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JAPANDEMONIUM
 
fumizuki no juuhachinichi
Hougen
Konnichiwa

Every language has its accents and dialects, but they can differ greatly in how these variations are expressed. In English, mixed up language that it is, the first point of departure is often in the vowels. This is how we can group accents based on whether or not "pen" and "pin" sound the same, or if "horse" and "sauce" rhyme. The general vocabulary set in English is fluid enough that we tend to adapt to most anything, so most of the notable differences there arose from 19th-century technological shifts, regional colloquialisms, and deliberate attempts to obfuscate the language via slang.

Japanese is a bit different. For the most part the rigid pronunciation rules of its syllabic writing systems prevent vowel shifting, so regional dialects evolved along grammatical lines. Some longer grammar constructs get contracted into shorter forms, for example, but the short forms differ from region to region. At other times, the simple (and largely optional) declarative sentence endings went in different directions. In some cases, verbs were co-opted for use beyond their usual scope, but only in one or two areas of the country, like how the verb naosu (to mend or repair) also means "to tidy up" in Kumamoto.

In general, the development of dialects in Japan dates back to the restrictions on travel at various times in the country's history, especially during the Sengoku and Edo periods, when each county or province was a self-contained mini state administered by the shogun's appointees. Combined with the natural limitations of the nation's geography and a highly stratified class system that existed until well into the modern era, and it's little surprise that the Japanese hougen (dialects) can vary a lot.

How best to illustrate this, however? Obviously, if we could get a large number of people to all say the same thing over and over in different dialects, the differences would be readily apparent. This spring, we even had the perfect opportunity for just that.


Frozen made it to Japan more than three months after the US release date, but it's ridiculously popular now. I can almost guarantee that every elementary school sports day event in the country included a rendition of "Let It Go," for example. There have been times when I walked by some random family on the street whose little daughter insisted on singing the song loudly, proudly, and with only half the words remembered. Just today, I overheard one big brother teasing his sister with a ridiculous schoolyard parody of "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?" Lately, there's also been a meme going around Japan where people do the songs from that movie in regionalized Japanese. Some of these are redubs of the movie scenes; others are vocaloids or straight-up karaoke covers. The male-dominated songs are largely excluded, but the reprise of "For the First Time in Forever" is well represented with versions spanning the country from north to south (including the only Okinawan redub I could find).

There were a few more that were subtitled versions only, which I left out. I did decide to include the karaoke covers, including one with a lyric sheet presented in standard Japanese (which didn't match the lyrics as sung) just for the auditory experience. And even some of those I left out because ow my ears... (the Nagoya-ben version of "Love is an Open Door" in particular). That song has some oddities on Youtube, like multiple singalong versions in different dialects that contain only the male part of the duet, leaving Anna's part open for any starry-eyed young ladies to fill in.

Song Dialect Region
For the First Time in Forever        
    Hiroshima-ben Hiroshima Pref., Chugoku Region
For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)        
    Hiroshima-ben Hiroshima Pref., Chugoku Region
    Osaka-ben Kansai Region
    Kyoto-ben Kansai Region
    Hachinohe-ben Aomori Pref., Tohoku Region
    Hakata-ben Fukuoka Pref., Kyushu Region
    Tooyama-ben Toyama Pref., Hokuriku Region
    Okinawa-ben Okinawa Pref., Ryukyu Region
    Kagoshima-ben (single singer, no background music) Kagoshima Pref., Kyushu Region
Let It Go        
    Hakata-ben Fukuoka Pref., Kyushu Region
    Iwate-ben Iwate Pref., Tohoku Region
    Tsugaru-ben Aomori Pref., Tohoku Region
    Tsugaru-ben (alternate) Aomori Pref., Tohoku Region
    Gunma-ben Gunma Pref., Kanto Region
    Tagawa-ben Fukuoka Pref., Kyushu Region
    Koshuu-ben Yamanashi Pref., Chubu Region
"Love Is An Open Door"        
    Hakata-ben Fukuoka Pref., Kyushu Region
    Hiroshima-ben Hiroshima Pref., Chugoku Region
    Miyagi-ben Miyagi Pref., Tohoku Region
    Kansai-ben Kansai Region (not Osaka or Kyoto)
Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?        
    Nagasaki-ben Nagasaki Pref., Kyushu Region
    Hachinohe-ben (southern) Aomori Pref., Tohoku Region
    Yamagata-ben Yamagata Pref., Tohoku Region
    Kumamoto-ben Kumamoto Pref., Kyushu Region

If I come away with this with one thing learned, it's that the dialects of Aomori (Tsugaru-ben and Hachinohe-ben) seem to have a word specifically for "to make a snowman." Hooray for interesting but useless information.

Now I just need to convince Nozomi to do an Oguni-ben cover of "Love is an Open Door" with me.


When I saw this title in last week's Famitsu, my first thought was that it must be an adventure / light novel game, what with the title reminiscent of a Dan Brown novel. However, Judas Code, the newly announced Vita action RPG by tri-Ace, is something else entirely.







