Dear Diary: Trip to Budapest 10 "Best of Budapest"

I stayed in Budapest for 2 days. It was obviously not long enough to explore the city, but at least I could stand on their land, smell the air, witness their morning to night, taste their food, see what and who I wanted to see. It was fulfilling trip, and it certainly expanded my horizon.

This is the view which struck me the most in Budapest. Too bad it looks really flat on the photo, but actual view had indescribable depth. It was so beautiful that I could gaze this for hours… Among many others, I must say this was my best of Budapest.

Köszönöm Szilárd and Gargaj for helping and making my trip more fun. And thank YOU for reading my travelogue till the end. Hope your trip to Budapest will be wonderful too.

> Read All of “Trip to Budapest” #1-10


Dear Diary: Trip to Budapest 9 "Cake"


Ever since I read an article about this cake, I'd been looking for an occasion to try. The article says something like "there are so many great cakes in Hungary, yet Hungarians in fact love this very simple cake the most."

After carefully examined several guidebooks and websites, I decided to try at Ruszwurm near the Matthias Church.

Smooth vanilla creams are sandwiched by crispy puffs. Timeless combination. And.. mmmm… can't go wrong with it.

> Read All of “Trip to Budapest


Dear Diary: Trip to Budapest 8 "The Pub"

This is Szimpla Kert, Budapest's well-known ruin pub.

Instead of renovating old abandoned building, they use the building as is for bar and cafe, etc. All the sections were decorated with lots of junks, and created very unique atmosphere. Cool and kitsch, felt like sneaking in streetboys' hidden hangout spot.

If you watched "Moleman 2" (documentary about demoscene culture) you might recognize this view. This place was used to film its interview and Szilárd, a director of this film mentioned in my interview as a recommended spot in Budapest. 

Szilárd kindly took some time to see me while I was in Budapest, and we could talk over a cup of tea in this place. It was one of those “Life is funny” moments for me, and I was very happy to finally meet him and say thanks to him in person. (My interview with demosceners started because of this film.)


Dear Diary: Trip to Budapest 7 "Postcard"

Dark streets and a very bright building.

1. Seems like they don't have a master lights-on switch. (it lighted up gradually)
2. This contrast reminded me of the history of this country.
3. It looked like a giant hologram.
4. People gazing this scenery looked like cinderellas who dream about a ball, and that was lovely view.

On my way back to the hotel room, I saw the world most beautiful McDonald from a tram.

> Read All of “Trip to Budapest


Dear Diary: Trip to Budapest 6 "One Bedroom"

I stayed in an apartment hotel in downtown (district 6). They had a full kitchen and there was a supermarket nearby, so I could just stock up and heat the soup and make toast or sandwich when I woke up in the middle of the night. I love the time like this. Travelling without a need to quickly recover from jetlag is luxury.

It seems like this type of apartment hotel is quite common in Budapest. When you look up in booking.com, you will see plenty of them and they offer more spacious room and better location with cheaper rate than hotels. Now that Airbnb is getting popular, people are rushing to renovate the room to make some profits in foreign currencies, I heard. Indeed, buildings near the hotel were almost all under repair.

From my balcony, I could see a little patio and Mexican ladies playing poker all day long.

> Read All of “Trip to Budapest


Dear Diary: Trip to Budapest 5 "The Door"

When you travel abroad, there’s always a moment you realize or re-realize that you’re in a foreign country.

In Hong Kong, it was when I lined up for a taxi. In England, it was when I saw their very simple signage (because they don’t need to put anything other than English) And in Hungary, it was this door.

I had such a tough time unlocking the door of my hotel room. Never seen this type of lock before (turn 3 times, turn a bit more to unlock then turn back to remove) and I spent good 10 minutes trying to turn the key right and left, push and pull the door. Eventually and luckily other guests passing by helped me opening. It took 2 days to master unlocking/locking this door..

Never imagined myself feeling “Oh, I’m so foreigner!!” by a difference of door lock.

> Read All of “Trip to Budapest


Dear Diary: Trip to Budapest 3 "Street"

Paul Erdős, John von Neumann, John Kemeny... Because there are many geniuses from this country, Hungary was rumoured to be a place where Martians live.

Not sure if this is true, but I spotted some suspected descendants while I was doing subtitle for two Hungarian documentaries which revolve around tech/science.

