Rarely updated, rarely disappointing

Browsing Posts published in September, 2004

Pictures are finally up!

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Well I finally uploaded some pictures. Click on “Pictures” to the left there. 1 gallery of general Japan pics, the other is from the Tokyo Game Show.


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On Saturday, I went with a bunch of the guys (why, oddly enough, no females) to the Tokyo Game Show at Makuhari Messe. I’ve heard it compared to the E3 of Japan. Seeing as how most (of the good) games and related hardware comes from this country, I figured it would be fun. Yep, it was.

The Game Show itself was really big: about 2 convention halls full of booths. All the big players were there, except Nintendo, who doesn’t attend this show (for some reason). How would you propose to sell and advertise upcoming products to a convention center full of video game dorks? Why, you fill your booth with girls dressed in next to nothing, OR lots of skimpy spandex. (I’ll have pics up sometime soon).

The show only cost 1000 yen to get in, so it was a bargain. Got there a little too early, but at least it allowed me to be one of the first people in for the day. Met up with Ari, and we waited in line for about an hour at the Square-Enix booth. For our wait, we got to watch trailers for Final Fantasy VII Advent Children (upcoming movie sequel to the PS game), FFVII Before Crisis (a prequel game on Docomo cell phones), Kingdom Hearts 2, and a few others that weren’t important. However, that wouldn’t have been worth it. The big payoff was getting to wear these goofy TV visors, put on surround-sound headphones, and watch a 30 minute cut of Advent Children, before the thing has even premiered at the Vienna Film Festival. I was happy. It’s going to be a good (and really cool) movie.

I also played Before Crisis, Viewtiful Joe 2, Naruto on Gamecube, and a bunch of other games. Of special note was the new cell phone version of Fatal Frame (Ho would have loved this): you take pictures with your phone’s usual camera, then “review” them to see the monsters and ghosts that are hidden within. You then kill them. Fun game, good innovation. And I also got to PLAY a racing game on the PSP (Playstation Portable)!!! The thing is amazing, it really is an awesome awesome system. However, I hear that it will cost around $350 when it is released, which means I won’t be buying one until 2008 (that is probably a realistic estimate. the system is awesome, but as of now there are now awesome games that you “gotta have”)

Also saw trailers or commercials, etc for: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Narutimate Hero 2, and much more. Those first two had about 15 minute long trailers, and they pretty much made me wet my pants. Good grief I love video games.

Random updates

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Last week we had a meeting for the start of IES SIG groups, basically little clubs for various interests like sports, Japanese language, culture, etc. Clubs so the IES kids and Japanese students can hang out. I joined the biggest one, Movies, and became leader of it. Then, I didn’t realize that the leaders of each of the SIGs were automatically candidates for IES Student Council President. Well, that was the case, and I am now the President. Haha, funny funny.

On Monday, we were off for 老人の日 (Roujin no Hi), or “Be nice to old people day.” So what did I do? Went to the movies. Japanese movies are ridiculously expensive. 1 ticket is 1800 yen, or around $16. Student Discount is a little bit less. Me, Seth, and Bryan went to see Naruto the Movie. Mii showed up a little late, so we stubbed her in. She didn’t know this at first. I guess Japanese kids aren’t big on sneaking into movies. After that, we decided that we paid so much money, we wanted to see more than 1 movie. Luckily, when we bought our tickets, they give you a schedule of the movies playing that week. Makes it easy to figure out which movie to sneak into next. So, I watched about 20 minutes of Biohazard 2 (Resident Evil 2), then moved to watch the Dekaranger/Kamen Rider Blade double feature. Good times. Went to Outback for dinner.

Tuesday was just classes as usual, no biggie.

Wednesday, went to Harajuku to buy a man-purse, since every guy in this country has one. It’s actually just a black canvas bag with Kishidan on it. Then, me and Ari went to a restaurant that had for 1000 yen all you can eat pasta, pizza, pancakes, and hip hop. When I ever get around to putting up pictures, I will have to show the sign from this place. Then, we went to Ebisu to see the Sapporo Beer Museum. Horrible museum really, it’s just an excuse for people to try (after paying for) different kinds of Sapporo and Yebisu beer.

