About Me

I'm Phil! American living in Japan. Teacher. Ex-independent professional wrestler. Student of Japanese. Traveler. Article writer for Mythic Scribes. Also written four manga, novels, and various short stories and poems. For my fantasy-related blog, check out http://www.philipoverbyfantasy.blogspot.jp/.


Drill Bits: random thoughts, bloggy stuff
Japan Hammer: topics about Japan
Story Time: stories I felt like posting

Friday, October 19, 2012

10/19/12: How to Find New, Cool Things

This time I'll be talking about how to discover new things in my four favorite topics:  fantasy writing, video games, Japan, and wrestling.

So here we go!

1.  How to Find Cool New Authors

a.  Amazon-I find the vast majority of books that I buy just by surfing through Amazon.  Their recommendations are usually pretty good, so if something piques my interest, I'll give it a shot.  Sometimes I'm kind of baffled by the recommendations, but for the most part they're decent.

b.  Goodreads-I haven't gotten into this site too much, but I feel it's probably one of the best places to connect with other voracious readers and find similar tastes in books.  If you can link up with someone you trust, then you can find tons of good books that way.

c.  Blogs-Random blogs sometimes have great recommendations.  For instance, this blog!  I recommended lots of great writers in my last post, so check them out if you trust me!

d.  Authors You Like-Oftentimes, authors you like will support other authors or mention them in interviews.  I found Jack Vance through interviews with George R.R. Martin, and I've been really enthralled with his Dying Earth stories. 

e.  Wikipedia-Everyone's favorite source for random articles, this is a great resource for finding other books you may like in a certain genre, as they'll sometimes list a lot of similar authors under articles.

f.  Forums-My favorite forum, Mythic Scribes (www.mythicscribes.com) is a great resource for hooking up with other readers and writers.  I also dig Fantasy-Faction which has some great content and articles to find new fiction.  I found out about Mark Lawrence there (whose book Prince of Thorns is listed above), who I'm excited to read at some point in the near future.  

2.  How To Find Cool New Games

a.  Youtube-There are tons of great folks that review games on Youtube, including popular publications like IGN and Gamespot.  One of my favorites tends to be Angry Joe.  He does really good video game reviews and doesn't pull any punches.

b.  Amazon (again)-Not the best resource for finding new games, but it's still helpful at times.

c.  Twitter-I found out about Dishonored, a game I really want to play, through Twitter believe it or not.  The trailer was so awesome, I was like "Whoa, I need this game."

d.  Just Going Shopping-One of my favorite things to do is just go shopping for games.  Sometimes I'll stumble across something that looks cool just from looking at the box art and back of the box description.  Can't go wrong there!

3.  How to Find Cool Japanese Stuff

a.  Again Youtube-There are tons of great vloggers who discuss Japanese stuff on Youtube.  They're pretty easy to find.  Some discuss learning language, culture, or just general topics.

b.  Japanese forums-While not my favorite places to visit due to the usual overwhelming negativity, you can find great advice for living and traveling in Japan if you go to places like Dave's ESL and Gaijin Pot.  Just be ready to wade through some crap to get there.

4.  How to Find Cool New Wrestling

a.  Youtube-Boy, I sure do love Youtube!  Dailymotion is also a good place to find some quality wrestling vids.

b.  Support Indy Shows-Just go to shows!  You may find something in your local area that you like.

c.  WWE's Library-I'm sure finding WWE's In-Demand service can hook you up with all sorts of classic wrestling.  Since WWE owns practically all of wrestling, it's worth a shot.

d.  Facebook and Twitter-If you are fans of specific wrestlers, they usually will post links to shows they are working and have worked at.  Just from word of mouth, I found CHIKARA, ROH, and SHIMMER, which I've all enjoyed to various degrees.

This is from CHIKARA.  Once seeing Kota Ibushi in action, I've since seen him in DDT and New Japan Pro Wrestling where he has excelled.  Finding wrestlers you like and following them to various promotions can open up your wrestling world a bit more.

OK, that's it for this time!  Thanks for reading and leave a comment if you have any of your own suggestions.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

10/12/2012: Fans

Once again, as always, I'll be addressing my four favorite topics:  fantasy writing, video games, Japan, and pro wrestling.  The common connecting topic this week will be "fans."

What are fans?  Is it short for "fanatic?" Or are they just people who decide who is popular and who is not with their pocketbooks?  How much should a fan expect?  How much should someone famous let fans dictate how they approach their life?  Some thoughts below:

1.  Fantasy

So this is a common complaint especially about George R.R. Martin.  Some group of fans seem to think it's OK to demand their favorite author to only work on the series that they want to read.  I'll admit, at some points, I felt that sense of entitlement as well.  But here's the thing:  are you a writer?  If you are, then you know how difficult it is to get your vision absolutely right.  Sometimes it's not going to be perfect when you sit down and write.  As a fan, it's your job to read and enjoy what someone writes and not demand perfection at every corner.  I think when the series is all said and done, everyone will be happy that Martin took his time and gave us an awesome series.

So the job of the fans?  Go read something else.  Here's a list:

J.R.R. Tolkien, Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Richard K. Morgan, R. Scott Bakker, Brandon Sanderson, China Mieville, Daniel Abraham, David Gemmel, Robert E. Howard, David Anthony Durham, Terry Pratchett, Andrzej Sapkowski, Ursula K. Guin, etc. etc.

2.  Video Games

With the coming of Dragon's Dogma to my doorstep, I've been reading tons of reviews.  Not all of them are glowingly positive.  But they're not all awful either.  I think fans of RPGs expect certain kinds of things in their games at this point.  From what I've heard of Dragon's Dogma, it takes some risks, and some pay off and some don't.  At the end of the day, if fans of RPGs don't like the game, then they won't make another one.  But I think the overall feeling is that the game can be another great series for Capcom, who has had gang-busters success here in Japan with Monster Hunter.  If this can be a new franchise for them to hang their hat on, then I'm sure they're excited.

And let me just say, I sort of predicted this.  Um...yeah, I did.

East Meets West?

3.  Japan

So I heard that KARA is now in trouble for not agreeing that some islands belong to Korea because they don't want to obviously offend their fans in Japan, where they are huge.  Because they didn't firmly support one side or the other, they are now facing dwindling popularity in their home country of Korea.  It seems like a case of the Dixie Chicks type thing, except KARA didn't go looking to get involved in a political situation.  Do fans of music really care what someone's political affiliation or whatever is?  They're just young women who sing songs.  Let them do their job and leave politics to politicians.

4.  Pro Wrestling

So CM Punk hit a fan?  It was a mistake, as he admitted, but where do we draw the line?  I'm not so much thinking about the incident itself, but the way the fans seem to treat wrestlers like they're sub-human.  If it's true and some fans said "Let's push (Punk) down the stairs" then I don't blame Punk for lashing out.  True, security should have been in place, but if someone is threatening to do you bodily harm and you feel you're in a volatile situation, sometimes the only reaction is to lash out.  I've always personally been against shows where wrestlers go into the crowd.  It can be a potentially dangerous situation in any case.  Suffice to say, I don't think WWE will be letting people go through the crowd anytime soon.  Like Punk said, I'm just glad no one was hurt.  I don't think he meant to hurt anyone, but when you touch a wrestler, you've become fair game.

Monday, October 8, 2012

10/8/12 Update: Fantasy, Japan, Games and Wrestling

I haven't posted a blog in a bit, but I'd like to get in the habit again.  There are basically four things I'll talk about on my blog:

1.  Fantasy Writing-books, articles, movies, etc.
2.  Japan-life, learning, etc.
3.  Games-video games, RPGs, etc.
4.  Wrestling-US, Japan, and whatever else I find

I'd like to focus on all four of these topics throughout my blogs.  So starting today, I'll discuss what I think about various thoughts about these four topics.  I'll probably post once every couple of days, or a week, just to update some cool links, videos, etc. that I've found pertaining to these four topics.  I'll share my thoughts on them as well.  If one of these topics isn't interesting to you, you are free to skip them of course.  :)

But I'd like to cover my main passions in life and hopefully keep them interesting for others.

For my first "new" blog, I'll discuss some things I'm interested in at the moment.

1.  Fantasy:  Article!

I wrote a new article for Mythic Scribes discussing Creative ADD in which other ideas infiltrate current writing projects.  You can check it out here:   http://mythicscribes.com/inspiration/crush-creative-add/

For now, I'm working on my current novel and finally made a break-through after struggling a bit.  I'm planning on doing National Novel Writing Month in November and already have some plans to discuss that.

2.  Japan:  Learning Japanese Again

So I go back and forth on learning Japanese now and again.  It looks like I'm going to give it a solid go again.  I'll either be learning from my wife or I'll be taking lessons in the coming months.  In addition, I'm going to join a gym for the first time in my life so I can work out and see how that treats me.  Things are looking good for the time being so let's just hope work doesn't crush me completely.
Any motivation to study is greatly appreciated.

For now, for people studying Japanese in Japan looking for a Japanese teacher, I highly recommend Labochi.  I haven't had a teacher from here yet, but you can find one pretty easily.  Just put in your preferences, and then you'll start getting offers from teachers within a couple of days.  I'm interested to test this out if things with my wife don't pan out.  Check it out!


3.  Games:  Monster Hunter Portable 3G and Dragon's Dogma

Looks like I'm in a Capcom mood at the moment.  I'm playing Monster Hunter Portable 3G (long title) with help from the wife in Japanese.  It's quite a slough, but I think I'll really enjoy it.  Waiting on Dragon's Dogma to come as well.  I've seen lots of reviews for it and I think the positives outweigh the negatives.  I'll be sure to update my thoughts on it when the time comes.

In the meantime, check out this footage from Monster Hunter Portable 3G (only in Japan!)

And here is some footage from Dragon's Dogma, which I'm pretty excited about.

4.  Wrestling-New Japan and WWE

New Japan did its first U-STREAM international PPV tonight here in Japan and I hope it did great numbers.  I'd really love to see New Japan broaden their horizons even more.  They're my favorite company in Japan and I've neglected puroresu for quite a while now.  Going to a show is long past overdue.  For news on New Japan in English, check out their Facebook page.

New Japan: English Facebook Page.

And finally WWE.  With some big PPVs coming up, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, and Wrestlemania, I'm expecting things to get interesting with the news that Mr. McMahon is returning to TV tomorrow night.  Looking forward to what he has to say as always.

