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Dengeki Ratings I Shining Wind Blows In I 360 Getting New Games I New Yangus Screens I Tempest Blows in Wi-Fi, New Character, and Screens I Culture Corner I Sayonara
JAPANDEMONIUM
Culture Corner April 6, 2006


Konnichiwa

Another week has passed, and once again I am at my computer writing my column. Considering that I have been busy since I posted last week, it's no surprise that it seems that seven days have flown by in the blink of an eye. I used to think that I was busy in Japan, but I am far busier in America than I ever was over there. Work is a big part of it, but it's also going to Houston to plan a second wedding ceremony, going to dress fittings for Caroline, and shopping for a tuxedo for me. Those things combine to form some sort of giant robot of time stealing. To make matters worse, my best friend pointed me in the direction of a complete collection of translated Death Note scans. I can finally catch up with my Japanese friends without having to wait two months per book. As is expected, I am extremely happy about that find.

In gaming news, I have finally completed Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim. Due to some loading issues, the game took a fair bit longer than I feel it should have, but now I can write the review that I have been waiting for. I've never done it, and I'm a bit nervous. But I think it'll be OK. If all goes well, I think I will start reviewing more games. It looks like hard work, but I also think it'll be fun. Only one way to find out.

As for this week's title, most readers will recognize it as the ending section of Japandemonium. Letters have been few and far between since I got home, and I was afraid that this might happen. If it continued, the Culture Corner would have to be removed from the column, but I got such an overwhelming supply of letters this week that I think the section will be able to continue on its course. I'd like to thank everyone that takes the time out of their busy day to write a letter for the column. It's one of the things that continues to make the column worth doing for me.

That said, let's get this party started!



 Dengeki Rankings

This week was a rather slow week on the charts. Several games are hanging on, but they are only holding on by a thread. Half of the chart rests in the final ten positions. That does not bode well for them. In fact, even last week's top game has fallen. In its place is Pro Soccer Club: European Championship. The fact that it topped the charts is no real surprise though. Soccer games generally debut at number one.

And while it's not RPG related, I just thought that I'd point out that a familiar face has resurfaced on the chart. Super Mario Brothers 20th Anniversary Edition managed to move from the 51st spot to 50. I figured that game was long gone, but this is apparently not the case. I'd like to know just how much Nintendo made off of this re-release to date. It was pure genius of them to do so, and I commend whomever made that call, though I must admit, I'm a bit shocked that it sold as well as it did.

That said, let's see those numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
4 Final Fantasy XII Square Enix
5 Pokémon Ranger Nintendo
18 Xenosaga Episode 1 & 2 Bandai Namco
22 Seiken Densetsu: Children of Mana Square Enix
29 Mar Heaven ~Demon of Karudea~ Konami
30 Contact Marvelous Interactive
34 Eye Shield 21 Max Devil Power! Nintendo
41 Mario and Luigi RPG 2 Nintendo
43 Pokémon's Mysterious Dungeon Blue Nintendo
44 Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth Square Enix
48 Suikoden V Konami


Source: Dengeki Online



 Shining Wind Blows In
Shining Wind

Sega has revealed some information about the upcoming Shining Wind, the newest entry in the Shining series. The game will have a similar battle system to Shining Tears. So far, plot details are scarce, but Sega shed some light on the main characters. If you wish to follow the game, you can check out the official site.






Soma - He used to be best friends with the game's hero, Kiria. While he appears to be light and frivolous, he is actually very serious in reality. He will do anything to protect his parter, Kleha, as he is very fond of her.

Kleha - Though she appears calm and quiet, she has a stubborn streak a mile wide. She has the ability to manifest arrows that can do more than simply damage an enemy.

Traihalt - He is an imperial prince, and he intends to create a powerful army to bring order to the warring chaos of the world.

Zekti Ein - She is Traihalt's partner and is captain of his personal guard. She is completely loyal to him and will follow any order.

Source: Famitsu



 360 Getting New Games
Xbox 360

Tri-Ace, makers of such games as Valkyrie Profile and Radiata Stories will be making an exclusive game for the Xbox 360. Currently, the project has not been named. Added to the trio from Mistwalker, the 360 promises to have several RPGs unique to the system.

