Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stuff I eat here in Japan

The McDonalds 'Goovy Beef' - McDouble with gochujang(spicy red pepper paste) and jalapeno-mayo sauce, with a side of Classic fries, topped with cheese and bacon bits 720Yen/meal.

Pear ice cream! Decently sweet and very pear-y!

Mango-white chocolate

Sweet-ass sparkling peach soda

McD's Funky Beef, with 'bacon,' relish, 2 patties

Sugary lychee gummies
Beer and wine at Wendy's in Roppongi...no big deal.
This is a Y900 cup of iced coffee, but is by far the strongest I've ever had. You might budget an hour to 90min to sit down to have one of these bad boys.
Kiwi soda is the bomb diggity!

This was the Brazil Burger, available for 2 weeks during the World Cup: 2 beef patties, cheese, green and yellow peppers and barbecue sauce.

The Japan burger, available for 2 weeks during World Cup: a deep fried pattie of ground beef and cheese, topped with lettuce, onions and a flavored ketchup.

*panicked driving* OHH NO! OHH! (gets one in mouth) Ohh that's raspberry-OHH! OHH NO!

Grapefruit, Lime, Lemon malts with no sugar added, and a sweet raspberry malt.

Cakey-bottomed, bready cupcake with chocolate puffed rice on top. As a side note, the milkfat percentage is listed on the carton and the range is enormous! 4.6% goes amazingly with coffee and into baked goods.

Pan-toasted chocolate marble bread.

Strawberry croissant-donut.

Oreo-cheesecake cupcake. I died three times eating this.

Green-tea icecream bar coated in crunchy chocolate.

Japanese McDonalds sells hot, deep-fried chocolate pies. Yes. Believe it. The gooey center is worth it.

Some kind of flaky roasted-yam pastry. Great with tea!

Frozen alcohol. I call it a Lush-ee

Double-thick, taste like crunch corn soup!
Katsu teishoku (Japanese meal set) $8 at Ootoya.

IT HAS A LIGHTSABER ON IT

Order ramen from this.
This is from a tsukemen (dipped noodles) joint in Hiyoshi.

This tsukemen is from my favorite ramen shop in Japan - Menya Koji (Kashiwa, Chiba) Lookit how thick dhose noodles are! The dish I'm holding is spicy garlic, and the pork melts in your mouth.




Sunday, February 9, 2014

Games of 2014 - January - June

January - Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus: Great platformer with a solid storyline, and cheap jokes aplenty. My friend Bruce recommended Blood Dragon. It's an FPS game loaded with a hero that knows EGG-ZACTLY where he is. That place is a retro-future - that's right, synthesizer music, neon, robotic voices, and tons of cliches. Your character even spouts one-liners based on kills! *Headshot* "I guess he was open-minded."

The game does a lot right: the collectibles are a) on the map and b) have an effect on the gameplay. Nothing pisses me off more than the majority of games, which have collectibles for the sake of trophies/achievements and nothing else. None of that here.

Cutscenes are 2d comic panels with decent voice acting (Phil LaMarr!), and there are more 80s-movie cliches buried in there that I'll just have to let you find out.


I bought a Zelda: A Link between Worlds 3ds XL and let me tell-a you, this is the best purchase I've made in a long time. Nintendo is really good at doing version 1.5 games - not-quite original enough to be sequels, but repackaged, spruced up, and enough features to feel familiar but different enough. After all, A Link to the Past is a fantastic game as it is! This game is non-linear, artistically great, and loaded with interactive tweaks for the 3DS. You can quick-select items with the touch screen, and the 3D-mode top-screen shows some impressive distance for floating enemies and platforms. There are lots of perspective-timed jumps that will land you in the lava.
However, fighting Dark Link via the Street Pass is by far the coolest thing about this game (and the coolest thing about every 3DS game). If your 3DS touches uglies with another Z:aLbW owner, you fight an AI-controlled Dark Link of their last-saved character for rupees! If I am just starting out and have a few items and only 3 hearts, I get hella rupees if I can beat someone who has 10 hearts and better items.

As always, there are the signature moments and characters, which is why people become fans of series.
It's only January, but I know this is already one of the best gaming experiences of this year.

February - I'm combing through old games and newer-but-supposedly easy games, trying to get that 100% or Platinum.


I started a game called Metro: Last Light. This is February's free game of the month on Playstation Plus ($50/year if you can't find a deal). You're a member of a Communist organization...and you fight Nazis as well as mutated creatures that resulted from biochemical warfare. I might not have that right, but you can look up the story if you really care. The dystopian setting and survival aspect reminds me of Last of Us, but, technically, it just doesn't deliver the goods. Your character walks really slowly, and the collision detection is reminiscent of the late 90s, when 3d graphics were new. It. Fucking. Sucks. Even the PC version was plagued with bugs, which weren't completely fixed when they released it on the consoles.

One of the trophies is to beat the game without killing any humans. You do this by approaching them and hitting square (knockout) vs R3 (stab the shit out of them). Successfully, the character will stiffly change whatever position they're in and stand up and turn around, just to be surprised and let you knock them out. It looks stupid. The only problem is that you're often waiting for the stupid square-or-R3 prompt, and you're probably going to reload your gun about 30% of the time. The AI is really stupid in that you can stand right in front of an enemy soldier and they won't notice you, as long as it's 'dark.'

*March update: I beat that game another full time in about 6 hours, without killing anything and didn't get that trophy. I deleted it in frustration and started:

March games: God of War: Ascension, Link's Awakening (Gameboy!)

God of War games are awesome for a few reasons: epic, drum-pounding, male choir-fueled Mediterranean empire music, sweet graphics, unparalleled violence and rage.


April: Thomas was Alone. This game deserves recognition (which I'm sure it's already gotten) for narration being able to make you care about a yellow square, and three other colored rectangles.


May: I think this was a month of trying to finish up titles for platnium trophies, and my Master Quest in Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Just as awesome the second time through.

June: Okami, which I liked so much, it got its own page.





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