Here's a word for you: wasamon. Don't bother trying to look it up in your Japanese-to-English dictionary -- you won't find it in there. In fact, most Japanese won't understand what you're saying if you bandy this one about. This is one of the few words which I can guarantee are unique to the Kumamoto dialect of Japanese. It means something like "people who buy things only because they are new and interesting." It can also refer to the quality of being new and interesting, or to the stuff that's new and interesting.
While the word isn't widely used, the concept of wasamon is evident whenever you walk into a convenience store or supermarket. No matter what the time of year, there will always be something new and seasonal on sale. Very often, it'll be something that you really wouldn't think about buying, but then again, there's this compulsion to get things just because they're "limited time only"...
And really, how else would you explain the plethora of KitKats, soft drinks, or *shudder* Pepsi's Cucumber Mist soda? That the last item on that list made any sales at all is a testament to the power of wasamon.
I was introduced to the term after I bought a bottle of the new Pepsi White yogurt-cola soda, just out of curiosity. For the record, while it's not that good, it's still light-years better than Cucumber Mist.
A maid? A maid. A maid. A maid! Everybody ought to have a maid, everybody ought to have a serving-girl, a loyal and unswerving girl, to putter around the house...
Okay, kudos to anyone who can tell me what I just made a reference to.
The Japanese fetish for maid outfits is both well-known and fairly disturbing. Like it or not, it tends to find its way into every imaginable niche of the gaming market, and not even the newest of technologies is safe. Ever hear of "augmented reality technology"? It's the term for when live video imagery is altered and presented with a combination of real and virtual components-- practically in realtime, three dimensions, and interactive. An example would be the way they put down lines and other markers on the field during football games to show where the first down was, for the benefit of the viewing public. Other areas of research combine webcameras and special add-on technologies which, when seen through the camera and specific software, well.. let's see for ourselves:
Meet Cyber Figure Alice, a fully virtual mini-maid. The primary hardware involved is the little cube on which she stands. That part goes wherever you wish. When the camera's on, however, your computer screen has more to show. With the standing cube and the pointer stick, you can interact with little Alice however you wish (which, given the extent of the Japanese fetish, can be taken to some disturbing levels). She can be poked, prodded, undressed, redressed, and for all intents and purposes molested -- all the while being saccharinely cute. Beyond the cube items, there are also various cards which carry their own virtual identities and with which little Alice can interact in a variety of ways. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself.
I would say "get a girlfriend," but I'm kind of afraid to see what the programmers might do with a suggestion like that....
In all the worlds of Final Fantasy, few villains stand out the way Kefka Palazzon does. This guy's got it all -- creepy laugh, maniacal wardrobe, blind obsession, complete lack of moral compass, and quasi-divine magical powers. Bonus points are awarded for successfully breaking the world like an egg and then remaking it in his image (cracked, warped, and steadily losing sanity). He's been the subject of much fan art and fan fiction -- some of it halfway decent, if I do say so myself. If any one villain can steal the show in Square Enix's upcoming Dissidia, it's this guy.
But who to pit against him? Of the sixteen or so playable characters from Final Fantasy VI, half of them have a grudge to settle. There are his fellow generals whom he betrayed, the two brothers whose castle he burned, the member of the rebel organization he crushed, the knight whose family and kingdom he poisoned... Really, this guy knows how to make enemies. Programmers are fans, too, and like most Japanese fans would do, they went with the easy choice -- the girl who transforms into a naked glowing purple chick. Really, wouldn't you do the same?
The game's story mode looks a little weird, as much a chessboard as it is a battlefield. As your characters manouever around, they fight monsters, gain items or money, or even find powerful summoning spells. All this consumes Destiny Points, which can be augmented by performing certain tasks -- possibly dependant on the square on which your character is located. There seem to be plenty of story sequences and villains from various games participating.
Only a few weeks to go till this one is released, so I guess we'll know more soon.
When last we looked at Destiny Links, Bandai-Namco's upcoming game for the DS, we met a choice of playable characters: the street urchin, the minstrel, the alchemist, and the mechanic. This time around, we get to meet four more.
The treasure hunter in the upper left of the cast page is working for a mysterious patron, and tries to grab what he can, when he can. The privateer opposite him isn't much nicer, though I like the nod to Cap'n Jack Sparrow. The medic is a student of the Royal Academy, and is looking to sharpen her skills and get some nice samples to help with her graduate thesis. The Royal Cadet had barely taken her place in the Queen's Guard when Her Majesty sent her on a wild goose chase to Amazia. More and more, it's looking like each character has an actual story connected to them, despite the lack of names. I wonder at the point of assigning specific ages to characters, though.
Your eight playable characters have six choices of equipment to wield. One-handed weapons hit fast but not hard, while two-handed weapons are the opposite. Guns hit from afar but need line of sight. Musical instruments have a shorter range, but affect the entire area around the player. Science books allow access to all sorts of wonders, while medical texts patch things up when it all hell breaks loose. Each character has a particular preference for various equipment, but if necessry you can equip them with pretty much anything.