Though it's not RPG related, Square Enix also announced that they will be making a title for Microsoft's newest console, but it will be in the shooter genre.

The 360 is having a slow start in Japan, but if more of these titles hit shelves, there is no telling what could happen. Hopefully, they'll all find their way to the US at the very least.


Source: Gamespot



 New Yangus Screens
Dragon Quest: Yangus and the Mysterious Dungeon

Square Enix has graced gamers with yet another look at the upcoming Dragon Quest Yangus and the Mysterious Dungeon. The game chronicles the past of one of the heroes of Dragon Quest VIII, Yangus.

So far, no announcements regarding a North American localization have been made, but I'm hopeful. In the meantime, take a look at these newest screen shots.






Source: Famitsu



 Tempest Blows in Wi-Fi, New Character, and Screens
Tales of the Tempest

Bandai Namco has unleashed a flurry of information regarding the upcoming Tales of the Tempest, the first game in the Tales series to appear on the Nintendo DS.

For starters, a new character, the 15 year old Lukius Bridges, has surfaced. He is the leader of the monk soldiers and is also the Pope's most trusted man. He wears a mask that shows he is an official heretic interrogator.

In other news, the game will also allow for multi-player support over the Nintendo Wi-Fi service. Up to four players will be able to play together on special missions. Despite the PS2's online capabilities, this is the first time the series has gone online for multi-player gaming.

And last but not least, Bandai Namco has decided to grace us all with more screens and art of this highly anticipated game.



















Source: Game Watch



  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

While I may have been afraid that the Culture Corner might die, I don't have to worry about it happening this week. I received such a flood of letters that it nearly brought a tear to my eye. I'm really happy that people care enough about the section to ensure its safety. Hopefully this interest will continue in coming weeks further insuring that what is apparently everyone's favorite section will not be going anywhere in the foreseeable future.

So let's get to the letters!



Music and PSPs


Hey J, it seems weird that just because you're not in Japan anymore, people have stopped writing questions to you! That's not gonna stop me though, coz you still know more about Japan than me, so here goes with a couple questions...

1.What are concerts like in Japan? (I don't know if you've been or not...) b/c when I take my trip, I would love to see a concert of one of my fave J-artists... Additionally, how easy is it to get tickets? what time of year do concerts usually happen? (like, is it a summer thing...) and finally where are the main locations where concerts take place? (I assume the biggest cities... but that's just a guess...) 2. And a bit of a different question, a friend of mine, has a friend of his, who bought a japanese psp, thinking that it would be region free, but when he got it over here and tried to play anything north american (games or UMD) he tells me it didn't work... Is this true? because I had no problem importing a game from europe for my psp (tales of eternia!) and it works fine...Whatd'ya think?

Anyways, I hope the culture corner continues... it would be a sad day for all of us if it comes to an end, so Japandemonium readers out there, send in some questions! NOW!

Thanks,

Mike


Sensei

I thought that letters might dry up once I got home, but it seems good people like yourself have helped to keep it here another week. As for your first question, I've never been to one, but they looked like concerts in America. I saw some Japanese music awards on TV, and they had performances from several pop artists. They looked like every other concert I'd been to, and one of my students went to a multi-stage music festival in Matsuyama. From the stories she told the following week, it was a lot like similar things in America. It also made me extremely jealous; both Japarinet AND Orange Range were playing. Those are two of my favorite Japanese bands.

As for the PSP, I can answer this one from my own personal experience. Both the PSP and the DS can play games from either region. My PSP is Japanese, but it has no problems playing games from America. The reverse is true of my DS. I've played a few Japanese games on my American DS with no problems either. Either the guy's PSP is broken or his discs are ruined. I can't tell you which one it is, but I am 100% sure that isn't normal behavior for the system.

Thanks for writing, and hope your friend solves his PSP problem!


Learning Japanese


Dear J,

I am currently working on learning Japanese, I have been so for about 5 months now. I by no means have any real ability to speak it yet aside from short little catch phrases and simples questions for directions and so forth.

