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Dengeki Rankings I Amano Art Show I Gundam True Odyssey Character Designs Released I History of Grandia-Sound Adventure Box I New Pokémon Gets Date I Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara
JAPANDEMONIUM
Neko May 26, 2005


Konnichiwa

Another two weeks have gone by. Things finally got back to normal, then everything was shaken up by E3. Now my fiancee's here, and I don't want it to ever go back to 'normal' again. At any rate, I'm about as happy as I can possibly be, but I will be MIA for a couple weeks. I'll have my column covered by a fellow staffer.

As we all know, last week was E3. I was almost as excited about that as I was my fiancee, and for good reason. The show had a lot of exciting things. At the top of that list was the PS3. I know I'll be buying it when it comes out. Should it come out in Japan while I'm still here, I'll go to Tokyo to pick mine up. I don't mind having more than one. Wouldn't be the first time that I have multiple copies of systems.

While not blown away by the 360, I've decided that it sold me. I was tempted to buy an XBox last year, but I opted not to due to the fact that it is late in its lifetime. There just weren't enough games to justify the system, but it seems like there will be a few that I want this time around. And anyway, I have to have SOMETHING electronic at Christmas. It'll be a wonderful Christmas, but more on that as it gets closer.

In gaming news, I have become hopelessly addicted to Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. It's one of the best games I've ever played. I don't know how I let it slip by me when it came out. That was very silly of me. I urge all my readers that have not played this game to buy it by any means possible. It's that great.

And finally, this week's column is named for the Japanese word for 'cat'. Neko also happens to be the nickname I gave my fiancee, and since I'll be snuggled up with her for the next two weeks, I'm naming this column in honor of her.



 Dengeki Rankings

Once again, Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song is holding on to the top spot. I'm cheering it on. Since there was no column last week, I will be providing double the Dengeki info. First up to bat will be the previous week's chart. It was full of RPGs despite several titles falling off the bottom and was as full as it has been in recent memory. And this marked the first time in months that the top game has managed to hold its position for two weeks. It actually held on for three weeks due to the Golden Week holiday. That's something that hasn't happened since I've been writing this column. This speaks very highly of Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song. I might have to pick this game up when it comes to America.

That said, let's see those numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song Square Enix
6 Fire Emblem: Trial of Blue Flames Nintendo
9 Beet the Vandal King: Darkness Century Bandai
11 Spectral Force Chronicals Idea Factory
14 Far East of Eden: Tengai Makyo III Namida Hudson Soft
20 One Piece Dragon Dream Bandai
29 Pokemon Emerald Nintendo
30 Megaman.exe 5: Team of Colonel Capcom
39 Egg Monster Hero Square Enix

This week Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song manages to hold the top spot again. I'm really cheering it on, but I think it'll have some competition in the near future. Namco X Capcom coming out today. We'll see what happens next week. I am very tempted to buy it, but I need to finish a couple other games first. No staff contributions to it this week...

That said, let's see even more numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song Square Enix
14 Fire Emblem: Trial of Blue Flames Nintendo
18 Beet the Vandal King: Darkness Century Bandai
20 Far East of Eden: Tengai Makyo III Namida Hudson Soft
25 Pokemon Emerald Nintendo
30 Megaman.exe 5: Team of Colonel Capcom
33 One Piece Dragon Dream Bandai
38 Egg Monster Hero Square Enix
45 Tales of Eternia Namco


Source: Dengeki Online



 Amano Art Show
Square Enix

The Ueno Fine Arts Musuem recently had a large display of Yoshitaka Amano, famed artist of the Final Fantasy series. The exhibit, Maniera, takes its name from the French artistic artistic movement, Manierisme. This is the second large display of Amano's art since the 1998 "Think Like Amano" display.

The exhibit contains art from many visual mediums including wood block painting, video imaging, and American comic style art. There were many artistic works on display including one painting that is a massive 11 meters by 5 meters. Below is a sampling of some of the works on display. Please view the full sized images, because the thumbnails do not give them justice.

Source: IT Media







 Gundam True Odyssey Character Designs Released
Gundam True Odyssey

Some of the character designs for Gundam True Odyssey have recently been released. As previously reported, the game centers around a miraculous device called "The System." It allows people to create anything for which they have a blueprint. Naturally, The System became immediately integrated into the culture, and mankind lived happily. But one day, someone messed with The System, and it went berserk. Without it, civilization as mankind knew it collapsed. Eventually, the survivors regained control over The System, and they began to rebuild. But time passed and yet another person misused The System to create giant mechs called Mobile Suits, starting yet another cycle of chaos for humanity.

