All Posts In » Japan

  • 07Feb

    UMD Passport program not coming to North America

    Sony informed Kotaku today that the UMD Passport program, first instituted in Japan, would not be available for North American users. This program allowed gamers to put UMD games in their PSPs to register them, then download them at a discount on the Vita. Unfortunately, this means that when Vita launches in North America, you’ll have no way to play the UMD games you’ve collected over the PSP’s lifespan — and you’ll have to keep your PSP if you ever intend to play those games again. Any PSP games you’ve downloaded/purchased digitally will still be available. No reason has been given (as of yet) for not offering the program. It’s possible that, for some reason, it’s just not popular and therefore not worth offering in the U.S. and Canada. Does this change your opinion of the device? I’d say I was bummed out, but I never owned a PSP, so

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  • 16Nov

    A night with virtual pop star Hatsune Miku

    Last week I received an invite to watch a free concert. Live Viewing Japan is a distribution group that is bringing Japanese Entertainment to theaters near you. The events seem to be worldwide showings but for only one day. I didn’t know what to expect on this adventure. Would there be an audience? A further niche is that this wasn’t your average band we would be watching. It was a concert put on by virtual pop star, Hatsune Miku. Hatsune Miku was developed by Cyrpton Future Media as the world’s first synthesized star. The voice samples are taken from voice actress Saki Fujita and then put through a digital synthesizer. Even though she was an animation with a synthesized voice, she became incredibly popular in Japan. Crypton started playing with some alterations creating different personas for Miku: Soft (gentle, delicate voice), Sweet (young, chibi voice), Dark (mature, heartbroken-like voice), Vivid

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  • 13Sep

    Nintendo conference brings a pink 3DS, ‘Kid Icarus’ delays and some good news for ‘Monster Hunter’ fans

    Oh, Nintendo, you’re still such a rebel. You don’t need no stinkin’ Tokyo Game Show, do you? You do your own thing before everyone else, and people just have to deal with it. This morning (well, Japan’s morning, anyway) saw quite a bit of interesting news. I’ll hit it in bullet form, if you don’t mind. (My less-than-rudimentary remembrance of college Japanese classes did come in handy.) Apparently, enough women aren’t playing the 3DS. What do we do to fix that? Release a pink one, of course. It goes on sale in Japan on October 20. Kid Icarus: Uprising‘s been delayed. Again. What was supposed to be a launch title for the 3DS is now coming out in 2012. Maybe it’s secretly for Wii U. 3D video capture is on the way for the system! Nintendo showed off some very odd video to accompany that. You may be able to

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  • 23May

    PSP titles migrating to PS3 with HD upgrades

    Sony announced this weekend that some PSP titles will be redeveloped specifically for the PS3, and released on Blu-Ray Discs. As these things usually go, it’s starting in Japan. This new category of “PSP Remaster” titles will not only get a visual upgrade, but they’ll also add some new features, like SIXAXIS support and 3D. You’ll also be able to use your PSP filesaves on your PS3, then continue the game while you’re on the road. The PS3 will be adding an “ad hoc for PlayStation Portable” application. Since Japan’s getting the new titles first, it makes sense that the first release will be a very Japanese one — Monster Hunter Portable 3rd HD. (They could bring that to other shores, but I’m doubting it, personally — Monster Hunter hasn’t really taken off here.) What PSP titles would you like to see make the jump to the console big brother?

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  • 20May

    Review: Yakuza 4 (PS3)

    There is indeed a spiritual presence from Japan that reaches out to us so strongly, so tangibly, that we will digest any scrap of its culture that we can obtain. If you have felt this, then you will adore, even love, this classic game.

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  • 22Apr

    PSP Go production halts in Japan

    The PSP Go is one of those devices where you either love it or you hate it. The smaller form factor combined with a lack of UMD media makes it an instant win for people who tend to stay on the road and don’t need any extra “stuff” holding them down. However, a lot of people prefer their games to come in a box so they don’t have to wait for the download to hit the PlayStation Store. Not only that, but the original PSP’s larger size and screen make it more appealing to some. You may have already chosen your side in this battle, but in Japan, it won’t matter soon enough. Gamasutra recently reported that PSP Go production is going to be ended in Japan completely, with all focus shifting to the more traditional PSP-3000 handheld. This is a move that makes sense given that Sony’s NGP is

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  • 17Mar

    We heart Japan charity event

    We heart Japan. Don’t you? We heart Japan is also a charity event that is happening at Meltdown Comics tomorrow from 8pm to 11pm. The charity event is to raise money and show support for the residents of Japan. All proceeds will go to the Japan NGO Earthquake Relief and Recovery Fund. There will be a silent auction that will feature art from Shinichi “Nabeshin” Watanabe, Sweet Streets LA, Cathy Clark, Zane DeGaine, Kevissimo, Dekker Dreyer, Aaron Bjork, Shibuya Girls Pop, Sam Randazzo, Sawdust Bear, Sasha Palacio, Sara Tea, Patrick Smith, Eron Rauch and many more! Music will be featured by Count Ninjula. Food trucks will also be on site. And they have an amazing list of special guests which do include voice actors that have worked in games as well as anime. Stephanie Sheh (Naruto, Bleach, Eureka 7) Troy Baker (Generator Rex, Bleach, The Avengers) Richard Epcar (Ghost in

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  • 11Mar

    Record Breaking Quake Hits Japan

    Early this morning EST and late afternoon Japanese time, a enormous earthquake occurred. This was the fifth-largest to hit the world since 1900. The 8.9-magnitude quake followed a series of almost 30 smaller quakes in Japan in the past few days. It struck off the east coast of northern Japan in the afternoon and triggered a tsunami of reportedly more than 20 feet high. This big quake came after six others measuring magnitude 5.0 or above which churned beneath the ocean east of Japan Friday morning. There was also five on Thursday in the area of the same scale and 17 on Wednesday. In the past seven days, there have been 53 earthquakes of at least 5.0-magnitude around the world, according to the US Geological Survey. Of those, 28 struck near Japan. Japan’s latest quake places it in the Geological Survey’s top five largest earthquakes to strike anywhere in the

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  • 25Feb

    Japan’s Anti-Anime Law

    Coming up on the political scene over in Tokyo, there is a strong possibility that an unpopular law could get passed. Called Bill 156, the “Anti-Anime” bill has been backed by a governor named Shintaro Ishihara. Seen as an embarrassment by some, there is an influence to clean up anime. Its place in Japanese media, can cause cultural misunderstandings when anime is often seen as sexually promiscuous and degrading towards women. What they really want to get rid of are the ones that sexualize underage young girls. Criticism has come about now due to the vagueness of how the bill was written. An over broad description of what is taboo could mean that anime in general could have to become more censored. Ishihara and the new law are feared to be a ticket to anime’s demise. Like video games in the USA which are trashed by people who never play

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  • 07Feb

    “Forgotten Japanese Spirit”

    In a long winter like this one it isn’t easy to keep one’s spirits up. On a trip to return soda bottles we accidentally found a little Japanese jewel. Intrigued by the title I brought it home to learn more about it. The Bunraku “Nihonjin No Wasuremono” or the “Forgotten Japanese Spirit” is a fine natural Yamahai Junmai Saké. It feels as though a precious genie is in the bottle that I don’t want to let out. More than just being about getting drunk, the making of rice wine is still an almost sacred, and revered process. It involves the purest of cool water as it comes from the mountains. This one was made in the Saitama Prefecture. It is a Yamahai, which means that the brewer uses native yeasts, those just floating in the air of the brewery. It is a very tricky process which not many modern brewers

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