Fleeing the City, A Trip to Olive Town Day 1&2

While not a fan of Harvest Moon games from the very beginning the franchise is celebrating 25 years this year—they didn’t hit my radar until around Sunshine Islands for the DS in 2009—I have played just about every title since then. Some I liked a lot. Some not so much. I still get excited every time a new game releases.

Today my Japanese copy of Story of Seasons Pioneers of Olive Town came in the mail. I popped it in and started my journey. Please bear in mind that I’m playing 98% blind. I have not endlessly researched bachelors and bachelorettes. I honestly don’t know who they are. Watching the Nintendo direct trailer is pretty much all the info I have.

When the game started it asked me if I wanted to play on or offline. It didn’t give any explanation to the difference, so I don’t know what that means really. I chose online. In between loading screens I think it shows other players pictures. Maybe this is all it does? Time will tell.

It also asked me the pointed question of whether I wanted to play normal or easy mode. Easy mode grants you:

  • more money from the the shipping box

  • less stamina loss

  • easier to raise relationships

  • more skill points (I think this is related to tool use)

  • cheaper items in shops

Ordinarily I would say “I’m not a filthy cas!” but times being what they are—hello thousand pandemic hobbies and new (online) Japanese class starting next week—I decided to play on easy mode.

The game starts with the usual character creation. Slightly unusual (but becoming more the norm) in that there was no option for sex. There were more feminine haircuts or eye styles and more masculine styles, but you aren’t limited to one style for girls and one style for boys. Of course I didn’t take screenshots while creating my character because that would have been too convenient to show you. There aren’t a terribly great amount of options, you choose skin color, hair style, hair color, your eyes, eye color, you can have odd eye color, voice, and stance (one is “powerful” one is “meek”), and pick from a jumpsuit or a skirt.

My character ended up looking like this:


Yumi and her motorbike

After you make your character you go to another creation screen in which you pick out the color for your bike. You then zoom off away from the city toward Olive Town to recapture the memories of your Grandpa and his farm. If it sounds very Stardew Valley, it is, but Story of Seasons came first.

to Olive Town!

To Olive Town!

It was during the cutscene as I was vrooming along that I noticed the video was a wee bit choppy. It wasn’t horrible, just noticeably not smooth. 

My bike started blowing black smoke as I arrived in Olive Town, but the mayor was there to greet me and get the game started. He had some questions for me, the usual “what’s your name”, your birthday, and “are you a boy or a girl”—how rude.

After which the mayor took me over to my shockingly dilapidated farm. It looks nothing like it did when I was little staying with Grandpa. But never fear, the mayor tells me about tools that can help with that and promises to stop by tomorrow to teach me how to plant things.

my rundown farm

What happened to Grandpa’s farm?

I spent the first day oblivious to the fact that I had tools in a tool pocket. I picked a few flowers, found some wild onions, attempted to make nicey nice with a stray chicken, and introduced myself all around town. It was in town that I noticed the game was *really* choppy. Inside shops and houses it seems ok.

Speaking of town, there were all sorts of shops, but it’s easy to get around. They’re all clustered together and they seem to have pretty standard hours. Most are open until six. I didn’t take note of whether they are closed on certain days. They had a grocery store which only sells ingredients for cooking, a restaurant, hotel and cafe which serves lighter fare, the usual general store, and animal store plus a few more.

grocery store items

Some of the grocery store’s wares

I took a video walking around town hoping to capture the choppiness. The video looks ok to me? Maybe it’s my tv? There’s nothing really going on in the video. Just me walking around town.

I also took a video meeting the Cafe owner. You can see me perusing the different menu options and looking at the drinks.

I spent the day looking around, noting places that were closed off to me:

the mine and a collapsed bridge

the mine and a collapsed bridge

When it was time for bed I went to bed…in my tent…this hearkens back to New Horizons.

tent sweet tent

I played one more day in game. True to his word the mayor came back in the morning and gave me some seeds and told me how to plant them and to water them every day. After the short explanation he left me to my own devices and told me he’d be back the next day to talk about the axe and hammer.

