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Gotta Catch ’em All

July 23, 2016

I’m a few days behind on my blogging after writing up the Fuji climb, but we’re still having fun. The day after Fuji we took it easy. We both slept in late. Michael slept until 10:30am, which might be a record for him. We played one game of Roll for the Galaxy that day and watched a couple of episodes of the TV show Leverage. It rained from sunrise to sunset so it was a good day to sit around. We ate instant ramen for dinner. I did go out for a walk in an attempt to not be so stiff the next day and also to make sure I won my Fitbit challenge.

On Friday we kept the activity low again, but this time we made it geekier. Last month our good friends David and Catherine visited us and David left us with a copy of ten episodes of the 1967 show Ultraman (ウルトラマン). There is Ultraman stuff at all the cool geeky stores in Japan so Michael and I wanted to learn what it was all about. After sleeping in again we sat down and watched all ten episodes in a row. In the first episode we saw how the main character, Hayata-san, gained the beta capsule that turns him into Ultraman. Hataya-san is a member of the Science Patrol, which is about as cool as it sounds. Ultraman is a giant space man and has a few powers including shooting a raybeam out of his hands when he crosses them over (sort of like someone saying “No” in Japan), but mostly he is just a giant in a silver spandex suit and helmet. At the end of the episode he fights a giant monster (or kaiju) that is a lot like, but legally distinct from, Godzilla. He wins. In the second episode Ultraman wrestles with a giant kaiju and wins. In the third episode Ultraman shoots his raybeam at a giant kaiju and then he fights him using martial arts and he wins. In the fourth episode…you get the idea. Lets just say that this isn’t a show that should be binge watched. When something is this campy you just have to lean in and enjoy it. We made snide comments about the monsters and criticized the guys in the rubber kaiju costumes for not being good enough actors. We mad fun of the cultural mores of 1960’s Japan – think Mad Men, but not as suave. One of the best/worst lines was “You have to remember she is a woman, so it is hard to understand why she does things.” Of course this is just the dubbed in line, who knows what the original Japanese line was. Really it was progressive that they had a woman on the team at all. I think it was supposed to be set in the future. The Science Patrol had all kinds of cool gadgets, but Michael found it hard to get past the pre-CGI special effects. It was fun for the most part and we didn’t have to leave the couch; so, a win.

Later that day we discovered that Pokemon Go had finally made it to Japan. Michael and I ordered a pizza and then walked over to pick it up and find Pokemon along the way. There were several PokeStops between here and there and we also found several Pokemon wandering around. for the uninitiated a PokeStop is a place where you can pick up supplies you need for the game. Pokemon can be anywhere.

We made plans to go out the next day for a long walk and catch as many Pokemon as we could. I thought that was the end of PokeHunting for Friday, but when I told Michalel I was going for a walk to get steps he jumped up and put his shoes on. We went over to the park near out house and walked around picking up things at PokeStops and catching Pokemon. We were not the only ones in the park at 10:30pm and most everyone else was playing the same game. The idea of playing a video game that relies on movement in the real world is very amusing and when I saw strangers doing it to I smiled every time. We were all in this together. I know that these types of games have existed for a while, but nothing mainstream and honestly nothing with an interface this good.

Today we headed out with a purpose. To catch as many Pokemon as we could. I found a burger place I wanted to try called the Golden Brown. It was about a 4 kilometer walk from our apartment and we could follow the Green Promenade which had a PokeStop about every 100m. It was fun catching the virtual creatures and because we were together we were usually able to catch the same thing. When one of us would feel our phone buzz we could let the other know something was close to us. We both hit level 5 today which means you get to choose a team and then you help defend or take over places called Gyms. We did a little of that, but we don’t have very powerful Pokemon yet, so there wasn’t too much we could do. It took us two hours to walk what should have taken one. By the time we got the restaurant I was starving.

After burgers and fries for lunch we headed back with renewed energy. Or at least Michael did. I was very tired coming back and I realized that this game was just like any other simple click and point game you play on your phone. Don’t misunderstand me it is horribly addictive and it does make you get up and move around. There is a feature that tracks how far you walk and you can hatch eggs by walking certain distances (2km, 5km, 10km). If we hadn’t just climbed a mountain this would be the most exercise Michael has gotten since school let out – and he would have kept going. But it is hard to distinguish between this game and Candy Crush as far as strategy and skill are concerned. By the time we returned to the apartment Michael’s inventory was full and we had both caught a ton of Pokemon. He let me know that this has been the best day so far of our summer.

When we got back I “read” on the sofa to relax a little before making dinner. The plan was for BLT’s using some of our new found bacon. the only problem was we didn’t have tomatoes. Or bread. It was not hard to convince Michael to run to the store and get what we needed while I started cooking. In fact I had to text him after I had cooked all the bacon to let him know he should come back. Over dinner he told me the story of the one that got away down by the grocery store.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 1, 2016 7:17 am

    I’d forgotten I left you those episodes of Ultraman! Glad you enjoyed them (mostly!). Thanks also for the Ultraman plate – it’ll look good on my office shelf….

    There’s tons of Pokemon here, especially around the U. My office is in range of two Pokestops. Which Pokemon is Michael’s favorite?

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