Saturday, June 10, 2017

Live Spectacle NARUTO ~Song of the Akatsuki~

After 2 years, Live Spectacle NARUTO is back in Singapore. Song of the Akatsuki is a continuation from the first live spectacle with Naruto's journey to find Sasuke and Sasuke's journey to have his revenge towards Itachi. This second live spectacle ends with Sasuke learning Itachi's past and vowing to destroy Konohagakure.

The first live spectacle is spectacular enough to make me want to watch this second one without thinking twice (though not spectacular enough to hook me to Naruto anime or manga :p haha). Thus I am still not familiar with the story and characters. However, I think I enjoy the first live spectacle better which is more lighthearted, has nicer displays of various characters' ability, and has better plot and character development. In Song of the Akatsuki, there are 3 camps: Naruto's side, Sasuke's side, and Itachi's side (the Akatsuki). There is not enough stage time for each camp and hence the character development for each person is lacking. That makes it not so easy for people who are not familiar with the anime/manga to follow the story, unlike the first live spectacle. The plot is also darker and more serious which makes the various songs rather similar and boring. There are more songs so this feels more like a musical than the first live spectacle which feels more like a live stage to tell the story. The special effects are not too remarkable. In fact, there is only 1 that is considered extraordinary: the giant inflatable Deidara when he is about to do his explosion.

The part that I missed the most is the interactions with audience. There were only 2: 1 at the beginning of each half, when a few characters entered from front doors and then went up on stage. The layout of Marina Bay Sands Grand Theatre is rather sucky too as compared to Resorts World Sentosa with the absence of central aisle. When I saw the seating plan during booking, I thought there would be a central aisle between rows W and AA and hence I chose AA although it would get me a middle seat in the middle of that row. I was so disappointed when it was not the case. I remembered that at the first live spectacle, usually there would be activities at the aisle. If the seating plan was drawn better, I would rather choose an aisle seat although the row is slightly further back. However, similar to the first live spectacle, it was not a full house, perhaps because it was a 1pm show on a Saturday. It was a blessing for me as I could move to row GG to get an aisle seat. Staff asked for my tickets and luckily she allowed me to sit there since it was empty. Anyway, it is still in the same price category as my AA seat.

Similar to the first live spectacle, the cast sang Hikari Oikakete live. I am surprised that it is still the same theme song! Anyway no complaint about that since it is quite a nice and catchy song. Some of the cast ran across the aisle to high 5 with the audience and lucky for me to switch seats and I get to high 5 with Kakashi (Yuki Kimisawa), Sakura (Yui Ito), and Sasuke (Ryuji Sato)!! Okay I missed Sasuke's palm so I only managed to grab his thumb lol. Naruto was too busy with the VIPs on the first row.

It was unfortunate that I knew about this live action only 2 weeks ago when I went to Kinokuniya website as there was a banner to promote 10% off of ticket price for Kino members. By then, all the good seats were already taken. Next time I would not mind getting the first row to be able to see the cast facial expression better. But for today, it was $101.20 (including $4 booking fee and after 10% Kinokuniya discount) well spent.

In terms of merchandise, I bought the programme booklet ($30) and the photo set ($80). Lol I was complaining about the photo set last time but I am just a sucker for this kind of thing lah. The price is actually reasonable as according to the official website http://naruto-stage.jp/ the original price is 2300 JPY (~ SGD 28+)for the programme booklet and 350 JPY for the photo of a character.(~$4+). The complete photo set contains all 16 characters (and each character as 2 photos). Buying the photo set entitles a free special photo but I can only choose 1 out of 4 (Team Konoha, Team Hebi, Team Akatsuki, and Orochimaru & Kabuto).
No special 'gift' of this which contains all the characters

Friday, June 9, 2017

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman movie is long overdue. After all, she is the best female superhero ever made in Marvel and DC multi universes combined together. No doubt about that although I am more of a Marvel fan than a DC fan. Sorry Storm, I love you but I still like Wonder Woman that tiny bit more. DC movies have been disappointing so it is great that Wonder Woman is getting a lot of fantastic reviews. Reviews for DC movies usually are bad and I even gave the heavy weight Batman v Superman a miss.

Despite the rave reviews, I think they still overrate and overhype the movie. Perhaps DC movies have been so terrible for Wonder Woman to receive such praise. Wonder Woman tells her origin story: how she met Steve Trevor, how she left Themyscira, and eventually stays to fight in mortals' world. DC movies are known to be darker in themes and atmosphere as compared to Marvel movies. Wonder Woman's initial awkward interaction in mortals' world is pretty hilarious. I guess they try to inject some humor to make the movie more lighthearted but it feels more like an attempt for the sake of attempting. It does not work as well as in Marvel movies which are genuinely intended to be more lighthearted.

I always love female superheroes because I like to see them kicking asses. The fighting scenes in Wonder Woman generally leaves me unsatisfied. With all the guns and firepower, there are not enough physical combats and there are too many CGIs especially for the final battle which renders it rather anticlimactic. Sorry but again I can't help but to compare it to Marvel movies which definitely have much more awesome fight scenes, whether for CGI-based superpowers or for physical hand-to-hand combat superpowers, and they are balanced very well.

The story itself is so so at best and certain parts feel too rushed. We are talking about World War I here but there is little war strategy whatsoever. It seems that Wonder Woman is simply thrown in to bulldoze her way through and to end the war. There is a lack of heroic moments or touching moments which is a waste considering the war setting. The ending leaves a lot of question marks. Is Sir Patrick actually Ares? Or is Ares simply using Sir Patrick's physical projection? How does defeating Ares conveniently end the war just like a snap of the fingers? What happen to Dr Poison? Since the movie is like a reminiscence from Diana's point of view, it is arguably ok to use it as a reason for a rather choppy flow. After all, we cannot remember every single things from our past.

Hmm.. I guess I am biased.. or it is really simply because Marvel makes better movies. While Wonder Woman is still quite fun and not boring/draggy, it is simply not entertaining enough for me to consider watching it more than once or even watching it at Gold Class despite its 2+ hours run. Anyway, Spidey is (home)coming in a month time.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Orange

I am so hyped up about this movie because of the OST on youtube. I only managed to find this after 2 years and even my friend had great difficulties to find this. One day, Naho Takamiya receives a suspicious letter from her future self in 10 years time. Initially skeptical about it, Naho begins to take letter more seriously when what the letter states starts coming true such as the arrival of a transfer student Kakeru Naruse. Future Naho informs younger Naho that Kakeru would commit suicide and she wants younger Naho to prevent that.

It sounds quite intriguing and boring at the same time. Lol. After all, a story involving time travel, time skip, time jump, etc to change the future usually does not make sense of time paradox. Surprisingly, Orange deviates from that in the sense that whatever changes that happen to the past does not end up changing the future.but ends up creating a parallel timeline. I am not sure if that is a good thing since the way I look at it, it feels that everything is simply a dream or wishful thinking. It is as if the future people are just sending the letters and dream/hope that the letters reach their younger selves and have a better new future, does not matter if it does not impact them who are writing the letter now. So yeah, if the future is changed it will turn out boring but if the future is not affected it feels like only a wishful thinking.

Among the 6 characters, I dislike Naho the most. I am not sure if it is her character or it is the actress who plays her (Tao Tsuchiya). She also stars in Aozora Yell and somehow both characters played by her end up equally boring. Well whatever it is, seriously Naho is just too boring among her friends. I don't know if such a group of friends can exist in real life. The friendship scenes involving the whole group are quite happy and touching to watch but the supposedly 'romantic' scenes of Naruse and Naho are too slow and boring.

