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By on Jan 14, 2014 at 8:30 am, in Fashion, Uncategorized  |  Comments: No comments yet

Welcome to  Junkies Nation’s cosplay review, Weekly Cos-day! Here, we will highlight some of the best cosplays we saw on the internet this week (including those submitted by you, dear readers!). We end each article with a link to a cosplay tutorial so that you can finally make that perfect cosplay you’ve been dreaming about.

The Best Cosplay We’ve Seen This Week

 

queensusan

 

Queen Susan from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, by Cosplay.com user CasualCostumer.

CasualCostumer shows an amazing amount of dedication and attention to detail. The homemade chainmail and corset are enough to elevate this costume, but the entire piece is put together extremely well. You should also check out CasualCostumer’s Clockwork Droid costume.

 

 

 

carmilla

 

Carmilla from Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, by Cosplay.com user faeryx.

Yet another excellently fabricated piece, highlighted by a beautiful photo. The cosplayer’s posture and expression show off the character’s attitude extremely well, and the setting of the photograph is great. The amount of detail that goes into a costume like this Carmilla is astounding. Just look at the skirt and shoulders!

 

 

 

Photography by Toshi Yamioka

 

Yomiko Readman from Read of Die, by Cosplay.com user cheerlubber. Photo by Toshi Yamioka Photography.

Yomiko doesn’t seem to get enough love in the cosplay world. Maybe because it’s a simple costume-but I’ve found that some of these simple costumes are the most difficult to pull off well. Cheerlubber, though, does a great job not only putting together a Yomiko cosplay but stepping into the character’s shoes.

 

 

 

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Smoker from Left 4 Dead, by Cosplay.com user Inuki1. Photo by Nerdography

The make-up work for this Smoker cosplay blows me away! Inuiki1 shows a great mastery of both conventional makeup and prosthetics. Just…wow.

 

 

 

 

 

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Kirito from Sword Art Online, by Cosplay.com user Iloon.

A great costume, highlighted by an excellent prop. The fabrication of the jacket, in particular, is impressive. The shoulder armor is nicely molded. But the sword itself is obviously well constructed, and looks solid and secure.

 

 

 

 

 

Cosplay 101

Armor and weapons sometimes require more than wood, craft foam, or worbla. A common approach to build onto these costume pieces is the use of expanding foam. Kamui Cosplay is internationally known as one of the top experts on using expanding foam to construct armor and weapons. Here are two of her videos on the process–the first is a general tutorial on expanding foam, and the second is a closer look at the carving process. Make sure the put on the captions, unless you speak German fluently.

 

Do you have an awesome cosplay you’d like to share with your fellow Junkies Nation readers? Or maybe you have a tutorial that can help other learn the ways of cosplay. Submit photos, links, and other relevant information to amandab@rerollz.com and you could be featured in a future Weekly Cos-day!

By on Jan 8, 2014 at 8:30 am, in Fashion, Uncategorized  |  Comments: No comments yet

Welcome to Junkies Nation’s cosplay review, Weekly Cos-day! Specifically, welcome to the first edition of 2014, and the first since the beginning of the holiday season. Here, we will highlight some of the best cosplays we saw on the internet this week (including those submitted by you, dear readers!). We will end each article with a link to a cosplay tutorial so that you can finally make that perfect cosplay you’ve been dreaming about.

 

The Best Cosplay We’ve Seen This Week

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Impa from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, by Cosplay.com user Siha.

The detail work on this costume is great, but the wig styling and the make-up really make the costume. It’s practically a perfect representation of what you see on the screen and, considering Impa’s animated, that’s really excellent.

 

 

 

 

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Nightwing from DC Comics, by Cosplay.com user Stargazer Gemini.

I’ve been looking at a lot of superhero cosplays lately and, while I love the ones that incorporate armor, I’m more impressed by those cosplayers who can create great bodysuits–like Stargazer Gemini here. It may be because stretchy fabric and I still don’t get along, but I’m really impressed by technique as successful as this.

 

 

 

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Rose from Doctor Who ( The Idiot Lantern), by deviantART user alcblueyes.

