Golden Week

ゴールデンウィーク

Like Shonen Jump, I’m off next week!

Not just Shonen Jump, of course. Just about every big business takes Golden Week off. Today (Showa Day) and next week’s Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are all off.

I took Monday off for a nice 7-day break. My girlfriend and I decided to go to Taiwan, as between Taiwan and Thailand (we love the たいs), the price increase compared to a normal trip was smaller for Taiwan.

Which was great, because it meant that I could practice my Chinese which I haven’t really touched in almost half a decade. But, like riding a bicycle, it’s coming back pretty quickly. Between listening to ChineseClass101 and spending a chunk of time on Memrise every day, I feel like I can grasp the basics again. And, plainly, it’s fun to study again. 我喜欢学中文!!

While I had only planned on studying in the time leading up to going to Taiwan, I’m feeling that spirit of learning Chinese coming back. Now the big problem isn’t learning another language per se, but that I should probably be focusing on game development, as that has the biggest impact on the near future for me.

In any case, I fly out to Taiwan tonight. Wish me luck!

Idle Thoughts

The past week was “Golden Week” here in Japan. It’s only technically three days, which fell on Sunday (Constitution Day), Monday (Green Day), and Tuesday (Children’s Day) this year. Wednesday was also a holiday to make up for the fact that Sunday was a holiday, and Japan’s always making sure everyone’s taking their needed breaks.

I went out Sunday to don a happi and happily help carry an omikoshi around. Like last year, my shoulders hurt a lot while doing it, but the constant alcohol along the way (beer, sake) helped me ignore the pain. I’m sure it was very safe.

Monday I went to a Brazilian festival in a town two hours away where my friend lives. The festival was awesome! The food was great, music not bad, shows good. I learned a lot about coffee (of which Brazil makes a lot) and tried to Samba dance and failed, which should surprise nobody that knows me. It was a good experience. Maybe if I put in the time and effort, I could do it someday.

We had a barbeque at that friend’s place afterward. Good ol’ American barbeque sauce in a jug the size of which could only be bought in America. Talked a little about video games, watched some Key and Peele, ate a little too much.

The next day we went north to Kesennuma, the very northeast most part of Miyagi (essentially, the exact furthest point in Miyagi from my town). Due to the disaster in 2011, we still needed to travel through Iwate to get there since the other roads aren’t rebuilt. After we got there, we enjoyed a little walk, I vacuumed the friend’s house we were staying at while drinking wine, we went to an izakaya where we drank a lot more, and then ended the day at a bar, playing darts and arm wrestling Japanese people who were back here for Golden Week. Sean John, who will probably never read this: you’re great.

The next day we woke up late and groggy, drank a lot of coffee, bought some omiyage and went for Nepalese curry at Kesennuma’s best restaurant ever, Yeti. After eating, we all pretty much donated money to the recovery from the recent disaster. I’m glad I donated, because I’d been meaning to. But to be honest, I haven’t done much donating before. Nothing beyond the coins in my pocket. It’s only really when it’s convenient, like when there’s a box next to the cash register at an amazing restaurant. But I should donate more.

On a completely separate note, a friend let me borrow Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’m still playing Xenoblade X (and probably will be for a bit) (also, it’s awesome). While most of the games I’ve bought in Japan, I’ve played in Japanese, I played Child of Light in English, and I might play DA:I in English too. That was the language of the developers, right? That was the original way the story was intended, if that’s a thing. I certainly believe it’s a thing. As a creator myself, I’m tempted to believe that all games should be played in the language of their creators, if possible, at least the first time.

Of course, I’m tempted to play Child of Light again in Japanese. How would it sound, when the game was so poetic to begin with? Is it all in haikus?

I got back last night, tired, but still with energy to watch videos while I did my laundry. It was a good Golden Week in any case. Good people, fun places, new experiences. But I am ready to play some video games again.