The pace of the movie is rather slow and the time jumps between the future and the current make it quite confusing too. I find it quite boring and I only finished watching this in 4-5 separate seatings. Lol. But oh well, at least my curiosity about this movie is fulfilled now. I wonder if the manga will be better since the covers really give a cheerful vibe that makes people interested in it.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Online retail therapy

Finally it is time to say sayonara to my attempt to study Japanese language. It has been almost 2 years since I started and I am quite disappointed with my own progress :( It is ironic that if I continue, it will be to the pre-advanced level and yet I can't even string and say a complete sentence confidently. Learning language is tough. At the beginning, it was still simple enough and perhaps I was still enthu enough to revise diligently. But now, I am lagging like 2 terms behind in my revisions. I cannot remember the newer vocabs as well as sentence structures too. I guess it is a blessing in disguise that sensei no longer wants to teach on Sundays lol. I have a good reason that I am only available on Sundays instead of admitting that I suck that I don't want to continue. It really depends on my own willpower and desire if I really want to master nihongo :(

It is June and Japan Point is having 2x promotion for Iroha Mart. I just noticed about this Japan Point thingy because of the banner outside Iroha Mart. Damn! I am so sad that I only knew about it today. Teppei Syokudo is also one of the restaurants that I can get points and I have ate there 8x this month! Although I know there is no way I will be the top spender to get the air ticket to Japan even with those 8 meals, I don't know if I am sadder about that or I am sadder about the fact that I spent so much already for food T_T

After a failed physical retail therapy to lift up my mood, I am hooked with the online one. Sigh.. It all started with my attempt to look for Conan movie medallion that was already sold out by the time I queued for Conan movie 2 weeks ago. I discover that there is always 1 movie medallion for each Conan movie! Wow.. 21 movies so far so there are 21 medallions to hunt for.. At Yahoo! Auction Japan, the price for 1 is about 800-1000 JPY each. It is too much hassle to buy one by one, not too mention all the proxy fees and domestic fees will build up so I am just waiting for people to sell a few at one go. So far I only managed to get a set of 3 for just 600 JPY!! Mwahaha...

After it reached the proxy warehouse, I thought it would be a waste to just ship 1 item. I had nothing else in mind to buy so I have no idea how I end up finding out about AAA Fantastic Over photobook. I don't usually buy concert photobooks but since this will be the last one with 7 members, I decided to buy it. The retail price is 3900 JPY and I paid 2760 JPY so I hope the condition is still okay. Apparently there are variants with each member as the cover (the contents are the same), The variants are already sold out and the second hand prices are scalpers' price.
I also bought Sexy Zone's second photobook. The cheapest I found was 1100 JPY and the condition was stated as unopened. It better be as such. The original price is 2300 JPY.
As part of promotions for Detective Conan's movie this year, Aoyama Gosho created a few limited manga covers with title Detective Heiji. It is supposed to be a joke since the designs are exactly like Detective Conan covers, only that it features Heiji and some Osaka landmarks. This Detective Heiji joke also made an appearance in the movie.
I spent 1500 JPY or 300 JPY each
Last but not least, Universal Studios Japan had Detective Conan's attraction: The Escape which unfortunately only ran until end May this year. 1 of the special merchandise is a Conan's watch minus the actual anesthetic effect. Lol. I actually avoid buying wearable anime merchandises (especially watches since my current 2 daily watches are good enough and I don't want to damage the merchandise watch) but I gave up resisting since this is not just a watch with Conan picture or logo smacked on it but it has a lid that can open like Conan's watch in the anime/manga. I can't find information of the actual price etc but I decided to just YOLO and buy it since I want to quickly ship all my items together :p In some of the item descriptions, sellers mentioned that can only get 5 a day at USJ and it is already sold out bla bla bla.. Don't know if it is the truth but this is partly what makes me to buy it. There is not any decent official pictures of it as well so I guess I will only show pictures after I receive the actual item.

Still about Conan, I am emo to find out that this year's Conan mascot actually went around for some promotional activities, just that they were not at Plaza Sing!! Sad.. I realised it only when I checked Odex facebook page to look for information on how to redeem the Conan pin.. Haiz.. So this year no picture with Conan :( The learning point, however, is now I know every year definitely Conan mascot will go around for promotional activities. So I better find out where next year and I must take photo.. wearing the Conan watch perhaps :p

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Smoking talk

In late April, I agreed to a doctor's request to give a brief talk for the doctors regarding smoking cessation. As I am away for courses for the second half of May, we have not agreed upon a date. As May was ending, I asked if a date had been decided as I was about to start preparing the slides. I was offered today which meant that I only had 2 days to prepare.. Ooops.. I am a procrastinator. Timeline was tight but I wanted to get this over and done with so I just said yes.

My old laptop does not have internet connection while my new laptop does not have Microsoft Office. I need the internet for more information and pictures to prepare my slides. I decided to try Open Office and Libre Office after pretty good reviews online for free alternatives for Microsoft Office. I could not stand the lag.. and when I viewed the end result in Microsoft Powerpoint, all the settings were different T_T

I slept at 2 am for the past 2 nights but I am glad that I am done with the talk today. Yay!! Usually I always prepare script for presentations but this time I really had no time. So it was rather impromptu. But I did mention to the doctors that my presentation was not meant to be something formal and mainly it was just for sharing of knowledge. So yeah, I am quite proud that I was able to do the presentation quite smoothly.

The feedback I have is pretty encouraging but I really hope that my presentation somehow will help for their exam. Otherwise I just wasted their time.. Some more there was a doctor who was on off day but decided to come just to listen to my talk. Wah.. pressure sia..

Monday, May 29, 2017

Retail therapy.. failed

I was so lazy to attend my Nihongo class yesterday but since it was the last lesson, I decided to show face and attend. Well I was wrong. Next week is the last lesson. Lol. It is ironic that only at this time that I started to grow a little bit closer to my classmates. After lesson, I decided to check out for Uniqlo GSS deals before buying some Japanese snack at Iroha Mart. I found some Disney t-shirt on sale for $7.90. There were 2 designs of Aladdin t-shirt that I was interested. 1 design has both M & L sizes while another one only has M size. After I tried and was deliberating which size I should get, one classmate called me to ask if I wanted to join them to eat kani ramen.

I was intrigued as I never tried that before and hence I said yes. Lol. Anyway the kani ramen does not come with crab but the soup stock is made of crab stuff. I could not really taste any crab flavour that much but the after taste definitely was crabby. Oh ya, before going over to Cineleisure for the kani ramen, we visited Apple Store which was newly opened on Saturday. I am not an Apple fan but I was curious to see also. I think there were more staff than visitors. Lol.

After ramen, I went to Uniqlo at Ion and found no Aladdin t-shirts. Thus I tried Uniqlo at Orchard Central. They had the same stock as the one in Plaza Sing so I decided to get 1 design with L size and the other design with the only available M size. It is unusual to find Aladdin t-shirts and it is on sale for <$10 so buy now and think later.

I also saw a light weight jacket which was on sale for $39.90 from an original price of $129.90! Woaaa!! There were olive and beige colors which were unusual and unique. Again I was contemplating between M or L but since I was in t-shirt when I tried, I could not make my mind. I decided to go home, check my old sky blue Uniqlo casual jacket for the size and come back today in office wear. That would be easier to decide if M or L is better.

Today I saw that Uniqlo's sale for the week is another type of jacket for $39.90. It is a newer design that looked interesting but I did not bother to check yesterday because the original price is $59.90. Only Suntec has both M and L for this jacket so I went there after gym. The material was disappointing and I did not even bother to try. I guess price never lie. The one I tried yesterday has original price more than double than this one so no wonder the quality was better.

Red line is having problem today and I thought the problem was resolved in the late evening. Although there was no human jam, the train spent about 5 minutes at each station. I decided to alight at Somerset and take bus or something. I went to Uniqlo Orchard Central and I decided to just get M size for the light weight jacket. I wanted to get it over and done with so I bought both colors.

Does that make me happy? No :( Now I am think when or what occasion I will be wearing this jacket.. Haiz.. It is very unusual for me to buy clothes, not to mention 4 pieces in 2 nights. All the emo-ness is because of the CPIP haiz.. I am still praying for blessings from clinic to proceed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Manager?

