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   Mouth-Watering Chocolate Collons.   

Andrew - September '19- 12:00 Central Standard Time

There they were, just sitting on a shelf at the hundred yen store, a chocolate snack called “Collons”(Yes, pronounced by the Japanese just like the body part) I was forced by the demons of chocolate to buy some, and they were everything I hoped they'd be. Well, that is, they tasted yummy and chocolately. Not like a body part in snack form. Mmm. Soylent Green chips. ^_^

So there's your bit of crazy Japan snack info for today, and moving on to happier things, guess who's got FTP connections back! What does this mean for you, dear reader? Columns that are up in some semblance of time, and best of all, not one, but TWO new comics! Yes, that's right, not only are we continuing to get great comics from Claire, but we've added a new face to the comic creation ranks, my good buddy Gareth, who is currently attending Kansai Gaidai with me and has volunteered to combine our talents and write a comic about Japan. From the eyes of the world's most unlucky college student. So say hello to Tasukete!

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A well written, interesting letter? Will wonders never cease!

Hello Andrew,

I was just wondering how you managed to come across hosts who so graciously gave you room and board, and how I might be able to do the same one day. Going to a foreign country would be most excellent, but if I just go over there and rent my own flat and hole myself up there while not experiencing Japanese culture, I'd be robbing myself of a vastly enlightening experience, no?

Ehehe. Well, it was simply part of the Kansai Gaidai package. Come to Japan, choose to stay with a family who wants a goofy foreigner around to marry their daughter/teach English/do laundry, etc. And yes, not only would renting a flat be hugely, hugely expensive, but the family really forces you into the culture. You get to do cultural things like sleep on the floor, watch funny/grotesquely sick Japanese game shows, and of course, battle demons in the basement. That's MY stack of really cheap DDR games, you stupid Kappa! Rar!

Another thing I was pondering about, was how did you manage to get a Japanese girlfriend? What I've heard is that as westernized as Japan has gotten within recent years, a strong xenophobia still remained towards foreign people. So wouldn't most Japanese women, (or men too) regard an American as some sort of oddity?

Well, I went to the Red Light District of Tokyo with a sack and a club with a nail in it and...

No, seriously. I guess I should have mentioned this more often, but my girlfriend, who I've been dating for more then two years and love dearly, is here in Japan with me in the same program, living in the dorms. As for the oddity factor, quite a few of my friends here have hooked up with Japanese students, so while we may be oddities, we're sexy oddities. *wink*

Lastly, I too am in the process of learning Japanese. Currently I have a book and an absolutely wonderful teacher who speaks Japanese (though does not teach a class on it) who tutors me from time to time. The problem is that the book is all romaji, and while I've encountered only a few problems with spoken Japanese, the writing system, especially kanji, remains an intimidating mental block. So, if you have any advice/encouragement as far as the kanji goes, then I've got no qualms if you're liberal with them, but if only words of torture and doom exist, please have mercy on my fragile soul.

Much thanks,

Haven't started learning kanji yet, but I'll tell you what I know. One- We're learning 8 kanji a week. Two- We learned all 100+ of the symbols for Hiragana and Katakana in two weeks. Three- My buddy Ben learned over a 1000 kanji while here. He remembers roughly 200 of the most common. So in short, yer screwed bucko! No, seriously, import a few games and manga, and read those. It'll help you keep the rather complicated Japanese writing system in your head. Good luck, I know I need it. ^_^;;

Another well written, helpful letter. I know, I'm scared to.

(In reference to Will's letter concerning FFVI)

You've done everything right so far, so don't worry. What you need to do is head to the Sabal (sp?) Mountains, the place where you fought Vargas. Head through the mountains, and back to the Returner's hideout. Go through the secret exit, and get on the rapids. You should wind up north of Doma, near the crazy old man's house. From there, go through the Phantom Woods, and to the watefall. Jump off the waterfall, and you'll wind up back in the northwest Veldt.

I had the same problem you did, thinking I was totally screwed after getting Water Rondo. The whole trip, after I figured it out, took me about 45 minutes to get through. I hope this helps and goodluck.

- The Realmwalker

Thanks Realm. ^_^ Out of all the responses I got to that letter, yours was by far the nicest and certainly the most concise. Have tilde! ~


Hey, Duffman! (Oh, YEAH!)

On that bizarre note, how many Simpsons references do you see in Japan? If they broadcast the show, is it dubbed or subtitled?

They sadly lack the Simpsons here. All the anime in Japan cannot fill this hole in my soul! ;_;

...luckily, the first season box set can. Whew! Oh, and there are plenty of awful, AWFUL shows here you can watch in both Japanese or English. Like "Big Wolf on Campus". I know you can feel my pain.

So, I read that letter from Kiwitousai, and your response just blew me away. 2.5 years of college level study = 1 month in Japan? Incredible. I was going to take a similiar path as Kiwitousai, but your response led me to question it. Would it be worth it to take Japanese classes at my University or should I focus on the prerequisites for my major (Chemical Engineering)? Because a lot of money could be saved by simply focusing on the prereqs.

Well, I wouldn't say I've learned 2.5 years worth of study ALREADY... ^_^;; Seriously though, take a least one course of Japanese before you come. The basics will really, really help. I mean, you'll be at the same level as everyone else fairly quickly, but it'll do wonders to help calm you before you come. And it's pure hell to get here and not know how a door opens because you can't read the “push” or “pull” kanji.

On an unrelated note, when I go, I'm definitely getting one of those panties. Just for show.

Where's Claire? I want some comics! She's funny!


Just so you know, the "squatty potty" is nothing new. I've seen them in France, Italy, and Greece. It's just a hole in the ground. Really, the Honey Bucket/Outhouse isn't that far removed.

So you want an inflatable Tifa doll? Sicko. Jeez man, that's almost as bad as some of the J-pop dutch wives.

dartagnan "Shizuka ni kudasai" 84

I was kidding! Really!

...besides, there's no way I could get it back home. Customs would steal it for sure. -_-;;


Hi, Andrew. I'm really into Asian woman. Is it easy for a guy from America to go over to Japan and get *cough*in the sack with one*cough* :(

Dude, from your question alone, I can tell that the only thing you've ever gotten into the sack is a very surprised poodle. DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200, DO NOT ENTER THE GENE POOL.

Are you sure you wanted to teach us how to say help? Now every quickie is going to look like this:


Well, as you can tell from today's column. Tasukete was brought up for a very good reason. ^_^

The Final Grumble:

Last Sunday's column, for a number of silly reasons, went up late. So here's the question again, for all you readers who missed it.

Next week's topic-Here's a really Japanese question for you, “What anime series would you love to see converted into a game?” In Japan, most/all popular animes have games to go with them, but what makes you think your favorite series could become a great game? Oh, and extra points for people who try to convert Fruits Basket into an RPG, but there's a negative million points for every Eva dating sim suggested.

Well, either all of you missed it, or it was simply too bizarre of a topic to be commented on. Which means I've finally done it! I've hit the weirdness wall! Hooray!

Ed: Ah, the joys of people not catching a scheduling change. Ignore this closing.

Andrew "Kappa Killer" Duff Claire Belton

In Japan, even the hookers cosplay!

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