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Dengeki Rankings I Kyou Kara Maoh Crowning the PS2 I Atelier Iris Arranges Deceitful Wings I Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis Chapter 20 I [eM] eNCHANT arM Pre-Order Goodies I Pokémon Exploring Mysterious Dungeon I Grasshopper Contacts Website I Kingdom in a Box I Culture Corner: Ask Sensei I Sayonara
JAPANDEMONIUM
Akibake October 25, 2005


Konnichiwa

Another week has flown by, and now I'm trying to figure out where it went. Since I have a new contract at work, my life is about to get much more fun, but I wish it had started months ago. My schedule has nice five hour breaks on Tuesday and Thursday, and now I am contractually required to leave the school during those breaks. It is AWESOME. I plan to have more fun time, and possibly get out and go places. The best part is, I'm paid the same now even though I work significantly less hours. In a way, it's like I got a 25% raise. At any rate, it's enough to make me a happy sensei.

In gaming news, I have decided quite randomly to pick up Mario 64 DS again. It bugs me that I never finished it, and I can foresee myself polishing off The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask sometime soon too. When I finish Mario DS, I'll have all the Mario games finished, and I can see me wanting the same with the Zelda games. But that is not counting the two games that came out for the GameBoy Color. I never played those, and I don't have them. So it's a bit hard to finish them. But there's just something inside me that wants to polish off as many Nintendo franchises as possible.

As for the title of this week's update, the manager saw me carrying a bunch of gashapon balls the other day, and she called me an akibake. I had no idea what that meant, so she explained it. In Japanese, if you want to say that a person really likes something, you take a noun and add 'ke' to the end. In this case, 'akiba' comes from 'Akihabara,' the electronics district of Tokyo. It seems this is the Japanese word for what Americans would call an 'Otaku,' since that word doesn't quite have the same meaning in Japanese. In all honesty, 'akibake' has kind of a derogatory meaning, since it refers to people that only stay at home, watch anime, read manga, play video games, and more or less strike out when it comes to dating. But I knew that she was only kidding. While it IS true that I do a lot of those things, I don't think my love for all things electronic has really had a negative effect on my life. There are some people that say that some/most of my hobbies are geeky, and I'm tempted to agree. But I like what I like, and in the end, that's what's important. Some would be hurt to be called 'akibake,' but I wear it as I would a badge of pride.

That said, let's get electronics lovin' party started!



 Dengeki Rankings

The chart was finally infused with a little new blood, but Dragon Ball Z: Sparking still claims the top honors for the second time in a row. I'm not all that surprised. Even though DBZ is somewhat old here, it's something that every single person in this country knows. If I start chanting 'Ka Me Ka Me HA!' in one of my kids classes, every single one of them will have joined in by the end. There's just something about Japan and their love for all things Toriyama.

In the world of RPGs, there were 11 of them in the top 50, two of which were brand spanking new. These two games kept the charts in double digits as some older games lost their grip on precious few spots towards the bottom of the chart. Since it is nearing the end of the year, there should be a nice influx of new titles to keep the chart going, but there's only one way to tell.

That said, let's see those numbers!

Position Title Publisher Platform
3 Code Age Commanders Square Enix
13 Mushiking: Battle of the Beetles Sega
14 Rasetsu -Alternative- Kegado Studio/Nippon Ichi Software
18 Super Robot Wars J Banpresto
22 Final Fantasy X (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix
23 Rhapsodia Konami
24 Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix
36 Pokémon Emerald Nintendo
40 Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness Nintendo
48 Naruto RPG 2 Tomy
49 Tales of Legendia Namco


Source: Dengeki Online



 Kyou Kara Maoh Crowning the PS2
Bandai Namco

Fans of the anime series Kyou Kara Maoh will have a new way to enjoy the show when it makes the jump to RPG form on the PS2. The game centers around a high school boy named Yuri Shibuya that was having a really bad day. Or at least he thought so. In an attempt to save his friend from a group of bullies, he becomes their target instead. Yuri is dragged to a public toilet in the park to get the swirly of his life, but just as his head hits the bowl, he is sucked into an entirely different world where he is declared the 27th Maoh, Demon King, of the realm.

