Germ Goes to Japan, and Other Stories
September 14, 2016

Time to ramble for a bit.

About a month ago, I traveled to Japan. I remember being fascinated by the country as a kid, mainly because of all the talk about it in the videogame magazines I used to read. I went through a small and mild infatuation with anime and manga mostly as a preteen, but didn't retain anything other than a mild interest after that point.

Still, 'twas the land of vidyagames, and I went. Sort of.

I was on vacation with the family. We spent most of the time at Disneyland, not the most Japanese place in Tokyo, and only ended spending a few hours in Ueno Park one day and a little time in Akihabara on another. In Akihabara I just visited Yodobashi Camera and an arcade. Fairly interesting, but I skipped the Maid Cafes.

Anyway, here's Pokemon Go at Disneyland.



And an arcade in Akihabara:



Concerning the former, Pokemon Go actually isnít available in most of Korea. It has to do with some strange laws about mapping the country, or something.You can read a little more about the situation here. Itís a little odd, since Nianticís other game, Ingress, works just fine and I play it regularly. I donít have much time for gaming, so I was interested in Pokemon Go as a casual thing (like Ingress) but after playing just a little in Japan Iím not sure Iím still interested. I wish Niantic took on an original product and didnít use a license. Seems like it was a great business decision though!

Gundam is huge in Korea, and although I havenít watched a ton of it Iíve enjoyed seeing the model shops around and even built a couple myself. So I made sure to stop by the Gundam Cafe in Akihabara and get a latte:



It was pretty fun, and the waitresses really do give you a salute when you leave!

When I returned to Korea I got the chance to watch the zombie film 부산행(Train to Busan). I read a review of it in the The New York Times, and since it got enough attention for a limited US release I thought I might as well try to watch it here. In Korea, there are express trains linking all of the major cities in the country. The concept of the movie is a zombie outbreak occurring just as one leaves Seoul for the city of Busan on the opposite side of the country, with a single infected person boarding the train as it leaves.

My Korean isnít great, but I understood the movieís plot. The zombies are fast and twitchy, but still vulnerable due to some interesting weaknesses I wonít spoil here. The survivors are interesting and entertaining to watch, especially a big bruiser of a man who viciously manhandles and bodyslams zombies whenever they go after his pregnant wife. Iím not the biggest zombie fan in the world, but I enjoyed the movie. Highly recommended.

If I get a little more free time Iíll try to blog again. 안녕!

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Feedback
honestgamer honestgamer - September 14, 2016 (11:11 PM)
That's awesome that you got to visit Japan! My wife and I hope to visit there someday soon. In the long term, I might even want to move there, but first I need to get my teaching degree... and learn Japanese. Two big hurdles, but I'm working on the first one already!
Germ Germ - September 15, 2016 (03:38 AM)
That's cool Jason! You can be an English teacher in Japan without knowing the language, one of the other foreign teachers I work with in Korea just moved from teaching there. All you need is a four year degree of any kind to teach, so I think if you actually had a teaching degree you'd find a job very easily. Of course, once you're there you can begin truly intensive study of the language if you're so inclined.
pickhut pickhut - September 17, 2016 (04:24 AM)
Good on you for taking a vacation, and that's a cool looking latte! I've also thought about taking a vacation there some day, or at the very least take a trip back to Okinawa, for memory lane's sake. But, you know, finances and stuff.
Germ Germ - September 17, 2016 (05:05 AM)
You lived in Okinawa?
pickhut pickhut - September 17, 2016 (07:16 AM)
As a young kid. My Dad was stationed there, and I was there up until 1997. Haven't been back since.

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