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Dengeki Rankings I Special Report Beautiful Shikoku I Breath of Fire III Goes Portable I Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis Chapter 13 I Vodaphone Gets Another RPG I Lost Odyssey Teaser Site Launched I Egg Monster Heroes Goes Mobile I Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara I
JAPANDEMONIUM
Yukata June 13, 2005


Konnichiwa

First off, I want to apologize for the missed column last week. My fiancee flew back to America on June 6th, and I went to the airport with her to see her off. The problem is that the airport is pretty far from me. She flew out of Kansai in Osaka, and I wasn't able to catch the last bus back to Niihama. That meant that I had to take the overnight boat. That put me back in Niihama on Tuesday morning just a few hours before work. Work combined with some much needed work on my apartment prevented me from having the time or the energy to write my column. Even a short column takes at least three or four hours to write, and I like to write big meaty columns like this one. This will probably take around five to six hours, but it's something I love. So once again, I humbly apologize for the missed column. I'll do my best to see that it doesn't happen again any time soon.

In other news, the winners in my sig pic contest have been decided by Caroline and I. We couldn't pick a winner, so it's a two way tie between Sean Cassara with a lovely Zeta Gundam inspired offering and Heartly_unangel with an awesome DDR themed entry. I don't play DDR much anymore due to the lack of machines in Niihama, but not even wearing poorly fitting wooden sandals can prevent me from jumping on a machine and attempting one of my old routines. I thank everyone that sent in a sig pic, and I hope you will all keep reading. I'll see if I can't hold another contest sometime. They're a lot of fun.

In gaming related news, my fiancee and I picked up copies of Nintendogs. She got the Shiba version and I got Dachshund one due to my love for wiener dogs. I love all dogs, but ones that have short legs and long bodies like Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, or Welsh Corgis find special places in my heart. I have a long-haired miniature Dachshund named Daisy and a Shiba named Lucky. Caroline has a Shiba named Ein and a Welsh Corgi named Chiyo. I know it seems like the Corgi should have been named Ein, but we accidently clicked on the wrong dog when we were picking out our first one.

As for controls, the game is simple. You pet your dog with the stylus and you talk to it with the mic. It is so simple, yet it's so complex at the same time. You find yourself quickly becoming attached to your virtual pet and almost forget that it's not real. But since they aren't real, they can do some pretty spiffy tricks that dogs in real life can't do. Daisy is really cute when she does a back flip...

The game has no ultimate goal, but you can raise up to eight dogs at a time, and three can live in your home. Money is made by winning competitions, and those are a LOT of fun. I finally won the Nintendo Championship Cup with Daisy for the agility competition. These competitions make you keep coming back, and you get hooked fast. I recommend that all of you with a DS pick up this unique game.

Other than that, there's not a lot of news. I suppose it's time to apologize one more time, bow a few times, and get this week late party started!



 Dengeki Rankings

This week TearRing Saga Series Berwick Saga, which held the top spot last week, was knocked down by Professor Kawashima's Train Your Brain, a DS game full of mensa puzzles. The game was in 6th place last week, but it jumped up to the top spot. This is a rather uncommon move for the charts, but I am particularly surprised by this title. It's outselling many other titles that I thought would have bigger releases.

As for RPGs, last week's Namco X Capcom dropped from the number two spot to the three spot, and there are many other RPGs, several of which made the top 10. So overall, I'd say it was a good week to be an RPGamer, or at least a good week to be a retailer that sells RPGs. I guess everybody wins this week!

Anyways, let's see those winning numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
2 TearRing Saga Series Berwick Saga Enterbrain
3 Namco X Capcom Namco
4 Hanjuku Hero 4 Square Enix
5 SD Gundam G Generation DS Bandai
10 Romancing SaGa Square Enix
12 Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana 2 Gust
26 Pokémon Emerald Nintendo
40 Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance Nintendo
44 Megaman.exe 5: Team of Colonel Capcom
50 Ys IV: Mask of the Sun - A New Theory Taito


Source: Dengeki Online



 Special Report: Beautiful Shikoku
Japandemonium

Japan consists of four main islands: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, yet not even most Japanese ever visit all four islands. Shikoku is largely rural and is where much of the rice that feeds the country is grown, but it has a raw and natural beauty that I think is unmatched in Japan. For this reason, I've decided to take some of the photos from two recent short trips in Japan the Special Report for June.

The first eleven pictures are from Kochi city in Kochi prefecture. It is a castle town of around 500,000 people and has one of the most famous beaches in all Japan. My fiancee and I spent our only whole weekend in Kochi, and we stayed at a traditional Japanese inn. This is something I STRONGLY recommend that anyone that goes to Japan does. Japanese inns tend to be a little more expensive than Western ones, but the experience is worth it if for no other reason than the food. The room was so-so, but we were staying in a the cheapest room in the hotel. But the food was amazing. Never in my life have I had such a feast. Guests of Japanese inns are treated to a relatively large meal of local specialties.