I couldn’t figure out where the watering can I supposedly had was though. Eventually I realized I had a pocket just for tools and I had to drag them to my bar to use them. Once I figured that out I planted some turnips, got around to getting rid of some grass, rocks, and trees. I was happy I didn’t have to wait to use the axe or hammer until the explanation.

Sometimes HM/Story of Seasons tutorials are soul crushing. They make you play six limited days teaching you  the basics before you can truly start the game. Fortunately so far Olive Town tells you what you need to know and then leaves you alone without restricting your activities.

The mayor—in Japanese his name is Victor, I don’t know what it is in English—gave me a well and a tree to plant, so I put those down. It doesn’t seem that you have to water trees. I put mine out of the way and couldn’t water it.

My new well


It’s also easy to tell what you have and haven’t watered, which is nice. And you can easily pick up the well and put it somewhere else if you don’t like where you put it. The gameplay seems easy and, except for the pocket for the tools, intuitive.

I was able to level up my scythe skill to 3. I now get three clumps of grass with each swing. hammer and axe got to 2, but my stamina started to go so I  called it a day. But it’s easier to chop wood and rocks now.

So far it’s pretty classic. Except for the choppiness I’m liking it. More to come!


DIY Wish List


As I am trying to complete DIYs for two islands, bold type means I don’t have it on either game, regular type means I have it on one. I’m not including seasonal recipes that have not occurred yet (I don’t time travel), and I’ll list Celeste recipes following (not including zodiac items).


  • Cherry-blossom bonsai (spring seasonal)
  • Cherry-blossom branches (spring seasonal)
  • Cherry-blossom clock (spring seasonal)
  • Cherry-blossom pond stone (spring seasonal)
  • Cherry-blossom petal pile (spring seasonal)
  • Iron hanger stand
  • Iron shelf
  • Mermaid Bed
  • Mermaid screen
  • Mermaid shelf
  • Natural garden chair
  • Street piano
  • Wooden table

All recipes: Celeste

  • Asteroid
  • Astronaut suit
  • Crescent moon chair
  • Crewed spaceship
  • Lunar Lander
  • Lunar Rover
  • Nova light
  • Satellite
  • space shuttle
  • Galaxy flooring
  • Lunar surface
  • Sci-fi flooring
  • Sci-fi wall
  • Cosmos wand
  • Golden wand
  • Hyacinth wand
  • Iron wand
  • Lily wand
  • Mums wand
  • Rose wand
  • Tree-branch wand
  • Tulip wand
  • Wand
  • Windflower wand
  • Star pochette
  • Star head

Door Decorations

  • Chic windflower wreath
  • Cool hyacinth wreath
  • Cool windflower wreath
  • Dark lily wreath
  • Dark tulip wreath
  • Fancy lily wreath
  • Fancy mum wreath
  • Fancy rose wreath
  • Hyacinth wreath
  • Natural mum wreath
  • Pansy wreath
  • Pretty cosmos wreath
  • Purple hyacinth wreath
  • Rose wreath
  • Snazzy pansy wreath
  • Tulip wreath
  • Windflower wreath


  • Cherry-blossom flooring (spring seasonal)
  • Sakura-wood flooring (spring seasonal)
  • Apple rug
  • Cherry-blossom trees wall (spring seasonal)
  • Mermaid wall
  • Modern wood wall
  • Sakura-wood wall (spring seasonal)
  • Stone wall


  • Pear dress
  • Blue Rose crown
  • Chic mum crown
  • Chic rose crown
  • Chic tulip crown
  • Cool hyacinth crown
  • Cool pansy crown
  • Cosmos crown
  • Cute lily crown
  • Dark Cosmos crown
  • Gold rose crown
  • hyacinth crown
  • Lily crown
  • Lovely cosmos crown
  • Mum crown
  • Pansy crown
  • Rose crown
  • Tulip crown
  • Windflower crown
  • Cherry-blossom pochette (spring seasonal)
  • Log pack
  • Cherry-blossom umbrella (spring seasonal)

Now Playing

Since I’m not streaming regularly and I don’t get to talk games much I thought I’d take the time to write about what I’m playing and what I’m looking forward to.

