Finally going to make an update here. I've started about 3 or 4 of these over the last year and a half or so, and have never posted any of them for some reason. I've had plenty to say, but have been doing so in various forums. For the most part, gaming has taken a major back seat. I've simply not had the time, nor the interest in new games. Every time I try to get into an old game, something comes up. I do bust something out from time to time, but it redefines casual play.
I recently went on a work trip to the US, which I often do these days. As usual, I stocked up on plenty of goods that I think are just way overpriced in Japan. Even with a "normal" yen, Japan is an expensive place. This recent run featured two jars of honey, and a jar of coconut oil. Apparently the latter is extremely healthy, and it doesn't taste bad. The rather large jar that ran me $16.99 at Whole Foods would cost a minimum of 3000 yen ($38ish). My luggage weight hit the max, but I made it. I guess since I take trips every month this isn't such a big deal, but I'm finding the inflated costs everything beyond irksome. Back when the yen was weak, I could at least buy Japanese "gear" (usually camera or DJ stuff) at least 10% cheaper than in the US. Well, those days are over, since appparently nobody likes to gouge themselves better than Japan. Great example is the new Canon 5D Mark III. In the good old
The other major thing I did was watch Prometheus, as it won't come out until August in Japan. I will admit, I drank the entire day before going to see it, as I met up with an old friend who has just relocated to San Francisco. While it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, I enjoyed it for what it was, and I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel which would hopefully wrap up a lot of stuff, and make a more distinct connection to Alien. I will give Ridley Scott props for not making it some PG-13 love fest.
We had what I would consider a pretty rockin' summer. It was hot as balls, yes, but it didn't rain that much, and the rainy season wasn't too brutal. I wear shorts and a T-shirt to work so other than almost dying when I run (even at night) it's not too bad. Enter September. Last week I jogged in 30 degree weather... it's been raining and about 15 tops for most days since then. I made a promise to myself not to be a huge vaj this year, so have been drudging through the rain on my bicycle to work each day, and am kinda proud. People look at me like I'm an idiot but that's not something that's entirely new.
For shits and giggles, I've decided to take the JLPT N1 this year. I'm curious how the new format works, and I'm also curious as to how crappy my "high level" Japanese has gotten. I still read a decent amount but the obscure vocabulary will likely crucify me. I'm not going to study a lick. If I take it again, I might just cram a bunch of vocabulary, but I honestly feel it's a waste of time if I actually don't see the words in action. It's not for another 2 months, and they don't send out the grades for a few months after that. One thing I have noticed differently is that the application packet is now in multiple languages. I remember it being Japanese only from start to finish, and was pretty shocked when the proctors in Hawaii giving the L1 4 years ago spoke a little English.
Other than all that exciting jazz, I've been burning the midnight oil at work. Quite a lot going on these days, so the games have been moved to the back seat, so to speak. I bust out a PCB every now and again, and have been getting a star or two a day in Super Mario Galaxy 2, but that's about it. The arcade monitor I bought last March has still not been flipped on it's side, so that tells you how much my Cave PCBs are getting played. One day maybe, but the DJ gear has been keeping me busy, and I even bought some production hardware which I've not had nearly enough time to enjoy.
I did something I swore I wouldn't do: let a year pass without writing some bullshit here for everyone's enjoyment. Needless to say, I've been busy. I've been clocking in some hours, which really takes a lot out of me, but with everything that's been happening in the world, being busy is good. I've never once complained about having too much work to do, and probably won't until things settle down. Who knows when the hell that will be.
At the moment, I have quite the World Cup fever, as I usually do every four years. I don't have any particular love of the sport as much as I like everyone supporting their various teams across the globe. In a city like this where you have quite a few friends from various places it gets interesting. The two teams I directly support as well, the US and Japan, have both made it to the quarter finals, which means I've got some late night games to watch.
Gamewise, I was playing MAME as usual up until about a month ago but I've since had to put it mostly aside. I picked up Super Mario Galaxy 2 which is good and very relaxing fun (unlike MAME) but I can only play a bit a night. I just don't have the concentration it takes to play any games competitively at the moment, so the gear is getting a much-deserved rest after years. Probably not a bad thing for both the consoles and myself.
Spring is in the air. Well, not really. It kind of came and went, and there was only a few sunny days. I guess it's retribution for having such a mild winter. I guess since June is usually pretty hot I should be thankful it was cloudy almost ever day. Rainy season will start here in a week or so, and that can really suck. I remember some years when it only rained twice a week, but of course the polar opposite holds true as well. I've gotten into the whole bicycle mode, and I'd hate to downgrade to the trains. It's quite good excercise (especially when I get off my ass and ride in the morning), cheap, and this is quite a fun city to go riding in.
I've not exactly been getting my game on. The 360 release of Death Smiles was better than expected, and I feel I gave a nice ass-ripping in arrange mode with an 8-billion score. I'll get it out again, but am on to less nerve-racking games at the moment. I pop into the arcades from time to time but there's nothing released in the recent months that has caught my attention. Death Smiles II is, as expected, awful on just about all fronts. The loli shit was forgiveable the first time around as the game was so well put together. This time, it's a lost cause. Hopefully Cave will pull their act together and realize that their fanbase doesn't want half-assed 3D based games which are easily ported. I would most likely not even buy a port of this turd.
For those of you dedicated viewers that are wondering what the hell is up with the site, there are updates coming. I throw some shit up in the omake area from time to time, which I hope isn't unnoticed. Those posters take ages to scan, and in a lot of cases doctor up. There is more stuff coming, but it's been a project going on for a very long time. It will be nice to see it finally out in the open. I'll have more on that in the coming weeks.
It's that time of year again where we get drunk, look at Sakura, and absolutely wreck Yoyogi park. Unlike last year, the sakura didn't hit ye old 'mankai' (full bloom) on the weekend, thus resulting in some rather lack luster scenery. That didn't stop half of the city from raiding the local combini for loads of booze and heading to the nearest park - in my case, Yoyogi. As someone who's trying to trick everyone to thinking he's a more respectable man, I can't go running around to techno parties acting like a jackass like I used to. The kid would get trampled anyway. The music, I guess, doesn't bother me. However, this year, it didn't even have the chance. The police for a change were actually enforcing a rule: the "don't play your fucking music w/ an amp out here" rule. There are signs all over the park that forbid amps from being used. However, there's no less than 20 groups each weekend playing their music (quite often poorly) at full blast. In some parts of the park, two different performers will be mere meters apart. Remember, this is a city that accepts such weird things, and even extremes like some dickhead screaming through a megaphone in your ear about saving 10 yen, but scouls at loudness on the train.
I've actually been really busy the last... uh... 6 months or so. I still get time to play games from time to time, but it's generally at the end of the day, and for a short while. While most of my hectic schedule stems from real work, I have spent quite a bit of effort in getting all my technologies to play nice. I think I'm finally there, I just need to clean up the wires now. I've got my gigantic A3 scanner running on my main Linux machine, Mame and my Arcade VGA running off my one and only cube PC (which can also output 1920x1200 if I want to play real games), and my Macbook Pro will be where all the Photoshop love occurs. Yes, it's a bit much, but the machines themselves are really small. This damn scanner is a damn joke though. In addition to my hardware woes, I am doing updates here... they're just very thin on the content side these days. I'm making some changes on my end that will make the post-scanning process much more streamlined, and a few changes server side as well. I'm hoping that in a month or so this can be in full swing, and more content will find it's way here.
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