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      Got the wrong discs? Or didn't receive them in the mail?   06/20/2018

      For those who opted for physical discs -- if you donated between April - June and you received the WRONG discs or NO discs in the mail, please email stexcd@simtropolis.com and include your donation info such as Paypal transaction ID and we will get this rectified!
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About this City Journal




Okaiken is the test bed for understanding the strata of living within a set parameters of Japanese living but with concepts that are not unique to Japanese culture itself. A close look to the urban/rural, social classes, transportation, recreation and family dynamics will be strictly observed. Through SimCity 4, urban planning strategies will be discussed, with flow, growth and development being the focus. 

Entries in this City Journal




Hello there again! Back for another update, but this is a tester for any future updates for Okaiken. First of all, I would like to address @tariely's issues with contrasting. Currently I am working in 2 screens and the differences between the two screens are evident in the colour that you might see on the update. For those with yellowish or reddish screens, you will see a darker, contrasted, more late afternoon kind of update. Those with a bluish screen will see clearer and less contrasted kind of update. I do apologize if the contrast is different again, but I have tested the following photos in the laptop screen, a second LCD monitor screen, an iPhone, a Sony Xperia Z3 and a high definition OLED TV. 

(More blue) Laptop screen -> iPhone -> OLED TV -> Xperia Z3 -> Second LCD monitor (More yellow)

Enjoy the update!


Music selection: Ai no Message (Suggestion from one of the Japanese person that I talked to)



Today, we are in Toyozawa, Okaiken's second largest city. We will explore possible urbanisms within the context of Toyozawa's maritime history as well as explore numerous precedents within the city to understand the dynamism and the differences between different strata of the urban landscape.


First, we visit the fishing port at the eastern end of the port. While a larger container terminal had replaced most of the historical dwellings in the area, these still manage to assimilate with the surroundings. Currently there is a movement to preserve some of these houses.


Due south of the port lies Raigen-ji, a Nichiren sect Buddhist temple. to the right is the subway maintenance terminal, and due west of it is the garbage collection/waste to energy facility. It was built in the area with the owner's promise to keep carbon dioxide levels to zero when burning waste.


Here lies the front gate of the Toyozawa naval station for the Sanese Maritime forces, the tall, slender building to the bottom left is the residential facility, while the building to the centre-right houses the offices. A nearby subway station (below the train terminal) is used as a bunker.


A couple of docked SMF ships in the naval station. 


We are now at the container terminal. Toyozawa's container terminal is Okaiken's second busiest, after the port of Tokuyama in Tokuyama Prefecture. Though located near the city centre, the port area is well connected to railways and highways.


The main container terminal. It houses the main offices of several shipping companies such as Marunouchi, The OR group, and Sunflower.


Just due south of the main container terminal is one of the main commercial districts of Toyozawa. the bottom left skyscrapers are actually industries taking advantage of the reclamation project of the civic government. 


The old warehouse now marks where the original coastline was. Now, it had moved quite far from the coast due to the infill of reclaimed land used to create the container terminal.


We have now reached the end of our destination. Stay tuned for more urban exploration of Toyozawa.



@gviper thanks! Much appreciated. The landscapes took days to MMP, plus additional photoshopping had to be done to change the colours and contrasts. @Terring thanks! @Whte_rbt Sanyo building was at Gobanboshi's website as well, but it seems to be loading very slow (original file by kei). @tankmank thanks! As well as to you @BugeyedDragon. @kschmidt well priorities do come first, real life had become way more important ya know? Thanks :P @Ln X those buildings were really hard to find; Japanese buildings were known to be of different shapes and sizes as well as height. @raynev1 thanks! T'was working hard in it and relaxing music sure did help. @Themistokles thank you!

@MushyMushy that long squat building btw is from APTX. I do not know the name of the building in general but you can find all of his work here (recommend you to download all of it); the second building is also on the same link. @tariely thanks! Also see above. @Urban Constanta nah, it's sc4 still with minor photoshopping. @Talla 2XLC nah, SweetEFX should stay with CSL :P I was able to control more of what my photo would look like in SC4. @takemethere Thanks!

As a special, you can take a look at my other, continuing work at this wiki to know more about Okaiken. Who knows that we had a wiki?

Also, don't forget to visit the Okaiken website. Who knows that I have a website?

じゃあ~ いってきます!(^も^)>



Naotaka learns the modern technologies associated with rice farming and how the modern property system works. 

Short update, around 10 images, just to fulfill the monthly updating cycle. Expect updates to pick up faster in April and May! 



Ii Naotaka had arrived in Ninohe, a small town of 3,000 people. It had the most basic of services: Fire station, high school, railway station, supermarkets, you name it. The town was on the centre of the so-called "inaka", offering no glimpse of the urban typologies that had defined Okaiken. In context, farms dominate the landscape; old, worn-down homes are prevalent, and there is no asphalt in sight aside from the yet unopened highway section. 


Occasionally, you get a load of freight pass through the town. After all, railways remain important to the development of the nation. On the other hand, vehicles are rarely on the roads seen above. Highways had diverted road traffic into their own road service areas.


