Saturday, November 19, 2011

"I want to eat kangaroos."

Yesterday, my 6th graders started working on speeches about the country they want to visit and why.

Me (to a girl): How's it going?
Girl: I want to go to Australia. What do they have?
Me: Hm, well they have koalas, and kangaroos...
Girl: I already wrote about that...hey, can you eat koalas in Australia?
Me: O_O Uh...I don't think so...
Girl: How about kangaroos?
Me: ...hm, actually, they MIGHT eat kangaroos there...I'm not sure.
Girl: Okay then. *writes* "I want to eat kangaroos."
Me: ...okay, sounds good...

Monday, November 7, 2011

UFO Catcher Winnings, Part 2

Click here for Part 1 of my weekend of UFO Catching.

On Sunday, I went to Osaka on a solo shopping trip. I needed to pick up a few things, but I also wanted to visit Denden (the Kansai version of Akihabara in Tokyo) to play more UFO Catcher. After winning two plushies in Sannomiya, I felt really confident that I could win a lot more. I started in the newly-opened Namco Land, which I figured would have a lot of similar machines to the ones in Sannomiya's Namco Land. I took a good walk around to see if there was anything I wanted to win, and ended up coming out with these two items:

 
 

I actually happened to run into a few friends on the way out of Namco Land, and one of them offered to take my huge pillow home, which I'm glad he did! I went to Sofmap to pick up a Xbox 360 joystick, and then continued on to visit any and every game center I could find. Some of them were small and didn't have anything worth winning, or the games didn't look as simple as the one I wanted to do. I visited a small one that had a Sentimental Circus plush, but it involved trying to pick it up and make it fall through the gap. I threw in 1000 yen but couldn't get it to move the way I wanted it to, so I walked away from it. I went to the Taito Game Station but didn't see anything I wanted. And then I went to the Sega Arcade and found the EXACT same Sentimental Circus plush that the other place had! The setup was similar to the D-ring game (explained in my previous post), except the ring was smaller, circle-shaped, and on a cylindrical rubber tip instead of a ball:


 

The other difference was that this claw had both of its prongs, whereas all of the ones I had tried previously only had one prong (because really that's all that was necessary). There was no question that I was going to go after this one. The claws at the Sega Arcade are quite annoying to work with. The way that it drops, it will rotate ever so slightly, which meant that I would end up completely missing the ring if I didn't aim correctly. I think I missed 3 or 4 times, and it really frustrated me. I kept trying though, and went to get more change when I needed it. After somewhere between 2000 and 3000 yen, I finally pushed the ring off, and Shappo, the Sentimental Circus ring leader, fell down the hatch for me to grab.



 

Carrying two large plushies and a joystick, I managed to get to Namba Marui to look at some designer handbags and for a new umbrella (didn't find one), and then started heading to Shinsaibashi. I stopped by Don Quixote to get a couch cover (the checkered on you see in my pictures), and then to a few other game centers, including another Sega Arcade where I won this Rilakkuma cooking pot (the one I have is the white variation shown on the side):


 

With that, I was pretty much done. I didn't feel like doing any more walking because my arms were aching from all of the bags I had to carry. I was quite pleased with all of the stuff I managed to win. I realized that I had just as much fun playing as I did when I won the item. It takes precision to win, and it's definitely something I'd like to pick up as another hobby. I'm rather excited to return to Tokyo in December, where I can visit all of the game centers Sunshine 60 Street. I'm wondering how big of a suitcase I might need...

UFO Catcher Winnings, Part 1

On Saturday, my friend and I were out shopping in Sannomiya. We didn't really find anything, and it was kind of discouraging, so I suggested we go to the game center and see if there were any prizes we could win from the UFO catcher.


We went to Namco Land, which was the biggest game center I knew of in the area. Most of the UFO Catchers here had one type of setup, like in this video (which isn't mine, just one I found through a search):


Of course, this was just the final push for the guy to get the item; the plastic D-shaped ring actually starts perfectly centered on the rubber ball and takes more than one try.

At first I thought that these machines were just pointless to try, because I knew that ball was rubberized, meaning that the plastic ring is practically "sticking" to it. That means that the claw is not just going to make the ring slide off, but only move slightly. My friend saw one particular machine with a large baby seal plushie in it. She said it was really cute, and when I looked at the ring on the machine, I could tell that someone had tried it at least once. So I said, "Well, why don't we give it a try?"

200 yen was for one try, while 500 yen was for three tries. Knowing that the one try would just be a waste, we dug up some 100 yen coins and popped in 5 of them. She tried the first time, and not being very successful, she let me take over. I could see that the ring was moving ever so slightly, and the more I tried, the more I believed I could eventually get that seal. After we both ran out of coins (totaling about 1500 yen I think), we took turns guarding the machine while one of us went to get change for our 1000 yen bills.

Finally, after about 2500 yen and a final pull, the ring fell off and the baby seal plush dropped down into the prize window. We were both so excited (me much more than she) and then we realized that there were two unused tries on the machine.

What I learned was that, when you have extra tries left on a machine, you must tell one of the staff and they will let you transfer credits to another machine (or they'll put another prize in the machine you just used). I took a look around the game center and found a large Doraemon plushie that I didn't particularly want but looked easy to get. I got that one in much fewer tries. Afterwards we took purikura (the Japanese photo sticker booth) to commemorate our winnings:



So what I thought was a difficult game to win was actually quite simple. It's a lot easier than the traditional type where you have to use the claw to push the item itself, because those you can actually screw up. With these machines, the only way you can really mess up is by missing the ring completely, which is what I ended up doing a few times. Part 2 of my UFO Catcher story takes place in Osaka, where I did some solo shopping and came home with three big bags of stuff!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Getting Damp Taking of Residence"

Ugh, I said quite some time ago that I would post a blog to go with this video. Finally I'm getting to it. I've been busy playing Dynasty Warriors 7, trying to catch up where I left off before my data got corrupted a few months ago. On top of that, stress was building up again in the last few weeks, but it's settled for now. Anyway, here's a few photos so you can see the Engrish for this dehumidifier yourself. Package from December 2008 (left) and April 2009 (right). Obviously someone realized that the former was utter nonsense. "Please gargle with the vomit water..." I'll update this post with the complete text...when I feel like it. I've been feeling lazy lately.