About gamemasterhiro

Konnichiwa My name is Hiro and I come from Japan. Recently I visited England and lived in a town to the south east of London called Maidstone. For a while I ran a video game shop and met lots of interesting people. Two of my favourites were Josh and his friend Alex. They decided to play The Game of Life. We had so much fun! Although I never visited their school in Peel Street, I met some of their school chums. They had a great time. The best of all was when I hosted a TV game show - Hiro's Happy Heroes! They all had a wonderful time in the studios playing lots of challenging games. I won't tell you what happened because you have to read the book. I started this blog to let you know more about places in England and also Japan. I'll try and teach you to speak some Japanese words too!

Feel free to review The Game Master on David.com

You’ll see a whole range of reviews on David.com – why not read the book and leave a review on The Game Master

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ENTRADA BOOK REVIEW FOR THE GAME MASTER

RATING:  4 *

Josh is your normal, everyday twelve year old. He goes to school. He hangs out with his friends. He plays video games and enjoys spending time with his friend Alex. Well, most of the time he does. Josh and Alex are always so competitive that a day of fun ends in raised voices and hurt feelings. One day they decide to settle the score of who is the best at video games. A trip to the new local game store will determine the ultimate winner.

There they meet the Game Master and begin to play the ultimate game. The game is the hardest one they’ve ever played. It’s all they can think about. But soon they start realizing things are not always as they seem. They are having the same dreams. Kids at school are acting differently. And it’s not so easy to tell the difference between real life and the game.

The pace of the story works well to develop the story line and characters without rushing. As a reader, you can relate with these characters and you really want them to succeed. Written for younger readers, this book is based in the U.K. and does contain a few instances of the word “damn” – but which is considered innocuous and is not intended as defamatory. There is no real violence or sexual situations.

This funny and well written story keeps you reading until the end. Don’t look too carefully or you may have realized you’ve learned something about yourself and others along the way. Although the story includes a morality tale, it does not detract from the story but enhances it. An excellent book for preteens about fun, life and relating to others.

“it is much easier to be nice than not…”

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READER’S FAVORITE BOOK REVIEW OF THE GAME MASTER

RATING:  4 *

In The Game Master by Ian D. Copsey, Josh is a mild-mannered kid who’s trying to fit in with everyone as best as he can. In order not to be picked on or bullied, Josh befriended the least aggressive of the troublemakers, Alex. Alex always wins in video games, so Josh looked up on the internet on how to beat him. When he did, Alex accuses him of cheating and Josh obviously denies it. They agree on a new game to settle their bet to declare the best gamer. A mysterious shopkeeper, who calls himself The Game Master, suggests the virtual reality role playing game called The Game of Life to the boys.

The name itself is clearly self-explanatory. The Game of Life is not like any typical combat, sword-fighting game, but it encompasses the player’s life itself. Josh is the first one who realizes this when he ‘wakes up’ after getting hurt in a football game during P.E. There are ‘lights’ to indicate the level of a player’s happiness, thoughts, mood, behavior, confidence, creativity and well being. I’m an avid Sims player, and these features remind me of my favorite simulation game.

The characters are relatable and well-developed. I do know boys like Josh and Alex, and I bet other readers will too. Fun and adventurous, The Game Master is also charming, imaginative, humorous and yet very relevant in terms of cultivating ethical values in the younger generation. On the whole, young and older readers will find this book worth reading.

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers’ Favorite

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HIRO-SAN HAS TAKEN A TRIP BACK TO TOKYO TO ENJOY THE FIREWORKS IN THE SWELTERING SUMMER HUMIDITY

Hanabi

Everyone dresses in traditional yukata and visits places where “Hanabi” – spectacular fireworks that lasts for over one hour!

Hanabi is written in Kanji as 花火 and actually means “flower fire.”
花 = hana = flower
火 = bi = fire

You may recall that before, when introducing Mount Fuji that it is a volcano which, in Kanji is 火山 (ka-zan)

Kanji originally came from China so normally a Kanji can be pronounced in two ways. So 火 can be “ka” or it can be “bi.”

Enjoy seeing the fireworks!

WHAT’S YOUR NAME IN JAPANESE?

Here are some of the Japanese names for the characters in The Game Master

Roger = ロジャー = Rojaa
Micky = ミッキー = Mikii
Colin = コリン = Corin
Lizzie = リジー = Rijii
Rachel = レイチェル = Raychyeru
Alya = アリア = Aria

Where you see a line after the name it extends the sound. Sometimes English words pronounced in Japanese are different because Japanese doesn’t have the same sounds as in English – but that happens when pronouncing a Japanese word in English too.

For example, in the name “Rachel” there is no equal sound for R or L but if you put your tongue lightly behind your teeth and try and say L or R you will be able to learn how to use that sound. Also, in Rachel, because in Japanese there must be a vowel after a consonant, “L” becomes “ru”

Ask Hiro-san to translate your name into Japanese!