Alcblueyes has a whole photoshoot in her Rose costume from the episode The Idiot Lantern, but the prosthetic/mask work in this shot is exceptionally great. The photo has been making its way around the internet since last year, and it’s really obvious why. The shot, the cosplayers, and the costumes are all-around perfect.

 

 

 

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Anastasia Romanov from Anastasia, by Cosplay.com user Seiren-sama.

This is a showcase costume on Cosplay.com, and wow. The construction of the piece, the poise of the cosplayer, and the setting of the photograph work together perfectly. It shows how the perfect surroundings can really elevate a costume in a photoshoot.

 

 

 

 

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Damien Wayne/Robin from DC Comics, by Cosplay.com user Plush-Mello.

Damien Wayne is a character that’s full of personality. If you pick up a random Batman comic and see Robin is there, you can practically instantly tell if it’s Damien under the mask by the dialogue alone. Plush-Mello does a great job of embodying this spirit in the picture and, combined with great construction, brings Damien Wayne to life.

 

 

 

 

Cosplay 101

In Weekly Cos-Day #4, we linked to a bunch of tutorials to teach you how to buy, style, and care for a wig. Of course, there’s something else important that goes along with wearing a wig–and that is coloring your eyebrows. Chances are that, if you needed to buy a wig, your eyebrows are significantly different than the color wig you’re wearing. This informational video by Chicago-based cosplayer MangoSirene highlights two different methods of eyebrow coloring–that don’t involve dyes. This thread from Cosplay.com highlights one of these methods, and discusses a few additional approaches from other posters. Check it out, or leave your own tips in the comments.

Until next week, cosplay enthusiasts!

 

Do you have an awesome cosplay you’d like to share with your fellow Junkies Nation readers? Or maybe you have a tutorial that can help other learn the ways of cosplay. Submit photos, links, and other relevant information to amandab@rerollz.com and you could be featured in a future Weekly Cos-day!

By on Dec 30, 2013 at 7:00 am, in Uncategorized  |  Comments: No comments yet

As “junkies,” there’s a certain diet we’re associated with. From gamer geeks to comic nerds, our diets tend to revolve around what’s quick, easy and cheap. Some of us eat a bit healthier than others, opt out of meat, and maybe stick to a low calorie diet, but let’s be honest: we all love a good hamburger (even if we choose soy over beef).

With that in mind, “Food for the Nation” tries to cover food our fellow junkies would probably be able to eat (and afford). Since I’m in Japan, I think it only makes sense that when I’m writing this column, Japanese food will probably take center stage, though this may change if I travel. Health concerns may pop up, culture may be discussed, and yes, maybe I’ll add in some cooking tips, but for the most part, don’t expect complaints about how over cooked the vegetables were, what’s seasonally appropriate, or complaints that a McDonald’s hamburger is using low quality materials. Now that the real food critics have hopefully stepped out, let’s discuss one of the staples of geekdom: donuts! Again!

Last time we covered Mister Donut donuts in Eastern Japan. Consider this part two, especially since you’ll need the okonomiyaki explanation from last time. For those too lazy to go and look back, it’s essentially a savory stuffed Japanese pancake with bonito flakes, mayo, a sweet/savory sauce, and usually bacon. Oh, and cabbage. Lots of cabbage.

Since we’re on the topic of okonomiyaki, I think it’s only fitting that we start there. Remember, the flavors for western Japan are okonomiyaki, ogura (red bean) toast, manga, and green grape… or raisin. I’ll explain later. For the okonomiyaki donut, the taste is dead on, much like the monjayaki was. Again, no cabbage, but it did have bonito flakes. I didn’t see any mayo, but I could taste it, so the filling is pretty well blended. The donut takes on the part of the “pancake” quite well, actually, and this branch actually heated the donut for me, which added to the overall effect. I’ve always been an okonomiyaki fan, and unlike a lot of things that are flavored after this food, I can highly recommend this iteration of the famous Osaka food.

Next we have the red bean “toast.” Unsurprisingly, the toast here is a donut, but once again, due to the chewiness of Mister Donut’s donuts, the donut is once again able to fill in the roll of a different carb quite well. The filling however, isn’t anything too new to those of us used to eating Asian sweets. The red beans do seem a bit candied, having a slightly crunchy, sugary coating outside, while still being present in the usual red bean syrup. It tastes pretty normal for an asian sweet, if a bit more special. For those who are just getting used to asian sweets, or are in need of an introduction, these donuts might be a good starter.

