Ninjas on Happy Street!

The Lunar New Year is here!

The Lunar New Year is here–with ninjas!

A new Happy Street update hit my Apple App Store on Saturday and it’s…a little confusing to me, to be honest.

The update includes three new Valentine’s Day buildings and a bunch of new ninja stuff to commemorate the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Goat. The update release notes refer to the ninjas as “tanuki ninjas,” which I had to look up. Tanuki is the Japanese name of the raccoon dog, which is an Asiatic animal in the fox/dog family that resembles a raccoon in coloring and markings. According to a Google search, tanuki feature prominently in Japanese folklore and tanuki ninjas seem to be popular characters in modern anime. All of this is new information to me. Plus, I think of China when I think of the Lunar New Year and Japan when I think of ninjas and anime, so the combined theme is a little confusing to me, but maybe I just need to relax and go with it.

Anyway, this is a large update that brings 10 new buildings and a hefty price tag. The new Valentine buildings cost a total of 180 Flooz and the new ninja buildings cost a total of 390 Flooz. Yeefs. For the first time ever, I might not be able to get everything before the themes expire from the shop. I used all of my Flooz on December 24th to finish visiting/decorating my Christmas tree and now I’m broke! I used to be able to get an extra 20 Flooz a day from watching short video ads, but those haven’t worked for me—or most people, according to the internet—in months. I don’t believe the free Flooz videos were ever available to non-Apple users, either, which doesn’t seem fair. Now, I can only get the standard 8+ Flooz a day from sales to Pepin, full train loads, mini games, etc. Sigh.

New Valentine's Day goodies in the Happy Street shop!

New Valentine’s Day goodies in the Happy Street shop!

Anyway, the new Valentine’s Day buildings include a Valentine’s Flowers shop, Chi Choc Lovers chocolate shop, and a red Heart Warming Sculpture that creates a decorative street backdrop. The new Lunar New Year buildings include the Tanuki House (topped with a ninja throwing star), a Fire Mountain ride, a Taiyaki Cookies stand, an Omamori Lucky Charms shop, a New Year Goat Statue, a Tengu Statue, a Kappa Statue, and Kanji Ground. I had to look up many of these terms:

  • Taiyaki is a traditional Japanese cake baked in the shape of fish and filled with sweet red bean paste, custard, chocolate, etc. Some savory versions also exist. The cakes are prepared like waffles by pouring batter into a molded iron press.
  • Omamori are Japanese good luck and protection charms sold at religious sites and dedicated to Shinto deities or Buddhist figures (I remember reading about these in Marie Kondo’s book). They provide blessings and benefits to their owners for a year and are then returned/exchanged for new charms.
  • “Tengu” means heavenly dog. These are creatures found in Japanese folklore and they are also considered a type of Shinto god. Tengu depictions usually look more bird-like than dog-like, and traditions describe them variously as demonic or protective forest spirits.
  • A Kappa is a scaly, humanoid, river-dwelling, mischievous-to-malevolent creature in Japanese folklore. They are often drawn to resemble turtles.
  • Kanji are adopted Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese writing system.
  • Shintoism is an ancient religion of Japan that believes in multiple gods/spiritual powers in the natural world.
New Ninja goodies in the Happy Street shop...

New ninja goodies in the Happy Street shop…

More ninja goodies in the shop...

More ninja goodies in the shop…

These are horribly abbreviated definitions about very broad, very ancient topics, but you get the idea. It’s funny—I’ve definitely learned several new cultural tidbits from Happy Street across the years (like about Haussmann architecture in Paris…and steampunk…and new details about Day of the Dead…).

All of the old Valentine buildings and Chinese and Japanese buildings are available again in the Happy Street shop, too, plus there’s a new outfit to sew in the tailor shop—a Mighty Monkey 2 outfit. Is that another anime reference? #clueless

I’ll focus on getting the new Valentine’s Day goodies first. I like to save enough Flooz to buy all the “matching” businesses and houses at one time so my neighborhood grows together at the same rate. The high price of everything is really daunting, however. I appreciate the hard work of the Happy Street developers, but I do wish we had more opportunities to earn Flooz in the absence of the ad videos.

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