Mr. Saturn Balloon Figure
A while back I posted about how Chewy met Shigesato Itoi and discussed stuff with him, including her experience with EarthBound and how many fans there are outside of Japan. She later discussed her experience and what she talked about with him on the Fangamer podcast (see here).
In one of those posts, I said: “Chewy did briefly talk to him about the fans in America and elsewhere, but that’s a story for another day that maybe she should tell.” Well, now it’s time to get into that back story… but let’s let Itoi tell it for us 😛 (And as translated by Chewy!)
Just a few hours ago, Itoi posted part of an interview with Fumi Yoshinaga, a Japanese manga artist. Itoi interviews all sorts of people for a living, so this is nothing particularly noteworthy, but during the interview the topic of how foreigners view Japanese creations came up, and then Itoi suddenly starts talking about Chewy and overseas EarthBound fans:
Yoshinaga: Foreigners are really straightforward, so I feel like I want to ask a foreigner―for motivation when I’m writing. I love watching American dramas, but it makes me wonder when they go out to eat one day, and the next day they’re lovers.
Itoi: It’s really something. And when they’re mad, it’s written all over their faces.
Yoshinaga: It is.
Itoi: It’s easy for us to understand them, but it makes me feel like they’d have a hard time understanding us.
I met with an American recently―a woman in her late twenties. She’d grown up with an American version of an old game of mine, fell in love with Japan, and found a job out here. She’s since lost her job and had to go back to America, but we met before she left.
Just the fact that a child in America could get so engrossed in a game that someone like me made―it was a little mysterious to me. Then she told me how things were for her.
Not everyone blatantly reveals what they’re thinking, she said. Things always felt somewhat out of place, but one day she played that game and felt she had finally found a game for her. And now, fans of that game get together once a year for a convention.
She said there are a lot of people like that. Another thing that made me happy was when she said, “They’re growing in number.”
Also, she said that when she came to Japan, it was always comfortable. (laughs)
“They were actually all like me. ” (laughs) I was so happy when I heard that. She’s back in America now, but she said she’s going to find a job out there and save up some money so she can come back to Japan.
We talked about how there are more ways to do things than just being frank and open, saying everything on your mind, clashing with one another and just finding a compromise.
I asked what the biggest difference was with my game, and she replied, “The humor.” They’ve got humor of their own overseas, but my humor isn’t in other games. So I guess it’s true that the kinds of things that make us laugh or feel bashful seem to go hand-in-hand with what makes them laugh or feel bashful.
All I can say is wow! Chewy made a huge impression on him – way to go! It’s clear now more than ever that Itoi is finally aware of the huge following his games have outside of Japan and how important they are to a lot of people. Exciting stuff 😀
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