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!