Time Walk

Yesterday we went to Time Walk, a cafe in Yokohama (near Hoshikawa Station) that has a selection of board games for you to borrow and play while enjoying a nice cup of coffee. It was our first time there, and we had a ton of fun! We played 枯山水 (“Stone Garden,” great), 百鬼夜行 (“Night Parade of a Hundred Demons,” meh), 緑の砂漠 (“Green Desert,” interesting premise but a bit hard to get into), and Forbidden Island, which we brought with us. It was a really good time, and we’re probably going to try and go there at least once a month.

The cafe itself is quite nice. It looks very much like a “normal” cafe, with nice decor, good coffee, and a relaxing atmosphere. Unfortunately, like every Japanese cafe in Kanto, the tables are quite narrow and close together, making it a tight fit when getting around to use the restroom and view the selection of games. We brought our own green felt gaming mat which we ended up using since the tables are standard varnished wood tables. This might be kind of a weird observation to make, but it’s very much a cafe first and foremost, as opposed to a place geared especially for gamers.

That said though, the atmosphere really was about the games. There is a great selection of games to choose from, and the owner of the cafe is very friendly and encouraging to customers, whether they are total noobs or battle-hardened veterans. When we went, every booth was filled with groups playing games, and the air was full of delighted game chatter. At first it was a bit hard to break the ice and ask other people to join us for a game of 4-player Forbidden Island, but the owner immediately recognized what we wanted without us explicitly asking for his help and he was only too happy to introduce us to another couple, who went along with good measure. I have a feeling that he’s often called on to “read the atmosphere” for this exact situation!

The cafe is open from 10 AM to 6 PM on weekends, and you pay ¥1,500 at the door to hang out for as long as you want. The entrance fee also includes one drink, and additional drinks are about ¥200 each. The coffee as I said was surprisingly good and comes in very beautiful tea cups, and you get the full cafe experience on top of the board games. They are also open on weekdays from 2-6PM with an ¥800 entrance fee.

I highly recommend it, and hope to be visiting again very soon!

The Grizzled: Japanese Hard Knocks

Happy New Year! We have been playing a lot of The Grizzled recently. It’s a great game, though hard to recommend unless you’re playing with at least three players. We have been making due with the duo mode included in the expansion, but we suspect that the true sweet spot for this game is three or four players.

Another problem we had was the language barrier. The Hard Knocks in particular were giving us trouble not only because of the English but also the highly stylized font used in the English version. We decided to try our hand at translating the cards into Japanese, and you can download it here. These are for the vanilla Hard Knocks only, though we are working on getting the expansion At Your Orders! cards and possibly manual translated sometime in the future. The manual for the base game is available on BGG.

JLPT N2: question marks galore

Well, so much for trying to update more regularly, eh?

I took the JLPT N2 at the beginning of the month and I am still too shell-shocked to hit the books again. This was my first attempt at N2, and I was warned that the reading sections this time around would be dense and impenetrable. I thought it would be fine if I just reviewed weak grammar points, but NOPE: it was the paper exam equivalent of having a fire hose turned on me. That should teach me not to slack off.

So what have I been doing in the more than two weeks since the exam? Slacking off, naturally. It’s hard to stay motivated to keep studying after the test, you know?

I’ll get the results back in February. I have a feeling that I failed, and even if I managed to squeak by with a lucky pass I’d still want to take the test again because of how badly lost I was during the reading passages. We shall see.

Bloggin’

In June of this year, I purged all of my old blog entries because I was more than a bit ashamed of my writing. I rambled a lot or dumped tons of screenshots of games that I was playing. I was embarrassed that what I felt ought to be a right proper blog was, instead, an online journal. Back in ye olden times of the Internet, a blog was essentially an online journal, and who needs one of those anymore when there’s Twitter? A blog these days means something of almost magazine-like quality. The only way I could justify paying for and maintaining a blog, I thought, would be if I were to amp up the quality and provide Content™ for the masses.

Then I stopped updating altogether because the idea of sitting down to create Content™ was so unappealing and dreadful, especially when I could release a string of vapid tweets and then play video games instead. It turns out that it’s even harder to justify a blog’s continuing existence if it has only three posts.

So here I am again, refreshing the idea once more of what I think a blog ought to be. None of this really matters to you, dear reader, since I doubt there will be much Content™ coming. Nor do you really care about my internal debate over whether to shut down this site that receives only a couple of hits per month. However, I am going to make an entirely pointless pledge to update this place more often.

Carry on.

Study Japanese with Anki

It’s been two years since I originally posted about how to study Japanese with Anki. I am still an avid user and continue to add new notes whenever I run into new words or characters, and due to my commute, I spend more time than ever on crowded trains reviewing cards. My old Anki guides were far and away the most visited blog posts I’ve ever had, though it was becoming increasingly outdated. I thought I’d go back and tidy up my old guide to anyone looking to set up their own Anki decks.

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Boom boom boom

I don’t know how to use OBS very well, so I apologize for the potato quality. I’ve lost quite a few good POTGs because of that. This particular one isn’t super great since I only managed to take out one person. (#humblebragging)

Questing

I bought the full season of King’s Quest during the winter sale but haven’t gotten around to playing it yet. I did load it up just for a few minutes to see what it was like. In the very brief time I played, I’ve come to the conclusion that the graphics are beautiful, the narration of this cold open (I’m assuming) is a bit odd at first, and the puzzles are… well, better than Telltale puzzles of late, and certainly not the awful guess-what-the-developer-was-thinking puzzles of the ancient King’s Quests, but also not very interesting. Then again I did only get about ten minutes in before having to temporarily shelve it. Definitely need to have a proper sit-down with this game soon…