Archive for the ‘Takeshi’s Challenge’ Category

Takeshi’s Challenge, Part 4

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Image credit: Masao. Thanks, Kishi!

[Previously: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.]

I can’t tell you exactly what happened over the next 48 hours. I have a general idea of how things unfolded, but the details are sketchy. Unemployed and now homeless, I wandered back over to Azemichi, where some quantity of alcohol was consumed.

From what people tell me, there was apparently some kind of incident at Dick’s Pachinko afterward.

There was yelling, and by the time it was all over, I somehow found myself in possession of a shamisen.

Also, I’m apparently banned for life.

Back at Azemichi — that’s today’s third visit, if you want to be a jerk about it — I managed to talk Chad into plugging in the karaoke machine.

(He later told me that he would never let that happen again.)

I found my groove soon enough, though. Something about this song always gets me a little weepy. Chad says that tears rolled down my face as I sung it for the third time in a row.

I tried to launch into an encore of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” but the audience was having none of it. Things got a little rough.

And then it all took a strange turn.


Takeshi’s Challenge, Part 3

Friday, February 24th, 2012

[This entry is dedicated to my brother. It’s his birthday today! Also, I guess this series is going to become a full playthrough, eventually. Previous episodes: Part 1, Part 2.]

My boss feigned surprise for all of two seconds before accepting my resignation.

And just like that, it was over. For my ten years of service to the company, I was given 500,000 yen — a pittance, really.

Luckily, I’d managed to funnel a nice 100,000-yen bonus my way after accidentally upping the interest rates on a few of our high-balance accounts some months back. I felt a little guilty about it at first, but considering that my severance pay was a goddamned disgrace, it was only fair.

You ever walk around town on a weekday afternoon with several hundred thousand yen in your pocket? It feels nice. It makes you want to explore the neighborhood and toss some money around.

I’d passed by this place every day on my way to work, but never went inside before today. These guys offered everything from foreign language instruction to guitar lessons to jazz dance practice. I didn’t have anything else to do with my afternoon, so I decided to sit in on a few classes.

I picked up a little bit of Hintabo while I was there. It’s sort of like Pig Latin, only more confusing.

Next up was a lesson on hang gliding. “Why not?” I reasoned. “Sure beats trying to sit through Yakuza vs. Yakuza.”

I jumped at the chance to learn a few shamisen chords. I always liked the way that thing sounded.

I also learned how to breakdance and picked up my pilot’s license. It was a productive day.

The sun was setting by the time the place closed, but I wanted to see what else had sprung up in the neighborhood since I’d last visited.


Takeshi’s Challenge, Part 2

Monday, December 26th, 2011

I woke up sweating.

It was freezing outside, but under those blankets, I felt like I was roasting alive. I had a lot on my mind, I suppose. I’d been fretting about my yearly bonus at work, and my dreams were a feverish mixture of financial failure, attempted murder, and my own death, many times over.

I kicked off the blankets and looked at the clock on my nightstand. It was two hours before the alarm was set to go off. Might as well go in to work early, I reasoned; maybe that’ll make my boss forget how much I’d been slacking off over the last few weeks. Well, months. Years, actually.

[Takeshi no Chousenjou is now fully playable in English, thanks to a fan translation released by KingMike and friends. It’s the best Christmas!]

It didn’t take long for my nightmares to sync up with reality.

My bonus was only 200,000 yen, just like in my dream. I briefly considered the possibilities.

I was feeling pretty sick, but the chief was never much for sympathy.

Or ass-kissing, for that matter.

Paid vacation? Man, I wish.

Paid vacation and then quitting? That wouldn’t go over too well.

And I wasn’t prepared to re-explore that particular scenario.

Instead I took a long lunch and decided to walk around town to clear my head.


Takeshi’s Challenge

Monday, May 17th, 2010

As a kid, I had dreams. Nothing big. Nothing unachievable. I just wanted to be a race car driver. I figured there were so many professional drivers out there racing in so many leagues that I’d fit in somewhere, anyway.

It sounds weird to say now, but I spent years mentally preparing myself to be a mediocre race car driver. I didn’t need to grab the checkered flag every time, I figured, but if I could manage to be just good enough to keep my sponsors happy, I could probably race cars for the rest of my life.

Do kids usually think about things like this? Maybe I’m weird.

Today, I work in the sales department at Niko Niko Loan.

It only recently sunk in that, at my age, I’d never be a race car driver. As a result, my performance this quarter was…well, let’s just say that it could’ve been better. I wasn’t exactly a model employee to begin with, but when the layoffs started, I just couldn’t make myself care anymore.

My boss called me into his office today to give me my performance review and my annual bonus. The last few months had been especially rough, and I was really looking forward to that bonus. I figured it would raise my spirits enough to coast me through the next few weeks, at least, until reality caught up to me.

My boss greeted me with a severe look.

“Son, you’ve been slacking off lately,” he said.

I swallowed. Seconds passed. I tried to think of something to say that would lighten the mood, but nothing came to mind.

“And sorry to say it,” he continued, “but we can’t afford to hand out big bonuses to people who can’t pull their own weight around here.”

“From now on, I hope to see better results out of you.”

I took the wad of cash he thrust at me — my bonus.

It was 200,000 yen.

Two thousand dollars, as thanks for a year’s worth of sheer hell. So much for that family vacation. And I guess those credit card bills are going to have to go unpaid for another few months.  How am I going to break this to the wife?

I left the room in a daze, not really knowing how to react. After a few seconds’ thought, I knew that whatever I was feeling right now, I needed to say it to my boss’s face.