LEARNING JAPANESE SYMBOLS – KATAKANA

Katakana Table

When foreigners move to Japan the first alphabets they learn is normally Katakana – the alphabet for foreign words. Each character is given a sound and this will never change. It is a “phonetic” language that means when you see these you know what to say. It’s not like English where the vowels can change in different words. For example:

Hold               ‘o’ is pronounced as expected – as in “or”
Woman           ‘o’ is pronounced ‘oo’
Women           ‘o’ is pronounced ‘i’
London           ‘o’ is pronounced ‘uh’

Katakana will always have the same sound which makes it easier to read words. Another difference between English and Katakana is that in Japanese words, only one consonant can end a word. That is the equivalent of ‘n’. All other words will end with what we call a vowel – a, i , e, o, u but will have another sound in front of it. You can see this is the chart. Look at the top line after the first symbol – ア you can see ‘ka’ ‘sa’ ‘ta’ etc.

So let’s look at some names. Last week I gave you the katakana names for the two main characters in The Game Master, Josh and Alex. See if you can find the right symbols to make their names in Katakana.

Josh:    Well, we have Jo and sh. Because Katakana does not have a “jo” sound the ‘yo’ symbol is added after ‘jo’ to make it ‘jyo.’ The same thing happens with ‘sh’ by adding ‘yu’. See if you can find these symbols.

ジョシュ
Jyoshu

Alex:    This is a little easier – but there is a small addition because in Japanese there is a short ‘e’ sound, when in a name it has to be slightly shorter so a small “tsu” (ッ) is placed in the middle to shorten the sound.

アレックス
Aleksu

See if you can find them in the chart above. It can take a little time to get used to the Japanese symbols but most foreigners in Japan quickly learn how to read katakana. If you want to know how your name is written in Japanese, type your name in the comments box and I’ll convert it into katakana…

Mount Fuji – 富士山

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is one of Hiro-san’s favourite places to visit. It is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains” because of its symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped several months a year. It is also an active volcano but last erupted in 1707–08. It is the most well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers, climbers and, of course, the Japanese people.

Sometimes Mount Fuji is called “Fujisan.” This is not the same “san” as in Hiro-san. Using the word “san” after someone’s name means “Mr” or “Mrs” – a formal way of addressing each other in Japan. For Mount Fuji we should look at the Japanese characters – Kanji. It is written:

富士山 – the first two Kanji, 富士, means wealth and abundance with great status. 山 means mountain and can be pronounced “san” or “yama.”

富士山 is a volcano. The word for volcano has two Kanji – 火山. We already know the second Kanji means mountain. The first Kanji – 火 – means “fire.” So in other words it is a “fire mountain.”

Did you know that in Japanese there are three ways to write words? The first is Kanji which originally came from China. The second is Hiragana which is a phonetic alphabet for Japanese words. The third is Katakana which is a phonetic alphabet for foreign words.

So volcano – 火山 – can be written in hiragana as かざん. か = ka and ざん – zan. So the word for a volcano is “kazan.”

So what about Katakana? Well, let’s take the names of Hiro-san (ひろ) and his young friends Josh and Alex. In Japanese Josh would be written ジョシュ and Alex would be written アレックス.

Later I shall introduce you to other words in Japanese so that you can begin to learn some words!

Hiro-san enjoyed his visit to the Tower of London

Hiro's dat at the Tower of London

Hiro’s day at the Tower of London

After the beautiful scenic countryside of Kent and Sussex, Hiro-san decided to look around London. He had always wanted to see the Beefeaters at the Tower of London. He wasn’t sure about all those guards so he hid himself on the top of the gates. “What if the Queen of England came along and told the guards to take me Traitor’s Gate?” he thought… “They’re holding some pointy looking spears! Surely I’ll be safe because I’m wearing my Union Jack suit!”

However, he spent the day walking around and enjoyed listening to the funny Beefeater guards who took the tourists around.

Another great day in London!

Hiro-san decided to visit Pooh Bridge today…

Hiro-san is a fan of Winnie the Pooh

Hiro-san is a fan of Winnie the Pooh

Hiro-san continued his tour of England. From a young boy he was a fan of Winnie the Pooh so decided to take a trip down to Hartfield in the beautiful Ashdown Forest in East Sussex. As a child he read all the Winnie the Pooh books by A.A. Milne. When Winnie the Pooh came with his friends they would take a twig from the forest floor and drop them from one side of the bridge and then rush to the other side to see who’s twig would come out from beneath the bridge first. When Hiro-san tried to play he found a little duck collecting the twigs so it could make a next!

Hiro-san was happy though. It was spring and the ducks needed twigs to build a nest  for their eggs to hatch.

Do you know the Japanese word for duck? It’s “ahiru” – アヒル.

Hiro-san visited the North Downs in Kent…

A hat on the North Downs

It was Hiro-san’s first trip to England when he settled in the county town of Kent, Maidstone. He lived close to the North Downs and could easily walk through the wooded countryside that led up the chalky hills. It was a rare, sunny day and trekking up the hills made him sweat in the warming heat – so much so that he had to take his hat off and laid it on the grass.

“So!” he thought, “This is where Mrs Fryer’s class came for a camp! Wow! The rolling hills of the Kent countryside are beautiful! それは本当にきれいです。マタ来ます!!” (Hontoni kirei, mata kimass – It’s beautiful! I must come back!)