Sometime in the year 20XX, World War III gets interrupted by the arrival of a strange, pillar-like object falling from the sky to strike down the cities of Earth. Dubbed "Longinus" because why not, it proceeded to send out chainlike branches to hasten the destruction of the planet. In the midst of all this, a new breed of human has emerged: Regenerators. These are people who have come in close contact with the chains of Longinus, with the result that their DNA has been corrupted by the alien "Judas Code." They're tougher and stronger than normal people, which makes them well-suited to fighting the monstrosities plaguing Earth's cities, but unfortunately it also means that they have begun the slow, agonizing descent into becoming monstrosities themselves. It's largely a matter of time and will before the inevitable occurs, unless something happens to change the rules of the game.







The game itself consists of main quest segments played out as a TPS-style action RPG, special missions with particular requirements, and finally a CCG-style card battle setup, complete with random gatcha collection elements. Judas Code will be free to play on the Vita, with the option to pay real cash for better items. It's due out sometime this summer.

Source: Famitsu Online
7/14 ~ 7/20 7/7 ~ 7/13 6/30 ~ 7/6 Up / Down Title Publisher Platform
1 1 * New Arrival! Youkai Watch 2 Honke/Ganso Level-5
2 * * New Arrival! OreShika: Tainted Bloodlines SCE
3 * * New Arrival! Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea Gust
6 4 3 Last seen at 7 Youkai Watch Level-5
7 3 2 Last seen at 3 Taiko no Tatsujin - Don & Katsu's Excellent Adventure Bandai-Namco
8 2 1 Last seen at 1 Freedom Wars SCE Japan
13 12 12 Last seen at 19 Pokémon X/Y The Pokémon Co.
16 15 16 Last seen at 18 Monster Hunter 4 Capcom
22 24 ??? Where'd this come from? Persona 4: The Golden Atlus
23 19 14 Last seen at 15 Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth Atlus
24 22 - Off-list since 6/9 Sword Art Online Bandai-Namco
Off-list 23 * New Arrival! Gods Eater 2 (PS Vita the Best) Bandai-Namco
Off-list 26 25 Last seen at 30 Puzzle & Dragons Z GungHo
Off-list - 29 New Arrival! Demon Gaze - Global Edition Kadokawa Games

So yeah, Persona 4: The Golden is back on the sales rankings list, with 2141 copies moved in that first week and 2507 in the second. One of my older students bought it just today (7/25), in fact, so those numbers may keep climbing. As of July 20, 2014, the official total sales for that version of the game stands at 286,720 since 2012.

As long as there are video games and tokusatsu shows, there will be developers who take advantage of the natural popularity of crossover titles. The latest example of this is Super Hero Generation, a strategy RPG featuring heroes from the Ultraman, Kamen Rider, and SD Gundam series. As we have seen time and time again, this is a popular combination. This particular variation on the theme will arrive on October 23, 2014, for the PS3 and Vita.






Source: Famitsu Online

Dragon Quest X, the online game, has been out for Wii for a year now, and for Wii U since last fall. Starting in September, the game is adding a third console to its list of conquests: the 3DS. Due to the increased online functionality of the handheld, not to mention the ubiquity of decent Wi-Fi connections in Japan's major cities, this oddball matchup is strangely plausible. It's too bad that foreign gamers are still left in the lurch, though. The starter package with the 3DS cartridge will cost 3,800 yen, which is a little lower than normal for a 3DS game, and includes a code worth sixty days of gameplay time. After that initial period, the player can purchase tickets in three-, ten-, and thirty-day increments (350, 650, and 1500 yen, respectively). The starter package also includes product codes for in-game items like a casino ticket, experience boosts, and the lemon slime hoverboard (pictured below).




The game officially hits the shelves in its portable form on September 4.

Source: Dengeki Online

The ever-wonderful media maven Nyx found her way into a small trove of Omega Quintet screenshots. While the cheesecake factor is about as high as it ever is with a Compile Heart title, this one at least seems to be moving towards a decent combat paradigm. And when you're working with a classic magical girl motif, what could possibly go wrong? Okay, this is Compile Heart we're talking about, but at least the company is in its comfort zone right now, and might actually pull this one off semi-successfully.




























Source: Gematsu
Title Publisher Release Date Platform
Lost Dimension Furyu 8.7.14
Dragon Quest X (All in One Collection) Square Enix 8.7.14
Bravely Default: For the Sequel (Ultimate Hits) Square Enix 8.7.14
Hyrule Warriors Nintendo 8.14.14
Diablo III - Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition Square Enix 8.21.14
Sacred III Spike/Chunsoft 8.28.14
Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Masou Kijin F - Coffin of the End Bandai-Namco 8.28.14
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen (special package) Capcom 8.28.14
Toukiden Kiwami Koei-Tecmo 8.28.14
Meirou Crossblood Infinity Ultimate 5pb. (Mages) 8.28.14
Medabots 8 - Kuwagata/Kabuto Rocket Co. 8.28.14
Source: Dengeki Online

Next Tuesday, my wife and I are getting on a plane to Tokyo so we can get on a plane to Dallas so we can get on a plane to Oklahoma! Trans-pacific travel is such a pain at times, so wish us luck! As a parting gift, here's one last Youtube video featuring a song from Frozen:

And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,

Your man in Japan,

Gaijin Monogatari

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