Thursday, June 30, 2011

Famous People wh Like Anime?

I recently posted an image on the J-List Facebook page and my Twitter feed listing "famous" actors and other personalities who like anime. The list included people like Will Smith (who likes Gatchaman and the films of Hayao Miyazaki), Daniel Radcliffe (a fan of Initial D and Lupin III), and Hulk Hogan (who is a Pokemon fan). The Japanese staff of J-List was rather pleased to learn that Keanu Reeves loved Ghost in the Shell and Death Note, but I wasn't surprised at all. Anime has gone far beyond it's days of being a fringe hobby a few visionary nerds embraced once a month in an anime club held on a university campus, and has become a major pillar of our shared popular culture, just as Star Trek and Star Wars transcend their original genres. It'd be harder to go through life without developing at least a basic appreciation for a few anime series, it seems to me.

Know any other famous anime fans? Taratino is one, Brad Pitt is another. 

Anime Expo 2011, Here We Come

I've made the hop from Japan to San Diego so I can join in on the fun at Anime Expo 2011. It's frankly odd being back in California again since I was just here a few weeks ago. My mind has been yanked between Japan and the U.S. several times in a short period of time, and I'm not sure where I am when I wake up in the mornings. I might start putting Mexican refried beans on my takoyaki if this continues...
We're really happy to be attending Anime Expo again this year, and are looking forward to saying hi to a few thousands of our customers. You can find the J-List booth in the dealers room, booth 819, 821 and 823 -- just look for the tall banners of our mascot character, Megumi-chan. At our booth we'll have hundreds of awesome products, from our legendary kanji & anime T-shirts to cool Totoro items, Popin' Cookin' IY sushi candy, English-translated eroge and ecchi Tenga products, and more. You should also come to our eroge panel at 11 pm on July 2nd, in room...wherever it is (just follow the cool people at the show). We'll be going over all our new game announcements for 2011-2012 (see below for more info), and giving away fabulous prizes to everyone who attends. Since the president of Nitroplus/producer of Madoka Magika himself will be at the con, make sure you attend our panel.
Of course, some of our customers just can't attend the convention, and we've got a special present for all of you: for the four days of Anime Expo only, you can get 2x J-List Points on all purchases on our site. This means that all the awesome T-shirts, figures, bento boxes, plush toys, snacks and gum or even Morning Rescue gives you double J-List points. Ends July 4, so make your purchases soon!

J-List will be attending Anime Expo, will you?

Narita Airport and Japan

Flying to the U.S. I passed through Narita International Airport, the principle air terminal for people in the Tokyo area to travel outside Japan. Though there are many airports in Japan offering international service, Narita is the most famous one, and is more or less a symbolic gateway between the isolated island dwellers of Japan and the wider world. Being such a famous place, Narita airport has served as the dramatic setting for many dramas, anime and manga stories, and every time I step foot in the departures lobby and look at the unique grid ceiling above me, I feel like I've come to a special place.

I've always loved the ceiling at Narita Airport.

New Announcements from J-List: New Eroge, Anime Glasses and 2x Point Sale

We've been busy on the eroge front. In addition to the happy news that our 100% yuri (girl-girl) game Yukkuri Panic Escalation is in stock and shipping in San Diego, we've announced a huge volley of new games to be translated into English. The new games legendary Nitroplus titles like Saya no Uta, Outlaw Django and the magical girl ero title Sumaga, the gorgeous Starless by the creator of Bible Black, plus the gorgeous RPG Seinarukana. For more information, read the JAST USA post, or come to our games panel July 2nd at Anime Expo. You will score some primo free stuff, trust us.
We have one more announcement to make: J-List Anime Glasses! Since everyone is so fascinated with the unique eyes found in anime character designs, and we all secretly wish we could have big, expressive eyes like that. Well, now you can, thanks to the cardboard anime eyeglasses we've created, which have holes so you can see through the glasses. (Though please use common sense when wearing them.) Come by the J-List booth and mention this note to get a free pair, and we'll also send you a random pair with every purchase you make from our site. Available while supplies last.

