Development

Phonics Shmup: Rebuilding in Unity

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phonics shmup unity

I was thinking about the fact that my students are young and Japanese, and more easily impressed by flashy things than non-flashy ones. I am not a graphic artist, really, so I decided to rebuild my phonics shmup in Unity. The ease of grabbing things from the asset store aids in creating something visually appealing.

I’ve spent the last several days learning Unity. Imagine my luck at finding that one of their introductory tutorials is a space shmup. The assets they provide with it are free to use, too.

If I were planning to sell this game, I would care about using assets from one of Unity’s tutorials. Who wants to release a commercial game using assets that most Unity developers will recognize? But I’m not. This is going to be free and intended for educational purposes. What I really care about is the likelihood that my kids (and the students of anyone else who wants to use it) will want to play it. For that purpose, these graphics are fine.

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Development

Phonics shmup progress, 3/8 and 3/14

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Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 11.31.17 AM

I am trying to get in the habit of changing how I talk about this project. Apparently shmups don’t count as shooters to some people. The way I see it, you’re shooting things, ergo it is a shooter, but I prefer to use terms in standard ways, so here we are.

Anyway, I’ve had two days in the past week where I put in a decent amount of work on my shmup for teaching phonics… in spite of being down one hand for a new repetitive motion injury. Enemies are now a thing, though nothing hurts anything else.

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Japan

Graduations and appreciations

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Graduation season has rolled around again here in Japan.

I don’t remember how much I’ve talked about graduations on here offhand, but today was the graduation at my elementary school. Back home, the idea of graduation from elementary school seems silly. Here in Japan, though, it’s a big rite of passage.

Speeches

As part of the ceremony at my elementary school, the students make a short speech after they get their diplomas. In them, they thank their parents for raising them up that point. After that, they go to meet their parents in the audience. They hand off the diploma, a gift from the PTA (which has been a Japanese-English dictionary every year that I’ve been here), and a small bouquet of flowers they receive so that they can go back to their seats and do their part in the rest of the ceremony unencumbered.

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Japan

Travel Tips for Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka

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Hand washing/mouth rinsing station at a temple

A game developer recently asked me if I had any travel tips for Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Since I recently went on a trip to those three places with my mother and have been to Kyoto twice now for BitSummit, I was able to write up quite a bit of advice. Since I went to the trouble of writing it all out, I figured I’d blog it. Now I won’t find myself writing it all out twice.

Copy-paste, ho!

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Japan

Mr. X, Joker eXtraordinaire

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I had my first elementary school classes since winter break today. The 6th grade class went well, but the 5th grade class went amazingly. Today we started a new chapter. It has 26 vocabulary words, so I made today a lazy play-with-words day.

One of the boys made it even better.

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Japan

School Festival: We are HERO!!

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Stained-glass style banner the students hung just inside the school's main entrance.
The kids insisted on being grammatically incorrect.

It’s been a while since I posted anything here. I’ve been busy — I’m now writing articles for IndieGames.com regularly. I also went to Tokyo Game Show (the first event of its kind I’ve ever been to). Coming back from Tokyo Game Show, I came down with a cold. It’s caused minimal discomfort but a fever that kept me out of work for 3 days.

This past Sunday my junior high school had its annual school festival. It’s the first time I’ve been to one of my schools’ festivals without having been around for most of the weeks of practice since right after I first got here. This made it an event of mixed feelings. A big part of the reason I missed so much of the prep time was Tokyo Game Show and the cold it gave me.

I’m also not at all sorry for going to Tokyo Game Show.

>_>

Anyway, read on if you want to find out about all the neat stuff my students did for their festival. Here’s a list of the general flow of the day, with details starting after the break. This is be the first of multiple posts. (Check out part two and part three.)

  • Free performances by grade
  • Choir performances by grade
  • PTA Choir performance
  • Random performances (optional)
  • Lunch
  • Dance performances (all grades)
  • Play performance (all grades)
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Japan

Daddy’s Job

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This is a story one of the parents in my town posted on his Facebook wall.

お父さんの仕事

仕事帰り娘と二人、夜道を家路につく道すがら、娘が唐突に「お父さんはどんなお仕事しているの?」と聞いてきた。

小学3年生の娘に林業をどう説明したらよいかと、一瞬頭は躊躇ったが、気づいたら「お父さんは中川の森を守っているんだよ」と答えていた。

「木を調べたり、植えて育てたり、たまに伐っていたりしているんだよ。森は水や空気をきれいにしたり、動物たちのおうちになるんだよ」と続けたら、娘が「じゃあお父さんは中川を守ってるんだね」と嬉しそうに笑った。

ガス欠間近の心に、力が湧いてきた。

明日もがんばろう。

And here is my translation.

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JET Program

ALT Resources I Made

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I make a lot of stuff for my classes. Some of it is great, some of it sucks, some can be reused, and others are just one-time things. The ones that can be reused aren’t always things I feel others would want. I have come up with a few things, though, I’d like to share in case my fellow ALTs — JET or otherwise — can make use of them.

I was going to upload three things today, but LibreOffice hates me, so there are only two.

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