Everyone loves the prospect of being promoted right? Nope.. unless again I turn out to be the odd one out. On Friday, my branch manager prepped me for the appraisal last Monday. Lol. There is a likelihood for her to be transferred to take over a new clinic so the bosses are asking if I am ready to take over as the manager for the current place. Of course I have my own reservations haha.. I am far from perfect and I have so many weaknesses: I can't speak Mandarin, I am negative, I am quite fierce etc so I don't know if I will end up destroying everything. Of course I have my own personal reasons as well: life is going to suck as my colleagues suck and I don't think I have anyone to cover my back. I was asked to think about it carefully. Anyway, even if I decline, my branch will be left as status quo and alternative plans will kick in.

Outright yes maybe seen as being overconfident while outright no will be seen as negative. So I am prepared to be vague and just voice out my weaknesses and ask if the bosses have contingency plans should things fail because of my foreseen weaknesses. Guess what? On Monday during appraisal, the question did not even come. I was only vaguely asked if I am ready to take over as manager should the time comes. I still gave my pre-planned answer but I did not get a reassuring answer. Afterwards, I asked my manager if asking me was just a formality. Knowing the people in my company, even if I say no, likely the other plans will say no first and then it will come back to me (since it is being considered plan A) but this time the decision will be forced on me.

Today I heard something else from my colleague from another branch. She heard that my manager would be taking over that branch o_0 Alamak.. so what is going on? Every 2 days I hear different stories that I can't be bothered anymore. Just wait for an official news when it comes instead of getting stressed over speculations and wild guesses.

I usually enjoy the time away from work to attend courses. This week is even more fantastic: 3.5 days course straight! Well this CPIP course turns out to be the most stressful and depressing course that I ever attended. At the end of the day, I feel very drained and tired with ideas being rejected and having to thought of more ideas. It is not exactly about my idea being rejected but it more of having to rephrase to make it very specific etc. In the past, I thought doing projects would be something that I like and I could consider for future. I guess it is another item struck off from my list.. and I am one step closer to a bleak future :(

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Another hectic week

Earlier this week was a gruelling decision making process for me to decide what phone I would get. If I took the phone I wanted for personal use (Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime), I would save $250 from the original price.Getting any iPhone is a saving of $500+ from the original price so iPhone is definitely overpriced. I swear I would no longer spend crazy amount of money on phones as no matter what, they are obsolete in 2 years time. So I am glad that at the last minute my sister agreed to 'buy' the iPhone 7+ from me. Initially she insisted on buying it from me at the price I paid M1 -_-" Crazy.. if that is the case I did not even get any $250 to get my new phone.  So in the end I still have my $250 while my sister benefited $300 to pay me as compared as getting the iPhone 7+ from apple shop.

I kept refusing this and that add-on until the guy serving me said to help him as he needed to offer this and that for his commissions. Sorry mate, I really can't help you. Lol. So in the end, when he asked for a favor to send him a good feedback, that was the only thing I could do for him.

I went for blood donation on Wednesday and before that, I had another dinner at Teppei Syokudo. Lol.. This time I tried a new limited menu instead of having the Kaisendon again. It was not a seamless experience as I waited for more than half an hour just to get past the medical screening. I heard both were new so they were slow. The nurse was very pro as I did not feel anything when the needle went in and was removed. Curiously, my arm was sore until yesterday. That was 4 days! There was no bruising whatsoever as well. Not sure if it was something to do with my veins. For the first time, the nurse commented that my veins were 'soft' although I had always been using my left arm for my donation all this time.

Because of that gym took a back seat this week as I did not want to aggravate my arm further. On Thursday, I went for a positive leadership course. I am not sure if it is going to make me more positive but one thing for sure I realise that I am not alone. There are people who hate their job even more than me. Perhaps this is a revelation that everyone and every job is the same. Perhaps it is me who have to learn to shut my mouth and just suck up all the shit at work like what everyone else is doing.

My 11-month suffering finally came to an end on Friday. Yay! It was the last day of my pre-reg. My colleagues decided to give her a farewell gift -_-" and asked if I would want to join. Hell no! It is not my style to give anything to students as I do not want to be seen as 'bribing' since eventually they must grade me. I don't want that gift to distort the perception as I want to know the honest and real feedback. Anyway if I am pleased with the students, usually I will bring them out for lunch on the last day. But for this one bleah, I don't even bother to hide my displeasure. So yeah, I am quite proud of myself to be able to resist the temptation to save my face. Lol. In fact, I told her straight in the face that sorry I did not participate in the farewell gift (I did not even write in her farewell card) with the reason mentioned above. I am more upset with my colleagues actually. What is the point of trying to be nice on the last day when all these while behind her, they also talk bad.

The first time is usually the most difficult so I am glad that I overcame my first volunteering session yesterday. It was embarrassing as my nose kept dripping. It was supposed to be from 3-5pm but it overran until 6pm. I know it is bad to be complaining about this since I choose to be volunteering after all. Haha..

Since my nose has been dripping and I had difficulties in finishing my Nihongo homework, I decide to skip class today. Lol.. Tomorrow is appraisal and then I am away for the rest of the week for a course that requires 100% attendance. So I don't even have any chance to rest and take MC anyway. And a Sunday staying at home means another Deliveroo T_T

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Revival

For the past 2 weeks, I am slowly trying to get into my usual life prior to going to gym. With limited time after work, gym basically takes priority over whatever free time I am left with. Movie time is the one worsely affected and I am worried that I can't use finish the free movie tickets I have for this year.

Last Saturday I went for Kingdom Hearts concert. There was no Japanese class on Sunday because sensei was overseas and I forced myself to watch Beauty and the Beast on Sunday morning. I then went to gym before going to Kinokuniya to buy Injustice Year 5 Volume 2. I was waiting for the 20% off during the free comic book day (which is on first Saturday in May every year). Then I went to Doujin Market at Suntec.

It was my first time attending Doujin Market. Doujinshi is a part of anime/manga sub-culture but I am not really a fan. In fact, I decided to take a look at it this year simply because it was a long the way and I am planning to spend the whole day out. So it was just for the experience and bragging rights that I ever attended such event.

Doujin Market is free since it is not held at exhibition halls but on the area outside the halls. In comparison to the number of people attending, the area is too small and it is human traffic jam. Almost all the exhibitors are selling things so once someone stops at a booth to look-see, s/he will block the narrow passageway. It was so frustrating for me just want to go 1 round to see what interesting things available. I left empty handed and I think this will be the one and only time I will be interested in doujinshi or fanart stuff. Most of the stuff are either the kawaii/chibi style or the BL/yaoi stuff. I am more interested in the CG kind of artwork.

Yesterday was another day outside with my doctors' appointment, followed by gym, and then Conan 21st movie advance screening. Today I was so tempted to skip my Japanese class because I wanted to check M1 shop to make sure of the phone that I would get on Tuesday and I wanted to gym and I wanted to sleep. I managed to beat the lazy bug and in the end, sleep is the one sacrificed.

When Teppei Syokudo at Plaza Sing was about to open, I was so excited and then I forgot about it. Once I remembered about it last week, this is going to be my new addiction as I already ate their Kaisendon 3x in the past 2 weekends. If the trend continues, it is going to hurt my wallet since it is $16 per bowl. Iroha Mart is also smart to bring in a potato chip brand with tie in with Conan movie. I bought one pack of each different Conan picture.
Okonomiyaki is famous in Osaka so all the pictures for the Okonomiyaki flavour are Heiji and Kazuha

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Detective Conan: The Crimson Love Letter

I made an exception to watch Conan 20th movie last year because it was interesting with the Black Organisation plot. I said 'exception' because I never watched any Conan movie before despite already reading the manga for more than 15 years now. For this year, I was not hooked by the trailer. I was hooked because of me being deprived of movies. Lol. After working for 3 Saturdays in a row, today was my first off. When I saw the advertisement for the advanced screening today, I thought why not since I would be out for the whole day.

