Saturday, August 13, 2011

J-List DVD 15% off Discount Returns

J-List is loaded to the gills with awesome DVDs of all kinds, from anime to the ecchi kind. We're happy to announce that we're offering an automatic 15% discount for getting 3 or more DVD titles together. So why not browse the J-List site and pick up some awesome titles now? Exceptions may apply. Click to see the most popular DVDs on the site!

Peter Returns to Japan...

Well, my long sojourn in the U.S. is finally at an end, and I'm returning to Japan with my son today. I certainly am a lucky gaijin, able to live in my favorite country in the world (Japan) yet come to the U.S. for 1-2 months every summer, attending cool anime and comic book conventions and greeting our customers. My bags are filled with various omiyage (souvenirs) for the J-List staff who worked so hard in the hot Japanese summer while I was in the U.S. I'm also bringing back various foods that are difficult to obtain in Japan, including tortillas and taco shells, since (to paraphrase Luke Skywalker), if there's a bright center to the Mexican food universe, Japan is the country that it's farthest from.
My son has had a fun time this summer, hanging out in the U.S. and going various places with me, like Death Valley, Area 51 and various ghost towns in Arizona. He enjoyed being in the U.S. for a long time and observing the things he saw. When we went to Las Vegas he saw a sign for a "VIP room" and asked me what it meant -- to him, a VIP (pronounced as a normal word, e.g. "vip," and also known as a "vipper") is what the most hardcore users of the 2ch Japanese BBS are called, something the /b/tards on 4chan. We also observed a driver honking his horn loudly at another driver who had cut him off, and he was surprised at this aggressive behavior. In Japan, drivers are generally quite polite, and a car's horn is nearly always used for its intended function, to alert other cars of a dangerous situation, or else a short beep to serve as a polite greeting when saying goodbye.
One day he was reading a book in Japanese, and I asked him what the title was. He said something that sounded to me like "corazón," and I asked him if he knew that this was the Spanish word for "heart." "No, not corazón, I said kore-zon. You know, with zombies." I then realized he was talking about the light novel Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? ("Is This a Zombie?" officially romanized as KOREHA ZOMBIE DESUKA?) Japanese can be a rather unwieldy language, and it's almost a given that any popular book, manga, movie or game will received shortened nickname by fans, since no one wants to go around saying Ano hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai ("We still don't know the name of the flower we saw on that day") all the time -- much easier to use call it AnoHana instead. Some other shortened anime titles include Baka-Tesu (Baka to Test to Shokanju), Shuta-ge (Stein's;Gate), Mado-Magi (Madoka Magika) and good old Ore-Imo (Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai).

Japan is the land of No Mexican Food; popular titles receive a shortened title by fans, like AnoHana.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Japanese "Radio Calisthenics"

The Japanese are a very health-minded group of people, a fact observed by Aflac founder John Amos when he visited the country in 1970, seeing people wearing those health masks in public and generally being very focused on personal health issues. The company decided to found a subsidiary to sell cancer insurance in Japan, which turned out to be one of the best investments in history -- Aflac now insures one in four households in Japan, raking in billions. The Japanese do many things to keep healthy, including eating right (their diet includes a lot more fish and healthy foods, and portions that are, ahem, more reasonable than in the U.S.), and choosing unsweetened barley and green tea over sweetened drinks. They also promote exercise in various forms, including something called rajio taiso, or radio calisthenics, a fun short program of morning exercises that was begun in 1925 by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company to promote personal good health. This idea greatly appealed to the Japanese for some reason, and they made it a part of their daily culture, broadcasting a sensible morning exercise program that everyone from age 5 to age 95 can take part in from that point on. Employees at companies and children in school also do these callisthenics together, and in addition to improving health, it acts as a kind of social glue that holds people together.

"Radio Calisthenics" for good health.

Are Anime Characters "Western"?

One question often asked is, why do anime characters look "Western"? Often Americans will perceive the "large eyes" seen in anime (which often aren't large at all, depending on the art style), non-Asian hair colors and, it must be said, buxom body styles to seem more Western than Japanese. Japanese fans, for their part, have no problem identifying characters with pink, blue or blonde hair and large expressive eyes as "Japanese," so it appears to be a perception issue. Of course, anime is the realm of visual fantasy, where anything can be represented on the screen, and hair color is often used as an indicator of a character's personality more than trying to show "foreign-ness." For example, blue hair on females is used to create an air of purity or mystery or communion with nature, while white or grey hair can be a hint of having a secret, or possessing hidden super powers, and red hair on characters like Asuka indicate they are free-spirited fiery demons who are quick to anger. Of course, many characters in anime are Western, like Charlotte from Infinite Stratos or Louise Françoise le Blanc de la Vallière from Zero no Tsukaima, so if they had non-Japanese hair colors, more power to them. In the end, I'd say that anime character design is a blending of fanciful elements and colors and facial features, many of which are impossible for any ethnic group, and leave it at that.
What do you think?

