Japan’s “Visual Novels”

In various podcast episodes, you may have heard Zack and I talk about “Visual Novels” as a popular game style in Japan.  But what exactly are these Visual Novels? Well, if you’re as old as me, you may recall reading in elementary school those Choose Your Own Adventure novels published by Bantam Books, where you read through half a page, then it says, “If you choose to go through the door, turn to page 27.  If you decide to stand out in the rain, turn to page 34.”  Then flip through the book to the desired choice and continue reading, …

Continue reading

Happy New Year!

Well, it’s a bit belated.  But it’s been a busy holiday – thanks to the stack of games I got for Christmas. So how is New Year’s celebrated here in Japan?  Same as back in Canada?  Nope, not in the least.  In fact, it almost feels like the concept of the two major holidays in December – Christmas and New Year’s – are swapped. Back home, we might have Christmas parties spread out through the month, ending with the 25th in which we sit down with our family and open presents, and have a huge turkey feast.  Some (non-practicing) Christians …

Continue reading

The AKB Craze!

AKB48:  Who are they?  What are they?  Why are they? Well, to answer those first two questions, AKB48 is the hottest thing to hit Japan since white rice.  AKB is short for “Akiba,” which in turn is short for “Akihabara,” a district in Tokyo and the HQ for most otaku.  AKB48 is a girl group, currently made up of 64 members ranging in ages from early teens to early twenties.  They sing, they dance, and they have thus far released 13 singles. What makes them different from other girl groups?  For one, most groups don’t have 64 members (they even …

Continue reading