Thursday, 23 August 2007

MGS4: New Bosses


Online Videos by Veoh.com

This is a brand new vid taken from the 2007 Leipzig Games Convention in Germany. It introduces 4 brand new bosses for Snake to face off against in the forthcoming Metal Gear Solid 4 for the Playstation 3.

The new bosses appear in this order in the video in this order:

- Crying Wolf, a cybernetic panther with superior speed and strengh

- Raging Raven, a lunatic with a flight pack with wings strapped to her back

- Laughing Octopus, a female Doctor-Octopus like character

- Screaming Mantis, a woman obsessed with marionettes that can use her mind to confuse her opponents and rip them assunder with a single thought.

Kojima-san has stated that beneath the outer shell of these monsterous war machines lies the bodies of innocent women, tortured by the ravages of war. The only way they can exist is to embrace war by becoming cold-efficient killers. It's ladies night, and Snake is gonna have his work cut out for him to beat each one!

I tell you, seeing stuff like this only makes me want to get the game even more! ^_^

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

SOR: Love Triangle Series - Episode 8

Axel, Blaze, Max, Adam and Skate were all over at the Hunter's apartment having a Chinese takeaway meal together. After defeating Mr X and saving the city for the umpteenth time, the gang decided that once a month, they would all meet together. They would have a different meal each time, and catch up on what was happening in each of their lives.

Axel and Max had decided to open up a Dojo in the city, specialising in Martial Arts and Wrestling. Blaze was still working as a freelance private investigator, and training in her spare time. Adam had been promoted to the rank of Captain at the local Police Dept, and was in charge of leading new recruits in their training to become the next generation of law enforcers. Skate was still at school, and with his bro riding him to get good grades, he would be going onto college to study further (what in, I'm not sure).

As a change to their usual meetings, Axel had brought one other person with him, his 18 year old cousin Becky.

*Door bell ringing*

Adam: Hmmm, that must be Axel. Skate, go and answer the door, will you?

Skate: Why do I have to answer the door?

Adam: Because my rank is Captain, and you always have to do what your Captain says.

Skate: But I'm not in the Police Forc....

Adam: Just go already!

Max: I can go, if you want.

Adam: No, that's alright. As guests to the Hunter household, it is our sole duty to cater to all your needs. I'm setting the table, and Skate is going to go open the door, RIGHT?

Skate: Gezz.....alright! I was in the middle of doing my homework, but I'm sure I can stop right in the middle of my sentence to go and answer the door! You know, since you've become promoted to captain, you've been a right pain in the ass, you know that?

Adam: You do know you're still small enough for me to put you over my knee, don't you?

Skate: Just you try it, big bro! I'll make you regret those words in no time at all!

Adam: Oh, really?

Skate: Yeah, REALLY!

Adam: ORLY?

Skate: YARLY!!

Blaze: Will you two knock it off!! If none of you are going to go, then I'LL do it. If it was up to you two, Axel would probably grow a beard by the time you decided which one of you would go to open the damn door!

*Blaze heads over to the front door and opens it*

Blaze: Hi Axel, come on in. Everyone’s waiting for you.

Axel: What took you so long? I've been waiting out here for over a minute! Any longer, and I might've grown a beard or something!

????: It's very nice to meet you Miss Fielding! I've heard so much about you!

Blaze: Ohhh! Hi! What's your name?

Axel: This here's my sister's kid, Rebecca.

Rebecca: ACTUALLY, I prefer to be called Becky. I’m surprised you don’t remember me, Miss Fielding!

Blaze: Remember you? You know, now that you mention it, you do look kinda familiar…

Becky: Don’t worry about it right now. I’ll tell you more later! *winks*

Blaze: There’s something a tad unusual about that girl.

Axel: Tell me about it! You seem to be the only person she’s opened up to since we got here! Let’s go through.

Blaze: Right.

Axel, Blaze and Becky move into the living room, where everyone else was sitting.

Skate: Whoa! Who's she?

Becky: SHE has a name, short stuff! My name is Becky, and I'm here to join your little gathering!

Axel: My sis is out of town on a business trip, and I got lumbered with the little missy here for a few days.

Becky: I'll be 18 in 2 months, uncle! I'm virtually an adult!