I am using the Pimsluers CD set and it seems to be pretty well put together. I decided to go this route before any type of classroom because I wanted to be familiar with it before I sat down and had peers learning alongside myself.

Anyways, on to what I wrote into you about. Can I accurately learn from CD's or would I be better off actually getting into a classroom environment? I love to watch anime, so the subtitled ones have a translation, but I am hesitant to trust that with it being different depending on the translator.

I would love to visit Japan someday and hope that to happen before I am 30 (6 years from now) so I feel that is a realistic goal. I have always loved Japanese culture and history and always wanted to learn, but never found the time or initiative to get started. Let me know your thoughts or suggestions and/or any great website to checkout for possible reference guides.

Cerick


Sensei

From this email alone, I can't give you a complete answer. From my experience as a teacher, I can attest to the fact that there are many kinds of learners. Some are visual learners, and they can learn by reading. Others are auditory and thrive on listening. You may very well be an auditory learner and get a lot out of CDs, so I can't confirm or deny that it is a great way to learn. What I do know is that plenty of people learn that way, so it is a valid method of study. Is it the best one? That depends on you, but I'd argue that the best way is to go to Japan and learn that way.

As for a website, the best one I've ever seen is this one. I found it to be VERY helpful, and others have found it helpful as well. I hope it can help you.

Good luck on your studies, and don't be afraid to learn from anime. I learned quite a few vocabulary though it. It's another valid tool for learning the language, but to really master the language, it'll take a lot more than that. I hope you're able to do it. I really enjoy learning Japanese, and I hope to continue to do so all my life.

Thanks for writing!


Must......eat.......pocky!


Good day Sensei san,

You don't know me but we know you (huh?). I've been reading your column off and on for a while know, and I like it. Actually I wanted to write in last week, but taxes thwarted any attempt of doing so.

It's good to read that you're happy to be in your home country again. I can only imagine the inner disturbance, even if only a little, brought on by having to settle in again after having lived in another culture. Although being able to see your wife whenever you feel and don't feel like it will probably be great enough to overcome a lot.

Are you, or have you been, suffering from withdrawal symptoms of any kind? (must...play...puyo... puyo...even... if...kills...me or maybe some mineral in your diet over there unavailable in your current habitat) Or have you been throwing your pillows towards the television screen every time you see a lower ranked wrestler beat a Yokozuna?

I do actually have question concerning Japanese culture: A couple of years ago when I was in Bologna (Italy) at a publishers expo with school, there was a kamishibai performance and to attract everybody's attention, and to encourage them to be quiet I guess, a man used two "sticks" to produce that distinctive sound you can hear at a sumo bash and in some Japanese oriented games. Bushido Blade springs to mind. Do you know what they are called? (given the reported empty nature of last weeks mailbag, I suppose there may even be a column title in their name somewhere :)

I do hope that there will be more letters in the future, as it would be a shame if culture corner would simply cease to be.

Thank you and good luck with your column

Raymond Reinewald


Sensei

I have to admit, this question made me smile a lot. I wouldn't say that I've had withdrawal, but I have missed Japan a lot. I frequently think about my time in Niihama and remember the good times I had there. Homesick isn't quite the word to describe it, but at the same time, it isn't NOT the word to describe it. I'm pretty happy to be back, but that doesn't mean that I'll forget Japan. In the end, I consider myself lucky to have had all the memories I made in Japan. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

As for the sticks you speak of, I know them well, but I do not know their name. I'll ask the translator and see if she knows. Worst case is I'll ask one of my former students. Someone should be able to get an answer to that question, and when I do, I probably will make it the title of the column. In fact, I can promise you it will be; I like that idea a lot.

Thanks for writing, and keep your eyes on a future column title for the answer to your question!


He Lives!


Jordan,

Howslife? I know I haven't written for a few weeks, I actually have written 3/4th of a letter last week, but didn't finish it because I fell asleep. I'll finish it off next time. I just wanted to send you an e-mail so you're not e-mailless this week. Please keep on writing Japandemonium as it's my favorite part of RPGamer. [And other people write to Jordan too!!].

