I’ve got good news and bad news. I’m a bad news first kind of guy, so I’ll put the bad news first. Unfortunately, I am not in Japan on vacation. Evidently, that’s not what “Study Abroad” means. The foreign language (well, I guess it’s not foreign language to them…) department is hell bent on making sure I do my fair share of work, and more. Why does this matter? Even though I don’t typically do homework for long periods of time or at all, this means that just the thought of having homework now takes up my thoughts, adding to my laziness, and delaying blog posts even more. A tragedy.

The good news: Japanese arcades are awesome.

I should state that UFO catchers, or crane games, as some may call them, ARE A WASTE OF MONEY. DON’T DO IT, JUST DON’T. EVEN IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S RIGHT ON THE EDGE, IT WON’T GO ANYWHERE.

I say this, because I watched friends put money into machines that were just plain deceitful. Though, it was fun to watch. I think if I wanted to really, REALLY torture someone, I’d lock them to something dangerous, like a moving saw that’s going to hurt them, and require them to win something from a crane game to be freed. I should submit my idea to whatever movie company makes SAW.

But other than that, the arcade was a really different experience from arcades in America (though I have to admit, I haven’t been to one since I was a much younger kid)… First of all, there were all sorts of people there. I saw an old business man playing a dynasty warriors like strategy game with some trading cards that were evidently magnetized or something, because he could play them, and have their effects show up on the screen. Then, I saw more UFO catchers. Then MORE UFO catchers. Then a machine that dispensed candy, but it was another crane game.

The Japanese like crane games.

After going up to the second floor (There were at least 4. I can’t even imagine how anyone would get out if there was a fire. Same goes for about 80% of places I’ve been in tokyo), I saw some more games…. I saw this cube game that was like… Simon says on ‘roids. Though I didn’t get a picture, imagine a 4×4 possibly 5×5 Rubik’s cube on which you had to press each every time you saw each one light up. It was insane. And of course, the japanese gamers there were playing it with intense skill. I saw that coming.

Up another level, and we saw a bunch of shooters, a real-time simulation horse racing bet game, with something like 8 chairs for people to play (I guess if you don’t have space for a real track, an electronic one works too?). Then we saw a mario kart arcade game, which I can only imagine was a TON of fun.

Going up another level, things started getting GOOD. We saw a Internet-linked Gundam Simulator, which I just had to get some pictures of, and a friend of mine played. Unfortunately, I had no money this entire time, so all I could do was watch. I think I fully understand the “poor college student” idea now.

And as is customary on the internets, if there are no pictures, it didn’t happen. BEWARE, the picture are HUGE (I forgot to batch resize these, and I’m way too lazy to re-upload)…

On my way to Shinjuku, I came across this:

Evangelion really is a big phenomenon in japanese culture... I still have yet to see it, because I have on good authority that it is terrible after episode 10.

Saw this at the train station... I think it's for a clothing store, but an Evangelion based promotion is still awesome.

Some arcade shots:

Evidently, Winnie the Pooh is popular enough to have his own crane game. With NOTHING but Winnie the Poohs.

Yeah, those are like fox tail things. A friend of mine won one of these, after spending around $16. I think I could get tools to catch my own fox with $16.

As many have already seen, this is the Taiko-inspired drum game that many know and love. I didn't play it... but it looked fun?

Wierdly enough, this game is actually one of my biggest fantasies/todos ever. I want to flip a table, at some point in my life... Though I don't really want to be angry enough to flip a table, that might be the only way to understandably flip a table. This game is a must play for me.

The afore-mentioned horse race betting game. What a weird game. It just feels like something is missing... Horses, a stadium, other people, excitement, are among the things I could name that are missing...

I know this game would have been so fun. SO FUN.

Some absolutely random but awesome figurines that I saw while perusing the UFO Catcher section. Unfortunately, they were not attainable... just sort of there.

Gundam Pods. This is so awesome, it just absolutely blows my mind. Just SO AWESOME. SO AWESOME.

The Gundam pods were awesome, however, I found another downside to being a BBMIJ. You don’t fit in the arcade games you want to play the most. Sigh. What a loss.

The inside of the Gundam Arcade Pod. SO AWESOME.

I can't explain this ad to you.

Though I'm not really a fan of the Alien Versus Predator series/franchise, I thought this was a pretty awesome model. Nevermind the music video in the background.

And that’s about it. We’ll see what I can get into next week.