Axel: Virtually isn't the same as actually, Becky!

*Adam sneaks up behind Axel, and slides in between him and Becky*

Adam: As an upholder of the law, I think it's commendable that Miss Rebecca is following age restrictions to the letter. I suggest that in 2 months time, we celebrate her eventual ascension into womanhood! *wink!*

*Axel pushes Becky away from Adam*

Axel: I don't care if you've just been promoted to captain, if you go ANYWHERE near my cousin, they’ll probably have to send me to jail for what I do to you!

Max: Wow Becky, you have really soft skin! What kind of moisturiser do you use?

Becky: Well, it's not a really special cream or anything....

*Axel jumps in and pushes Becky away from Max*

Axel: You may be my business partner, but if you so much as STROKE her soft skin, I'm gonna have to look for a new partner!

Max: But I was only.....

Axel: I KNOW what you THOUGHT you was doing!

Skate: You know, I was a key part of the downfall of Mr X! I was right there on the front line, kicking ass and taking names, all in a day's work for the legendary Skate Hunter!

Becky: Really? From looking at you, I wouldn't have guessed! You are kinda cute though...

*Axel jumps in and pushes Becky away from Skate*

Axel: I don't want to have to hurt you kid, but if you mess with her, I'll mess with you. Permanently!

Skate: Wha? Are you kidding me?

Axel: When it comes to family, I don't kid around. Ever.

Becky: So, how do you keep in such great shape Miss Fielding?

Blaze: You don’t have to call me Miss! Blaze is just fine. And to answer your question, I regularly train at your uncle’s dojo, just to keep my skills in tip top condition and as sharp as possible. Why do you ask?

*Axel jumps in and pushes Blaze away from Becky*

Axel: I thought you told your mother that you would behave yourself while you were with me!

Becky: What? You didn't REALLY believe what I said in front of Mom, did you?

Adam: Yo guys! Everything is ready in the dining room! Hustle!

Everyone moves into the dining room. As Becky goes to sit down, Axel, Adam and Skate scramble to grab the seat nearest to her. Blaze sits on the other side of the table.

Becky: Blaze! Can I sit next to you?

Blaze: Sure. There’s plenty of room on this side, apparently.

The guys look on in disbelief as Becky gets up and goes around to the other side of the table, where she sits down and shuffles her chair right next to Blaze’s. Utterly defeated, the guys go and sit down in their respective chairs around the table, while Axel picks a chair on the opposite side of Becky and Blaze. He gives Adam, Max and Skate all a sinister look as the Chinese food is handed out.

After they had eaten their fill of noodles, sweet & sour pork, dumplings and fortune cookies (most of which foretold of rather grizzly deaths), Blaze decided to chat with Becky a while.

Blaze: So, Becky, how long has it been now? 5 years?

Becky: It’s been about 6 years, 4 months, 1 week and 3 days since we last saw each other. Give or take 3 hours 5 minutes and 42 seconds.

Blaze: Ohhhhhhh Kay. Well then, how has your studies been going? Axel was telling me you were interested in becoming a Police Officer?

Becky: Yeah, I’ve been getting perfect grades on all the written and physical tests.

Blaze: That’s very impressive! I’m sure you’ll make an excellent Police Officer someday!

Becky: I suppose, but to be quite honest, I’d rather be a freelance P.I like you Blaze!

Blaze: Huh? Why is that?

Becky: Because being a police officer isn’t much fun. I’m sure you get much more interesting cases in your line of work, right?

Blaze: Well, sometimes, but some jobs I do can become a lot more dangerous. You would have to spend a lot of time as a regular officer before you could even consider becoming a P.I.

Axel: Uhh, Becky? When did you get the idea to become a Private Investigator? Does your Mom know about this?

Becky: Are you kidding me? She’d go ballistic if I told her anything about this! She has a hard time as it is with the fact that I said I was gonna join the Police Force!

Axel: Well frankly, I can’t blame her! Law enforcement is not an easy job! The streets are dangerous, and you could get injured or even killed!

Becky had a lustful, gushy look on her face as moved right next to Blaze and grabbed her arm.

Becky: Well, I’m sure I’ll be just fine when I have Blaze with me, right Blaze?