Once arriving at the rail station, Naotaka headed immediately to the community office located just across from it. 


He asked to get a little information sheet for a planned field trip for children in the town. "Sorry, nothing's pretty much in here, aside from the abundance of rice. You can say that we are a rice kingdom but we are definitely not a tourist kingdom..."

"Well, I'm not here to bring tourists. I'm here to bring my students for a lesson in rice farming."

"Oh? Right this way then. Mr. Sato will be happy to see you then."



Naotaka was taken by this certain "Mr. Sato" through the town centre, filled with the local restaurant and a convenience store.


His car then turned left and into the suburban part of town. While the town may bot be as productive as it used to be, many people still live in the town. Although, signs of decay can be seen left and right.


Naotaka sees the same farm typologies as he exits the town proper. Townhouse here, townhouse there. This pretty much defined the typical Sanese typology.


As the car crossed the highway bridge...


Naotaka asked: "Where are you going to take me again?"

Mr. Sato replied back to Naotaka. "This was my farm property. it got cut off by the Sanese Highway and power line utility poles."

"Are you sure this is safe for children?"

"Maybe, maybe not."



@MissVanleider - thanks for the comment! greatly appreciated. Great effort is pulled into this occasionally and blank spaces should be filled in at best to make it fit with the surrounding environs. Thanks @takemethere for the heartfelt comment! :P @Ln X and @raynev1, Photoshop filters can be really tiring to look at but as long as you know the content nd the context, then you should be fine. Thanks guys!

 @sucram17 they were part of Neko's streams and could be downloaded at http://www.hide-inoki.com/bbs/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=858. Night scenes were not really photoshopped because they were a combination of the street lighting MOD and a street mod that reduced the distance between the lighting apertures. So thanks @ulisse as well :). Thanks for the comment @gviper as well! @kschmidt it's not necessarily Chinese or Korean because both of them have different typologies as Japan. the previous entries' typologies were all Japanese. 

@totalnoob I think it was a station the I got from Simcityedit, but could be buried in the file jungle. I recommend exploring the website. You may get into other things as well. :P @Odainsaker and @SimCoug, well? :P @Ln X, @MilitantRadical thanks! I've seen less and less journals by the day, but I'm trying to at least provide just one update for a month. Right now my updating cycle is really out of hand because architecture school involves a ton of work LOL :lol:. @Themistokles Japan is known for its dense, 1 unit residential housing. Some might go way smaller and denser than that. I picked up a copy of the Japan Architect two weeks ago and find a lot of their housing is small. I mean that the scale is almost to the micro level! :lol: @MushyMushy true that, and thanks for the comment :P 


じゃあ~ いってきます!(^も^)>





Hello there. I had work this month and I have a different focus (mainly work, friends, architecture and Cities:Skylines). So the updating cycle slowed down to a standstill but it's better late than never, eh? Also, I will be doing an extremely slow transition of balancing this and my future studies, which would slowly deviate this journal into a new orbit of landscape design and city planning, which is the major that I had chosen for my career. I hope you enjoy this update, and I'll see you soon.

By the way, you might remember the music that I used last update. The composer of that music, Tomita Isao, passed away a few days after the update was released. This update is released in his dedication.


At some forest southwest of Okami, lies a river that runs straight to the ocean. Its journey had started in the mountains where high summer temperatures melt the last season's snow. These then fall in a valley as straight as bamboo, and gather in a small river. These give life to the people who were living at that area. Today, many people depend on the gifts of the river, but the area was made a nature reserve in 2007 to preserve the river and forest ecosystems. 


It can be said it is easy to get lost in the forest. Many people came and never got back. But this is not a scary forest and should not be told as a gloomy, scary forest. People actually quite enjoy the beauty of the valley and its abundant number of trees and plants. Various species of insects, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds live in the National Wildlife Refuge, and this is where the Sanese People are allowed to interact with them in the most natural way as possible.


The river, although straight in its path through the valley, can encounter steep falls and rapids. Here, the brown, almost murky water becomes white and dynamic. These are very popular swimming holes for locals and tourists alike, and it can be almost compared to Okaiken's more famous hot springs, or onsen


Settlement is not permitted without moderation in the refuge, with only traditional Sanese housing used to house park guests and employees. No running water is supplied to them, and toilet facilities were made to operate independently. However, this only enhances the experience of what Sanese people experienced hundreds of years ago. 


The river upstream is much smaller and shallower. However, there are larger rocks in the area. The forest is also much thicker, with different species of plants growing side by side. Here, maple trees and pines dominate the forest. During winter months, the maple trees in the area die out but the pine remain. This area is one of the most visited areas in Okaiken.


Downstream, the water flows slowly, but sometimes it would still encounter rapids such as this one.


Back in the centre, tourists are treated with a relaxing spa experience as well as refreshments such as vending machines. However, one of these houses retain its traditional structure. A well can also be found in the area as well.



