今週の漢字: 無事

How perfect a word for what I want to talk about this week! Again, this kanji comes from playing Dragon Quest IV. Students have been amazed when they see my DS and really nice DS pen on my desk. I play in school sometimes during my downtime when the kiddies are in class. Anyway, my actual time in Tokyo during the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) weekend was great.

The beginning wasn't so good, but it was certainly interesting. I wanted to book a night bus to Tokyo, which would have been perfect. I started searching about three weeks before the trip. The bus starts in Nagoya and stops in Toyota (home to the car company) and Toyohashi. Out of the five other people I needed to book for, two live near Nagoya, two in Toyota, and the fifth person in Toyohashi. As for me, I live close to Toyohashi. Unfortunately, the night bus was already booked. The funny thing was that only the day that I needed was fully booked. My friends and I joked around that everyone who reserved the bus must also be heading to TGS. Most of us purchased the night train tickets, which is called the moonlight nagara. We heard stories about how “ghetto” it is. Oh my… it was definitely interesting. It felt like we were in the tropics with the bright lights shining down on us, ridiculous humidity, and hot temperature. What was just as bad was that the ticket agent gave us the wrong tickets. As it was the night train departing after midnight from Toyohashi, the technical date was October 11 (Saturday). We had tickets for the 10th, but the ticket agent said that the tickets were for arriving on Saturday morning. It wouldn’t have been so bad if they were non-reserved seats, but we paid more for reserved seats. A train agent moved us to some other part of the train and kicked some people out of their seats in the non-reserved section. We felt bad, but it all happened so fast. The train ride there was by far the worst part of the trip.

I booked us for a hostel in Tokyo called “Khaosan Tokyo Ninja.” The reviews were good, and I was intrigued by the name. We were all happy with it, and I think I’ll go back there whenever I go to Tokyo again with friends. I highly recommend it if you don’t mind staying in hostels. Best of all, it seems very safe. I actually stayed in that area in February, but it wasn’t in a hostel. The area might not be the best in Tokyo, but the hostel itself felt very safe. Each guest has a comfortable bed space that can be locked. It’s sort of like a wooden capsule, but it’s even cheaper than most capsule hotels. It’s not good for someone with large suitcases, but it’s perfect for someone with something like a duffel bag. The bathroom and showers were clean. Each bed space also has two outlets, and the hostel has free wireless internet. You can see pictures below.

Stay tuned next week for another update!

En français:
Nous sommes contents d’être otaku. Nous sommes allés à Akihabara (Akiba). Je pense qu’il n’est pas spécial parce qu’il y a Animate dans Toyohashi. J’y vais quelquefois. J’ai une carte d’Animate. Quand j’achète des choses, j’obtiens des pointes sur ma carte. Je n’achète pas beaucoup parce que je ne veux pas trop des choses du dessin animé dans mon appartement.

今週の聖書の詩: “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
- Psalm 37:3-4 (NIV)

今週の写真: Part 2 of Tokyo Game Show 2008 and pictures of Khaosan Tokyo Ninja


今週の漢字: 返事

Do you want to go to the Tokyo Game Show held at Makuhari Messe, a huge convention center just outside of Tokyo?! OF COURSE! Is that the only reason why this week’s kanji is “reply”? No, I’ll explain about it later on.

Last week was awesome. It was loads of fun. Some of you know, but last year, I went to the Tokyo Game Show with two of my friends. More people went this year with me, and I hope there’ll be more next year. MWAHAHAHAHA! Anyway, I’ll try not to let the gamer in me come out in full force, not that I am the most avid gamer out there. I am far from being such a dedicated gamer. I used to be more hardcore, but ever since I went to University of Miami, my gaming habits were not as extreme. I had my short bursts of gaming, but there were months between as breaks. In Japan, my bursts have been fewer and futher apart. Well, I don’t think so anymore. My gaming side has been reinvigorated by all the exciting games and displays that were at the convention. I know not everyone is into games, so for the rest of this blog instead of writing every little detail about the convention, I’ll talk about the games I played or the trailers I watched in a nice list.

Biohazard 5 (a.k.a. Resident Evil 5) – AMAZING! I love horror stuff. Although I haven’t played all of the RE games, I am excited to get my hands on RE5. After playing a demo of the game and watching the trailer, which was incredibly cinematic, I want to get a PlayStation 3. Why not get the Xbox 360 instead? Well, I want to play Final Fantasy Versus XIII when that comes out, which is exclusively for PS3. Another reason is because it would double as a blu-ray player.

Street Fighter IV – Lots of fun! It looks gorgeous and plays well. The SF4 area was well organized. There were four rows that allowed for 4 players. However, you fight against the player opposite you. If you win, you get to play against the next person on line. After five wins, you can get a really nice Street Fighter IV cap. Without a doubt, Capcom impressed me the most this year (Square-Enix takes the cake for last year).

Silent Hill: Homecoming – Creepy! It was very interesting. I haven’t played any of the past Silent Hill games, but I decided just to give it a try. The controls weren’t the most comfortable, but it wasn’t bad either. The part of the game I played didn’t really call for much action. I was running around trying to figure out what to do, while hearing babies crying and seeing lots of dead bodies.

