Paris Wed March 21

132.06$ Woke up at 5 o’clock and had no idea where I was. Then I realized that I was in Thibaut’s home and that my brief post-dinner nap had lasted for 7 hours. I undressed


Woke up at 5 o’clock and had no idea where I was. Then I realized that I was in Thibaut’s home and that my brief post-dinner nap had lasted for 7 hours. I undressed and went under the quilts and had another 4 hours of sleep.

Had a nice, hot bath and then ate lunch with Thibaut’s mom and sister. Despite my promise to Thibaut not to scare his little sister we did some “English Conversation”. They had learnt in school that people in Sahara were poor since there was nothing in Sahara. Then they left me alone with a big tray of post-lunch cheese. Wonderful wonderful cheese, all different kinds. Life was pretty sweet then, or at least cheesy.

I spent the afternoon trying to arrange free accommodation in Madrid and Barcelona with no success.

Then I went to the game cafe downtown where I had an appointment with the cafe owner. I had also e-mailed some 10-20 Parisian game board geeks who were initially interested in the game, but none of them showed up, so we played it two players (which makes for a less interesting game since there is no trade or diplomacy). The game cafe owner was quite used to learning new games, and he also knew Japanese, so he learned the game pretty fast and was playing quite well. He was also playing very aggressively, which paradoxically slows down the game since war hampers both players’ technological progress, which prevents one player to get advanced enough to be able to defeat the other player. If a weak player continuously attacks me I have to use two turns out of three to defend myself and one turn out of three to build up my long-term strength. But if a skillful player continuously attacks me then I have to use five turns out of six to defend myself and can only use one turn out of six to build up my long-term strength. So the more skillful an aggressive opponent is, the longer time it takes for me to reach the point where my technology is superior enough to allow for a safe and smooth conquest.

After one hour the cafe owner stopped the game and declared it unfinishable. I said it wasn’t unfinishable but he said it was. I said that if we kept on playing I would crush him but he didn’t want to play anymore; he wanted to sit for half an hour (30 min) telling me how bad the game was. He said it was too advanced for the average Japanese student and too Japanese for the average strategy player. I totally agree, it isn’t a game for the average person and it won’t sell a million copies, but for those who love Japanese and strategy it’s a wonderful game. But he wouldn’t let me say that, as soon as I opened my mouth he cut me off short like we were having some kind of Ricki Lake-style political debate. He said it was like monopoly, that it was just a long waiting for the leading player to win, I said that when you play 3 or more the other players just gang up on the leader so that the end remains uncertain till the end and then he said that wasn’t good either. He said that the game was deterministic with no room for chance, then I pointed out that the Kanji cards appear randomly and then he said the game was all about luck and with no room for skill. And so he sat for 30 minutes arguing with me like if I had insulted his mother. When he found a word he thought was spelled wrong (‘kanamono’ = ‘hardware’) he got really pissed and exclaimed “kanemono dayo! kanemono dayo!”. And he didn’t get any happier from from looking it up in a dictionary and finding he was wrong. So I sat and ate his shit until he was empty, took his helmet and left on a small motorbike.

(In many parts he was correct, although getting feedback is hard for a narcissist like me, especially when delivered like this.)

I played a game with Thibaut (who had arrived in the middle of the shit storm) and it was finishable. Then we went home to his place, him talking Italian on the phone. Just like I and Yuchin, Thibaut and Annalisa met in Waseda and have since then had a long-distance relationship, although the distance between France and Italy is not long compared to Sweden and Taiwan. One day they’ll live together in Japan again while we’ll live together in Holland after summer.

At home Thibaut cooked a wonderful dish of yesterday’s pasta, pasta sauce, cheese and chopped meat. We also found a big piece of cold red meat in the fridge.

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