The game stays true to the story set out in the original animated series, but it features some scenarios unique to the game. It also features the same voice cast of the anime.

As for the plot, the game is chapter oriented and is bookended by event scenes that can change depending on how much the player has developed their affinity levels between the various characters.

One of the more interesting facts about this game is that its dev team is comprised mainly of women, including the director. This is a first for Namco. For those wondering when they can pick up this unusual game, they will have to continue waiting. No release date or price has been announced. But those interested can check out the official website.


Yuri Shibuya - He is the main character who is transported to another world when some bullies try to dunk his head in a toilet. This results in him becoming the 27th Maoh, or demon king, of the alternate world.

Conrad - He's the second son of the previous Maoh. He is only half demon, so he's not allowed the title of prince. He is a light hearted and easy-going guy. In a rather strange twist of fate, while visiting the human world one day, he met Yuri's mom. Now Conrad is Yuri's step-father.

Volflam - He's the third son of the previous Maoh, and he is a loud, obnoxious, and self-centered man that has en ego bigger than any four people have a right to have. Through a strange set of circumstances, he has become Yuri's betrothed.

Gwendal - He is the oldest son of the previous Maoh and is very concerned for the welfare of his world. He is a strict, disciplined, and sarcastic guy, but he has a soft spot for cute stuffed animals. He's also quite good at making them

Gyunda - He's the prime minister of the realm. He is responsible for the education of the Maoh, and he excels at both the military and scholarly arts. He is considered to be one of the most handsome men in the entire country, but he has a tendency to completely forget his dignity around Yuri.

Yozak - He is a friend of Conrad's that is an experienced fighter that specializes in information gathering. He has been known to swallow his pride and wear women's clothing for the sake of his mission.

Ken Murata - He is the classmate that Yuri was trying to save from the bullies. In a way, he is responsible for sending Yuri on this strange trip to another land.








Sources: Game Watch




 Atelier Iris Arranges Deceitful Wings
Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~

Tim Entertainment and Gust have gotten together to bring a CD of arranged music tracks from Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~. The CD will contain 15 different songs, and it hit shelves on October 19 for 3150 yen. Wondering if your favorite track made the list? Take a look for yourself.

  • Ferocious Drive
  • Inferno
  • Kaerazu no Tou (Tower of No Return)
  • Maboroshi no Tsubasa (Illusionary Wings)
  • Duke of Stratosphere
  • Beat of Illusion
  • Horned Enigma
  • Kyoudai Yuugiban (The Giant Gameboard)
  • Alchemic Blast
  • Deceitful Wings (Album Mix)
  • Ferocious Drive (Ver 0)
  • Duke of Stratosphere (Ver. 0)
  • Horned Enigma (Ver. 0)
  • Alchemic Blast (Ver. 0)
  • fKyoudai Yuugiban (Ver. 2)

  • Source: Famitsu




     Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis Chapter 20
    Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis

    The twentieth chapter of Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis lands on DoCoMo 900i and 901i model celluar phones. This chapter features the arrival of Reeve when the Turks go to him for help looking to gather some materials. The chapter follows the misadventures that happen from there that also happen to involve a certain talking cat.

    As with the other updates, this one costs the standard 525 yen.


    Source: IT Media



     [eM] eNCHANT arM Pre-Order Goodies
    [eM] eNCHANT arM

    From Software has announced that the initial shipments of [eM] eNCHANT arM will come with a bonus art book called the "[eM] Premium Archive" featuring art from eight popular illustrators.

    This list of artists is as follows:

  • Minako Iwasaki
  • Raita Kazama
  • Daisuke Izuka
  • Subzero Kizaki
  • Naoki Egaku
  • Hiroshi Soushi
  • Shishizaru
  • Kazuki Kugawara
  • Alchemic Blast
  • The game is set to launch with the XBox 360 in Japan, and it will retail for 7665 yen.