 So that's it for now!

Hope everyone likes this new format.  A little something for everyone I hope!

See you soon!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why I Love Fantasy Part II (Tabletop Games)

This is part two of "Why I Love Fantasy."  I left out some stuff last time, so I wanted to add more to get the full picture.

I guess I was around 13 when I started playing D&D.  It was always sort of a "forbidden game" around my parts growing up in Mississippi.  People thought it was about devil worship or some such.  To me, it was just about being someone else for several hours a night.  I remember we'd all gather over at a friend's house and have to wait until midnight to play for fear parents may drop a ban hammer on us.  My first character I made was named Raxtar.  I still remember this!  He wielded a halberd (a long pole-arm) and probably wore splint mail because that had the best Armor Class at Level 1.  I don't remember what Raxtar did in that first game, but I'm sure he did something cool.

Weekends were D&D time, plain and simple.  At first, I was a player.  The first major campaign I remember involved us being sucked out of the real world into a sort of alternate reality fantasy world.  We spent many a night hunched over a kitchen table, rolling dice and trying to keep one friend who was a "little too loud" quiet. 

As I got older, I became the DM of my group and we had an ever-rotating cast of characters.  The main PCs in my game were a thief, a necromancer, and a warrior.  Throughout my game I had several others rotate in and out, but those three were the main ones.  I always tried to make things that happened in my game seem important, so that the characters were emotionally invested in some way.  The way I did this was by using the old standard "this person is your brother/sister/mother/father."  It's sort of a natural way to connect someone by blood.

I had my PCs in a place called the United Orc Republic.  A place ironically named because there were no orcs there.  Just a sinister army called the Black Horde.  The Black Horde were both evil and cool, so they had an appeal on various levels.  When my PCs fought someone, it usually meant something.  But I had a lot of memorable "random" encounters.  A bugbear with a yellow curtain draped over his neck, a group of strangely named assassins (Akanaka Blacka), "shadow guys," tech-mages, robotic death knights, basilisks, an orc named "Butt" and many others.  In any case, my D&D game ended around the time I started college and never really picked back up from there.  I have played on and off since then, but nothing captured the magic from age 13-18. 

It was amazing how much I missed out on "real life"  during that period.  But it's also amazing how I don't really regret it either, because those were awesome times.  I didn't have girlfriends really or have an interest in sports outside playing soccer off and on.  D&D was my passion.  I remember sitting at K-Mart in the stock room doodling pictures and planning games for the weekend sessions.  Something that linked me to wanting to become a writer later on.  My PCs were my audience, and I'd do whatever I could to hook them, to entertain them, to get them wanting more.  One day I thought, "What if I could do that for more than three or four people?" 

Thus, my love for writing was born. 

I sometimes think back and wonder what my life would have been like if I never rolled that first d20.  I think it would have been a lot less interesting, that's for sure.

Part III coming soon, in which I'll discuss video games.

Any memories of your D&D (or other game) days?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why I Love Fantasy

It's been a long love affair.  Fantasy and me go way back.  I can't really remember a time when fantasy wasn't a part of my life.  Drawing pictures in my room, creating worlds for my GI Joes.  I've always prided myself in that I've never "grown up."  I'll always love creating stories and reading about different worlds.  It's just ingrained in me.

It started at an early age.  Probably not as early as most, but early enough.  While other kids were playing sports, I was either playing video games or reading.  When I was in elementary school, I used to love this book series called Wizards, Warriors, and You.  It was just like the Choose Your Own Adventure books that were immensely popular, but had a distinctly fantasy theme to them.  I remember being wowed by those books.  Just to be able to make my own story in a way was so cool to me.  Greek mythology was also a big factor in my early geekdom.  There was this massive Greek mythology tome in the library that no one else ever read.  But I'd stick my nose in it every chance I got.  Since my mom was a teacher, I'd stay after school a lot.  I spent a lot of time in the library, just engrossed in the legends of Hercules, Perseus, and Theseus.  Even though I could barely read these names, I loved the stories.

Things would change drastically when I became a teenager though and I fell in love with Legend of Huma by Richard A. Knaak.  Ever since, I've been a huge fantasy fan.  I owe this mostly to my friend Danny, whose room was covered with fantasy posters.  I remember being so jealous of how cool his room looked and how drab and boring mine did.  What attracted my eye the most though was a bookshelf crammed full of fantasy novels.  Most of them Dragonlance.  I grew up with those books, so I'll always praise Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman the most for keeping a book in my hand throughout my childhood. 

From Weis and Hickman, I discovered R.A. Salvatore, another writer who had many epics I became engrossed with.  I crawled through the caves of the Underdark, and journeyed with Drizzt and company to Icewind Dale.  Such great books with memorable characters and lots of action.

Then at some point, I just started buying everything.  Seriously.  I must have thousands of books in my dad's attic.  Just sitting there, collecting dust now.  I started getting more into other speculative fiction, including horror.  Reading Stephen King and Jack Ketchum really got my blood pumping. I delved into Kafka and Gogol.  Some Elmore Leonard dashed in there. Then later came George R.R. Martin, Steven Erikson, Robert E. Howard, Joe Abercrombie, China Mieville, and Andrezj Sapkowski.  And the list goes on and on (I'll stop name dropping now.)  Each writer's words soaking into my skin, staining my brain, and just making me love the world of fantasy even more.

I get excited every time I "discover" a new author.  I get a great recommendation or find an awesome review.  A writer I like spreads the word about a writer he likes.  That's why I really relate to a community like Mythic Scribes.  It's home to lots of burgeoning writers and some already established ones.  I hope that word continues to spread and more and more people get involved. 

I have a passion for fantasy more than most believe.  I want to share the worlds I started creating in my bedroom at a young age.  To delve deeper into my mind to find those word weaving through, begging for me to use them.

I hope that will become a reality soon.  62,000 words later into my novel, I'm coming one step closer to completing my first full-length book.

And just think, it started in Arlington Heights Elementary all those years ago.  In a perfect world, some kid  is sitting in that library right now, picking up that same worn, hard-back Greek mythology book, and losing track of time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Phil's Links Across the Web

Give Up:  You'll Never Be Published http://mythicscribes.com/publishing/give-up-never-be-published/  

This article focuses on a problem a lot of beginning writers have.  They don't stick with anything.  They give up easily or find something better to write.  I'm guilty of this as well, which is why I'm glad I wrote it.  I can go look at it whenever I feel like giving up.  Most of my articles are mostly written for myself. 

How to Obliterate Writer's Block  http://mythicscribes.com/writing-process/how-to-obliterate-writers-block/

This article deals with getting rid of writer's block, in a humorous way.  I tend to try to use humor in my posts, to varying results.  

The Impatient Writer's Guide to Getting Published http://mythicscribes.com/publishing/impatient-writers-guide-getting-published/

Another humor column.  My first of the sorts.  I rather enjoyed this one and hoped more people would have gotten to read it.

Final Fantasy Re-Imagined http://mythicscribes.com/miscellaneous/final-fantasy/

I really liked this article, my first for Mythic Scribes.  Dragon's Dogma almost fits this criteria that I mention in this article.  So I was on to something maybe?

Wrestle Kingdom VI:  Live Review http://www.puroresuspirit.com/2012/01/10/wrestle-kingdom-vi-january-4th-2012-live-perspective/

ALL TOGETHER at Budokan http://www.puroresuspirit.com/2011/09/02/all-together-august-27th-2011-live-perspective/

Two articles I wrote for Puroresu Spirit, a website that focuses on Japanese pro wrestling.  I'm very passionate about wrestling as most people know, so I was happy to write articles for this website. 

Phil's Facebook http://www.facebook.com/philip.overby

My Facebook page where I make updates every so often.  

Phil's Twitter https://twitter.com/The_Drill99

My Twitter page which I use mostly for posting links and recommending other links.

I'll be posting a real blog soon, I promise!  But in the meantime, you can see what I've been up to recently.  Thanks!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Story Time: Necro-N-Hancer

This is for terribleminds.com challenge, "Death is on the Table."

John Vackner here, to deliver an exciting new product from Xanprixal Industries.

What if I told you your death could be like one big, endless wave of euphoria? What if I told you that you'd beg to die instead of living another second on this pain-filled Earth? Friends, I offer you the Necro-N-Hancer, a revolutionary machine that you can literally plug into your preferred orifice or self-made entry hole, to make your once uncertain descent into oblivion now a tapestry of your life's most wonderful memories, thoughts, and images.

Necro-N-Hancer (NNH) is patented by the US Department of Technology, and is endorsed by the Inventors of America, the Sisterhood of American Witches, the Canadian League of Horse Surgeons, and the Necromancer's Association of Central America.

This is not, I repeat, not, a machine that makes you a ghost. Ghosts are not real! Necro-N-Hancer is real!

Is your back hurting from an old spring mattress? NNH makes your big sleep on a mattress made of Pegasus feathers.

Girlfriend/wife/animal familiar driving you bat-shit crazy? NNH turns them into skeletal minions in lingerie who do your bidding within a spiraling abyss of never-ending massages of the scalp and neck!

Tax time got you down? NNH eats taxes! Like a crazed space-faring beast hungry for bloody numbers!

So why deal with this stupid, unpredictable world of misery? NNH guarantees your every fantasy in death will come true!

Explosions! Laser spears! Star-collisions! Parades! Horse tranquilizers! Dragons! Sexy cat women from some Asian country! Fortresses made of candy and devil hair! Eclixian trans-dimensional mantis demons! Brownies!

Don't let the NNH escape your grasp! Get one today!

For only five easy payments of 999,999,999,999,999 you too can own the NNH!

Listen to what Death himself, that's right, Death himself says about this wonderful product!

"It's pretty fucking nice."

Live death in style! Get the Necro-N-Hancer today!

I'm John Vackner and I too endorse this product!

John Vackner is celebrity and is not affiliated with any of the above agencies in any way.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Japan Hammer: Top 5 Things I Learned about Sumo

My recent trip to Osaka to see one of the tournaments there gave me some insight into how sumo works and how it is viewed. This was a very interesting cultural observation for me being the first sumo show I've ever been to. Having a background and love of pro wrestling, I didn't realize how closely the two are related in some facets. I never knew much about sumo until going and I still don't completely understand it, but I think I learned enough to share.

Hope you enjoy!

5. Not all sumo guys are huge:

You don't necessarily have to be a gigantic guy to be sumo, which was a misconception I had. I also assumed that the biggest guy would always win, which wasn't always the case. As you can see in the picture above, not all of the guys are massive.

4. Not all sumo are Japanese:

While I knew this largely, I was surprised how many foreigners are actually involved in sumo. Hakuho, who is the current Yokozuna, is actually Mongolian. And others such as Baruto (Estonian) and Kotooshu (Bulgarian) are from Eastern Europe. I was surprised when Baruto tossed his opponent like a rag doll out of the ring. That guy is extremely powerful. All of the sumo are in fact. They aren't just big guys running into each other.

3. Sumo matches are extremely short:

Probably the longest match was about 20 seconds? I figured they weren't that long anyway, but some of them were literally 2 or 3 seconds. Boom. Fall over.

2. The ceremony before the matches are extremely long:

There is a lot of ceremony and posturing before the sumo actually lock up. That means they face off with each other, throw salt, face off again, throw salt again, increasingly getting more and more aggressive each time. It's kind of cool to see and reminds me of other martial arts where they have to do the right things before starting.

1. Some sumo are superstars

Just the mention of some of the names got quite a buzz from the crowd. Hakuho in particular because he's been quite a dominant yokozuna. Baruto had his fair share of supporters and there are others that have smatterings of cheers and applause. Takamisakari seemed to be one of the most popular in that when he did his preparation he'd really, really get into it. Slapping his face hard and making grunting sounds. The crowd seemed to love that. Lots of people dig that sort of thing in sports. Those are different always have the most reactions. The same in all martial arts, pro wrestling, and MMA.

So, those are some things I've learned about sumo. What do you know about sumo? Did any of my observations surprise you? Comment below!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Story Time: Quetzalcoatl's Apartment

This is for the terribleminds.com Flash Fiction Challenge: Choose Your Own Setting.

The feathered serpent sat in his recliner as the end of the world came, just as the Mayans had predicted. His penthouse apartment was covered in sacrificial blood, hand sanitizer, and bones of mice. The sun shot a narrow beam through the window into Quetzalcoatl's eye just as a crazed man kicked in his door. A vision of leather and spindly limbs.

"I must save the world!" The stranger screamed as he threw off his sunglasses.

Quetzalcoatl squirmed in a pile of used tissues, feathers, and TV Guides. "Just sit here with me and watch it end."

The window cracked. The frame groaned. An unseen hand slowly crushed the apartment under its weight.

"The world can't end this way! It's supposed to be a meteor, dammit!" The stranger held up a copy of some book. Presumably one he wrote. It's Supposed to be a Meteor by Rick Robbins.

The apartment throbbed. The feathered serpent jerked his head back and forth creating a whirlwind of refuse. A laptop computer, coffee cans, and a refrigerator door gave the mini-tornado a bit more heft. Robbins covered his face, but the twister buffeted him back out of the doorway.

A blender struck Quetzalcoatl's head. Shattering into a million pieces. Then a swordfish came harpooning down from above his fireplace, almost piercing right through his face. "What the fu--?"

Robbins appeared back in doorway. "I'm a psychic asshole! You're costing me tons of money!" Putting two fingers to the side of his temple, he blasted a mind wave of invisible energy at the feathered serpent, flipping him over into a bundle of tangled tail and wings.

Quetzalcoatl hissed. He uncoiled, lashing out at Robbins with incredible speed. But he only crunched against a psychic wall of force in front of him. A ripple of dull pain surged down the length of his body. His tail went limp and he sagged to the floor.

"Change it! Stupid Mayan prophecy! This is wrong, wrong, wrong." Robbins prepared another mind blast, but Quetzalcoatl unhinged his jaw and clamped it down on one of the psychic's heavy boots.

The apartment shifted. Glass broke somewhere. A table collapsed. Posters peeled off the walls.

Robbins dragged Quetzalcoatl across the floor. The fangs were deep though. The psychic frantically looked for stuff to mind-hurl at the serpent. A painted vase spiraled from the top of a bookcase, crashing against Quetzalcoatl's coiling form. Nothing. Knives were flung from black marble holder. They cut, but not deep enough. A velvet love seat battered the serpent violently, causing him to gasp but not to release his death grip.

The apartment began to revolt. A wall stud shot out and pinged Robbins in the eyeball. The ceiling fan whirled out of its socket and thwapped him in the side of the head. A fluorescent light tube exploded into his mouth. As he reeled, a wooden beam swung down like a pendulum and uppercutted him into the ceiling. Even with the psychic's head stuck, Quetzalcoatl still hung onto his foot like a tacky key chain.

Then they both fell in a heap. They lie there as the sun seared their skin, gravity slowly collapsing the apartment around them. The sound of dying brick and wood. An inhuman groan.

"Maybe a meteor will still come. You know, afterwards." Quetzalcoatl wrapped around Robbins's abdomen, feeling his ribs crack. "Just relax now."

The psychic doom-sayer screamed silently as the air left his lungs. As the apartment's shadow became smaller. As the sun's heat became hotter.

"But-" Robbins's veins in his face throbbed. He sputtered and placed his fingers gently against the serpent's rainbow-colored scales.

"That's it. Just let it end."

The Mayans were right. About the end. About him. A breeze slid through the broken window, and a heaviness left the room. Quetzalcoatl breathed it all in. And the apartment breathed with him, its last breath as it finally imploded into a folding darkness.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Japan Hammer: Top 5 Ways to Learn Japanese

Thought I would blog a bit about a popular subject: how to learn Japanese. Being a high-level beginner of sorts, I could suggest techniques that have helped me learn Japanese while living in Japan. These are also suggestions that other people have given me or ways that even Japanese have told me help. While these methods may not work for everyone, they worked for me so far.

1. Buy some flashcards

To learn hiragana, katakana, and kanji there is no better way than using flash cards in my opinion. White Rabbit has a good series you can find on Amazon or elsewhere. Use the flash cards daily to keep yourself on the up and up and also write down what you learn in a notebook of sorts. I learned most of the kana (hiragana and katakana) within about a month of studying them everyday.

There are also tons of websites to get flash cards online. I won't list them here as you can find all that pretty easily with a search.

2. Make Japanese friends

I'm not listing these in order, but making Japanese friends would probably be number 1 in my book. In my case, my wife is Japanese so it makes learning certain words and phrases a lot easier for me. However, be careful when learning from people. If you're a man, try not to learn too much Japanese from women because then you'll sound like a woman. Vice versa for women.

This has been one of the top ways friends have said that they've learned tons of Japanese in shorter amounts of time. Plus, it's a good way to learn slang and phrases you won't learn from textbooks. There are resources and such for slang online, but finding a good book couldn't hurt either. I have a book called Dirty Japanese which is helpful for certain things, but I wouldn't recommend using it unless amongst friends you're comfortable with.

3. Buy a good text book

A lot of people say "Japanese for Busy People" and "Genki" are both nice books to use. I personally haven't used either one. I have several books myself, but I can't think of any that have been really mind blowing or that I can recommend. The guy who runs YesJapan.com has a series called Japanese From Zero which I would recommend without even reading it, because his info and videos on his website is excellent in my opinion.

4. Study everyday in some capacity and immerse yourself whenever possible

Watch Japanese shows. Read Japanese books. Talk with Japanese people. And study. At least for 30 minutes to an hour everyday. I fall in and out of my study habits and have had mixed results with my improvement. I don't speak to my wife in Japanese often (not as much as I should) but I do pick up things by constantly going to restaurants, stores, and being around Japanese people at almost all times.

If you can get the ratio of Native Language: Japanese to 50:50 or even higher in the Japanese range, you will see a noticeable improvement in a quick amount of time.

5. Don't give up

Seems simple enough. Just be consistent and steady with your studies and you'll get better over time. A good solution for doing anything.

And below, here are some resources and such I use:

www.livemocha.com (good for language exchange and learning)

www.textfugu.com (good resource for everything)

Youtube videos where they speak Japanese (I like Japanese for Morons channel)

Tae Kim's Japanese Grammer guide (www.guidetojapanese.org)

White Rabbit flash cards

Minna no Nihongo text book

Other books people have recommended: Japanese From Zero, Genki Japanese, Japanese for Busy People, Barron's Japanese Grammar/Barron's Japanese Vocabulary)

Other text recommendations here: http://thejapanesepage.com/w/index.php?title=Selecting_a_Japanese_Textbook

Friday, March 9, 2012

Final Fantasy Memories: West Meets East

This isn't an actual blog, but a link to an article I wrote about blending Western and J-RPG elements together to get a new type of Final Fantasy game. Check it out at Mythic Scribes and give me some feedback. Thanks!

Check it out here!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Japan Hammer: Top 10 Myths About Japan Broken

Here's a picture of the "deadly kirin" that rampages about and destroys Tokyo! Uh, yeah...

So I always see all these videos and blogs about how Japan REALLY is. People have lived here for a bit and maybe that have a bad taste in their mouth. Or people haven't lived here and long to live in the land of rainbows and gumdrops. Well, this blog is going to shatter some illusions and conceptions about Japan. I've lived here for about three years now. I'm by no means an expert about Japan, but my wife is Japanese and I do live here, so I have some perspective on the matter.

Without further ado, I'm going to address the Top 10 myths about Japan and smash them into tiny little micro-myths. Japan Hammer, SMASH!http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

10. Are Japanese people racist?

You see tons of videos of this on Youtube and blogs that discuss it. You can type in RACISM IN JAPAN on Youtube right now and about twenty videos on the subject will pop up.

"Someone called me 'gaijin' in a mean way and now I'm going to pout about it and cry." So what? People get called far worse things everyday.

I don't believe in this idea that Japanese people are racist. I think they're "guarded" which makes sense considering 99 percent of the population is Japanese. Plus, a lot of their guardedness is warranted. Foreigners do have a bad reputation for running on bills, getting too drunk, picking fights, and being generally noisy. Not to say ALL foreigners act this way, but the conception has spread enough that some Japanese are guarded in regards to any foreigner. Does that mean they're racist? Maybe some of them are. But I don't believe in this idea that "OMG Japanese people are so racist!!!"

9. Is Japan like one big anime/manga/video game paradise?

Wrong. With the exception of big cities like Tokyo or Osaka, most of the quirkiness of Japan is widely over-exaggerated. Most places you go are just regular, modern cities with regular people going to work. Rural places have regular farmers. Some people may not even know any anime that you mention to them.

