JLPT5 Success!

posted in: Japanese Language, JLPT | 1

Remember this post from December? – http://www.mengsbizarreadventure.com/2012/jlpt-n5/

BAM!
合格 だ ね! すごい よ あたし。
でもね。。。111/180 わ たかくない ですね。。。 wwwwww
N4 いくそう。

(dont put that into Google translate. wont make sense at all
Its supposed to say “I passed! Im awesome! but you know… 111/180 is not very high… Lets move on to N4”)

999 / Virtues Last Reward / Zero Escape

posted in: Games | 0

The Zero Escape series from lesser known developer Chunsoft may have just become my favorite game series of all time. Granted there are only 2 games in the series at the moment (with a 3rd on the way), but these games punch way above their weight and have the best twists I’ve ever seen in any form of media.
Both games made me ‘WTF’ out loud on multiple occasions, and the climaxes in both games are well worth the 20something hours you will have invested into the game.
I personally thought 999 had the better plot, better twist, and more likeable characters but VLR makes up for these with better gameplay mechanics.
Also, I’ve noticed people asking whether you need to have played 999 to play VLR…. Whilst VLR does stand on its own and is mostly self contained, I very strongly recommend playing 999 before VLR as the story is a direct chronological sequel and contains crossover characters and references.
Its worth noting that at around £20 each for these games, and they last around 20 hours – £1/hr is incredible value, and the endings are pretty priceless. The ending of 999 left such an impact on me I can still remember it pretty clearly despite playing it 2 or 3 years ago.
tldr; These games are fucking fantastic, they are intensely long and occasionally boring, but the final payouts are something you need to see.

DmC : Devil May Cry

posted in: Games | 0

DmC is the best action game I’ve played since Bayonetta.
The combat is fast and fluid, the pacing is well thought out, the environments are varied and vibrant (though occasionally a little dark), the story is not abysmal (which is actually a massive plus for this genre), and the soundtrack is thumpin’

The few complaints I have about the game are its short length, and its reluctance to let you use Devil Trigger (which looks amazing btw).

I don’t think there is a whole lot more I need to say about this game really, its really fucking fun – and whilst it doesn’t really feel like a Devil May Cry game, developer Ninja theory should be proud in knowing that in my opinion, its probably better than all of its predecessors, and that it would easily stand on its own without ties to that universe.

Also, play it on PC, the console versions run at 30fps whilst the PC version runs at 60 and is well optimized.

Lets hope this is the start of a good year for gaming, though I already suspect you’ll be seeing this in 2013’s top 10 list.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011/2012)

posted in: films | 0

Jiro dreams of sushi is a movie documentary about 85 year old sushi master Jiro Ono and his restaraunt, where he serves what is apparently the best sushi in the world.
The film is portioned approximately 50/50 his history/life and the food, both are amazing – though as a food buff myself the scenes where he preparing the sushi are incredible.

It at times feels like what can only be described as food porn, with slow motion slicing of fish, pressing of rice and coating the top with what I assume is magical love sauce.
This is all set to a classical soundtrack which seems to fit the film so very well.

Jiro dreams of sushi is a must see for food lovers, and according to rotten tomatoes, people in general – It is rated at 99% after 83 reviews and currently sits in the top 10 best films of 2012.

Watch the below trailer in HD, then watch the whole damn film because then you will understand how hard it is to make a sushi documentary sound interesting.

What you should be watching this season (Winter 2012)

posted in: Anime, WYSBW | 0

Not too many good shows this season, so this’ll probably be quick.
Full list here

New Shows:

Maoyuu

Its almost like watching an anime based around playing Civilization V, the jist of the plot is a hero goes to kill the demon lord – who then convinces the hero that the war effort is necessary for the economy of the country because the kingdom is currently united against the demons. They then go about trying to fix the economy by travelling and helping towns/villages with their problems (food shortage, etc)
Its a weird show, and it has its own binges of rom-com mixed in occasionally, but on the whole it seems a decent enough watch.

Tamako Market

Tamako Market is this seasons Kyoani release (studio behind K-ON and last seasons Chuunibyou), it shows through its moeblob animation style, gentle pacing, and its ‘nothing ever actually happens in this show’ plot. Regardless however, its a comedy involving cute girls doing cute things – accompanied by an obese talking bird. Its entertaining enough to warrant a look.

Kotoura San

Im pretty on the fence with Kotoura-San, it had a pretty strong opening episode but as we’re going into episode 3 im not quite sure how I feel about it.
Kotoura is a girl who effortlessly reads minds, interestingly however the show has gone in the direction of portraying it as a curse rather than a gift, focusing on the hardships of being outcast for not being normal. The show tries to balance it out with some cheap comedy and what looks like the beginning of a love story but its anyone’s guess how I’ll feel about this show come episode 10.
For now however, its probably worth keeping an eye on (and hell, i’ve got to blog something.)

Sequels:

Haganai Next
Boku wa tomodachi ga sukunai Next / I dont have many friends 2

If you liked the first season, you’ll probably like this. If you haven’t seen the first season, and want a non serious love polygon comedy with quirky characters (a goth loli, a nun, a pervert scientist, a bimbo who plays eroge, a cross-dresser and a bully) then check out season 1

Upgraded from last WYSBW Tier:

Sakurasou

I didn’t have particularly strong feelings for this one after 2 episodes when I did my last WYSBW, but after getting to know the characters better (and watching them know their characters better) I can say that Sakurasou is one of the better shows currently airing, and was one of the better shows last season as well. Its a plot driven love polygon comedy, and I cant help but feel half the fun comes from rooting for your favourite character in the polygon. #TeamAoyama
It was revealed it was a 2-cour, so this will be airing until the end of the season at least probably.