*Adam sprayed the mouthful of Cool-ade he had in his mouth at that moment. Max choked on a prawn cracker, while Skate just looked on in disbelief. *

Blaze: W-w-wha? What are you talking about?

Becky: What am I talking about? I’m talking about the fact that you said you were going to make me your partner when I got older.

Blaze: P-partner?! I don’t remember saying anything like that!

Becky: Of course you did! When I was only a little girl, you said that when I got older, you would make me your partner!

Blaze: That hardly counts as a binding contract!

A disappointed look crept across Becky’s face

Blaze: Becky, you seem like a nice kid. If I trained you, and then you went and got yourself hurt, I would be responsible!

Becky: If you care about me so much, why don’t you train me to be as good as you!

Axel: BECKY!! That’s enough! Why don’t you just give up! This is not something that you can just keep pestering Blaze about, until she changes her mind!
Becky: Stay out of this Axel! The way I see it, if I’m trained by the guys that defeated the Legendary Mr X, wouldn’t that be better than just leaving me to my own devices on the streets?

Axel: If you’re not on the streets, then there won’t be a problem, will there, right Adam?

Adam: Wha? Ummm, well actually……

Blaze: You know, Becky does have a point

Axel gives her a disapproving look

Blaze: Don’t look at me like that! If I train her, at least she will be able to take care of herself, instead of having to rely on others as much.

*Becky’s eyes lit up*

Becky: You mean you’ll train me?

Blaze: Sure. We’ll set some time when you and I are free, and I can show you the basics.

Becky: Oh my god! I love you so much Blaze!

Axel: What da hell? Blaze?! You’re supposed to back ME up here!

Blaze: Axel, this isn’t something that’s just gonna go away! Can’t you see how dedicated Rebecca is to this?

Axel scratched his head for a moment, frustrated that the situation was not going the way he was expecting. He turned to the others for support.

Axel: C’mon guys! One of you must agree with me on this!

Max: Well I kinda think it’s a good idea. Once she learns from Blaze, she’ll be unstoppable!

Axel: Oh be quite you! Adam! Buddy! Pal! You got my back right?

Adam: Quit the buddy-buddy talk Axel! I can see right through you! Besides, I’m with Blaze on this one! Having another fighter like Blaze can only be a good thing in the long run. She’ll become a much better officer as well as a result. It’s win-win.

Axel: Pfft. Skate? You’re probably gonna support your bro right?

Skate: Damn right! Becky will be awesome if she trains with Blaze! Why would you wanna stand in the way of that?

There was a long pause.

Axel: You know what, I don’t care anymore. You can all do what you want. I’m going home now Becky. If you don’t wanna be left behind, grab your jacket.

Becky: Fine Uncle Pushy! You know, for a grown man, you’re pretty childish!

Axel: Meh. See you guys next month.

*Max, Adam & Skate chuckled to themselves*

Becky: Thank you so much guys! Especially you Blaze!

Blaze: Think nothing of it! I’m just happy to help you out as much as I can!

Becky: I’m really gonna look forward to our first training session. I’ll wear something really special as well!

Blaze: I wouldn’t recommend that. Just wear something casual that’s comfortable. I also want you to know that I’m a pretty hard task-master. I’m not gonna hold back, you understand?

Becky: Oh, of course! I wouldn’t have it any other way! I want you to work me VERY hard!

Blaze: ………? Ahh……Ooooookay then. Take care Becky. I look forward to seeing you again soon!

Blaze moves in to hug Becky, and is greeted with a huge kiss, right on the lips! Blaze was frozen on the spot, her body a wash with heat. Becky was in no way holding back, playfully teasing Blaze’s tongue with her own.

After about what seemed like an eternity, Becky broke of the kiss. A sliver of saliva strayed from their lips.

Becky had a very satisfied look on her face as she sauntered out of the door. She gave Blaze one last glance over her shoulder, licked her lips, and walked to the door.

Everyone had been watching Becky the entire time, including Axel. After she left the room, they all turned to look at Axel. All he could do was shrug his shoulders. Then everyone turned to look at Blaze. Blaze could barely hide her embarrassment.

End?!

Stay tuned for part 2!

