Travel Report: Girls Love Festival 16, 17-23 February 2016

My first trip to Japan was largely centered around a single event, Girls Love Festival 16 on 21 February 2016, as well as for personal reasons that I cannot detail here. Planning began in September 2015, and after a train ride from Narita International Airport to Shinjuku and a 15 minute walk, my travel companion and I arrived in Shinjuku Granbell Hotel. Due to the limited duration of our stay, much of the time spent was divided between the interest of myself and my companion.

On the morning of 21 February, I traveled alone by train to Kamata and made my way to Ootaku Sangyou Plaza PiO shortly before the doors opened at 12:00. Courtesy of Kamibukuro Works, I was furnished with an exhibitor pass and a seat at their booth. Kuma Ichigo, a member of Kamibukuro Works, also planned to meet with me, but he was unfortunately unable to attend due to illness. Photography of the event was not permitted, so I do not have any to share.

The festival took place in an exhibition hall on the first floor and consisted of many amateur artists selling self-produced yuri works in various forms, largely doujinshi manga, written works, and artbooks. Roughly three-fourths of the hall was occupied by the festival, and activity was constant throughout that space. Several professional companies held panels at the outward-facing end of the hall, including Carnival, the parent company of St. Michael Girls’ School, though no announcements related to A Kiss For The Petals were made. Even so, Carnival’s presentation was partially drowned out by the adjacent company’s showing, which had access to better audio and video equipment.

Overall, the atmosphere is comparable to that of an American anime convention’s dealer hall, albeit with a very narrow focus on a single genre. Though the attendance was nearly entirely Japanese, there was at least one non-native, an American teacher I spoke with at the booth. There was also the familiar sight of large amounts of attendees along the wall, some of whom were playing on portable game systems, waiting for nothing in particular.

The event ran until 4:00, and in the final minutes, Mi Kara Deta Saba arrived to greet the staff of Kamibukuro Works and me. After the festival, I was invited to join them for an after-event dinner party at a nearby restaurant, joined by another individual who acted as my interpreter. It was truly an honor to meet the producer of A Kiss For The Petals face-to-face, as was hearing his words of gratitude and encouragement for my further works. It would be no exaggeration to say that the significant time and financial investments I made to take this trip were justified on this night.


Girls Love Festival was the most central event of my trip. The remainder was spent largely exploring commercial points of interest in and around Shinjuku, and there are a few other thoughts I’d like to recount here. I may write a second post on other minor events at a later date.

Suggestions to visit Akihabara were a constant as I informed my acquaintances of my travel plans. Though I had only six days total, no less than two of them were spent in the famous district. The first shop I visited there was a seller of electrical components and devices, and simply browsing it gave me a nostalgic feeling. I made only one purchase, a three-to-two prong electrical adapter for my laptop. I took the opportunity to sample fresh taiyaki—a fish-shaped pastry, in my case filled with strawberry cream—and I regret not buying more. There was the expected abundance of second-hand media markets, and a search for older A Kiss For The Petals works missing from my personal collection turned up the first Extras Roundup.

Visiting the game centers was a high priority, as traditional arcades in my area have long since shut down. Shinjuku had several within walking distance of my hotel, two Taito Stations and at least one Sega arcade. The game centers I visited were operated by large video game companies, namely Taito, Sega, and Namco, and all of them were at least three stories tall dividing the machines by type: standard action games, medal pushers, networked games local and nationwide, rhythm games, and UFO catchers, among others. I found my first few visits overwhelming, as it had been many years since I experienced the din of a busy arcade, but after about four visits, the sights and sounds became familiar again.

I spent the majority of my time on various rhythm games, and several aspects of them are worth mention. Newer games are equipped with headphone output, but some centers retrofit older machines with headphone output through a splitter box affixed to the side with independent volume control. I found that where available, headphone use improves accuracy. However, some centers showed signs of heavy use of these ports, with all ports on all machines in a single center malfunctioning in extreme cases. In one Club Sega in Akihabara, a Pump It Up Prime – Japanese Edition machine was decorated with a variety of convenience features, such as extension cables from its USB ports, a spray bottle and rag to clean the steps of dust before and after play, and a defibrillator next to the machine. Perhaps not coincidentally, the machine was placed in plain view of a service desk should the defibrillator become necessary, though it was vacant when I played. In the short time I had to explore the country, I was unable to seek out retro arcades to see older games that were not distributed out of Japan; the urban centers I visited had mostly newer and popular games in circulation with some having a floor dedicated to a selection of fighting games.