Mango, as you might expect, tastes like mango. However, it tasted less like a jam than maybe a custard, cream, or pudding of some sort. It wasn’t a jelly or jam. Normally, the only mango I enjoy is in lassi form, but this was quite good, and probably much easier on a western pallet than the previous two donuts.

The final flavor, however, should be the easiest for westerners I think. Before I dive in though, Japan has this thing with raisins. Sometimes, you’ll get bread that says it contains grapes, or a grape cookie, or some other thing with “grape.” Then you bite into it and realize it’s raisin. However, this donut has green grape/raisin jelly filling. There is no whole fruit inside, so I can’t tell which it’s supposed to be, but it is good. Rather refreshing even. The Japanese like things just a little sour, so it’s dusted with a bit of sugar, but it’s still got enough of a bite to keep it interesting.

And there you have it! The complete eight flavors of Mister Donut’s winter East vs. West donut promotion! If you’re out in Japan for the holidays, hopefully this little write up will inspire you to try one of these unique flavors, or at least give you something to look forward to whenever you are able to make it out here!

By on Dec 23, 2013 at 7:30 am, in Uncategorized  |  Comments: No comments yet

So we’ve mentioned this Akihabara place before. It’s not quite as fashionable as Nakano Broadway, and it’s not quite as electric as Osaka’s Den Den Town, but when people talk about otaku heaven, most people immediately bring up Akihabara, both in and outside of Japan. However, some hardcore otakus will tell you Aki’s overrated and they have their own “secret” spot (which I’ve been trying to reveal). However, I think it’s time to address what is Akihabara for someone who is close to otaku culture without really being one. Oh, I know my Yu-Go-Oh! from my Yuyu Hakusho, but I rarely finish more than a single story arc, if that. Not all anime is golden and sacred, and while few people in Japan even know my favorite anime (FLCL, AKA “Furi Kuri”), both otakus and normal people quickly realize I have more of a broad knowledge of anime that rarely goes beyond the surface than anything that would “allow” me to use that title (take it less as “geek” than “addict,” since that’s kind of the tone it takes here).

That being said, I can see why most otakus (and fellow lovers of Japanese otaku culture) enjoy Akihabara. It is more densely packed than Den Den Town, but covers much more ground than Nakano Broadway. While there are some more “normal” shops, these tend to be general electric shops and some private discount vendors that have yet to impress me, especially now after experiencing Den Den in Osaka. No, there’s a reason you see two Sega buildings pretty much right outside the north exit of the JR Station, along with AKB48‘s theater and a Gundam Cafe. It’s that kind of place.

A lot of things are said about Akiba– as it’s affectionately referred to– are true. There’s a lot of manga, anime, and gaming stuff, mainly on the streets in front of the JR station’s north exit for a few blocks. The dinning is relatively cheap and exactly the kind of stuff you’d expect: cheap katsu, cheap curry, cheap ramen. Cafes, fast food, and yes, some slightly above average places. And maid cafes. Lots of maid cafes.

The maid cafes in particular I think give some people a false impression of Akiba. Let me be blunt with you: do not think it is normal for people to just walk around cosplaying. It’s weird in Akiba unless you are working at a maid cafe, and those girls are pretty much superficially pleasant and, from the few I’ve talked to who weren’t working at the time, have less knowledge of anime than I do. It is a job, and while some are working it to fuel their own otaku needs, many more are just “pretty” girls looking to cash in. Mainly with other Japanese. While Akiba in general is much easier to do if you have zero Japanese language skills, I feel like the maid girls as a whole have realized that most westerners are completely weirded out by the thought of going to a maid cafe. The girls usually won’t like you taking their pictures (since it’s just the about the only thing most westerners do want to do with them), as even today I saw some asking some guys not to take pictures and to instead go to the cafe for pictures and service. If you speak Japanese, maybe it’ll go better. At least the ones off-duty and not fresh off of a shft seem talkative when I ask them about their work, but on duty, most ignore me, especially now that I’m not a big fat guy anymore.

