Sunday, December 17, 2006

Letters from Iwo Jima

As my love for Japan slowly takes over my life, you can imagine my dismay when I discovered the release of Clint Eastwoods: Flags of Our Fathers. But, this dismay was short-lived when I learned that he was making a reverse of the film from a Japanese standpoint. This is something that I think our country dearly needs. They need their eye's opened to the other side of things. Now, my excitement over the second installment of this story was just amped by the reading of the credits on IMDB. Kazunari Ninomiya is to play a character named Saigo in the film. I follow the Japanese pop scene fairly closely and love the band Arashi. This innocent-looking young man happens to be a member of the band. I immediately announced it to my favorite forums and here on my blog. Not to mention the dashing Ken Watanabe of The Last Samurai fame is a title character as well. Can't wait to see this film, I guess I should watch the first one beforehand though...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Chinse Album Review: 12 Girls Band - White Christmas

It is a rare thing when two of my passions collide. I love the Holiday season. Giving, baking, making too much food for guests and having to clean up after them. What I love even more is listening to Christmas music. I've had numerous nightmares of forgetting to listen to Christmas music during the holiday season, probably has some sort of ominous meaning in reality, but I try not to think about it. Anyway, my love of all things Asian have expanded to their take of Christmas greats. Some of them make me laugh, but that's half the charm. This album didn't do that. It is actually very pleasant to listen to. The perfectly harmonizing 12 Girls Band have expanded their reach to the Christmas music market and taken on the challenge of keeping classic Christmas songs alive. Using the various traditional Chinese instruments like the guzheng, erhu, pipa, yangqin and hulusi the girls (of which there are actually thirteen) put their spin on things. This is a fun and inspiring album. If you like Kenny G or Lori Line's Christmas albums, this would be a great addition to your collection.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Game Review: Clubhouse Games

So, I did buy myself an early "Christmas" present and splurged on a Nintendo DS Lite. I LOVE it. I have only three games at the moment but I suspect my collection will grow. (Especially since they don't offer rentals of the small games) However, I would like to offer up my opinion of Clubhouse Games. This clever packaging of 42 different games is beyond smart. I could spend days playing this game alone and not get bored. Dare I list them all?

Old Maid, Spit, I Doubt It (B.S. for those of you who have played it in the non-childrenized version), Sevens, Memory, Pig, Blackjack, Hearts, President, Rummy, Seven Bridge, Last Card, Last Card Plus (Uno with a regular card deck), Five Card Draw, Texas Hold'em, Nap, Spades, Contract Bridge, Chinese Checkers, Dots and Boxes, (A fun game my friends and family have always played while awaiting our grease dripping food at an impossibly slow restaurant), Hasami Shogi, Turncoat, Connect Five(Go), Grid Attack (Battle ship like game), Backgammon, Chess, Shogi, Field Tactics, Ludo (the board game classic "Sorry" renamed), Soda Shake (shake that bottle till it pops), Dominoes, Koi-Koi(a Japanese game I have NO understanding of, I just muddle my way through), Word Balloon(Hangman), Bowling, Darts, Billiards, Balance, Takeover, Solitaire, Mahjong Solitaire, Escape.

As you can see, there is plenty to do in this one tiny cartridge. It also has different settings you can play the Mission Mode for unlocking different songs and icons to display when you play with multiple people (did I mention the WiFi connection capability of the DS?) The Stamp Mode comes in handy if you want to earn points and kind of work your way through all the games. You can unlock stamps to use during chat's and a few games you can't play from the beginning as well during this mode. And then there is Free Play Mode. Pretty self-explanatory, you play however and whatever you want. There are different displays for every game too. I like throwing pencils instead of darts and at a paper dart board no less. Hours and hours of wasted time await you in this spin on classic games. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

My New Obsession

The Nintendo DS Lite is an amazing piece of technology. In my opinion the ingenuity to make two screens for any game is mind-blowing, not to mention adding a touch screen and wireless capability. I played with a friends’ this past weekend and now I am hell-bent on purchasing one for my very own. I’m not girly enough to buy the pink one, the blue one is too difficult to find so therefore I’m sticking with the “Ceramic White” one. Oh, how excited am I? I haven’t owned a portable Nintendo system since the marshmallow inspired original Game Boy. I plan to purchase “Clubhouse Games” – a game with 42 individual games included in it. I will rot my brain thusly playing Mahjong, Memory, Solitaire and many more random games. I also want to play Elite Beat Agents, a random Manga-like game featuring ex-CIA agents defending the people and fighting crime, one beat at a time. (Whatever – sounds like fun.) And, after playing Sims 2 Pets, last night on a friends’ PSP I am now interested in that game. They all sound like loads of time wasting funness. Can’t wait to get paid.

Mushroom Maven

My childhood dream of being Little Miss Moffat is now possible! Thanks to Japanese company Strapya, these nifty little Mushroom Stools are available for $13.50 (plus shipping and handling.) They come in four colors, Red, Pink, Blue and Brown. You can purchase one of your very own here. I'd need to carry this around everywhere with me if I ever manage to get to Japan. Sitting on my knees hurts like crazy.

EDIT (5-17-07) These were in Hana Yori Dango season 2! I bought one not long after I wrote these, and it's really fun. I was so excited to see something I own in a Japanse tv show.