DS Face Training: Day 2

facening03.jpgSo today when I booted up Otona no DS: Face Training for the second time, I was greeted with a message saying that a “test mode” was now available from the main screen. Apparently the facening test I took last time was just that: a test to determine my expressive prowess, and not an actual “facening” exercise routine. Having done the initial test before, I was free to take it again many more times and track my progress. So I took the test again and was shocked to earn only an 80% (B) grade. I admit, I didn’t practice for a day, so perhaps my face muscles had weakened from not smiling enough yesterday, but in any case, I’m glad the test mode is there- because I can let my friends try it without screwing up my personal data.
So with new motivation to get a higher score I went into my user account, which is marked by a signature you write with the stylus. Immediately, the familiar head of Fumiko Inudo appeared, informing me that I had a question for her. “Really?” I thought. Then my head appeared and asked in fluent Japanese (very impressive), “At what age should you start facening?” Inudo responded saying that any age would do, and that if I wanted to know more I could check the Q&A section of the game’s “other” sub-menu. Afterwards I was to start my first real facening routine.
A facening routine has three parts: a body warm-up, a face warm-up, and then the actual facening itself. I selected warm-up, and then my DS’s little green light turned to a little red one. “crap,” I thought- and I started to wonder if using the camera drained the battery any faster than standard game play. Then I remembered I hadn’t charged my DS in over a week, during which I had taken it on an 11 hour flight, and surmised that the battery life was not affected by the camera. Still, I figured I’d at least have time for one facening routine and continued.
The pre-facening warm-ups don’t use the camera, but simply ask you to move your shoulders about a bit, then close your eyes and move your mouth from side to side, with the aid of an on-screen woman. The purpose is apparently to warm up the muscles in your face and neck, because as I proved while taking the test before, you will cramp up if you try to stretch out your jaw without prior movement.
Once the warm up is finished, you’re taken to the facening menu. The menu allows you to select different kinds of exercises depending on the muscles you’d like to work on, but with my battery life dwindling, I quickly selected the “recommended” exercise button. The recommended exercises are seemingly based on what previous data shows are your weakest muscles, in addition to the general stuff. My custom exercise routine was formulated to work the tiny muscles behind my eyelids (I always forget about those when I go to the gym). At this point the game first shows you a short animation of the routine you need to do, before asking you to perform three repetitions of each routine (mine involved squinting and then raising my eyebrows). The best part of the instructional animation is that if you pay close attention you don’t really need to understand the Japanese being spoken to you during the exercise portion.
Even though I only had time for the one recommended exercise, I felt good when the game stamped today’s date on its built in calendar to show that I had completed a facening routine for the day, and my face even felt a little… stretched. Kind of like your legs do after running a mile.