And that’s the other part: the otaku. No, not everyone is a sweaty, socially awkward weirdo. But they’re there, and the city caters to them. If you want American fast food, milkshakes calling themselves coffee, and porn (both real and animated, curvaceous and probably illegal in the US), Akiba has it in spades. I have gone from walls of Pokemon to boobs galore literally around the corner while 4-5 year old girls are running around my ankles. I had some guy accidentally dump (what I hope) was hardened sugar from a donut on my hand today from… god knows where he was, it as so crowded. There are smells and sights that will haunt you, and while you’ll bump into these in other otaku havens, I’ve never felt like the only piece of soap in a dirty bucket in other places in Japan aside from the line for Tokyo Game Show.

Now, that’s the ugly. There’s also the unfortunate: because Aki’s so well known, the place is largely picked clean of its treasures. I think I found more newer stuff at Nakano today than Akiba, though Akiba was cheaper (only for new stuff though). I also found more old school and rare stuff at Nakano, but well priced. At Akiba, even the rental cases are filled with junk. Things you’ll see stores selling will be in rental cases for almost the same price. And as a foreigner, watch out for “rare” merchandise, especially as Japan has been slowly providing the western Otakus with their own versions of swag. For example, I saw a Black Zero today for about $66. As you can see, that’s kind of a rip for westerners. Now, in Japan, the figure is worth more, so it’s only a steal if you’re a hardcore otaku or completely oblivious. This, my friends, is the reality of most of Akihabara.

It’s not all doom and gloom though! You need to know where to look. For example, there may be people selling stuff on the street on Sundays, but I’ve yet to see anything that didn’t just look like the loot you get from the arcade claw machines and capsule stations. No, I have a few places I always look, one of which is Kotobukiya. Just look down the alley around the KFC and you’ll see it. The name may be familiar to Star Wars and comic swag collectors because the company operates in the US, mainly by making licensed figures that are distributed by other stores or online. However, the Japanese brick and mortar store has much more than what you see in the states. Plushies, cups, sweaters… everything. And you will be paying top dollar for it. I broke down and for the first time in a looong time I bought something in Aki: this tie for about $60.

None of my freaking shirts cost that much, and no, you can’t just buy them online unless you want to pay about 50% more. The Mulan shops are good too, as they often buy used merchandise, but again, anything rare is usually picked up pretty fast, even when it’s not any cheaper than what you’d find online.

Now, I briefly touched on it before, but language skills. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Japanese don’t speak English so much as understand some English vocabulary. As much as they pound students with grammar, the individual words stick best, and that’s what helps them translate. Aki’s a bit different, in that many eateries and cafes have at least one person who can speak English well enough to get the job done, and most vendors know enough words or basic phrases to get by. Truthfully, I don’t think the same can be said for Den Den or Nakano, but it may be because I use Japanese and Japanese tend to test my Japanese before trying out any English (long story, but Japanese tend to quickly use me for English conversation practice so I have to use Japanese as much as possible before they get too comfortable with me). In Akiba, though, I’m always mildly surprised when someone walks up to me and just starts using full English sentences to try to sell me something.

Aki’s not perfect. For electronics, especially rare music and cheap optical mice, I prefer Osaka’s Den Den Town. For rare stuff, Nakano’s my personal choice. But for the overall experience, for being a nerd in a several square blocks where everyone wants you as a customer, Akihabara is choice, especially if you don’t know your obasan from obaasan (the first is for “aunt,” the second is for “grandma” and accidentally offending middle aged women).

By on Dec 12, 2013 at 8:30 am, in Fashion, Uncategorized  |  Comments: 1 comment

Welcome to  Junkies Nation’s cosplay review, Weekly Cos-day! Here, we will highlight some of the best cosplays we saw on the internet this week (including those submitted by you, dear readers!). We will end each article with a link to a cosplay tutorial so that you can finally make that perfect cosplay you’ve been dreaming about.

The Best Cosplay We’ve Seen This Week

jessiepokemoncosplaypic

 

Jessie from Pokemon, by Cosplay.com user Ryoko-demon. Photo by Kifir.

