Happy Shenmue Day!
Today, December 3rd, is a special day in my calendar. After watching a cut scene where you see the death of Ryo Hazuki's father on November 29th 1986, you get to play the game on December 3rd, after Ryo finally wakes up from his ordeal.
For a long time, the video game Shenmue was the closest I got to walking around the streets of Japan, and I've played it regularly since its release in 2000. When I moved to Italy, it was essential in keeping homesickness at bay, because its familiar streets were somewhere I could go and relax, play darts or hang out at the arcade.
And so today I will play Shenmue from the start once again, just so the date on my calendar matches the one in the game. And I'll even try to keep playing it, one day at a time, to try and keep the two dates synchronised until Christmas comes around and I lose track and then forget about it until a few months later when I'll pick it up and play some darts or walk the streets asking people where I can find sailors or Chinese people or whatever the story says I should look for.
I still get moments when watching dramas when I think ″That looks just like Shenmue!″ and it makes me feel happy inside. It's a game that's never left me, and hopefully never will.