Mediocre Tier:

Oreshura

aka. Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru / My girlfriend and childhood friend fight too much

Yeah, with a title like that…
Not sure how I feel about this one yet, seems pretty mediocre, but its such a dismal season for anime i’ll probably end up watching it anyway.
A hot girl forms a fake relationship to prevent other guys from hitting on her, and then the childhood friend gets involved…

JET Programme : Interview preparation and my experience

posted in: JET Programme | 1

So I had my JET interview this morning, thought I’d write this up and kind of give back to the internet since it helped me when I was preparing. Hopefully this blog post will ping up on google for a few of you who are looking for more information about the JET interview or tips / people with past experience.

The interview was at the Japan embassy in London, pretty fancy building inside, a cute girl welcomed me in and we were told to do a Grammar test – I hear this is specific mainly to the UK application process, and that Americans aren’t required to do this, which is kind of unfair because this test was seriously hard.
Questions were a mix of…
‘Which of these words does not share a similar meaning’ – followed by 4 words you might have heard on the politics channel or something (enervate? wat?) If anything makes me fail, its going to be this grammar test most likely, which is kind of BS because I’ve lived in this country all my life and have never heard the word enervate used in a sentence.
‘What is the difference between ‘should’ and ‘must’ ‘
‘fix this paragraph (followed by a paragraph containing typos, missing grammar and wrong words) ‘

We then sat down in front of a JET video, which just kind of ran in the background, I didnt actually get a chance to pay much attention to it as we were talking to the former JET applicants who were sitting with us – I hear this is sometimes a bit of an informal interview bit, but who knows – better to be safe than sorry and just talk to them.

And then finally the interview… There were 2 of them, a former JET and a Japanese representative, they asked questions and thankfully the experience wasn’t too painful – stuff I had read online have said they try to trip you up, trick you, or grill you almost like a war crimes trial – mine was pretty much the polar opposite of this.

The questions I was asked (that i can remember)…
– Why do you want to be on the JET Programme
– What can you bring to the JET programme
– How would you feel if you were placed in a rural area as opposed to the urban area you applied for
– Introduce yourself in Japanese
– Was there any experience in Japan which really stood out
– Where did you go
– What island/region are Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka in
– What are the other 3 regions
– Tell us about your Japanese language education
– If the teacher you are working with makes an English mistake, what would you do
– 3 British people or characters that you would teach to your students
– What is your teaching style / what is important about teaching
– Do you consider this as a career change? It says you are currently working in Accountancy

Looking back now, they asked a lot of questions, goddamn. But the time spent in the room flew by, 20 minutes gone in an instant, I actually said “oh, thats it? that was 20 minutes?” to which she replied “yes, more than 20 minutes in fact” – I had been talking for 25.

And that was that. Hopefully, come April I’ll get a lovely letter saying I’ve been accepted, but who knows what the future holds. After all, I really did cock up that grammar test.

Websites which helped me to prepare for this interview…
Constantine in Tokyo
Koneko Darling’s 10 ways to prepare for your JET
Farstrider’s To be a JET
Messages from Earth (youtube)
Myargonauts (youtube)
Some girl who is way too happy (youtube)

To those who are applying in the future, がんばって!
If this blog post helped you, link it somewhere to get it higher rated on the search engines.

edit: Got a letter 3 months later… – http://www.mengsbizarreadventure.com/2013/jet-programme-2013-application-result/

Why im not going to survive past May

posted in: blog | 0

So, my JET application went through to interview stage, which is on Monday. This is great because it means i’ve made it through stage 1, but also I suppose kind of bad because it means I likely wont survive past half way through 2013.
Heres why:

Scenario: Interview
a) Anxiety attack on way to interview -> Death
b) Anxiety attack during interview -> Death
c) Flop interview -> Seppuku aka. Death
d) Everything goes okay -> Live to see next scenario

Scenario 2: Interview results
a) Failure -> Suicide aka. Death
b) Success -> Die of happiness

The Oculus Rift just gave me a boner

posted in: Games | 0

So, the Oculus Rift, a new piece of technology which has seen more light recently, if you are unfamiliar with it, a video displaying it is below.

As is said in the video, this is probably just the beginning, and that makes me so excited.
I actually think the above demo is pretty sloppy and only really displays the basics, but imagine when the tech improves. When/If the rift becomes wireless for example, combined with a wireless separate hand control – this would let you fully properly move around the world, with the rift essentially replacing right analogue stick and the left controller analogue stick being in your left hand, you would be able to properly turn around on the spot to move.
Combine that with a PS move controller or something on your right hand and give your character a sword…. holy shit. Granted you would almost definitely break stuff in your room, but it would be so damn worth it.

In particular this seems like something which would be super awesome for RPGs or MMOs or stuff with massive detailed worlds, for example imagine being able to explore Azeroth/Tyria from a first person point of view. Or a lot of people have been talking about the possibility of sword art online becoming a reality, and sure, why not – as long as you can move and control a sword accurately, along with perhaps a 5.1 headset with microphone, anything could be possible – a fully immersive game viewed from a character point of view, with surround sound hearing and the ability to talk to other players? The future is bright indeed – Maybe i’ll set aside £1k in a bank account and just name it the VR fund.