As regular readers should recall, I got engaged back in November. The wedding won't be for some time to come, but that doesn't mean that we aren't looking into various possibilities. While my fiancée is visiting her host-family in Florida and trying on dresses (in spite of a busted ankle), I've been exploring things in Japan. As it turns out, the mom of one of my students works at L'Celmo, a wedding chapel in the middle of Kumamoto.
I hadn't really considered using one of these places for a wedding reception, but Mrs. Tanaka kept insisting that I give it a look. Because she's one of my longest-lasting clients (her older daughter was in my very first class in Kumamoto, April of 2007), I finally gave in and agreed to visit last Monday.
First, I was treated to a lunch course provided by the in-house chef. There was sole sashimi with sliced radish and a cheese sauce for an appetizer, as well as tomato cream soup. The entrée was thin slices of medium-rare beef covered in a mashed potato topping and surrounded by a variety of berries and vegetables. Dessert was a simple scoop of vanilla, a brownie, and come crème brulée, but it was still delicious.
After that, I toured the bride and groom supplies area. L'Celmo keeps a number of gowns on hand for rental purposes. More than half of them were variations on the traditional white dress, but there were some odd ones as well.
There was an entire section that strongly reminded me of the time I had an entire class of little girls dress as Disney princesses for Halloween. There was a gown stitched together out of kimono fabric. I even saw a loli-goth wedding dress in there. I'd never recommend any of those to anyone, but it just goes to show how wide tastes run in the younger generations here. They also had appropriate attire for flower girls and ring bearers, as well as kimono for more traditional parents.
The weddings are held in a church-like building behind L'Celmo. The "Chapel St. Raphael Cathedral," while neither a chapel nor a cathedral, is a nice little copy of traditional Catholic churches in Europe. I wish I could have taken more photos inside, but my visit coincided with a scheduled event. A local cosplay club had rented the premisis for a photo shoot. So while I wanted to take pictures of the art and the stained-glass windows, there were PreCure girls, Sailor Scouts, generic anime heroes, Gryffindors, and a rather good Hatsune Miku getting in the way.
Nintendo's subsidiary, The Pokémon Company, loves to hand out promotional pokémon, but its choices aren't always the most obvious. Case in point, for the grand opening of the new Pokémon Official Shop in Nagoya it was decided that the following critter should be available only from that location from March 20th to May 6th.
A Magikarp. A shiny, golden Magikarp, but a Magikarp nonetheless. Of course, it comes at level 99, knows Hydro Pump, and has a Rare Candy equipped for ready evolution to a shiny red Gyarados, but still... a Magikarp? I'd assume there's some special significance to this choice, except the article on Dengeki doesn't say a thing. Maybe they're as befuddled as I am here.
As it turns out, Paws mentioned this very item a week ago on the RPGCast. So here's something else Pokémon-related.
This weekend, Nintendo announced the sixth new pokémon of the sixth generation, Ninfia / Nymphia. This is the first new Eevee evolution to come about since 2006, and she's a cute one. Nymphia's actual type has yet to be announced, but from the coloration, the name, and the cute little butterfly ribbon, I'm going to guess she's a Bug-type. Following the pattern of the last two Eevee forms, the English name for this one will probably be Nympheon.
Strawberry Eggs has informed me (27 minutes after the column went up) that the official English name is Sylveon, though the French name is closer to the original (Nymphali). While I would have thought that a better name for the grass-type Eevee evolution, it is what it is.
Pop idols in Japan live a very double-think existence. On the one hand, they have to maintain a public image so pristine that even the slightest deviation can lead to acts of public contrition. But on the other hand, pop idols are also expected to shill out for pretty much any product someone might pay them to advertise. A-Team, developers of the iOS RPG Dark Summoner, somehow managed to get Haruna Kojima of AKB 48 to pose as one of the summonable entities from that game, along with the tagline "Summon me soon."
Dark Summoner is celebrating its first anniversary (and first 500,000 downloads) next week with a limited edition summonable monster modeled after the pop idol. I'm not really sure what this game is actually about, but I'm willing to bet that Ms. Kojima's brief appearance here has guaranteed it far too many more downloads.
It's time again to play catch-up! While Famitsu's main site has been showing material for the recently released Digimon Adventure for a couple of months now, I keep missing it. Here's a selection of all the screenshots shown for this game. Fans of the series should be able to identify pretty much everyone in these.
Digimon Adventure went on sale almost a month ago, so this update was pretty late in coming. Sorry for the delay!
A few weeks back, we looked at an RPG-ish battle game based on coin-drop games. Nowadays it seems like shoehorning random game mechanics into the RPG "look" has become a fad in and of itself, and the next game we have today isn't helping any.
Kamigari Demons Trigger is an iOS RPG-ish type game based around slot machine reels. The party members are all spaces on the reels, and lining them up properly leads to better attacks on the enemy. The player will have some control over when the reels stop, but as with modern pachi-slot machines, it's likely that outside forces may occasionally swoop in to influence things one way or another.
Also as expected, this game is based around the collection-style format common to most iOS and mobile phone "RPGs" these days. The monster illustrations are also par for the course.
