Importing a Japanese Wii U to Europe

I’m not a gamer at all. But I like to play Taiko no tatsujin at game centers. So I wanted to get it for my PS3, but it turned out it was only available for the PS2 and some other consoles. It also turned out it will be released on 21 November 2013 for the Wii U, in a set where you get a little drum controller as well. And then it turned out that Nintendo was releasing a “family premium set” on 31 October. It seemed a bit like both these campaigns spoke to me, so I went to Yodobashi Shinjuku and got the Wii U set that sells for 34,800 yen (it’s the top set that has 32 GB storage and includes Wii Fit U). It’s extremely good value for money, I’ve understood. And on top of that, I got it tax free at 33,143 yen (250 euro/2,200 crowns).

It wasn’t for the money that I bought it here though. Unlike Sony’s Playstation, all Nintendo’s consoles and games are region coded. So you can’t play a game bought in Japan on a console bought in Germany. (Why, why, why do they keep doing this?) And I want to play Japanese games! I mean, I’m not even interested in games, I’m interested in Japan. But I’m quite sure that if I would buy a Wii U and Taiko Drum Master in Germany, the songs in the game would be German hits. Just like the songs in the karaoke game (which also was included in the family premium pack as some kind of 30 day trial). Not to mention all instructions and the texts on the screen. So the whole point would be lost.

The huge adapters for the console and the game pad won’t function in Europe, because they have input power of max 100 V. I’ll just buy new 220 V adapters from Nintendo in Germany when I’m back. All other electronics I’ve bought in Japan come with versatile input 100 – 240 V, but I guess Nintendo has no reason to offer this, since the consoles aren’t supposed to be used outside Japan anyway.

Since I don’t have a TV or monitor where I live, I spent this Saturday at Yusuke’s house outside Tachikawa, and he helped me through the setup. Then we played the included games: New Super Mario Bros U and Wii Party U. Both were a bit of an anticlimax to be honest, or maybe I’ll just have to give it some time when I’m back in Europe. But it was fun to see that playing the new Mario game had exactly the same feeling as playing the original Mario Bros, which I did as a teenager. The only difference was the fantastic 1080p graphics, though I must say that in this case I prefer 8-bit. The whole interface of the Wii U felt like a modern Disney movie, like Cars or Toys, or whatever they are called nowadays. I much prefer the graphics of my PS3.

Then Yusuke’s mother made okonomiyaki for us (I felt a bit like a teenager this whole day), and then we went back to Tachikawa for a traditional bath at the sauna where we’ve been twice before.

Tomorrow I’ll write the practice test for the JLPT N3.

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