It is my first time attending a movie advance screening kind of event by Odex. The ticket cost me $35 and the gimmicks were actually not fantastic: poster (I am not a poster person), clear folder, Japanese tea cup, and Gosho Aoyama's signature card. The only thing which caught my interest is only the Gosho Aoyama's signature card although I knew I expected the impossible. It turned out to be a digital signature copied and pasted.

The so-called event was messy. There was no signages on the queue for the sales of limited merchandises from the movies and the queue to collect the goodie bags. When I reached, I only saw a queue and I thought there was only one queue. It turned out be the queue for the merchandises. I was like the 5th person queueing and I was disappointed the items that I wanted (the medal and the hand fan) were already sold out. The hoodie is too expensive at $98. I am very particular about clothes while I did not bat an eye when I bought $75 Kingdom Hearts Keyblade Conductor Baton last week. Haiz. But I was also thinking about practicality: there was no chart to estimate the size of the hoodie so it would not be funny if after spending that much I could not wear it and there will be limited chance of wearing it in hot and humid local weather. Although the merchandise sale was advertised to be open to the people who bought tickets first before to the public, they did not really check if the people buying had tickets as they were understaffed.
I did not get what I wanted. But since I already queued, I decided to buy these plush keychain for $19 each T_T Well it is rare to see Heiji's merchandise so I guess why not...
Conan mascot was wondering around. It was good for the public but disappointing for me who thought that there would be a designated proper space to take photo with Conan for the ticket holders. Sigh.. I still consider myself lucky to take a photo with the box office as the background and although there were strangers at the background, it was not that crowded. Still, with strangers, the photo was not good enough to be a profile picture :( The girl who helped to take my photo was lovely too. She retook my photo when a passerby inconsiderately walked past behind me.

After watching Kuroko yesterday, I think Conan movie is nice to give a brief introduction to the characters at the start of the movie. Yes, despite having 21 years of history, it still gives introduction which I think will help people who are new to the series. Story and humour wise, it is typical Conan style so nothing is extraordinary. The action scenes during the bombing of Nichiuri TV and the Satsuki temple were too unbelievable. Although these scenes give audience adrenaline rush, it is quite unrealistic for Conan and Heiji to escape such situations. The action scenes from last year's movie are more exciting as it is really about fight between good vs bad.

Well at least now I know this kind of event from Odex will be quite rubbish both in terms of organisation and the goodie bags so next time I would not be tempted anymore. For now, I am only having empty hope that they will promote the movie like last year: Conan standees around Plaza Sing and Conan mascot will appear for photo taking at certain hours. Empty hope because I know it is not going to happen since the movie is out for general screening this coming Thursday and there is no standee whatsoever at the mall now T_T

Friday, May 12, 2017

Kuroko no Basuke: Last Game

Kuroko no Basuke season 3 ends with a high note for me so I am hoping for even more exciting things for this movie. After all, we will get to see Generation of Miracles to play as a team! There is not much introduction to the series so clearly the movie is targeted at fans who are already familiar with the series. While nothing much to be expected from the plot ~which is quite typical of extra stories in sports anime/manga genre~, I am expecting the same great things from the anime. Sadly none of it happens and this movie is basically just a fan service and an attempt to cash in from the hype.

The match lacks the build up and tension to make it interesting or emotional to watch. The team is a mess. Instead of getting a nice strategy and team ups, we are just getting a mess of: do whatever best and special skills that each of you can do. It is as if the person writing the story is too lazy to even think through how the match should progress or think of scoring or defence scenes that will wow the audience. With so many characters fighting for screen time, everyone ends up miserably forgettable. Not because everyone is fighting for attention but because the set ups for them to show their special abilities are bad. Even Kuroko does not really show his phantom passes. Bleah.. So yeah, don't even think there is even a nice thing to see how fantastic Generation of Miracles will be as a team. I don't even see the points of having substitutes for team Vorpal Swords when they are not being played at all -_-".

Spoiler alert: the title 'Last Game' is apt since at the end of the movie, Kagami is leaving to the USA to achieve is his dream to play in NBA some day. So I guess there won't be anymore Kuroko story since Kuroko will no longer have any 'light' to support in Seirin. Sigh.. As a farewell gift, Generation of Miracles plays against Seirin but this is left to our imagination altogether. Another disappointment.

I always thought that Kuroko no Basuke is popular with girls. So it was really an eye opener that majority of the audience yesterday was guys. It was even more surprising that towards the end during the scene when Kagami realises how important Kuroko to him and he wants to properly say goodbye and thank you before boarding his flight, everyone was fangirling in expectation that it was going to be a BL moment. Lol. Anyway, nope, it was not. Not even a hug.. not even a fist bump.. it was just a mid-air fist bump.

I honestly feel quite sad that this is basically like a closure and end of Kuroko no Basuke. While the movie is a disappointment, I still like the characters, stories (in the main series), the humours, etc. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

The movie was released on 16 March and I only finally had the time to watch it today because sensei is still overseas and there was no Japanese class today. Lol. There was so much controversy surrounding this and a lot of my friends said that the movie was rather boring. These killed my initial excitement and perhaps the main reason that I still watched today was I had movie tickets that are expiring in few months time and the show today fit into my schedule.

I am SUPER DUPER GLAD that I actually watched this as I find it exceeding my expectations. I think friends find it boring because they already know the story and know what is going to happen. I love spoilers when watching movies so it does not bother me. Honestly, I was not too excited seeing the trailers: Emma Watson's singing is not that fantastic, the CGI for the living furnitures looks lame, and the general feel that it is not going to be at the original cartoon. Well it turns out that Emma's singing is actually okay after I get used to the first song (after all she is an actress and not a singer), the CGI for the living furnitures turns out to be believable enough (the gesture looks more human than cartoon), and it is faithful to the original cartoon (the addition of the introduction and the ending are very much welcome to add to better background setting and closure). The movie runs for 2+ hours which is more than 30 minutes longer than the cartoon, yet it does not feel draggy.

I am really glad that the live action tries to stick closely to the cartoon. You can see a lot of youtube videos comparing scenes from the original cartoon vs live action. It is simply amazing to make a good use of the good nostalgia. The musical scenes are all amazing, especially Be Our Guest which is as magical as the cartoon version. I hope Disney will follow this formula for the subsequent live actions instead of cutting down on the fabulous songs like what was done with Cinderella.

The Beauty and the Beast OST is sung by Ariana Grande and John Legend. I guess can't help it to have them to attract current crowd. But I am glad that they do not forget Celine Dion and she still sings a song (How Does a Moment Last Forever) at the end credits. It is a nice touch that the end credits during this song shows the main casts one-by-one smiling at the camera and only after the song is over then come the usual black screen end credits.
It is a good surprise to find this although their voices are not as nice as ang moh versions.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Kingdom Hearts Orchestra ~World Tour~

This feels like forever. The announcement and ticket sale began since May 2016 so it has been a year. I was so excited about this as it would be the first game concert that I would attend (although in the end, Final Fantasy Distant World concert played first in December). Thus I still decided to watch despite having little knowledge about Kingdom Hearts. Out of so many games in the series, I only played Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and honestly the only thing I remember is the names of the 3 main characters. Lol.. I remember nothing about the story, the gameplay, or the music. I read the manga for Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts 2 but I also remembered very little about the story.

I bought the category 2 ticket for $189. Sigh.. I should have bought VIP for $255 since it would come with the opportunity to take photo and get a signature from the composer Yoko Shimomura. I guess I can't help my ignorance 1 year ago. I might not even know about the VIP benefits when I bought the ticket last year.