Streets of Rage: The Love Triangle Series

For those that don't know, I've recently taken to writing short stories in my spare time (When I can find the time!). To make things easier for me, I write about stuff I already know about, which is mainly stories about characters from video games and anime. I believe the correct term is fanfiction or "fanfic" for short.

I greatly enjoy putting my own spin on esablished characters, and placing them in unusual and unfamiliar situations (often with hilarious results!). One of my favorite series to write about is the Sega game "Streets of Rage".

I grew up playing the second and third Streets of rage games on my Sega Megadrive games console. I would play for hours on end, imersing myself in the world of Axel Stone, Adam and Skate Hunter and Blaze Fielding as they strolled through the streets kicking the crap out of any punk stipid enough to get in their way. I would almost always play as Axel, because he was so cool, but over time I grew to love Blaze more.

She was the kind of girl that was street smart and sexy, badass but feminine. A contradiction of elements that somehow seemed to fit her so well, and quite unlike the other characters. I wanted to create a series celebrating Blaze and at the same time taking the piss out of the series in general. From this thought, the "Love Triangle series" was born.

The original premise was this:

Everyone just assumes that it's all about Axel and Blaze getting it on together at the end of each game (even though nothing is ACTUALLY implied as such), but What about Blaze and Adam?All three of them were police officers together in the beginning, and I'm sure that as much as there would've been chemistry between Blaze and Axel, I'm sure the same could be said for her and Adam.

Wouldn't that be a great story arc to play with in any subsequent Streets of Rage game?

"Once you go Black, you never go back!"

The original story was intended to be just a silly, peverted sideways glance at the relationships between Axel, Blaze, and Adam, and was not at all intended to be taken seriously. Over time, as I started to write more episodes, I wanted to change the tone to something more sexy and dynamic, showcasing Blaze's talents as a fighter and as a woman.

I've already uploaded the first few episodes onto my Deviantart account, but I probably will upload them here as well at some point. Stay tuned!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Blu-ray for the win?

It seems a tad premature to say that Sony has won the format war between it's Blu-ray disk format, and it's rival, Toshiba's HD-DVD. I'm certainly not one to count chickens before they've hatched, but the way things are looking so far, it's hard to see it any other way.



It is naive to put it into such simplified terms though. There a whole load of other factors that have to be taken into account when quantifying the cost of Sony's apparent victory. Firstly, Sony had a huge plan that was to push the Blu-ray format as much as possible. This meant incoporating the BR drives into every single Playstation 3 console they make. This would give them instant penetration thanks to all the loyal Video Console fans already lining their pockets. Unfortunately, a consequence of that is they probably moved too soon, before any of their Killer Apps were ready to make sure the PS3 was still strong in the Console Wars versus Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii.



The main selling point of the HD-DVD format was supposed to be it's low cost to high production ratio. They were also using the fact that they could add more special content to each disk and provide internet access to extra content through any HD-DVD player. Unfortunately, all of this just seems to be slowing their decline, but not stopping it completely, and it is hardly seems like somthing that BR isn't cpable of doing as well at a later date.


Sony has managed to get support from various video rental outlets, including Blockbuster Video, and have even managed to turn companies that had originally said they would support HD-DVD!

Ironically, as I am writing this, apparently all is not lost for HD-DVD. With the anouncement that Paramount have decided to side with Toshiba, bringing with it a plethora of upcoming blockbusters from this year, such as Transformers and The Bourne Ultimatum. The only movie studio to decide to straddle the fence and not choose one over the other is Warner Bros.

Right now I see a familiar trend of people who choose one format, only to find out that their favorite movie will only be coming out for the other format. Just like with video game exclusivity, fans will have to suffer if their favorite movie or show get's released on a rival platform (I'm looking at you, Namco!). In the end, unless you have enough money to buy both, you're screwed.

Consumers are always the first to suffer when it comes to wars between such giants as Sony and Toshiba.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Another Century's Episode 3


Online Videos by Veoh.com

Just in case you were wondering, Another Century's Episode is a Japan-only Playstation 2 game that showcases some of the most famous Japanese Mechs from various anime series. This game allows you to go head to head to relive famous confrontations, or pick your favorite mech to take on an army in various missions.

