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Japan Travel Tips – Real Life Shenmue May 18, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Japan Travel Tips, Uncategorized.
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It’s Tuesday, welcome back to a new Japan Travel Tips! For the past few weeks we’ve gotten into some of the biggest sights in Japan for gamers to see, and today that will continue! This is, after all, a gaming site. Let me take you back to the year 2000.

In 2000, SEGA released one of the most fondly-remembered cult classic games on the Dreamcast, Shenmue. The game was unlike any other release of its time, as while its story was a simple one, it presented the player an environment they could fully explore with a full day and night cycle. Today, that kind of concept is considered common but for its time it was revolutionary.

Most people recognize the original Shenmue as a work of fiction, meant to take place in the mid-1980s. However, few may recognize that while the game’s story is fiction, the game’s environment is not. The first game takes place in a real street in Japan, Dobuita, and recreated as it appeared in the 1980s. It is located in Yokosuka City in Kanagwawa Prefecture. Even in the year 2021 the street still has its earlier charm. It served as a shopping location for American Navy sailors, and claims to be the original source of the famous sukajan jacket. To Shenmue fans, traveling to Dobuita Street is a rite of passage just as fans of the Beatles are drawn to cross the famous Abby Road. Today, we’re going to be taking a closer look at several videos about gamers who took that very rite.

Here’s a great introduction video produced by RadioSEGA!

A plus to making this particular article is that since the release of Shenmue I&II HD, SEGA has produced several english-language documentaries about the area and its inspiration behind the game. Next up, I’m going to highlight an official video SEGA produced around the game of Shenmue 1&2 HD’s release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Hosted by Shenmue superfan Adam Koralik, this video shows the real-world Dobuita Street.

Next up, I want to highlight one of the most sincere videos I’ve ever watched on the internet. The late Roger Swan was a pioneer of YouTube, and as far as I can tell was one of the very first people I could find on the internet who visited Dobuita Street to document it and compare it to the game. Here is his video about his experience visiting in 2010.

Rest In Peace, Mr Swan.

Next, you’ll be happy to know that the street is absolutely beautiful in the winter time. While it may only snow in the game when your Dreamcast clock is set to December 25th, here’s a great video from Phantom River Stone about what it looks like when it snows in the real world.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this nostalgic look into the past, and were excited to see how the real world can inspire games. Next week, we’re going to take a step backwards and expand further on something we touched on a few weeks earlier. When discussing places to stay during our Hotel article, we mentioned the uniquely Japanese Ryokan, or hot springs resort. Next week, we are going to take a MUCH closer look at them!

Shenmue is out now for the Sega Dreamcast. Shenmue I&II HD is out now for PC, Xbox One and PS4.

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