Cool Products Thursday, June 30, 2011

Here are today's "really cool products" that I've picked out for you, out of the 30+ new items we've added to the J-List and sites today. Note that some products may be "not safe for work" but that all links will allow you to redirect yourself either to the J-List or websites. To see all the J-List products, check out J-List or the updated products link.
Dengeki Moeoh Aug 2011
All you moe fans get ready for another great issue of Moeoh (The King of Moe). Tons of great stuff inside and comes with a cool artbook as the omake (freebee). Note, please see this item on the J-List side.
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Fate/Complete Material IV  Extra Material
Fate/Complete Material IV ~ Extra Material Very few series have such a devote following as Fate. This 4th volume of excellent art and material will help you complete your collection.
Bomb July 2011
Bomb July 2011 Bomb is the definitive magazine for checking out the news on the premier idols in Japan. Don't miss this month's super kawaii issue.
My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute 7  Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai 7 (Blu-ray Disc)
New Anime Blu-ray Disks Enjoy the awesome new Oreimo vol. 7, plus Nichijou vol. 1, both are hilarious and in full gorgeous 1080p video!
SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO  Premium Edition ***2 Blu-ray Discs  330 MIN*** (Blu-ray)
SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO ~ Premium (Blu-ray) The Japanese blockbuster event has finally arrived on Blu-ray, with this very special edition that features over 2 hours of extras.
Kawaii Cut and Sewn One Piece  Black
Kawaii Cut and Sewn One Piece ~ Black Bring some cute Japanese fashion into your life, like this very kawaii dress, like the ones found in Shibuya.
Girlie Border Knee High Socks
Striped Socks, Eye Patch for Cosplay It looks like the fashion trend of striped socks is going to continue for a long time, so we've restocked our popular socks. Also, Rei Ayanami eyepatches!
Hada-Labo Super Hyaluronan Skin Lotion
Hada-Labo Super Hyaluronan Skin Lotion  It looks like the fashion trend of striped socks is going to continue for a long time, so we've restocked our popular socks. Also, Rei Ayanami eye patches!
Kawaii Apple Kitchen Sponge
Kawaii Apple Kitchen Sponge This kawaii little thing is not a plush figure but a scrubbing sponge that is not only cute but also effective at removing tough stains.
Gakken Otona no Kagaku with KIDS  Sound Mange Kyo
Teach your kids about the science behind sound with this very cool magazine and kit to build your own "sound kaleidoscope." A great new science kit + magazine from the Otona no Kagaku series by Gakken. Warning, you may become addicted to doing awesome science experiments if you buy this product.
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Deluxe Mousse-chan Kira-Kira Paper Clay Full Set  Sweets Shop
Fun Crafts from Japan Craft your fun with this new edition of the Mousse-chan clay sweets shop, the most artful and inventive crafts project you'll see. Big restocking today.
DIY Sushi Candy
Popin' Cookin' DIY Sushi Restocked Also see new stock of the super popular Popin' Cookin' series of do-it-yourself sushi snacks, the most fun you can have making sushi candy.
Touhou Project  The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
Big Restocking of Touhou Project Games Touhou is a line of doujin shooting games that has a huge following and is a source of pop culture. Big restocking of games today.
Airu Face Cushion  Monster Hunter
Airu Face Cushion ~ Monster Hunter We love the great products that have been released for fans of Monster Hunter -- known as MonHan in Japan. See this series restocked.
K-ON! 'Itasha' Car Sunshade B
Anime Car Sunshades from Japan Turn your boring car into an excellent anime car with these sunshades from Oreimo, K-On! and Evangelion, restocked today.
Neko Bus House w/ Small Mascot (Totoro  Sho Totoro) -- Medium
We Love Totoro Plush Toys Any day we can bring you some soft Totoro plush toy action is a good day indeed. Our popular Cat Bus plush toy w/Totoros that ride inside is back.
The Borrower Arrietty (Blu-ray Disc)
The Borrower Arrietty (Blu-ray)  Also. Studio Ghibli's latest movie "The Borrower Arrietty" is a hit. Must be the full subtitles and dubbed track the company put on for us.
Kabaya Funyo Gummy
Dagashi are traditional candies Japanese kids love, partially due to their price. Enjoy several of these fun traditional snacks, and since they cost just $1 each, you can try several. Eating these traditional snacks from the Showa Period will really bring you back in time.
