Dengeki Rankings I Special Report: The Capitals of Japan I More Gundam True Odyssey Details Surface I More Ys IV Mask of the Sun: A New Theory Details I New Falcom RPG I Two More Games Get Dates I Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara
Tokyo Tower May 09, 2005


I'm always amazed at how quickly my week goes by. Sadly, this week was no exception. The best vacation I've ever had has come and gone. The hardest part about it, is that my family went with it. I spent the last week with my family touring Japan, but it all but broke my heart to take them back to the airport.

But enough of the sad stuff. Last week was simply amazing. I saw more things in a week than many people see in a lifetime. I can't describe some of the things that I've seen. They were simply too beautiful for my words to even come close. My pictures can hardly do them justice, but they will have to suffice for now.

As for the sig pic contest, I thank everyone that has submitted some art. I will be looking at them all soon to pick a winner and runners-up. I got so many good ones that it will be hard to pick just one. Odds are, I'll use more than one, since I had so many good ones.

I hope you all like the pictures and videos. That said, let's get this picture-filled party started!

 Dengeki Rankings

The chart was not updated this week due to the Golden Week holiday. For those that are not familiar with it, Golden Week has three national holidays, so most of Japan takes the week off. Dengeki is one of them. There should be a new chart for next week.

That said, let's see those numbers... again!

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song Square Enix
2 Fire Emblem: Trial of Blue Flames Hudson Soft
12 Far East of Eden: Tengai Makyo III Namida Hudson Soft
23 Megaman.exe 5: Team of Colonel Capcom
26 Egg Monster Hero Square Enix
28 Pokemon Emerald Nintendo
14 Tales of Eternia Namco
36 Shining Force Neo Sega
37 Wild Arms 4th Detonator Media Play
46 Megaman.exe 5 Team of Pruus Capcom

Source: Dengeki Online

 Special Report: The Capitals of Japan

As I said in the intro, I spent last week touring some of the capitals of Japan. I spent three days in Kyoto, one day in Nara, and two days in Tokyo. In those days, I managed to see more than I thought possible. For one, I saw so many UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites. It seems that Kyoto and Nara are full of them; they're everywhere. I saw at least ten of them, and there were several that I missed. I'll just have to see them in future trips.

As for the pictures, they are arranged by city. The first nine are of Kyoto, the next four are of Nara, and the final eleven are of Tokyo. The videos are in no particular order.

As for the pictures, I'm posting some of my favorite pictures. I tried to give a nice balance between the three cities, and I wanted to show more than just the temples. But if anyone likes a particular picture and would like to see more pictures similar to it, just email me. I took over 250 pictures on this trip. I have pictures of just about anything and everything I saw. I'll be more than happy to provide people with more pictures of Zen gardens, or temples, or monkeys, or cool buildings in Tokyo. Pretty much, anything I post here, I've got tons more like it. Don't be shy if you want more pictures.

As for the locations, the Kyoto section includes: Toji, Ryoanji, Kinkakuji, Kodaiji, and Kiyomizu. The Nara section has Todaiji temple, and the Tokyo section has pictures from: Harajuku, Ginza, Akihabara, Shinjuku, and Tokyo Tower.

If you want to know more about the trip, feel free to check my live journal for the whole story. I plan on writing a huge update when I can finally finish wrapping my mind around this trip.

I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them. Please email me with questions or comments. Also, I must warn people again. The file sizes are rather large. All the pictures were taken on my 5.1 megapixel Sony Cybershot, and the videos are not any smaller. If they are not 56k friendly, I'll see if I can't create a special page for those users. Email me if you would like them in a lower resolution.

That said, let's see some pictures!

 More Gundam True Odyssey Details Surface
Gundam True Odyssey

Some more details for Gundam True Odyssey have recently come to light. As previously reported, the game centers around a miraculous device called "The System." It allows people to create anything for which they have a blueprint. Naturally, The System became immediately integrated into the culture, and mankind lived happily. But one day, someone messed with The System, and it went berserk. Without it, civilization as mankind knew it collapsed. Eventually, the survivors regained control over The System, and they began to rebuild. But time passed and yet another person misused The System to create giant mechs called Mobile Suits, starting yet another cycle of chaos for humanity.

