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Virginia Beach, VA, United States
This blog (or 日記 if you will) is intended to chronicle my experience in Japan at the Yamasa Institute in Okazaki, Japan from July to August, 2012. I have always wanted to have a journal, though, so I will try to get into a habit of writing frequently about the things important to me in my life. Besides, I plan on returning to Yamasa to participate in the AIJP after I get out of the Navy! These are the Espelancer Chronicles. Erica is also blogging about the trip, and you should totally check it out. It is The Marvelous Misadventures of Schneewittchen link over on the sidebar.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Planning for an Unforgettable Tokyo Weekend

   With the timing of my upcoming trip to Japan, there are a great many festivals happening.  Since I will be studying in Okazaki, which is equidistant between Tokyo and Kyoto, I want to visit both cities during a weekend.  I'm not sure when I will go to Kyoto or what I want to do there, but I think that I have picked a perfect weekend for my Tokyo trip.

Trails in the Sky NA Boxart
  The JDK Band (links to a Japanese website) will be performing at Nihonbashi Matsui Hall in Tokyo on Friday, July 27.  If you do not know who the JDK Band is, they compose the music for Nihon Falcom's games.  Nihon Falcom is best known for The Legend of Heroes series and the Ys series, and Falcom games are consistently acclaimed for their beautiful dialogue, engaging gameplay, and an award-winning arrangement of musical masterpieces composed and played by JDK Band.  In short, Falcom is basically the Studio Ghibli of video games in Japan and they are wildly popular there.  They do not focus on making a shiny game with the best graphics money can buy -- they instead focus on polishing the details of plot and gameplay to deliver a truly unforgettable gaming experience, complete with a soundtrack that can pump you up for a boss fight or strike a chord in your heart.  The music featured in these games have are so popular in Japan that Falcom holds the record for most number of sales made for a video game soundtrack -- a record that not even Square's Nobuo Uematsu has come even close to besting.
Kevin Gifford does a good writeup about Falcom on 1Up, you should check it out.

May 2012 Concert at Nicofarre
  XSeed has started localizing Falcom games stateside and they attract a certain niche of the American video game market.  I highly recommend The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (First Chapter) and Ys: The Oath in Felghana on PSP if you are looking for a new game to play.

  But, that is my plug for Falcom games, I think this would be a good start to the weekend.  We get out of class early on Fridays so we should be able take the JR up to Tokyo and arrive with plenty of time to spare, and I think it'll be a lot of fun to go see them perform in Japan.

   The last Saturday of every July the Sumida River Fireworks Festival kicks off in Tokyo, and it is one of the oldest and most well known fireworks show in Japan.  It is supposed to be nearly 2 solid hours of 花火「はなび」 (Flower-Fire, or fireworks) and looks to be a spectacular event to be a part of.   Other than the fireworks, the streets are lined with vendors and people wearing yukata, and the summer festive mood is in full swing.  I'm betting it will be a good time. The catch, though, is that this event will not happen if the weather is poor, since it would not be possible to reschedule an event of this caliber very easily.  Hopefully it will be a beautiful night to wrap up Saturday with!

   I have no solid plans for what we will be doing during the day on Saturday or on Sunday, but that is fine.  Tokyo is a big city, after all, and I'm sure we will not be able to see everything that Tokyo has to offer in a single weekend, anyways.  I went to New York City four times when I was in Saratoga Springs and I definitely did not get to see everything in that city, after all!

   Well, that will be my last writeup for the next few weeks.  I am going out to sea on Monday (we have to be on the ship all day Sunday, though), so with the ship's highly unreliable internet access I will not get to write.  Thank you for reading, though, and thank you for 100 pageviews (hey, celebrating mediocrity is better than not celebrating at all!). 

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