I may be quite biased with my feelings towards the concert as I was not very familiar with Kingdom Hearts music. I also can't help but drawing comparison with Final Fantasy Distant Worlds last December. I honestly did not think that I really enjoyed this concert. The pieces sound quite similar and boring. Nothing was really memorable or outstanding. Some of the better ones (although I can't remember the tunes now and even when they are played now, I may not be able to recognise them as Kingdom Hearts music) are Roxas' and Ventus' character themes (perhaps because they share similar tune), At Dusk, I Will Think of You, Twinkle Twinkle Holidays, the Final Bosses' Medley, and the finale song: Passion. The one that made everyone happy was The World of Kingdom Hearts particularly because of the Mickey Mouse March. For the other worlds, I think there is a nice mix between Disney and Kingdom Hearts elements but I personally prefer if they improvise along the Disney tunes that I am more familiar with. To be fair, I am also not familiar with all FF music (especially FF X onwards which I don't play) but there are still songs with memorable and catchy tunes that I grow fond off, despite not knowing anything about them at first.

In my post on Distant Worlds, I said that it was great to see Arnie Roth conducting and emcee-ing at the same time as that makes the concert experience better for the audience. That is sorely missed in this Kingdom Hearts concert which really feels like a professional orchestra performance. Yoko Shimamura was present to say her regards and thanks and it is definitely great to have her also playing the piano for the final encore. Her translator needs to be fired though. She sounded so unprofessional and I personally think translator that translated in 3rd person language is bad. Is your job supposed to translate or to interpret?

Surprisingly the concert was not sold out. I saw plenty of empty seats, at least on the level 1. The audience was quite peculiar too as they are more mature and not many otakus and cosplayers spotted. Hmm.. interesting...I arrived 1 hour before show time and I managed to get the souvenir after about half an hour queue. That is not bad compared to FF Distant Worlds that I did not have the chance to queue at all and afterwards I read that people were queueing for 2 hours plus on that day. Haha..

Surprise surprise.. I did not get the concert programme. Haha.. I am not that huge fan of Kingdom Hearts to spend $55 on it although I have to admit that the quality of the book is quite high standard. However I spent $75 for a conductor baton which is shaped like a key blade. Lol.. It was displayed like it was damn epic although it turns out to be just an overpriced plastic piece. No regret getting it though as I am a sucker for this kind of thing.
The plastic stand also has the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra engraving
Usually concert merchandises are exclusive so it is interesting that this concert's merchandises are available to be purchased online. In fact, the brochure they gave us is encouraging us not to queue and to buy the items online. Haha.. Can use credit card and free home delivery too. Wow.. The price is also exactly the same. The website is khshop.wildfaery.com and I am not being paid to advertise this. Perhaps I will change my mind to get the concert booklet.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

After 4+ years...

It has been a long time.. really really long since I managed to sell any of my unwanted toys. So I am very happy to be able to say bye bye to Yuna today. I have been trying to sell this since 2013. That is 4+ years already T_T I bought her for $80+ and sold her for $120 which is pretty good. I am happy that the buyer is satisfied with her condition. I thought the box condition is not that optimum but he said it was still pretty good.
This is a reminder of my early collecting days when I still had a lot of space and bought anything that I could afford lol. As space became scarce, I realised that my love for FF X is not as big as for FF VIII. Initially I wanted to collect all but I only managed to get Tidus and Yuna. Not sure if I gave up this series because of oily Tidus or really because of space issue. Surprisingly, Tidus was sold way long ago and I thought Yuna would be the more popular one.

I get a bit of extra space although it is nothing compared to a few more preorders that will be coming. Well, better one than none :) I hope business will be picking up soon for the other items as well. Lol.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

The first Guardians of the Galaxy was satisfying beyond my expectations so I could not wait to be surprised similarly with the sequel. Of course I was not as excited for this as compared to the Avengers and I did not realise that the movie was already out on Thursday. I used a free movie ticket from Cathay to watch it tonight. That is quite interesting since I watched the first movie using free Gold Class ticket. Haha..

There is not much to talk about the story because I don't think there is really much about the story. In fact, I really think the story is disappointing as it is not about the saving the world from a cosmic danger. Yes Ego can destroy the whole world if he is successful but I feel that the movie is more about saving Star Lord from his crazy father and for the Guardians of the Galaxy to escape the exploding planet. It is CG everywhere that even the fights and action scenes are not that exciting. There is a bit more touching moments but for most parts of the movies, members of the Guardians are separated and have little screen time together.

Despite the poor story and the relatively little screen time of the characters together, I enjoyed the movie so much because the jokes are really hilarious. Unlike the first movie that seems to use a lot of 'ass' and 'dick' to drive the joke, this time the jokes are my kind: the mean, sharp, and acerbic kind of jokes. The whole cinema was laughing heartily so definitely I am not messed up for enjoying the kind of jokes: calling people ugly, calling people disgusting, calling people beautiful 'only in the inside', and many more. The jokes make everything enjoyable enough for me to even consider watching this again, despite the rather weak plot. Interesting eh?

The movie is quite generous with 5 after ending credit scenes. Baby Groot is so cute and funny in this movie. Now that he is shown as a teenager in one of the after ending credit scene, I am wondering if there will be a volume 3 and it will still be as funny.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Best of Rimi Natsukawa Live in Singapore

So this is a second Japanese artiste concert that I attended after AAA last year. But this is definitely the first one of that a solo artiste and more importantly, it fulfills my dream of attending a sitting down concert. Haha..

The concert was held at The Star Theatre, Star Visa, which is the same place as FF Distant Worlds so I am sort of familiar with the location. Unlike Distant Worlds, only the first level is used. I bought the ticket in January and it was not so popular (but the concert turned out to be quite full yesterday). I was considering about getting a box seat but because I kept hesitating and was not familiar with the system, I ended up with a seat on a second row. The box seat was actually not sold but was 'reserved' when I was playing around. It was not time out yet so by the time I wanted to buy, that box seat was unavailable. Sianz.. Anyway it turned out to be not a bad thing because it felt like sitting in the first row because there is no other seat in front of me. The front most row is shorter than my row. So yeah, that is a really good VIP experience. There were moments that I think she was looking and waving at me. Haha..

The concert was 1 hour and 30 minutes including the encore and it started 15 minutes later than the stated start time 8pm. I was worried that a solo singer concert would be boring but this concert proved me wrong. Despite the modest stage backdrop (few cloth drapes from ceilings being shone with lights of different colour), musical accompaniment of only 1 piano and 1 gu-zheng (though Rimi will occasionally play her guitar-like instrument that I don't know the name), the concert experience was mindblowing. That shows how amazing Rimi's singing prowess is. Her voice sounds exactly the same as her recordings or videos that I watch on youtube and her long notes were stable without going off tune.

Nothing was unexpected for the song choices with basically the songs which are familiar for the audience. It is nice that she sang a few Mandarin and English songs too. For the last two songs, audience were asked to stand up, clap a long, and do the Okinawan dance hand movements dubbed as: sliding the window to the left, sliding the window to the right, lifting a shutter up, and pulling a shutter down. Lol.

Initially I felt a bit out of place/era as the audience was mostly uncle and aunties. The good thing with the audience was they were very appreciative although I think it was too much as they were clapping at every pause in the middle of the song. There was not any inappropriate shouting, screaming, and cheering. On the flip side, they were sort of not responsive when asked to stand and do the Okinawan dance hand movements.

I bought the $168 VIP ticket and that entitled me to Meet & Greet session at the end of the concert. I was quite disappointed that there was no photo taking session or any souvenir :( However, we were not rushed when we shook hands and interacted with Rimi so that was pretty nice. My Japanese is still poor so I could not say things in Japanese. I only said in English that I hope next year she will hold a concert again in Singapore.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Metres away from death

Today I had a reminder that life is short and to be enjoyed. At lunch time, it was very windy and started to rain. I was waiting at the roadside for a chance to jaywalk when a big bark of tree dropped from the sky about 2-3 metres away from where I stood. It hit the road with a loud thud and broke into few pieces. If that bark fell on me.. I don't know if my umbrella would help to protect me or worsen my demise. Surprisingly I was not shocked or scared about it. I guess it helps to be prepared to die anytime lol. Seriously the whole road is lined with trees. At any point of time, barks could be falling from any trees at any part of the road.

