Monday, October 31, 2011

A Look Into History: Nunchaku

Nunchaku or known more commonly to Americans as Nunchucks are a Japanese weapon originating in Okinawa. 

A Look Into Video Games: Apple Bandai Pippin

Yes Apple was into gaming (besides Macs) long before the iPhone. They teamed up with Bandai to make a console of their own. 
The specs were pretty much like a Mac computer. It even ran on the same OS. 

Controller was a little plain and goofy though. Also less than 20 games were made for the system. Yikes.....

Things I Hate: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

I was really hyped for the movie when it came out, but I missed it in theaters. By the time I saw it I'm glad I didn't see it in theaters.
It was all about pirate unity and whatnot. That was cool. 
Corny weddings are NOT COOL. 
It's too bad of a film, but it just disappointed me a lot. The plot was suppose to be better than it was.

Things I Like: The Wicker Man (1973 Film)

Need a perfect Halloween movie? Look none other than The Wicker Man. Not the remake but the 1973 British original. It's not scary in the traditional sense, there's not really any blood or gore, but it does seem more Stephen King than Wes Craven. 
The movie stars a police officer looking for a missing girl. He goes to a remote Scottish island in search for her. It's so remote that he's the only police officer there. He also doesn't even live there. De-facto island anarchy really. 
He soon discovers that the island is full of weirdos. The island is actually purely pagan, and it sharply contrasts with his Christian faith. But he must act quickly if he's suppose to save the lost girl. 
Christopher Lee also plays an awesome role as the religious head of the island. It's a movie full of mystery and shocking truths. A must watch. 

Watched The King's Speech (2010 Film)

Rented this movie today, and it was pretty much as good as I heard it was. 
The film is about the man who would eventually become King George VI of Great Britain. Despite being a royal, he can barely make a speech. 
Geoffrey Rush plays Lionel Logue a speech therapist who helps King George VI become a real king not a stumbling fool with a crown. The best character of the film for sure. You might also recognize Rush as the guy who played Hector Barbossa in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. 
Speaking of recognizing people, Dumbledore shows up as King George V. Not exactly as nice as his wizard alter ego. 
There is also another Harry Potter alumni in the movie as well. The woman who played Bellatrix LeStrange portrays Queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. 
It's an all-star cast with such historic detail and high production values. It's a masterpiece of a movie, and such an interesting tale from a real-life event of misfortune to success. 

Japanese Words For the Day: Bugs and "How Are You?"

Before we get into bugs, some people have been asking for me to put some sentences. I'm not exactly good at my grammar just yet so let's just keep it to some basic phrases. Now "How are you?" is pretty simple. I'm also going to write down how it sounds since Romaji is not always spelled like it sounds. 

Genki desu ka?


To respond all you need to say is 

Genki desu. 


Which means "I'm fine".

My Day Yesterday: A Lot of Movies + Dark Cloud

My girlfriend and I watched a whole bunch of movies today. She had gotten these first two from the local library. She's a sucker for made for TV movies. The first one was Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front. It teaches about sacrifice, patriotism, and dealing with loss. I liked the history and theme about it with it being about World War II and such.

Fact of the Day: Halloween in Japan

Halloween is a sorta new holiday in Japan since they knew about it from American pop culture. Jack-o-lanterns are popular, but trick or treating is not. Dressing up in costume is usually only for private parties. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Strike Force Bowling (PS2) Review

For a video game connoisseur such as myself, I find it strange when I've never heard of a game. My girlfriend loved the bowling mini-game in both Wii Sports games, and she was thrilled to know that there was a bowling game for PS2. She rented it off my Blockbuster account, so it didn't really cost me anything in a sense. Except my time, which I want back. 
The game features basic bare-bones modes with a few characters and stages but that's about it. The bowling part is done in a more Hot Shots Golf fashion. You have a power bar, and you must time it right for your ball to roll done the lane properly. 
It's not that hard to get the hang of, but after mastering it you're left in sheer boredom. It's kinda like playing Dance Dance Revolution with the D-pad instead of the Dance Mat. Yeah you're technically playing a video game and having "fun" but there is just something missing. Maybe I'm spoiled by something like Wii Bowling, but combine that with bad production values, mediocre graphics, and boring music and you wouldn't be thrilled either. We sealed this game back in the envelope faster than you can say queue.  