In contrast, we welcome you back to Okami. Now you may have seen the city before, but this city is not perfect. It is also ridden with crime, extortion, sex, and drugs. The buildings are tagged daily; and a burgeoning rap culture began in the city about 10-15 years ago. Today, it had been quite popular with the younger generation, which sees S-pop as being too old and directed towards adults. SET48 was hugely unpopular in the recent years and the broadcasting council recently revoked its license to the group after allegations of misconduct. Today, we come to the government centre, which was recently tagged by a Yakuza member. The parliament would not press any charges to the gang.


This district, the Setagaya district, is the centre of the Sanese Rap culture. At the Sanyo building, rap battles were usually held. Due to overcapacity, they recently acquired a space in the Setagaya Centre (to the left of the photograph). A new channel called Grand Master (124ch) was also established, and here, popular artists such as Doberman Infinity and 2Win flourished. Today, the centre hosts several rap battles. 


The Ginbashi area of the city has also caught on with the rap culture. Although today it is still full with office workers, gangs usually take during the night, with streets closed off to traffic and legal street racing was done. In its history, Okami had several illegal street racing gangs on its streets (like its infamous expressway racing club during midnight), but stricter laws prevent such precedents from happening today. Now, the government is now allowing some street racing to be done, but in consideration and moderation of the aforementioned groups.


The Tozai Main Line and the Tozai Shinkansen were deemed off limits to gangs. One yakuza gang tried to tag one of the Tozai line trains operating on their rival's route, but then Okaiken Railways caught one of its members and sent him to more than 15 years in prison. It can be said that the company is running like the yakuza itself, but the company continue to decline on its staffing practices.


Okami is after all, a nice city to live in.




@ThuanLy good luck! :) I hope to see your city soon. @feyss double thanks man, I strive to have some updating of the journal each month, it seems that it had slowed down a bit. @MushyMushy thanks! Your comment is always a good motivator. @sunda gracias! @raynev1 thanks man! @gviper thanks! Interview with actual Japanese people helped a lot with the way of living, and so when I built it worked like bread and butter together :P @kschmidt thanks for the comment. Japanese is not always about compact however; there are areas where there is still a lot of space to develop. @Ln X thanks! @fdjw88 thanks! Although I always strive to not make my journal non-kawaii and sometimes outright scary. It offers a good contrast with other Japanese-inspired city journals and keep me in a very open mind. 

@MilitantRadical thanks! I would keep up the work that I had worked on for the past 5 years. :P @philforhockey51 thanks! Cheers to another 5 years :) and congratulations to you @takemethere you win a prize. Just kidding I don't have any prizes at hand; here's a virtual cookie. Nope, I don't have that either. :P @korver I was going to send you through PM where to find it but Gobanboshi's site went down after the last update was released. It can all be found here. This can be also applied to @Yanita Channel's PM. @tankmank thanks! You have been always a dedicated follower of the journal.

As a special, you can take a look at my other, continuing work at this wiki to know more about Okaiken. Who knows that we had a wiki?

Also, don't forget to visit the Okaiken website. Who knows that I have a website?

じゃあ~ いってきます!(^も^)>



I was writing something long for this update, but ST had other ideas. However, all I can say is this: thank you, for your patronage. It's been exactly 5 years when I opened this journal as a reluctant teenager, but looking back from it, my old self has something to say to me; and it could apply to us even.

All the mighty becomes the very weak,
All the giants become the poor midgets,
All the living became the putrid dead.
It becomes the unforgivable truth...
This is where the true life begins the new fire.


Cheers to another 5 years!






@ThuanLy all it takes is some perseverance and patience. Thanks for the patronage! Cheers to another 5 years! @MissVanleider thanks! I was working with Photoshop filters and I guess that worked :P @gviper thanks as always! @Artimus thanks! As I said, all it takes is perseverance and patience and the will to work with what you have. @kschmidt well everything's at premium nowadays, but thanks! @tankmank thanks! 

@Odainsaker it did remind me of my old hometown and I watched that segment and found some similarities with what I had in my hometown and that segment. Also, GA architect also produces some quality journals out there, and so does C3. They all have nice 60lb card stock. :P 

@aegian thanks! @takemethere thanks! @Schulmanator wow, thanks for the 5 years of participation. I still remember the time when we made that newspaper thing. I was wondering if I can still get it back somehow :P @juliok92012 awww I wish you can still play your amazing journal. Your cities always look good :( 

@sunda Gracias! @Urban Constanta thanks! @MushyMushy I thought Skimbo's Dragon Islands Cities was better than what I had done but thanks! Much appreciated :P @kingofsimcity thank you!

Once again, thanks for the 5 years!

じゃあ~ いってきます!(^も^)>



Welcome to the now-monthly edition of Okaiken. You can thank the Architecture for the slowness of the updating cycle. I just want to let you know, the reader, that I am alive and fine as well, just busy and trying to cram in a part of my life that I would not just let go. Enjoy the update, it's a short one and just a quick read for you guys who had been wanting a full-blown update and see you sometime again.

Live from the laptop that had brought you @RepublicMaster's New Holland (TLDR It came from New Zealand and is now in Canada), I present to you: Okaiken v4. 