My mum said perhaps an angel helped me. That's possible. Whatever it is, I am still thankful to God. Wah piang, not funny if really the thing dropped on me and I got hospitalised and suffered. If straight away go to heaven I don't mind.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Movies on plane

As promised, I finally am able to set aside time to write about the movies that I watched on the few flights I took in the past month.
Golden Orchestra
Chizuru Koyama moved to a new town as a new teacher. She was inspired by a local orchestra but instead of joining the professional Umegaoka Philharmonic Orchestra, she ended up registering for the amateurish Umegaoka Symphonic Orchestra whose members consist of local elderly who are happy with their achievements when at practice they can play further than the previous practice. Despite wanting to quit, Chizuru ends up as the conductor as the original conductor fell ill and eventually Chizuru helps the Symphonic Orchestra to hold a performance at local concert hall.

The plot is not too different from any other music + comedy genre: unexpected help from a famed maestro right up to small gimmicks. With the original conductor always carries a screwdriver with a light (as his day job is an electrician), I could already tell that there would be black out during the concern and that screwdriver will be used as the conducting baton and the electricity would be back on during the climax of the piece. One thing fresh about this is that we began with a group of elderly who could not play properly but the movie is not about turning them into suddenly good players. They actually are able to play quite well in their younger days, just that nowadays, they are losing their skills or something along that line. With proper conducting and training, they could get their mojo back. The orchestra is able to recruit new and young members and that is how they get enough members to hold a performance. So it is not the usual "We leave this sinking orchestra and we shall return when it is showing a promise of resurrection" members.

Honestly the beginning is rather draggy and I was so tempted to just switch movies. I am glad I did not as the piece that they play for their performance is quite good. Can't recall the title or the tune now but it is one of the more recognised classical pieces. I will update with the title if I can even find it. Lol.
Gold Medal Man
Senichi Akita won a sprint race in a sports meet in elementary school. That first gold medal and the taste of victory drove him to join every other competitions (fish catching, shouting with loudest volume, drawing) and he came out number 1 in all. His luck did not continue as he went to secondary school and high school. Yet he never loses hope to be number 1 again as he grows into adulthood.

I am sort of cheated when I read the synopsis that began with "Senichi Akita was born in 1964 when the whole nation was excited with Tokyo hosting the olympics" as I was expecting that this was going to be an inspiring real life story of an athlete. Nope.. none of that is correct as the movie turns out to be just a random awful comedy which is not even funny. In fact, the plot gets repeated in the middle: after everything seems to be going down, Senichi gets a second chance when he is stranded and survived on an island using all the skills that earned him gold medals in his elementary school: catching fish, shouting loudly, drawing) but after a short stint as a popular motivator from his experience, things get worse again. Anyway, I think it is a waste of time to watch this.
Bittersweet
Maki Eda is the typical career woman in an advertisement agency who hates vegetables out of anger for her father's decision to open a farm. After drinking too much, she ends up moving and sharing a place with Nagisa Katayama who is a strict vegetarian. Nagisa also happens to be gay so no hanky panky in the house. Nagisa helps Maki with all her vegetable issue: from working to create an advertisement for bitter gourd (wth -_-) and mending her relationship with her parents after she ran away from home/her father's farm while Maki helps Nagisa to overcome his guilt over his brother's death.

This is considered a romantic comedy but there is nothing romantic since Nagisa remains gay and Maki remains single and the comedy portion is only gay overtone slapsticks surrounding Nagisa. The plot is weak and while issues pertaining to Maki are settled, issues surrounding Nagisa remains unclear. Again, it is another movie that I think is a waste of time. In fact, most of the time, my eyes wondered to the screen of the passenger sitting diagonally in front of me who was watching Kimi no Na Wa.

I guess I am really running out of interesting Japanese movie to watch from in-flight entertainment system. Perhaps tomorrow I should just re-watch Fantastic Beasts.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Failed holiday plans

Nihongo revision: not achieved
Gunpla building: not achieved
Project research: not achieved
Enough rest: not achieved

Basically I did not achieve most of the things that I planned to do during this holiday :( All because of e-passport and visa waiver to Japan which basically wiped out 5 working days. I hate to go out, even for meals, when I am holidaying at home so it was wasting my time having to go out for 3 consecutive days last week just to have meals. Haiz.. It does not matter how long the actual meal takes but as long as it involves going out, at least half a day would be gone.

The only good thing about the frequent travelling is that I am able to hatch my pokemon eggs. Yes.. who in the right mind is still playing Pokemon Go nowadays? Lol.. I even bought $30 worth of incubators to hatch those eggs. Ooops.. Prior to this, I had not spent any money for Pokemon Go. Birthday present is my excuse for this indiscretion. Oh well.. Haha.. I got a 10km egg and although it did not become Snorlax, at least I got an Aerodactyl which is my first catch.

Let me just share my visa waiver experience. Yesterday I reached the embassy at about 915am and I got queue no 91 with 40+ people ahead of me in the queue. Wew.. the official start time is 830 and it was already that crowded. It took about 1 hour 15 minutes of queueing so I think it was not too bad.

Today was the collection. Collection time starts at 1330pm and I decided to arrive earlier at 1300pm. The queue outside the embassy was already damn freaking long! By the time I took a queue number, I had 50+ people ahead of me in the queue. My goodness... I left the embassy by 1430pm. Japanese are known for their punctuality so I was surprised that the queue did not start moving from 1330pm. It could be due to street demonstration that occurred in front of the embassy! OMG!! Never I imagine that I will ever experience a street demonstration live in front of my eyes! It is one of the things that usually viewed or heard via the media. Anyway it was about some Japanese company and retrenchment so the atmosphere was okay and unlike those anti-government demonstrations. The funny thing was there were more policemen to secure the location than the actual number of people demonstrating. Lol.. And those of us who queue seem to be totally unperturbed by the demonstration. People were taking photos and enjoying the music played in between the oration. I guess we are already immune to it having read/watched/heard about street demonstration daily.

So after this experience, I better make the most out of the visa waiver. Instead of going to Japan once a year, I should aim for twice a year for the next 3 years. Lol.. (Excuse me.. where does the money come from?). Subsequently, I will pay travel agency to help me settle this. Rp 100000 is worth it than spending my time. In fact, the 2 breads and 1 TWG tea that I had for lunch out of desperation already cost me almost Rp 100000. Add the petrol and my time, definitely paying Rp 100000 is worth it. The reason why I am not using travel agency is because tomorrow is Good Friday. I did not want to take the risk if the travel agency is late in getting my passport back, I would not be able to fly back to Singapore on Sunday. Not that I mind.. really.. :p

Last week Ryu Studio is opening a Naruto statue pre-order. Ryu Studio is a new company based in Malaysia and currently its license is only for Asia region. Thus the limited edition statue has a high chance to sky rocket in price just like Tsume's statues at their beginning. Naruto is sold at 750USD and with 600 limited edition. For item with packaging weight 20kg, I prefer to buy from a local shop than to bear the risk of damage upon shipping. However, there is no distributor in SG. That may not be a bad thing as my room is full. There is only one distributor in Indonesia and its location happened to be near to my home. After asking all the questions, I was really tempted to buy. I was about to see if there were more new pictures during the PO opening date but before it happened, the shop informed me that item was sold out. Oh well.. I guess that is money saved and I don't need to think of storage headache. I am not a fan of Naruto and was considering this solely for investment purpose. Although it will be a challenge to sell 20kg item overseas anyway and it is a gamble with regards to quality since this is a new company.