Sure, certain parts of Japan are a bit bizarre, but overall this is a pretty average country as far as people go.

8. Is Japan dangerous because of radiation and earthquakes?

Well, I'm not going to completely "break" this myth. The radiation crisis here is still largely unknown and there is no way of knowing the long-term effects. However, authorities and independent researchers have kept track of radiation in various parts and it has returned to normal mostly. There may be pockets, but nothing that's going to kill you if you step in it.

On the other hand, earthquakes are very prevalent here. Luckily, most modern buildings are built with incredible foundations. Even if a large earthquake hits, you'll more than likely be fine if you're in a newer building. My rule is "watch the Japanese." If they are panicking, then I panic.

7. Does no one speak English in Japan?

I'd suffice to say that if you walk up to a random person between the ages of 12-40 something, they'll be able to speak at least some English. Lots of people I've met in their 20s speak enough English to carry on a basic conversation. Take a shot in the dark if you don't speak Japanese.

However, if you live here, don't be lazy. Learn Japanese.

6. Are all Japanese women cute or hot?


However, there are some very beautiful women here. Hell, I married one! :)
What you see on the internet is not representative of all of Japan. I will say Japan has a very large ratio of beautiful women, much larger than a lot countries. But I guess I'm a bit biased now!

5. Is all sushi in Japan awesome?

Again, no. Some sushi I've had here tastes old and processed. Just because you're in Japan doesn't mean all the sushi will be great. Convenience store sushi, I'm looking at you.

4. Gross, I'm not eating octopus/squid/creature from the deep!

Be adventurous. Octopus actually isn't so bad once you get used to the consistency. And takoyaki is extremely popular here and delicious! Just because something has tentacles, doesn't mean it's gross. Unless it's like Cthulu or something.

3. Oh look, a foreigner, he must teach English!

This has been addressed on other blogs and videos. Just because someone is a foreigner in Japan doesn't mean they teach English. They might not even speak English. Sorry, but I am the walking stereotype at the moment. I'm an English teacher that speaks little Japanese. But give me time. I'll bust out of this mold sooner or later!

2. Is Japan super safe? (the opposite of number 8)

Yes, Japan is pretty safe compared to most countries. I can leave my wallet unattended and come back and it'll still be there. I've walked around all sorts of places at 2 or 3 am and not had anyone harass me.


Certain places in Japan can be dangerous. I had my bike stolen. Theft seems to be the most rampant crime here. Stabbings and fights have happened, but not often. If you go to notorious areas (Roppongi for instance) then you may find trouble more easily. But even Roppongi isn't THAT dangerous. Just have to be careful.

And now, the number 1 myth to break about Japan...

1. Godzilla is not coming

As many stupid jokes people have said to me about Godzilla or some other lame stereotypical Japanese joke, there is no proof that a giant lizard is ever going to attack here. Stop saying it. It's not funny.

So that's my top 10 list! Hope you enjoyed it.

Which myth did you think has the most truth to it? Leave a comment if you have questions for any other myths you may think of.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Japan Hammer: Top 5 Traditional Japan Spots

All pictures taken by Philip and Kumi Overby.

Here's Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. One of the most famous and scenic places in all of Japan. Thousands visit here every year. Today I'm going to talk about traditional Japan. Hope you like it!

Leaving the world of the weird and getting to blog on some traditional Japanese spots that I've enjoyed. This doesn't necessarily mean these are the best spots to go to, but I'll list where I've been and where other of my friends have recommended. If you want traditional Japan away from all the glitz and bright lights of the modern spectacles, then this list may be for you.

5. Tokyo

Yes, Tokyo! While Tokyo is often connected with urban, modern Japan, there are several temples and shrines nestled within the city that one can visit. Also the famous Imperial Palace is located in Tokyo that features beautiful gardens. The Ryogoku Sumo Hall can be a stop if you're interested in seeing sumo during tournament months. Asakusa is also quite a bastion of old style Japan. It's easy to find on the main Yamonote line. Here's a pic from Asakusa:

Here's some pics from near Ryogoku, including me eating the famous sumo stew "chanko nabe." Very delicious!

Pic of a sumo wrestler at the station:

A statue nearby Ryogoku Sumo Hall:

Me in front of Ryogoku:

Enjoying some delicious chanko nabe! It has all sorts of stuff in it!

So if you want a taste of modern and traditional Japan together, Tokyo has plenty of places to visit.

4. Nikko

I've been to Nikko but didn't visit any of the famous places there. However, I did go to a Edo Period recreation park which had lots of samurai walking around and even some traditional food being served. It was a pretty faithful recreation and a fun place to visit.

Here's a pic with a samurai!

And another at an oiran play, a traditional period play.

While these aren't really representative of Nikko completely, you can find tons of traditional stuff there.

3. Kamakura

Kamakura is actually pretty close to where I live. It used to even be the de-facto capital of Japan at one point. The most famous landmark is the Daibutsu or Amida Buddha statue that is rather iconic. I didn't see it when I was there, but I did see some temples and there are plenty of them here.

When I went there it was dark, so I didn't get many good pics. But I did get a pic of some lanterns that were hanging everywhere. This was a nice place to go for a winter stroll.

Kamakura is of course filled with historical sites, so if you're interested you can visit their website for more details.

2. Nara

I've never been to Nara, but it is known for being one of the oldest and most traditional cities in Japan. It's been highly recommended by friends, so I'd like to visit there one day. One remarkable thing about Nara is that deer just wander about and that they are so familiar with humans that they'll just walk right up to you. There are several beautiful temples here as well that are probably best visited in the spring when you can see the sakura (cherry blossoms) in full bloom.

1. Kyoto

The final spot belongs to Kyoto. Widely consider "the" spot to go if you want to experience all that can be found about traditional Japan. You can see maiko (apprentice geisha) walking about and even watch them perform with various instruments such as the koto or shamisen. You can try the local favorite: yatsuhashi. A sweet filled with beans or green tea and often very tasty!

The biggest attraction here seems to be the temples though. The big three seem to be Kiyomizu-dera (Clearwater Temple), Ginkaku-ji (Silver Temple), and Kinkaku-ji (Golden Temple). I was able to visit two of the three and that wasn't even the tip of the iceberg. There are just so many places to visit in Kyoto it's impossible to get to them all, especially with the main source of transportation being the bus system.

In any case here's another pic at Kiyomizu-dera(same as the one I posted at the top of the blog):

Here's one at Kinkaku-ji. Notice the golden color. I heard this temple was actually burned down and had to be rebuilt.

There's also a famous park where monkeys roam free called Iwatayama Monkey Park. Though I didn't get to visit it, I did get to visit a monkey park in Tochigi that was fun. Here's a pic from there:

So my monkey friend and I must bid you farewell now. With a tip of my hat, I'm off to find new adventures in Japan. What places have you visited that are historical or traditional, in Japan or worldwide?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Japan Hammer: Weird Japan Part 2

So here's part 2 of Weird Japan. I review the weirdness of certain images or ideas from the internet regarding Japan. All credit for linked images goes to their respective sites.

5. Yamanba or Mountain Hags
Nice makeup...

Weirdness: 2/10

This isn't so weird. Maybe this extreme is a bit weird, but the Ganguro style was relatively popular in Japan in the 1990s and early 2000. You don't really see it much outside of Tokyo, so it is weird to see somewhere like Yamanashi or something. This immediately turns heads of foreigners though and is widely regarded as one http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifof the weirder styles. It still exists in smaller and less extreme pockets, but Japanese people don't seem to be very bothered by it.

4. Random People on Food
Tastes like...something.

Weirdness: 4/10

This is Putin Pudding. It's higher on the weird scale as it's not an American or Japanese celebrity on the food. And the last thing I think of when I see pudding is Vladimir Putin. The idea of putting public figures on food probably won't end here. It's definitely eye-catching. And a bit weird.

3. Ridiculous Parodies of American Culture
I am cholesterol incarnate!

Weirdness: 5/10

Almost any time my students think of American food the first thing they say is hamburger. So suffice to say, Japanese have tried to emulate the outrageous, gluttonous extremes of American food by making these monstrosities of beef. I've seen these tower burgers all over the place. I'm assuming they're made for more than one person? Anyway, it's moderately weird when first seeing it but then it starts to become the norm at some burger joints. There's always the "WTF Burger" at any given place.

2. Ridiculous Blends of American and Japanese Culture
Limit Break: McOmnislash!

Weirdness: 8/10
This is only so weird because it's also very creative. Taking Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders and blending them with Final Fantasy 7 characters Sephiroth and Cloud is pretty unique. The most common examples of this sort of splicing of culture are the McDonald's Big America series. Hamburgers with eggs and salsa and whatever other thing they can come up with. Just bizarre mixtures.

The popularity of Colonel Sanders specifically is rather interesting. There's a famous story about a group that threw a Colonel Sanders statue in a river near Osaka that was dredged up like 20 years later. Mysterious!

1. More Stuff for Lonely People
Forever alone...

Weirdness: 9/10

This is just weird to me. It's not really a sex thing. But more of a comfort thing. Which is weird they have pillows shaped like a woman's lap. It makes me sad that people buy these things. I'm hoping they aren't that popular.

I'm assuming this is weird in any culture though.

Well, that's it for part 2. Next blog I'll explore cute Japan! What really is cute and what is just "meh."

So what did you think of the Weird Japan blogs? More? Or any other suggestions?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Japan Hammer: Weird Japan Part 1

Above is the Pokemon train. Which I'll discuss more about later. And no, this isn't that weird.

Since the title of my blog is "A Weird Guy Living in Japan" not necessarily "A Guy Living in Weird Japan" people may get confused as the content of my blog. I post just about anything really, but most of my blogging about Japan has been relatively tame. That is until today.

There is a website called www.japanisweird.com (warning: some images may be graphic or Not Safe for Work) which has random photos depicting some of the weirdness that you may encounter upon coming to Japan.

I'd like to preface with this: these photos are in no way representative of how Japan really is (for the most part). I'd say about 99 percent of Japan is like anywhere else. Normal people doing normal things. There are not many being dressed in cos-play walking about and it's not like one big, happy anime. Get that concept out of your head. If you like that kind of stuff, go to Harajuku or Akihabara. That's where I see the greatest concentration of all that.

So, today I just want to post links to various pics (not sure if I should post them on my blog since they're not mine) and I'll discuss what I think about the pic and whether it's really so weird compared to other things I've seen here.