Replies (返事)

I did not expect so many replies from you guys, Thanks for your heartfelt appreciation of the journal! :P

@jmsepe, isn't that one usually referenced to Okatabawashi, a city journal by @TowerDude? :lol: HAHAHAHAHAHA

@Forthwall, @Huston,  I encountered some issues when it pertains to traffic. It shows that my vehicles are using it, but avenues don't give off any automata at all. Streets on the other hand give too much automata that that it looks really clogged up. 

@MilitantRadical, @GoKingsGo, @Sexysark:P, @gviper, @michae95l, @MissVanleider, @sucram17, @necroshine123, Thanks guys for your appreciation of the journal :)

@Ln X, I think it was one of my best produced shots out there. I was way happier with what had came up with that picture now than before.

@feyss, thanks for your usual correspondence. Great to see you around.

I'm sort of around, just doing a little of Cities:Skylines here and there, and a little of this, @takemethere. Glad to see you around!

@lucasfg3, @TekindusT, @slickbg56, @kschmidt, @kelistmac, Thanks for the support guys! Much appreciated, as always. :) 

@Bastet69008, I'm just using different Photoshop Filters (I named it Okaiken_01 which had levels of 43, 0.88, and 255) and a colour balance that is my secret recipe. I'm still experimenting with it to evoke feelings, and set a mood. I risked this one by mixing a different combination because...





Honda Shigetomo was sent to Kawahara-ku to assess a damage at its roadways. He had arrived at the small station carrying his duffel bag. The cold wind blew on his face as the door in front of him opened. Shigetomo, who had been trying to retain his position through the Ministry of Education’s re-education plan, has been in a struggle lately. It has been months since leaving Naotaka at Hirosaki; he had taken a job as a history and ethics teacher at its local high school. The Prime Minister’s office had cut their allowances because their terms with Employment Insurance had lapsed and it does not make sense for the premier to still give money to the people who had technically became 'part of society'.



When he had arrived at the area, the moon had just risen and it is getting dark. He only had 48 hours to do the inspection job throughout the city and also wondered why he did not get a co-worker to be helping him to this large, boring suburb of the metropolitan area. He called a taxi, and then took a rest into the local inn.



Turning on his radio for the night was a song from D-LITE, a Korean Artist, with a Japanese violin player. He fell asleep during the song.

Music Selection (Please Listen)



February in Okaiken is one of the most unusual months that people would see. While technically the season is Winter, Cherry blossoms from its northernmost Cities Otaki, Miyagi and Itogawa bloom by the 14th; snow is virtually cleared and the weather is perfect for couples who want to take a romantic stroll in the park.



Shigetomo remembered his wife Muramatsu-hime from way back when. Now that the space-time fabric had been distorted, He may never be able to come back to his era.



He remembered the song by the Korean Artist. It reminded him of those intimate times with his partner. Now all he can see is the austerity and the brutality of modern housing blocks, fragmented by low-density single family homes.



It kind of made him a little depressed.



As the early afternoon came and the temperatures dropped, Shigetomo wore his heavy black coat, and began walking to the direction of the convenience store. Distracted by the sight of bright blue lights that was being used to illuminate Otaki Castle, he and a woman collided into each other.

Was it a matter of destiny?




Coming up next: Naotaka visits Shinpu to learn about the Agricultural process.






So, I decided to scrap everything under the preview of the 27th update and just give people some replies to it. Before that, however, Happy New Year everyone! The forecast for this year is extremely busy and I'll be down to a couple of updates here and then... Could you believe it that Okaiken is entering its 5th year already? We are making some minute changes to our format this time. I'm getting rid of text in images and post the contents here so that you guys can easily Google some definitions, as I had greatly expanded my vocabulary and might be well off the common and simplistic language that for years defined the journal. Without further ado, let's begin our journey in Okaiken's revamp.


Replies (返事)

Well, @Sexysark:P, it's more of like short bursts of updating all over the internet so it was quite limited. I haven't even posted the New Year's update in the site until now (see below) so this one is a change for the better. 

Thanks for the commendation, @gviper, much appreciated as always :)

I think some Brazilian elements can be found in the design of the city, @Paulobergonci, I had been partly researching Japan while at the same time looking at the latest news on the Rio Olympics. Then Japanese elements set up the update to the "everything worked" part.:P

Here is a new update for you, @Schulmanator! And thanks again for commenting, @Urban Constanta, much appreciated.

Season 4 is when Okaiken becomes a little bit modern, @raynev1, it's pretty much a progression and the differing feelings of the designer of the city, his reaction(s) to the landscape and his feelings about the way he is living right now. Studio life has a huge impact on my things and this reflect it.

Thanks for commenting, @dedgren, and welcome to Okaiken.



In the City of Otaki, the cosmopolitan capital of Okaiken and one of the world's largest urban conurbation, are areas of differing shapes, sizes and uses. In order for us to understand its dynamics, we'll offer you a tour of how the city works from one of our young apprentices. Enjoy.

(Music Selection)

"おはようございます, welcome to Otaki. Contrary to the previous tours that you may have encountered, you will be spending your day with me and 三代目 J Soul Brothers. We'll go to Otaki's hottest and most energetically charged places. If you have any questions, please ask me or one of the members."


