There are some jobs in this life which I know I shall never be able to do. I'll never be a professional athlete, or an astronaut, or a cowboy. Adding to the list, I must also say that I shall never be a political pundit or commentator. I simply have no skill at it, no interest in it, and obviously no idea what the heck I am talking about. I've found out more about Japanese politics by researching replies to JuMeSyn's letters to the column than from anything else. Which leads me to the special edition of the Kumanichi News that I picked up in my local Family Mart on Wednesday afternoon
Prime Minister Hatoyama has called it quits. Citing continued problems at Futenma (which is the sort of situation where it's impossible to please anyone) and internal issues in the Democratic Party of Japan, he has stepped down after 8 months in office, thus contradicting what I said last week about him lasting longer than the first two non-LDP prime ministers of modern Japan. After a bit of political jockeying, Finance Minister Naoto Kan got bumped into the top position. There's a general election for the upper house coming up next month, and that has the possibility to shake a few things up.
The summer's just gotten a whole lot more interesting. And noisy. I think I'll just stick to video game commentary from here on out.
Summers in Japan get pretty warm, and in the big city centers like Tokyo things can get positively sweltering. How to beat the heat? Square Enix and Tokyo Dome City have come together to provide solace to scorched gamers. For the month of August, Tokyo Dome City is hosting the Dragon Quest Attractions. Dragon Quest Monsters Battle Road Victory will be out on the Wii mid-July, and S-E is ready to capitalize on that. There will be game events, stamp rallies, downloadable presents for those who have managed to clear the game already, and of course lots of DQ brand goods for sale. The main attraction? The "Magical Mist" splash garden, which has been a favorite at Tokyo Dome City since spring. Square Enix has been kind enough to provide lots of DQ background music for frolicking fans as they cool down.
Tokyo Dome City is located in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward, right outside Suidobashi Station.
In a land ravaged by nuclear war and laid waste by radiation, there's one thing that's certain -- there's going to be a lot of sand. How thoughtful then that marketing minds at Kadokawa Shoten have decided to offer a collectible bucket in their Metal Max 3 DX Pack. It even has a cushion seat for the intrepid excavator when he or she is too tired from digging.
Why a bucket? Because the marketing guys know their audience. The folks most likely to buy a game's limited edition items are usually long-time fans of the series, with their own favorite references and in-jokes. The Metal Max series has apparently had a thing for buckets, much the same way the Atelier series always has the heroine shout "Barrel!" whenever you examine one. Continuing with this, the DX Pack will also include a set of eight Metal Max stickers with silly, memorable one-liners that have become fan favorites over the years. Things like "... and you can push it too! Oh, my wondeful bucket!" and "Hey, want some gum? Only slightly pre-chewed, and still sweet!"
Obviously, you have to be a major fan of the series to get this.
There's also a t-shirt involved, but there wasn't an image available yet. According to Famitsu, it will involve wanted posters, tanks, and doggies bearing arms.
When Falcom announced its new crossover battle royale character mash-up, Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki -- Alternative Saga, it was to be expected that all the main characters and cool supporting cast members from both series would be signed up as part of the competition. This kind of game thrives on name recognition, as otherwise the fans wouldn't have much reason to buy it. However, at least two of the characters involved will be completely new to the audience:
Now known to be included in the mayhem are Lloyd Bannings and Elly MacDale, rookie detectives and the main characters of Zero no Kiseki, are on the case. Lloyd's a key character, doing most of the combat. Elly's a support character who has some good healing skills. Everything else about them is an unknown, however.
Last time we looked at Super Dimensional Game Neptune we met several game machine superheroines, but only one was nice enough to tell us her secret identity -- the titular Neptune, a.k.a. the Purple Heart Goddess. The Green, Black, and White Heart Goddesses remained a mystery. But not any more.
They don't look so scary in plainclothes, now do they? Vert, Noir, and Blanc seem considerably more sedate than their divine alter-egos, but appearances are probably deceiving. Blanc (the White Heart Goddess of Ruwii) in particular is pointed out as being stress-prone and high-strung, according to Dengeki, Noir (the Black Heart Goddess of Lastation) is a type-A overachiever, while Vert (the Green Heart Goddess of Reenbox) is a hard-core gaming nerd, of all things.
In addition, there's swag to be had! Players who get the game's special box will receive not only the soundtrack CD, but also a tote bag (currently in style for the eco-conscious in Japan) and a 40-page art book. All nice, but I'm not sure if it's enough to get me to pay the extra cash.
A Little Something-Something
Hello Gaijin san,
I recently thought of a question so I thought I'd shoot you an email.
My question is: what's the difference between sukoshi and chotto?
I know they can both mean "a little", so which do you use in what context?
Sukoshi means "a little" as in the amount. "How much sugar do we need?" "Sukoshi." It can be used as either an adjective or an adverb. The word chotto is used as an adverb, and generally comes in front of an adjective (e.g. chotto samui -- "a little cold") or at the end of a statement with a trailing tone that indicates that the speaker is leaving an obvious word unsaid (e.g. "It's a little....").
Also, I emailed you before about a trip to Japan I'm taking and I was able to use your advice to plan some stuff out. But I wanted to ask your opinion about how difficult it might be to travel around with no guide or translator. I'm going with a couple friends with beginner's knowledge of Japanese and we're planning on traveling to different cities between Narita and Matsue. I had a friend with almost no knowledge of Japanese stay in Tokyo for a couple weeks and he along just fine, but what about the rest of Japan?
Thanks for your help in advance.
If you're headed into the middle of the countryside you might have some problems, but if you're sticking to the cities you shouldn't have too much difficulty. Keep your travel phrasebooks handy, make sure you know where you're going in advance, and if at all possible keep a list of relevant location names in both English and Japanese to help in the event you need to ask for directions or take a taxi.
Pray for my girlfriend, everyone. She's a city girl, but she has to chaperone a jr. high school camping trip this weekend. One hundred seventy students, about a dozen teachers, in the mountains, and she has a sinus infection. I need to pick up some nice chocolate for her.
And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,
Your man in Japan,