Let me tell you, I never thought I would walk into a used bookstore in Brisbane and come out with a copy of the Japanese strategy guide for Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town! The bookstore in question touts over a million titles, but way at the back of the building is about a half a shelf dedicated to Japanese language titles, 75% of which are dictionaries and random Western novels translated into Japanese. But lo and behold, smushed in between all these lackluster titles was a real gem! It set me back $7, and though I didn't own the game at the time (more on that later), I was more than happy that my husband urged me purchase it (we actually left the store and came back!).
Upon opening the cover and turning to the first page, it immediately becomes apparent that the guide was well loved by its previous owner (though it remains in otherwise immaculate condition):
What are these notes for? Why, they've listed the ingredients to make a cake! I love when people write in their books, but I don't think I could bring myself to write in any of my strategy guides... Even if it were in pencil, I just wouldn't ever feel it looked "right" anymore. Probably because I'm anal about that sort of thing. But when it's a record of a previous owner, I love it! Plus pretty much all Japanese have awesome handwriting.
The majority of the book is rather standard fare: It details how to get your farm started, the variety of festivals and when they occur, and most importantly of all... how to woo the ladies. But above all, my favorite pages of the book are the first five or so, which depict in the most adorable comics the basic premise of the game and the various tasks related to farming you'll engage in over the course of the game.
Be nice to your chickens, cows, and sheep, and they'll provide you with eggs, milk, and wool! I've never seen a chicken so happy to lay an egg.
Check out the wide variety vegetables available over the course of the year! Our protagonist sure likes fantasizing about them. (left bubble with eggplant: autumn, middle bubble with tomato: summer, right bubble with lettuce: spring)
Don't forget to think about your future once you've gotten settled into a routine! Our protagonist... thinks about babies as he does his daily hoeing.
And finally, I've saved the best for last:
Check out all the various events that happen throughout the year! Hey, wait a second... Harvest Moon condones cock fighting? They may call it the "chicken festival," but I think we all know what's really going on there.
In closing, I must ask you: What is a strategy guide without a game? Nothing, that's what! That's why I made sure to get my hands on a Japanese copy of Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town as soon as humanely possible. My dear Twitter friend in Japan managed to find me a pristine in-box copy for an extremely reasonable price! Pictures coming in a post tomorrow.