The plot follows a 16-year-old boy named Tras. He's seeking vengeance for the death of his friends, so he sneaks into The System to create Mobile Suits to assist him. He is joined by his friend, Fritz, a gifted mechanic whom he has known since their days in an orphanage together. They later join up with Ichi, an amnesiac girl the meet in a ruined town.

Gundam True Odyssey is still set for a summer release in Japan. As of yet, there is no mention of a North American release.

 More Ys IV Mask of the Sun: A New Theory Details
Ys IV: Mask of the Sun

Some more information has surfaced about the upcoming Ys IV: Mask of the Sun remake titled Ys IV Mask of the Sun: A New Theory. As was previously reported, the game is not a simple port. Instead, the game features updated graphics that have been completely redone in 3D. These new graphics allow for new map features, field puzzles, and more gameplay.

Among the new gameplay features, the most prominent one is the "Element" system. Players will find weapons called "Holy Swords" that will have a different elemental attribute: water, wind, earth, fire, light, or time. These elements can be summoned using magic to produce different effects.

Another new feature will be different types of attacks: light, medium, and hard, which will be triggered by different button presses. These also produce different effects with Holy Swords such as healing, ranged attacks, or warping from field to field.

Ys IV Mask of the Sun: A New Theory is set for a release date of May 26 for the PS2. As with most games in this column, there is no mention of a release for North America.

Source: IT Media

 New Falcom RPG

Falcom's recently announced new PC RPG has been titled Rinne. The story takes place in a computer-generated virtual world. Humanity has colonized a world that was previously inhabited by two races called the "Heaven Clan" and the "Hell Clan." The two races were destroyed long ago in a civil war, but the specifics for both were saved in a super-computer. Humanity was eager to gain the advanced knowledge of the Heaven Clan and the genetics of the Hell Clan, so they tried to access the information. but there is a virtual reality inside the computer that is filled with monsters that are beyond the ability of a normal human to defeat. To overcome this, scientists and programmers create a human-like being with the superior genetics of the Hell Clan to explore the new virtual world.

The main playable character is that being, and he has an interesting ability; he can "body swap" with enemies to possess it like a ghost. When possessing a monster, he will have use of all its abilities and will be able to use it to fight the other monsters. There are also over 90 special "body items" scattered around the game that will allow the hero to transform into any previously possessed monster.

Rinne is set to go on sale on June 30,the same day as Ys: Oath in Felghana. Expect more details as the game nears release.

Sources: Impress I Famitsu

 Two More Games Get Dates

Two games have been given release dates in Japan for July 21. One is Generation of Chaos V from Idea Factory. This latest installment in the series takes place in a world called Edis, which is divided into three realms: Underground, Upperground, and the Skies. A promo movie for the game can be found here.

The other is Full Metal Alchemist 3 from Square Enix. Fully titled Full Metal Alchemist: Kami wo Tsugu Shojo, the game will be released two days before the Full Metal Alchemist theatrical movie. Fans preordering the game will receive a manga collection by Hiromu Arakawa, the creator of the series. The manga will contain illustrated prologues for all three games and some new material.

Sources: Impress I Famitsu

  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

This week, I've got a small batch of letters, but some good questions. I'm even taking one question from the forums showing that I do try to answer all questions left for me.

I should point out that more emails are getting marked as spam. If this happens, please resend and I'll try to catch it the next time. Putting something in the subject about Japandemonium really helps.

From the Forums

Jordan, I must ask: Is there any reason you repeatedly get in a "cold" water tub? I mean, that's a little unusual, and you didn't explain why... In my experience, that's a good way to catch a cold...or something. Maybe I missed something.