Let's get crazy! We want to it. Yeah...


(Passing by the National Diet Building and the Sanese Flag, which had been flying since it was created in 1968)


(Through the Senganji and Shimamura-cho)


"Here we are at our very first stop in this tour, Komatsu-cho. In this 5-pointed intersection, the Ometasando Center (top) houses the Kinbashi Theater, one of the most used performing arts center for Okaiken. It won't be used by the group tonight, but rather on the Dome, which will be one of our destinations for later. Did you know, the Ometasando Center used to house the OKS48 theater as well, until the Government ordered the closure of the facility and charged its owner for business malpractices and abuse."


(Passing through Komatsu-cho on the way to the dome)


"Here we are at the dome. From here, I'll let the group take over and you should enjoy their concert. Have fun!"




(to night... I did enjoy that concert, however.)

"Hey, wanna come party with us?"


(At Komatsu-cho, the party went until midnight.)


(after the party, the group and I passed through the National Diet...)


(and the flag.)


Just an addendum for you guys: A New Year's update is posted here:

(Part 1)


(Part 2)


Addendum of addendum: Cars were missing from the game due to some bug in the NAM system. Please bear with me how I figure it out and give you some cars at the side.




I was busy in the past three months. First of all, school started. There was literally no time for this update to happen. Second of all, I went to Europe for 2 weeks which was related to my school activities. A site visit can really change your perspective of the place and I would like to offer this as a more refined review of spatial qualities between form, space and order. 

だから申しあけございません (Sorry) :P


Good Morning, Okaiken, today is Tuesday, November 1. Isn't it beautiful day with all of those fog lingering in the city? It will stay with us until the afternoon when the sun evaporates all of those fog. The forecast for the city will be bleak so enjoy the sun while it lasts. Today, we are going to give you a quick round around the waterfront district, where preparations for the New Years' Eve party are already underway. Check back in the end of this program to see if your favourite artist is going to play this year!


It's 6:02; here are your main headlines:

Okaiken to sign a trade agreement with 3 other East Althenian Nations today...

"Good morning", said one. "Good Morning to you too", said another. "Have you prepared our lunch, baby?", answered by the man. "Yes I did, they're ready on that bento box".


"Sir, wake up. You have a meeting at 8:30", said an attendant. "It's too early, wake me up at 7:30", answered by the business magnate. Can you at least prepare the coffee and the breakfast for me?


"How far are we?", said a cyclist. "We are almost at work", said another cyclist. A third bicyclist came behind them and he told the two, "let's stop at that coffee place to get something".


"Dad, wake up. It's time for us to check out of the hotel room", said one concerned teenage traveller. "I'm coming!"


"We need to find a parking stop", "but I don't see any", said two carpooling members going to their own workplaces.


"Shigetomo, wake up. Did you stay up all night at your station?" said a manager. Shigetomo tried to answer but his manager waved his finger as a tool for discouragement.




Thanks for the comment guys! Much appreciated. I'll do another one soon so expect individual comments to be answered on the next update. 


VISIT THIS SITE to learn about the 2017 edition of the New Year's update.

As a special, you can take a look at my other, continuing work at this wiki to know more about Okaiken. Who knows that we had a wiki?

Also, don't forget to visit the Okaiken website. Who knows that I have a website?

じゃあ~ いってきます!(^も^)>





Major announcement at the bottom of this entry. Please read it, thank you.


There’s a weird feeling when the journey has reached its end. In the beginning, you start out small and careful, thinking of the great things that you could do someday. However, as you move forward towards your dream, that bright light of the future begins to dim. Like a flow of a river, the once raging currents slow into a meander. What now could be of use now that we have almost reached the end?  Will the journey continue across the vast oceans? 

I thought I would have to share this story about my friend who had reached his end about a week or two ago. I don't know what exactly happened with him, but I could still not believe that he is gone. I feel the urge to move on, but I can't seem to do so without him. With all my strength I must tell it to you. Would you mind hearing me out for a couple of minutes?

"Yes," Rairen responds. "I feel bad that we are about to lose Shigetomo this sudden. There is much adventure that he had going for him." He turned his head toward the Buddha and started to chant the nembutsu. Naotaka looked on as Rairen begins his ritual, eventually joining him in prayer. As the two finished their prayers, Naotaka turned towards Rairen to tell his story.

"A few weeks ago..."

*UPDATE SONG* http://picosong.com/rqAj *UPDATE SONG*



“So where are we exactly?” replied Shigetomo, looking left and right to the various building geometries in an intersection. An electronic screen billboard that was left on by the signage advertising agency caught him with its flashing white lights, displaying the mysterious message “WILD WILD WILD” to him. Below this electronic billboard is a dimly lighted entrance of a train station. Shigetomo initially did not agree to come with him at the station, since he was still finishing his work at the Ministry of Transport. After his co-worker insisted him to come, Shigetomo agreed to excuse himself from work and told the new Minister for transport that he will be away for a little bit to become a chaperon for his friend. They got on a limited express train bound for Kanaizawa at the Okami terminal but stopped immediately at a station located west of the city. 