No one in the world has hair or facial features like these.

Omiai, Japan's "Arranged Marriages" (Not Quite)

When I was growing up, I remember thinking that they had arranged marriages in Japan, probably something I got from watching the episode of Happy Days where Arnold gets married in a traditional Shinto wedding ceremony -- not the best place to get information on other cultures. In reality, they have "arranged meetings" called omiai, a kind of formal meeting between prospective partners, usually organized by busybody aunts who can't leave well enough alone. At an omiai, both parties talk about their interests and background and if they hit it off, they go out on more conventional dates to see where things lead. Before my wife met me, she had had omiai meetings with a few men, for example the son of a sake distributor that our liquor shop buys from that her parents wanted her to marry -- fortunately for me she didn't hit it off with any of them. As time marches on, the old-style formal omiai meetings are giving way to more modern methods, with companies and even manciple governments organizing "omiai parties" (gatherings of marriage-minded people who interact with each other in a fixed space).

Omiai are not common in anime, except for Maison Ikkoku.

Cool Products Wednesday, August 10, 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.
Prince Animage 2011 Summer
Lovely otaku girls who want beautiful, handsome anime men should look no further than Prince Animage, specially created for awesome fujoshi fangirls who like yaoi, BL and otome games. Great omake items too.
View products »
Kuro Neko EX Figure Summer Ariake
Kuro Neko & Kirino Kosaka Figures Speaking of otaku girls, here are two great figures posted featuring Kuroneko and Kirino shopping for doujinshi at Comiket. Nice!
To Aru Majutsu no Index II Nendoroid Petite Set of 4
To Aru Majutsu no Index Nendoroid Set These great Nendoroid figures will certainly be a great addition to your collection. Includes 4 characters from the series in this great set.
Black Rock Shooter 1/8 Figure Black Blade ver. *Preorder*
Restocked Figuers Going Fast Lots of our favorite figures have been restocked, and are ready to ship out to you. Most are in limited quantities, so browse quickly.
Itazura Cat Coin Bank -- Tiger Cat
Itazura Cat & Dog Coin Banks Restocked The most popular kawaii item on J-List these days is the Itazura Cat Coin Bank, with a cat who steals your money.
Senjou no Valkyria 3 iPhone Case -- Riela ver.
Senjou no Valkyria 3 iPhone Cases See the gorgeous Senjou no Valkyrie iPhone 4 cases in stock now -- with gorgeous quality, they will make your phone special!
Evangelion New Movie Edition Stereo Earphone -- Nerv Type
Evangelion Edition Earphone and Other Headphones Sure, you can keep using those little white earbuds you've had for the past two years, but they won't show your fandom like these will.
Nichijou  Uchuujin
Nichijou ~ Uchuujin (Alien) Once you are finished watching the TV anime series, jump back into the world of Nichijou with this entertaining new PSP game. Very cool.
Erasable Bath Crayon
Erasable Bath Crayon Let your children (or the child inside you) make bathtime into a creative experience with these washable ofuro crayons. So much fun!
Pretty Angel - Black and Purple Striped Socks (Stockings)
Black and Purple Striped Stockings These knee-high socks are really popular this year, undoubtedly due to the smash hit "Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt." So awesome to wear!
Anti-Bacterial 4 tier Filter Health Mask
A great health item that captures the awesomeness of Japan, this is an advanced "health mask" that will keep your germs from reaching others even while it prevents other germs and pollen from affecting you.
View products »
Hello Kitty Key Rubber Cover
Hello Kitty Key Cover Take hello kitty with you everywhere you go. She will make sure your house or car key is safe and sound. Very cute and unique.
Totoro Hiragana Study Board
Fun Totoro Products Restocked That awesome Totoro Tree House that the included plush Totoro can fit inside, a Totoro music box, hiragana with Totoro!
SHODO  Natural Stone Mini Calligraphy Set with Wooden Box
Other Traditional Items Practice your kanji the traditional way with elegant calligraphic brushstrokes and traditional sumi ink that you grind into the stone holder.
Little Red Riding Hood Mug Cup  tea Strainer  Umbrella Lid
Kawaii Tea Cups and Mugs This cute cup features a very cute red riding hood with an umbrella cap and tea strainer. Fans of Japanese cuteness will love it.
Glico Pretz -- Chicken Wing Flavor
Today's New Japanese Snacks Today we've got awesome Chicken Wing Flavor Pretz, smokin' and delicious. Also, a new Nabisco Oreo Stick that's so delicious!
Nisshin U.F.O. Yakisoba  Wasabi Mayonnaise Flavor
Nisshin U.F.O. Yakisoba, Ramen Even if you can't travel to Japan this summer, that doesn't mean you can't experience the great flavor of Osaka.
Tentacle Grape
Tentacle Grape is Back Then, so popular we sold out in just a week, we've gotten more Tentacle Grape carbonated soda in stock. Buy it buy the case and save!
Meiji Poiful
Restocked Japanese Snacks Our staff has restocked some amazing Japanese snacks, including Meiji Poiful, Puccho Balls Grape, Pocari Sweat Powder, and Watering Kiss Mint Gum!
DX Bento Special Gift Box Set   YUZEN Lacquered Bento Box  Band  Chopsticks  Bag
Restocked Traditional Bento Boxes Also, see fresh stock of several traditional bento boxes with great styling that make them a joy to eat out of. Upgrade your bento life today.
R2-D2 Soy Sauce Bottle -- *Preorder*
Awesome R2-D2 Soy Sauce Bottles, Pepper Mill Although we love anime, Star Wars is a part of our DNA too. Today we're restocking the nerd-tastic R2-D2 Soy Sauce Bottle!
Natural Bamboo Pick with Individual Package
Natural Bamboo Picks and other great Bento items Some fun bento related items restocked, including real bamboo picks for eating your lunch the traditional Japanese way.
Deco World Flags for Bento for Kids
Other Accessories for your Bento Help kids learn about the world with these flags for your bento. Also, popular silicon bento cups that can be reused hundreds of times.
Zebra Green 'Check Set'  Best for Memory Retention
Japanese Pens, 'Check Set' and More Some great pens that help you memorize any information (for example Japanese) are restocked, along with other popular study products.
Soup Bowl with Octagonal Lid
Miso Soup Bowls from Japan We love healthy miso soup, and carry many fun items for miso fans. Today we're restocking several popular miso soup items.
Super Mario Balance Block **Preorder**
Super Mario Balance Block *Preorder* An awesome item for Super Mario fans, a "Jenga" game of stacking blocks. Note, do not confuse with "Tenga."
Other Amazing New Preorder Figures More awesome preorder figures: Black Rock Shooter Figma, Dog Days, Black Butterfly Mask and more -- love them all!
Madoka Kaname 1/8 Figure by Good Smile Company  Puella Magi Madoka Magica **Preorder**
Then, fans of Puella Magi Madoka Magica will not want to miss this gorgeous new 1/8 scale figure made by the fine folks at Good Smile. Prepainted and ready to display, it's really something special. Don't let it sell out before you get yours.
View products »
Shinjin OL Ura Rirekisho  The New Office Lady's Secret Resume
For fans of OLs, the Japanese "office ladies" or sexy and experienced female office workers, we have a fun new magazine + DVD in which the ladies show you their secret skills.
View products »
Otokonoko Jidai vol. 1
Otokonoko Jidai vol. 1 Next, for fans of joso or "trap" characters, or the more contemporary term otokonoko (referring to boys who want to be girls), a new photobook.
As One -- Azusa Yamamoto
As One ~ Azusa Yamamoto A gorgeous photobook featuring Azusa Yamamoto, one of our favorite bikini idols. The quality of this is just amazing to see.
Pet's Eye
Restocked Photobooks Restocked awesome photobooks too, incl. Pet's Eye (girls seen from the POV of small pets, heh) plus J-List's most popular cute girl photobooks.
Pure Days
Pure Days Here's a great manga about...I can't tell, the oppai on the cover are too large and awesome for me to comprehend much. Great story and characters, I'm sure!
Love Hotel na Oshigoto 3
Love Hotel na Oshigoto 3 The fun Nagashima Chosuke is back with a great new manga about running a love hotel, and all the good things that go on there.
Twins Sister Sandwich  Chihiro
This is...quite a product. A total simulation of two awesome twin girls, Chihiro and Chitose. Each package comes with an advanced onahole stress toy, plus shimapan in each girl's proper color, a CD "voice novel" to listen to plus lotion.
View products »
DX Massager 'DENMA'
DX Massager 'DENMA' If you've watched a few JAV titles, you've probably seen this, designed to bring maximum stimulation to certain parts. Restocked today.
Sexy Twins Perfect Body  Atkkina
Other Fun Stress Toys Restocked See restocked stress toys, including the 'sexy twins' simulators, the Honor of Great Manko, our famous lotion and more -- click to browse them all.
Aki no Urara no -- Akaneiro Shoutengai  UMD PSP Game
PSP Eroge Restocked Next, check out one of the most awesome games ever seen for the PSP format. A super development for "H" game fans on the go.
Yukkuri Panic: Escalation *Preorder*
We Love Eroge in English The hottest yuri game ever is currently at the top of J-List's eroge ranking, and that makes me happy since it's a really fun game. Click to see.
Dendrobium Sisters Viole 1/6 Figure Creator's Labo CL030 **Preorder**
Great 'Cast Off' Figures Posted We carry many naughty figures with clothing that can be reconfigured, and today we've got some really gorgeous ones in.

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Hentai DVD Sale at J-List?

We've got some good news for fans of "H" anime DVDs: a huge sale on all our titles! And not only are we slashing prices on all discs, we've also restocked some of the best ones, so we've got plenty titles for you to browse and buy. Click here to see the sale ecchi anime discs!