13 August 2010

A Post from a little farther East

This post is much more related to Japan than China, but most Sinophiles like me tend like things from the far east in general. Besides, Japanese culture evolved with major influences from Chinese culture in a process my history teacher called “cultural diffusion”.

But on to the post, there are two things that have truly captivated my interest in the far east. The first one is a video game believe it or not. However this is like no other video game you’ve ever played. It is more like an ancient Japanese scroll put into digital interactive form. Complete with a Sumi-e style brush art presentation and a soundtrack to die for.

Ōkami (大神) is Japanese for “Great God”. This marvel of a game tells the ancient Japanese tale of the Shinto goddess Amaterasu and her struggle to bring peace to the land of Nippon which has been corrupted by the dark serpent Yamata-no-Orochi. You take control of Amaterasu in the form of a wolf and are put on a Zelda style adventure where you must return the land to its former beauty and defeat the spirits of darkness. The game features many figures from Japanese mythology such as Izanagi, Izanami, Susanoo, Konohanasakuya-hime, Issun-boshi, Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune (aka Waka), and Yami. You will learn exactly who these figures are as you play the game, or you can check Wikipedia.

What really puts the icing on this cake is the Celestial Brush. Pressing a button freezes the environment and covers it in a canvas. The player can then draw on the screen. Certain gestures do certain things, for example, drawing a slash through enemies damages them as if they were struck by a sword. You learn new brush techniques as you progress through the game.

If you own a Wii or a PlayStation 2, I urge you to pick up this game. For an experience like no other. Its relatively old (2006), so you can pick it up on the cheap!

The second thing that inspired me was an old flash cartoon series from the early 2000’s (ancient history rite?) called Ninjai: The Little Ninja

This Epic adventure tells the story of a boy called ‘Ninjai’, who wanders the land searching for his identity and the key to his past. He encounters strange and formidable characters, spilling the blood of many along his way.

There are 12 chapters so far, and can be viewed free at the website of the Ninjai Gang.


  1. wow I watched the Ninja thing. That rocks!! reminds me of Ninja Scroll except not as old. I'll have to check out the game. thanks!