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Dengeki Rankings I Special Report: A Glimpse of Japan I Harvest Moon Colobockle Station Info I Ys III: Wanderers from Ys Gets New Look I Ys IV Gets New Look Too I Egg Monster Heroes Propaganda I New Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song Trailer I New N-Gage RPG from Falcom I Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara
JAPANDEMONIUM
World-Famous JJ Burger March 14, 2005


Konnichiwa

It's been an up and down week for me. I recovered from last week's cold only to get a sore throat that I am currently battling. That's a pretty big downer, but my up is way better. My mom sent me a care package that had some very yummy food, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, and Tekken 5. I am very thankful for all of those things.

That said, I suppose I should explain this week's title. When I was a junior at Tulane, I lived above a restaurant. For the first time in my life, I did pretty much all of my cooking, and I started finding foods that I liked and were easy to cook. It was at about that time that I started working at the restaurant, and I decided to name my recipes as if I were my own restaurant. Why not? So everything I cooked included 'World-Famous' and my initials. This led to such creations as the 'World Famous JJ Burger,' the 'Almost World-Famous JJ Pancakes,' and the 'Soon-to-Be World-Famous JJ Lasagna.' None of the recipes were that complicated. In fact, the World-Famous JJ Burger is quite simple. It's just a burger with some Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning. I grilled it on a George Foreman grill, and I topped it off with A1 Steak Sauce. It was simple, but it was surprisingly delicious.

So what does that have to do with anything? In that package my mom sent me was some A1 and some Tony Chachere's. Tonight, I had my first World-Famous JJ Burger in years, and it was tasty! To make it even better, I paired it with some Mac 'N' Cheese. But enough about my dinner....

I'm still working my way through Xenosaga II. I'm at the last boss, but I just didn't get time to finish it today. Tekken 5 is a hard temptation to resist, and it keeps begging me to play it some more. Despite all temptations, I should easily finish Xenosaga II tomorrow. Send me all the questions you want then. I'd love to discuss them all.

In somewhat related news, I've just realized that the last three games I've purchased have been Namco games. Before coming to Japan, I picked up Katamari Damacy, and I simply cannot say enough good things about that game. I still find that I keep snapping up Namco games to be a bit odd. I never figured that I'd be a fanboy of theirs. Maybe they just have great timing at releasing games. Whatever it is, I have a sudden urge to play Ms. Pac-Man...

Also, I'd like to note that today is White Day in Japan. It's basically Valentine's Day all over again. In Japan, women buy candy for men on Valentine's Day as a way of showing their feelings. Well, the Japanese aren't one to miss out on a chance to sell stuff, so they invented White Day to be one month later. Now the men buy slightly more expensive chocolate to give to women. It's all just a marketing ploy to move chocolate, but I don't care. I still sent a present to my beloved. Happy White Day, Caroline!

Looks like my intro is big enough. I guess it's time to get this world-famous party started!



 Dengeki Rankings

It is a rather so-so week for RPGs. We do have a new RPG at the number two spot, but it's the only new blood there. Everything else is just hanging around doing its best to stay up there. The top spot this week is claimed by Dynasy Warriors 4. It's been a while since I've seen an RPG there.

At least the new title is a PSP game. As everyone knows, I'm rooting the PSP on to get some competition back in the handheld market. When companies compete, gamers win. Go PSP, go!

In other news, Pokemon Emerald is still off the chart. I think it's gone for good. But worry not, the big N will always make more of the little critters for us to catch. It's an infinite cash cow, so there will be Pokemon on the chart again soon.

Oh, and the title of Megaman.exe 5: Team of Karnel has been corrected to Megaman.exe 5: Team of Colonel. Magicbox posts the charts as well, and I check sometimes to make sure my translations are good. They're probably right, so I'm going to go with their spelling on this one.

But anyway, it's time to see some numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
2 Tales of Eternia Namco
6 Megaman.exe 5: Team of Colonel Capcom
21 Megaman.exe 5 Team of Pruus Capcom
24 Popolocrois: Pietro Monogatari SCE
27 Super Robot Wars: Original Generation 2 Banpresto
36 Dragon Quest VIII Square Enix
41 Wizardry Xth: Academy of Frontier MichaelSoft
42 Radiata Stories Square Enix
48 Gladiator - Road to Freedom Aatein


Source: Dengeki Online



 Special Report: A Glimpse of Japan
Japandemonium

Since today is White Day, I thought I'd do something special in this column. With the creation of the Culture Corner, I've tried to creat something different and unique with this column. Specifically, I wanted to give my readers a glimpse into a country that fascinates so many of us. So few of us have been to Japan, let alone lived here, so I want to give you just a small glimpse of some of the beauty that can be found here.