I bought the first game from Games Exchange in Tottenham Court Road, on the off-chance that it would be a good game, and to see if my chipped PS2 could play Japanese games as well. Suficed to say, I wasn't disapointed on both counts. Even thought the game is only in Japanese, I could still play it no problem.

I plan to get the sequels some time in the future, just to get the chance to play some of my favorite Jap Mechs like the YF19 from Macross Plus or Wing Zero Custom from Gundam Wing!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

The ties that bind us

A pic of me and my new Polish friend, Sylwia!
A pic of Sylwia and my Japanese friend Tetsuo. Gotta Love that hat! ^_^

These days, I'm much happier than I was when I was younger, because I am making friends and meeting new people. More importantly, I am making sure that I keep in contact with the people that I have met over the last year via email.

Because I have a hard time making new friends, I find it very important to stay in touch with the people that I have created a bond with in one way or another. This gives me reason to live life to the fullest and share my experiences with others. This is probably one of the defining factors of being a human being, which is funny because it's taken me so long to realise that fact!

We are all the sum of our experiences, but I haven't experienced that much of life. I'm trying to rectify that problem by going to places that interest me and talking to people who have similar interests as I do. I've recently been talking to some cool Japanese guys (I think I mentioned about them in my blog before), and trying to learn a little Japanese along the way.

It's great because in some ways, I am able to connect with them more as I'm learning their language, which is exactly what I was hoping would happen! I would holeheartedly encourage anyone who wants to make friends and meet new people, to think about learning a new language. It can be tough, but the rewards are more than worth it!
video
Update: This is a vid of Sylwia playing around with the camera on my phone. I'm sure you'll all agree from what little you see of her in it, she's very cute! Try if you can to ignore my stupid face in this vid! >_<

Monday, 13 August 2007

Worst Bus Drivers on the Planet?

I can't possibly lay claim to knowing the worst bus drivers on the planet, but I've got to be pretty close!

I am referring to the 207 route, that runs along most of the Uxbridge Road in West London. I'm not saying that ALL of the bus drivers for that route are idiots, but the few that are are make the rest of them look bad in comparison!

For example, I was rushing to catch one 207 on the morning at Ealing Broadway, but as soon as I got on the driver turned off the engine. Everybody was waiting there for about 2 minutes. The really stupid thing that happened next was some people got fed-up and got off the bus, THEN the bus driver started up the bus again and drove off! I was smart enough stay on at the time, but I just can't understand what the hell the driver thought he was doing!

I can't tell you the number of times that a bus driver has driven off from the stop, even though I KNEW he could see me banging on the door to let me in! These guys just don't have any compassion!

There have been times where the driver was kind enough to wait for me, but these moments are few and far between. All that is left is the stench of betrayal and mistrust. Each day is a gamble as to whether I will get lucky or not. More often than not, it isn't! ¬_¬

Monday, 6 August 2007

Roy's Picks - Cool Cars









The first pic is of the Lotus 2 Eleven, a Race-Spec version of the Lotus Exiege. The other Two pics are of the New Peugeot RC Z, a direct rival to the Audi TT and the Nissan 350Z. Let the coupe battle begin!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

LCD TVs - Why so complicated?

I've recently been trying to get a new TV for my family, to replace the old one that has broken down. I feel I need to talk about this in great detail, in order to inform anyone who will inevitably have to go through the same hardships that I have had to go through!

The idea was to get a 19" widescreen LCD TV from my local Tesco store. I had bought a TV from them before, and on the whole I am quite happy with it. My impression was that it would be more of the same when I got the new one.

Unfortunately, a lot of unforeseen problems arose as a result of not properly researching what I was intending to buy. I will list a number of problems that I had with that TV:

1. The (supposed stereo) sound quality is not very good. There is not a lot of bass in the sound, and I didn't get much of an impression of proper stereo sound (Left & right).

2. The picture quality is not much better. The colour contrast is too harsh, and the TV configuration settings were too fiddly, and not that helpful.

3. The Freeview channels are not as good as I hoped they would be. I knew very little about Freeview before buying the TV, but I was under the impression that we would be getting a whole ton of new channels, at a much higher visual quality than what I have currently.