Score: 3 out of 10

A Look Into History: Bloody Sunday (1905)

Bloody Sunday was an event in 1905, when several groups of Russians marched peacefully to present a protest to Tsar Nicholas II. They protested that they needed better working conditions, wages, and some other things. 

A Look Into Video Games: 3DO Interactive Multiplayer

The 3DO was a failed video game console back in 1994. It used CDs and was one of the most powerful consoles in it's day. However it was also super expensive.
It was also one of the rare instances where multiple companies made the same system. Panasonic sold the most of them. 
Though companies like Gold Star also sold some. 
It received ports like Alone in the Dark. 
Gex also showed up. 
The Need for Speed started the Need For Speed series right here on 3DO.

Things I Like: Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Even though the first film was really good, I liked the 2nd film the best out of all the 3. 

Things I Hate: The Cat in the Hat (2003 Film)

The book is a classic, but the movie is junk. 
It was like the children's book, but the book is so short that it's impossible to make a good movie into. It was so boring. Also Cat Mike Myers is creepy. 
So is Alec Baldwin. 

My Day Yesterday: New Jacket and Terrible Video Games

Today was just another normal day off from work. I don't have to work again until Halloween. My girlfriend and I played Hot Shots Golf 3 again. She's getting better. 
She also played World Championship Poker for PS2. She turned it off in about 5 minutes. Really awful. 
We also played Strike Force Bowling for PS2. It was....awful. Really awful. She had rented it through my Blockbuster By Mail account. Thank god I'm going to exchange in store for a new movie. 
While we were chilling out in my room, my brother knocked on the door and gave me a new sweatshirt/hooded jacket. He works at a place where he gets all the discounted or damaged items for almost nothing or free. It's pretty nice, my girlfriend likes it. Ignore the box behind me though. My brother keeps all his shipping supplies in the living room. When 3 adults live in a such a small house (3 bedroom, 1 bath), we tend to have a problem of where to put our stuff. 

Japanese Words For the Day: Types of Jobs

Architect is Kenchikuka

Fact of the Day: Trick or Treating For UNICEF

The program started out as a small local program in 1950, but today has raised over 118 million dollars for the United Nations' fund for better standards of living for children in poor nations. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Look Into History: The Katana

While American usually refer to any type of Japanese or "Samurai Sword" as a Katana it usually refers only to a certain type of sword from Japan. Modern katanas in Japan are only slightly curved and usually no longer than 73cm and no shorter than 60cm. 

It replaced the longer and curvier Tachi as the Samurai's favorite sword. 
Samurai would usually carry a Katana and the smaller Wakizashi. Like how a soldier today carries a rifle and a pistol. 
Katanas are still an important part of Japanese culture since their creation in 1392.

They were even used in World War II. Well sorta some of the swords issued might have resembled classical katanas but were usually classified as something different. And the term "used" is pretty light, the Imperial Japanese Army preferred to use more deadlier weapons to match America's own. It was more of a "hanging on to one's culture" thing than a practical item. 

A Look Into Video Games: PSX

PSX eh? No, this is not a post about the original PlayStation. It used to be nicknamed PSX back before the PS2 came out since PS sounded weird. Now most people call it the PS1.

Things I Like: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

I've seen all 3 movies, and the first one is still a classic. 

Things I Hate: MegaMan X6

Even though I don't have a high opinion of the first 2 X games for PS1, they are not that terrible. They're actually shiny gemstones compared to X6.
It was basically the same old rehashed game-play with some of the worst level design and difficulty. 
It also ditched Zero from the start, even though you could play as him later on. Pretty lame.