Last weekend I went to the Tokyo Game Show with some Nara JETs and Kobe JETs!
I took the nightbus from Osaka to the Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. There are basic bus seats, but I paid a bit more for the ultra seats. The chairs were bigger, more legroom, and all around more space. The bus company provided blankets for everyone. It was dark and silent the whole ride. Curtains covered the windows and even blocked the windshield. The bus ride took 8 hours, with about 3 stops along the way. I picked up some food at one of the stops, but other than that, I battled the forces of discomfort to achieve about 4 hours of sleep.
I joined the trip late, so I did not get a ticket to the Ghibli Museum. Studio Ghibli is the animation company responsible for movies like "Spirited Away," "My Neighbor Totoro," and "Princess Mononoke." They are like the Pixar of Japan. Disney always helps release their movies in the USA. Instead of going to the museum, I dropped off my bags at the Hotel and headed straight for the Tokyo Game Show (TGS)!
It was HUGE! TGS is held at a convention center in the Chiba Prefecture. This convention center is the biggest I've ever seen. TGS encompassed 3 gigantic rooms.
I explored the first room on Saturday. I found the Konami, XBOX 360, Retail, and Square Enix boothes in this room. Also, I found the Behemoth game design company showing off their new "Castle Crashers" style of games. I even met the "Ash" from the popular web series "Hey Ash Whatcha Playin."
After I spent a couple hours at TGS, I met up with another Nara JET, R, in Tokyo. We ate some good Japanese style curry, and geeked it up in Akihabara. Akihabara is full of stores for comics, video games, movies, and electronics. We ate Burger King for dinner (there are NO Burger Kings in the Kansai area). Good 'ol fashion Karaoke took us the rest of night when we finally decided it was time to get some sleep.
We got up bright and early (I had a bagel for breakfast. I miss bagels.) and met up at the train station for day 2 of TGS fun! When I went to TGS the day before, it was noon, so there was no line. We arrived on Sunday at the opening time, so the line was LONG. It was so long in fact, that it wrapped around the ENTIRE CONVENTION CENTER. Standing in line to go in, cooking in the sun...did someone order Yakijoshua (cooked Joshua)? The Good news? My group seriously found 8 tickets on the ground outside the arena. We took them...and used them. We got into TGS for free. We are bad people...or just Gaijin.
I checked out the 2nd and 3rd rooms on this day. The 2nd room had the Sony, Capcom, Bandai-Namco, and others' boothes. They were gigantic. Sony is really pushing for the Playstation Move, their answer to the Wii. Microsoft is also pushing hard for the Kinect, their answer to the Wii. Lines were long everywhere, but I got to play the game I was looking forward to, "Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2."
I also went to the Capcom booth movie theater (yes, a movie theater) and watched all the latest trailers for their upcoming games. I collected free swag from all areas of TGS, except for the stuff one only gets if you play their game. Sorry Japan, I'm not waiting in line for 40-120 mins to play a video game. Not ever.
The 3rd room was reserved for food vendors and video game fighting competitions. It was the championships for "Street Fighter" and "Arcana Hearts." It was kind of cool to watch pro-gamers duke it out on large screens, but the excitement wore off when I realized I was watching pro-gamers duke it out on large screens.
To finish the TGS experience, I snapped a few pictures of Japanese Cosplayers (people who dress in their favorite character's costume). They are light years ahead of American cosplayers in Japan. I would NEVER do it, but color me impressed by how enthusiastic these people really are.
Another Nara JET and I left around 4 and took the bullet train back to Nara. It was a nice trip. Exhausting, but nice. I used the Monday holiday to recuperate, get internet installed in my apartment, and finally skype with family. All is good with the world.
Now I leave you with this: