Recently, I played “Gone Home.” It’s a first person indie game that has an interesting premise. Rather than focusing on action and challenging the player’s physical coordination, the game is focused on exploration and discovery. There’s no way to die or lose, you just explore a very atmospheric environment and looking and listening to various things to piece together a story. I like finding games that take the chance to go out on a limb with something different.
Recently I transferred to our Nonoichi office location. Since the closest bus stop is still a small distance away, I have an interesting walk before I arrive at the office. The path I travel is next to some large rice fields. Right now the rice is growing strong and makes for a beautiful green field, as seen in the picture. There are also a lot of spiders on the path. They are out of the way, but I know they are secretly plotting to get me.
The other day, in my weekly Japanese class, I learned about the local custom in Kanazawa of eating himuro manju on July 1st. These are buns that have a sweet red bean paste in the center of them. “Himuro” means ice house, in Japanese, and they were used during old times such as the Edo period for storing ice for long after the winter had passed. In fact, snow would be packed into one and stored until mid summer, it would then be carried on foot across the country from Kanazawa to Edo (now Tokyo) and given to the shogun of Edo on July 1st as a cool gift in the hot summer. It would take about two to three weeks to transport the snow to Edo. Pretty impressive. I wonder if there was a snowball fight once it arrived!
So the himuro manju (ice house buns) get their name for looking like an ice house with snow (the sweet beans) packed inside, and they’re eaten on July 1st in celebration of this tradition.
The himuro manju are quite delicious so it was quite unfortunate that I had to share. The outside of the bun has a little bit of chewiness to it and the bean paste in the center is the star of the show. I’ve had sweet red bean paste before in other Japanese treats, but this time it really stood out for me. I recommend trying a himuro manju if you ever have the chance!
Twice a month, I host an RPG session. For this entry I’d like to introduce the player characters and talk about their adventures. Feradach the fighter, Kyndrwyn the paladin, Salit the alchemist, and Garth Baroques the gnome bard.
The group set out to an abandoned farming village to investigate murders that happened there over a year before. After exploring a few abandon homes, Garth and Kyndrwyn both saw a child on the front porch of another home. The child laughed at them in a creepy manner and coaxed them to follow him inside. Kyndrwyn, using his special abilities, easily recognized this child was in fact a powerful undead creature, the kind he is sworn to destroy. The party chased after this creature and fought it inside the house (seen in picture). Did they survive?
Hi Everyone! Things are going great for me here.
Lately, part of my tasks include learning and working with the Unity game engine.
It’s a lot of fun to use and I think it can help simplify a lot of game development tasks.
Here in Kanazawa, winter is approaching.
Last year was my first winter here and to sum it up, I don’t think it was as cold or there was quite as much
snow as a typical New England winter, which is what I’m used to in the north eastern US.
However, since I spend a lot more time outside it seems to even out!
One thing that really surprised me about winter here is the way snow is removed on the streets
and even some sidewalks. Basically, it’s melted with running water. A device in the road and some
sidewalks sprays water in multiple directions.
Between the running water and the slightly warmer temperatures things don’t ice up.
Recently, I’ve been playing board games with friends.
It’s a lot of fun to get together, but all of my board games are in English and so
it’s been a little challenging finding games that don’t rely so heavily on written text.
For example games with a variety of cards might be difficult to play if the cards all contain unique detailed rules.
So far we’ve played Settler’s of Catan and Pandemic with out too much trouble.
I’ve also been able to look up some rules for these in Japanese as well, so it helps a lot.
I really want to play my favorite board game, The Fury of Dracula,
but it’s probably the most complicated board game I own.
I’m not sure what game I’ll try to introduce my friends to next, but I’m sure we’ll have a good time!
I’m David Bax and I’m working as a Game Planner at Granzella. It’s
only my 6th day here, but I can already sense that there’s a lot of
potential here and I’m looking forward to what the future brings! I’ve
already been surprised by a few things and I can’t wait to see what’s
next. I’m really excited to be here at Granzella!
I’m from Boston, Massachusetts, USA and I have a number of years
experience in the games industry. I got my start at Looking Glass
Studios and Irrational Games, and since then I’ve worked for several
other companies in the USA. Last year, I came to Japan and met some of
my current co-workers while working together at IREM.
I feel that each game you play can effect and influence your
creativity when it comes to making games. So it’s best to experience
many varieties of games and understand their fundamental mechanics.
Therefore, I enjoy all the game consoles, portable systems, and PC
gaming alike. I even like to play board games and I also host a pen &
paper RPG night with some friends here in Kanazawa.
I love living in Kanazawa, it’s a perfectly sized city. It’s small
enough to retain lots of traditional culture, but large enough where
it still has an exciting night life and other activities. Not to
mention, it’s a beautiful city too! If you travel to Japan or you live
here, don’t miss out on visiting this city!
Well… until next time,