sangatsu no ni-juu-go-nichi

I'd like to apologize for the delay, everyone, but last week was really busy and crazy over here in Hi-no-Kuni. Ignoring for the moment all the negatives, there was one major highlight of the week - sotsuenshiki, or the graduation ceremony.

What? you ask. Don't you work at a kindergarten, Gaijin?

I doubt that this will come as much of a surprise to anyone, but the Japanese love ceremonies, and graduations are big deals. What happens at these things anyway? There are speeches, and songs, and presents given away. No robes or mortarboards -- this is a kindergarten, after all. Four of our graduates came in hakama, and looked very cute. The PTA moms arranged a big lunch for everyone, and then parents and staff went out for drinks in the evening. I've heard that things are a lot more formal after elementary school, but I'd rather stay where I am.

Japan is a mecca for plastic model enthusiasts. They have model kits for everything over here, and it's practically guaranteed that someone can find a hobby shop catering to the modeling crowd in any big shopping center. Each model is usually labeled with a scale fraction, like 1/40 or 1/12, to show how the model scales with the original. The average Gundam model is at 1/100 scale, but I have seen ads for 1/40 scale model Gundams as well. For reference, a 1/40 scale Gundam is 135 cm tall, and 35 kg. Now, Tokyo's weirdly futuristic little island district, Odaiba, is getting its own oversized model Gundam as a decorative piece in Shiokaze Park. The scale for this model? 1/1. 18 meters tall.

This should look nice next to my 1/12 SOLDIER and 1/2000 airship models...

Position Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
3 Up from 6 Mario & Luigi RPG 3 Nintendo
8 Down from 3 7th Dragon Sega
12 New Arrival! Atelier Annie Gust
25 Down from 8 Super Robot Taisen Z Special Disc Banpresto
26 Down from 23 Pokémon Platinum Nintendo
31 Down from 24 Inazuma Eleven Level 5
33 Down from 27 Tales of the World - Radiant Mythology 2 Bandai Namco
36 Down from 19 Star Ocean 4 - The Last Hope Square Enix
38 Down from 29 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - Echoes of Time DS Square Enix
41 Down from 34 Demon's Souls SCE
46 Down from 18 Retro Game Challenge 2 Bandai-Namco

This is fairly old news on the boards, but recently Gust announced that their next game, Atelier Rorona, would come out for the PS3 next June. Our heroine for the game is Rororaina Friksel, though given Gust's usually naming patterns for the series, and the fact that all those R's tie my tongue in knots, I'm willing to bet her game could be written out as Laurelina or something similar. Given the absolute lack of coverage the game has received before this past weekend, this has come as something of a surprise. Let's take a look:

Pretty... Kind of makes me want to buy a PS3 eventually.

Source: Famitsu Online

Honestly, I've lost count of all the video game adaptations the Dragonball series has seen. I know that there were action games on the original Famicom starring Goku and company. Appropriately, the majority of these have been fighting games, with the occasional action-platformer.

Next month, Bandai-Namco is giving the RPG genre some DBZ love with Dragonball Kai: Attack of the Saiyans, a traditional-looking RPG that seems to be based mainly on the first story arc of the DBZ series. The game is touted as also having an original story version, however, and several screenshots have content from the first Dragonball series, so I'm not quite sure what's going on here.

Source: Famitsu Weekly

Didn't get enough of spoiled princesses the first time? Global A Entertainment is bringing Angela to the PSP with My World, My Way -- Princess of Light and Darkness. While the basic story and game mechanics seem unchanged, there have been some major alterations made to this game:

First, Global A has decided to take advantage of the increased storage space UMDs provide, and is going to add voice acting for all major characters in the game. This will include new characters whose role in the updated story is still undetermined. The strangest change by far involves Angela. Now the player can choose between a normal, Light version, and a wicked little Dark version (notice the skull barette?). The question is, what does the change portend? Considering that it's referenced in the game's title, it might be something major.

Source: Famitsu Weekly
How Do I Start This Thing?

I have a game related question but before that I have a letter writing question. In Japanese how do you start a letter or even an e-mail? You don't know when the person will read it so is there some word other than ohayou gozaimasu, konnichiwa, or konbanwa that I'm supposed to use?


If you're writing a formal letter, there's a special form of greeting that's used. If you're writing a regular letter, or an email, then don't worry about it. Konnichiwa works pretty well with anything.

Okay, now for the game related question. I recently noticed the Final Fantasy XIII trailer on Square-Enix's website. It's Japanese with English subtitles. My Japanese isn't very good but I have noticed some things that don't seem to match up. In the opening line it says "the beginning of the end" but in the Japanese it says something like the beginning of the end of the world." Did they omit "world" to make it fit or something? Later someone says in the subtitles "I think I dreamt it" but (I think) the Japanese said "mou mita to omou" with would mean I think I've already seen it, not I think I dreamt it. I was wondering what you thought of the trailer and its translation. I'm probably just overreacting but I wondered what someone with better Japanese skills thought of it.



I've said it before and I'll say it again, Japanese and English do not translate perfectly on a word-to-word basis. Both languages have lots of set phrases and grammar types that either sound weird or are incomprehensible when translated 100% accurately. This is especially true of phrases which, because of familiarity, are often abbreviated or otherwise shortened for the sound of it. Where English might leave part of a phrase inferred but not spoken, Japanese will spell the whole thing out, and vice-versa. My main criteria for a good translation are: 1) Does it make sense? and 2) Does it sound right on a grammatical level? Absolute grammatical accuracy to the source material often results in neither.


Hello, Mr. Baker!
(This isn't really for your RPGamer column, but feel free to throw in on there if you like.)


Like, dude. Mr. Baker is like, my father. Dude. Here, you can call me Gaijin.

As a person seeking to learn Japanese and visit the country, I was wondering if you, having lived there for a while, knew of any good (but cheap!) tutors that could teach me if I moved there. I was looking online and found some pre-college language academies and such, but they were all kinda pricey, and since I don't plan to actually attend a Japanese university I didn't think it'd be necessary Also, how difficult would it be for a person like me with very, very basic Japanese skills to get a job (part time or full) to pay for said tutoring and an apartment? Thanks in advance for any help!



Well, not knowing exactly where you might end up in Japan, it's hard to recommend a specific tutor or service. Instead, here's what you could do. In every major city, you should be able to find an international center of some sort. The Kumamoto International Exchange Center is in a big building just south of the castle, and Fukuoka's Rainbow Plaza is in the IMS Building, downtown Tenjin. Wherever it is, you'll be able to find bulletin boards (or similar item) with sections for people looking for students or teachers.

As for jobs, that depends on a few things. Most of the big English conversation school franchises prefer folks with college degrees, if only because it looks better in advertising. Most of the smaller schools will still prefer you get some sort of teacher training before considering you for employment. Outside of the teaching field, there are jobs available for foreigners at various "international" restaurants, clothing stores, and other places, but I have no idea how you'd get a job with those. In almost all cases (except for the big companies), you'll need to actually be in the country to apply. You could also ring up the Japanese embassy and ask if there are any work study programs available. And you could always apply to JET as well.

Still, since I don't know how old you are, I can't say if any of these avenues would work. I'm assuming you're college age or older, at least. Hope this helps!

The funny thing about this column is, pretty much all the material is stuff I found after my usual cut-off point, which means that it's a good thing this column was postponed a little. A few days' wait is better than a one-item, no-game, no letters column, right? Anyway, there's more to be done at the school this week, so be forewarned that I'll probably be doing another mid-week update next week.

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

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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