Another week has passed, and now I'm sitting down again to write yet another issue of Japandemonium. It's been such a long time since I've written this column that I'm going to have to get back in the habit of writing it each week. Normally, it wouldn't be a big deal, but as I'm sure everyone knows, we're in a big month for gaming.
In gaming news, I am currently playing Final Fantasy XII like most of you, I'd assume. I'm 20 hours in and loving it, though I hate having to farm so much for gil. So far Balthier and Fran are my favorite characters with Penelo bringing up the rear, but she's getting more useful all the time. I don't know if the game is perfect, but it's definitely good.
In still other gaming news, everyone should read my review of Mother 3. It's really, really good, and if you're a Mother fan, it's pure molecular awesome. Oh, and check out my Gurumin impression. I really enjoyed what I played, and I'm looking forward to playing it in English. I'd recommend it to anyone that likes Falcom games.
But enough pimping the stuff I recently wrote. The title for this week's column means 'mouse' or 'rodent'. The reasoning is I'm pretty sure I saw a gerbil in my apartment. I only saw it out of the corner of my eye, but the tail looked too hairy to be a regular mouse. I'm not quite sure what to do with it, but if I trap it, it'll be humanely.
So all that said, let's get this party started!
Another week has flown by, and it's taken several games off the chart Luckily, a couple new titles have shown up. But not even Pokémon could keep a lock on the top spot; yet another brain training game, Imasara Hitoniwa Kikenai Otona no Joushikiryoku Training DS, takes home the gold this week.
Though the bottom fell out, the top is still pretty much unchanged, so let's take a look at those numbers!
Gamers that thought Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis was too hard will be in luck. Square Enix is adding an "easy mode" that will allow characters to automatically dodge attacks in battle. Players will be able to pick between normal or easy difficulty at the beginning of each chapter.
Players looking to be first on their block get Jeanne d'Arc will be treated to a nice bonus. Those that pre-order will receive a special spiral notebook called "Jeanne's War Journal." It will be filled with blank paper for players to use as they wish.
Jeanne d'Arc is set for release on November 22 for the standard PSP price of 5040 yen. As of now, there has been no announcement of a release on this side of the planet, but stranger things have happened.
Players that just can't get enough of the Shining series will be glad to know that Shining Force EXA has finally been given a release date of January 18 of next year. Not only that, but players that pre-order will also receive a short novel titled "Akatsuki no Kidou: The Dawning of a New Age" that will explain the game's backstory in greater detail.
Shining Force EXA is set to hit Japanese shelves on January 18 for 7329 yen.
Gust, maker of the Atelier games, is going after the RPG/puzzle market with two new mobile games. The first is titled Atelier Marie's Puzzle Factory, and it is a tetris clone where players drop falling blocks to remove them. The other is Atelier Ellie's Puzzle Factory, and it will have players moving blocks to create a path to the goal. Both games will feature character art from the Atelier Iris games and will cost a one-time fee of 420 yen each.
This week some of my regulars from days past sent in letters. I'm always glad to get emails, but I especially like it when people write in again. To me, it feels like I'm getting to know that person, and that's one of the coolest parts of being the Japandemonium columnist. But in order to be a regular, you gotta send in your first letter, and I answer all mail in the column. So send one in and see it posted online!
How vast was the sorrow that engulfed me in the absence of your sparkles! Ah, but now you have returned and I am free to bask in your marvelous light once more... It is most fortunate that you're no longer working out in the public as you were - it's a miracle you weren't mobbed by fangirls (or worse, fanboys)! Truly, working in a lab to make ethers and phoenix downs is a much safer place for you to be, Sensei. (Had to make the obvious joke, ne?)
I've one (perhaps odd) question for you, but it's something that's been gnawing at me for a while now. Could you please define 'swear words' by the Japanese standard? I used to think most words roughly translated as English curses were curses to the Japanese, but then I noticed that even the more reserved and proper said 'kuso' and/or 'shimatta' from time to time. Enlightenment would be most appreciated, Sensei. However, if I opened up a can of worms, you may feel free to thwack me with a harisen in reprimand.
Thanks so much for your time,
It's good to hear from you again. Your emails always make me smile. Who says flattery will get you nowhere? ^_^
I don't know if I'd call what I make ether, but I suppose you could call it a potion of sorts. It's just kind of nice to be using my other major. I pretty well used my Japanese major while teaching, so I feel like I should do SOMETHING in the chemical industry. Luckily, I've found an awesome company that is really laid back, so it definitely fits my working style.
As for the swearing, I wouldn't fear my harisen too much. I don't tend to thwack readers. To begin, I'll start with a quote from Peter Payne, one of the people behind J List.com.
When you learn a foreign language, the first thing you usually learn are the
"naughty" words. However, people studying Japanese are often surprised to
learn that most of the bad words they're used to in English don't "map" over
very well. The most common Japanese insults include "baka" (BAH-kah, stupid),
"aho" (ah-HO, the Osaka version of the same word), and "boke" (BOH-kay,
basically meaning "nim-wit"). Almost all the anatomical words you may be used
to just don't work in Japanese, nor does the "F" word, which doesn't even
exist, except occasionally in English as a foreign loan word. The most basic
Japanese swear word is probably " kuso" (KOO-soh), the "s" word, yet it's
interesting to note that it's not considered a bad word, as it's used in
children's anime like Yu-Gi-Oh quite often and no one thinks anything of it.
In addition to the primary meaning, the word kuso can also refer to various
bodily products. The stuff that comes out of your nose is hana- kuso
(nose-sh--), and ear wax is mimi-kuso (ear-sh--). Sleep in your eyes that
builds up while you sleep is me- kuso (MEH-kuso), and plaque on your teeth is
called ha-kuso. Now you know some interesting Japanese vocabulary words!