    Source: GameScience



     Pokémon Exploring Mysterious Dungeon
    Pok&eacue;mon no Fushigina Dungeon

    The latest offerings in Nintendo's Pokémon series is a pair of new games coming in different colors, but unlike previous editions, these games will be on different systems. Pokémon no Fushigina Dungeon: Red is for the GBA, and Pokémon no Fushigina Dungeon: Blue is sure to delight fans with a DS. But that isn't the only twist to this game; instead of being a Pokémon trainer, the player IS actually a Pokémon theirself. In the beginning of the game, a series of questions will determine which one of several different critters you will start out as. But like other games, there are other Pokémon to catch. In fact, there are 380 of them if you intend to "Catch 'em All."

    The battle system is once again turn based with one action per Pokémon, but now it is possible to string up to four attacks together in one turn. Unfortunately, this is not an automatic option. To use these attacks, the player will have to go to Gokurin's Combo Shop and have him turn a Pokémon's attack into a combo. While there, combo attacks can be reconverted to regular attacks, and forgotten moves can be remembered as well. The only other way to use combo attacks is to find a "Combo Box," and item that can be found lying about in dungeons, but it's a one-shot item. But Gokurin's combos are permanent.

    After creating your character, two more partners are created to act as a help squad. Their purpose is to help other Pokémon in need, but to do this, they must enter the "Mysterious Dungeon" that consists of randomly generated floors. But what happens if you are defeated in battle while attempting save others? In that case, an email can be sent in password form to other players to enter your dungeon and heal the player with their own help squad. This allows you to pick up exactly where you left off.

    Both games are set for a November 17 release for 5040 yen. In the meantime, you can check out the official website, and enjoy a collection of screens and propaganda.













    Sources: 1up I Jeux-France



     Grasshopper Contacts Website
    Contact

    Grasshopper has finally updated the official website for Contact, a DS RPG due out February 2006 in Japan.

    There is no announcement of the game coming to North America, but should one be made, you can be sure to read all about it at RPGamer.




     Kingdom in a Box
    Kingdom Hearts II

    Square Enix has announced that Kingdom Hearts II will come in two forms when it hits shelves on December 22. Most will probably buy the game by itself, but for those who have recently become interested in Sora's story might be interested in the Kingdom Hearts Gorgeous Limited Box set. It will contain all three Kingdom Hearts games for 16,180 yen.

    Two of the three games have already come to America with the third on the way, but as of yet, there is no announcement of this boxed set retailing on North American soil.

    Sources: Chadran



      Culture Corner: Ask Sensei

    This week I got a few emails, and they asked some really good questions. It seems some of you are just full of questions, so send 'em in. But I need more ideas for the culture corner too. So send those in as well.

    This week, the Japanese lesson tells you how to forbid certain actions. This is actually more important than it looks; to express something you have to do, you use this structure.

    That said, let's get started!



    Halloween


    Hey J-sensei,

    Thanks for answering my questions last time, it was interesting to know that the japanese are just as fascinated with good and evil as I am (even though it's pretty obvious, considering their video games, anime, and manga.).

    With Halloween rolling in I just had to ask if they celebrate All Hallow's Eve there in Japan. Do they carve out jack o' lanterns, don costumes and give out candy like over here in the states? Or do they do it differently like their valentines day?

    mauicobra427

    PS: I've got a few more questions bouncing around in my head, but since I didn't want to bury you under them I'll instead be sending you a few more e-mails in the coming weeks. I hope you don't mind.


    Sensei

    I always enjoy answering questions from readers, so I'm glad that you found my answer helpful. Sometimes I do try to research them, but most of the time, it's just from what I see in my day to day life here.

    As for Halloween, it isn't really celebrated at all. Unfortunately, there really aren't any pumpkins, costumes, or candy. At least not like it is in America. I suppose there IS a tiny little costume section in the local kids' superstore, but it's nothing like home at all. GEOS has a Halloween lesson where kids can dress up, and I think schools and eikaiwa are pretty much the extent of Halloween over here. I think it is looked at as being something interesting and quirky about America, but I don't see the Japanese really caring about it. I doubt there are many Japanese that know much about it.

    But of the Japanese that DO know about Halloween, they are likely to celebrate it. In America, Halloween often means parties, and the Japanese are all about parties. Any excuse to go out and have a good time is fine by them. But most of them, as I found last week, will be too shy to come in a costume. At most, they might put on a silly wig or a headband with horns. But like in America, there will always be the really hairy man dressed up in a short skirt, pigtailed blond wig, and a bra filled with fake boobs. Sadly, that man didn't see the more natural costume of 'wolfman,' but I applaud his attempt to come in costume and make everyone laugh. I decided to dress as a SCUBA diver, and that costume went over pretty well.