 

Remember that tutorial on wigs that was posted in last week’s Weekly Cos-day? Well, Ryoko-demon puts all those wig-styling tips to shame. This costume is brilliantly executed–she could have stepped out of the anime itself–and her sewing looks flawless. It’s pretty simple to dress up as Jessie–until you get to the hair, that is. This costume, though, is excellent.

 

 

yuecosplaypic

 

Princess Yue from Avatar: The Last Airbender, by Cosplay,com user Shotzgoboom. Photo by AbbotW.

 

One of the most intimidating fabrics to work with in cosplay is fur, whether it is real or not. Shotzgoboom effortlessly incorporates this material into an artfully crafted costume. Look at that detail–it’s great even down to the beading. I’m jealous.

 

 

 

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Jareth the Goblin King from Labyrinth, by DeviantArt user Faeryx13. Photo by JustMoolti

 

“It’s a crystal, nothing more. But if you turn it this way, it will show you your dreams.” I don’t know about you, but my dreams are to make a costume as awesome as Faeryx13′s Jareth cosplay. And look at that swagger!

 

 

 

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Tali’Zorah nar Rayya from Mass Effect, by Cosplay.com user Nebulaluben. Photo by AoJ

 

I’ve always wanted to cosplay Tali from the Mass Effect series, but getting the right fabric and prints is almost a Herculean feat. Nebulaluben’s dedication to screen accuracy is amazing–the character looks almost perfect. Getting a character this right is hard to do.

 

 

 

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Torin Oakenshield by DeviantArt user TealPirate. Photo by Amy Ratcliffe from Fashionably Geek

The Desolation of Smaug opens this weekend, so we needed to celebrate with an excellent The Hobbit cosplay–and TealPirate’s Thorin Oakenshield definitely fits the bill. Her–yes, her–Thorin cosplay is utterly amazing, and the amount of difficult fabrics and material in this costume is enough to make my head spin. And this is still an in-progress costume, according to the article. I can’t even imagine how great this will look when it’s done, and I hope the gods of the internet bless me so that I can see it.

 

 

 

Cosplay 101

If there’s one thing that curses my cosplay, it’s boots. I like to cosplay as video game characters and super heroes and, let’s face it, their footwear can be on the extravagant side. If you couple that with the fact that I have freakishly large feet (well, maybe not freakishly. But at least abnormally), finding the right boots or shoes is impossible. That is, in short, why crash culture‘s boot cover tutorial saved my life. It’s a little more applicable to women than men, but if you make accommodations for different fabric types, you can make this tutorial work for either gender. Follow this link to find out how to make your boots look perfect.

 

Do you have an excellent costume that you want to be featured in our Weekly Cos-day articles? Or maybe you have the perfect tutorial to help your fellow cosplayers achieve the perfect look. Please send pictures, links, and all relevant information (character, cosplayer, photographer) to me at amandab@rerollz.com and you could be in an upcoming Weekly Cos-day!

 

By on Dec 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm, in Uncategorized  |  Comments: No comments yet

Just in case you ever get a teensy bit bored while browsing the internet and find yourself thinking about your video game collection, we’ve got few questions for you to ponder over. Well, one a week in particular. Possibly more. The others will come in the later editions of Gamer Think Tank. By the way, we’re not totally sold on this column’s name yet, so if a cool idea strikes you, feel free to shout it out in the comments section. For now, let’s talk about what gets you to buy items in “free” games.

Last week, Laura wrote an article on Trion using a “world event” as an excuse to get people to essentially buy stuff from the cash shop in Rift. Well, that’s kind of simplifying a lot, but stay with me here. It got me thinking about how companies try to get me to buy stuff for their free to play game, and what tricks at least work on me. While I love mechs, I could guess from the e-mail I was sent that the “world event” was an excuse to sell things in the cash shop, and my research pointed to playing the random chest game. Sorry, but that’s what I play everytime I kill a  mob. I refuse to pay for that, especially since it tends to come with my monthly subscription. To limit items to paid, one time use only slot machines really kills the genre for me. I especially hate it when companies give me boxes but not keys. I don’t really care about the boxes, but if I keys without the box, I’d probably be a bit more tempted. Small change, but it’s just something I noticed about myself.