The plot follows a 16-year-old boy named Tras. He's seeking vengeance for the death of his friends, so he sneaks into The System to create Mobile Suits to assist him. He is joined by his friend, Fritz, a gifted mechanic whom he has known since their days in an orphanage together. They later join up with Ichi, an amnesiac girl they meet in a ruined town.

Gundam True Odyssey is still set for a summer release in Japan. As of yet, there is no mention of a North American release.




 History of Grandia-Sound Adventure Box
Grandia

Fans of the Grandia series in Japan can now purchase a new sound track collection called History of Grandia-Sound Adventure Box. The collection contains tracks from the whole series, and it went on sale on April 8.


Source: Gamefront



 New Pokémon Gets Date
Pokemon XD

Fans of the Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness has had its release date set in Japan. The game will hit Japanese shelves on August 4 for a price of 5400 yen.


Source: Magicbox



  Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

The winners of the Sig Pic contest have been decided by Caroline and me. We'll be buying prizes very soon for the lucky winners. I would like to thank everyone that sent in a sig pic for the contest.

Also, if anyone wants to send me a Culture Corner question while I'm on a bit of a holiday, please feel free to do so. I'll forward the email with my response to the staffer taking taking over the column in my stead. Send me all the emails you want.

That said, let's get to the letters!



Dollars?


Hey Sensei!

I've been wondering, do some Japanese charge you in American dollars rather than Japanese yen because you're a foreigner? People have told me that some places do charge Americans US dollars instead of yen to make better profits.

Also, how big are the yakuza there? You mentioned that they were announcing stuff or something. Are they as bad as people portray them to be?

Jonathan


Sensei

Nope. They charge me in yen just like anyone else. I get paid in Yen anyway, so I rarely have US dollars unless I'm going to America to put money in my bank there. More or less, I'm just a regular Japanese here, at least as far as money is concerned.

As for the Yakuza, I don't know much about them. I know that they helped considerably during the Kobe earthquake, but they also cause crime. I don't think they're really like anything Americans think they are. Actually, this applies to the whole country. Japan filters everything the world knows about it, and we really don't know the truth about anything here until you see it firsthand. My guess is the Yakuza is the same way. They seem like nice guys when I see them in the onsen though.

Thanks for reading!


Teaching in Japan


Hi Jordan,

I just found your site, and I have some questions about working for eikaiwa in Japan. I am starting work with Aeon in October in Tokuyama (in the Yamaguchi Prefecture). What have you heard/experienced about Aeon? Also, do you have any insight into life in the Yamaguchi area?

Arrigato!

Mary


Sensei

I don't know a LOT about AEON, but I do know that it and GEOS used to be one company called AmVic. Essentially, the two companies are really similar. Your base pay is slightly higher, but I make more extra payment than you. Other than that, the teaching style and class styles are nearly identical.

As for the problems that most GEOS teachers face, I don't know if you'll have them. GEOS is REALLY sales focused, and many people just can't hack that. It's not my favorite part either, but I'm willing to do it. AEON appears to focus less on sales, but I've never really talked to someone to verify this. In the end, I don't think it'll matter much one way or the other. It seems with ALL teaching programs here, either you hate it or you love it. Most people stay for only one year or stay for a long time. I think it depends more on the person than on the company really.

As for the question about Japan, I don't know much about that area, but I'm willing to bet that some Google searches can help you out. I suggest buying a good travel guide, and don't worry about it being expensive. You'll want to get out and travel when you have enough money saved up. Trains make it convenient to travel, but I think you'll find they are not as cheap as you'd like. Regardless, they are the best way to get from point A to B in most cases. You'll also find little bento shops and places near your home that you'll enjoy.

As for your apartment, AEON has a deal with Leo Palace, so your apartment will be similar to mine. Expect no more than 200-250 square feet. That's not too bad for one person, but it's not huge. You WILL have to be very efficient in your usage of space. Watch out for your suitcase. Big means you take more stuff from home, but then you have to store it. My advice is to get stuff you can nest.

If you have any more questions, feel free to email me in the future. I'd love to talk to another Eikaiwa sensei over here and swap stories.

Good luck, and thanks for the question!



 Sayonara

Another week comes to a close. Sorry it's late. I've been spending my time with my fiancee... I don't think anyone can blame me considering that I see her maybe four times a year. I was only able to work on it now without feeling guilty due to the fact that she has Nintendogs. It's REALLY cute. I'll probably buy it too. I've always wanted a dog.

As I said before, I'll be on a bit of a vacation for the next couple weeks. Feel free to send me emails, but I won't be doing news. That'll be left to another one of our wonderful staffers. It's looking like Philip "Martyr" Clayton will be filling in for me. Be sure to be nice to him, and ask him some questions too! I hope you all have as good a couple weeks as me.

Catch you on the flip,
Jordan "All snuggled up" Jackson




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