nigatsu no ni-juu-shichi-nichi
Kutsu wo haku

A good part of the past week I spent shopping. I was looking for something in particular, something so uncommon in this country that at times I have despaired of ever finding it. No, it was not a rare game or similar item. My search was for a pair of shoes that actually fit.

The average Japanese guy (barring any and all sumo wrestlers) is a little smaller than the average American when it comes to clothing sizes. This is not a dig at the "fat American" stereotype, but a simple, annoying fact. For me, problems keep appearing from the least likely places. One example is shirt sizes. I usually wear a large, and Japanese size measurements are pretty close to American for shirts. The problem is the tailoring. My shoulders are literally two inches too wide for me to wear a Japanese L-size comfortably. XL is the same. I have to grade up to a double-XL before I find something that lets me move my arms comfortably, and everywhere else it fits like a tent. So you all can imagine what problems might occur with footwear.

Let's set aside for the moment that most shoes I've seen in stores are narrow-width. I'm usually in the market for sneakers anyway. The big problem here is that few stores carry anything over a size 27 (cm). That's the equivalent of a size 9 1/2. I wear a size 11. As it was, of the seven stores I visited, only three had anything larger than a 27. Two of those had wide-sole sneakers in the right size range. One pair I had to turn down because bright purple with neon orange is not my idea of fashion. Finally I found a decent pair which, if a little large, don't break my toes or blind my eyes.

They just took me a few days to find.

In Japan, few businesses are as successful as pachinko. This is true even now, in the current time of economic woes. Pachinko and pachi-slot machine parlors regularly come out with new series of machines based on popular intellectual properties. In the last few months, this has included Fist of the North Star, Star Wars, and a samurai drama from the '70s. I was a little surprised to see this advertising banner, though.

The first picture is of a outdoor pennant ad for a pachi-slot machine based on the game Far East of Eden: Manji-Maru. The second is an internet button ad for the "Tengai Makao" campaign, sponsored by Sanyo's entertainment (pachinko) division. On April 16th, five lucky pachinko enthusiasts will be chosen to receive a four-day, three-night trip for two to Macao, China. I had no idea the Tengai Makyou series was popular enough to warrant this treatment.

Position Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
1 New Arrival! Star Ocean 4 - The Last Hope Square Enix
3 Down from 1 Mario & Luigi RPG 3 Nintendo
4 New Arrival! Shining Force Feather Sega
7 New Arrival! Sacred Blaze Flight Plan
10 Down from 9 Demon's Souls SCE
14 Down from 10 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - Echoes of Time DS Square Enix
16 Down from 8 Tales of the World - Radiant Mythology 2 Bandai Namco
24 Down from 22 Pokémon Platinum Nintendo
28 Down from 23 Inazuma Eleven Level 5
44 Down from 28 Dissidia Final Fantasy Square Enix

We have a few visual tidbits from Marvelous Entertainment's upcoming Wii RPG, Arc Rise Fantasia for you today. The stars of the show this time around are Polya and Runya, the overly cute twin assassins.

Not much more I can say on this one, unfortunately. This is pretty much a media item, not a game system or story news item.

Source: Dengeki Online

Earlier this week, the web-based retro-game download service "Project EGG" gained a new title. Starting Feb. 24th, Falcom's Dragon Slayer VI - Legend of Heroes became available. For the low price of 840 yen, fans can play the sixth title of the Dragon Slayer series. The game was originally released 19 years ago on the PC-8801 system, then eventually ported to the NEC PC-9801, MSX 2, Sharp X68000, Sega Mega Drive, Super Famicom, and PC Engine. It's even available in English, on the TurboGrafx-16. Odds are, no one in the audience has ever heard of this game, much less seen it (excepting JuMeSyn, of course), so if you're up for the language challenge, this might be a good chance to pick it up.

Source: Project EGG HP

The game company Acquire is all up for new game venues, it would seem. Recently on Dengeki they announced a pair of titles for Yahoo! Softbank phone network. Kishi de Kuro (Black Knight) and Kishi de Shiro (White Knight) are twin action-RPG games starring rival knights Lacryma the Black and Feldt the White as they embark on a quest to rescue the princess. Presumably, the two versions differ in terms of story and character abilities, but little is said about this in the Dengeki article.

Source: Dengeki Online

Two weeks back, we had a look at the Famitsu list of top-selling games for handheld systems. This time around, we're looking at console sales. The following games are those which made the Top 20 sales list for their respective systems. In total number of games produced, the PS2 was still king last year, with 141 titles to its credit. The Wii was close behind, with 122 titles. The Playstation 3 put out 84 titles, while the XBox 360 had a total of 76 titles released in Japan. Obviously, it was harder to get on the top list for some systems than on others.

Position Title Publisher Number Sold Release Date
Wii Releases      
12 Link's Crossbow Training** Nintendo 227,621 6/26/08
13 Tales of Symphonia - Knight of Ratatosk Bandai-Namco 204,553 6/19/08
PS3 Releases      
7 White Knight Chronicle SCE 203,033 12/25/08
10 Valkyria Chronicles Sega 141,589 4/24/08
16 Disgaea 3 Nintendo 93,227 1/31/08
PS2 Releases      
3 Persona 4 Atlus 294,214 7/10/08
9 Tales of Destiny - Director's Cut Bandai-Namco 142,301 1/31/08
18 Super Robot Wars OG Gaiden Bandai-Namco 97,422 12/27/08
Xbox 360 Releases      
1 Tales of Vesperia Bandai-Namco 161,070 8/7/08
2 Last Remnant Square Enix 134,611 11/20/08
3 Infinite Undiscovery Square Enix 112,444 9/11/08
8 Fallout 3 Bethesda 49,543 12/4/08
12 Fable II Microsoft 43,682 12/18/08

*just to keep Knight of Ratatosk company.

Source: Famitsu Weekly

And that's a wrap! I survived my week of class observations with mostly no disasters. Just one more month till the end of the school year, and then things get reorganized again. Expect update schedule disruptions around the end of March, folks. My apologies well in advance.

And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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