So Craig Calcaterra thinks that since the World Series doesn't start until Wednesday and MLB doesn't want bloggers to talk about rumors and potential transactions, that there's nothing to talk about.
Nippon Professional Baseball disagrees.
Kairosoft iPhone games are like crack; cheap and easily addictive. It all started (for the US at least) with Game Dev Story, a game I wrote about for Geek Shui Living here. Simple, cute graphics, easy to follow, tremendously addictive.
Since then, I've picked up Hot Springs Story, Pocket Academy, and now Grand Prix Story. The games are similar (run a spa/school/racing team) and my enjoyment of them has varied, with Grand Prix being my current favorite (also the most recent one I've picked up). They also have Mega Mall Story, but at $4 it'll have to wait until it goes on sale - and they often do.
The games are translated from Japanese (Kairosoft being a Japanese company without much of a English website - click here if you know kanji, or here for their tiny English site) so they have that weird Japanese feel to them with characters having auras and culture things like that. But for 8-bit gamers who were into some of the less mainstream Nintendo titles like I was, this won't be a major thing.
As for more games on the horizon, Kairosoft has a ton of them waiting in the wings, just waiting to be translated. Pocketgamer has a peek at their wishlist of games they'd like to see next, and some look quite interesting.
I'll get back to baseball stuff later. I just wanted to share what else was sucking my time away.
- Brand spanking new at Buhner.com is our first interview (of many). I had put off interviews for a while, because I wanted to establish the site more before I started asking people to take time out of their schedules to answer stupid questions that I threw at them. But, then I decided to just do it anyway. Posted right now is interview #1, with J-List's Peter Payne.
Got a present waiting for me on the front step when I got home today. Yes, dear readers, my care package from J-List arrived. I'd link it, but it's linked twice below, so figure it out. It was a box full of Japanese snacks; stuff that you'd only find in Japan. Tara picked them out for me as a "surprise", but she couldn't keep the secret that she bought stuff a secret for long. She did keep what she bought a secret though, until now. A quick rundown:
Every Burger - These are small hamburger-looking cookies, which consist of a sugar cookie-like bun (complete with actual sesame seeds) and a chocolate filling made to look like a hamburger. Very tasty, and in the true Japanese style, "cute food".
Hi-Chew (Green Apple) - Hi-Chew is a taffy-like candy which comes in several flavors. Tara knows my love of green apple flavor (actually, sour apple), and picked this up. Surprisingly, not only did this have a nice tart flavor (many American Green Apple candies tend to be very sweet), but this did not stick to my teeth in the slightest. As you chewed, you'd think that it would, but absolutely not. Why can't they do this with American taffy?
Sake Candy - I didn't like sake the first time I tried it, but this would be one of those things that is truly Japanese, so Tara picked it up anyway. The candy is very similar to the type of ribbon candy that you'd get at Christmastime (the kind that your grandma sticks in a bowl and it all sticks together), and has an unusual flavor that isn't bad... it's unusual. It may taste like sake, I really don't remember. I wouldn't say it's delicious, but it's interesting.
Black Black Gum - This stuff seems to have a following outside of Japan, but it's still relatively unheard of. Black Black gum has a strong mint flavor (think Altoids) and is loaded with caffine. The gum is black (well, gray), and according to the label, has "hi-technical excellent taste and flavor." Word.
Pocky (Choco Banana) - There's about 18 million kinds of Pocky. Pocky is a non-salted pretzel-like thing which is dipped in a coating 3/4 of the way, which gives the Pocky whatever flavor it has. The chocolate banana flavor here is very good, and the part that isn't dipped allows you to hold it, as to not get the coating on your fingers. Pretty smart. Not overly sweet, which makes it even better.
Pretz (Ebi Shio) - At the Glico factory, they make these saltless pretzel sticks and send them in two different directions. Half go to the Pocky side, where they become something sweet. The other half go to the Pretz side, where they become something salty. To call these "pretzel" snacks (in the case of both the Pocky and Pretz) isn't overly accurate, at least in the way we think of pretzels. They are more of a breadstick, although the flavor of pretzel is still there. They are very tender, and break easily (as my Pretz didn't do too well in the plane/boat/train/UPS truck ride over from Japan). "Ebi Shio" literally means "shrimp salt", which would explain the little shrimp looking at me on the box. I guess when you're surrounded by water, seafood tends to influence your snack treats. I found these to be really good, as most anything seafood related snack-wise tends to taste like Old Bay Seasoning here, and these actually tasted like a seafood treat. Tara wasn't crazy about these.
Mill Make (Peach) - Unlike most other products that you can pick up in Japan, this package had absolutely NO English on it, outside of "OK!!" on the front. Apparently, it must be good. What you find inside the package is five smaller packets, which contain a substance that looks closest to peach colored ice cream sprinkles. They smelled very peachy, and are used by kids (and I'm sure a few adults) to flavor their milk. It comes in more flavors, but this was pretty good; not overwhelming, and didn't make me sick like Strawberry Quik used to. Plus, a lot easy to carry around and less messy.
Watering Kiss Mint Gum (Apple Mint Green) - Watering Kiss Mint reminds me a lot of Trident, although the pieces are a little bit bigger, and last a little longer. It comes in a flip top open box, and has a very interesting flavor; while American gum seems content with just "mint", the Watering Kiss Mint gum flavors their mint with Apple (in this case), Peach, and Lemon (along with "clear). The flavor allows for a miny flavor (and fresh breath) while not making you taste mint for too long, while mixing it nicely with the fruit flavor. I swear, American companies can't "borrow" this idea?
Chocolate Gummi Sushi - Leave it to Japan to take something like sushi and make candy out of it (again, something you'd think America would jump on, with their desire to gummi-ize "weird" food.) The gummi sushi is pretty interesting, with the gummi part being the "fish" part of the sushi (such as roe or a piece of shrimp), with the "rice" it sits on being a marshmallow with a bit of chocolate filling on the inside. Nothing overly special about the flavor, but pretty cool.
Pucca (Chocolate) - I list these as "chocolate", although I haven't seen any other type. These are goldfish-shaped crackers (actually, pretzels again) which are filled with chocolate. They look like something you could eat way too many of at one setting. Very tasty, and I'm sure full of calories; they're like Goldfish crackers gone bad (not rotten, but evil).
Overall, very cool stuff, and all very tasty (although the sake candy I'm still trying to get used to.) I'm impressed most, I think, with the packaging that many of these things come in. Most everything I received came in a box, and all the contents were individually wrapped, wither by the piece, or in packs (like the Pocky and Pretz), to retain freshness. All very cool. I highly recommend checking out J-List (again, I shill) just to try out something different. J-List's snack selection is always changing (depending what they keep in stock, because they don't have warehouses full of the stuff), so things you find on there one day you might not find the next. As it stands, I can't find the Mill Make on the site, but I'm sure it'll be on there in the future.
As for articles, I've got two in the works, and an interview! More later, but now, I eat.