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Otoko Kaoru Mens Fragrance Gum
Men's Rose Gum Men like rose gum too, but don't want to be seen with a pink package. Men can chew without embarrassment thanks to Men's Rose Gum.
Calorie Mate -- Chocolate Flavor
Restocked J-Snacks We have a huge selection of snacks that have been restocked and are now available, incl. anime snacks, Calorie Mate and more.
Blue LEGO Block Style 2 tier Bento Box with Built-in Chopsticks   Elastic Band
Cool Bentos for Children & Adults From our classic LEGO Block Style Bento to the traditional Rabbit Slim Thermos that goes with any traditional bento, we've got several fun items.
GLIT  BRILLIA Navy Bento Bag
GLIT & BRILLIA Navy Bento Bag Bring your bento box to work in style with one of these made-for-bento handy bags. Easy to throw into your bag or briefcase.
Kawaii Happy Smile Onigiri Wrapping Sheet
Kawaii Happy Smile Onigiri Wrapping Sheet Make the cutest <>onigiri rice balls in town with these wrapping sheets, and also enjoy World Flags for Kids lunches.
Electric Mini Taiyaki Maker
Taiyaki, Takoyaki Makers Restocked Enjoy the traditional festival foods like Taiyaki (sweet fish shaped treats) and Takoyaki (octopus balls) at home.
Fun Ways to Learn Hiragana See our handy hiragana chart, which is specially coated to be waterproof for bath use. Also: hiragana bento cups!
Deserted Alleys, Apartments, and Shopping Centers - Danchi Rojiura Shoutengai
Strange But Wonderful Photobooks We love haikyo, which means modern ruins, and this is a great photobook that documents Japan's most lonely places.
Radio-Cassette Recorder Folding Pencil Case  Multi Pocket
Radio-Cassette Pen / Pencil Case Your pencils and pens are cool too, so they need a cool place to hang out like this pen / pencil case that look like a retro style radio.
Japanese Cotton Folding Fan -- Blue Checked Pattern
Japanese Cotton Folding Fan Use the Japanese way to cool your body with this Japanese sensu (folding fan), perfect for those hot summer days. Made of cotton for long life.
Katori Buta Fuurin / Japanese Summer Bell
Japanese Summer Seasonal Items, Bells etc We've also got many great summer seasonal items in stock, including charming wind chimes that will make summer special.
Wooden SHOGI with English Instruction
Wooden SHOGI with English Instruction Show off your skills or teach your friends the ancient game of Shogi (Japanese chess) with this mini, portable set.
Gwendolyn 1/7 Figure by Yamato  Odin's Sphere   **Preorder**
Exquisite Figures for Pre-order These figures are just amazing, and so realistic. See the characters from FREEing, Love Plus, Odin's Sphere, Infinite Stratos and many more.
Meiko Honma iPhone4 Cover  AnoHana **Preorder**
AnoHana iPhone Cases One of the most satisfying anime to come along since, er, Madoka Magika. Now you can always see Menma and Anaru on your phone. Menma!!!
Helio Touwa Lucky Charm -- Good Relationship  Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko **Preorder**
Denpa Onna Items We think Erio and the characters from Denpa Onna are great, so we're pleased to have so many new items from the series here. Enjoy.
The Best Magazine Deluxe Last Issue Aug 2011
The Best Magazine Deluxe Last Issue Aug 2011 The Best is back again, this time taking a close look at the ecchi lives of Japanese men and women. As always, beautiful girls inside.
TSUBASA -- Tsubasa Amami
Great Restocked Photobooks We have some outstanding photobooks, including Tsubasa Amami, Yuma Asami and Riko Yamaguchi. I could eat them up, they look so good.
The Collection of Hagane Tsuruki - Exhibition at Walhalla
Anime Artbook (Moe) If you are a fan of Moe artwork, these are the artbooks you should be look at. Tony Taka, Hagane Tsuruki and more.
VALKYRIE  Do You Remember Love
Do You Remember Love? From ToysHeart comes the Valkyrie, a body massager that will make you question when the last time you had such a loving touch. Love the name, too.
Love Body Aki
Love Body Aki, plus holes and accessories Love Body Aki is a blow-up doll you can dress and accessorize to meet your own personal preferences and wants. Big restocking today.
Yukkuri Panic: Escalation *Preorder*
The hottest yuri game in years is in stock and shipping now! This superb game, which lets you experience a multi-path visual novel with all girl-girl action, includes a separate "Gal's Panic" style arcade game in which you must remove each layer of clothing to get something good underneath.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