4. The compatibility with our other equipment wasn't that good either (although in hindsight, I think the problems were more down to the VCR/DVD unit we're using). Sufficed to say, there was a lot to learn in that regard as well!

I got the impression that the manufacturers of this TV had cut some corners in terms of the parts used in it's construction, just to keep costs down. I was very disappointed with the whole package in general, and just to prove the point, I bought a similar type of TV from Argos, and it turned out a LOT better. The picture quality and contrast was much better, as was the sound. I'm planning on returning the Tesco TV and get my money back as soon as possible! I will also make sure I'm a heck of a lot more careful if I buy any electrical goods from Tesco in future!

If I could give anybody in the same situation some advice, it would be:

A. Try to find out as much information as you can beforehand. Any kind of product review or product specs from the Internet will make things much easier for you in the long run.

B. Take a friend/family member with you. If you have someone else with you, they'll be able to see the situation more objectively that you ever could, and should let you know when something looks too good to be true. Nuff said.

C. If at all possible, ask to see the TV working BEFORE you hand over your hard-earned cash. That way you can make a better informed decision as to weather you're happy with it or not.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Hideo Kojima - The Man, The Myth, The Legend!









It's not very often that, after playing through and completing a videogame that you want to find out more about the person responsible for it's creation. For me, Metal Gear Solid was one such exception. You could pretty much tell from start to finish, this was much more than just a video game. It was an experience, and what's more, it's an experience I would recommend to anyone who asks me if it was worth it. My praise goes to the man responsible for changing the landscape of videogames for the better: Hideo Kojima.

Before MGS on the PS1, I was only familiar with the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) version of Metal Gear. I had never played the game, but was interested in what appeared to be a military style combat game, where you got to use a ton of different weapons and equipment as you progressed through the game. It gave me the impression that the game was kinda like a present day RPG (Role Play Game). I had no idea that the concept of stealth was it's core element, but if I had had a chance to play it, I probably would've been hooked.

Pretty much every element of Metal Gear Solid was designed to go beyond the conventional action game. The first rule of thumb is that you can't just rush in guns blazing. That kind of thinking gets you killed VERY quickly. The second rule is to always use your eyes and ears first before you push forward, because one false step can get you in trouble, or even kill you. Third rule, be careful who you trust. One thing that quickly becomes apparent as you progress through the game: nothing is as it appears.

There are a lot more rules that I could tell you about playing through a Metal Gear game, and they're all because of the architect behind the wheel of the rollercoaster ride. Hideo Kojima's main task was to make the gamer think outside the box, and change the way we perceive how to play an action game. From what I've read about Kojima-san on his "Hideoblog", even from his younger days as a Videogame designer, he wanted to make games that were different from the norm, to break conventional thoughts of what a video game should be. There are not that many games on the market that make the player stop what they're doing to admire where they are, or question what they are doing in the game that they are playing!

It's interesting that the construction of a videogame is not unlike making a Hollywood movie. The cutscenes in the Metal Gear games could easily be described as such, with all the intensity, depth, passion, pain and remorse you can find in any modern day cinema equivalent. Hideo Kojima is a man that, as humble as he is, can be considered a progenitor and a grandfather of modern videogames. His tireless passion, focus and shear attention to detail ensures that the Metal Gear franchise will be remembered for a long time to come. I know I will never forget it!
You can make up your own mind whether I'm right or not by visiting his blog at:

The Japanese are people too!

In my efforts to understand more about Japan and it's people, I have taken upon myself to immerse myself as much as possible. I feel it is important to learn as much as possible, so as to avoid embarrassing myself too much and gain trust and familiarity with those I interact with. One thing I have learned about the Japanese is that, in many ways, they are no different from us or any other country in the world. The similarities are many, and that fact in itself should help me gain confidence to make conversation (I hope! ¬_¬).

Where I work there is a room directly opposite my office that is leased out by a small Japanese company called ENA (I'll try to find out what it stands for later). The guys that work there provide an after school private tutor service for Japanese kids living in this country. The ages of the kids they teach range from what looks like 6 to 16 years of age.

