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Browsing Posts published in September, 2009

2009 JLPT apps due Friday

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2009年度 日本語能力試験

I bought the application packet like two weeks ago. Glad I finally opened it last night to see that the due date’s the end of this week. I’m giving Level 1 another shot even though I haven’t really studied Japanese since last year. Haha, oops!

Games, girls, and the B.O. cloud

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Checked out Tokyo Game Show 2009 at Makuhari Messe twice last week. Thursday was the first business/press only day, and it was so much better than Saturday, where the crowd was like 50 times worse and the smell of B.O. had condensed to a visible gray fog. Luckily I was somewhat expecting this, so I got whatever I wanted to see or play out of the way on Thursday. Final Fantasy XIII was probably the best, since the game was sweet and you got to play for a full 15 minutes on a nice setup consisting of a slim PS3, 32-inch-ish LCD TV, and studio headphones. Since it’s Japan, of course before every person the headphones and controller got a wipe down with alcohol wipes, which is a big plus. Got to play a bunch of other games thanks to the average wait time on business days being maybe 10-15 minutes, compared to the 1 hour or more on public days. I noticed a lot of the booths during public days even gave out tickets to play the demos, meaning that once the tickets were all gone, no one else could even line up to play the games.

The swag level was kind of disappointing this year, with more crappy postcards and stickers than anything else. No good phone straps, keychains, t-shirts, or slap bracelets, at least from what I saw. The Capcom station for Ookamiden was giving out a sweet folding fan, but the line for that even on Thursday was like 45 minutes so I decided not to bother. Other random games I saw or played: First we played Bayonetta just because the line was short and it was the first one we saw. The game looked OK, but it was exactly like Devil May Cry only with a naughty librarian as the main character. Also for some reason her clothes turned into a demon or something, leaving her gratuitously naked. Halo 3: ODST seemed like it had a good deal of add-ons and new weapons and enemies. Tekken 20 or whatever is exactly the same as Tekken always is. MGS Peace Walker was awesome, although I can’t say the characters seemed as interesting as in past games. MGS trailers are always so well done though. Ryu ga Gotoku 4 (Yakuza) also looked way sweet, and I saw the creator guy there in his usual white yakuza-ish jumpsuit.

As with any convention of this type, there were a lot of booth girls all over the place, either handing out flyers or just posing for thousands of dudes to take their pictures. On Saturday when I went there were of course crowds around every single one of these poor women, with the size of the crowd probably in proportion to the hotness of the girl multiplied by how much skin they were showing. Oddly enough I didn’t see anyone using the super nerd stepladders, nor did I happen to see anyone with their camera on the ground trying to get an underwear shot. Maybe that’s just at the auto shows then.

So yeah TGS was pretty awesome, but I don’t know if I’m going to bother going on public days anymore. The crowd and accompanying BO is too much to handle, and you can’t even play any good games without waiting for an hour or more. But hey business days are awesome so if you can get in it’s definitely worth going.

Oh No 2009

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THESaw a lot of ol’ Nick “NR7000” Roberts the past few weeks. You remember that guy, right? He’s still down in the boonies of Hyogo spending most of his time with literally thousands of young children. First he came up to Chiba at the beginning of the Japanese Obon holiday week in August. As soon as he arrived in Tokyo we went to make a long overdue visit (pilgrimage?) to our good friend the Mayor. No, no – I don’t mean the mayor of Tokyo. I of course am referring to the Mayor of Namja Town, who is way cooler, has his own army of Namderbirds, names his districts descriptively by the foods they serve, and wears a monocle. Also he is a cat. And not a bigot like the mayor of Tokyo – oops!

Nick’s visit up here was pretty much just for eating and drinking, which we did pretty much constantly when not sleeping or playing video games of some kind. Nick was skeptical about the sweet all you can order pizza place at first, but after trying it I think he realized why me and Blanchard talked it up so much. Teriyaki chicken pizza, even with the weird Japanese mayonnaise on it, is awesome. The next night we took him to Y’s, followed by karaoke until 5AM, which effectively destroyed Nick’s body (and stomach) for days to come. A job well done, everyone.

Then almost ridiculously soon after Nick’s visit up here, I went down last weekend to check out the NR7000 home field down in Ono city, Hyogo. There is a very descriptive Wikipedia page for it here. Got to check out Osaka and Kobe as well, so it was a good weekend visit to Kansai. As with most reunion trips, we were mostly gorging ourselves the whole time I was down there, primarily at the Ono favorite kushiage and yakitori places. Both were way awesome. Kushiage I got to try last year, but the Ono yakitori place was closed for renovations or something last year so I got to try it this time. Nick was very disappointed that they didn’t have the fried cheese he always orders, but everything else was way good. I think all shop keepers in Ono automatically give Nick an offering of a huge plate of french fries wherever he goes, cause it seemed to just show up without even getting ordered.

Also went to quite a few of the local hangout “snack” bars, which were a lot less sketch than I had originally assumed. You know it’s a fun weekend when there are so many nicknames created or at least used. Big T, Sidekick, the principal from GTO (myyyyyyy crestaaaaa!!), yakuza dude, and cake nazi. And quite possibly the best nickname/backfire of the whole trip: “juicy.”

I end this post with the best Nick Roberts picture from my trip:

click for a really embarrassing zoom
Click to zoom in embarrassingly close.
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