No, stupidly, I’m one of those people that sometimes pays for beta access (not alpha if I can help it, since I actually test). If pre-ordering comes with mounts that I normally have to level to unlock, or will save me a lot of in game money at the start of the game, that gets me to open my wallet too. I need to feel like I know what I’m buying, and I prefer things that save me in game time, rather than look cool. I think it’s one of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed SOE’s free to play games. If I want to unlock a gun for my PlanetSide 2 bus of doom, I just buy it. If I had to pay slots for it, I would have already uninstalled the game. Oddly enough though, I don’t buy xp boosts. I don’t like sitting around for an hour straight playing games, as odd as that may sound. I like the idea that I can go to the bathroom whenever I want, or go out to dinner if a friend suddenly suggests it. While skins are nice, I rarely buy them. In fact, if a game only has cool skins that I have to pay for, that I cannot earn any other way, I tend to avoid them. I’d rather pay a sub or buy the game as a buy to play option than have to essentially clothes shop for my avatar with my real life money.

What about you, junkies? What’s acceptable for companies to sell you in their cash shops? Are you hooked on boosters? Love random chests? Toss out money for mounts? Or are you one of those people that plays free to play games absolutely free?

By on Dec 9, 2013 at 11:30 am, in Uncategorized  |  Comments: 1 comment

As “junkies,” there’s a certain diet we’re associated with. From gamer geeks to comic nerds, our diets tend to revolve around what’s quick, easy and cheap. Some of us eat a bit healthier than others, opt out of meat, and maybe stick to a low calorie diet, but let’s be honest: we all love a good hamburger (even if we choose soy over beef).

With that in mind, “Food for the Nation” tries to cover food our fellow junkies would probably be able to eat (and afford). Since I’m in Japan, I think it only makes sense that when I’m writing this column, Japanese food will probably take center stage, though this may change if I travel. Health concerns may pop up, culture may be discussed, and yes, maybe I’ll add in some cooking tips, but for the most part, don’t expect complaints about how over cooked the vegetables were, what’s seasonally appropriate, or complaints that a McDonald’s hamburger is using low quality materials. Now that the real food critics have hopefully stepped out, let’s discuss one of the staples of geekdom: donuts!

Last time we covered sweet snacks. I was hoping to cover some other topic before doing sweets again, but something came up. Japan’s big on limited time flavors and seasonal stuff, and while walking through the mall, this just kind of fell in my lap. Well, more like assaulted my traditional donut views.

A quick history lesson for those who’ve never been to the land of the rising sun. As I hinted at in the pizza article, Japan has a way of taking chains that aren’t doing so well in America and turning them into something amazing. So much so that Japanese people tend to think these chains are Japanese. Mister Donut is one of these franchises. In fact, I too had thought it was Japanese until the donuts came up in a discussion while one of my aunts was visiting us. She found a plate with the Mister Donut logo that my sister had gotten, and we thought that since she hadn’t been to Japan, we’d tell her about our favorite “Japanese” donut shop. Upon finishing our explanation, my aunt said, “It’s not Japanese. I used to work at a Mister Donut in college.” Minds blown, we checked Wikipedia and, sure enough, the franchise did originate in the states but lost out to Dunkin’ Donuts.

The chain is quite popular in Asia, and is sometimes associated with some rather strange flavors and designs, but in Japan, it’s always seemed quite tame. The “pon de ring” (pictured above) which is made to be a bit chewier than a tradition donut just reminds me of mochi (Japanese rice cakes). It’s still sweet, but a bit different. Flavors like green tea, cherry, and pumpkin are tame or available in the states too. I love the donuts, but for the most part, they never really surprised me.

That was, until today. This year, there’s a bit of a Western Japan/Eastern Japan thing going on, with each region getting some rather unique pon de ring donut sandwiches. To some, that sounds a bit tame, but some of those flavors are downright scary for me personally.