Yesterday, I went to a local park to take pictures of plum trees. Unfortunately, I am a couple weeks late to catch them at their peak, but I still think they are beautiful. I've also included a picture of a small nearby shrine and the sunset over Niihama. This is just a small sampling of the sights I get to see here.

So, in celebration of White Day I am taking Alethea's recommendation to post some pictures. But I must warn you in advance. These pictures were taken with my 5.1 megapixil camera. The file sizes are huge. If you want to see the full massive picture, be prepared for a lengthy download if you are on a 56k.




 Harvest Moon Colobockle Station Info

The Harvest Moon series has spread to yet another medium. This time, it's the Nintendo DS. Like its predecessors, Harvest Moon Colobockle Station is a farming sim. You'll control one farmer in his day in and day out chores to manage his farm and family.

As these scans show, the game is looking absolutely gorgeous. But not only are the graphics pretty, this game will take full advantage of the dual screens and touch pad. As shown in one screen, when you walk over to your cow to milk it, the cow appears in the lower screen. Then, you use the touch pad to milk the cow. Of course, the possibilities are almost endless for ways to use the touch screen. Sheering sheep, washing animals, and many other activities will all be done with the stylus. There will also be connectivity to Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town.

Harvest Moon Colobockle Station is set for release on March 17th in Japan.


Source: Jeux-France




 Ys III: Wanderers from Ys Gets New Look
Ys III: Wanderers from Ys

Taito is giving a classic game a nice new look. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys is being making an appearance on the PS2. The game was originally released for the SNES, Genesis, and TurboGraphix 16 in the '90s, and it was widely acclaimed for having the foreground, the background, and the ground that you walk on scroll at a different speed. As impressive as that was 13 years ago, Taito felt that it could be kicked up a notch. The result is a game that looks beautiful and still retains the oldschool feel.

Fans wanting to relive the game on yet another console can go to Japanese retailers on March 24. Everyone else can click on the above link and see 28 screens and character artowrk to see what they are missing.


Source: Impress



 Ys IV Gets New Look Too
Ys IV: The Mask of the Sun

Fans who want still MORE Ys action will be pleased to know that Ys IV: Mask of the Sun will also be getting a graphical overhaul from Taito under the name Ys IV: Mask of the Sun - A New Theory. This time around, the environments will be 3D and the game will include some new stories and events. There will also be an Element system that allows the player to use elemental attacks with the Holy Sword.

Ys IV: Mask of the Sun - A New Theory will be at a store near me on May 26th.

Source: Magicbox

 Egg Monster Heroes Propaganda

Some new magazine scans have surfaced showing some of the goodness that is Egg Monster Heroes. For those unacquainted with the series, you play the young lord of the kingdom of Almamoon, and he has the ability to summon "Egg Monsters" from giant magical eggs. The kingdom sits on the edge of danger, and the somewhat dimwitted lord must save his kingdom.

Egg Monster Heroes is set for release in Japan on the Nintendo DS on March 24. If you want it, you'll have to throw down 5040 of your hard-earned Yen.


Source: Jeux-France




 New Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song Trailer
Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song

Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song has a new trailer on the main site. Interested fans can click here to see all the goodness for themselves.

Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song is set for an April 21 release in Japan.


 New N-Gage RPG from Falcom

Falcom just announced that they will be teaming up with Nokia to release a new "stand alone" RPG for the N-Gage. Other than that, they gave no details, not even the game's name. They did say that more information would be available at e3. Until then, we'll all have to wait to see what they make.

Source: Famitsu




  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

This week, I've got a couple questions. I'm STILL working on Xenosaga II

Here's hoping for lots of love for all of you on White Day.



Sleep or Xenosaga


Jordan,

I would probably pick Xenosaga over sleep any day. The ending was awesome, graphics were improved and basically the story overall. Things that disappointed me was the tech system, change of voices and the lack of game play. In my opinion, It was one of the best games of the year, but depressingly was very short.

Thanks,

Vance


Sensei

I haven't seen the ending yet, but I agree with you on everything so far. I really like the game, but I'm having a hard time finishing it. I don't think it's that the story isn't gripping, I just think that I keep getting games! At any rate, we'll see what I think of the ending next week.

Thanks for writing!


Long Hair


In just about everything I've seen coming out of Japan, there's been one thing missing that's hit home with me. How common is long hair? I've never seen a Japanese male with long hair. I've never seen a Westerner living in Japan with long hair. Is there a taboo against it? Do they think it makes them look like girls (rather odd considering many young Japanese males look rather androgynous already to my western eyes)? Have they just never seen anyone else with long hair and never thought of it? How about it?

Would I have to hack my 'tail off if I wanted to work in the JET program?

-Nathan


Sensei

Long hair DEFINITELY exists, but not from the young professionals. Younger men and people who don't wear suits sometimes have long hair. It looks a lot like David Bowie from the '80s. Yeah, it's scary.