I think what I miss are the stories from Japan you used to have. It's always fun to hear about what you've done in Japan and even if I would also be interested in what you did in the USA, the column is still called Japandemonium and not USAmonium!

Here's just a quick question before I go to sleep and rest for my mid-term tomorrow, what are the popular sports in Japan? I understand they have their own leagues which start with the usual J's (soccer, baseball, formula something), so how's the level of sports there? I can understand that they're at quite a high level in their own sports (karate and the other martial arts, together with go - which is Chinese, right?), but what about the non-Japanese/Eastern sports?

And are people of the sporty type there? Do you see a lot of people being enthusiastic and play soccer or basketball on the streets? And what about those clubs they join at school, is it more because the kids are interested in the sport (or arts or whatever) or is it more because they have to participate in a x number of clubs?

I guess that was enough questions for you to answer (hope you can!), I'll certainly write to you next week, I promise!

Douggie

PS. I hope you get more letters this week! I hope we can make you "something something"!

"We all know that birds fly, but now can
you tell me where they are actually flying to??"


Sensei

It's good to hear from you again! For the longest time, you were a regular of the Culture Corner, and then you just mysteriously disappeared. Glad to see that you are well and as inquisitive as ever.

To answer your first question, I don't think you have anything to worry about as long as I do Japandemonium. I love to tell stories, and I'll always have a snapshot of what I'm up to in each column. And as long as people ask me questions, I'll continue to tell stories of my time in Japan. I just hope that you all never get tired of them. ^_^

As for sports, the Japanese seem to play most of the same sports we do. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that the favorites are baseball and soccer, but the Japanese aren't bad at basketball either. They also do martial arts, running, swimming, and archery. So there are always plenty of ways for Japanese kids to stay active after class. It seemed that most of my younger students played at least one sport, and from the looks of it, they were probably pretty good.

As for Go, the game does originate from China. I'll admit that I had to look that fact up; I thought it was Japanese. There are several players, but only one of my students played. I did, however, see a go parlor in Kobe while substitute teaching there. Incidentally, I also play Go, and if anyone would be up for a Yahoo match, I'd be happy to play.

Well, it was good to hear from you again. Send me another next week


Hentai


Gday

I was in japan a couple of weeks ago (during both the dslite and ff12 launches) and OMG does Square advertise. I saw ff12 advertisements absolutely everywhere, aswell as it being sold not only in game shops, but also every other am-pm, Lawsons and Daily Yamazaki!!! no wonder it sells so well!!! One thing i did notice, is that theres alot of, i dont know what they were really, but in every game shop, thered be a big, pinkish section, and poking my head round the corner id notice pornographic games or anime dvds or something, i didnt feel as comfortable as the japanese guys in there just casually browsing so i didnt really investigate more closely, but i do know there were entire stores full of them in Akihabara! On another note, i really enjoyed the company of most of the tourists i met at the (11pm curfew) Youth Hostels, there were alot more subdued than the Tourists i met traveling Europe, I guess japan attracts a different creed hey. I know i didnt really ask anything but hey, im writin in aint I!

Jared Griffiths


Sensei

Japan is a bit strange in that they sell games most everywhere. I can't imagine walking to Speedway and getting a new PS2 game, but in Japan, I could pretty easily walk into 7 Eleven and get the newest release. It's odd, but you get used to it. I never bought any games that way though. I generally went to second-hand shops or got them in Osaka before a trip.

Now for the more fun topic: hentai. I see you caught a glimpse of the H section. In general, Japan is much more reserved than America, but they have no problems with putting adult material in more or less open areas. I will admit to looking around out of curiosity, but the thing you have to remember is that it's not our culture. We'd NEVER let games or movies featuring those sorts of things be sitting out where children could see them, but we're not them, are we? For Americans, pornographic content is some kind of taboo, but in Japan it's just regular stuff. People peruse racks of games featuring very young women with EXTREMELY large chests without batting an eye. Just figure that their culture is different and leave it at that, or you could always take a gander yourself.