As for the pictures, they are of Kochi Castle and Katsurahama Beach. The castle was amazing, and the beach was just as breathtaking as anything I saw in Kyoto. I'll note that there is no swimming allowed in Katsurahama due to the extremely high waves. It is a sight not to be missed for anyone traveling in Shikoku.

The last four pictures were taken in Matsuyama, the capital of Ehime prefecture in which I live. We went there mainly to ride the ferris wheel, and we needed an excuse to wear our Yukata. For those wondering, the beautiful woman that appears in some of these pictures is my fiancee. A lot of people have been wondering what we look like together, so I decided to post a few pictures of us.





 Breath of Fire III Goes Portable
Breath of Fire III

Capcom has decided to give gamers a chance to become dragons on the go with the upcoming port of Breath of Fire III for the PSP. The original was released on the original PlayStation on September 11 , 1997 in Japan and April 30 1998 in America.

The game features a young member of the dragon clan named Ryu as he embarks on a journey to understand his ability to turn into a dragon. I am particularly excited about this port because Breath of Fire III was my personal favorite of the series.

The game will hit Japanese shelves on August 25th for 5040 yen. I'll also mention that Rockman Dash will also be finding itself on the PSP, and it's coming to a store near me on August 4, for the low price of 3990 yen.




 Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis Chapter 13
Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis

Even though Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis has been announced for release on the other side of the planet, I'll still be telling you the story as it unfolds over here. This newest chapter begins right where the last one left off: the Nibelhelm incident. Players will get to find out more about Hojo's secret experiments as Cloud and Zack are brought in. Fans will also be given some of the backstory behind the old Turk boss, Veld.

This newest chapter went live on May 31 and costs the usual 525 yen.


Source: IT Media



 Vodaphone Gets Another RPG

While I do drool over DoCoMo's 901i phones, competitor Vodaphone has some nice offerings as well. Those with the Vodaphone Live service can play the newest game in their lineup, Gikei Jirei 2.

The hero of this game is cleverly named Gekei, and there's just one catch: he's a ghost. He is trying to solve the mystery surrounding the events of his own death. The battle system is a rather unique one. Every monster you kill can become a potential party member. This also ties into the story because the story will change depending on the number of monsters killed.

The first chapter of Gikei Jirei 2 is available now for download, and the game is set to have four chapters. Readers living in Japan can play this unique game for the low low fee of 346 yen per month.


Source: IGN



 Lost Odyssey Teaser Site Launched
Mistwalker

Mistwalker has put up a teaser site for their upcoming Lost Odyssey for the XBox 360. There's not much to look at yet, but feel free to check the official site for all the latest updates straight from the source. And you can always stay tuned to RPGamer for the info in English as we get it.


Source: Gamefront



 Egg Monster Heroes Goes Mobile
Square Enix

With the success of the Egg Monster series on multiple platforms, Square Enix is taking it on the road with Egg Monster Mobile. This original RPG will be playable for those with iMode phones.

The game itself is kind of a dungeon crawl, but the battles will retain the unique feel of other Egg Monster games. The game will also have cooperative features as players will be able to meet up in towns and go through dungeons together.

Egg Monster Mobile has been available since June 6, and it comes at the bargain basement price of 315 yen per month.

Sources: Famitsu I Game Watch







  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

Since Martyr helped me get a nice inbox full of questions, I've got plenty to answer. This is how I'd prefer it, honestly. It makes me happy to know that people are curious about Japan, and that I can do what I can to help share some of the insight I've gained by living here for almost 11 months. And unlike the regular Q n A column, I DO answer all emails I get. As far as I know, none have slipped through the cracks of my spam filter, but it happens sometimes. So keep 'em coming and I'll keep answering them as best I can.

Also, this week starts the first week of me giving really simple Japanese for people. This week I'm going with a shopping theme. Next week will be something different. Eventually, I'll have some good phrases for traveling in Japan, and if anyone wants certain things in here, between our translator and me, I think we can do it. I'll be throwing in the hiragana, one row at a time. I hope you enjoy this new service we offer.

That said, let's get to those letters!

Crazy 88s


O_o You actually bathe next to yakuza?

Do you say anything? "Hi, I'm teaching your children, please don't cut off my fingers."

This is an uninformed question, but you mentioned getting stares from people who've never seen a foreigner. I guess maybe I was under the impression that yakuza are violently xenophobic. Am I wrong?

Don't most onsens have rules against yakuza entering anyway? I.e. they don't allow visitors with tattoos, or something.