This game seems to have an actual story to follow, at least. In an increasingly networked world, augmented reality (AR) has become the current paradigm for games and other social interaction. Recently there have been rumors of "ghosts in the machine," strange phantoms that have begun to pervade the AR systems in various game centers and other locations. After a close encounter, the protagonist receives a smartphone app called the Demon Trigger which can be used to fight back against the phantom menace. Honestly, it sounds like someone on the development team really liked their MegaTen when they wrote this scenario. The protagonist can even choose a (human) partner character to help them through the game.
There are at least seven chapters available so far, as well as extra missions to play just for fun. Kamigari Demons Trigger is scheduled to be out sometime in March for the iPhone 5 and Android (ver. 2.3 and up).
And to wrap up this update, we have some more material from Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki. First, let's meet the cast again.
Starting on the left, we have Lin Juwalzer, adopted son of a duke and protègé of Yun Kafei (grandfather of a Sora no Kiseki character). Next is Alisa Reinfort, an orbal archer and heiress to the prestigious Reinfort Company. The third character is Elliot Kreig, the gentle son of Red-Hair Kreig, the most violent general in the imperial army. The last character is Laura S. Alzeit, the daughter of the Viscount de Alzeit and a skilled wielder of both two-handed swords and political connections.
This is the Elebonian Empire, located east of the free state of Crossbell, where the Sora no Kiseki games take place. Its capitol is the city of Heimdal, with at least eleven other communities located on the train lines that criss-cross the empire.
Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki still has no release date more definite than sometime this year. It will be coming out simultaneously for PS3 and PS Vita.
Thanks for bringing a lot of news as always. Interestingly when you answered my last e-mail and linked back to another Japandemonium column on cat cafe, I just realized that I had another e-mail answered on that column too. That felt kinda cool.
Honestly, it feels kind of cool to me that I have actual readers who regularly write in.
Anyway, it looks like my family is about to take a trip to Japan (booo, I'm saving up to visit my friends in the US, dammit!), but I figured I might as well make the best of it. Our itinerary includes first some skiing, so here's a skiing question--which parts of Japan can you actual go skiing in, and around what month? Also, what's the local's opinion on ski vs snowboard (vs other sliding down a hill apparatus that I might have not heard of before since I'm from the tropics)?
Obviously, if you're going to go skiing, then Hokkaido or Nagano are the big places to go. There are a lot of areas in north-by-northeast Honshu that cater to the ski tourism trade. As for snowboarding, that's something for the younger generation. I have a friend here in Kumamoto who is really into it. There's an indoor boarding slope in Fukuoka City that he frequents, since there aren't any good, snowy slopes on this island for most of the year (and the only one that holds onto a lot of snow is too active in the volcanic sense).
After skiing, we're heading down to Tokyo, where my mother and her friends are planning on shopping spree in secondhand shops. What's the deal with that? I didn't know it was such a big thing, but from seeing the stuff that she brought back last time, I was impressed how well made and well kept they were. Is buying second-hand a common practice for household items/electronics/etc?
The Japanese prefer new things, more often than not. Sometimes they do so to a fault. There's even a bit of social commentary about it in some games, like Final Fantasy Legend II, where poorer characters point out that the big city folk often throw away perfectly usable things in order to make room for the newest model. This extreme of consumerism mostly fell by the wayside in the years after the bubble broke, and several major secondhand chain stores have sprung up since then. Akihabara and other parts of Tokyo are littered with them. For that matter, whenever I need to replace a common household appliance, I often check the prices at Hard Off as well as at the big electrical store downtown. Sometimes I can get good deals. I got my last two laptops secondhand and refurbished. And my TV... and my vacuum... and my 3DS... not my fridge or my washing machine, mainly because I inherited those.
While in Tokyo, I was hoping to maybe finally jump onto this generation of console gaming. Yep, I'm thinking of getting a PS3 from overseas.. is this going to be a problem? PS3s don't have region lock, right? Will I need to find a huge converter for it to use with 220v here in Thailand? Are there any special accessories that I should consider picking up? Where could I go about getting my grubby hands on a cheap one? And just about how much would they cost (they cost about 30800Y here)?
Oh yes, I picked up my PS3 at a secondhand store, too. Technically it was new, though. At the time, the 120GB model was just rolling out, and a lot of people (including some retailers) used the secondhand market to unload the "lesser" 80GB models. I got mine for 20,000 yen without warranty. The regular price for a new 120GB PS3 at that time was around 28,000 yen. As for your other concerns, PS3 games do not usually have region-locks (P4 Arena being the sole exception), but other physical media will still have restrictions. That means regular DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, and PSX games will still be region-locked. (edit: I have since found out that Japan, the US, and Thailand are all in Blu-Ray region A/1, so you should be okay there). Downloadable media will be restricted to whatever region your PSN ID is registered to, so you can still get PSX classics that way. Japan uses 100v, so you will have to get a converter of some sort. You might want to check around some specialty forums to figure out exactly what you'd need there. As for accessories, I really have never seen the point to any of the add-ons, but I guess it depends on what you feel like playing.
Ah, and lastly--how do I end off a letter in Japanese?
Hm... I used to know this one, but it's been so long since I had to write a formal letter that I've forgotten. General "thank you" and "goodbye" phrases work well.
Sorry for the slightly delayed column, everyone. I had issues with my image processing this weekend. There may or may not be a column next week, as my fiancée is returning from her trip to Florida on the 28th, and I'll probably be a bit busy for a while.