5. Hattoyama riding space-age scooter thing

Weirdness: 4/10


Hattoyama was the prime minister around 2009 or 2010? I don't know, they change prime ministers here so much I can't keep track. The reason this picture isn't too weird is because Hattoyama himself was considered a pretty weird guy. He was out of touch with common people (sound familiar to your government?) because he was from a rich background and often was referred to by the nickname "Alien." As you can see by him riding this futuristic space car, he doesn't look that weird. But his wife, on the other hand, is weird. She claims she's from Venus or something. Another reason this isn't so weird is because in Japan anything that would normally blow my mind in being really cool or awesome is just sort of like "meh." Now the androids they've developed, those blow my mind.

4. Dinner with a screen saver

Weirdness: 6/10
Creepiness: 9/10


I don't really get this. It's not really as weird as you'd expect, but it's definitely not normal. Some otaku (nerdy folks) have taken to having virtual girlfriends and plastering their room with images of anime and manga girls. It's not really considered healthy, but it's not so weird. Eating dinner with a computer is pretty weird. The strange thing about this "virtual girlfriend" phenomenon is that the men who do this see it as completely rational.

This ties in to the whole obsession with AKB48 and other bizarre idol worship which is widely accepted in main-stream here. Not to say that this doesn't exist in other countries, but it just has a creepier vibe here.

3. Old man wearing school girl outfit

Weirdness: 2/10
Creepiness: 6/10


Cross-dressing is more widely accepted here than I think in other countries. A lot of mainstream celebrities have done it without blow-back from morality groups. I personally don't care if people do it, but when they dress up like school girls...yeah, sorry, that's creepy. Weird, not so much. I've seen this more than enough times on TV that I'm desensitized to it. "New-half" shows (drag queens) are actually quite popular in Kabukicho and Roppongi. I haven't been to one, but then again, I try to avoid those areas (see other blog post about 5 Favorite Places in Japan)

2. Pokemon Bus

Weirdness: 3/10


This isn't so weird either (see Pokemon train at the top of the blog). Anime and manga are integrated a lot into anything involving children. Oftentimes at family restaurants they will have Doraemon, Anpanman, or some other popular kids' character on the special kids' menu. So seeing a Pikachu bus may seem strange to foreigners, but I don't think Japanese people would even flinch at this.

If I saw this I'd probably say "Oh look! A Pikachu bus." Then I'd go about my day like nothing happened.

1. Weird Drinks or Food

Weirdness: 6/10


Ok, so this picture is of Ice Cucumber Pepsi. I'm not sure why anyone would want to drink Cucumber flavored soda, but whatever. I rank this number 1 because this is the most common occurrence. It usually has to do with taking something foreign and then making it really, really Japanese. I'm not sure how well this sold, but they had other flavors that were just as weird.

You can see more details here: http://www.loneleeplanet.com/2011/07/weird-japanese-pepsi-flavours/

I'll list them below though with their weirdness level. Credit goes to loneleeplanet.com for the resources.

1. Ice Cucumber-6/10
2. Shiso (herb?)-4/10
3. Azuki (red beans)-5/10
4. Baobab (citrusy taste)-2/10
5. Blue Hawaii (pineapple and lemon)-1/10
6. White (yogurt)-5/10
7. Mont Blanc (chestnut)-6/10
8. Red (ginger/spicy)-4/10
9. Caribbean Gold (sapote)-3/10
10. Carnival (tropical fruit)-1/10

So the weirdest to me is definitely the Ice Cucumber. I'll post a part 2 for more weirdness!

Let me know if this is interesting to you in the comments!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Story Time: Robert Frost Excellent Warlock Troll Butcher

(This has nothing to do with Japan, but sometimes I feel like posting stories here. I'll call them Story Time! WARNING: May be too explicit for some?)

Reaver buried his Prosaic Axe of the Harpy's Vertebrae into another troll's stinking, wart-riddled flesh. A bluish fluid sprayed into his face, almost getting into his mouth. Yet his Chewing Gum of Warding had created a thin film of red, sparkling, cinnamon magic that kept him safe. Good thing. Reaver couldn't handle another night trying to get the blue stains off his tongue.

Robert Frost headbutted another troll beside him, his steel-gray hair fluttering in the desert wind. He spat. “I must stride again/A winter's delicate kiss/Never-ending fades/Into an encroaching dawn.”

“Why do you talk like that?” Reaver blasted the fallen troll in the face with a Rainbow Grammar Hex spell. Every kind of grammar possible. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, gerunds, conjunctions. Soon the troll's body parts would rot off in a brilliant array of colors: putrid green, neon orange, rose red, and ultra-violet. Pretty parts.

“I must travel these roads/Only I can take/The long winter's come/On this frozen lake.” Frost mumbled to himself as another troll scraped his claws against his ABAB Glyphed Heavy Free Verse Plate.

“Dude, we're in the desert. It's not winter for the last time.” Reaver ignored his verse spouting companion and just waded further into the clump of trolls, letting his axe make music against their bursting flesh. Streams of blood crossing sand, bubbling like brooks along a long forgotten trail. A mystical song of ancient rhymes of ancient mariners--Ah, crap. Now he was thinking like Frost. I've got to get rid of this guy. I don't want him telling my story. He can't write prose. He's a poet and doesn't seem to know it. That he can't write prose, that is. I wasn't try to rhyme. Seriously.

Waves of trolls kept coming. They spouted such barbaric war cries as:

“ur teh suck, lolz!” One of the grisly beasts wailed, his black braids trailing behind him like licorice in a raging snowstor--ah, stop it!

“then he took an arrow in the knee...” Another murmured, his rancid breath hot on Reaver's neck.


“Gross, stop it!” Reaver beat back the mouth-breather. “Why are you all here? Leave us alone!”

Robert Frost suddenly went epic, stream of consciousness. An Infinity Sonnet. The trolls were entranced, dancing in that break-neck, boogie down style that they do. Frost's tongue loosed such epicness that Reaver had never seen before. Allusions. Alliteration. Onomatopoeia.

“Pow! Boom! Bang! Zoom!” Frost's poems were cold as ice, bro. Trolls flew in every direction, befuddled and battered by the waves of pure poetic carnage. One particularly nasty limerick took off a troll's head, leaving a dancing fountain of warty gore popping and locking as it collapsed in a heap.

How does he does he do it? Is the Poetic Way truly better than my own Prosaic Way? Were the darkest arts of Forgotten Verse truly superior to the Paragraph Magicks?

Reaver, in a jealous rage, unleashed his dreaded Ectoplasmic Ban Hammer of Holy Crushingness. The slime of the lime green hammer left trails of corrected grammar sputtering from the mouths of even the foulest trolls with the foulest of comments.

“lolz” became “That is funny.”

“n00b” became “Rather inexperienced gentleman.”

“pwn3d” became “I defeated you both efficiently and succinctly.”

“ROTFL” became “Ha, ha, ha!”

The trolls howled with displeasure in hearing their twisted, guttural, nonsensical language of bastardized tongues transform into something that actually made sense.

Robert Frost was angry too. As angry as a poet can get. His ice blue eyes shimmered with an unearthly rage that could only exist in the warped mind of a poet who's run out of subject matter. Dark, Gothic poetry fell from his lips. Teenage journals. Ramblings of a collapsed MySpace.

“What is happening to me?/Am I losing my poetic gift/Or something/Ugh!” Frost, wading through the slush of devastated troll goo, pointed a crooked, ink-stained finger at Reaver. “Only one of us can tell this story/Dude!”

Reaver's prose had proven stronger than he expected. The trolls were fleeing or lying in quivering mounds. Their grammar had improved and they were scattering to the farthest reaches of the Earth, back into their dark caves with no light and pictures of scantily clad troll vixens.

It was only Reaver and Frost now. In the desert. Poetry vs. prose.

“My art is more coherent and easier to understand, Frost.” Reaver bellowed. “Your poems are old and obsolete. I am the true Word Weaver!”

Frost's pale skin glistened with sweat. Or maybe they were small comma splices. Reaver wasn't sure. The amalgamation of words still hung in the air, clouding the skies. With a wave of his hand, Reaver cleared the hanging words away. Deleted them almost. Frost seethed.

A ghostly sword made of aborted and long-dead poems appeared in Frost's hand. The tears of broken-hearted bards. The buried verse of Emily Dickinson. The cold-fire and old wine of Poe. The white-hot veins of the Beats, snaking their way through the spectral blade.

“I want to try to/Do this attack in haiku/But they suck bad...man!” Frost pushed the last syllable out with a caustic venom. He was bringing the pain this time.

Reaver blinked and rushed forward, Ban Hammer swinging overhead. He'd smash this poet into oblivion and finish his quest to eliminate distorted language from the world forever. “Eat this!”

A jagged bolt of stream of consciousness rippled across the clear blue sky. “The trails of earth are mine alone and yours are mine and sands and glass and broken dreams all hinge upon the tattered seams of fathers' pride and mothers' eyes galactic squid of ten thousand comets--”

“Ah! Shut up!” Reaver battered his way through the poetic bolt. “Just use regular magic! Regular words!” His hammer came down with the force of highlights, red ink, edits, and revisions. The gooey hammer splashed across Frost's silvery, feathered hair, knocking the poet back into the sand, mumbling something about “spidery silk.”

“I yield./I yield./Yield.” Frost stammered. His poetic-ness had been driven out of him like an exorcised demon. “I will take the road less traveled. Or more traveled. Sorry.”

Reaver looked down at Frost with sadness. A tinge of guilt struck him. Who was he to tell others how to tell their story? To practice their craft? To express themselves? Unless they were babbling trolls, everyone had the right to use their own unique style. Their own magic.

“Stand, Frost.” Reaver offered his troll-mush slicked hand. “There's room in this world for two Wordsmiths. If only we can stand together to fight ignorance, bad grammar, and needless flaming, I care not for how you do so.”

Frost nodded, his grandfatherly head bowing in respect to Reaver. “You are right/dear friend/by which way the sands of time lead us/we all stagger in quicksand.”

“Whatever, dude.” Reaver mumbled, putting his arm around the veteran poet-warrior. “Let's just go kill some more trolls.”

And with that Reaver and Robert Frost ventured to the land of Yutoob to find the troll's den, to finally root them out once and for all. But will the dark and mysterious, cloaked bird-man the Twittering Wanderer with his Sword of Limited Text cross their path? Or the much maligned Free I-Pod Knight of Sullied Dreams?

