Back in 2014 I moved to Japan and had the experience of a lifetime. I was all set to be an English teacher, and ready to move to my first big Japanese city, Nagoya. It's located in the Aichi prefecture in central Japan. I spent a hot and humid August training, teaching, and exploring in the "peaceful" city.
I know I've neglected my Blog (and website in general) for awhile now so I thought I'd give it the ol' college try. The easiest topic of discussion presently are video games, specifically Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the 3DS.
Back in October I received the 3DS XL as a birthday gift and I've been in love with it ever since. I absolutely adore Nintendo, love video games (and technology), and without a doubt LOVE Animal Crossing. Sometimes my 3DS just feels like an Animal Crossing machine.
My love for Animal Crossing of course began with the original - accept no substitutions. My father had purchased the game for my sister and I as a gift. He had heard good things and thought we might like it. Boy, was he right. We became ADDICTED. Had to log on everyday - collecting fossils, insects and fish. In fact, my sister and I came to an agreement that we would play the exact same amount of time in order to maintain equality.
Well - that didn't happen. At first we bickered over how many hours one or the other spent, but soon enough she spent more time than I did. Next thing I know, she's got a frickin' gold statue of herself in the middle of town, and the museum is FULL of her donations. That's my sister - competitive and WINNING. I had to settle for a silver statue in our little town, Oceania.
Well, years passed. There was one moment in a Blockbuster (GASP) with my sister where we found another Animal Crossing, City Folk. My sister and I instantly became excited and rented it. Sadly, it doesn't work that well as a rented game. We played it a little, enjoyed it but then had to return it and life moved on.
I'm vaguely aware of another Animal Crossing for the DS. Since I didn't own a DS and only recently became the proud owner of a 3DS, I haven't had the opportunity to play it. The missing link is called "Wild World". I imagine the concept is exactly the same, along with most of the game play.
I wish I could have played City Folk a little more - it really seemed like a lot of fun, but with New Leaf it's portable - which means loads of Streetpasses.
New Leaf is great - it really, really is! There are all sorts of fun events throughout the year, and there are almost infinite collectibles. You build, design and decorate your house and town.
My town is called Kakariko (+100 points if you know the reference) and if you want to visit you can use my Dream Address! For those who don't know, a Dream Address allows a user to visit another player's town (in a saved state online). If someone visited my town, they'd meet me and my neighbours.
I thought I'd just share a few pictures - for instance, this is the outside of my home. That's something completely unique and customizable. Each day Tom Nook has one design for each house feature: mailbox, facade, fence, door, paving stones, and general architecture. I like my little hedge and cabin-esque home. Notice that there is a second floor and the right side looks expanded.
Each room can be made larger, and the house can have additions, as well as a basement and second floor. Inside the room you can choose wallpaper, carpet and furniture. Move it wherever you like - even change the colour! Create your own designs and share them.
With Streetpass, it makes it easy to quickly build a furniture collection and complete a unique look for your home.
Animal Crossing New Leaf is a fun, addictive game that allows either the casual, or the advanced gamer to have fun. You can simply fish, play mini-games and have a good time, or you can max out your home, find all the rare items and perfect your town. Whatever you choose to do - you'll enjoy the friendly and carefree atmosphere.
Sooo...I've known for a long time that I would need to watch Game of Thrones because I'm a fan of fantasy - especially medieval + dragons fantasy. I mean, who isn't?
I'm presently watching season 2, episode 8 (I promise, no plot spoilers) and I'm grateful that I've waited so I can just power through a whole bunch in a row. I suppose there are two sides to that. On the other hand I know a lot of spoilers from being a citizen of the internet. In my opinion, it's a positive since I'm prepared for the mental and emotional anguish.
Believe me, there is anguish. Sometimes just disgust or perhaps a lot of loathing, maybe now and then a glimmer of victory, which you languish in briefly before it's cruelly snatched away. Oh Game of Thrones, she be a harsh and unforgiving mistress but she be beautiful. Ar, she be beautiful.
I don't know why that just happened. Anyhoo...I decided in my musings to list my favourite characters so far - that way you can pinpoint the exact moments of my unfathomable grief.
I can't believe it. I'm almost finished my TESL course. On Sunday I gave my practice lesson and this upcoming Saturday is my practicum. What's a practicum? It's a pass/fail test where I must teach a lesson to the class and my abilities will be measured as successful or unsuccessful. If I fail (unlikely) I will be required to try again. Luckily, I know I'll pass.
How do I know that? Well, I am confident in my teaching abilities (already!?) and I did very well on my practice lesson. If my practice lesson would have been my practicum, I would have passed. So that's great news! I'm less than a week away from finishing the first part of the TESL course. The second part is an online grammar class. That will be a breeze. Hopefully I'll finish it by August (they give you three months to complete the online component).
Who knows what will happen after that? I might stay here temporarily as a TA for an ESL class or I might just find a job and go, go, go! I'm going to take advantage of whatever opportunities I can find. I'm ready!
It's so exciting to think about teaching in another country. On that note, no, I haven't decided where I'm going yet and yes, I will be posting more information about different countries. I simply haven't had the time. When I do, I will! I already have a draft written up about Italy. I am strongly considering going there. It's a truly historic and romantic place. Not to mention, Ezio Auditore. Need I say more?
