I knew nothing about this series, an Amazon Original — and apparently the pilot was first released back in 2015, and then the rest of the season was released now — but I noticed a few raves for it on my Twitter timeline and so decided to check it out, and I’m glad I did. I’ve only watched the first 3 episodes so far (of 10), but this is such a fantastic and smart series. It’s beautifully shot — it definitely has a filmic quality to it — and the situations are steeped in dark comedy (the premise is an American agent who goes undercover in an industrial company). It appears it has already been renewed for a second season, and that’s good news indeed. The funny thing too is that I watched the first episode of this straight after watching the original Robocop film, and so it put a smile on face to see Kurtwood Smith starring in both. The one thing that bugs me a bit though is that the inspector speaks French with a strong accent (i.e. she’s not really a French speaker). It becomes annoying because most of her dialogue is in French with subs.


Japandemonium Illustrated: The Yokai Encyclopedias of Toriyama Sekien

Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt are a power couple when it comes to the localization game, and on top of all those books that Matt wrote in his Attack series (that initially shared the same trade dress and publisher as Arcade Mania), the two have now collaborated on a new book, Japandemonium Illustrated, that takes the form of a proper translation of the yokai encyclopedias of Toriyama Sekien. It looks like a fantastic book, and is available through Amazon.


Let’s Nihongo

I’m studying Japanese.

Huh? Didn’t you just leave Japan?

Yup, but you know what, I’ve come to a lot of realizations since leaving just over 4 months ago, and one of them is that I want to (and in fact, need to) always stay connected with that country, whether I’m physically there or not.

Considering the amount of time I lived there, people always assume I speak the language fluently, and that’s unfortunately not the case. I can certainly get by in casual conversations, but I was never able to really use it on a professional level – even though I’ve attended many a meeting held entirely in Japanese (I’d get the gist, but could never properly contribute as much as I wanted).

One of my biggest regrets – and that I’ve told every newcomer to Japan, often at a PauseTalk event – is that I didn’t properly study that language and give myself a good base in the early years. After that, well, life got in the way, and I decided to focus all my energy outside of what was my job at various times on developing personal projects and the like. But never to properly study.

And then I left Japan.

But hey, my wife is Japanese, and we still use a good amount of Japanese at home. And as I said, I still want to be able to do things in my life – on a personal level and a professional one – that relate to Japan, and so I’ve decided to finally sit down and give it the ol’ college try. I’m lucky enough to be currently working within a company that has strong Japanese roots – both with Shinra Technologies and parent company Square Enix – and I can already see how a better control of Japanese could come in handy.

The other inspiration is that my wife has been working very hard at improving her English, and seeing that, it made me feel like I owe it to her as well to better my Japanese. In a way, it creates a sort of competition, which can be good when you want to achieve something.

So my first target – since targets are very useful when studying, especially at this point in my life – is to shoot for the lowly Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N3 level. My oral and hearing are much higher, but because of my lack of study, my kanji reading, vocabulary, grammar, and reading comprehension are all lacking. My next goal after that will be to pass the N2 test next year.

Funny enough, I ordered study books from Amazon Japan, and with regular shipping, they got here (to Montreal) in 3 days, which is faster than anything I’ve gotten delivered here from Amazon Canada (at the regular free shipping).

Japan, there are things you did that frustrated me, but the efficiency of your services – especially deliveries – was never one of them.

Debaser Uncategorized

The After

Since I’ve always been a fan of Chris Carter’s shows (X-Files of course, but even the Lone Gunmen spinoff, and Millennium too) I was really curious to check this out. It’s one of the pilots that Amazon released recently, and I have no idea how they decide whether to order a full season or not, but based on this first episode, I hope that happens. The episode itself is so-so, but the setup is quite interesting, especially the apparent link between the characters, and then the big reveal at the very end.