Who knows? But Reaver shall be ready. Wherever there needs to be moderation. Wherever there needs to be correction. Wherever someone's words need to be moved to another section because they don't go where they were originally placed, Reaver will be there.

Waiting. With his weaving words.

Ah, damn alliteration...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Japan Hammer: Top 5 Places in Japan (That I've Been)

Sometimes people ask me, "Where's your favorite place in Japan?" Well, that's a difficult question. I have several favorite places for completely different reasons. I have yet to travel all over Japan, but I've been to some of the "hot spots" so to speak. In my opinion, these places are cool, but if you already live in Japan or plan to visit, maybe you'd have a different opinion. I'll also name some popular places that I'm not that fond of for various reasons.

In no particular order, here are my Top 5 Places in Japan:

1. Ueno, Tokyo: For a taste of Tokyo that doesn't completely overwhelm the average tourist or traveler, Ueno has a good blend of stuff that makes Tokyo popular without all the insanity of more popular places. There's a zoo there, several museums, and also tons of shops. The popular shopping area Ameyoko is also nearby which can provide tourists with tons of little souvenirs to take home. I enjoy Ueno Park as well, as it's pretty open and sometimes there are various performers about. There are also a staggering number of homeless people here, but that's not really a good reason to visit.

2. Minato Mirai, Yokohama: This is bar-none one of my favorite places in Japan. The giant Cosmo Clock Ferris wheel is a pretty famous landmark and very beautiful during night time. It's a pretty busy area, but not too much. I like Yokohama more than Tokyo because it has a lot of the same charms, yet Yokohama feels more open and less cramped. There's also several ships in the port to look at and it's a nice place to go for a romantic stroll during the night. I personally like going here in the winter time as it has lots Christmas lights up and makes the walk around that much more entertaining. Also, World Porters has lots of shopping stuff inside if that's your thing.

3. Kiyomizudera, Kyoto-This is a temple in Kyoto which I really enjoyed visiting. It has a breath-taking view during the autumn season with all the changing leaves and is nestled in the mountains for an even better view! This is one of the more famous temples in all of Japan and was extremely crowded when I visited there. I highly recommend Kyoto overall for a "balanced" visit in Japan, as you can see some modern things and still get a taste of the old capital with lots of traditional temples. I spotted a maiko (geisha in training) when I was there and that was sort of cool to just see her walking around.

4. Hakone, Kanagawa- Hakone is a popular tourist spot mostly for its famous onsen (hot springs) but I liked it for its stellar view of Mt. Fuji from one of the nearby mountains. We took a trolley up to the top of this mountain and hiked around and also took a boat ride on the lake. I got sunburned the worst I've probably been in a long time, but it was worth it. This is a great place to relax and enjoy a leisurely stay if you're in Kanagawa.

5. Enoshima, Kanagawa- This list heavily favors Kanagawa as that's where I live, so I have some bias when it comes to talking about the area. Enoshima is really awesome for me. There's a nice beach to hang out at and winding steps up a mountain that leads to many different shops and temples littered throughout. The climb of the steps had this haunting drum music following us everywhere that gave a really cool vibe. I took some time to stare out over the sea wall and smell that salty air. Really makes me relax a lot. The trip all over was tiring but definitely worth it. I highly recommend a stop here especially during hotter times.

Now, here's my list of places that I don't like very much personally. Feel free to give them a shot, but they're not places I'm really into.

1. Roppongi, Tokyo-Roppongi is sort of the gaijin (foreigner) paradise. There are tons of bars, tons of places for entertainment and debauchery. Well, I'm not in my 20s anymore, so that kind of stuff doesn't interest me as much. Plus, the place usually gives me a creepy vibe. I did have a wonderful night here once at a work-related party at the Ritz Carlton with an amazing view of Tokyo Tower lit-up from the 48th (?) floor. But that's unlikely to happen again. So, I have mixed feelings about Roppongi. I've heard many bad stories from other people getting in trouble there, but if you know how to take care of yourself, you should be OK.

2. Shinjuku/Kabukicho, Tokyo-Probably my least favorite of the Tokyo wards would be Shinjuku. I don't know, it just doesn't do anything for me. This area is extremely popular with Kabukicho being more of the "night-life/adult entertainment" district. I was harassed one time when I went down there (I guess I looked like an easy mark) so it put me off on visiting there in the future. Just not really my cup of tea. But I've heard if you really want to get into the more "edgy" side of Japan, Kabukicho is your first stop.

These two places stand out to me the most as being "not my thing," but I'd recommend going there if you're smart with your money, careful with your drinks, and don't follow strange women to strange bars. Then maybe you can still have fun there without ending up in jail at the end of the night.

So, hope you enjoyed by lists! Feel free to ask any questions about other recommendations if you'd like!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Japan Hammer: Top 5 Reasons I Like Living in Japan

Haven't done a blog about living in Japan recently, so I'd figure I'd highlight some reasons I like living here. After the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011, I think a lot of people were put off living here or even visiting for fear of radiation or other assorted things. I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't afraid of the same things, but I stuck it out and stayed here and I seem fine so far. I feel for the people in Fukushima that are near the reactors as I used to live in Fukushima myself and saw how many wonderful people live in that area.

So as a tribute to Japan, I'm going to list the Top 5 reasons I like living here.

1. Cuteness:

If you like cute stuff, then Japan is the place for you. There are tons of cute things to find and I'm not really sure why this kind of thing is so prevalent here. There are tons of these little dogs wearing sweaters and jackets and hats. It's rather bizarre. I saw one day at a nearby mall there was this dog wearing a yellow hat and he kept trying to get it off his head, but his owner kept putting it back on. I felt kind of bad for the dog, but he did look cute. However, I wanted to free him from his cute prison and let him be a nasty, shit-eating dog like he's meant to be.

I like cute stuff, I guess. I like kittens and puppies and babies burping and all that happy jazz. But Japan kind of goes so overboard with it, it sort of has desensitized me to it. Even if I see a tiny dog wearing a tiny hat and sailor outfit, I'm unfazed.

So for my future, I'm glad Japan has made me numb to cuteness. It makes it easier for me to ignore the avalanche of cuteness that buries me on a consistent basis.

2. Politeness

Even when people are assholes here, they're relatively polite. Typically, people don't fight as much as they do in America and when they do fight it's relatively stupid. Just shouting and talking like yakuza to each other. I've never seen anyone get punched here, but maybe I just don't go out that much.

"Sumimasen" and "gomenasai" are relatively common terms, basically meaning "excuse me" and "sorry." I must use both of these words at least twenty times a day for various reasons. And "arigato gozaimasu." I'm always thanking someone for something. Buy something at the store? Arigato gozaimasu. Open a door? Arigato gozaimasu. Take a shit? Arigato gozaimasu.

Suffice it to say, people are nice for the most part. Not sure if they like me or not, but in general people are pretty nice to me. Sometimes weirdly nice like the night some random guys just bought me and my friend drinks without even speaking that much English (and our Japanese is bastardized).

And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say about 1 in 10 people I meet in America are stupid assholes/hillbillies/racists/shitheads/douchebags or some variant of said troglodytes or cretins.

3. I Don't Have to Fucking Drive

I used "fucking" there for a reason. I hate driving. I fucking hate it. If I could kill the verb "driving" I would. If I could destroy all the cars in the world, I would. I hate them.

Here, I walk. Walk. Walk. Take a bus. Take a train.

And you know what? I really hated that when I first moved here. But now I love it. Namely, because, you got it, I don't have to fucking drive. Transportation is a breeze here, especially if you live near a big city like I do. So good for me. Bad for you driving your evil devil machines.

4. Lots of Stuff I Love is Here

Puroresu, which I've fell in love with more since moving here, is right at my door step. I can watch awesome wrestling shows whenever I feel like on the cheap. Going to wrestling shows in America is quite a crap shoot. Sometimes the shows are good. Sometimes they suck donkey balls. Puroresu shows are almost always awesome. Even the crappy matches are brilliant.

My wife is here too. But not to say she couldn't follow me anywhere I go. It's nice to live in her home country though as it's easier for both of us now at the moment. I worry if we moved to America she'd be targeted by racists or experience some kind of horrible shit that would forever make me hate all human beings on Earth. So for now I like living here with her, where we have a nice, insulated life free of any overwhelming issues.

5. Like, Mind-Expansion, Man

Dude...I've totally like blown my mind here, bro. Since moving here I've become about 1,000 percent more productive in my daily life. Not to say I still don't waste shit-tons of hours playing video games and surfing the internet for dubstep songs, wrestling news, and pictures of cracked- out celebrities.

I have Twitter and I don't even really know anyone on there. I just read what other people are doing. I waste too much time on shit like that even now. However, I'm still way more productive than I was before.

I write a shit lot more. I still don't really submit things much, because I've been working on manga mostly. I've written three manga and two novels since moving here. Several short stories too. I tend to have a fear of submitting stuff because sometimes it just feels like I'm sending a baby chimp into a black hole of yawning nothingness. It makes me sad. But I still write and plot submitting stuff, so that's better than just talking about it like I did before.

I've written articles and blogs too. Entered contests. Become one of the moderators on a board. Planned to learn how to fight with swords.

Yes, fight with swords. How fucking ridiculous does that sound? "I'm going to learn to fight with swords."

It's ridiculously awesome I mean. I want to invite you to my house to battle me with a broad sword so I can pin your shirt sleeve to the wall and say "My name is Philip Overby. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Then I'll laugh and twist my invisible mustache. Then I'll disappear into a cloud of black ash.

So yeah, I think I did lots of cool creative stuff back home, but I'm leaps and bounds above what I was before. I'm getting some shit done. And learning Japanese on top of that!

So that's my list. You should come to Japan. Because it's awesome. No matter what people say.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wrestle Kingdom VI: Live Perspective Review

Also available at Puroresu Spirit.

Wrestle Kingdom VI. My second Wrestle Kingdom in a row. Last year saw Hiroshi Tanahashi capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Satoshi Kojima. After a full year of defenses, Tanahashi defends against challenger Minoru Suzuki going for a record 11 defenses.

I was surprised that my seats were on the floor (pleasantly) but I because people kept moving their heads around and such, it was harder for me to see some of the action. I did however get some decent pictures as I was right by the Blue Corner's exit guardrail.