Still about toys, I realise that the toy price at Multi is cheaper than when I buy in Singapore :( The difference is up to 15-20% which is significant :( Haiz.. I knew about this because of the Kotobukiya exclusive Edward Elric (Full Metal Alchemist) ArtFX J. I did not bat an eye when they initially released Edward Elric and Roy Mustang. But this exclusive version comes with 2 faces, 2 bodies, and base which includes Alphonse! Definitely not to be missed. Since I am in Jakarta with poor access to paypal, I decided to explore local toy shop and that's how I found the cheaper prices, even after considering the member preorder prices in Singapore. I don't know since when this happens or I am just poor with my research but I remember that prices for toys used to be higher in Jakarta and hence I usually buy from Singapore.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hitting the big 3x

From 19 to 20: "Yay I am big boy now"
From 29 to 30: "FML.. so old liao.. what have I done with my life!"

I just can't deny that I am feeling old and really old that birthday is no longer enjoyable. That is exactly the same sentiment that I had last year.

But seriously, I feel so inadequate with my own life. Finance: not even 100k in my bank account and no house. Work: nil achievement. Relationship: still single and happy. Overseas experience: not many and not something comparable to many others.

Life used to be simple that I used to be happy showing off my collections or gaming achievements. But now, owning X number of anime figures or Y number of anime artbooks or spending $ZZZ for both are not considered life achievement that I can be proud of. Like it or not, the fact that I am looking for something bigger as an achievement in my life simply means that I am already thinking like an old person going for retirement or going to die and hence the life goal is about legacy. So yeah, not a really happy birthday to me.

In line with what I posted last year, I shall also put the happy birthday wallpaper from AAA global fanclub. It is my 2nd time so I was not as surprised and excited as last year lol. Not to mention that this year's wallpaper is like 70% background.
Still a bad photoshop editing lol

Friday, April 7, 2017

Mute

I am hoping that updating drivers can help to prolong the life of my laptop. It seems that I am killing it faster. It crashed when installing the latest driver for the speaker and that resulted in the laptop unable to detect any speaker at all! This laptop is going to be entirely useless if it can no longer play music. I spent the whole day and night yesterday trying to uninstall, reinstall, and doing the things that internet suggests to overcome this audio problem to no avail.

I gave up last night and decided that this was really the end. Surprisingly, this morning the laptop detected the speaker again. It made me so happy. Something weird happened: when I shut it down and left it be for awhile, instead of quickly pulling the plug, it suddenly booted up on its own!! And because of that, when I switched it on again, the speaker problem came back! Sigh... Again surprisingly, tonight the speaker is working again. I don't know what happen but at least I am glad that the speaker could occasionally be detected. At least the laptop is not 100% dead yet T_T I am not going to waste my time over this speaker problem anymore.
I am done reading my second book: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them The Original Screenplay. Usually books are turned into movies so it is quite interesting to read a book which is based on a movie. Not to mention that this perfectly describes everything that is shown and said in the movies. It is really an unique experience. I shall start with the movie making books soon.

I will also try to blog a bit more. I just back dated Haikyuu!! 3rd season this morning. I still want to write about A Silent Voice and Aozora Yell movies which I watched 2 weeks ago, as well as the 3 mediocre Japanese movies that I watched on my past few flights: Golden Orchestra, Gold Medal Man, and Bittersweet. Hmm...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Disconnect

I'm home now and it is time to inject some life back to my dying laptop that can only be connected to the internet through cable. I think it really cannot make it: it takes 15 minutes to boot up and the bottom gets hot very quickly that I did not dare to leave it on overnight to play my lullaby. I guess that forces me to disconnect from the online world to enjoy my life.

I finished reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. That is the first hardcopy book that I managed to read in I don't know how many years! Although I don't consider mangas, comics, and e-books as proper books, it is still quite sad. After all, before the internet era, I consider reading as my hobby. I shall take the chance to finish Fantastic Beast (the movie version) and its movie making books as well.
For a spoilers lover, it is quite a feat for me not to find out what the story is all about for this long. Haha.. I only know a little bit from Harry Potter wikia and I thought the new characters i.e the kids of the original Harry Potter characters are interesting enough. Nothing about the plot whatsoever. After reading the book and typing this, I realise that I share similar sentiments with many other readers: the story is quite horrible. I am quite surprised that the words that I am using to describe this is also similar: this is like a badly written FANFIC.

Not sure if I am older now but I sort of hate stories that involve time travel because of the butterfly effect thingy. Harry Potter did this in the Prisoners of Azkaban but when I read that, it was not that bad. In the Cursed Child, the time travel became a huge mess as it created alternate realities. I think Scorpius going back twice to the same moments just repair the mess is also quite ridiculous, although not impossible. Other than AU (alternate universe), the other fanfic-y aspect is the bromance between Albus and Scorpius. I am cool with 2 guys being good friends and all that but the descriptions of them hugging and touching each other make those moments rather gay awkward rather than about friendship moments. Seriously, there is nothing weird and awkward with guys being friends and they are hugging or touching each other. Okay touching sounds not right but I am referring to those normal friendship moments like pushing each other, punching each other on the arm/shoulder, or even putting arm around a friend are completely normal.

I also feel that half of the book is about revisiting those Harry Potter scenes that we are familiar with: Triwizard Tournament, Harry and the Dursleys, and the night when Voldemort killed James and Lily. Definitely there is not enough original story in the continuation of Harry Potter universe after book 7 that I am expecting. The ending is rather hanging and concludes the fanfic-y feel.

I am looking forward for this holiday because I want to apply for e-passport to get visa waiver to go to Japan. It turned out to be a mess. Lucky I called the travel agency first before going there because I was told that nowadays, travel agency cannot even expedite the process. Grr.. I am irritated with my sister. I already asked her to help me call on Monday and if she did that, I would already look for plan B. I am still lucky that this morning my friend was still waiting for his plane from Japan to be back and he managed to share with me his contact who helped him with his e-passport a few weeks ago. Giving personal information to a stranger and meeting this stranger tomorrow make me quite uncomfortable but I hope things will be smooth tomorrow to take a picture and to collect the e-passport on Tuesday.

I just want to rest and nua on my bed and having to get out of house to cut hair today and to go out of house for the passport and stuff are really irritating. Haiz... Tired..

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Haikyuu!! Season 3

That's it.. I finished 3rd season in just a few days. Haikyuu!! Season 3 only consists of 10 episodes and features solely on the match between Karasuno vs Shiratorizawa. It is so long because this final is the only time that the winning team has to win 3 sets which open up the possibility of playing a 5-set game.

It is not fair to be biased just because I have watched other sports anime. However there is something about sports show which is addictive, even when the same tropes are being repeated all over again: teams with stark reliance on individuals ability vs teamwork principle, powerhouse vs underdogs, injuries, the emotion at the brink of loss, how the tide turns, etc. Anyway, the 3rd season does not wander too far off from the first 2 seasons in terms of what has been done well and what has been done badly. And similarly, there are more bad than the good things.

Pacing is terrible. I know there is no way that every points can be depicted and usually there are only so many exciting and emotional moments that can be used. However, to have 3rd set is over at a glance while the other sets drag longer is like showing that they really cannot bother at all to sew everything smoothly togther.

For a 5-set game, I think it is a wasted chance that they don't play the benchwarmers that much. On the bright side, Tsukishima becomes a focus in this season which is good and Sugawara gets to play a bit more. However, Ennoshita is back to a benchwarmer and Kinoshita and Narita (the other 2 second year guys) completely has zero match time AGAIN. Well nothing surprising since right from the start, Haikyuu!! is always crazy only about Kageyama and Hinata. Although it is still irritating that as usual, Hinata always gets the final point.

