mind" of Chihiro Otsuka, an elegant and beautiful Japanese swimsuit model
  • Various photobooks have been restocked, including the photobook of the drop-dead gorgeous Aki Hoshino, one of the most popular models at J-List
  • For fans of Japan's unparalleled H manga, enjoy a bold new "futanari" manga by Tenma Comics, an excellent anthology of "companion party" manga, and a superb new work by Hirohisa Onikubo that H fans won't want to miss
  • We've also posted fresh stock of many manga titles, including Blooming Flowers, Amber Girl, The Den, Hallow Hallow and in our San Diego office, fresh stock of AG Super Anthology vol. 9
  • For yaoi collectors, we have the new b-Boy Luv vol 10, featuring popular m/m works by the top artists in Japan
  • J-List carries many unique toys for grown-ups, which are sold only in the Japanese market -- we've restocked several popular items including the Mandorian Dot
  • DVD collectors, enjoy some great new titles, starting with 4 hours of the elegance of Yui Asahina, a startlingly beautiful JAV idol (region free)
  • For lovers of the popular leg and stocking DVDs from Shinkousha, we've got a new "see through" offering, this time starring the gorgeous Akira Watase (region free)
  • Next, enjoy the best of girls in swimming suits, in a very cool new release from Soft on Demand (region free)
  • Also from SOD, gorgeous Tokyo girls are put up for auction -- the winners get to watch them pleasure themselves on camera (region free)
  • Then from Wanz Factory, enjoy the dynamite Kaoru Sakurako allow herself to be bound and teased for the pleasure of her fans (region 2)
  • Finally, we've added stock of several of the "Concentration" series DVDs, which are great because you get 2 full hours of quality JAV for a very low price -- enjoy the newly stocked items.

Remember that at J-List, we carry the whole line of unique Japanese chewing gum from companies like Lotte and Glico. Some of our most popular items are Lotte's "Black Black" (Japan's unique caffeine gum, it will keep you awake!), delicious Blue Berry gum, Pocari Sweat flavored gum (Dakara), and one of my favorites, Ume (Japanese plum) gum. Check out all these items on our Japanese snack and gum pages! As usual, there's an automatic discount for buying 10 or more packs of the same gum.