I suppose that WOULD seem a bit unusual. I picked up that habit by watching the Japanese do it. It turns out that it's really good for you. The hot baths make your muscles expand, and then the cold tubs contract your muscles. This constant expansion and contraction of your muscles is really good for them. Imagine a hard piece of clay. If you start kneading it, it eventually becomes soft. Essentially, the same thing happens to your muscles. It's hard to get used to at first, but it makes your whole body feel so very good.

Thanks for reading!

Teaching in Japan

Since I've been having considerable difficulty in trying to locate and fund a suitable study abroad trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, I wanted your opinion.

Which do you think provides a better experience for those wishing to experience Japan beyond the tourist life - studying or working, ala JET / GEOS?

And if I did choose to partake in JET, what would be the best way to prepare / improve my odds of acceptance?

-Nathan / slash-lover


As much as I hate to admit it, I'd go JET hands down. If you want to experience the culture, JET is a LOT better. GEOS is a good way to make a living, and it's convenient in ways, but you get little interaction with the culture except through your students. It's really cool having students your own age and older, but unless you are in a big school, you might not do much with them.

I would advise just about anyone to apply to JET. GEOS is for a select few people. I'd say that all the eikaiwa are similar, but I know that GEOS really pushes sales and profits a lot. That's a bit of stress that most people just won't jive with.

The real advantage to GEOS is you get to be a real teacher. ALTs are teachers kinda sorta. They don't plan lessons; they assist. I'm told it's a lot of fun, but it's not really teaching. If you really want to teach, then the eikaiwa might be better. Otherwise, go JET.

But thanks for the question!

Squeaky Clean

As a foreigner who does know Japanese, and obviously appreciates and respects their culture, how are you treated? I've heard stories ranging from mild to extreme. The most mild being stares, and the most extreme being businesses who refuse foreigners.



Ok, here's the deal. You WILL get stared at, especially if you are someplace small. You MIGHT find someone prejudiced against you, but in my experience, the Japanese have bent over backwards to take care of me. You have NO idea how friendly the Japanese were to me or to my family last week. The Japanese have been the most friendly people I've ever met, and that's saying a lot. I really doubt that you'll find any trouble with the Japanese being intentionally rude to you because you are a gaijin. The only reason they stare is because most have never seen white people. Imagine your elementary school classes. Some kids were tall, some had blond hair, some had green eyes, some wore bright colors, some might have been a different race than you. There's a LOT of variety in the US. Now think of a Japanese elementary. They've all got dark hair, dark eyes, similar skin tones, similar height, same uniform, and they are all Asian. We stand out like a sore thumb here. Such is the case with homogenous societies. Trust me, the odds of finding something bad are MUCH lower than finding a bad experience in your home country.

Thanks for writing again!

More staff love!

Jizzle to the Sensizzle,

I hear ferris wheels are very popular in Japan, what's up with that? Obsession with the wheel? Desire to be close to the sky? Just happy overpaying for cheap thrills?



You know, I'm not sure what it is, but they ARE everywhere. Ferris wheel's are sort of representitive of all the amusement parks that are in Japan. They are also a LOT taller than your average carnival wheel in the States. I think a lot of it is that they are really tall, and they are often on the tops of tall buildings to boot. They DO bring you closer to the sky, and they afford an amazing view. They are also quite profitable. A ferris wheel is relatively inexpensive to build, but it pulls in a lot of people. In the end, it is just one of the cultural things that makes Japan unique. In America, we build our skyscrapers as tall as we want, but in Japan they are stunted out of fear of earthquakes. The only way to get the view you want is to go up another way, and I think that's where the giant, record-setting wheels came in.

Thanks for writing again!


Another week comes to a close. I hope you all enjoy my pictures. Feel free to ask any questions about them or to request more. I'm already planning the next one, but I don't think it will be nearly as large...

Also, thanks again for sending in sig pics. I'll start picking out winners soon, hopefully this week.

Catch you on the flip,
Jordan "What a trip!" Jackson

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