I [Heart] Izakaya

Peter's favorite thing about Japan, #345: izakaya (ee-ZAH-kah-ya), a kind of cozy Japanese pub-restaurant that's filled with exotic food and drinks which seem to be tailor-made to appeal to wide-eyed gaijin like me. Inside one of these establishments you can find big frosty beers, hot sake and other drinks, as well as a complex world of izakaya food that's great fun to explore. Food like yakitori, teriyaki chicken on skewers; gyoza, the amazing Chinese dumplings you may know under their puzzling English name of "pot stickers"; and edamame, those delicious soybeans. I probably owe my current appreciation for fish to Japanese izakaya food culture, since there are many unique kinds of fish on the menu, like sashimi or broiled hokke fish, which the Internet informs me is called Arabesque, although I've gone for years only knowing its name in Japanese. If you visit Japan sometime in the future, I hope you'll visit one of these unique places to eat, drink and enjoy a new slice of Japan's culture. Although you'll likely be more confused than ever (I've never seen a lick of English on a menu in an izakaya), you'll have lots of fun. (And if you drink too much, bring some Morning Rescue.)

I could lose myself for days in a good izakaya.

The Hachiko / Helen Keller Connection

Japan is a special place, and when foreigners visit the country for the first time it's a truly magical thing for them. This is not a new phenomenon, of course, and gaijin have been moved by Japan for years, for example Albert Einstein, who spent six weeks here in 1922, giving speeches on his theories and traveling to well-known shrines like Nikko and the floating Japanese torii arch of Miyajima near Hiroshima -- he even fed the deer in Nara Park, just like millions of foreigners since. I can totally imaging him having trouble putting on his yukata at a traditional Japanese inn...
Browsing the Internets, I happened to see that today, June 27th, is the birthday of Helen Keller, who was another well-known foreign visitor to Japan. Her first visit here was in 1937, and that's when she encountered the story of Hachiko, the loyal Akita dog who waited at Shibuya Station every evening for his master to return home, despite the fact that man had died nine years before. She visited Akira Prefecture and was presented with an Akita dog named "Kamikaze," which was totally un-ironic as this was before World War II and all. Ms. Keller helped spread the story of the loyalty of Hachiko and is credited with introducing the breed to the U.S. Incidentally if you like the story of Hachiko, we hope you'll like our Japanese Soul Dog Hachiko tribute T-shirt...

Hachiko, beloved of everyone including...Helen Keller? (She organzed funding to make this statue)

The School Appearance Police

Japan is a very different place from the U.S., and during my years as an ESL teacher I often found myself surprised at what I saw around me. One example was the custom of teachers periodically checking students to make sure they were conforming to the standards of moral decency with regards to fashion. This mostly took the form of teachers standing in front of the school on a specific day and measuring the school uniform skirts of the female students to make sure they hadn't been raised too high, checking to make sure students didn't have pierced ears (a big no-no in most schools), and also making sure students hadn't dyed their hair, another sure sign of moral decay. My daughter was once taken aside by teachers during one of these checks, who were embarrassed to realize she was haafu and that her hair color is naturally light brown. In the anime and manga Nichijou (which is really weird yet really awesome in a way I can't describe, kind of like Lucky Star but with deadpan jokes about Buddhist statues), there's a scene in which the shy Sakurai-sensei is charged with getting the students to conform to the school's fashion guidelines. Let's just say it doesn't go the way she expects it.

Ms. Sakurai tries to enforce the school's rules on appearance and behavior.

Anime Figures @ J-List

In addition to thousands of anime, manga, cosplay, ero and other products, we carry gorgeous anime figures from Japan which are great fun to display in your home or office. We love to carry famous toy lines like the Figma posable figures (Rei Ayanami and Danny Choo's Mirai are popular right now), and of course who can say no to a really kawaii Nendoroid like the new Homura from Madoka Magika. We also love Miku Hatsune figures, and have several posted to the site. Remember that you get 2x J-List Points on all anime figures this month -- kind of makes it hard to resist preordering a few, doesn't it? Click to see the top anime figures at J-List today.