Winter has finally arrived in southern Japan, and that means one thing -- lots of complaining. Instead of just shivering or the occasional "Brr!", Japanese have to give voice to their discomfort. Samuiyo! Samui! comes the cry, not just once, but every five seconds or so on a bad day. It hasn't been that bad as yet, but I know that in about a month I'll be fit to scream "Yes, we know it's cold! Put a sock in it -- that should keep you warm!"
Another side effect of the falling temperatures is a surge in sales from the hot drinks section of the convenience stores. There's always a little heated case near the register just full of heated cans of coffee, or bottles hot lemonade, tea, or cocoa. Many buy them more as an impromptu hand-warmer than a drink. I know I do.
The downside of the hot drinks is that at first they're too hot for me to drink easily -- not unless I want my tongue to feel slightly burned for the rest of the day. I'm not alone in my lingual sensitivity, however. It's common enough in Japan that they have a special word for it: nekojita. Literally, it means "cat's tongue," and was coined as a simile for drinking hot soup, i.e. very carefully, like a cat lapping up hot milk.
You won't hear me complaining, though. I have better things to do.
Early next week, Blazer Drive hits the shelves, and so it's time for one last look.
The first thing the developers wish to show us this time is the "tension system." There are six levels of tension, with a normal level being the second lowest. Get it to the top, and it's time to let slip the dogs of war on your foes. Tension is built up mainly through the application of specific mystickers, while other stickers can lower the tension level of the opposition.
We also get to see some more sticker designs, including a few attributed to specific artists from the Phantasy Star franchise. One other sticker, the Wiseman, is a reference to Sega's NiGHTS series, apparently.
I'm still not sure what to make of the action screens, however. It really looks like they're using either animated cut-scenes or stills for attack sequences, which could be interesting.
Just yesterday on Famitsu I found a link to a teaser site for an upcoming RPG. Just about everything currently known about Chaotic Brain - Wong Yi's stories can be seen on this video -- that it's a science-fiction game with a heavy, heavy dash of fantasy, that there's space travel involved, and that the programmers have a distinctly odd sense of humor. It is most likely a PC title, given that there's a downloadable demo and lots of PC specs, and also no mention of a console platform anywhere.
The main site's story page is set up like a newspaper, full of stories about unspecified chaos and destruction. A man named Dr. Mar has apparently perfected a working time machine that's more trouble than it's worth. More at 11, I suppose. The site promises more content to be available soon.
Seriously, check the teaser video out, it has to be seen to be believed.
While there isn't much to say about these next two scans that would mean much to anyone who doesn't know the series well, we have a few pages for Atelier Annie to show you. The changes to the item creation system from Atelier Lise have been left intact, with simplified recipes, upgradable lab equipment, and several variations of color or quality available for various items.
Two new characters are profiled on page two: Julian and Klaus, both rival alchemists who plan on entering the big event in three years' time. The third character, shown on page 1, is Prince Joel, who last appeared as a supporting character in Atelier Lise, thus providing a bit of continuity for the DS branch of the series. Whether there are links to the earlier Playstation titles remains to be seen.
In this day and age, soundtracks for video games are nothing unusual. In fact, I think every single RPG release for the past few years has had one released. I've long since given up on trying to report on them in this column, just because of the numbers.
Every now and then, however, something special shows up.
"Atelier Vocal Historia, 1997 - 2009" is definitely a special item for any Atelier fan. It contains 40 tracks from all thirteen games in the main Atelier series. All tracks have been reorchestrated and given vocal parts as well. While the games themselves may not be everyone's cup of tea, they have had some pretty nice scores backing them up, so this should prove to be a nice addition to my musical library.
It goes on the shelves at the end of next January, for 3360 yen, or about $30 US.
On the Job Training
Since you are an English Teacher in Japan, I was curious if you knew of any opportunities for students between High School and College to intern (or something similar) in an English Teaching position in Japan. I am sorry if this is not the correct procedure, but any guidance you can provide would be helpful.
Well, wish I could be more helpful, but for the most part, English schools in Japan don't do internships. Most of them hire people right out of college, in fact, and prefer applicants with a basic degree. Any degree will usually do. You might want to write to the Japanese consulate about work-study programs, however. I know Japan has work-study deals with both Canada and Australia for Japanese citizens wishing to study abroad, so there might be something for the reverse situation as well. There's also the possibility of doing some actual university study in Japan.
Again, wish I could be more helpful.
Whew, talk about last minute success! As of Wednesday, I was facing the prospect of a one-item update -- mostly my own fault, since I failed to grab that Brandish story before Nu could put it up. Be sure to check that thread out, since it gives a lot more detail than I'd have ever managed on my own. Thankfully, I struck gold while doing my regular internet check. Hopefully next week shall be equally fruitful and serendipitous.
And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,
Your man in Japan,