But why don't you see it? Simple. It's not considered professional. How you look defines who you are. To be a banker, you must dress and look like a banker. So it is taboo to have dyed hair (even light brown), visible tattoos, visible piercings, hair that is not short and tidy, or improper attire. My dress code for GEOS has all those and more, including the types of shoes, socks, ties, suits, and watch I can wear. In fact, I changed my hairstyle to be more professional before coming to Japan, and the dress code is even more strict for women.

It's just how it is. Japan is very much a country of appearances. I mean good looks used to (and probably still does to an extent) equal being virtuous.

As for JET, the answer is maybe. I'm 80% sure you'd have to, but you never know. JET is a bit different than GEOS or the other Eikaiwa.


More Movies


Just want to say in response to Teresa that from what I've seen the American movie industry is more likely to use a Japanese movie and do a remake than actually accept that the originals are still good which seems to give a feeling that the Japanese are copying the americans. Not so.

I mean take for example Ring, a perfectly good movie with a seriously crappy remake, and it's not the only one-I mean I was innocently watching a trailer on a dvd when I see something called the grudge. hm......

Well I watch it and it starts going on about a girl dying and haunting a house. it's at this point I actually put 2 and 2 together and think of the movie with Sarah Michelle Geller in, but I think maybe it's just a coincidence... Then I see the shower scene-the exact same scene that I've been seeing repeatedly with Sarah Michelle Geller in the shower in the adds but with a Jap girl instead. It is at this point that I give up all hope.

Also if you want to be too scared to sleep in a room with a TV in or become worried everytime you run water watch Ring or Dark Water, they're both very good and I'm sure there are more out there.

And also a question-considering all the living costs (food, water, etc....) how much of it is covered by the company under accommodation and how much do you pay for yourself?  And also what is your average pay after expensives? Well sorry about the small question and long rant but thanks for reading this.

cya

tom


Sensei

Thanks for the info on the movies. I've never seen any of them, so I can't say.

As for living expenses, I pay 'em all. GEOS gets me a discount on my apartment, but I pay for all my own food, electricity, water, gas, and internet. Rent is 450; food runs 300 a month; gas, electricity, and water run between 50-100 for them all put together; and internet is 100 a month. But I make more than enough to cover it all and still pocket roughly 1000 US each month. You can easily get by on my 2500 US that I make every month.

Thanks again for writing!


Important Question


Hey Jordan,

I was wondering what you do for electronics while living in Japan. Did you bring over your own computer/PS2/etc from America, or do you buy stuff in Japan? I'm curious because I'm going to graduate school at the University of Tokyo next year (I'm currently in school in the US), and I realized I don't know how compatible my US laptop will be (with US version of Windows), or what other compatibility issues there are. I figured you probably get your cell phone over there (if you get one), and other things (like TVs, which are hard to ship back and forth from the US), but what issues do you see, or suggestions do you have, for someone who is going to have to start from scratch and be prepared for at least two years of living abroad?

Thanks, and keep the column rolling!

Mike


Sensei

Here's the lowdown on electronics. Your TV, US gaming systems, and most anything else will work in Japan. One thing that will not is your alarm clock. The voltage is different, and you'll lose time.

As for compatibility, US systems only play US discs, but handhelds play everything. US Windows and Japanese Windows are NOT compatible, but you can partition your HD and install Japanese Windows on that. I went Mac, and I love it. Works EVERYWHERE. So much easier...

As for shipping, it ain't gonna be cheap. I brought my PS2 and Gamecube with me, but I took those in my suitcase. Leave your TV behind and buy one here. There are used stores that sell nice ones for good discounts, and if you get lucky, you can buy a new one at a great price. I got my 26 inch Sony WEGA for half price, and it was the newest model of TV. I found last year's model at another store for about 1.25 times the price I paid. In Japan, there are no MSRPs, so shop around. Prices WILL vary.

Other than that, buy everything else you want. It'll work in America if you can bring it back. I'm keeping my dual PS2s and GCs. And, if I get to buy a PS3, I'll keep THAT too.

Hope that helps!



 Sayonara

Here's a nice meaty column to make up for last week's thin one. I hope you all have a great White Day, and send me some lovey letters for next week. Also, tell me if you liked the special report. I want to include some more pictures of Japan sometime. I want as many people to see Japan as possible, and if they can do it through my eyes, then I'm happy to help.

But for now, I'm beat. I've had a sinus headache all day, and it's cold. I just want to crawl up in bed. This may be a March 14 post, but it's 1 am on the 15th for me. We're that much ahead of the US timezone-wise.

This week, it'll be more Xenosaga, more Gundam, more Tekken 5, and more Metal Gear Solid 3 if I get time. That's a lot of um... 'work' for one week.

Catch you on the flip
Jordan "For me, the future is now!" Jackson




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