I've seen these guys around for over 3 years, and always pass them in the corridors of the building throughout the day, but I never plucked up the courage to try and talk to them about my interests, fearing that they would not be interested or felt uncomfortable around me. I was so worried about what they thought about me, that I pretty much gave up on trying, even though I REALLY wanted to be able to talk to them! Pretty stupid, huh? ¬_¬

Ironically, it was one of the apprentices named Michael that I work with that, in his utter noobish attitude just went up to them and started talking to them, even though he had little to no knowledge of Japan. His shear curiosity outweighed any feelings of inadequacy I would've felt in the same situation. He isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the box, but I can honestly say that I envied his childlike innocence and enthusiasm!

Every now and again, I would see him go into their room to have a conversation with the team leader of ENA (his name is Masa, like the famous samurai sword Masamune) and the others, in English. He got them to teach him a little Japanese, but it was mostly silly stuff like "what does my name mean in Japanese?" and "how do you call someone an idiot in Japanese?" In turn, he was teaching them a little English as Masa knew quite a bit of English himself. I truly despaired at the direction most of their conversations went, but had to accept that Michael was doing what I could not.

I vowed to myself, that I would try harder to make my presence known, and show these guys that I'm a nice guy who has an interest in Japan too!

At first, whenever Michael and a couple of the other apprentices would go to visit the ENA guys, I would jump in as well. I was able to give my insight into certain parts of English that they weren't sure about, and also show them how good my pronounciation of some Japanese words was, therefore getting my foot through the door. I also improved my standing by showing them some of my art work, which they were very impressed with! ^_^

I realise now that I really didn't have much to worry about from the start! They're very friendly, and the mood of our conversations is always very lighthearted and comical!

Things have gone on quite smoothly to date. I say "Konnichiwa!" whenever I see them, and Masa is happy talk to someone who has an interest in Japan, because he gets to teach me new things each time. So far, he's told me about the different regions of Japan, as well as the best places to visit, such as Akihabara and Shibuya. As I suspected, there is a lot more to Japan than just Tokyo. It's the same with England, you can't understand the entire country just by visiting London!

I must say though, since attending that 1 week intensive course in Japanese (which I will tell you about later in another post), I finally have some ammunition that I can use to start learning Japanese to at least a basic level. I have enought to be able to at least put together basic sentences. I think that once I'm comfortable with this, then I can think about slightly more complicated stuff, and maybe even learn how to read Japanese as well! (let's not get ahead of ourselves Roy! - Me ¬_¬)

I'm sure that anyone that has learned Japanese can say that, it is a lot more helpful to be around Japanese people when learning their language than just on your own!

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Beware of the GaijinSmash!!!

For those who don't know of this blog, GaijinSmash.net is about the daily experiences of a Black guy from San Francisco, who moved to Japan to become a Japanese teaching assistant. This is quite possibly the funniest blog I've ever read, and totally I recommend anyone who even has a passing interest in Japan to read it!

The blog is very informative, and gives an insight into a lot of the things that people just don't get to hear about when visiting Japan, but in a comical, almost slapstick kind of way. In his own super exaggerated way, Azreal (his forum name) talks about his experiences living in the land of the rising sun. The topics he writes about range from Kancho & Dodgedick, slutty school uniforms, Japanese school system, unruly and angelic behavior, things that seem strange to us but are perfectly normal to the Japanese, trying and failing to learn English, the weird things that Jappanese people say, drama classes, sports days, more Kancho & Dodgedick, fitting in with the crowd, standing out from the crowd and relationships).


I guarantee your perception of Japanese people will change forever after reading the posts at GaijinSmash!


Here's the link:
http://www.gaijinsmash.net/

Cute Piglets


Here's another cute pic from the Metro newspaper. If you ain't gushing, you have no soul!! >_<

Toe-tally adoreable!


I may be a guy, but even I have a gentle side. I saw this pic in a recent issue of the free newspaper Metro, and thought it was so cute, that I would scan it onto my computer.

It's only later, as I was writing on my blog that I realised that I could pretty much put whatever I wanted on it, add a picture, and write about it. So I did.

The article says that the kitten is unique in that it was born with 23 toes, 7 and 6 on his front two paws, and 5 on each back leg.

It's kinda weird, but pretty cute at the same time!

There's a lot more where that came from, so stay tuned!