This month was far from smooth sailing. The seas were rough and the storm is still ongoing. However, I am here. I found a path to survival. My situation has improved. My wish and dream of attaining a stable daily life and to live together with friends, was realized in an unexpected way. Although a small version of what I had envisioned, this small happiness alone took me 7 months to reach. A taste of what I want to achieve.
I have moved into my friend March’s place where a room had opened up. It was the house I used to be in when I first arrived in Chiba but then I moved out for a modern apartment, and now I am back. Having an entire room to myself, plus being friends with the housemates now, it is not bad. But of course, the world would not let me have it easy. Circumstances arose and this house would be closed down at the end of the month. I had only just moved back in and now in a few weeks, we all have to leave. I will enjoy my time here as much as I can.
The first thing this month was meeting up with my friend Lettuce who had just arrived in Japan a couple days ago. I had first known him during my study abroad in Aichi in 2014, so it is great to be able to meet him in Japan again. I went over to Kasai where he lives and will be commuting to a language school. At the station, and I was simply lost for words when I saw him. For the past 6 months, it was as if I had lived in a different dimension, a different realm, from everyone I knew. And now a personal friend is here with me. Surreal and strange. Anyways, after dropping by his cozy one-room apartment, we walked around the area checking out stores. Within walking distance, there was a Book-Off, Enterking, a couple game centers, and a small local card shop called Pit-In. We ate lunch at Saizeriya, ordering some spaghetti. We also visited Akihabara since it wasn’t far from Kasai. I first showed him Akiba’s ginormous Yodobashi Camera, where he bought some modeling supplies. Once again, I want to get back into Yugioh since Lettuce was interested in playing with me, so we looked around for Yugioh structure decks, but after visiting numerous card stores and no luck in finding ones I wanted, I ended up buying the 2017 VRain Starter Deck at Kasai’s Pit-In. Really, we spent too long out and about, but at least I was able to show Lettuce various hobby stores like Mandarake or Kotobukiya. Upon returning to Lettuce’s apartment, we started watching the 2nd season of SAO until late into the night, with the plan of finishing all episodes within the week.
On the 5th of March last month, the 1/1 Gundam statue in Odaiba was taken down for a new project taking its place. On the 5th of this month, Gundam Front Tokyo will also be closed down to be renovated into the Gundam Base Tokyo, projected to be opened to the public this summer. Although my friend Lettuce missed out on seeing the 1/1 Gundam statue, I took him over to Gundam Front Tokyo on the 4th before GFT is gone too. We stayed quite a bit later than I had intended to, but was able to let Lettuce experience GFT fully, including the 3 G-Dome movies and also the VR experience which was my first time as well. With our final trip to GFT over, we headed to Lettuce’s apartment where we continued watching the 2nd season of SAO. 2 days later on the 6th, it was Lettuce’s turn to visit me. At my place, we played a couple rounds of Yugioh, I show him some of my PSV games (Gundam & SAO), and finished all episodes of SAO 2nd season.
On the 8th, I invited Lettuce over to Chiba. Our main objective for that day was to watch the SAO:Ordinal Scale movie in theaters together, hence having to finish the TV 2nd season with him ahead of time. It was my 4th time watching the movie. Yup, still not bored of it. Prior to the movie, we wandered around the hobby and anime stores nearby, buying some manga that I was looking for. Aaah, there are so so much good and interesting stuff out there, just too much awesomeness. The movie theater we went to was Rosa 10, because it was nearby the central Chiba station area where we were could also shop around. However, I didn’t like this theater, which seemed a little rundown plus the popcorn was more expensive and smaller in portions than what I can get at Makuhari’s Cineplex.
For the past several weeks, it has been raining quite frequently, delaying our plan for my friends and I to go do a hanami event. With no other opportunities, we opted for strolling through a park at night with me, March, and Lettuce together on the 14th. At night, because that was the only time all of us could gather and hoping that we could maybe enjoy yozakura. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much illumination for us to see anything. The only worthy moment was the soul striking rain of sakura petals when the wind blew. March said, “アニメの名シーンだ”. Sadly, I don’t believe that any of us are destined for any amazing stories. For dinner before strolling through the park, we ate at a (pricey) curry restaurant that March wanted to eat at, enjoying the taste of curry while looking at gorilla butts. Great… After returning home, Lettuce booted up the Gameboy Advance game Battle Network Rockman.EXE for the first time. Another plan of ours is to play through all 6 of the Rockman.EXE games together. I was a huge Rockman.EXE fan when I was younger and it played a huge part in my exposure to Japan. Now, over a decade later, I can actually go back to play all of those games in Japanese, including the ones I never finished or the games that never went overseas. Anyways, my copy of the first game had yet to arrive, so I watched Lettuce play as it was his first time with the Rockman.EXE series.
This month, I wasn’t able to play much games at all. On the 12th, I got maybe an hour in playing SAO:HR. I challenged the boss of Oldrobe Forest for the 2nd time, with only a single party. Yeah, this boss isn’t particularly fun or engaging to fight. With the new region unlocked, a huge list of events piled up, which I will need to get to at some point.