US Games

Monster Hunter Generations

I’m still enamored with the hunting of large terrifying monsters. The US version of Monster Hunter is always more accessible to me than the JP version, so while I play the JP version I always pick up the US version (they’re not cross compatible). The hubby and I hunt together and we’ve finally reached hunter rank 7. He is using the adept long sword and I have ditched my beloved dual blades to try out the aerial switch axe. I love this game because you can hunt a monster or two and then put it down without consequence. So I play a lot for a week or two and then don’t touch it for a while. I’m currently in that play a lot phase because I want to unlock the rank cap and get decent gear before the Monster Hunter tour arrives in San Francisco on October 20th.

Pokémon Y

I picked up another copy of Pokémon Y when I realized that I needed a ton of Pokémon from X/Y to reach my goal of a completed pokedex in ORAS. I already had the game, but I hadn’t played it since it came out and I have a really hard time diving into the middle of a game and trying to figure out what I need and where to get it. I figured starting fresh would help. And it has, but for some reason I don’t like X/Y that much. I’ve played I think around 20 hours and I just barely got the second gym badge. Granted I spent quite a bit of time on the hunt for pokémon to trade back to ORAS, but still, it feels really slow to me. The cities are huge and unwieldy. The roller skates annoy me. And OMG I miss the DexNav. That is the greatest addition to the games to date. Please bring it to Sun/Moon!!

How’s my pokedex coming in ORAS you ask? Well, it’s kind of stalled out while I play this game, but I have a running list of all the pokémon I can only get from XY to trade over + how to evolve them. It’s a lot more work than I imagined and I’m only up to 400 something out of 718. Will I make it by November 18? It’s not looking like it, but I’m still trudging slowly forward. Maybe if I can get through Y I’ll find more momentum.

Japanese Games

世界樹の迷宮5ーEtrian Oddyssey 5

I first played Etrian Odyssey 2 on the DS when it released in 2008. That was before I started studying Japanese, so I’ve only really played them in English. If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s kind of an old school dungeon crawler. You have to map a labyrinth and find your way to higher floors battling horrible boss monsters about every 5 floors. The series is hard and usually involves a lot of level grinding and screaming when you accidentally encounter a FOE—a boss-type monster that usually squashes you dead if you try to fight it when you first see it. My favorite aspect of the game is the mapping. I don’t know why, but I love drawing the map and finding hidden nooks and crannies.

As for the game in Japanese, I definitely would not recommend it to a beginner. It has no furigana whatsoever (that’s the kana above a kanji that tells you how to read it if you’re unfamiliar with the kanji). So unless you know a lot of kanji, you’re screwed. The game is not geared towards kids (unlike something like, Yokai Watch or Pokemon) and there’s a lot of reading with quests and missions that you kind of have to understand to be able to do. I usually get the gist of what’s going on, but have to look a bunch of stuff up and often allocating skill points is a crap shoot because I forget what the skills do and I get lazy. 😛

PC Games

Um…nothing right now

While I played Diablo 3 a lot at the beginning of season 7, I finished the season journey (a set of tasks that gives you extra stash space—think storage space in animal crossing, and new portrait frames and pets) and now am back to being bored with the game. It goes in waves like that. I play a ton and then find myself with a lot of free cross stitching time.

Honestly I don’t play a lot of PC games so this isn’t terribly unusual for me.

On the Horizon — what I’m looking forward to

I broke down and ordered Dragon Quest VII in English. I played it in Japanese in 2013 when it released and I didn’t enjoy it, but I think that may be because of language barrier. I constantly got lost and had no idea where I was going. While I think I could replay it in Japanese now and be much more comfortable (it’s way easier than Etrian Odyssey), I think I’ll give it a whirl in English instead.

Monster Hunter Stories releases in Japan in October and I’ve preordered it along with 3 of the 6 amiibo. I’m super excited to try an RPG and should probably watch more of the trailers to get on the hype train. I’m notoriously bad with information hunting before a game comes out.