At night, went with Ari, Ahn-tuan, Dan, and Adam to Shinjuku. Went to 2 huge music stores, then walked around Kabukicho (the shady yakuza/triad-run area). Before we finally made it to Kabukicho, however, thanks to my awesome map-reading skills, we found where the Shinjuku gay district is. Definitely some weird stuff going on there. And also a gay park, where I guess the gay folk do their business. We were out of there as soon as we realized where we had gone.

Randomness for the rest of the night, primarily walking around aimlessly in Shibuya. Met up with Dave Heston from high school, and his friend from Germany. We walked around a lot, finally ended up in Roppongi at the famous Gas Panic (the locals call it GasPa) club. Let me make this short and sweet: ROPPONGI SUCKS. It is the dirtiest area I have seen in Japan, hilighted by the hordes of refugees/immigrants from Europe, Africa and the really poor parts of Asia. They are either in Roppongi to be hookers, to pick up Japanese guys who don’t know any better, and/or to go to dirty, crowded clubs like Gas Panic. Ah well, at least I know not to go back to Roppongi. Also note that since we were in Roppongi so late, I couldn’t even leave until 5AM. So I was trapped there for hours longer than I would have liked.

It’s gone far enough

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OK, I just looked through some of the pictures I’ve taken since I got here. I am from now on making a conscious effort to not make any more stupid faces in pictures. I have stupid looking faces in the majority of my pictures, probably a good idea to stop.


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I forgot to mention that I have 2 national holidays this week. Also, my field placement High School is off on Wednesday since they just finished a week of exams. SO, that means I only have class on Tuesday and Friday this weekend. Hahahahah!

Fat guys in thongs

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On Saturday we had an IES Field Trip type of thing to Asakusa and Sumo Wrestling. Asakusa was interesting, just seeing the huge tourist trap that was once a temple. It was probably the 3rd time I’ve been to Asakusa (where the big Thunder Gate is), but it’s fun to walk down and see the shops, although you never buy anything there except for expensive souvenirs (I bought nothing).

One odd thing was near the smaller temple, there was a wedding. A bunch of us were in the courtyard, waiting for the rest of the group before we moved on to the next location. Next thing I know, I turn back around towards the temple and there was an old guy laying on the ground. Apparently he had fallen (was walking with a cane) and hit his head. I didn’t see that part myself. We were wondering if we should call an ambulance. I really thought we should have. 2 police offers walked up within a few minutes and seemed to have things under control. I never saw an ambulance before we left, so I have no idea what they ended up doing. I did however see them lift him up and move him away from the main entrance of the temple. Maybe it was to give him a better place to lay down? Maybe it was so he didn’t bring bad luck to the wedding in progress in the temple? I really don’t know, but I felt sorry for the old guy. It looked like he was walking around the templegrounds alone…

After that, we had a long hike and then a fun water taxi ride to Ryougoku. The boat ride really was awesome; we got to stand on top of the little boat taxi thing. After that we had sumo food called chanko-nabe. It’s pretty much just a big pot of meat, vegetables, and tofu. You cook it at your table, eat all the stuff, then cook udon noodles with the remaining broth. It was good but there was too much food (I suppose that’s why sumo like it). Also, since you cook it at your table, and there were a bunch of tables in the room cooking also, the room itself was like an oven. Not the way I like to live, let alone eat my meal.

Watched sumo afterwards in the sumo arena. Really a cool place. When you first walk in, it’s like any huge sports stadium, but then you realize that it’s decorated with a bunch of traditional Japanese decor, and instead of a playing field or a court, there is a little pavilion type area with 2 fat guys duking it out. The actual matches are fun to watch, but there is a lot of build-up and ritual before each match. Honestly, after about an hour of being there I started to doze off, but I guess I tend to do that in any sporting event where you actually go and sit in the nosebleed sections.

Overall, a fun day. The lunch and sumo tickets were covered in my IES payments, so no money spent there. Hoorah~

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