“Kanda,” replied a co-worker with a smug on his face. His hands are placed in his suit pocket and had been touching something. Shigetomo thought that the person is a little perplexed, and his hands were visibly trembling inside his pocket. He believed that since this was a new area unfamiliar with them, it is natural for him to be a little frightened on what would happen to them. Shigetomo asked if he is alright, but the coworker smiled and asked if he could sit down beside the station's ticket machine. It took more than five minutes before his coworker came out of the washroom. "There you are," Shigetomo uttered with an increasingly impatient look.


"So (redacted name), what brings us to Kanda today?" Shigetomo inquired. The coworker seemed to have reacted differently with a frightening glance. Shigetomo then noticed something strange about the area. The canopy had been built, but there are no stores open. What should have been a busy shopping area (Kanda is usually teeming with shoppers during the day) is replaced by people who he may not want to talk to. Quite spontaneously, Shigetomo notices that something is not right.

On the other end of Kanda lies a Buddhist temple of the Tendai sect. As the priests and monks of the temple prepare for their Shojin Ryouri (Vegetarian Dinner) for the evening, an ominous bang was heard throughout the temple. At first, the monks were mesmerized to see what had happened but 3, 4, 5, and many more bangs later, they realized what had going on. Chaos had descended just before the sun sets in the background.


("I don't know what to say, Rairen," replied Naotaka. "You need to hang on. I know it's difficult but I am all here for you," Rairen answered.)

At Kanda, things were as grim as the overcast skies that were above Okami that day. A major gang battle had gone between two rival factions that I myself do not know the details of. The two were hit in the crossfire. The coworker was hit in the head and was laying unconscious in the tiled alleyway with his head bleeding. Shigetomo was hit in the stomach but was still able to leave the area in horror. He ran towards the temple seeking for help, not knowing that he was mortally wounded. Soon, he became dizzy and eventually lose consciousness in front of the temple. Before he lost his consciousness he uttered "Nao-taka," and that was when the Tendai priests took his mobile phone and called the emergency contact.



"Now, the government had asked me to be a liaison for Shigetomo while they are in charge of his health. However, doctors have told me that he would not be able to survive it since it damaged his liver and one of the bullets had lodged in his spine," Naotaka mentioned to Rairen while tears are flowing. "In a way, I would not be able to see him anymore." Rairen comforts Naotaka and provides him solace while they wait for the news.

The news came at around six o'clock in the afternoon.

Honda Shigetomo is dead.



Naotaka had a difficult time digesting the grim news, but in the end they managed to compose themselves and take the body for its immediate burial at the temple in Okami. It was a disappointing end to his short adventures around Okaiken, and Naotaka is left alone in the middle of the journey. A few days later, Naotaka had lost most of his motivation, asking the public school that he is working at for a leave of absence so that he could attend Shigetomo's burial.

He boards a train bound for Kanda. 


Skies continued to be grim during that day. As the train passed over a road, Naotaka noticed that it had been mostly desolate, with only one to two cars traversing the avenue. It feels like something was not right in the district at all, as if the people suddenly disappears.


At a nearby temple in Igawara (Kotai-ji), where Shigetomo's lifeless body is interred, a monk prepares to embalm his body when he noticed that there is something that is unusual. He found a functioning watch that he kept in back pocket. In the watch, the clock is set at 4:29 in the afternoon, which is unusual since it is already close to seven o'clock in the afternoon. The priest corrects the time to the usual time and suddenly, Shigetomo's body seemed to disappear out of nowhere.


At the edge of Kanda on an AirBNB stay, Naotaka was informed about the timepiece according to the priest. He advised the priest to keep it under the temple's ownership as he was not named as the beneficiary of Shigetomo. He had been thinking if he should even pick up his body for burial, but he knows that as his best friend, Shigetomo would not be happy in the end when they reach The Pure Land.


The grim days continued for Naotaka. By Saturday, he had been always seeking his sect for emotional help. He had considered suicide but he remembered from Ichijoudani not to kill himself as he promised Shigetomo that he is going to live in a future without him. He returned to Shigetomo's Okami apartment to gather Shigetomo's personal belongings. At first he did not know it due to the rows of houses that dominate over the area. However, seeing this exercise before he managed to find his apartment. The landlord had given him keys for 3 days so he can package and send Shigetomo's belongings to either him or Rairen. Naotaka complied and began to one by one sort through his belongings.

While unpacking a box that contained Shigetomo's work at the ministry, Naotaka found a small gear on the timepiece. It seemed to have fit into one of the missing gears on the timepiece. On another box that came from their souvenir trip at Onjuku, he found another one that would have completed the timepiece. Naotaka was in awe and decided to call the temple if he can have Shigetomo's timepiece. The temple agreed, and Naotaka bolted out of the apartment building and towards the temple.


Naotaka's feelings began to improve. He called Rairen in order for them to meet at the Tendai-sect temple. Kanda, however, was still in a state of trauma after the battle, and many streets were lacking people. 


The temple was on sight. 