Finally, what exploration game would be complete without the shovel? If it's gems and ore you want, you'll have to dig for it.
Dimple games is taking the term "net troll" into a whole new direction with the main characters of Net Ghost Pipopa! Pipopa@DS.adv. Based on the anime by TV Tokyo, this action title revolves around little digital imps who run around fighting Net Monsters and, as a side-effect, ridding systems of bugs and viruses.
We mentioned Gadget Robo a while back. Well, it's going to be on sale sometime in the next week or so, and now we have screenshots for you. Enjoy.
Way to play catch up dude, the internet has known about Jero since his single hit. hell, I even bought it for the novelty.
Well, first of all, those little intro pieces at the beginning of each column? Those aren't meant to be news items, or even new. I'm definitely not the first to comment on the plethora of KitKats in this country, or the medical system, or various festivals. That section exists solely because I'm too embarrassed to start a column with a simple "Here's the column. Read it. Bye." The intro to the previous column was chosen because in the span of two days I saw Jero and Frank Nagai on the news at least three times each. In any case, the reactions on the comments thread would bely the claim that everyone on the internet would know about Jero, and at least one person of my acquaintance was happy to finally know who the guy in this video is. The column is for people who otherwise don't know anything about Japan, after all.
Nice to know that at least one more person is reading the column, though!
Garnets are Forever
I know that Astonishia Story was not the best PSP RPG to come out (far from it...), but the sequel is looking much better from the few minutes that I have played, so this news may be of interest to you.
Playasia began selling Astonishia Story 2 under the name "Crimsongem Saga" for the Asian version which is in full English text (AKA Garnet Chronicle in the Japanese version) on October 23rd. I just received my copy today and needless to say there is a ton of funny english on the back cover (For example: "The artifact that seals lost magical power of the ancient, people say that it's Wicked Stone"). The in game text is not as bad as what was printed on the outside, I would still recommend that JRPG lovers (or in this case, KRPG) give it a try.
Anyone who is looking for a classic, old-school style RPG would probably love to know about this gem (I know, bad pun)! Happy importing!
Lindsay AKA "Chick Norris"
Well that's interesting. I haven't heard that much about this game since the last time it was mentioned in the column. I hadn't even realized it was a sequel to Astonishia Story. Be sure to let us know how it turns out, ok?
Guten tag noch einmal, Herr Gaijin. In a development that probably surprises no one, I have come up with a few more things you are uniquely capable of answering. Such as the real significance of 'yoroshiku.' I hear this one quite a bit, and the general meaning seems to be along the lines of 'good to meet/know you, hope we'll do well together.' But I hear this quite a bit more often than its equivalents in English, making me wonder just how important a phrase it is.
Well, the literal translation of "yoroshiku" would be something along the lines of "properly, suitably, or favorably." The thing is, it forms the backbone of one of the most polite stock phrases in all of Japanese - Yoroshiku onegai shimasu! - as well as many other polite expressions. In familiar, everyday speech, many of these expressions are shortened to the bare minimum, and that's usually "yoroshiku."
I also need a little further information on suffixes in Japanese speech. I gather that to not use a suffix when addressing someone is either a sign of being very close or incredibly rude, but I'm still a little fuzzy on when 'kun' or 'san' would be more appropriate.
Something that pops up often in anime is women (mostly) getting incensed at being labeled 'baa-san.' Are there no good terms in Japanese for addressing women that are between 'nee-chan' and 'baa-san?.'
When in doubt, stick with "-san." It will never let you down. "-Kun" is for people who are lower than you in status and age. Use it only for young boys, and you should have no problems. As for "baa-san" and "nee-san" or "-chan," again, when in doubt, don't use either. The "baa-san" epithet is derived from both "aunt" and "grandma," so you can understand why most women under the age of 50 would object to being refered to that way. On the other hand "nee-san" is much too familiar for most foreigners to get away with.
Oh, and thank you for the eludication of participles. I cannot say I have gotten their use down but at least I understand what their significance now is.
And for a game-related question... what do you think North America missed by never getting the MSX?
Oy vey, you really know how to pull out the obscure material, don't you? Well, after far too much time on Wikipedia, I've concluded that every halfway interesting RPG on the MSX was at some point ported to any one of three systems, including Master System, NES, and GameBoy, and a few seem to be available on all three. That's for the titles I could actually get information on. So, it's not that the US missed out because of the MSX, but because those titles were never brought over for the other systems either. Said titles include the original Princess Maker, the Dragon Slayer series (much of which has become available internationally, one way or another) -- even the original Final Fantasy was ported onto the thing at one time.
Anyway, glad you're finding this section so informative. Write again!
I don't have much to say here, apart from wishing my loving girlfriend a happy birthday. I am forever grateful that she continues to put up with my nonsense, most of the time.
And that's the news from Hi-no-Kuni,
Your man in Japan,