    Thanks for writing, and don't be afraid to send lots and lots of questions. I enjoyed answering this one, as I do all questions. Keep 'em coming.


    Hanging Out

    Konichia Jordan Sensei,

    Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. I saw your two comments about my trip, really cool feeling seeing my comment online XD.

    Well about the pics, I did put a small log together with some pics, it's at http://www.myspace.com/zeroregret

    It was fun putting it together, because was thinking this is probably how you felt or still feel while you are over there and reporting on your experiences and adventures.

    Actually I do have a question and haven't seen it asked least don't think... been pretty out of it with work... so haven't checked rpgamer, gomen >.<.

    Well my question is do you hang out go out with the other Japanese teachers or people you've met where you live? if so what type of things do you do? When I was there, I didn't see too much of that, everyone seemed so busy getting from pt a to pt b.

    Sure I saw lots of teens shopping and roaming the streets or arcades. But as far as adults I only saw them at places like theatre, park, and restaurants. I did get to play badminton with a few japanese older couples but not sure if that was unique case.

    Well hope you enjoy my blog, honestly japan was the best experience I've had thus far in my life. If you have anything you want to ask I'd love to go over it with you. Lol so many questions but have to ask did you go to the world expo? that placed ROCKED. yeah many Qs but had the goal of as many sites/shows/rides as I could and I think I fit in 7 in 10 hrs not including seeing many of the country exhibits, not bad.

    Cya around

    David


    Sensei

    I haven't had a chance to see the pictures because I have to register to view them. And even then, I'm not 100% sure how to get to pictures. Drop me another email and I'll check them out.

    As for your question, I've been spending a lot of time with students recently. Unlike most ALTs, my students are of all ages. This weekend I went to a Halloween party, last weekend I had a BBQ with a former student, next weekend I'm going to lunch and to a science museum with a student, and the week after that I will either go to a tea ceremony, climb the tallest mountain in Western Japan, or go SCUBA diving. GEOS teachers frequently do things with students, and we are encouraged to do so. We're even allowed to date students if we so choose.

    But all this interaction with students outside of class has been recent. I normally spend weekends pretty much by myself going to the mall, playing video games, or just relaxing. And sometimes I get together with other gaijins in Niihama. Much like ethnic groups do back home, foreigners in Japan also cling together. I need to email one of them this weekend and maybe make some plans for next monday. Basically, if someone wants to do things with other people, it's not that hard. You can have just about any experience you want here.

    Thanks for writing!


    Kanji

    Hello,

    I know that surnames are generally written in kanji, but to the Japanese generally write their given names in hiragana or katakana?

    Thanks,

    Nathan


    Sensei

    This is actually a more interesting question to answer than it appears at first. The Japanese have many ways of signing their name. In general, most Japanese do use kanji for their given name. For instance, students will use kanji in their classes. But if they chose not to use kanji, they will use hiragana.

    In the case of an application or something similar, they will again use kanji, but they will write their name above the kanji again in katakana. This is called furigana, and its purpose is to give the readings of kanji in case people don't know them. This can be especially difficult in names.

    One final way that people 'sign' their names is by use of a stamp called a "hanko." These come in a couple different varieties. One is a round or oval stick with their family name in kanji. This is used for such things as bank transfers, post office, and most other things of that nature. There are also self-inking hankos that look like lipstick tubes. Still another hanko is larger and square. This one is used for official purposes and is registered at the city office. These generally are NOT their name kanji, and to be honest, I don't know WHAT they are. I certainly can't read it. Since these are the most important ones of all, I think they are not actually words to prevent them from being copied.

    Thanks for the email!



     Sayonara

    Another column down. This one went faster than others. I don't know why. I sat down to write, and then I realized that I was almost finished. I like when that happens. It makes my life so much easier.

    Keep sending in letters for the Culture Corner, and give me some more suggestions for Japanese lessons. I want to give readers what they want.

    Catch you on the flip,


    Jordan "I love Halloween" Jackson




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