Speaking of tattoos, if you were to get one, and presuming it's Japanese-related, what would you get? Certainly not kanji, but perhaps the circular tri-teardrop, or some other symbol? Or maybe some other cultural aspect, like a nekomata or other youkai.

-Nathan


Sensei

Yeah I bathe next to Yakuza when they come in. It's no big deal. They seem like nice enough fellows, but I don't talk to them. I don't really talk to anyone unless they talk to me. Although some of the people have recognized me as a regular and chat with me often.

I know it comes of as a shock, but I'm not scared to be bathing with Yakuza at all. Not like there's much he can do in the nude, and they're not as overly violent as Americans would believe. They helped out a LOT with the Kobe quake. I just sit on my stool and do my thing, and he does his.

As for the tattoos, many places including most public baths and swimming pools do not allow them. The onsen next to me is an exception to this rule. And if I got one, I'd actually get kanji. I'd probably get a 'jyoudan' on my shoulder or something, and yes, I know that it means 'joke.' I could also get the kanji for 'young' and 'respectful' because those are the ones I use in my name kanji. Took me a couple hours to find that combination to fit my name, but I'm glad I did. But if I didn't get a kanji, I'd have to go for a Maneki Neko. I have a love for lucky cats and just cats in general. Surprising that I'm allergic to them...

Thanks for writing!


Good English Only School?


Just out of curiosity, what does GEOS stand for?

Jeff Walker


Sensei

Glad to hear from you Jeff! It was a pleasure working with you during E3. As for GEOS, it stands for Global Education Opportunities and Services. We used to be combined with AEON under the name AmVic for Ambition and Victory, but we split off and retained the global view that GEOS holds. Thus, we have schools all over the world.

Thanks for writing, and take care, my friend.


*sparkle* *sparkle*


Lali-Ho! I hope your vacation was a good one.

I was wondering if you could tell me more about 'the sign of the girlfriend' and 'the sign of the boyfriend' (you know, sticking up your smallest finger or thumb while speaking). What sort of context is this used in? And does it have a stigma attached to it (ex. a lot of people will think you're a hippie for flashing the 'peace' sign)? Also, you wouldn't happen to know what 'Futabari Taize' means would you? I know someone who keeps saying that over and over at me and I haven't been able to translate it (curse my lack of better Japanese schooling!). Oh, and since pocky = good and your column = good, does that mean that your column = pocky? Gasp! If that's true then given that bishonen = cool and you = cool, YOU = BISHONEN! Wow... insightful.

Thanks!

Sparkle for us!

Kyrie


Sensei

First of all, I want to say that I like your math. Me = Bishounen. I suppose that would have to be true, now wouldn't it? But as for your question, it JUST came up in two of my classes. Flashing the thumbs up for boyfriend or the pinky out for girlfriend would come up in conversation among friends. If you were talking about someone and you gave that sign, it would mean that you are officially a couple. Or if you talked about a trip and you flashed it, it would mean you took it with your boyfriend/girlfriend, and as far as I know, there is no stigma attached to using it.

For your second question, I have no answer for you. I don't know that phrase either. My translator says 'Cover Beam', but I'm not so sure. I hope that can be of some use to you.

Thanks for writing, and I'll do my best to *sparkle for you.


Gaijin


As far as the prize goes lol I dont really need one ^^ winning is enough!!! God winning feels good lmao ok my rant is over!!

Oh and since I have this email open already I might as well throw in a Japandemodium question. My Grandmother is very culture oriented and has lived almost anywhere in the world, including Japan. I was discussing some stuff with her the other day and the word Gaijin (sp?) came up. She explained to me that the word technically means foreigner, but really isnt a good word to be spoken. Its very insulting and racial, apparently. Now the reason why I bring this up is because I hear you refer to yourself as an Gaijin so whats the deal? Are you insulting yourself or is my granmother wrong or what? Thanks for the neat japanese info and keep up with the excellent column.


Sensei

As for 'gaijin' it is technically rude. The proper term is 'gaigokujin', but it all depends on how it's used. Gaijin is something like 'gringo' in spanish. If it's said with the right tone and in the right context, it isn't really offensive at all, but if you say it meaning to be offensive, it's pretty obvious. It's pretty common to call foreigners that, and we don't take offense to it. As you pointed out, we call ourselves gaijin. I guess it's just because it's easier to say than gaigokujin. But yeah, don't worry. It's losing much of its stigma. There will always be people that misuse the word, but it's not so bad anymore.

Thanks for writing and sending in the awesome sig!


AEON


Hi Jordan,

I just found your site, and I have some questions about working for eikaiwa in Japan. I am starting work with Aeon in October in Tokuyama (in the Yamaguchi Prefecture). What have you heard/experienced about Aeon? Also, do you have any insight into life in the Yamaguchi area?

Arrigato!

