No one should have to burden themselves with waiting for Rhythm Tengoku Gold to arrive Stateside. Aside from the fact that Nintendo of America still hasn't announced a specific release schedule for the game (we're looking at you also, Jam With The Band), any title with rhythm as the main focus of the gameplay lends itself perfectly for importing.

Of course, any game you import from Japan has its fair share of unreadable text. From roleplaying games to intense puzzlers, the fear exists that the Japanese language will overwhelm you and make you feel like you wasted precious dollars on an unplayable game. Fear not! For Items of Import is here for you once again -- to guide you through trouble, and to encourage you to start importing.

Rhythm Tengoku Gold was just released last week in Japan. With its catchy Tsunku-produced tunes and zany visuals, the game could be your perfect import choice of the month. Show it to all your FPS-loving gamer friends; show them what those crazy Japanese call games these days. With merely a handful of Japanese to conquer compared to those icky RPGs, you'll be enjoying Rhythm Tengoku in no time. And who's going to help you through it all? Why, look what we have here? -- another edition of Items of Import to share, educate, and encourage you to take that step!


There are a few keywords the import gamer will come across when playing through Rhythm Tengoku Gold. These words often come into play during the tutorials, which are crucial in teaching players how to get their rhythm on. Luckily for those that don't understand Japanese, these gameplay mechanics are often easy to guess by watching the visual cues. However, to make it much clearer for you -- and, of course, to help you get those "High Level Medals" you dearly want! -- some explanation is in order.


Almost all the minigames in the, uh, game involve hitting the touchscreen with the stylus. Whether it be a retro-style arcade shooter in which the enemies pop up rhythmically, or a military general duck who conducts a trio of ostrich soldiers, touching the screen in tempo is crucial. But with a variety of gameplay techniques, who's to know which one to use. Remember this: at the start of each minigame, a tutorial guides the player, and always the different touch techniques (touchniques?) are given textual instructions. Watch these like a hawk, and you'll soon notice repeated words throughout. Case in point: the Japanese in the graphic above.

"Tacchi suru" is the romanized version of the original Japanese, and you'll quickly notice that the first three characters have an extremely similar pronunciation to the English "touch." Just like I mentioned in the last Items of Import, this part of the word is written in the katakana script, designated for non-Japanese words. Before you start asking, "Hang on, don't Japanese people have a word for 'touch' in their own language!?" -- yes, that word is "sawaru," but English usage for electronic devices is commonplace in Japan.


One thing to remember about "tacchi suru (to touch)" is the length of time one hits the screen, and leaves the stylus poised. This is where the above image comes in handy -- whenever you see this onscreen in the tutorials, the game is telling you to let go of the screen. Oftentimes, you'll find a minigame in which you touch the screen with your stylus ("tacchi suru"), and then after an interval of time, let go ("hanasu"). This is especially crucial in some minigames, such as the singing jazz trio. Here, the player holds the stylus to the screen, until it's your character's turn. At that point, you let go of the screen to make him sing. Simple, no?

Items of Import is a weekly column dedicated to titles only out in Japan. With in-depth impressions of games long before localization and knowledgeable language how-tos, it attempts to bridge the gap between the import savvy and import fearing. Come on, now! You, too, can make that giant leap! Yokoso!

This article was originally published on Joystiq.