The show seemed to be about as packed as last time, and overall I would say the quality of matches were good, but they didn't really match Wrestle Kingdom V in my opinion. The crowd seemed more subdued than last year as well, but that may have been just because my location made it harder to hear the reactions overall.

So, on to the show!

0. Dark Match: Tama Tonga and Captain New Japan vs. Kyosuke Mikami and Tomaki Honma

-Standard entrances for both teams.


-Captain New Japan looks like a red version of Capt. America with an inflatable New Japan shield.

-Tama Tonga worked the opening match last year as well. His style and look is heavily influenced by Jimmy Snuka.

-The heel team looked thrown together, but worked together well.

-The crowd was into Tonga's flashy offense, but the match ended pretty quickly.

-A cool series of spots and good fan reaction made Tonga the star of this match in my opinion.

WINNER: Tonga hits swinging DDT on Mikami.


-Good match to give the fans some action as they're taking their seats.

1. IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship Match

No Remorse Corps: Davey Richards and Rocky Romero (c) vs.
Apollo 55: Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi

ENTRANCE: Apollo 55 had a memorable entrance with their astronaut outfits. Definitely one of my most unique entrances I've ever see. New Japan really does their entrances well.

-Lots of kicking as expected and some cool dives to the outside.

-Richards looked a bit more subdued than his ROH-style.

-Richards tied up a Tequila Sunrise at one point which was a nice throw-back.

-A brilliant exchange of kicks ends with a Pele' from Devitt to Richards.

-Romero had a funny spot where he screamed and clotheslined Devitt in the corner over and over again only to be clipped by a clothesline of Devitt in the end.

-A doomsday flying knee from NRC!

-Richards does an impressive superplex followed by a float-over suplex.


-Fans were firmly behind Apollo 55. There was some heat for NRC when they cut off some of the outside dives.


-Richards/Devitt displayed some great technical moves, though I'm curious how awesome a singles match between the two would be.

WINNER: Taguchi pins Richards after reversing a powerbomb into a roll-up.


-A fine opening match for Wrestle Kingdom though could have been longer.


Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask IV, Mascara Dorada, and KUSHIDA vs.
Atlantis, Valiente, TAKA Michinoku, and Taichi


-The heel team came out to "Party Rock" by LMFAO, which I thought was funny for a heel team to be using. But Taichi is on the team so it makes sense.

-The face team had an "Atom" mascot (or Astro Boy in the US) come out then suddenly a flashing anime of a tiger looking guy flashed on the screen and crowd popped big. Liger's song boomed through the arena.

-Liger is wearing a really awesome outfit this year. He has white hair, silver mask, and a silver suit. He looks like some kind of ghost or something. Cool look.


-Taichi gets what I'm going to call "Spot Blocking Heat" by cutting off a dive early in the match. This seems to be an ongoing way to get heat for the New Japan heels, especially in a match full of high fliers.

-Lots of body splashes on Liger.

-Taichi does a series of spots where he tries to take off everyone's masks. He starts with Liger, then Tiger Mask, then Dorada. Crowd, of course, hates this. Rotten Taichi!

-There were a series of high spots involving dives to the outside. The most impressive was Dorada, who did some kind of strange, twisting splash.

-There was a botch from either Atlantis or Valiente. I couldn't tell which one.

-Liger hits a powerbomb and a stalling brainbuster!


-Taichi got the most heat with his "take off everyone's masks" spot.

-There was an audible laugh from the botched dive.

-Liger was super-over and had the coolest ring gear of the night. Kudos to whoever designed it.

-KUSHIDA shined a bit in the match. Good to see him make his debut at the Tokyo Dome.


-Liger was most over, but Dorada had some nice moments. I'd say Dorada by a hair.

WINNER: Liger with a brainbuster on Atlantis


-Good match to let everyone get some spots in, but nothing that really stood out, besides the awesome dive from Dorada and Liger's cool ring gear.


Kazuchika Okada vs. YOSHI-HASHI (Nobuo Yoshihashi)


-Okada introduces a new gimmick, Rainmaker, with a video of money raining down. Supposedly he's working as a face in this match against YOSHI-HASHI representing CHAOS.


-Pretty standard back and forth, YOSHI-HASHI spits on the ref.

-Okada hits an impressive missile drop kick.

-I have no idea what happened, but Okada hit some weird looking clothesline thing. I don't even know what it was. Match is over.


-Not much either way. The crowd said "Ehhh?" after the match ended abruptly. I'm assuming their match got cut for time. It seemed like it was over in three minutes.


-Okada, because he won.

WINNER: Okada with a weird finisher.


-This match didn't have any shining moments really and I think it suffered from time constraints. Okada wouldn't be finished tonight with his bizarre behavior.

4. BLUE JUSTICE NEVER DIE (I know it's misspelled)

Blue Justice: Yuji Nagata and Wataru Inoue vs.
STACK OF ARMS: Masakatsu Funaki and Masayuki Kono


-Blue Justice gets a strong reaction, particularly Nagata.
-STACK OF ARMS come out with an All Japan flag.


-Lots of stiff kicks as expected from Nagata and Funaki.

-Nagata gets a big pop for stretching his arm and rolling his eyes back in his head. I guess that's a signature look he has.

-Inoue hits an impressive deadlift German on Funaki for a good reaction.

-Funaki kicks the shit out of Inoue's head. And that's it.


-There was a show-down at the end, as Funaki was bleeding from the nose. He looked pissed. He headbutted Nagata in the face so maybe that's how it happened. The crowd buzzed for this.

-Nagata was loved as expected. Kono and Funaki got heat (presumably because they're from All Japan.)


-Nagata and Funaki will be an awesome singles series I think. Seems that's where they are leading.

WINNER: Funaki after a head kick on Inoue.


-Looking forward to seeing Funaki and Nagata having some singles matches. They're both very intense veterans.


MVP and Shelton Benjamin vs. Masato Tanaka and Yujiro Takahashi

ENTRANCES: The Complete Players come out together (with Jado and Gedo, I believe) and MVP and Benjamin had separate entrances. MVP had flames shooting out of the stage when he came in.


-Benjamin hits some big slams at the beginning and MVP follows with two Ballin' Elbows, which the crowd screams back "Ballin'!" Not sure they know where that comes from.

-Some nice spots between MVP and Tanaka. Tanaka splashes MVP through a table so I assume this match has no rules. He hits Benjamin with a kendo stick afterward.

-A nice reversal from MVP out of hip toss shows how agile he is.

-Benjamin gets the big exploder powerslam. Takahashi answers with a belly to belly.

-Great series of German suplexes from MVP and he kips up for a nice reaction.

-Benjamin climbs up the ropes like a cat and throws Takahashi and MVP locks in the crossface. Takahashi taps.


-MVP and Benjamin both got good pops for their offense.


-MVP and Benjamin both did a good job. I haven't seen much of their work outside WWE, but they both seem a bit freer with their offense.

WINNER: MVP with a crossface on Takahashi


-The match was pretty good and gave MVP and Benjamin a way to show off their talent on a big stage at Tokyo Dome.

6. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match

Bad Intentions: Giant Bernard and Karl "Machine Gun" Anderson (c) vs.
TenKoji: Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima


-Most awesome entrance of the night had Anderson with a prop machine gun that he shot at a digital picture of Tanahashi holding a girl in a bikini listing him as "The MVP of New Japan" or something like that. The picture caught on fire.

-TenKoji's entrance showed their history together which I thought was a nice touch. They got a big pop when they came out together.


-Kojima flexes his pecs (a la' Chris Masters) after putting down Anderson. In a funny moment, Anderson slams Kojima and mimics the pec flex.

-For some reason the crowd makes a hissing sound when Tenzan does Mongolian chops. Tenzan makes the sound, but it's barely audible.

-Bad Intentions flatten Tenzan after repeated elbow drops and knee drops.

-Tenzan reverses a brain buster into a big suplex.

-Kojima suddenly channels Kenta Kobashi and chops Bernard like crazy.

-Anderson hits a running Liger bomb and then Bernard gives a series of Vader bombs.

-Kojima and Anderson trade Cutters.

-Tenzan hits a massive headbutt.

-Kojima breaks up a pin for a big pop and close nearfall after double team action from Bad Intentions pick apart Tenzan.

-Stiff assisted powerbomb from Bad Intentions gets a very, very close nearfall. Bernard looks shocked as Tenzan kicks out.

-A 3D on Anderson from TenKoji.

-Tenzan goes up top and hits a huge moonsault for the pin.


-This match got the best reactions of the nights. Lots of pops for the near falls and a huge pop for the title change.


-Everyone involved was awesome. A perfect tag match. Lots of drama and an emotional win for the reunited TenKoji. Bad Intentions were very gracious in their loss and had a spectacular title reign.

WINNER: Tenzan moonsault on Bernard.


-This match was the best of the night by far. Great match that highlighted the strengths of everyone involved and had great drama to it.


Hirooki Goto vs. Takashi Sugiura


-Goto was wearing a red kabuki wig of some sort, which looked pretty cool. Sugiura had a no nonsense entrance which fit his character's style.


-Lots of stiff strikes as expected from the two bruisers. Sugiura is one of the stiffest competitors in all of Japan in my opinion.

-After a series of clotheslines, Goto hits a nice spinning lariat that knocks Sugiura loopy.

-Sugiura hits some bruising Yakuza kicks in the corner over and over.

-Lots of "fake outs" where one opponent runs the ropes and the other seems to lose where the other went. Sugiura takes an opportunity with a nice spear.

-Very cringe-worthy german suplex into the corner turnbuckle (or post pad?) from Suguira, dumping Goto on his head.

-Sugiura unloads some running hip attacks, blasting Goto repeatedly. Goto looks done.

-Sugiura gives a dragon suplex and Goto kicks out. Sugiura looks annoyed.

-A brilliant sries of moves from Goto: headbutt, standing lariat, and a weird spin move.

-Goto hits a stalling suplex into a front slam for the pin.


-Crowd was into the offense. Goto had his fair share of chants. Sugiura's no nonsense character isn't as over with the more flashy New Japan gimmicks. But his moves are brutal and I think that's what wins the crowds over to him.


-The match was obviously made to make Goto look awesome in the face of a beast like Sugiura who gave him quite a beating. Goto looks goods coming out of this match beating a tough competitor and former GHC Heavyweight Champion.

WINNER: Goto with suplex into front slam on Sugiura.


-This was a pleasant suprise for me as I was expecting a "by the book" sort of match with these two, with lots of stiff strikes and that would be about it. But this was one of the best matches on the card.