However, in a wicked twist of fate, they found the temple surrounded by yellow tape. "Why is it surrounded by police?" Naotaka asked the policeman who was guarding the property. "The police is currently investigating the head monk of the temple as the instigator of a gambling ring that may have caused two gang factions to fight," muttered the police. Naotaka seemed to have lost hope into recovering the timepiece. In tears, he kept the gears onto his chest and prayed for the safe passage of Shigetomo.


Rairen never heard of Naotaka again after the incident. He had regret not helping Naotaka recover from his depression, and he may have believed that he had died. In truth, no one knows what happened to him until I met him at Ninohe. I had recently checked the school that he works on and he's not there anymore. They said that he had moved to Chino, a rural village near his hometown of Ichijoudani to work at the prefectural office. 


At Chino, locals said that Shigetomo had left the town after three years work at the town office. According to officials, Naotaka said that he moved to Ninohe to work as a tourism promoter of the area, but they were not sure if he is still employed there.

It was a chance that I would finally see him at Ninohe. 


I finally met him at a ramen-ya. He seemed to have fully adopted a normal, happy life with his new wife and his young boy that he called "Tomo" when we sat down together. When we settled down I told him that I work at the Nikkan Shinbun. He seems surprised that I had determined where he lives as he did not really tell anyone, even his friend, about his whereabouts. I told him "I was here as part of an investigation about corruption at the City of Okami," and asked, "do you know this timepiece?" I showed him the device and he was stunned to see it. He frantically searched for the two gears and then found them in a small, locked wooden case. "May I borrow that?" he said. He ran towards the jewelry shop across the street with his family and asked the man to quickly repair the watch. After he fixed it he told his wife and child about the timepiece and then gave it to me. He seemed to have finally be settled in peace.

After the interview to him was finished, he told me to keep the timepiece and discover the meaning of life through it. I was intrigued to try it so I am going to do it tonight. 


"The train rolled by as I began to wind the timepiece on its correct time. And then he disappeared," Naotaka states. "Thank you, Shigetomo, for bringing me to a life that I am happy with. It may not be the pure land, but it's a start of a new life that I am happy with. I will fight on without you!" Naotaka shed tears as he remembers his adventures with Shigetomo. It is time to move on and cheer. 

Shigetomo had woken up back in an army camp near the Ichijoudani River. It was just before the Seige of the Castle begins but could not determine if they had won or not. He looked at the reflection of himself into the river and saw that he had been wounded and had bandages around his stomach. "My lord, you are still not healed yet," replied one of his assistants. "We found you in front of the castle by yourself trying to make negotiations with Naotaka but then you were shot. I thought that you were about to die so we sent our forces to retake the castle."

"Naotaka, where's Naotaka?" Shigetomo asked in panic.

"Hotta Muneshige had captured him. He awaits your orders." Immediately after that, even in pain, he ran towards Muneshige's camp at Mount Hiei. 


There he found a group of farmer's houses. It was becoming increasingly foggy as the elevation becomes higher but Shigetomo, even in utmost pain, climbed towards the house. As he reached it, he asked for both Hotta, who was about to finish his breakfast, and Naotaka, who is still tied up. "Naotaka."

Naotaka did not respond as if his spirit was taken away from him. "Muneshige, taking his sword, suddenly took his sword and...

Shigetomo watched in horror of what had happened. He can be heard screaming Muneshige on top of his lungs. He then slumped to the floor.


A sailor from an Insular navy had just landed in the Mitoyagi Islands setting his sights into new opportunities in Okaiken regarding diplomacy. He had hoped that a new deal with his nation would materialize with the new bakufu government at Okami. Dignitaries from the bakufu had already boarded the vessel for exchange of information about shipbuilding. Initially, the captain refused but eventually accepted. 

"We want you to sign a deal collaborating with other sovereign nations of the world," said the captain. "We agree," responded by the dignitaries on the ship.


As the sailor walked through Kanda, he saw two heads that were displayed on the gate of the temple. He did not know the two but they seemed to have a high status of power because of their hairstyle or the helmets. A black helmet adorned with deer antlers can be seen to the left of one head; the other, a red helmet with tall yellow horns can be seen to the right of the other head. The citizens were seemingly interested with the beheaded officials. Most of them kept mum, some were in tears.


At one of the temples, they were seemingly busy with burning the bodies in order for them to turn it to ashes. A lot of people were also near the area, curious about what is going on inside the temple. The sailor asked to himself "If the new bakufu government is installed, that means that those two were part of the previous bakufu?"


The sailor continued to travel around the district to see the disappointed faces of the majority as the new shogun of Mitoyagi takes over. Streets were becoming emptier as soldiers begin to secure the city against supporters of the previous shogunate.


Evening fell, and the sailor closed his eyes in one of the local ryokans that are dominant in ancient Okami.



At Ichijoudani, the head priest begin to chant the nembutsu. It's the start of the Futarigyo Festival where the priests mourn the dead of the past and celebrate the future. The river continues to flow through the town and its contents spilled over to the vast oceans. 