Mary


Sensei

AEON has a pretty good reputation here, so don't worry. You'll either love it or hate it, and it's all going to depend on you and your individual situation. I wish you luck.

As for the Yamaguchi area, sorry. I don't know it. But shoot me another email sometime and I'll swap contact info with you. I'd be willing to trade tips on teaching you learn. I'd be happy to give you some of the ideas I've learned in 11 months.

Thanks for writing!


I'd better not ever experience kancho....


Konnichiwa Jordan.

Thank you for answering my e-mail a few months back about the "image of Black people in Japan".

This time I have a question about the relationship a gaijin teacher may share with her/his students.

I have read some interesting editorials about being an English teacher in Japan which describe students and sometimes teachers.....umm.....unusual behavior to say the least (see this link and you'll know what I mean http://outpostnine.com/editorials/teacher.html ). Are the stories of Kanchos and marriage proposals from students true?.....say it ain't so. And if you have any whacky stories about students or co-wokers it would be great if you could share them.

p.s. I hope you are are having a great time with your fiancee.

from: Marcel


Sensei

Hehe, I have to say that a lot of what he puts on his site is dead on the money. Luckily, I've never had a student attempt a kancho, but I'd be forced to kill them if they did. I think they realize this. One of my middle school ninensei mentioned the word and I threatened her the same way Az does. It worked.

As for marriage offers, I haven't gotten any of those, but I've had more than my share of offers for dates or more, and I've turned down every single one of them. I'm a one girl kind of man. But yeah, most of what he puts in there is more true than you'd think. It's scary.

Oh, if you want to know MY wacky stories, read my lj.

Thanks for writing in again, and feel free to send another!


Shocking


Dear Sensei:

I remembered that once you talked about the difference in Japanese house's voltage, and how it could affect electric devices. You said something that it does nothing to videogame consoles, and that we should buy over there our alarm clock, but what about American cell phones, iPods and PSPs and other rechargeables? Also, how is piracy, if any, handled in Japan? Those pictures of Japan were very good, keep 'em coming. Finally, whats your take on the Fire Emblem and Xeno series (Xenogears being my favorite RPG of all time)? Have you played the Game Cube Fire Emblem yet? How good is it?

Arigato gozaimasu,

rocker-otaku


Sensei

All of your other electronics will be fine, it's just that alarm clocks use the frequency to tell time. If you change that, it'll slowly gain or lose time depending. I have an American and Japanese PS2s and Gamecubes side by side and they work just fine. I also have a US DS and a JP PSP and no problems there. I also have a US computer. Only thing to worry about is there is no third grounding prong. You'll need a two prong adaptor for anything like that.

As for Fire Emblem, I've only played the first one that came to the GBA in America, but I loved it. I'll pick up the GC version if I ever get through my backlog of games. And I also love the Xeno series. Xenosaga was the only game I ever paid for overnight shipping, and I have US and JP XSII. Two solid series if you ask me.

Thanks for writing!


How to get to Japan


Hi J,

I've been considering taking one of the "Teach Abroad" opportunities, to have a chance to visit a new country while teaching English and making some money. Some of the hottest locations are in Asia, and I was wondering if you know much about the Teaching situation in Japan? What I'm mostly curious about is if you know if there is any kind of abundance of English positions in Japan, if I am better off trying to find a position from Canada or by trying to communicate with some people in Japan, if I should find my own place to live or try and find a work placement that will help me out with that, what the work life is like... vacation time, sick days, hours/week... and pretty much anything you think you know that might help me choose whether or not Japan would be a nice place to come work at for some time. Sorry for the long winded question, I'm just not sure what you know and don't know :)

Thanks for your time,

Marshall


Sensei

When you first go to Japan, you need to go with one of the established programs. You COULD come to Japan and get a job by yourself, but you'd be taking a big risk. What's better is to spend a year with one of JET or the larger schools then move to a smaller school if that's what you're after. Another option is to search the web and try to find a small school and apply that way, but I don't know what kind of luck you'll have. I'd say stick to the big eikaiwa or JET.

As for benefits, with GEOS, I get 10 paid holidays, a week off around New Years (no Christmas though) and a week off in May. Sick days just count as a vacation day. Oh, and as for my place, they found it for me. I live in the apartment that the previous teacher lived in. GEOS owns the lease, but it's in my name. If you have any more questions, feel free to shoot me another email. I think I can answer most questions about the differences in one program vs another now.

Thanks for the letter!



 Sayonara

So there you have it. Sorry about not having a column last week. At least this column is big and full of stuff. I hope that is payment for not having one last week. As always, many thanks go out to RPGamer's lovely translator Adrienne Beck for her assistance in providing material for this week's update.

Catch you on the flip,


Jordan "Lookie! I've got a sig pic" Jackson



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