Parappa the Rapper

1998-04-20

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Parappa the Rapper is one of my favorite games because the songs and humor are so dang catchy.  You can find out more about it at http://www.sony.co.jp.   If you can't deal with the Japanese then you can find some info about it at http://www.videogamespot.com.  It should be out in America soon.  Until then you'll have to get the Japanese version.

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Below is a bunch of sounds, icons and backgrounds suitable for use as a Desktop Theme.   They are all copyright Sony.

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Here's a Parappa doll I found in a game store in Japan.  There are actually quite a few Parappa merchandise.

Click here to download my Parappa Theme files.


Um Jammer Lammy

Um Jammer Lammy is the sequel to Parappa the Rapper.  It's arguable whether or not it's as good as the original.  The songs are not as funny (except for maybe stage 3) but I will say that the game grew on me.  It's got 7 stages instead of 6.  If you finish those 7 you get to play 6 of them again as Parappa, usually with new music.  There are also 2 player cooperative modes and competitive modes as well.  Overall I've grown quite fond if it.

On a recent trip to Japan I saw (and bought) lots of Parappa and Lammy merchandise.

This is a guitar I saw at Yokohama Worldporter, a new mall in Yokohama Japan.  Next to it there was also a Hello Kitty guitar.  For those of you that can't convert yen to dollars the easiest way is to think of yen and cents so the guitar here is 30600 cents or about $306.00
This is a flashing PJ Berry that would go on a key chain or phone strap.

Here are some pens and mechanical pencils.  Ewe, Ahhh, Cool. 😊

These are celphone covers.  I find it kind of strange that in Japan there are hundreds of styles of celphones or keitai denwa and yet clearly these covers would only match a certain model.

Keitai means portable.
Denwa means phone.

These are metal pins.

These are phone straps.  In Japan, every celphone has a place to attach a strap.  There are thousands of straps to pick from as well as tons of other celphone accessories like antennas with LEDs in them so that they flash when you are making or receiving a call.  Also various items that can sense when the phone is receiving a call and act based on that.  For example there are Doraemon, Pikachu and Hello Kitty stuffed animals that you set your phone in a pocket on their stomachs and when the phone rings the stuffed animal rocks and sings.

What I don't understand is why this hasn't happened in the USA?  You'd think it's a business opportunity waiting to happen.  One problem is that the celphone companies don't put the little notch on the phones so that you could attach a strap.  I suppose another problem is that U.S. phones have been so large that most people wouldn't use a strap with them.  In Japan, most of the phones are very small and are practically seen as a fashion statement.

The things on the right above snap on to the strap.  Here's an example from the phone I got on my last trip.

Note that if you visit Japan and you would like a phone, go to the nearest Tu-Ka office.  (pronounced Tsu-Ka)  Ask for a "pre paid" phone.  You need no ID etc. As of early 2000 the phones cost 4800yen (or about $48)  Note that you have no choices in models.  One of my friend believes that this service is their way of getting rid of old models as models more than 6 months old are out of fashion.  Some simple English instructions will come with the phone.  Anyway, you also need to buy "pre paid" service cards.  They are 3000yen each (about $30) and give you 30 minutes of service.  To activate one dial 1400 (to dial, type the number and press the button that looks like a phone with the handset up)  When you hear the recording press 1.  Type in the number on the card and press #.  The number will be repeated in Japanese.  Press # again to verify and you will now have 30 minutes of service.  The cards are only good for 60 days from the time of purchase and if you don't use the phone for more than 120 days they will cancel it and you'll have to buy another.  Still it's a pretty cheap way to get a phone in Japan for connecting with friends.

Here are some plastic toys. Clearly they are Fun, not boring 😊

Here is my nephew, Ricky, playing the new Um Jammer Lammy game just released by Namco.  It's basically the same game as the home game except instead of a playstation controller you use a guitar.  X, O, Square and Triangle are in the middle.  On the neck is a slider that acts as L1 and near the bottom is a scratch disc that acts like R1.  The patterns in the game have been changed so as not to make it too hard to play with the guitar controller.

A few other things I picked up.  I did find the soundtrack to the Um Jammer Lammy game.

Note that there are at least 4 Parappa / Lammy related music CD available.  The Parappa Game soundtrack has a cover similar to the Japanese version of the game (see picture at top).  The first Lammy CD out is the CD on the left.  Unfortunately it is Milkcan doing all the songs from the game.  Not what I was looking for.  The next CD, "I Scream. PJ & Parappa" is a collection of songs based on the games but sung by PJ and Parappa.  The actual Lammy game soundtrack is the right most CD.  It includes all the Parappa versions of the Lammy songs including the Chop Chop Master Onion song with Parappa which I have not actually found in the game.  Personally I think the Lammy version of the songs could have had the guitar parts mixed a little higher but still overall they're pretty good.
For Christmas my friend Scott got me this clock.  It's similar to many of the character clocks in Japan.  When the alarm goes of it plays a digital recording.  This one plays the Um Jammer Lammy theme from the title of the game.  When you turn the alarm off she says one of three things.  Either "Okay", "Thank You" or "All Right!"

I did see quite a few other things like Lammy dolls, Lammy pillows, Lammy mouse pads, T−shirts (all too small for me)

2000/05/18:

Many people have asked me where you can get this stuff.  Other than going to Japan and getting it yourself (you can go round trip to Japan for under $600)  I was told by TokyoPop that they will pretty much special order anything for you.  They would like you to have a model number or IPC number but otherwise they said they can find things even without that information.  I have not used them but if you have good luck with them please tell me.  You can find their website at http://www.tokyopop.com.