As for the tourists, I did find that other gaijin were pretty cool. I always enjoyed seeing what kind of other foreigners were attracted to Japan. They came in all shapes and sizes, and their reasons for coming varied a lot from one to the next. While it is true that some came to party with Japanese women, most came to experience a culture that is quite different from their own, and I know how that feels. It certainly is an experience, huh?

Well, thanks for writing. I suppose not every letter has to be a question. Sharing your experience is welcome, too.


Lots of Questions


Hello my dear sensei,

I feel bad that you are not getting a lot of letters lately, so i thought that i might help ;) Well actually, i hope that you can help me :0

I am a young girl (almost 18) living in Holland. I'm actually from Iraq (don't get scared now!) and am living in Holland for about 7 years. All these years i fell i love with Japan. Almost everything: Games, manga, anime, Jpop, Jrock, culture, language etc. Except for fish! So because of my love, I'm practicing a bit of Japanese on my own at home. there are a bit of questions that i would like to ask:

1. Koto: Koto means a thing or you can use it if you are doing something at the moment (like playing, eating etc.). In that case, is this a good sentence? ringo taberu koto (i am eating an apple)? Are there other ways to use koto? I see it a lot in texts and sites. i know that there is koto ga dekiru (can), so maybe there is more?

2. Tsubasa and hane: These words both mean wings. Which one do you use if you are using this sentence? 'I am an angel and my wings are weak'. Is there a difference between these words? And why are there two words with the same meaning?

And now I have a bit more questions about you and your wife.

1. Which games do you like? I know that you like Xenosaga series and more. What do you think of Shining Force, Baten Kaitos and Tales of Symphonia?

2. Does your wife also like games, anime, manga etc. Now that would be nice!

I hope that you have a nice day en would love to see a lot more letters in your feature. Sorry that about my English! i make a lot of mistakes, ne?

Love,

Nour


Sensei

Glad to hear that you are interested in Japanese culture. It seems that you are a lady after my own heart. You listed several of the reasons that I went to Japan, but unlike you, I love fish.

As for koto, it definitely means 'thing', but I would probably translate "I am eating an apple" a bit differently than you did. I would say "ringo o tabete imasu." Or I might say "Ringo o taberu." Te + imasu yields the present progressive. It is possible that you are correct using 'koto', but I have never heard of that. But there are many things that I have never heard of. ^^;;

For the second question, I would definitely use tsubasa. I'm not sure of the difference, but it's the one that I have seen used most often. As for why there'd be two words for it, why does English contain multiple words for the same thing? Why have spheres if we have balls? Most languages have words that mean the same thing. I wouldn't sweat it. The best advice in this case is to try to find out which one is used more often and use it. Worst case is that you'll use it incorrectly and get corrected. It's happened loads of times to me. Just have to roll with the punches.

And finally the easy questions. Unfortunately, I've never played any of the games you listed. I'd always planned on it, but I never got around to them. But in general, I play all sorts of stuff. I really like fighting games like Tekken, and I play several music and rhythm games, too. In fact, I play just about everything except sports and FPS games.

And yes, Caroline does in fact play games and watch anime. I met her at a DDR club meeting, and we started talking about the anime club she was starting. She plays most of what I play, just not to the extent that I do. She's not as much a hardcore gamer as I am, but she loves to play games. Her favorites tend to be Nintendo party games, and she always picks the cutest characters. As for anime, her favorite series is Kare Kano, and her top three includes Azumanga Daioh and FuMoFu. I like all three of those as well, but I tend to go for mecha anime more than she does.

At any rate, thanks for writing! Feel free to send in another sometime. Good luck with your studies, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. That's one of the best ways to learn!


You were right...


You know, that is a good question. How do you type with boxing gloves on?

Hey, someone had to ask it. ;)

-CW


Sensei

IT'S A SECRET TO EVERYBODY.



 Sayonara

And thus ends another column. News has been skimpy, but I think it'll pick up soon. It can't get much worse than it already is. But if it doesn't, that just means I'll have more time for Death Note. And work... But mainly Death Note...

Catch you on the flip,


Jordan "I'm hopelessly addicted to Death Note" Jackson




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