Posts Tagged ‘Japan

PiCOPiCT Review

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Most of the DSiWare has been crap, or rehashes, or rehashes of crap.  The Art Style Series shows lots of promise though.  An extension of the BIT Generations Series from the GBA days, Nintendo is bringing interesting, seemingly-casual games at a low price.


The recent release of PiCOPiCT was the best so far.  It’s a colorful game that has you making groups of colored blocks and as you get rid of blocks, they shoot up to the top screen to form a picture.  Decked out with Famicom-styled art and 8-bit music, it’s a retro-lover’s wet dream.  As you collect coins, you can use the in-game currency to purchase level music, and bonus ‘URA’ versions of each levels.  The URA levels are remixed versions with a steeper difficulty level.  


After spending a few days with PiCOPiCT, I’ve become addicted.  Even though I’m playing through Chrono Trigger right now, I find myself forsaking that to play this retro-fied puzzler.  After level 5 or so, you start seeing how clever the game is.  you start getting larger shapes, and you get layers upon layers of different colors, sometimes trapped inside frames of other colors.  You have to start planning out your attack.  You have to set up multiple sets of different colors on the bottom, and chip away at blocks from the sides as the blocks are falling.  Should you find yourself getting behind however, you’ll quickly find yourself restarting the level, as it’s extremely tricky to battle your way back.  After a couple tries, you’ll probably figure out your strategy.  It typically didn’t take me very long to clear a level.


In the end, the visual and aural experience you get for 500 yen is a tremendous bang for your buck, and gets the ECONOMY stamp of approval, and is truly deserving of the Art Style Series moniker.


Written by Brandon

February 4, 2009 at 8:27 pm

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Japan getting red PS2 on July 3rd.

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Red PS2

プレイステーション2の新色”シナバー・レッド”が数量限定で2008年7月3日に発売 – ファミ通.com


Announced in Asia last year, Japan itself is getting a red PS2 on July 3rd.  If I didn’t already own a slim PS2, I’d buy a red one.

Written by Brandon

June 3, 2008 at 4:47 pm

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Discrimination in the workplace

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I don’t wanna sound like a ranting foreigner in Japan, but I’m noticing how different I’m being treated, at least in Ogaki.

When I was teaching in Nagoya, I was treated pretty much like a regular teacher by the other teachers. They gave me a good desk, my own supplies for class, a locker, my own special spot in the shoe rack, and always gave me the reports they gave the other teachers.

In Ogaki however, they treat me like a complete stranger. My desk is different from everyone else’s. I get less drawers, and there’s no lock. It’s like I don’t have my own space there. They don’t have a place for me to put my shoes that’s labeled for me. I don’t have a locker either. They told me they don’t have any available lockers. Since I’m there most of the time, and they want me to play sports with the kids, you’d think they’d make it as easy for me as possible?

I know it sounds like bitching, but I’ve taught at schools that treated me as an equal. Hell, they even had welcome and farewell parties for me. They invited me to all the teacher parties. The teachers now don’t even talk to me before lessons. They don’t joke around with me during class. They just point at me and expect me to read their minds. My schools in Ogaki, it’s as if they just see me as a transient being who doesn’t really belong there.

Written by Brandon

May 7, 2008 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Japan

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Pakkun, originally uploaded by bpittman.

The good ol’ days of photographing shit I bought for my nerdom.

Written by Brandon

May 1, 2008 at 9:33 pm

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Why Facebook will never catch on in Japan.

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Facebook has a project to translate Facebook into a bunch of different languages.  It’s a volunteer effort, because what’s the point in paying people to translate the social network into a language that nobody is going to use?


The problem with Facebook in Japan is that Japanese people are not geared to share the way other people are.  If you’ve ever used Mixi, you’ll see how private Japanese people.  Most user pictures are of celebrities or their cats.  They tend to hide most of their personal information, and post irregularly.


The beauty of Facebook is how open most people seem to be on it.  You can get someone’s IM name, email address, home address, phone number, website, see what people they used to sleep with, and a myriad of other “good to know” information.  You don’t see this stuff on Mixi or GREE.  You also have to get invited to use Mixi.  You can’t just show up and create an account.  Granted, it isn’t hard to find someone with an invite to give, but most Japanese social networks are privacy freaks and won’t allow you in unless somebody will vouch for you.  Maiko Haaaan!!!, a film last year, about a guy who wants to see maiko in tea houses, can’t get in because he doesn’t know somebody who already goes there.  It’s the same principal.  Japanese people always wants you to be introduced by somebody.  Nintendo’s frustrating friend codes and the system of arranged marriages further illustrate my point.  Japanese people are not keen on taking things they feel are private and sharing them with their social network friends, let alone make them available to the public.


But what do I know?  They sell dog porn at the video store here.  And those girls blog and link to their movies.

Written by Brandon

April 25, 2008 at 8:21 pm