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Chatting with Japanese Gamers

On 02/25/2012 at 12:19 PM by jjindie

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PS3 is Godzilla!  360 is Mothra! - at least in Japan they are

I hope nobody minds that I thieved that pic from an old article on the Joystiq site. But my mouse is kind of on the fritz and it's not easy to scroll through a google image search for an even awesomer pic to an already awesome pic!

Anyway, I chat with some nerds.


Takaaki: (pronounced tah-kah-ah-key!)

Takaaki is one of my junior high school level English students.  When he's not cramming for high school entrance exams and taking English lessons with me, he's playing video games, and only on Xbox 360.   He's something of a rarity in Japan, a true 360 fanboy.  He doesn't actually play on-line with Xbox-live, just the single player campaigns of his favourite first person shooters.  It's the part that most teens in North America forget about, but Takaaki just loves it.  A few weeks ago his game of the moment was Modern Warfare 3, but after getting his feet wet with some Armored Core 5 action and not liking it, he's moved on to the latest Battlefield release.

I've asked him how he got into Xbox gaming and why he seems to like FPSs so much, but I haven't really gotten much of an answer from him.  Maybe it's just because of his elementary English level, but he doesn't seem to realize yet that he's the only Xbox gamer I've ever met in Japan.

The other day we were talking about jobs and occupations and I asked what he wanted to do when he was grown up, and naturally he said, 'game designer.'  Somehow we got to talking about game studios like Infinity Ward and From Software.  He was actually surprised to learn that From Software was a Japanese developer.  I tried to teach him about other big studios in North America, like BioWare, Ubisoft, and Electronic Arts (which is more of a publisher than a developer.)  I hope I wasn't wrong when ranking the top video game developing countries, which I now believe goes in order from USA no 1, Japan no 2, and Canada no 3.

He's a smart kid.  He didn't even know the term FPS, or first person shooter, until I taught it to him.  Now he says FPS all the time.  Just this week, during our discussion about jobs and occupations, the text was directing us to ask for each other's opinions on the safety and desirability of various professions.  When it was his turn to speak he asked in a pitch perfect sentence, 'What do you think about soldiers?'  Like I said, he's a smart kid.

games and toast!

Mr. Tsuchiya: (pronounced tsu-chee-yah!)

Mr. Tsuchiya isn't exactly a gamer, he just works for one of the biggest video game companies in Japan, Sony.  He's one of the engineers in charge of developing the next generation of optical data discs, basically whatever comes next after the BluRay and whatever format the Playstation 4 is likely to use.  It's hard to get any details about the tech or confirm any of my wild speculations about the PS4.  Any info Mr. Tsuchiya has remains under the lock and key of a corporate confidentiality agreement, from his company and mine. 

However, Mr. Tsuchiya also has had a hand in developing some of the latest 3D technology for televisions.  It's not the most upbeat topic to ask about, as he feels 3D does not have any applications beyond being a simple gimmick.  He didn't actually know the word gimmick, but once I taught it to him he agreed.  Not that I was leading him on or anything.  Well, maybe I was a little.  But he feels that the lack of popularity for 3DTVs is one of the main reasons for Sony’s recent financial difficulties.  Apparently he came to this conclusion after playing Gran Turismo 5 in 3D.

To this date Mr. Tsuchiya has seen a grand total of one 3D movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp’s face up close and personal, and played just the one game in 3D.  He doesn’t expect there to be much of a future for 3D for either movies or video games, and I kind of agree with him.  His prediction for the future of home TVs and gaming - super HD and smart TVs with motion controls!

We ended the day talking about the changing of the guard atop Sony.  Howard Stringer is out and Playstation's Kaz Hirai is in.  Also, Howard Stringer’s approximate annual salary also came up somehow.  Not that I was leading him on or anything.  This week’s lesson from the business text was about millionaires and billionaires.  I’m pretty sure it was in the teacher’s manual somewhere, ‘Ask your student about his boss’ salary!’






02/26/2012 at 06:19 PM

Interesting read, do you speak japanese fluently?


02/27/2012 at 10:40 AM

no.  I have these conversations in my English lessons.  which are in English, of course.  Mr. Tsuchiya is high level.  Takaaki just stares at me sometimes.  He can only handle simple question and answers, so it's not really a conversation, just one word answers.

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