Out with the old, in with the new

Last week, my video game time was dominated solely by Fire Emblem for the GBA. But I haven't even played anything at all since Sunday. I put in a grand total of about 6 Hours and 40 Minutes. I can't base this on the in-game clock, because it doesn't account for my regular chapter restarts when characters die. Although, due to a stupid mistake on my part, I finally lost my first character to permanent death a couple chapters ago. It was one I hadn't used much and was trying to level up a little. But he died, so no big loss really. Naturally, I'll try not to let it happen again. I'm about halfway through Chapter 26x, so I think I have only 7 more chapters to go. I should be able to finally finish this game through a combination of on the plane ride to the States and time at home. But, then there's the second story. This might take a while...

Otherwise, I've been focused on learning as much as I can about Japanese Mahjong. Somehow I've become fascinated by it. My goal in the new year is to find a Japanese Mahjong tutor. I really want to learn and to be able to play against people. If I can, it might feel like I actually take something away from Japan with me. Here's hoping I can find a good teacher.


Mahjong...Not the Tile Matching One

How can you become incredibly passionate about something, even if you've never actually done it? I've recently fallen in love with the game of Mahjong, and I've never even played it before. Except that stupid Mahjong solitaire computer game (matching tiles), but that's different and doesn't count. The Mahjong I like is sort of a combination of Rummy and Poker. I really want to learn how to play. There are a dozen or so major versions of Mahjong, usually based in different countries. Naturally, I'm interested in learning the Japanese version, commonly called Riichi Mahjong (it sounds like "reach"). It's a 4 player game, where everyone's trying to complete a hand similar to Rummy, but with cool tiles instead of playing cards. My girlfriend's getting me a Mahjong set for Christmas, and more importantly, I hope to find a Japanese Mahjong 'tutor' to teach me. I feel like I know how to play the main game, but I don't really know much about the rather complex scoring and hand system. So that's my immediate goal: find a Japanese person willing to teach a foreigner with limited Japanese language ability how to play Mahjong. Quite a daunting task. I hope I actually see this desire through to the end.

Oh, and the best site I've found about Riichi so far is the recently redesigned Reach Mahjong. It's updated by the only 2 American professional Riichi players, and one British girl who they are teaching to play. Great site, although they're still working on bringing the new site up to date. Can't wait to start playing. I just need 3 friends who know how...


What I'm Playing

Monday means it's time for my weekly video game update. Here's the numbers for 11/26-12/2.

Super Mario Galaxy - a paltry 0:15
Final Fantasy II - 2:40
Fire Emblem: Fuuin no Tsurugi (#6) - 0:40
Fire Emblem (#7) - 1:00
Total Time - 4:35

It was a busy week, with hardly any time for games. I only managed 4.5 hours. On Friday and Saturday, I didn't play anything at all, largely because there was a big school enkai on Friday night, and I spent Saturday recovering and shopping for Christmas presents. But that's ok. It's not a contest. I tested Fire Emblem 6 just because I'd been watching a lot of Fire Emblem preview videos on Youtube, and that made me want to play an easy mission. That, of course, led me to delve back into my nearly completed Fire Emblem 7 game, which I've been playing occasionally for a couple of years. I need to finally beat it. I finally beat mission 24 tonight, and I think there's around 31 or so. So I've probably got a good 10 hours of game play left. I'm hoping to work on it a lot on the long flight back to America. We'll see.


Busy Weekend

It's been a busy weekend, with very little time for playing any games so far. In fact, I haven't played anything at all since Thursday, when I played a few minutes of Fire Emblem 6, the Japan-only GBA release. I just had a sudden urge for some turn-based, strategic combat, and I didn't feel like working my way back into Fire Emblem 7. Then Friday night was an overnight bonenkai (end of the year party) in Tendo. I wasn't looking forward to it, because my Japanese is shit and I usually feel a little awkward at some point. But I ended up having a great time. The first party had great food, bingo, and I got to talk to some of the new, younger teachers a little bit. And, the 1 teacher I really, really can't stand didn't talk to me at all. What a success! Then on to the second party in a hotel room with Kocho- and Kyoto-sensei (principal and vice-principal). It was tense, but fun. Then out to a strange, modern hostess bar, where I was forced to sing a song by myself. It was the first time I've had to sing in an open bar rather than a private room. I was terrified. I chose the classic "Copacabana," and I think it went pretty well. Thank you, alcohol. Oh, and 1 of my teachers did an awesome Elvis impersonation on "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You." Brilliant. Then on to ramen, and in bed at 1:30. Excellent night.

So Saturday was spent recovering, and doing some last-minute shopping for Christmas presents for my family. Today, also, will be shopping. I need to get a shogi set (Japanese chess) for my dad, but I'd really like to find him another present too. He's hard to shop for. So there might be little time for games today, too. But, less than 2 weeks until I leave for a much needed holiday in the U.S. Thank goodness.