Stuff! Gegege no Kitaro Collab from Graniph

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If you’re ever in Japan and stumble on to a store called Graniph (err, full name: Design Tshirts Store Graniph), do yourself a favor and head right on in. You will be smacked in the face with wall-to-wall eye candy in the form of everyday wearable fashion.

Roy and I had been to one in Kyoto several years ago and were excited to find another storefront while out and about one day (since then I discovered there are branches all over the place! Unfortunately the only Western storefront is in Australia.)

We were especially excited about their Gegege no Kitaro line as Roy is a huge fan of the series. If you’ve never heard of it, just know that it’s a ubiquitous manga from the 1960s about a half-demon boy and his adventures with ghosts. Roy’s favorite character is Kitaro’s dad: a tiny naked man with an eyeball for a head.

I ended up getting the above Neko Musume shirt, where the back is her in her transformed state:

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Roy got these Medama Oyaji socks:

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The quality and variety of eye-catching designs (along with being up to their eyeballs in amazing artist collaborations) makes the Graniph stores well worth a visit. They also offer discounts if you purchase more than one item, which makes for good souvenir shopping as well.

Bonus: the original opening animation to the anime series for Gegege no Kitaro.

Out & About: Floating Flower Garden in Miraikan

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If you’re wondering how to spend Golden Week in Japan, let me explain something. It is not:

1.) On Children’s Day

2.) At a science museum

3.) In Daiba.

We unwittingly did the above three things to experience what is perhaps one of the most magical moments in my lifetime. Battling through a sea of my least favorite types of strangers – parents and children – we went to Miraikan, aka the National Museum of Science and Emerging Innovation (yes, we saw robots), to stand in a long line for an exhibit called the Floating Flower Garden.

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I learned about this exhibit through Spoon & Tamago a couple months ago and had been dying to experience it. The crowds and wait were worth it: for two minutes, you and your party get to go inside a spectacular room adorned with fresh, live flowers hanging from the ceiling.

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The flowers were attached to sensors that responded to your presence, and as you walked around they would drift out of the way around you.

The installation is inspired by a Zen concept of everything being as one.

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The dreamlike experience has stuck with me ever since. I attempted capturing some of it and put some clips together in babby’s first compilation video:

The first part of the clip shows the flowers from the outside – you can actually see through some windows what people are experiencing while you wait in line. Unfortunately since our time was so limited the inside experience is not as long, but you can watch more in Team Lab’s video here:

Sadly the installation is not a permanent one and has since ended. I hope I was able to adequately share the experience! (p.s. if you are interested in seeing more videos, let me know!)

Asobee: Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Episode 04

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Happy Friday! Here’s the latest installment of our Let’s Play, where we cover waking up naked on a palm tree, walking ducks, and talk a whoooole lot of shit about Brad.

Episode description:

This week, with Roy at the controller, we visit several worlds including Radiant Garden and the Pride Lands. Unfortunately for Sarah, the lovable Zazu does not make an appearance however… Finally, we face off against not one but TWO tough bosses… Really starting to feel the effects of Proud Mode!

Stuff! How to Play Neko Atsume (ねこあつめ)

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The menu.

Maybe you’ve seen your friends on Twitter sharing screenshots of a cartoon garden with some cats. I’ve gotten so sucked into it that I even modeled my latest Twitter avatar after it.

The mobile game Neko Atsume, which translates to Cat Collection, is free to download even for US iTunes accounts (you can copy and paste this to search for it: ねこあつめ), but unfortunately has not been translated for English-speaking audiences. If you can’t read Japanese, fear not! I will tell you what you need to know to get the most enjoyment out of the game.

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In the game, you have a space that you can decorate with cat-friendly furniture and toys. You put down a bowl of food, close the app, and wait a bit.

When you open the game back up, you’ll see some cats! When all the food is gone, the cats go away, but not before giving you some dried sardines in return. Dried sardines are the currency in this game, with gold fish having more value. You can actually purchase 10 gold fish with 500 silver fish in the shopping menu, which isn’t a bad idea if you’re saving up to expand.

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A deserted garden. Note the empty food bowl! Better refill that sucker. You can tap on the food bowl directly to refill it. When cats leave behind dried sardines, you’ll get a little dialogue balloon at the bottom of the screen. Tap it to review and collect the fish.

 

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The good stuff. Tap on the left word in yellow to refill.

 
You can start by refilling the bowl for free with the pink bowl, but to get better cats you’ll want to change up the food, which you’ll have to shop for. The gold food bowl is a good bet to see some rarer cats, but you should experiment with the higher quality canned food to see some really cool ones. Just remember to check the app frequently if you do, otherwise you may come back to an empty bowl and list of missed rare cats.

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I’ve only ever seen this samurai cat once! This was when I put out a higher quality can of cat food.

 

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You can review which cats gave you what rewards & see what item they played with. Manzoku-san (まんぞくさん; means “satisfied”) is the white cat on top who eats all the food. Everybody hates Manzoku-san.

 

Typical Manzoku-san.

Typical Manzoku-san. (Source)

 

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Some cats come specifically if you put out a certain toy, such as this baseball cat. Is his uniform a nod to Hanshin Tigers?

 

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Had to do a double-take at this cat! Are those two tails I see?

