Game Lingo – キャラセレ

Technically I’m on vacation, so all you get is a measely little game lingo post today.

This word baffled me for a while when I came upon it during a job. I believe I was translating a game manual, and there weren’t any images in the manual to give me a clue as to what it referred to. I kept reading it “carousel.” That is until I was saved by the power of Google Images. I just popped the fucker into Google and voilà – character selection. The image results from the search are pretty clear – this word refers to the screen in games where you choose your character from all the possible choices. I don’t think there’s a set term for this in English. “Character select screen” or “character selection screen” both seem fine (although the latter sounds a smidge better?), so look for previous usages within the game text.

In Japanese it’s important to be on the lookout for words that have been shortened from longer compounds. Maintain vigilance.

Ret’s Rink – 1Q84, Beer vs. Mutant Beer, Shibuya Station Pub Crawl, Facebook Page

Well, for various reasons I canceled my Europe trip. I’m bummed out about it, but it might be for the best – I’m moving back to the U.S. at the end of May to go to graduate school, and the extra time in Japan will enable me to say my goodbyes properly and to round up five years’ worth of belongings. I’m confident that I’ll get to Europe soon, maybe as soon as June or July.

How to Japonese will continue now and post-repatriation, but posting will be light until the beginning of June. Hopefully once a week. Today I’m just passing on some links with a bit of additional information.

The knock-on effect of Murakami’s “1Q84” series

This is my post on Japan Pulse about 1Q84 Book 3. I went to lunch in Yokohama Thursday and stopped in a bookstore after eating. The book hadn’t been released yet, but the displays were already stocked with 1Q84-related material. His complete 文庫本 back catalog, his translations, books mentioned in 1Q84. Pretty impressive. Murakami has made it easy with his prolific name-dropping. I’m about 120 pages in, and so far not much has happened, but the names keep coming. Since I wrote the article, he has started quoting extensive passages from Isak Deneson’s Out of Africa.

Major beer companies diet excessively while craft brewers beef up

I also wrote about the beer scene after being inspired by the Yokohama Spring Beer Party. It was on Sunday, April 11, as was the Japan Craft Beer Selection 2010 hosted by Popeye at the Bunkyo Kumin Center. The two events couldn’t be more different. I attended the Beer Selection last year, and the goal of the six and half hour event was to carefully judge all Japanese craft beers. Or at least all the beers entered in the competition. It starts with a lecture on how to judge beer, then continues to a practice tasting, after which the 100 or so participants undertake blind taste tests by style and fill out cards rating each beer’s bitterness, maltiness, aroma, mouthfeel and more. Last year they announced the winners on the spot, but this year beers that are selected continue on to the final round, which will be held on May 16th at Popeye.

The Yokohama Spring Beer Party, on the other hand, was a relaxed, picnic atmosphere. There were over two dozen beers, and it was all-you-can-drink for 2000 yen – quite a deal. Later in the afternoon there was even an impromptu 記念写真 with nearly all 500 participants along the Yokohama harbor. Several brewers were there, as were the staff from many of the Kanto-area bars. The contrast of the events, to me, showed that good beer is starting to go mainstream as well as otaku (it’s probably been otaku for a while now, actually). Very cool to see the frequency and variety of different beer events available in Japan.

Now if only we can get the tax laws changed. Seriously, someone should do something about this.

The great Shibuya Station beer-lover’s pub crawl

I also have a pub crawl review on CNNGo Tokyo. Five great beers from five great bars in Shibuya. I made a video of the crawl, which you can see here:

Shibuya Station Circumnavigation Great Beer Pub Crawl from Daniel Morales on Vimeo.

And finally, I made a Facebook page for How to Japonese, so feel free to follow the feed over there.

Collabo-Ramen – けいすけ二代目

My parents were here for sakura season, so Brian and I took them to our final stop on Tokyo Ramen Street – Keisuke Nidaime. I do not recommend this shop if you have cats – you will leave covered with the delicious scent of shrimp and lobster, irresistible to most felines.

This was my second time at Keisuke Nidaime. The first time I had the lobster ramen, and this time the shrimp wonton. They are both amazing, and I recommend trying both. The lobster broth is slightly thicker. I think I’ll definitely be back one more time to try the “super-thick” lobster tsukemen.

CollaboRamen – けいすけ二代目 Keisuke Nidaime from Daniel Morales on Vimeo.

How to Japonese On the Road 1 – Schedule

Only one serious post this week due to a busy schedule. I’m working on material to cover my posts at Japan Pulse for the next three weeks – next Wednesday I leave for Europe for three weeks! YES! My schedule is:

April 21 – Depart Tokyo, Arrive London, Train to Newcastle
April 26 – Depart Newcastle, Arrive Paris
April 29 – Depart Paris, Arrive Bergen, Norway
May 2 – Depart Bergen, Arrive Munich
May 4 – Depart Munich, Arrive Bamberg
May 7 – Depart Bamberg, Arrive London
May 11 – Depart London
May 12 – Arrive Tokyo

I’ll be staying with friends and should be pretty busy throughout, but do let me know if you read How to Japonese and are along my route. I’d love to get a beer with locals. If you have any suggestions for things to do, see, eat or drink, leave them in the comments.

I’ll be posting just once a week while I’m on the road, but hopefully it will be useful information.

ジンギスカン ≠ Genghis Khan

ジンギスカン =    

Genghis Khan =  

This inequality is only sometimes true; although, when it is true, it also holds true that ジンギスカン = incredibly tasty. Check out my review of Kitaichi Club, an Oimachi Jingisukan-ery, over at CNNGo Tokyo.

The Internet is divided on the actual origin of the term jingisukan. English Wikipedia seems pretty confident in its proclamation that the grill resembled the helmets of Mongolian warlords, but I couldn’t find any Japanese links that supported that point. A link provided by Japanese Wikipedia seems to suggest that Japanese chefs gave the cuisine a cool name so that they could deal with a surfeit of sheep. It sprung up in areas with lots of sheep – Hokkaido and other parts of northern Japan – and I can totally see some chef saying, “Where else do they have sheep? Mongolia? Well, hell, let’s call it Genghis Khan.”

Collabo-Ramen – むつみや

Shop number three on Tokyo Ramen Street. Mutsumiya is a miso ramen restaurant from the small town of Tsukigata, Hokkaido. Until I started doing Collabo-Ramen, this is basically the only kind of ramen I ever had – thick, savory miso soups with bright yellow noodles and lots of garlic for flavoring. One of my friends on the JET Program theorized that miso is the least difficult ramen to mess up, which is why so many people like it. All of the other types of ramen are more subtle, and I never really bothered to seek out anything other than tonkotsu when I visited Kyushu and the occasional bowl at Ippudo in Tokyo. So Mutsumiya was very familiar. It was a solid bowl but maybe not all that spectacular or unique. Brian had their monthly special, which looked really good.

Collabo-Ramen – むつみや Mutsumiya from Daniel Morales on Vimeo.

Keep Your Eyes Open – 納品 Redux

I was out in Futako Tamagawa walking around with my parents this past week, and I noticed this as we walked up to the entrance of the Garden Island annex of Takashimaya:

Yup, those are trucks parked in a special spot for 納品車 – vehicles making deliveries. Closer inspection reveals…

…that the regular parking lot is just over to the right.

This sign was interesting to me because it was the first time I’ve seen 納品 used for actual, physical deliveries. I’d used it often in the office, as I wrote when I introduced the compound, but it was always in regards to nebulous, digital deliveries. Very cool to see it out in the real world.