Western Japan gets green raisin, mango, mochi with red bean, and okonimiyaki. I was hoping to introduce that last one in a separate article since it’s pretty Japanese and explanations without having tried the food are usually poorly understood. It’s a well loved Japanese dish that is sadly hard to find in the states. Many things are flavored as okonomiyaki but I didn’t think I’d cover anything for awhile. For those who tried to read the Wikipedia article for an explanation, let me try to simplify it for you: it’s a stuffed, savory pancake, usually served at least with green onions, bonito flakes, and mayonnaise on top, and cabbage inside. Variations do some strange things, but I think once you’ve tried three types, you know what to expect.

Now, things are about to get a little more complicated. Remember, there are different flavors for each region. I consider Kansai (Western Japan) more of my Japanese “hometown” since I spent more time there until I began working in Kanto (Eastern Japan), so sadly I don’t get to try those flavors until around New Year’s. Here in Kanto, our flavors are buttered potato, zunda (edamame/soy beans made into a paste that’s a bit sweet), koshihikari (a type of white rice), and monjayaki. Really, I didn’t expect to introduce okonomiyaki or monjayaki flavorings until after showing the real deal, but seasonal flavors happen. At any rate, if you feel like you have a decent understanding of okonomiyaki, it’s time to make things more complicated. Monjayaki is Kanto’s reply to okonomiyaki. Think okonomiyaki pancake batter cooked until it’s like cheese, then eaten hot off the grill. I know, the first one’s hard enough to imagine, and now I’m asking you to heat up the freaking dough and eat it. That’s Japan.

So I bought the donuts, took’em home, and tried them. Quick personal preference that I should probably have mentioned during the pizza article: I don’t like corn unless it’s popped or turned into cornmeal. Don’t ask. I can eat it, but it’s not my thing. This made the monja donut the scariest for me, since it’s got cabbage (no problem) and corn (problem). Knowing this would be the most difficult, I decided to bite the bullet and try the scariest first.

The donut isn’t sweet, so that makes everything a million times better. Since monjayaki is already kind of like a filling, the texture’s pretty on, though I’m used to my tongue being burned since you eat the stuff right off the grill. The donut in this aspect is preferable if you just want the basic taste, though sadly I didn’t get much of a cabbage flavor or texture, just monjayaki and corn on a slightly salty and chewy donut. It’s certainly an experience, but for me, I think one time is enough.

Next came the zunda (edamame paste). This one’s actually got some slightly sweet powder on the top. The zunda is almost jellied though. It’s not bad actually, but it’s also nothing to write home about. You could just tell someone it’s a donut with green jelly and they probably wouldn’t question it, unless you enjoy testing strange food on people and they know to be suspicious of what you give them. Not that I know anyone like that, mind you.

Next is the rice one. which is surprisingly sweet. And it has bits of rice. And alcohol? At least flavoring, since the site mentions the content isn’t included in the label. It kind of reminds me of rice pudding. It’s not what I expected, but this one seems the most like a Japanese donut to me. I think I prefer green tea flavoring, but this is still surprisingly good. Don’t try getting a buzz off it though, just enjoy the chewiness, bits of rice for extra texture, and sweet taste of… um, rice.

Finally, buttered potato. As a sandwich donut, I had higher expectations since, well, it’s already starchy and a bit more western, like sandwiches in general. I mean, I know the term just means “stuff between bread stuff” but with a pretty savory flavor here, I went in with that expectation. I also figure you can just make mashed potatoes, add some fake butter, and pipe that into a donut. This one’s supposed to be more Hokkaido (the norther island) flavored, since supposedly that’s where the taters came from. The region’s also famous for dairy. In fact, the milk candies in the sweet snacks article were supposedly from Hokkaido. The taste of the whole donut, though, is like sweetened, buttered mashed potatoes, with a hint of salt, except chewy because of the donut. It’s different, but not bad.

So that’s Eastern Japan’s present from Mister Donut this year. Oh, well, there was some Snoopy stuff some of you might notice on the box, but those are just designs, not special flavors. The sandwich donuts are much more of an experience, at about $1.50 per donut. Naturally, these are a limited time product, but one I feel safe recommending. Those curious about the other four flavors are going to have to wait a bit though. Sorry!

By on Dec 9, 2013 at 10:18 am, in Uncategorized  |  Comments: No comments yet

There have been a severe lack of space exploration online games in the last decade. We’ve had two variations of Star Wars that really haven’t scratched the itch. We’ve got the behemoth called Star Citizen that is a wish and a prayer but is also fully funded in the making. Of course we have EVE that has many rabid fans but can also be described as a visual spreadsheet.