In the mean time, I'm putting together a lesson plan for my practicum and getting ready to rock it! I will keep you updated!
Wings of Liberty: Jim Raynor
Have you ever played StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty? It's a complex RTS (real-time strategy) game that allows players to connect online in simulated battles. You must gather resources known as minerals and vespene gas in order to mass an army and attack your opponents. You can choose to play in a team or alone, against other players or A.I.s. The game not only offers competitive laddering but there is a campaign and infinite arcade games. (You can find it on my Top 10 list for Co-op Video Games.)
Battlenet Championship 2012
Due to its brilliant gameplay and ever changing nature it has exponentially increased popularity for e-sports. There are numerous pro-gamers that play in international tournaments to claim victory as one of the best. SC2 (StarCraft 2) is not only featured in live online tournaments but it also boasts numerous gamers and commentators who broadcast their daily games such as Day, HuskyStarcraft, Scarlett and White-Ra.
Wings of Liberty is just the first installment of SC2. It features Jim Raynor and the Terran army struggling to fight back against the injustice of Mengsk, the cold and calculating Protoss, and of course the overwhelming and powerful Zerg. Terrans are basically humans in space. Everything is very familiar and mechanical. Just imagine a future where humans have achieved space travel and have found the necessity to build war machines. Protoss are an advanced telepathic species that have no qualms exterminating the Zerg pestilence or anyone who gets in the way. Zerg are the "bad guys" of the galaxy. Originally controlled by the Overmind, the Zerg assimilate advanced species, incorporating their genetic code into their own. Remind of you anything? Maybe the Borg but in a much more disgusting, insectoid representation. Most SC2 players have favourite races they like to play again and again. Personally I enjoy playing Zerg and my partner is a Brotoss (an affectionately coined euphemism for players who enjoy playing Protoss).
My appreciation for Zerg is why I'm particularly excited for the upcoming release of the latest expansion, Heart of the Swarm. It features the Queen of Blades, formerly known as Kerrigan, a Ghost (expert espionage agent and assassin with powerful mental abilities) for the Terran army and Jim Raynor's love interest. She was infested by the Zerg Overmind and quickly assumed control, making her the Queen of Blades. She now seeks to gain dominance of the entire galaxy.
I recommend watching the opening cinematic for Heart of the Swarm. While it only hints at plot, it certainly makes an impression. Heart of the Swarm comes out March 12, 2013.
While questing in Kun-Lai Summit, the northern zone for Pandaria, I came across something I should have expected. A "Great Wall" you might say, called the "Serpent's Spine". It happens to be located directly adjacent to a mountain range that resembles the Himalayas. In fact there's one particular mountain called, "Neverest". Does that sound vaguely familiar to you?
I've been questing continuously and managed to finish two zones to completion in Pandaria, The Jade Forest and Valley of the Four Winds. The first thing I must say is that questing has vastly improved. Quests are finally more integrated into the storyline through impressive cinematics and a well thought out plot. I truly appreciate the effort Blizzard put into streamlining the questing process. Not just through story telling but by including quest markers on the map. That is a godsend, I cannot tell you. Not to mention smoother, straight forward quests and a check for each storyline you complete. Finally, questing is actually pleasurable.
Yesterday I decided to create a Pandaren Monk just to try it out and see how I liked it. Probably the most interesting thing about Pandarens is that they're not faction oriented. All of the other races are either Alliance or Horde but Pandarens are by nature peaceful pacifists. So when you're introduced to the Pandaren starting zone everyone is the same like one big, happy family.
Pandaria is full of very recognizable geographical features and architecture. I suppose the great thing about WoW (World of Warcraft) is that when they release a new expansion you cannot initially use your mount to fly on the new continent. I'm glad you can't fly, it gives you the opportunity to appreciate the amazing scenery like an adventurer exploring new land.
Today is the official release day for the new World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria. I stayed up last night with my partner waiting for the moment the expansion would be available digitally, 1 a.m. our time. It was very exciting. It was the busiest I've ever seen our server. People were literally waiting around Stormwind (Alliance capital city). There was so much buzz about what to expect. Then when it came time, everyone flocked to Pandaria, the new continent. The funniest part was since it was so busy there was a time when everyone was stacked on top of each other for a particular quest so we couldn't see anything, it was just a flurry of random shooting.
I've played a couple of quests and thought I'd give my first impression. The cinematic cut scenes are a nice touch but my favourite part (spoilers ahoy) is the ride on the gunship to Pandaria. I love the gunships. Once there you are deployed into a full scale assault on the Horde. This was of course, classic. The Alliance and Horde are two different factions who have harboured an intense animosity for years.
I guess my only real reservation about the game is that it's a little bit racist. It features Pandas living on an island in Chinese structures, wearing stereotypical garb. I suppose it's not necessarily insulting but I guess that also depends on who you are and what you find offensive. Despite the obvious stereotypes, it appears to be an excellent expansion. I'm looking forward to leveling up to 90. If you play World of Warcraft on the Nathrezim server, look me up! My name is Naraya. Anyway, I hope to see you there!
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