Shinjuku Granbell Hotel is located adjacent to the commercial district of the city, which is surprisingly tranquil before normal operating hours starting approximately 10:00 AM. Having visited New York City in September 2015, I would preemptively compare the character of this part of Shinjuku to the equivalent sector of Manhattan. After businesses open, foot traffic is constant in all parts of the district. A large department store is in view at almost all times, and there is also an underground shopping mall with entrances near Shinjuku Station with its own selection of small to medium stores. Much of these shopping areas were left unexplored by the end of my trip, and by the end of the trip, I had spent a total of $497 (approximately 55,000 yen) over six days, a fraction of the total amount of cash I brought from home and far less than I expected to spend. I do not have a reliable estimate for the amount of cash I spent in game centers, but I believe it to be in excess of 10,000 yen, and I would gladly do so again for the unique experiences they offer.

Girls Love Festival 17 is scheduled for 5 June, less than four months after the last. I am currently planning to return to Japan solo from 1-15 June, barring any circumstances that force me to cancel.

NullpoMino on the Raspberry Pi 2

NullpoMino on Ubuntu MATE for Raspberry Pi 2

In 2012, I attempted to run NullpoMino on a Raspberry Pi Model B with 512 MB of RAM. In February 2015, the Raspberry Pi 2 was released and boasted substantially upgraded hardware, with a quad-core 900 MHz processor and 1 GB of RAM at the forefront. Ubuntu is supported through a specially-crafted image of Ubuntu MATE, so I use it for my preference of MATE over LXDE and a desire to try a platform other than the default.

NullpoMino has not been updated since my previous post, so the setup process was identical, save for the use of the Oracle Java 8 runtime instead of OpenJRE for its superior ARM support. I have overclocked my machine to 1067 MHz CPU, 533 MHz core, and 466 MHz SDRAM with an overvoltage setting of 4 and 384 MB of RAM allocated to the GPU.

As before, the SDL and Slick builds do not run as they are only supported on x86 hardware, but the Swing build runs at nearly 60 FPS. The audio issues from before persist here, but the game is fully playable. I will try again with the SDL and Slick builds when Windows 10 is released for the Raspberry Pi 2.

NullpoMino on the Raspberry Pi

Out of curiosity, I attempted to run NullpoMino on Raspbian 28/10/2012 with a Raspberry Pi Model B 512 MB. The Swing build ran after installing the default-jre package using apt-get; as expected, the SDL and Slick builds did not start at all due to lack of ARM support in the respective libraries.

Using the “high” overclock preset, 96 MB of GPU memory, and LXDE replaced with XFCE4, I got a framerate of no more than 10 FPS despite what the screenshot suggests, the piece spawn sounds did not play, and the game appeared to slow down as lines cleared. These issues aside, the game was playable. I would personally like to see a TGM derivative built natively for ARM and the Raspberry Pi in particular, but such a project would have to be an entirely new endeavor.

Starlight Resonance Website Screenshots

Fuguriya is involved in a crossover with Yatagarasu’s combat-themed yuri game, Starlight Resonance (Seisai no Resonance 星彩のレゾナンス) as noted in their news update on 9 October 2012. However, the news post links to the official website of Starlight Resonance, which returns 403 Forbidden errors for non-Japanese visitors. k01 (Twitter: @kumapooh001) has provided screenshots of the website as of 10 October 2012 for the benefit of those unable to see this website and want to enter the Reo-ppoi Radio contest associated with the crossover.

Hello world!

This blog will contain personal notes regarding my projects. At this time, the only project is the blog known as AXYPB World. This site will contain my opinions and editorial without my self-imposed limits on that blog. Whereas I am aiming to turn AXYPB World into a general fansite with news of translations to give English-speaking fans a place for discussion (hopefully with a name change in the future), this domain will be centered on my own reviews and biases, which may not align with the general mood on AXYPB World. This blog will also contain technical notes outside of the scope of a fansite and posts about my personal experiences, which I have not had a place to make known until now.

Thank you for your interest in these matters and my projects.