Psychotic Ramblings

Happiness Is a Warm Arcade

Japan is still well known for its video game and arcade culture, but neither are really what they used to be. I think its public knowledge that Japan’s importance in console gaming has long since diminished. Sure, its made a bit of a comeback as of late, but the majority of the classic Japanese game developers, Capcom, Konami, Sega, and so on, are all just fractions of what they used to be. And they’re the lucky ones, a hell of a lot more are defunct completely, or exist only as a holding house to license out old IP.

Sadly, arcade culture in Japan has diminished recently as well. It feels that not a year goes by where you hear of some classic or legendary game center in the greater Tokyo area shutting down. And the ones that remain have been forced to shift their focus away from classic arcade style games and more to redemption machines (crane games) or insanely complex rhythm games. And while I find both to be fun in their own ways, they’re very much not for everyone.

Sure, Akihabara has lots of arcade still, with some great ones that even focus on retro machines. And that’s awesome. If you’re a tourist then I totally recommend you check them out. But, the longer one spends in Akihabara, the sadder it feels. The pervy underbelly becomes more apparent. You start to notice the games less, and the disgusting old men lusting after women in schoolgirls more. Not to mention storefront after storefront catering to the most base-level otaku with anime porn featuring obviously underage girls. It’s an icky place.

Seeking an alternative to the perv-domain of Akiba, the boyfriend and I headed out to Odaiba last week, in search of a different variety of massive arcade. We escaped lustful sadness of Akihabara’s otaku culture and had some fun along the way, but also found ourselves face-to-face with a sadness of another kind. Continue reading

Getting Old and Escapism via Nostalgia

I turned 38 this week and I think I’m finally starting to feel old(er) [kinda] {I think}. Continue reading

America: Great for Golden Girls and White Nationalism

One of the interesting things about living away from your home country is that when you come back to visit, you notice how things have changed. Not just little things like new buildings or stores in your local hood, but larger trends and societal changes.

For example, this time around I really noticed a change in TV. The cable channels have really adapted to the Netflix viewing model, and allow their viewers to binge watch their favorite TV shows. That was kind of great. I got to watch Fresh Prince, Golden Girls, and Forensic Files pretty much non-stop whenever I was in my hotel room. I was totally okay with that.

I picked up on some fashion changes too. Nothing major, but I did see a slight rise in floral patterns and colored cuffs on men’s shirts. Considering both those things are very Japanese, that surprised me a little bit. Not a big fan of that style, but whatever.

Oh yeah, I also noticed the rise of ethno-nationalism, white supremacy, and fascist ideals being put forth in mainstream discussion.

I was a lot less okay with that. Continue reading

A Thanks to Doug TenNapel, the Bigot

Earlier this week I noticed a big uptick on visitors to my site. I immediately knew this could only mean one thing: Doug TenNapel must’ve done something stupid. Continue reading

A Dream for a Left-Wing Death Wish

A remake of Death Wish is coming out later this year. Let’s take a look at the trailer.

Oh dear. That looks kind of racist, definitely sexist, and entirely tone deaf to the current US political climate. So of course it’s directed by Eli Roth, who does nothing but make ugly films with rampant racist, sexist and/or homophobic undertones. How anyone could’ve seen Hostel and thought, “yes, let’s allow this person to make more movies” is beyond me. Continue reading

VHS Zombie Anxiety – How George A. Romero Nearly Ruined My Life (But It’s Not His Fault)

George A. Romero died last week. He was 77 years old.

Obits and tributes around the web have said more about him than I ever could. He’s being lauded as a true innovator, a man who changed cinema and pop culture forever, a renegade film icon that played by his own rules to make the movies he wanted to make, making some of the most beloved and acclaimed horror movies by doing so.

But to me he’ll always be remembered as the man who gave me a near-debilitating anxiety disorder that lasted a better part of my life. This is through no direct fault of his own – I don’t hold him personally responsible.

It was really my dad’s fault, if I’m honest. Continue reading

Tales Of Woe And Analog-To-Digital Conversion: Turntable Edition

Since appearing on Retronauts for the second time, I’ve discovered that a few people hold me in high regard as an audio expert/audiophile. I don’t know if that’s a fair portrayal of me and my expertise regarding audio equipment, but that sure is nice of people to think so. But on nights like tonight I feel like they sure as hell shouldn’t.

I tend to get a little obsessive about my turntable when things aren’t going right. Well, to quote an ex, I get “kind of scary and weird.” And I suppose that this instance is no exception. Continue reading

Steve Winwood and self-realizations

Oh shit I accidentally bought a Steve Winwood album. I hate it when that happens. Continue reading

Tales Of Woe And Analog-To-Digital Conversion

It’s eight o’clock on a beautiful Sunday evening. I worked a long day, time to relax.

And by “relax” I mean “work on dubbing a VHS tape to a DVD via a VCR/HDD/DVD combo unit I bought last week, while copying a new record to my hard drive via a USB phono-preamp, followed by copying an obscure ambient audio tape to my computer via the same device. I’m also ripping a concert DVD to my hard drive so I can convert it to audio and then into individual MP3s.

Sometimes I wonder why I can’t just stream shit like everyone else. Continue reading

The Glory of Hard-Off

I’ll get the obvious joke out of the way now.

In Japan, software is just called “soft” and hardware” is just called “hard.” The suffix “off” is often used to signify sales. There’s an entire chain of stores that make use of that grammatical choice. They have bookstores called “Book Off” that are quite common in and around Tokyo. Their stores that sell figures and models is called “Hobby Off.” They even have a used housewares store that is named “Off House,” I’m not sure for the reasoning behind the flipped words there.

But yes, they do have a hardware store, and it is called “Hard Off.” I understand that’s funny and I will not besmirch you for laughing. Shit, I’ve lived here three and a half years and I still giggle sometimes when I say to myself, “wow, that Hard-Off is huge.”

By the way, they have a liquor outlet store called “Liquor Off” and I think that shit is even funnier, but I digress. Continue reading

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