2000/12/15:

I'm back in Japan and I found a few more things.

These are "Mousepet Sets".  Each set comes with 2 items.  The item on the left clips to your mouse cable near the mouse and wiggles around as you use your mouse.  The item on the right sits on the top edge of your monitor.  The PJ Berry one can hold a card in his hands.

2001/08/01:

Well if you didn't know, starting last May a Parappa TV cartoon series started and with it lots of new merchandise hit the stores. I posted some links here.

Well this month, on August 28th the new Playstaion 2 game comes out and so there is/was a big promotion going on at McDonalds in Japan where I picked up the following stuff for you Parappa fans. 

I had never seen an EXTRA LARGE size drink in Japan before but now along with this promotion McDonalds now has super sized drinks.  I think this is one of the signs that Japan will follow America into obeseness.

These are 2 of the happy meal toys (or happy set as they are called in Japan). I would guess they are meant to clip on your belt.  On Parappa you can pull the strap and he waves his arms as the strap recoils.  The Piposaru monkey's hat light lights up if you press it.

The promotion is actually not just Parappa.  On July 8th Piposaru (Saru Getchu 2 : Ape Escape 2) came out and later this year Tororo to Kyuujitsu (My Day off with Tororo) comes out.  Sorry to burst all you Parappa fans bubbles but Tororo the Cat from Dokodemo Isshou (Everywhere Together) is way more popular than Parappa and all his toys sold out in the first couple of days.

There were also several toys you could just buy.  No other purchase required.  About $3 each. These are phone buddies (for lack of a better word).  You pick one (or two) and with the strap in the middle they attach to your cell phone. (see above for earlier examples)

Here are two nurigurumi (stuffed animals) I also picked up.  The Piposaru has grasping hands.  Papappa doesn't do anything except sniff the fries and look cute.  Dang that monkey is ugly.  The big deal with Piposaru is that in the game you chase the monkeys with a vacuum cleaner and you suck their pants off.  I guess that's supposed to be funny.  I don't think it sold well.

Finally McDonalds was also running a card game kind of like Pokemon cards or Magic the Gathering cards.  For each meal you'd get a pack of cards.  Each pack had like 2 game cards and 1 prize card.  The prize being like if you got 3 of the same prize cards you got what's on them like a free hamburger.  Here's the backs of the game cards.

The pictures on the cards are from their respective PS2 games.  I've got to admit I'm curious about the new Tororo game but I will definitely get Parappa 2 in a couple of weeks.

As for you Parappa fans there is also a flashed out website here.

2001/08/30:

Parappa 2 came out for Playstation 2.  No idea if it's supposed to be released in the states.  Of course I picked it up.

Being a Parappa fan I love it but honestly it's just more of the same so if you didn't like the original or Lammy then you probably won't like this one.

I totally dig the music and for those of you than don't know De La Soul is featured on the soundtrack and there's a Party Mix CD coming out next week.  I'm digging the music this time.  Not that I didn't love most of the songs on the other games.  Maybe it's just these are fresh.  Here's a sample I whipped up.

I finished the game in about 3 hours.  I only failed level 5 once and level 8 (the last) about 10 times before I finished.  No idea if there is more.  No special options appeared though Parappa's hat turned blue.  Maybe I have to go for "awesome" rating on all levels if that's possible in this version.

There's a bonus game if you do well on any level.  It's always the same came though where you smash things with Chop Chop Master Onion and his Ko−tamanegis. (Kow, rhymes with mow, tama rhymes with mama, negis would rhyme with keg then keys.  It means Little Onion's in Japanese)

Some things which took a little getting used to.  Before each level (clearly stuck in as an after thought) you get a boombox that comes up on the screen, kisses you and then makes you practice before you can continue.  It's probably a good thing making it easy to pass the levels but it's also kind of not so cool in a way.

Another is that when you mess up and go down (or up) a level.  Like from "Good" to "Bad" or "Bad" to "Awful" the music stops, the character you are rapping with says something like "Getting Worse" and then the music picks up in a different spot.  As far as I can tell each time that happens 2 measures get added to the song (or you could look at it as going back 2 measures).  This gives you a chance to recover from your mistake but it's disconcerting because of the major interruption in the flow of the music.

More stuff has come out since then.

These cookies came out each with a toy inside.  They pretty much sold out immediately.  My friend, Junko, who's also into Parappa, called me and told me to about them and that they would be sold out quick.  I went to 6 different convenience stores until I found a supply.

The cookies have little prints on them.  I ate them all.  I wonder if they are singing in my stomach.

Here are the toys as printed on the back of the box.

I picked up 1, 5, 7 and 8.

There is also another set of toys out.  They are only $1.50 each if you can find them.

 A free one came with the game but I suspect that's a "until supplies last" kind of thing.

On other thing my friends Junko was able to scam is a Parappa Uchiwa (a fan).  Pretty cool.

2002/02/20:

A few more things I picked up recently.

This is a set of post-it notes.  They are each about 1x1 inch.  Pretty small.  You can see from the holes on the left this set is meant to go into an organizer.

This set of itty-bitty stationary is also meant to go into an organizer.  I guess when you really need to write that secret letter since they are too small to actually mail.

Small stickers for letters and envelopes are very popular in Japan.  I suppose stickers are popular in the states too as there are sticker shops here and there but it feels like it's a bigger thing here.

You might notice some of these characters are not from the games.  Instead they are from the TV cartoon series.

Here's a close-up of a few of the stickers.

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