Togi Makabe vs. Yoshihiro Takayama


-Crowd loves Makabe. He's sort of a wild man take on Bruiser Brody. Not quite as wild, but has that appeal. Takayama looks very imposing compared to Makabe.


-Takayama's offense is by far the most brutal looking in all of puroresu. When he does back suplexes and germans they have this sort of slow motion, car crash effect. I'm saying this in a good way. His moves look like they really hurt. Especially his repeated knee lifts.

-This was Takayama's match. He brutalized Makabe for the first part even hitting a drop kick!

-Lots and lots of knee lifts from Takayama.

-Makabe answers a big boot from Takayama with a lariat and hits a gigantic powerslam.

-Biggest spot of the night has to be the ending sequence when Makabe hits an avalanche release german suplex from the top (also known as Spider Suplex.) Then finishes him off with a flying knee drop to the back of the head.


-Huge pop for the finishing sequence. Unbelievable to see live.

-Takayama's offense all got groans from the audience. As if to say "damn, that looks like it hurts."


-Another match, like Goto's, which was intended to make Makabe look strong, especially after the prolonged beat down from Takayama at the beginning.

WINNER: Makabe with King Kong Knee Drop.


-Nice match with some stiff strikes and the insane Spider Suplex from Makabe.


CHAOS Top Team: Shinsuke Nakamura and Toru Yano vs.
GHC Heavyweight Champion Go Shiozaki and Naomichi Marufuji


-Nakamura and Yano make separate entrances.

-Shiozaki has a standard entrance. It's easy to spot the NOAH guys as they don't seem to fit in stylistically with the New Japan guys. This is the first time I've really noticed how NOAH is more straight-up puroresu and New Japan is more like sports entertainment (although the good kind.)

-Marufuji is wearing a cool red Hayabusa style mask for his ring entrance. Not sure if that was by design or not. I'd love to see another Hayabusa type gimmick in Japan. Some of the most popular characters in Japan are masked or have painted faces (Hayabusa, Tiger Mask, Great Muta, Great Sasuke, Ultimo Dragon, etc.)


-There's a buzz when Nakamura and Marufuji face off. Looking forward to seeing a possible show down with them. Nakamura always gets people buzzing it seems. Same thing happened when he faced off with Suwama at the ALL TOGETHER show in Tokyo.

-Yano has lots of funny moments in this match. Messing with Shiozaki's hair and acting like a bully in general.

-Marufuji stands on Yano's face.

-Yano has it out for Shiozaki's hair as I think I saw him grab a pair of scissors from somewhere and try to cut it.

-Yano takes off the post guard and throws Marufuji into it.

-Nakamura swaggers around and beats up on a weakened Marufuji.

-Yano hits a stalling brainbuster and a dropkick.

-Shiozaki gets in some of his signature chops in and flying shoulder tackle.

-Yano does his "RVD" style taunt, which the crowd chants with him. He pulls hair again. The crowd pops for all his heel antics.

-A series of awesome kicks from Nakamura and Marufuji. Lucky for Marufuji, Nakamura misses two round house kicks that looked dangerous.

-When Nakamura goes for the Boma Ye, Marufuji counters by kicking the crap out of Nakamura's knee.

-Shiranui from Marujui gets big pop.

-A series of reversals and cradles from Yano and Shiozaki result in the Go Flasher for the pin.

-In a strange sequence, it appeared as if Marufuji was trying to break up the pin from Shiozaki twice. Why would he break up the pin for his own team? I didn't understand that.


-The crowd loved Nakamura and Yano. Especially Yano's cheap tactics. They popped big for all of them. I'd say Yano was one of the most over wrestlers on the whole show.

-Nakamura is one of the those wrestlers that people just get excited about. He should stay in the main event scene for a long time.


-Even though they lost, Yano and Nakamura were absolutely the stars of the match. Specifically Yano, who the crowd seems to like more and more.

WINNER: Shiozaki with the Go Flasher on Yano.


-As a bully type of heel, Yano is really over. I'd love to see him transition to a bigger role as he gets some of the best reactions on any card I've seen him on.


Tetsuya Naito vs. Keiji Mutoh


-Mutoh comes out to a big pop with a video showing him throughout the years.

-The crowd is excited for Naito as they are chanting his name over and over.


-Most of this match was dragon screw leg whips from Mutoh and working the leg. He must have hit like 20 dragon screws in this match.

-Naito gets some nice moves in, but everytime he gets a flurry of offense, Mutoh schools him again and takes him down.

-Mutoh hits repeated Shining Wizards on Naito throughout the match, which Naito keeps kicking out of.

-This match had the slowest pace on the card (not that it's a bad thing) and had lots of back and forth mat work.

-Naito hits a huge Frankensteiner on Mutoh for a nearfall but misses the Stardust Press after a series of suplexes and slams.

-After several Shining Wizards, Naito collapses and Mutoh hits a moonsault for the win.


-Crowd seemed convinced that Naito would have a "passing the torch" moment with Mutoh and they didn't pop as big as I'd expected when Mutoh won.

-They seemed confused by Naito ignoring the hand shake after the match.

-Tons of Naito chants. I wonder if New Japan missed a chance to strike while the iron was hot. A win over Mutoh would have been huge for Naito. Perhaps a heel turn is in store for Naito, but I don't see why. He's more over than Tanahashi or at least tonight he was.


-Can't really say. The match was designed to show how the younger version of Mutoh (Naito) could hang with a man he's idolized. He hung with him, but couldn't pull off the victory. I'm hoping this isn't another stall in the push for Naito, though it looks like it is.

WINNER: Mutoh with a moonsault.


-I feel like the right person won, but on the wrong night. I think Mutoh should have had a series of matches with Naito where he bests him and then had them square off at Wrestle Kingdom where Mutoh would finally be beaten by the younger mirror image of himself. I understand wanting to protect Mutoh's legacy, but not really sure why they did it at the expense of one of their hottest stars.

11. IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match

Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Minoru Suzuki


-In a video package, Mutoh makes fun of Tanahashi's "I love everyone" babyface persona. HE simulates flipping back his hair. That gets a laugh from the crowd.

-Both men make their standard entrances, Tanahashi with the awesome video package that highlights all of the previous champions. I love seeing that.


-The two chain wrestle at the beginning. Suzuki manages to get Tanahashi on the top rope and does an abdominal stretch. Ouch.

-Suzuki catches Tanahashi off a dive and chokes him, dragging him up the ramp.

-Suzuki goes for a piledriver on the ramp, but Tanahashi back body drops him instead.

-In a funny spot, Suzuki does leg exercises on the mat as they referee counts a downed Tanahashi after Suzuki lays him out.

-Suzuki his three sick headbutts. He laughs at Tanahashi's offense.

-Tanahashi hits a flying forearm for a big pop.

-When Tanahashi goes for a splash to the outside, Suzuki locks in a cross arm-breaker over the top rope.

-Tanahashi goes for his finisher (frog splash) but Suzuki blocks it with double knees.

-Tanahashi comes up bleeding from the mouth after a capture german suplex from Suzuki.

-When Suzuki locks in the choke again, Tanahashi fades and the crowd rallies behind him.

-Small chant for Suzuki after he kicks out of one finisher.

-Tanahashi hits one frog splash on Suzuki's back and another on his front for the three count.


-Tanahashi is definitely still the top star in New Japan from the way the crowd got behind him. He's an absolutely fantastic wrestler, but I think it was a foregone conclusion he was going to win. Suzuki is a strong challenger and made the match very believable. I thought he was going to win several times.

-Tanahashi had a lot of the crowd behind him in this match, but it didn't seem as enthusiastic as last year. When he won last year, the place exploded. When he won this year the crowd cheered, but it was like they already expected it.


-Tanahashi's win cements his legacy as one of the best champions in Japanese history, having a record 11 title defenses. The match was designed for that moment.

WINNER: Tanahashi following two frog splashes on Suzuki.


-Wrestle Kingdom VII definitely will need something new going into their main event next year. Tanahashi victorious two years in a row may lose it's lustre. I expect a title change early in the year and there are tons of strong challengers waiting in the wings (Goto, Makabe, Okada, maybe Naito down the line.)

-Okada coming out seemed kind of bizarre at the end, especially when he just kind of shrugged after Tanahashi basically said "I'm tired right now" (at least I guess that's what he said.)

-A lengthy air guitar post-match celebration left the fans going home happy. I think they did the air guitar bit maybe two or three too many times though.


-New tag champions for both heavyweight and junior heavyweight divisions shows that New Japan is shifting around some talent. I'm not sure who future challengers will be for either of the new champion teams, but I figure there will be a series of rematches in the near future.

-Tanahashi is still champion and goes down in history as one of the greateast champions in Japanese history. Not sure how much longer this can last though.

-I was hoping for my surprises and special guests, but there weren't any.

-Naito losing to Mutoh could be a big blow to his push, but it shouldn't be. I hope they don't turn him heel as I think he has potential to be the next big babyface to step in the main event role.


-Looks like Okada is going to be the first challenger for Tanahashi. He's a very intriguing pick for a challenger as his new character seems to be very aloof. Very strange considering most heel challengers are more tough guys or arrogant. Okada just seems like he's above everything. A very intereting character going forward.

-TenKoji should get a series of excellent rematches from Bad Intentions. Perhaps even a series with Nakamura and Yano (although I rather see both pushed as singles wrestlers.)

-MVP looks strong going forward in the New Year and I expect more matches from him and Masato Tanaka.

-Naito needs to get a big win to get back on track.

-Apollo 55 are a great team, but I question taking the titles off NRC so quickly. Not sure where both teams go from here besides continuing their feud.

-The New Japan vs. NOAH matches were both very good. The stark difference between NOAH and NJPW is becoming more apparent to me.

-Tanahashi is probably the longest running champion in the world right now. Whoever beats him should be a big deal. I'm hoping they're planning for a fresh new face to take over whenever that happens. Much kudos to Tanahashi for being a strong champion and in an industry where hot-shotting happens so much, staying relevent in the main event.

So that's another Wrestle Kingdom in the books. Looking forward to next year!

Biggest Pops

1. TenKoji title win

2. Tanahashi victory

3. Naito/Mutoh

4. Yano

5. MVP and Shelton Benjamin

Most Heat

1. Suzuki

2. NRC

3. Taichi

4. Bad Intentions (although some pops for them)

5. Sugiura