That was in one of the most recent emails I get regarding new products they have for sale. Since it was so topical, I thought I'd share.
Other swear words are essentially very impolite ways of saying 'you'. As Peter said, these things don't quite map to our English swear words, but you'd get a similar reaction if you used them inappropriately.
I hope this answered your question. And here's a few extra *sparkle* *sparkle* *sparkle* sparkles for being my first culture corner email sent in since my first column went live. The others came in before.
Keep emailing, and I'll keep sparkling for you!
Jordan! I seriously thought we'd never hear from you again!
Nice to have you back. I read the review of Mother 3. One thing you
didn't mention was how much Japanese you needed to know to understand
it. Can one get by one hiragana, katakana and a handful of kanji?
Furthermore, I haven't played either of the other games in the
series; will I still be able to appreciate the game?
I don't mean to be offensive or anything, it was a good review.
Unfortunately I probably won't get the game anytime soon. I started
playing Tales of the Abyss (great for any Tales fan or otherwise) and
I got about 30 hours in when disaster struck. FF XII. I don't think
I'll be getting back to TotA for awhile. Fortunately(?) it sounds
like the pace of RPG's will slow down after FF III comes out. Are you
having this problem?
And, don't feel too compelled to answer this but, are you planning
to get a PS3, Wii, XBX360, or nothing? Sorry, i had to ask. It's odd
because, other than Sakaguchi's stuff on the Xbox 360, there are
almost no JRPGs on the next gen consoles! Pity. . .
Finally a Japanese question: When you ask if someone can do
something, how do you say that? For example, if you want to ask "Can
you walk?" Would you say Anata wa aruku ga dekimasuka? Or is there
some weird 'can' form of a verb like arukimasu or ikikimasu or
Sorry, I ramble. Good to have you back sensei.
PS: Don't know if this has been asked before, but can we write to you
in Japanese (not romanji)? Or is that inconvinient? Thanks.
I'm glad you enjoyed the review, but I understand that not many people will try to play it. I just thought people would like to know if it really was good, and it really is. It can be enjoyed without any knowledge of Japanese, but it does help a bit. I used two translations I found on gamefaqs to help me. One was by Spookychee, and I used his translation to help me finish Paper Mario 2. He's really good, and he even translates NPCs. Between the two translations and my own ability, I was able to confirm that both were pretty much dead on the money. If you do go for it, there are almost NO kanji in the entire game. They only pop up in episode recaps and in a letter sent from Hinawa to Flint in the game's opening.
As for RPGs, I'm pretty well booked for a while. I'm getting a Wii and PS3, so I'll have plenty to play there. With my Wii, I'll be picking up Zelda, and I'll be getting Genji and Untold Legends on the PS3. I'll also have Castlevania PoR, FF3, FF5, and the English UMD of Gurumin to play, so I'm going to be pretty much booked until next year. Sadly, my 360 isn't getting hardly any play time. I bought it under the impression there'd be RPGs, but sadly, it's been quite devoid of games I'm interested in. But I am interested in those Burger King games. The one where the King hides and gives people food particularly interests me. I have no idea why.
As for your grammar question, Japanese has a rather confusing potential form. I'm going to assume that you have a basic knowledge of verb structure and know what u and ru verbs are. For my examples, I will use kaku, 'to write' and taberu, 'to eat'.
Potential form, plain, affirmative: kakeru (able to write)
Potential form, plain, negative: kakenai (not able to write)
Potential form, polite, affirmative: kakemasu
Potential form, polite, negative: kakemasen
Potential form, plain, affirmative: taberareru or tabereru (able to eat)
Potential form, plain, negative: taberarenai (not able to eat)
Potential form, polite, affirmative: taberaremasu
Potential form, polite, negative: taberaremasen
As you can see, u verbs take the stem plus the e-gyo + ru. It's easier with ru verbs since they just add rareru. It should also be pointed out that potential forms do not take the direct object particle 'o'. To use them, you must always use either 'wa' or 'ga'.
Hope this explains things a bit. You're welcome to try to write to me in Japanese, but send a translation of what you're trying to say just in case I don't fully understand what you're trying to say. But there is one catch, I can't put Japanese in my column. I can only use UTF-8, so it's up to you.
Thanks for writing in again!
Shortest Letter From You Ever
Howslife? Yeah, I noticed you're back, saw you a month ago doing some news
articles, so I was already waiting for an update. Do you still update
Japandemonium on the same days (Wednesdays, right)? Need to know, because
of my standard giri giri-actions! I'll send you an e-mail soon & good to
see you back!
"We all know that birds fly, but now can
you tell me where they are actually flying to??"
I know you weren't really expecting to see this in the column, but I DID say I answer all mail here. At any rate, it looks like you missed this week's column, but the main reason I posted this is to tell people that they can pretty well email me up until I post it. I've been known to get emails JUST before I was going to post my column, and I stuck it in. I generally finish the column on Wednesday night, so try to get them in before 10:00 eastern time.
There's always next week. See you then!
Another week, another column. I'm changing the way I write my column, and I think I like it a lot better. Now, I write little bits and pieces while I'm at work and email them to myself. Then I just have to copy and paste and assemble the column. From your point of view, it looks the same, but to me, it's really nice. Japandemonium can take upwards of ten hours to write if it's a particularly large column. I'll take any tricks I've got to make it easier on me.
At any rate, have a great week full of Final Fantasy goodness!
Catch you on the flip,