During the last two weeks I’ve been traveling and discovering new places I’ve never been before here in Japan. I’ve been living in Tokyo more than ten years but I feel that I still don’t know anything about these islands and that’s probably what keeps me here. I like the feeling of wonder when I walk randomly and discover a hidden shrine in a forest or find an utterly beautiful garden in an area where there are apparently only ugly buildings (Yes, Japan is also ugly).
I always travel by train, it is so convenient! But this time I chose to challenge my comfort zone and drive a car. I thought I could reach almost anyplace in Japan by train, but I was wrong. Japan by car is really beautiful and I will repeat in the future.
During the next days I will write here about the places I discovered during this trip to Gifu and Fukui. These are two of my favorite pictures from the trip 🙂
Legendary video game developer Hideo Kojima has lost his rights to Metal Gear when he severed ties with publisher Konami. And while the world isn’t expecting new Metal Gear content to show up anytime soon, this new Metal Gear-inspired pachinko game has appeared. In this article, let’s take a closer look at the new Metal Gear pachinko and how it pays homage to one of the best video game titles of all time.
It’s not surprising considering that creating a spin-off game from a popular title isn’t only inherent to video games. Motion picture films have always spawned numerous game titles. Another famous soldier, Rambo, has lots of games tied to his name including Rambo: The Video Game, which is still getting updates even after several years from its release date as shown by Game Spot. Several TV series have also inspired game developers such as the reality show X-Factor which has games like slots and Slingo that feature the title. Expanding outside a single premise is a path frequently taken in the entertainment industry.
The trailer showed that development, which played the memorable meeting scene of Naked Snake and The Boss. Other characters from the game will also appear, although it’s not definitely clear yet at this point how the actual gameplay will turn out to be.
When it comes to audio aspects, the music was taken from the iconic Metal Gear main theme. The original voice actors of the characters have also lent their voices once again to the game.
Here’s a video of the different parts and mechanics of the pachinko games:
Although Hideo Kojima is no longer with Konami, the company said that it still has plans for the franchise aside from the pachinko remake. Fans may be split between amused and annoyed, but one thing’s for sure: given that pachinko machines are big in Japan to the point that they have pachinko parlors, the Metal Gear series will still get the love and attention it deserves, at least in its home country.
Rice is probably the most important food source for the Japanese. Rice is usually bought at supermarkets in bags of 5kg or 10kg. But even though the supermarkets competition is strong, there are still plenty of rice shops that have survived only selling rice. These specialised shops sometimes have more varieties of rice that can’t be found in supermarkets, being able to choose their preferred type of rice is very important for many Japanese people. One of the most common varieties here in Japan is koshihikari.
I love the look and feel of rice shops, this is a local rice shop I photographed here in Tokyo:
And this is a huge rice vending machine. It is able to serve bags of 10Kg!
Kouyou (紅葉 こうよう) could be translated as “the colours of the leafs in autumn”. During the months of October and November, the green forests turn yellow, orange an vermillion until winter arrives and snow covers Japanese mountains with a white. The ginkgoes bring the yellow, the momiji and kaede (Maple trees) add the rest of the tones to the Japanese autumn.
It is celebrated all around Japan, and many places become touristic attractions just because they are specially beautiful during the kouyou. This is a list of the best locations to enjoy kouyou by Nihon Kankou:
I’ve always loved the silhouettes in this sign that can be seen in some train stations here in Tokyo. It is a train station employee using a long stick to help a girl recover her hat from the train track.
This is a video in which I capture the full process of fallen object recovery.
Japanese sweets keep fascinating me. It is more about the wrapping, the colours and the shape than the flavour. Each unit feels special. I got this sweet from a colleague who travelled to Kaga.
Buying a present (Omiyage お土産) for the colleagues in your team at work when travelling is a very ingrained tradition in Japan. It doesn’t need to be something special, it is ok to just bring one cookie or sweet for each member. I have the feeling that the main purpose of this omiyage tradition is to help make small-talk in the office. The act of giving a cookie to each of the people working with you is an opportunity to talk about things unrelated to work.
I love this map that shows a map of Japan with the logos of many of its top brands at the location where the headquarters are. Notice how most of them cluster around Tokyo and Osaka, and car manufacturers are around Aichi. Nothing in Shikoku? I love discovering that Hudson (Takahashi Meijin) is in Hokkaido 🙂
Years ago it was worthwhile to buy new cameras in Japan (It was generally cheaper). I don’t think that’s true anymore, for most new cameras the price difference (Japan – other countries) is almost nonexistent.
But when people travelling to Japan ask me, I tell them that if they are really into photography what is still worthwhile is to enjoy visiting secondhand camera shops. Many of them have disappeared but there are still plenty of secondhand and oldschool film camera shops that you can find in the most random places. This one in the pictures is a very local shop that Carlos and me found while walking around Asakusa. From outside it doesn’t feel like a camera shop, it blends with the soba restaurants and coffee places in the same street.
Since almost two weeks ago I’ve been playing Pokémon GO here in Japan. The first days it was pretty crazy to see all the people (Literally almost everyone) was playing the game while walking on the streets of Tokyo. It was surrealistic but also really fun to go to parks and join the crowds hunting for new Pokémon. Last days I’m a little bit bored of it and I’ve also noticed that not so many people are playing it anymore.
I’ve found many rare Pokémon at Shinjuku Gyoen, even on the streets around the park crowds can be seen from morning to late at night gathering near Pokéstops and Gyms. If you are into fighting at gyms, the best areas are nearby the main Yamanote Line stations.
Almost everyone looking at their smartphones.
Yo capturé mi primer Pikachu también en Shinjuku Gyoen pero en una zona apartada donde ¡no había nadie!
This was my first Pikachu. I captured it at Shinjuku Gyoen, one of the places with more Pikachu in Tokyo.
And this was my first Bulbasaur
This is a park at Meguro late at night with people playing Pokémon go
This is the Tsuruma park at Nagoya
This is a video I took at Shinjuku Gyoen park where you can appreciate the level at which everyone is focused on their Pokémon hunting instead of the beauty of the nature around them 🙂
One of the biggest changes at the Kabukicho area in Shinjuku has been the demolition of Koma Gekijo, one of the most traditional theatre halls in Tokyo. It has been replaced by a huge tower building with a hotel and 4D cinema inside. The cool thing is that there is a huge Godzilla head on the side of the building. At night, at 19:00, the Godzilla eyes are illuminated and it throws smoke from his mouth.