Some time ago, I read a lovely story about "Gömböc" which was proven by Hungarian scientist, and there was a remark that their complex language might have something to do with their intelligence.

I don't know. I couldn't find any lead on this trip anyway. 
Here are the photos I took while I was walking around the city.

> Read All of “Trip to Budapest


Dear Diary: Trip to Budapest 2 "Fast"

There’s no direct flight to Budapest from Japan, so I flew in via Helsinki.

When a Mexican boy sitting next to me found out that I was heading to Budapest, he kindly gave me some advice. “Since you’re used to the safety level in Japan, you’d better avoid all public transportation, taxi and night walking in Budapest.” This makes me scared and I followed them for a while, but eventually broke them all. (But I didn’t take or walk alone after 9pm, as a basic rule for girl’s solo trip.)

Tram was nice and bus was easy. Metro was tricky though. Or I should say “a way to get to the metro platform” was tricky. Their escalator moves so fast (at least 3 times faster than Japan’s) and is very steep (felt like 70 degrees) and so long (felt like forever). Basically this freaked me out and I decided to avoid them if I could.

And their ferris wheel moves quite fast too.

> Read All of “Trip to Budapest


Dear Diary: Trip to Budapest 1 "Night View"

A few weeks ago, I visited Budapest, Hungary for the first time.

I arrived in the evening and Budapest looked very dark to my eyes; Smoky sky, glimmer street lights, tired looking walls, thin bright light coming from the gap of huge doors…

Watching its night from the taxi, I felt like watching a really heavy and closed love story movie. 30 minutes ride was not long enough. Fascinating view.

> Read All of “Trip to Budapest














そしてブダペストのリスト・フェレンツ空港に無事到着。先のアドバイスを聞いて緊張ぎみではあったのですが、事前に入念に調べておいた空港と契約を結んでいる公式なタクシー乗り場へ直行。これ以外のタクシーに乗ると、ほぼ確実にぼったくられるそう。(だからこその公式タクシーなんだそうよ) 空港の外に出ると、出たところにFoTaxiと書かれた小さなブースがあります。そこのスタッフにホテルの名前を見せると、乗車するタクシーの番号と、目的地までの運賃の目安がプリントされた紙を渡されます。あとは乗り場で待っていれば、運転手が自分のお客を探して乗せてくれます。ちょっと道が混んでいる時間だったようですが、30分強ぐらいで市内に到着しました。(運賃は目安の範囲内だった、6区までで6900HUF


空港から市内へと向かう車窓からの風景は、だいたいどこの都市でも似たようなものだと思うのですが、ショッピングモールを通過して郊外とよばれる地域に入ったときに、その違いが見えてくるような気がします。そしてブダペストのそんな地域を見て私が感じたのは、「暗っ!!」ということ、、(笑) これ、市内に向かっているのよね?と標識を確認したほどの暗さ。夜の8時前ぐらいだったので、もう少し賑やかなのかなと思ったのですが、路地はもちろん大通りもなんだかずっと薄暗くて、写真を撮ってもほとんど何も写らない、、(左の写真がそうです。左側の光はタクシーのメーター) でも、そんな暗い街に灯るぼんやりとした明かりや、大きな扉からもれる光を見ていると、なんだか重~いラブストーリーの映画を見ているような、そういうストーリーにぴったりの風景だなぁ、、なんて、じわじわと魅了されていきました。もっと見ていたかったほど。









ポール・エルデシュ、ジョン・フォン・ノイマン、ジョン・ケメニーなど、人間離れした知能を持つ科学者や数学者にハンガリー出身者が多いことから、地球にこっそりやってきた宇宙人が住んでいる国とまで噂されるハンガリー。字幕で参加させていただいたドキュメンタリー作品「Moleman 2」と「Moleman 4」は、コンピュータプログラミングとゲーム開発という2作とも数学・科学に近い分野でしたが、作品のなかにも宇宙人っぽい方が多数登場しています、、(笑) 写真のルービックキューブもハンガリーの発明家ルビク・エルネーによる作品。少し前に、どんなふうに置いてもバランスの取れた状態に戻る“ゴムボック”という形状を発見したのもハンガリー人の数学者だという話も読んだのですが、そこにはハンガリー語という複雑な言語が天才を生み出しているのではないかとか書いてありました。どうなんでしょうね。


話は変わって、ホテルの話。今回の旅は、Booking.comで「ロケーション抜群!」と掲載されていた6区のアパートメントホテル7Seasonsに滞在しました。最近ブダペストではこういったキッチンや洗濯機がついたアパートタイプのホテルが増えているそうです。(Airbnbも大人気だそう) 旅先でもホテルで過ごす時間が多い私にとって、ちょっとした自炊もできるホテルは快適そのもの!(時差ボケがひどくても、冷蔵庫がついてれば夜中にサンドイッチ作って食べたりできるし!) 工事やら深夜のパーティーやらで少しにぎやかだったけど、24時間スタッフのいるフロントもあったので安心、快適でした。ほかの都市に比べて、良いホテルにリーズナブルな値段で泊まれるのも嬉しいポイント。




ドキュメンタリー映画『Moleman2』をご覧になった方なら、あっ!と思うのでは。ブダペストで人気の元祖廃墟パブSzimpla Kert(シンプラ・ケルト)です。Molemanシリーズの監督、シラードさんにインタビューをお願いしたときも、ここをブダペストのおすすめスポットとして挙げていたので、今回の滞在中、この場所で初めてお会いできて感激でした。








さて、飛行機で乗り合わせた人に「公共の乗り物はやめたほうがいい」とアドバイスされていた私ですが、シラードさんに案内していただいて乗ってみてからは「これは大丈夫だ!」と堂々と活用するようになりました。(ただ、深夜に一人で乗らない、不審者に気をつけるなどの基本的な注意は必要だと思いますが) Budapest 24H Ticketというのがあって、券売機などでそれを購入すると、メトロ、路面電車、バス、電車、ボートなどが24時間乗り放題になるそうです。やっぱり路面電車は楽しいなぁ、、。



ホテルのあるペスト側のお散歩を楽しんだので、2日目は鎖橋をわたったブダ側へと出向きました。「ブダ側からの眺めは絶対に見なきゃダメ!」とシラードさんに念を押されていたので、アドバイスに従いリッツカールトンの前にある「Deák Ferenc tér M」の停留所から16番のバスに乗って出発。バス内には次の停車駅を表示するスクリーンがあり、しかも人目で観光地と分かる場所が見えてくるので、あっけないほど簡単に乗って到着できました。



ハンガリーに行くことがあれば、絶対に食べてみたいと思っていたのが“クレーメシュ”というケーキ。バニラクリームをパイ生地で挟んだものらしいのですが、お店によってメレンゲとバニラのミックス、2層クリーム、パイ生地にナッツ、ミルフィーユ風、などなど微妙に異なっているようです。事前に調べていて、いちばん食べてみたかったのはRuszwurm(ルスヴルム)というカフェのクレーメシュ。1827年創業のブダペスト最古のカフェだそうで、マーチャーシュ教会から歩いてすぐのところにありました。ここのクレーメシュの特徴は生クリームを使っていることだとかで、なめらかなバニラクリームがパリっとしたパイ生地で挟まれていました。見た目そのままの、素直でやわらかな味。おいしい、、、。(が、けっこう大きいので、飲み物を甘くしてしまうと後半がややキツイかも笑) 満ち足りた気持ちで帰路につきました。

短いながらも、見たかったもの、会いたかった人、食べたかったものを体験でき、そしてブダペストの雰囲気を実際に味わえたことにとても充実感をおぼえた旅でした。旅をさらに素敵なものにしてくれた、シラードさん、ガーガイさん、ありがとうございました!(Köszönöm Szilárd & Gargaj!)


そして、文中にもさんざん登場しますが、ハンガリーのサブカルチャーを紹介したMolemanドキュメンタリーシリーズ。2作目のデモシーンを題材にした『Moleman2 - Demoscene - The Art of the Algorithms』と4作目のゲーム開発を題材にした『Moleman 4 – Longplay』は全編日本語字幕付きで現在公開中です。特に、4作目のゲーム開発のほうは、ゲームにそれほど興味がなくても、ハンガリーの社会主義時代の様子や体制が与えた影響をユニークな視点から知ることができる作品だと思います。(また、ハンガリー人が火星人と呼ばれる所以の一端なども見えるかと、、笑) ぜひ見てみてくださいね!詳しくは、以下の記事よりどうぞ。



"Moleman 4" Documentary about Game Development in Hungary

Documentary film “Moleman 4 - Longplay” was released on Vimeo the other day. And I joined their project as a Japanese translator :) 

You know what this is if you’d watched Moleman episode before, but Moleman is a series of documentary which features subcultures in Hungary. And this time they featured game development history in Hungary.