On the 15th, Lettuce came over. Our plan this time was another movie, ひるね姫 ～知らないワタシの物語～. We went to the movie theater the next town over, the Cineplex at Makuhari. We left early with plenty of time to spare, so we first went strolled through the streets looking at whatever sakura trees that may still have flowers in bloom. Our first stop was Treasure Factory where we looked at TVs and random furniture. Then next was Book-Off where Lettuce found and bought a GBA Fire Emblem game with the original box for ￥550. At the theater, we still had time to kill after getting our tickets and right next to the theater was an area with crane games and etc. There, we both gave one try at a game that tested one’s reaction speed to press buttons quickly. We were both very close to the 30 points needed for a prize. After watching the movie on the way home, we chatted about the movie and agreed it is a hard one to describe. It was definitely enjoyable, but contained a lot of metaphors and hidden meaning. The movie’s plot aside, the movie affected the both of us in a very similar way. During the movie, we both thought about our lives, about rural life styles, and about our individual future. On the way home was a park with a field, where we laid down on the grass, starred up at the clear night sky with the big dipper and Orion’s belt visible. This was the night I saw satellites passing by in the sky with my naked eye for the first time. For a good 30~45 minutes, we just laid down on the grass, talking about our feelings for the future, lifestyle, and other deep things. To me, that night was an important moment and experience. As much as I would like to stargaze forever, it was getting chilly so we resumed our way back. Back at home, we ate dinner and then I watched Lettuce play half an hour of Rockman.EXE before he had to head back for the night.
I spent my free time on 18th and 19th playing Rockman.EXE as my copy of the games have finally arrived. Perhaps long awaited would be an exaggeration but I definitely looked forward to them. Although I have the assorted the first to fifth games, I intend on collecting all version of each title. Currently I am missing Rockman.EXE 3 Black, 5 Team Colonel, and both versions of 6, in addition to 4.5 and the other spin off games that I am not familiar with. Anyways, I slotted in each game cartridge to check if they work and no problems so far. Starting the first game afresh, I finished first chapter’s conflict with Fireman, catching up to where Lettuce was. Afterwards, I spent some time walking around town talking to every person, checking every object, battling enemies to gather money, and customized my chip folder.
I watched yet another movie at the theaters with Lettuce on the 20th, 君の名は. It is a movie we were both curious about having heard about the title of so many times. Upon watching the movie, I liked it, and similar to ひるね姫, it gave me things to think about. However, I can’t help but feel that knowing its popularity or a couple key words ahead of time somehow lowered my opinion of the movie. I blame myself for being this kind of person more than anything, but at the same time, it can’t be helped. I really did like the movie though, so I purchased the official pamphlet at the gift shop. There exists two volumes of pamphlets, I bought the first while Lettuce bought the second. 君の名は is a movie that I would like to watch again to fully enjoy.
On the 22nd, I went over to Lettuce’s apartment to hang out. I have been helping my friend panel line and topcoat his HG Unicorn Gundam, and today, I helped him repaint the gold of the blade antenna. But while preparing the gold paint, I made a mistake and ruined his window curtain with paint. *sigh* This is what I get for rushing things without proper supplies and a proper set up. Unable to clean it off, I simply apologized and will compensate for the replacement. Anyways, I then briefly played Gundam Breaker 2 with my little brother, completing 2 challenge missions. Later on, I played 2 matches of Yugioh with Lettuce. The synchro structure deck he initially bought was too difficult to play, so he also ended up buying the 2017 VRain starter deck to start equally with the same deck. With that said, I won both rounds, but I can see that he is slowly starting to get used to how Yugioh is played. We also watched some episodes Bakemonogatari together. Earlier in the month, we watched the Hitagi Crab arc, and today we finished the Mayoi Maimai arc. Lastly, before I headed home, we played half an hour of Rockman.EXE, dealing with the Metro blockage and reached Stoneman.
On the morning of the 24th, I finally finished reading the Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai manga series. It is one of the first manga series I started to purchase, and the series along with myself have came a longways since. I wrote in depth about my thoughts here (in Japanese). Later that night, although only for 5~10 minutes, I started the Re:Zero PS Vita game.
Up until now, I have been trying to manage two fundamental resources, money and time, where when I have enough of one, I lacked the other. I need money to stay alive but need time to be alive. At last, through chance and the mercy of others, I finally attained a balance of the two. It has taken me 7 months to reach this point. But the another fight starts here. I have moved on from survival and now I must climb, climb towards the future I want, climb towards being the person I want to be. Perhaps the real beginning, the real start that I had hoped for, the real challenge of my time in Japan, starts here.
Only watched a bit of anime this month:
- 鋼の錬金術師 (ep.32~36)
- ステラのまほう (ep.6~7)
- しゅごキャラ！パーティー！ (ep.1~2)
Finished some volumes of manga:
- 神のみぞ知るセカイ (finished series, vol.25 & 26 finished)
- ニセコイ (vol.2 finished)
- 魔王なあの娘と村人A (vol.1 started)
Didn’t have much time for reading novels:
- 化物語[下] (started, ch.1 なでこスネイク)
Added more games to my list to play:
- -PSV- RE:ゼロから始める異世界生活 -Death Or Kiss- (started)
- -PSV- ソードアート・オンライン -ホロウ・リアリゼーション-
- -PSV- ガンダムブレイカー2
- -GBA- ロックマンエグゼ