8 Million Gods

The cover image8 Million Gods is another supplement that I wrote for Torg Eternity. As you might be able to guess from the cover image, it is an adaptation of Shinto to work within the game world. One of my reasons for writing this is that I wanted to be able to create and play Shinto characters in the game, and that had not been a priority for the designers. (Unsurprisingly.) A further reason for writing it was that portrayals of Shinto in gaming have, in the past, not been very good. (Recently, Scion, from Onyx Path, has done a good job — and I wasn’t really involved.)
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12 Perils for the Living Land

Image of the Book Cover12 Perils for the Living Land is not really a book; it is a very short supplement for Torg Eternity, specifically for the Living Land, as you might be able to guess from the title. The Living Land is a primitive reality, complete with jungles, dinosaurs, and lost ruins, which has primarily taken over parts of the USA and Canada.

Torg Eternity makes a lot of use of cards, including “Cosm Cards”, which can be played while in a certain reality to reinforce the conventions of that reality, and make each of the realities feel different in play. This is a very good idea, because the differences between realities are an important part of what makes Torg feel distinctive. One of the cards for the Living Land is “Perils of the Living Land”, which means that the group face a peril.
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Road to Philadelphia

Torg was a roleplaying game released about thirty years ago in which earth was invaded by different realities, different genres of roleplaying game, and you played characters from these different realities who all worked together to fight the invaders. Thus, fantasy wizards worked with cyberpunk hackers and two-fisted pulp detectives to defeat dinosaur-riding lizardmen. It was a lot of fun, but never one that I got into in any depth.

A couple of years ago it was relaunched as Torg Eternity, with new rules and a slightly revised background. The publisher also created a Community Content program, the Infiniverse Exchange, where fans of the game can publish material for it and charge money for them.
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The Empty Seat Revisited

When Baye McNeil writes about the empty seat phenomenon in Japan, the aversion that Japanese people have to sitting next to him on public transport, or, indeed, anywhere, he gets a lot of responses. Many of those responses are from people — white, black, male, female — who have the same experience. Many others, however, are from people — white, black, male, female — who do not have that experience. These people often speculate about why he might experience it, or think he does. In turn, he speculates about why the people who claim not to have that experience say that — maybe they are Fake Newsers, or just determined not to see anything that interferes with their image of Japan.
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Japanese While White

I naturalised as a Japanese citizen almost two years ago, and so when I travel abroad, I travel on a Japanese passport.

This is interesting.

My first overseas trip was to the UK, where, for the first time, I had to join the queue for non-EU people. After a really, really long wait, I got to the desk.

“Oh wow, I didn’t know they gave these out,” says the immigration officer.
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Reflections on Teaching English in Japan

I am David Chart, and I am an English teacher.

I have been teaching English in Japan since early 2004, so for about fourteen years now. Unlike many English teachers here, I have never taught English in an institutional setting. It has always been one-on-one, or possibly one-on-two, and I have always been freelance. Thus, this essay is about my reflections on the way I have done the job, and may not apply to other people who have done it. I also know that at least some of my current students will read this, and now you know that I know.

Let’s start by explaining why I opened the essay the way I did.
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Mimusubi

This blog has been somewhat neglected of late, because most of my online writing has been connected to Mimusubi, and my essays about Shinto. That project has now been running for a year, and I’ve written nine essays. I’m currently working on the next one, which will be about Yasukuni Jinja. If that sounds like something you might be interested in, please check out my Patreon page.

Loco in Japan

A while back, when I wrote an article about racial categories in Japan, I got a response from Baye McNeil, the author of the Loco in Yokohama blog, and the two books that I will be reviewing in this blog post. That response led to me reading his books, which are primarily about his experiences as a teacher of English in Japan. This is a topic about which I also have quite a lot of direct knowledge. In fact, we have been in Japan for very similar lengths of time, and we live close to one another; Yokohama and Kawasaki are adjacent, in the west of the Tokyo sprawl.

I can definitely recommend both books to anyone with an interest in what it is like for someone from overseas to live in Japan long-term. They are engaging, memorable, and thought-provoking. However, I would caution against assuming that this is what it is like for all foreigners who live in Japan. Despite the similarities in our situations, we seem to live in different worlds. How to sum that up?

One of his students invited him to a brothel; one of mine invited me to see the Emperor officially open the Diet.
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Problems Again

I just had some very strange problems on my blog. There was an extra 4GB of data in my account, in “Other”, which I could not delete, which made it impossible for me to receive email or update the blog. My emails to customer support didn’t get a response, so I’ve migrated everything to a different server. Any oddities you find are probably a result of the migration, so please let me know.

Blog Hacked

My blog was hacked last night. I’ve restored from the most recent backup, which was from Sunday, so I don’t think I’ve lost anything. I’ve also taken the opportunity to do a bit more security hardening, although I don’t know where the weakness was. Fortunately, I’m using the Wordfence plugin, which is what alerted me to the hacks. I hope it won’t happen again, and the blog is back to its unhacked state.

It did take all day, however.