Where are all of our action packed exploration sims, cockpit jockeys wanna-be games? Well, recently announced at VGX 2013 we have Hello Game’s “No Man’s Sky”, a game with procedurally generated content where a player can explore land and oceans while also flying out into space flying around asteroid and exploring the very ends of space. What’s even more interesting is that Hello Games is only a studio that consists of only four people!

There is no release date mentioned or how the game will evolve, but this game is worth keeping your eye on as it furthers in development. Check out the HD trailer below:

By on Dec 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm, in EQN, Uncategorized  |  Comments: 1 comment

EQNJunkies Welcom

Hiya all! Welcome to the Junkies Network first collaboration article; We are going to be discussing the Ratonga Rodeo subject of the week today; That is to say we will be discussing the playerbase’s effect on the development of EQNext and Landmark. This is a subject I’ve touched on before with the roundtable articles I’ve done. However, we will delve more in depth on this specifically today. Read on and post your comments!

By on Dec 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm, in Uncategorized  |  Comments: 1 comment

Just in case you ever get a teensy bit bored while browsing the internet and find yourself thinking about your video game collection, we’ve got few questions for you to ponder over. Well, one a week in particular. Possibly more. The others will come in the later editions of Gamer Think Tank. By the way, we’re not totally sold on this column’s name yet, so if a cool idea strikes you, feel free to shout it out in the comments section. For now, let’s talk about not being a geek stereotype.

Last week, we talked about being a geek stereotype. Now, that’s only when people see everything line up, or for people who visit this site and are in denial (we’re Junkies Nation, not “Casual members of slightly nerdy society” Nation). People generally assume that all junkies only talk about their hobby, live at home working some menial job, have terrible fashion sense, and smell like onions and mayonnaise that have seen better days.

For me, I’m usually able to blend in quite well in either the states or Japan. When I’m at social gatherings, I usually avoid the crowds and talk to a small group of people, usually about topics like world events, work, or things I already know they’re interested in. I can discuss a broad range of topics, so even if games, comics, or movies come up in a conversation, people just assume I’m well rounded.

While teachers are sometimes a bit odd, we’re usually given a pass and assumed to be contributing members of society, unless you teach a tech class or something very non-traditional like “Harry Potter 101″ (my old college actually had something like that). Few people knew I was living at home when I taught in the states, but I knew a few others who did, and we were usually given a pass because, let’s be honest, most teachers aren’t making a ton of cash. However, now that I’m living abroad, when people hear I’m teaching overseas, I become the exotic one, even at tables full of veterans of the gaming scene. It’s odd when someone who’s working on a popular upcoming game wants to talk about you more than their upcoming game.

On fashion sense and hygiene, several co-workers know I carry a few cleansing products on me, just in case. Hey, when you walk everywhere, smells are bound to occur! I truthfully don’t feel like I have good fashion sense. Jeans and a t-shirt are my uniform of choice. Anything I do right probably comes from paying some attention to my more fashionable family who help me get ideas on what to wear to work. It must have worked, since my boss from my first teaching gig mentioned in her letter of recommendation that I was one of the better dressers in the office. The kids seem to agree, since I’ve long since stopped keeping track of the amount of times I’ve been compared to Lupin the Third, despite my glasses, facial hair, and when I first came out here, weight keeping me from actually resembling the character, which, oddly enough, is also of mixed heritage.

In general, unless I’m literally wearing a nerdy shirt and jeans, people are genuinely shocked if I mention that playing video games is a hobby of mine. Heck, Japanese people in particular are confused when I can discuss anime and the origins of Japanese foreign loan words in the same sentence, but can’t play piano and dislike golf. The younger teachers get it, as do some who are closer to their kids, but when I go to job interviews, mentioning my hobbies can cause extreme confusion.

What about you, junkies? Are you able to pass as a “normal” member of society? Does the guy at Best Buy think he needs to explain the difference between a PC and Mac to you? Do kids think they can call you a nub without you understanding them? Or can people spot you as a comic book connoisseur from around the corner?

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