 

Sometimes when you open the app the screen will darken and a cat will titter onto your screen. It wants to give you treasure!

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What treasure are they going to give me?

 

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…A dirty stuffed animal.

 
There are a lot of treasures you can get, and they include such gems like “strange spoon” (aka a spork), cicada husk, bell that doesn’t ring, an old 10 yen coin, and damp matches.

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With enough fish, you can upgrade your garden to include an indoor area!

 
Unlike a tamagotchi, nothing dies if you don’t bother putting out food, so there is no punishment in not playing the game for a while. You can save up fish to buy better furniture and toys, and ultimately upgrade your space in a variety of ways.

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You can also upgrade the look-and-feel of your space. This is how my set up currently looks.

 
The game has a level of detail that betrays its simple premise. Each cat has their own personality, fighting strength (whatever that implies!), and top 3 favorite items from your set up. You can also use the in-game “camera” to take a screenshot of the cat itself, which you can then assign to their profile.

In their profile, tap on the yellow square towards the bottom-right corner to view the pictures you took of it. Double-tap on any picture to assign it to their profile as their best photo.

You can also tap on their name at the very top to change it! This is a good way to keep track of which cats are visiting if you can’t read Japanese. (h/t @newcrobuzon).

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Tapping on a cat will bring you to their profile page. Kuroneko-san has a tsundere personality and 140 fighting strength. It’s visited my place 95 times! It gave me a brush as a treasure, as seen in the bottom right corner.

 

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That looks like a lucky cat hanging out in the door.

 
That’s about it! Hopefully that’s enough info for you to get sucked into the game. It’s best to play whenever you’re trying to kill time. I usually check it during commercial breaks on Hulu, between errands, and before I hit the sack. I try to make it a point to always have the bowls full even if I won’t be checking the phone for a while, because even though I will have missed out on a slew of cats, I’ll still have a steady stream of incoming sardines.

Have you played Neko Atsume? Is there anything I overlooked, or something you’re stuck with? Let me know in the comments! Happy collecting!

Out & About: Asakusa

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Asakusa is a great place to go if you don’t mind wading through some touristy areas. There are a lot of affordable places to shop and foods that you can eat while walking around. I didn’t get any pictures leading up to the ubiquitous shrine area, but we started our day off with some gelato, stopped in a pickle shop, and tried out some fried green tea manju.

As we got further towards the main shrine in Asakusa, the crowds started to get more dense and I decided to finally whip my camera out.

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Asobee: Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Episode 03

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*record scratch* What is our podcast doing here? Well, since Roy’s blog is pretty much in a limbo state, I thought I would cross post any of our podcast episodes here. (You can also subscribe to us on YouTube.)

We are still trying to get back into the swing of regular podcasting and made it a goal to have one of these out every Friday. We do have plans to revive My Fair Hunter as soon as we can get our hands on a modded 3DS, but it’s pretty expensive to do so it might take some time. (I am also in the process of setting up a Patreon so subscribers can help us keep creating all this stuff and get some special goodies in return.)

In the meantime, enjoy this very special episode as we mumble our way through another world in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep.

Episode description:

In this episode, we take on the Dwarf Woodlands (which are mysteriously devoid of dwarfs…). Sarah takes the wheel and leads us in our adventure against the evil Snow White right up to a somewhat disturbing boss battle!

Stuff! Unboxing My Habanero Boyfriend

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Anne over at Chic Pixel entrusted me to grow my very own habanero boyfriend. Take a gander at the unboxing experience and learn all about what growing vegetable boys has to do with graduating high school!

Forever Hungry: Final Fantasy XIV Eorzea Café in Akihabara

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In case you missed it: I finally did a photo-heavy review of our time spent at the Eorzea café on Chic Pixel! Head on over there to see what it’s all about, kupo.

Out & About: Kameido Wisteria Festival

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Roy’s mom came to visit us for Golden Week, but sadly she missed all the sakura action only a few weeks prior. Luckily Roy found a wisteria festival that was happening in Kameido! The crowds, booths, and wonderful scenery was a good way to experience a taste of what we went through during sakura season.

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Out & About: Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku

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We had some time to kill before our reservation at the Sailor Moon Crystal Café, so we spent it walking around the immediate area in Kabuki-cho. It’s been years since I’ve been to Shinjuku so it was fun to see everything with fresh eyes.

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Roys senses something a miss.

 

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Gorilla giving a peace sign.

 

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Crows were congregating down this one little alley way. The sign says “Road to Get Rid of Memories”. Perfect for a Japanese remake of Vanilla Sky.

 

Definitely saw our share of questionable looking dudes and places geared towards adult night life (including a window display of sex toys and dildos just, y’know, hanging out.)

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Entrance to the infamous Robot Restaurant. I want to go here some day! Tickets are ~$70 USD per person.

 

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Shinjuku cityscape.

 

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We braved an overflowing Don Quijote while killing time. I picked up these socks since almost all of mine have holes in them.

 

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Stopped by Kinokuniya on the way back from the Sailor Moon Café. After flipping through a lot of unfamiliar titles, I decided to buy the first two volumes of Wakakozake.

 
A nice excursion into a weird part of Shinjuku. There was a bunch of good-looking restaurants gearing up to open at the end of April, so a revisit might be in our future some time soon!