[UPDATE!] "Moleman 4 - Longplay" is now available on YouTube!! You can watch the entire film for free with subtitles (EN, ES, DE, FR, PT-BR, JA).

Hungary was in socialism era when they started developing games, and this means they had tons of restrictions. It started from smuggling computers and figuring out how to use them, but they gradually yet steadily progressed and took over the European market. Their achievement includes “The Last Ninja” and “Ecco the Dolphin” and in this film their developers and producers are explaining how it was like to make these games.

Don’t forget to watch the deleted scenes! This one is sneaky brilliant. Others includes “Lara Croft” (Mr. Ian Livingstone explains how they came up with her name) and “Tetris” (The origin of that ugly drama)...

I felt the same thing when I translated "Moleman2", but I felt “finding a solution in the most complicated case, and turning disadvantages into advantages” is one of the strength of Hungarian people…

And after the success in Europe and US, they came to Japan and challenged Nintendo who kept saying No to them.

I happened to have an occasion to be involved in the conversation between Japanese avid gamer (0x4015 aka Yossin-san) and the director of this film (Szilárd Matusik). I thought it would be interesting to share this with other people, and since I got the permission from both I’m posting it here… (Thank you Yossin-san and Szilárd!)

0x4015/yossin to Szilárd
I didn’t know “The Last Ninja” was originally made in Hungary. The film explains that the original developers were uncredited in the final version, and the great thing about this documentary series is that it explains by showing interviews with the people who were actually involved in that matter.

In the scene where developers contacted Japanese makers, I wondered when they contacted exactly. Because the situation of Japanese makers back then was changing every few years.

It shows that they contacted Sony, but I wonder if this Sony meant “Epic Sony”. If it was Epic Sony, I think it would had been easier to get in touch because back then this company was selling Western games in NES format. For example Solstice” (this is known to be the “first contact with Western game” in Japanese Chiptunes scene) and “Dragon's Lair” which is known to be Instant death game. I wish they’d released “The Last Ninja” in NES.

Regarding the situation around Nintendo, there were many Japanese companies which had to give up creating NES software because Nintendo didn’t allow to. And one of them created software by reverse-engineering, just like in the movie. One of the well-known one is called “Quinty” and creators of this game later produced Pokemon. This game was released in 1989, so I guess it’s about the same time as Hungarian team was making NES games.

Szilárd to 0x4015/yossin

Thanks for your thoughts.

"Traffic" was the first Hungarian game that was released in Japan in 1986 on the MSX platform by Sony Corporation. I found this on Mobygames.

And I think the info there is right as I found also a picture of the cartridge and it contains all the same information.

And the head of studio (Donát Kiss) who speak about business in Japan left Novotrade in '86 or '87 so it had to happen before that. Also he was who found out to reverse-engineer the NES so it also had to happen around '86-'87.

Also they made some conversions that were released by the Japanese SystemSoft.
Acrojet (MSX)

And games for Konami on NES but I can't find which was the first.
They made some conversions as well:
Tiny Toon Adventures: Cartoon Workshop (NES)

Other things on NES by Novotrade/Appaloosa:


0x4015/yossin to Szilárd
Thanks for providing me the complementary information.
It’s amazing that they expand their business that much only in 3-4 years.

It was too bad that Konami didn’t release Novotrade (Appaloosa)’s NES games in Japan. I’ve never heard about these games. I checked on YouTube and found their background graphics are meticulously created within the limitations. Just like The Last Ninja, they made their background by combining small blocks and I find this very interesting since it’s really different from Japanese way of making games.

You can rent this film, but you get bonus clips (total 16min long!) and a chance to get their prize if you buy it (Details). The Bonus clips cover 90s Independent game dev situation (the dark side) and super creative world of text adventure games (I wanna try it)... 

Watch the film here:
Vimeo   Steam (You can watch long special and bonus features if you purchase the film)

Moleman4 Official page (So much info!)

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