Here lies a spot where the pain ends and an optimistic future begins. Even though the two's journey had been cut short, It gave us the time to reflect on what is possible and what is not. It was the graves of Ii "Bizen no Kami" Naotaka and Honda "Izumo no Kami" Shigetomo.


"Thank you for hearing out our stories," said Rairen.



Thank you for reading the update! I hope that you enjoy the journey that we had today regarding our main characters. I know it's a little bit depressing to see their fates sealed in a small timepiece that had distorted time it was also great seeing their adventure unfold over the past two years. It had been my passion to see the characters and the storytelling and the city building grow into complete fruition. It had been my mouthpiece when I am interested in a topic or become interested in things that I want to have a say on. It was fun to interact with friends and viewers of the journal to see what could be done and what was done better. I would like to give you my gratitude for being there with me.

And now, time for the sad news.

I have decided to shut down Okaiken.


While it may seem fun at first, recent events in my real life mean that my time in this journal has passed and it is time for me to move on into other endeavours.  It feels like for me, I had been travelling alone for too long and I had lost a lot of friends like what you saw in the journal update later. It feels like if I keep straddling the same road I won't be able to recover anything. I must take a different road now. 

When I last did a farewell message in 2011 I was optimistic with what would happen next. I got what I had wanted back then, I managed to put Okaiken in USNW while participating in Queensferry's Wars; A Thousand Words was published after 20-some chapters and it got solved; finally, The Times of Troix remained open as a functioning community newspaper that it even won a Trixie! My heartfelt thanks to all of you guys! Okaiken took me to the craziest of places, introduced me to my Japanese friends and the Japanese language and my passion with landscape architecture and city planning as well as even Asian history. Without it, I could have wondered where I may ended up...

Anyway, time for the final replies of the journal! @JP Schriefer Thank you for being a regular visitor of the journal. I hope you enjoyed the last 5 years of it. Happy New Year to You! @raynev1 Thank you so much for visiting the journal and supporting it along the way. That film with the boxer was although non-understandable was about fulfilling dreams. Once again, thank you so much and I hope to see you around! @MeMyself&I Thank you for the compliments! And yes, I can answer that question for you. The composer is Toshiyuki Watanabe. He had composed great, original soundtracks and classical music pieces in Japan. Didn't know if he's that big elsewhere but he's capable of conducting really beautiful music for anime, TV shows and movies. There's Joe Hisaishi (if you want Ghibli soundtracks), Yoko Kanno (composer that did this beautiful update music), Takayuki Hattori, Akira Senju, Kenji Kawai, Tomita Isao, Shinichiro Ikebe, etc. Lots LOL :P @Ln X You have been such a wonderful regular of this journal, and I would like to thank you for your support! See you around at some time :) @slickbg56 Welcome back, before you went MIA you were a great contributor and a regular of this journal! Happy new year and enjoy your new endeavours. @_Michael thanks for being a great regular to the journal! (PS please PM me if you have question about you know... ;) ) @kschmidt Thank you very much! Happy new year to you as well.

@Ln X I hope you enjoyed that last update! @raynev1 thanks for tuning in! @jmsepe Thanks for being a great rival to the journal, you have been a good critic ;) (Waiting for your CJ to come soon HAHAHAHA). @kschmidt Thanks! @123deoliveira4 Thank you very much! I hope you enjoyed the main update as well! @kingofsimcity Thanks for being a regular visitor! I hope to see you around sometime soon.

@CorinaMarie Thank you very much for the input and the visit! I hope to see you at the staff room :lol: @CT14 thank you! I hope you enjoyed this journal during its run and I hope to see you again around the site. @JP Schrieferthanks! @kschmidt thanks! @raynev1 yeah, working with a wide range of Japanese music sometimes lead to an interesting update LOL, but I won't go truly Initial D on that one :lol: @korver thanks for visiting! Sorry to close this CJ at this time, but you are so awesome at stuff. Hope you can recreate Japanese scenes for us next time lol :P @_Michael thanks! @Takingyouthere Thanks for being a regular visitor. Hope to see you again on site and keep up the good work! @jmsepe so it comes down to you. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA :lol: 

Final word of thanks to the team: @jmsepe, @__A, @NielsC007, @jayguum, @TowerDude, Aran, and SimEmirate

Thanks to the former USNW members for their input, my Japanese friends and teachers for culture notes, my professors for those critiques. They are essential to the very blood of this journal.

I leave you now with this clip from NTV (Nippon Television/NNN). Good Night, and I'll see you along the way...



(Note: As recommended, I separated the Mito City Update into 2 Parts (II & III). Comments and requests will be made in the next preview update.)























Happy New Year! To continue the tradition of a yearly New Year's Update, here is the 2017 edition of Kotaro-sama's New Year! 

Due to the massive scale of the update (~60 pictures in the update), a special webpage has been created for it. There are four parts to this update! Please view the pages in order as intended by the author. You will miss out on the action and some fireworks as well. There is also a concert and a movie embedded in the update that will be used to determine the next steps for this year

Author replies are deferred to the next update. Thanks for a wonderful 2016, everyone! 


A preview for the update is below. Still recommend you to watch the update!







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