I am cautiously optimistic about Animal Crossing New Leaf Welcome Amiibo. I want to be really really excited. And part of me is. I stalk amazon daily to see if I can order the Japanese cards. And I love the Sanrio crossover in Japan I hope I can find those cards too! But we haven’t seen much gameplay. I don’t really know what the update entails. Sooo there are RVs with villagers and adorable new furniture. Can you get the furniture? Can you convince the Hello Kitty gorilla to cut her road trip short and move in to your village? I doubt it. So what can you actually do other than roll around in their bed and pretend to have a cup of tea? I’m hoping there’s more to the update than just RVs. I don’t know what the heck is up with wisp turning into villagers in the video clip. If the update doesn’t suck and I can get some cards I’m hoping to stream it a little. And I’m hoping maybe I can get a few more of my favorite villagers in my towns (Annalise I’m looking at you!). Please if there is an Animal Crossing god, let them increase the storage space and update Brewster to hold your gyroids again (gyroids are my eternal bane).

I’m sure there’s more, but this has already reached tl;dr proportions, so I’ll leave it here. What are you playing and looking forward to?

P.S. not super interested in iPhone Nintendo games. Miitomo is boring, creepy, and repetitive, it feels like a weird 20 questions dating app. The pachinko games are also not fun and the clothes are expensive. Will not shell out money for it. So Mario on the phone? Meh. A turn-based game like Fire Emblem makes more sense to me, but I’m old school and would rather play on a handheld console.

Animal Crossing US Card Wanted List

I didn’t intend to collect US amiibo cards, but of course I started. Here is a list of those I need.

Series 1

  • 043 Puck
  • 080 Eugene
  • 082 Goose
  • 084 Benjamin
  • 086 Chief

* denotes awaiting for arrival.

Series 2

  • 105 Copper
  • 108 Tommy
  • 110 Leila
  • 113 Isabelle
  • 114 Blanca
  • 124 Harry
  • 125 Gwen
  • 126 Coach
  • 127 Kitt
  • 131 Pate
  • 132 Vladimir
  • 133 Savanah
  • 136 Egbert
  • 137 Cookie
  • 140 Avery
  • 143 Olivia
  • 148 Whitney
  • 150 Coco
  • 155 Butch
  • 159 Zell
  • 160 Pekoe
  • 164 Bianca
  • 167 Beau
  • 168 Nan
  • 170 Ruby
  • 173 Julian
  • 178 Hugh
  • 184 Anicotti
  • 190 Vesta
  • 191 Marcel
  • 193 Keaton
  • 194 Gladys

Series 3

These are the ones I have, since I’ve only bought one pack.

  • 213 Digby
  • 219 Anchovy
  • 246 Eloise
  • 262 Blanche
  • 272 Skye
  • 292 Baabara

Curious what I have to trade? The list is over here. All cards listed are Japanese unless otherwise noted.

Plushie Collection

People were curious about my plushie collection, so in a moment of procrastination I photographed them all.

The plushie shrine.

The plushie shrine.

Izzie-chan purse from Pikopuri

Izzie-chan purse from Pikopuri

Top shelf. Mostly pokemon, Bunnie, coasters from Square Enix cafe in Tokyo, Zelda pin, Popolocrois lanyard.

Top shelf. Mostly pokemon, Bunnie, coasters from Square Enix cafe in Tokyo, Zelda pin, Popolocrois lanyard.

2nd shelf. Mostly pikachu. Handmade kirby, Chun Kitty. Stuff.

2nd shelf. Mostly pikachu. Handmade kirby, Chun Kitty. Stuff.

Bottom Shelf: Lots of Harvest Moon plushies. DQ Slime, Monster Hunter mail airou from capcom cafe in Tokyo, cat bus, Prince Pietro from Popolocrois

Bottom Shelf: Lots of Harvest Moon plushies. DQ Slime, Monster Hunter mail airou from capcom cafe in Tokyo, cat bus, Prince Pietro from Popolocrois

Overflow + Sophie's carrier because she's kind of Plushie-like and she sleeps in it.

Overflow + Sophie’s carrier because she’s kind of Plushie-like and she sleeps in it.

New additions who are as yet homeless. (Need to frame that cross stitch)

New additions who are as yet homeless. (Need to frame that cross stitch)

Rathian is homeless too, but I'm afraid she'll eat the Animal Crossing plushies.

Rathian is homeless too, but I’m afraid she’ll eat the Animal Crossing plushies.