Well at least you play it IRL, but one wouldn't need to learn how to play any of the gambling or board games in Yakuza to beat them; they could just learn as they play or just go at it randomly (which is what I do with Koi Koi at least).
For the games of chance, yeah, you could probably play it blind with low level wagers until you hit big, especially if you're using special items to assist. But for Koi-Koi you probably couldn't get away with outside of a beginner or intermediary levels.
Does it take a lot of time to get the completion rate for the gambling and board games BTW?
If you know the games already, probably not. You could get all down within two hours. Casino stuff is simple (Blackjack, roulette, Texas hold'em) Koi-Koi is probably hardest of them all, but probably the best to play and can nab you the biggest winnings and get that 'walking bank' trohpy early on.
Someone I chat with got all trophies in Y3 within 100 hours.
Yeah, sounds about right if they were following a guide fairly closely. But My OCD arse is going for completion across the board (which is outside most of most of the trophy stuff) so I'm verging on nearly 70 hours already on my first playthrough. BUT I'll get a lot of rare goodies for that completion and bring it over to my 'Hard EX' play through and basically stroll through it.
I don't think exposure to oriental culture is the reason; there's enough of the Japanese culture that you can see in the English version and previous games. hell one of the substories requires you to buy 'dugwai', which is Okinawan for Aloe, and there are other Japanese culture stuff in it.
If they remove it then it's prob. due to time constraints, I doubt they'd do it due to oriental culture exposure (I mean for fuck's sake the entire game is exposure to Japanese culture, you won't be losing much by the removal of a few things).
Regarding Yakuza 3, we had a tight schedule to abide by for localizing and releasing Yakuza 3 in the west. Due to the limited time we were given we had to leave certain bits of the game out and we chose portions we felt didn't resonate with western culture i.e. a Japanese history quiz show and the concept of hostess clubs.
That was Sega's official response last month. Which would be fair enough, if they were following the Japanese release fairly closely or they were trying to hit a certain sales period (Seems like they sent it out to die anyway – day and date with FFXIII, really?) but considering it's been more than a year on since that release, it's a tough pill to swallow, for me at least.
I'm happy it made it over and that Sega US gave it a chance. But still, I'm not entirely happy with some of their localisation decisions, being a long time fan of the series.