Naruto something something (for the Wii) – I don’t remember the name at all. It was entertaining, but certainly not a game I’d buy. The gameplay is a tad awkward.

Cooking Mama 2 – Entertaining! This is another game I wouldn’t buy, but it’s fun to play for a couple of hours with friends. I just loved the expressions in the game. I can see the game selling very well.

Little Big Planet – Looks nice! I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about in the gaming world. It’s not the game for me, but it’ll sell well for sure. It’s fun to customize your own sackboy.

Dragon Quest IX – WOW! I want it! I want it now! I can’t believe it’s coming out on the DS instead of any of the next gen systems. There wasn’t a demo available, but the trailer was exciting. As a friend says, “Like everyone in Japan has a DS, Square-Enix will make a ton of money.”

After returning from Tokyo, I’ve been playing Zelda for the Wii. I’ve also been playing Dragon Quest IV in Japanese for the DS. As I play, I jot down some kanji that seems rather important in the game and try to learn them. Hence, the kanji I chose for this week. The reason is as simple as that. Next time, I will focus on my time in Tokyo. Stay tuned next week for another update!

En français:
L’année derniere, j’ai regardé beaucoup des videos à Tokyo Game Show. J’ai joué Naruto et Dragon Quest IV. Tokyo Game Show 2007 était plus de passionnant que cette année parce qu’il était mon premier. J’ai ramassé beaucoup des brochures l’année derniere, mais j’ai joué plus cette année.

今週の聖書の詩: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.”
- Titus 3:1-2 (NIV)

今週の写真: Part 1 of Tokyo Game Show 2008


今週の漢字: 自転車

This weekend’s post will be focused on the Tokyo Game Show. As for this post, I want to write about my biking experiences. As some of you know, I learned how to ride a bike only a month before leaving for the JET Program last year. I wasn’t actually comfortable enough to deal with Japan’s streets. Those of you who have read all my posts know of my biking woes in Japan.

When I first came, biking to the school was a struggle. I rode on the main roads, and the cars scared me as they passed me nearly hitting me. I suppose I was thinking too much about it too, which caused me to have close calls of falling onto the cars. There’s also a sharp narrow turn to a street close to my apartment. It’s right after the train tracks, so when I turn, it’s a slight downward slope. Last year I crashed into a pole by that street a few times. Every time I crashed, I would stop and act as if something was wrong with my bike. In fact, nothing was wrong. I was just too embarrassed to get back on my bike and ride on.

Anyway, I have found some back roads to school that are much more suitable for bike riding. As I walked to school, I noticed some kids coming out of certain small streets. It didn’t seem to make sense, but I had to keep in mind how the design origin of roads in most of Japan is indiscernible. When I knew traffic wouldn’t be so congested, I took to the streets on bike and tried different ways to the school. I’m happy to have found a few routes. Since then, I’ve been basically biking to school. As the saying goes, “It’s better late than never.”

Stay tuned this weekend for another update!

En français:
Je regarde les étudiants quelque fois quand ils vont à vélo. Il est incroyable quand ils traversent une rue sans de regarder s’il y a une voiture. Il est étonnant quand une personne va à vélo pendant qu’il tient un parapluie. C’est très dangereux!

今週の聖書の詩: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
- 1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

今週の写真: Some pictures from the Culture Festival


今週の漢字: 嬉しい

Everything is going well. I’ve placed aside my worries and fears. Well, those worries basically were about self-validation: “What do others think of me?” As an actor, I always think about it, but I have been practicing to stop thinking such thoughts. My acting has gotten back on par, because I have freed myself from the binds of my own instability.

I am reminded of so much from my NYU days when I went through the rigorous acting training. I need to live for the moment, and I need to keep my focus on my goals and ambitions. When I directed it more toward what other people think of me, I started trying to please them. Similarly as an actor, I should not be acting for the audience but for my character, to stay true and honest to myself. There are moments every once in a while when I seek that self-validation. I think I went through it in the past five months.

You may be thinking, “Of course you shouldn’t care about what other people think,” but you know what? It’s so much easier said than done. Haven't you ever been concerned about what others think of you? I’m pretty sure you must have at least a few times. Well, I hope you find a way to throw that away and just let you be you.

I won't be posting around my usual time next week. I’ll be going to Tokyo for this year’s Tokyo Game Show. Do you remember my post about it last year? Stay tuned some time next week for another update!

En français:
Je deteste quand quelque personne me dit: «Pensez pas au sujet des choses que les personnes disent!» Est-ce qu’ils pensent que c’est un bon conseil? Il est ridicule. Je n’aime pas quand les personnes me commandent et ils pensent qu’ils me donnent quelque conseil. Pourquoi est-ce qu’il y a beaucoup de personnes qui sont très insensibles?

今週の聖書の詩: “From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them: ‘You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears.’”
- Acts 17-19a (NIV)

What are you an example of? It’s great to just be yourself in every situation and every environment!

今週の写真: Yay for culture festivals! I just wish that next year more students wouldn’t resort to selling juice. I think I had at least 8 cups of different flavors of juice this year. So instead of a picture this week, here’s a video of the taiko drums special performance. It was amazing. One of the teachers is a member of the group. I was pleasantly surprised to find this out about her.