Instead of the usual brute force and luck in scoring points, it is quite refreshing to see more teamwork and team strategies from Karasuno. Facing Ushijima who is a great attacker, there is a bit more focus on receiving, blocking, and defense. Teamwork and team strategies come into play since none of Karasuno players can match Ushijima on one-on-one (hmm.. is there even a one-on-one in volley?). This is nicely built up even until the final moment of the match.

I am actually quite surprised that there is so much hate surrounding Haikyuu!! and the favourite word used is "overhyped". I don't really feel that since I don't really see a lot of Haikyuu!! figures or artbooks. Lol. Yes, what a barometer to use to judge a series popularity. Haikyuu!! is not the best sports anime out there but I think it is still not too bad. After all, tt still has those tension and emotion filled moments which make sports anime fun to watch.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Aozora Yell

Tsubasa Ono and Daisuke Yamada entered Shirato High School inspired by a Koshien baseball match that they watched when they were younger. Tsubasa dreams of supporting the baseball team as member of the band at Koshen while Daisuke dreams of playing for the baseball team and reach the Koshien. Tsubasa has an uphill task as she has never played brass before while Daisuke has to fight his injury.

The movie starts in an usual manner as both main characters are not childhood friends. Both of them happen to be looking at the display cabinet of the school trophies and make a promise to fulfill each other's childhood dreams. That is a kind and innocent friendship and not the typical chasing the dream for a relationship or "I am doing this for you" kind of thing.

Aozora Yells tries to cramp so many things into a movie and everything start to go downhill from there. Despite the 2 years time jump, things get repetitive first. At the beginning when Tsubasa and Daisuke are in first year, the focus in on Tsubasa's struggle in the brass band and Daisuke is supporting her. After the 2 years jump to their 3rd year, the struggle is Daisuke's injury and it is Tsubasa's turn to support him. Overall it still feels repetitive. Even the baseball matches are exactly the same: 0-0 score until the last inning and Daisuke will either make or break the match and the brass band competition is similar too.

I am not sure what the focus for the movie is. Relationship does not seem to be the thing as Daisuke 'rejects' Tsubasa in the first year saying he wants to focus in his baseball (how I wish in real life girls are the ones declaring their feelings to guys!), music is not the thing as the scores and performances are boring, sports is also not the thing as the matches are not exciting too.

I am disappointed because I was having quite a high expectation before watching this. I came to know this from Youtube's video of Kiseki by Whiteeeen. Kiseki is the theme song of Rookies and originally sung by Greeen. So I was curious who/what is this Whiteeen and when seeing the clip about baseball, I am hoping for something as good as Rookies too. Gosh I feel so old now that I actually watched Rookies in 2010 !!

Lastly, I think it is perfect to cast Ryoma Takeuchi as Daisuke Yamada. I never read the manga but when I looked for some images, I am surprised that the way he smiled is very similar to how the manga is drawn: a big happy smile. It is refreshing to see big happy grin as Japanese dramas tend to be somewhat mellow or flat in terms of the emotion. How I wish I can be someone with a big infectious smile to make the people around me happy when they see me. Wishful thinking indeed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice (Japanese title is Koe no Katachi) is a story about primary school classmates who are separated and then meet again when they are in high school. Shoko Nishimiya is a deaf girl who gets bullied by her classmates until the point whereby she transfers school. When the class is confronted about this, Shoya Ishida takes the blame. He is not the only bully but he is the biggest bully. When he tries to defend himself that he is not the only one being mean, the other small bullies turn against him. Because of this, Ishida becomes the outcast until his high school to the point where he considers suicide. Until one day he meets Nishimiya again and he tries to make amends.

This movie was out of my radar and I only came to know about it when a colleague asked me if I already watched this. By then, it was already airing for 1 week. I only watched it yesterday since I was off anyway. I was reluctant to watch as the graphics is not that appealing. However, the reviews were pretty good and some even said that it is better than Kimi no Na Wa. Hmm.. I should have trusted my gut feeling to judge an anime by its graphics as I don't really enjoy this movie. Haha...

Usually I like things to be somewhat real but A Silent Voice is too real that it becomes too painful and too boring to watch. Lets go through the painful part first. It is painful to see the bullying and the fake friendship things because they are real. That is also what happen in real life: people bully those different from them and when confronted, bullies will never admit that they are bullying. It is also painful that classmates are usually fake friends. It is also painful to see how people don't change with time: the coward remains a coward, the nasty remains nasty, the fake remains fake, etc.

At the same time, it is boring because watching this is basically watching real life in an anime. It is so real and painful as I mentioned in the above paragraph that the usual fiction stuff where everything ends in a happy ending is absent. People and personalities simply do not change over night or over the years and this is shown here. Those irritating kids in primary school remain as such even when they are in high school. Just like real life, we just have to accept one another's suckiness and choose to take it or leave it.

This movie reminds me of a classmate in secondary school who is also has hearing and speaking disabilities. I admit that I was not an angel who deliberately wanted to be helpful but I would help and not avoid him. However, I am also proud that I am not like those in typical Japanese anime/drama who try to be very helpful but at the back actually get frustrated. Interestingly, there was no bully too in the class. In a hindsight, perhaps it is because we were secondary school students and hence a bit more mature than primary school children in the movie. Yes, primary school children is more childish and I can imagine they don't know how to treat a disabled a classmate and end up bullying. However, the teacher is partly to blame since he is not doing anything and the bullying simply spirals out of control. Aaargh.. I was not exactly a jerk but now thinking back, I feel like a jerk for not doing more to help him back then.

Maybe it is just me but I really don't find this movie enjoyable or touching. I don't even know how people can consider this is better than Kimi no Na Wa as well.

Monday, March 20, 2017

100th Birthday

I survived 4 flights in 48 hours period. It is tiring but honestly I don't mind this kind of businessman high and frequent flyer life. I went to Jakarta on Friday night. I reached home at 1am+ and I only had 2 hours to sleep before catching a morning flight to Pontianak. I took a flight back to Jakarta at 130pm today and I continued with another flight back to Singapore at 815pm. Enough about the plane and back to the ground now.

Since I am overseas, I decided to just keep quiet during all the preparations for my grandma's 100th anniversary. My principle is if I don't have anything to add value or I can't do anything to help, shutting up is being helpful. I am glad that I did that. People were so disorganised as everyone only wanted to do a part without care what others were doing and people were just complaining about everything when they themselves were part of the problem.

The food was terrible, the events were messy, and my only entertainment was the photobooth outside. They had a mass planned but did not assign the people to sit on the prepared chairs. I was asked to sit and hence I could not take enough photos outside. Sian.. I hate to go for mass in Indonesia because I cannot follow the words. I only took a few pictures. Family pictures were hassle to get as my dad was all about talking to people. Seriously.. As everything overran, I did not know who was to make the decision whether they should extend the photobooth as 30 minutes extension will cost another Rp 500000. My biggest regret was for not taking a picture with my grandma: just the two of us. Near the end, I was just with her at the photobooth before I pushed her wheelchair back. Why did not I take the photo even when the photographer gave a signal? It was because I did not know the photobooth was extended or not. It is all over now and a chance like this will not come again. No point remembering and getting sore over this so for now I can only say f u c k you all.

Seeing how all these people behave, I don't know whether this celebration is about my grandma or it is all about themselves. I feel quite sad because my grandma forgot about me on Saturday. At her age, her memory is failing. Sometimes she remembers and sometimes she does not. It is sad that on Saturday, it seemed to be her 'off' day. Today when I saw her before flying back, she could remember me and she was chatty like the good old day. If only she was like that yesterday during the event.

To reach 100 years old is an amazing feat by today's standard and she is really an inspiration. Having said that, I am still not inspired to live that long. I am a selfish person and I really don't want all the physical challenges that come with ageing. Dear God, thank you for my grandma who is such a blessing for all the people around her. I don't mind that you take away my life and give it to her so that she can live longer, healthier, and continue to give happiness to the people around her.