I live near a train station called Odakyu Sagamihara, as you can imagine this is rather a mouthful. As a result it has become known by everyone as Odasaga. So much so it has been plastered on signs everywhere around here.
This is just another example of how Japanese people just love to combine and contract words. This kind of thing has been going on for years. For example, Tokyo Shibaura became Toshiba, Nippon Sangyo became Nissan and Pocket Monsters became Pokémon.
This phenomenon applies not only to crazy long Japanese words but also to loan words. There is a huge amount of loan words in Japanese, originating from various places, but once they have been through the portmanteau cycle they can become almost incomprehensible from the original word.
See if you can work out what this small selection are in English.
Unlike in the UK, Japanese arcades are still mega popular. Often they are situated in huge multi-story buildings filled to the brim with machines and games players of all ages. When I first came to Japan I was so excited to finally play my favourite game, Street Fighter 3 in an arcade…
Unfortunately everyone was much better than me.
So I turned away from the hyper competitive world of beat’ em ups and turned toward the music games.
Nestled in the corner of the music game section was something different, an arcade machine shaped like the one you see to the left. On closer inspection I noticed the unusual shape was coupled with an unusual user interface. The top 2/5 of which is used for displaying scores and information, and the bottom 3/5 is split into 16 panel areas arranged in a 4×4 grid of buttons.
The game itself has the unfortunate name Jubeat (pronounced “You Beat” or “Ubeeeeeeeeat” as the lady announcer says) and after closer inspection I noticed that it was a rhythm game that is very similar to Ouendan, one of my favourite games on the DS. This made me very happy.
Presentation wise it is very different, it also lacks the charm of Ouendan but the basic gameplay remains the same; Markers appear on the 4×4 screen and are synced to the song being played and the correct buttons should be pressed in time with the music, the better your timing, the greater your high score. The attract sequence sums it up rather succinctly :
So I have spent the best part of a year playing this game on and off but I kind of forgot about it recently. That was until I walked into the Machida Cat’s Eye arcade and found a new version, Jubeat Ripples. Most of the changes are cosmetic and the most important thing is the inclusion of loads of new songs. Something I should also mention is the insane amount of online score tracking, they even offer this widget for for silly bloggers like me.
Isn’t it pretty, at time of writing I am ranked as a bronze tiger, no I don’t know what that means either but it’s strange how much things like this inspire me to play it. You see, if you click on the widget you will be taken to a website that tracks everything you do in the game. It’s crazy, it shows what songs you’ve played, when and where you played them, a breakdown on your score for each song, how your friends are doing and more.
It’s a great game, with fun music and an interesting design. If you ever go to an arcade remember to give it a look, go with the beat and let loose!
Despite the fact the I have been learning Japanese characters for a long time and have a pretty good knowledge of Hiragana and Katakana. When I look at the signs littered around the place my blue English eyes are first drawn only to the Roman letters on them.
So when I went to a supermarket near a school where I work I was confronted with this: