Sunday, August 13, 2017

Tsum-ing back

Let's take a break from all the movie post and have a diary post about my boring life. Lol. Until now I still have yet to catch any of the Pokego legendary birds that I am lazy to play it anymore. Usually I will still switch it on when I am on bus journey for the egg hatching but for the past week, I can't even be bothered about that. My gaming attention returns to Disney Tsum Tsum again! Lol.

I played Tsum Tsum when it was first released and stopped playing (and uninstalled it) after 2 weeks because it was frustrating to be poor with coins and with tsums. Lol. I still remembered earning only 100+ coins per play and to buy the next tsums, I need 30000 coins. I got hooked back because on the bus I saw someone playing with Beauty and the Beast tsums and I thought they are cute! My luck is better this time as recently I have obtained Romantic Ariel, Beast, and Lumiere tsums. With more varieties and stronger skills, it is much more enjoyable to play now. I consider myself lucky because Romantic Ariel is the rarest (1/15 chance) from the current gacha, Beast is one of the better tsums for coins (although I don't really like him as it takes too long to charge), and Lumiere is one of the newer tsums with good fever gameplay. Hehe..

The mid-year toy fair at Takashimaya ended last week. I am glad that I bought the things that I wanted 2 weeks ago because when I came back last week, everything that I wanted was already sold out. The turnover was surprisingly so fast. In fact, initially I came on Saturday and I was eyeing Yokai Watch storage box. I don't care about Yokai Watch itself but a 30cm x 30cm x 30cm storage box for $3 is quite a steal. When I came on Sunday, I saw a new pile of Saint Seiya D.D Panoramation. There were only 3: Leo ($15), Virgo ($15), and Sagitarius ($20) which were bloody cheap compared to the original price. There were only 3 Virgos and 1 Sagitarius left. As they are quite bulky, I even had to take taxi to go home. I decided to buy with the aim of selling them and it was a good bargain because yesterday I managed to sell both Virgo and Sagitarius for a total of $80. Whee!!! That paid for all my spending + taxi fare. Haha... I hope Leo will have a buyer soon.
Well that is a small respite after my impatience with Digimon plushie set from Premium Bandai which was available from Japan but not Singapore Premium Bandai. I was impatient and just bought it now for 12000 JPY which is reasonable considering the release price of 10692 JPY. After I bought, there was another seller selling for 9000 JPY :( Dang.. if I waited just another week, I would save a lot and perhaps it would spare me from another fucked up SingPost service about the delivery of the item. 
The box is 60cm x 25cm x 20 cm which is VERY big
Ahh.. finally I can get a Gomamon plushie :)
My dad finally agreed to go to Japan next May. Hurray!! I managed to use my credit card points to redeem KrisFlyer miles for First Class tickets. Yay!! It is sad that A380 is no longer flying to Tokyo and I will not able to experience Suites :( After much deliberation, I just decided to YOLO. Despite the departure flight will be a red eye flight (i.e midnight flight), at least I will be able to experience the Private Room. I was deliberating to take Business Class for the return flight but then again I decided that I should just experience First Class since I will be sleeping most of the time for the first flight. Another consideration is the miles 'cost'. By redeeming Business, 1 mile = 3 cents while for First, 1 mile = 6.5 cents.

I am flying to Osaka in a month time and I have yet to settle the train passes there, USJ tickets, exchange Yen, etc. Bleah.. Better start doing something about it tomorrow.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I saw the trailer for the first time before watching Conan 21st movie in May and boy I was really impressed. The graphic looks gorgeous and the action scenes are exciting too. It is quite rare for me to feel that way as usually I am not too impressed for too much CGI. July came and unfortunately there were a lot of bad reviews: bad story, bad acting, etc. Not to mention that the number of screenings after the first week dropped quite a lot and I had difficulty to find a suitable timing as I wanted to utilise my free ticket. I finally managed to watch it today. I was prepared to be disappointed and I was watching for the sake of not letting my free ticket go to a waste.

Hey Valerian is actually not that bad and I left the cinema feeling quite happy. Perhaps because I had low expectations that it did not take a lot to exceed my expectations. I find the acting to be ok, not as bad as what people say.

The beginning sets up the movie pretty nicely as a science fiction that is still grounded on reality. The international space stations has grown big enough with more and more nations joining that the Mother Earth considers it a threat. For peace, it is decided that the space station to leave the earth gravity and to travel the universe. Fast forward a few hundreds to the future, other species (or aliens) join that the space station grows big enough to be called Alpha. 30 years ago, a war with an alien species resulted in destruction of Planet Mul. A group of survivor wants to re-create their planet and this puts them in conflict with Alpha to get the last surviving 'converter'.

The plot in the actual film is actually quite weak and is not as grand as it sounds in the synopsis. It is  a good and bad thing. The good is it is rather refreshing because the Planet Mul survivors are peace loving so the story does not go down to the usual war among the species. The bad is the lack of actual conflict making it rather boring. The 'antagonist' is not the usual evil power hungry human aiming for world domination. He just does what he thinks best for the human and the peace in Alpha although it is questionable to sacrifice a planet and its inhabitants.

The impressive graphics in the trailer is the best as it can get and in the film, they are only for the purpose of introducing how vast Alpha is. The futuristic space ships and control stations in Alpha is nicely contrasted with the natural paradise-like Planet Mul and the barren Planet Kyrian. Action scenes, other than the one at Planet Kyrian, is just like any other normal action scenes with guns. I find it a huge loss that despite boasting so many different species, the focus in this movie is just humans. Bleah.. There will be so much room for amazement if the aliens are also involved. Oh ya, I find Rihanna's dancing is a bit random too lol.

Apparently this is based on a French comic book series from the 60s titled Valerian and Laureline. I guess that explains the direction where the plot is going. If this is from America, there will not be peace loving Planet Mul inhabitants. Lol. They will be all out for revenge and the humans will be the evil race who wants to rule all the other species. No doubt it will be more appealing in terms of story lol.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Gintama

Based on a super popular series, boasting popular actors and actresses, visual that is faithful to the original anime/manga as well as period drama, great box office performance in Japan: all the recipe needed for a good anime/manga adaptation. Although I am never follow the original series, I decided to watch it even without reading reviews, whether for the plot or the movie.

I feel that the movie will be have contrasting reviews depending on whether the person watching is a fan to begin with. I don't follow the original story so I find the plot is quite weak, especially considering Gintama is more like a gag series. I personally enjoy over-the-top performance to replicate the over-the-top expressions and scenes from anime/manga. I also find the references to another series (that is what makes Gintama quite unique for a comedy) hilarious because I am familiar with the series they are referring to. However, for non-fans, they will find the comedy lame and they will not get the references or understand why the fans are laughing.

The setting is kinda lame right from the start as Japan is invaded and ruled by aliens. Even so, I think they really cannot be bothered about the plot to begin with. The rather weak plot gets further thinned down with all the comedy elements in between that people looking for a good story will find themselves in a "WTF is this movie" kind of feeling. But then again I don't know if the plot follows the original anime/manga that fans will like it.

I can close an eye to the story since this is meant to be a live-action of anime/manga which usually is average at best in general. The thing that I can't stand the most is the CGI. The CGI is painful to watch and it is as if the movie producer does not even try to blend the CGI to reality. The CGI looks obviously like a computer work added in a post-production stage. Ouch.. I think not acceptable given the technology today. Even Power Rangers in the 90s is not this awful.

Gintama plays its trump card well with the comedy and self-depreciating jokes throughout the movie. For example, Gintama said that Elizabeth cannot be an alien and must be a human wearing a cosplay wear and a few moments later we are shown with Elizabeth falling down and the human legs showing. The casts sing the initial opening and closing song in a "can't be bothered style". In fact the initial opening scene is like a karaoke session with the karaoke video only showing Shun Oguri's name (the real actor name who plays Gintoki) all over as if he is the only cast in the film. But ultimately, just like the discussion between cartoon Gintoki, Shinpachi, and Kagura at the start of the film, it will be difficult to win over new fans with this live action movie.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Filming

Looks like I have to forgo my secret desire to be an actor. I thought I am quite thick skinned but in front of camera, I am actually very shy :( I am okay with photos, I can tahan videos, but I totally cannot make it when it comes for interview.

About 3 weeks ago, I agreed to help a colleague for a fall awareness video since it would done in my clinic. Lucky I 'volunteered' myself or otherwise I would feel guilty if I were to find someone since it ended pretty late at 830pm. It was my first time to be involved in this kind of video shooting so I learnt that just to get 1 scene, multiple shots from different angles were required. With no script prepared, what I said for each take were slightly different. Haha.. Anyway script was not required because I was supposed to act out what I do at work everyday. So it was not really acting per se.

Today was another filming for a project that I am involved in. The discussion to get a volunteer was going nowhere so I just 'volunteered' myself since eventually the arrow would be directed to me as the smallest fry from pharmacy and the scene to be featured was a pharmacy scene. The pharmacy scene was a breeze since audio was not required. So I could just pretend to be dispensing as usual without worrying about my speech, grammar, language, etc. This time the production was even of a higher standard since it was by an external producer. There were big camera and big light too.

Then came the bummer which was the interview. According to the script, I would only have to answer 1 question so I prepared myself for that. During the actual shooting, I was given 4 questions! No matter how 'good' my English is, English is not my mother tongue. I was very nervous and particular of my own grammar if I had to do something impromptu. Not to mention when the questions asked were not for my personal opinions but I was expected to give answers which were representative of my project team members and my colleagues. Alamak!! It did not help that the producer wanted to have a different background outdoor and I had to do it at corridor. It was rather warm and uncomfortable. Not to mention that I was not sure if I should project my voice or if I should speak normally.

I did not know how many NGs there were and when I thought everything was over, I was given: can we repeat another time from a different angle? T_T It is a horror to see the end product but I really hope the final video will just exclude my interview part.

Gosh... now I really appreciate those celebrities who appear in TV. It is really not an easy job wor..

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Yuri!!! on Ice

Yuri!!! on Ice (yes with 3 exclamation marks) is perhaps the most hyped anime of 2016. When the first time I heard the title -without seeing any visual of it-, I thought the yuri means girls' love theme. Well it turns to be the opposite as a lot of people are saying that this should be a "Yaoi on Ice" instead. It certainly does not help that the acronym for the title is YoI. Lol. And perhaps the most hilarious comment that I come across is someone suggesting that "Yaoi on Fire"is more apt to describe the series as well as all the attention it receives.

Anyway, jokes aside, Yuri is actually the name of the main character, Yuri Katsuki, as well as his rival Yuri Plisetsky. YoI is actually an anime about figure skating. After a series of poor performances, Yuri Katsuki is thinking of retiring when he goes back to his hometown. Surprisingly, the reigning world champion Victor Nikiforov decided to take a break from competition to be Yuri's coach to help Yuri revive his figure skating career.

YoI is essentially a sports anime. However, in the first few episodes, the creators use a lot of bishounen and yaoi undertones to get people interested in the anime. Thank goodness the sports elements eventually become more prominent.

As a sports anime, YoI does an excellent job to portray figure skating in a realistic manner: whether the characters, the clothes, the performances, the points, the kiss and cry scenes. It made me watch some Yuzuru Hanyu's figure skating videos as comparisons. Haha.. There are no crazy inhuman movements and scores and I got to learn a little bit about the point system and figure skating competitions in general. Unfortunately, things get repetitive in the middle when the same songs and similar movements are re-used for the competitions and even the Grand Prix Final. As a main character, Yuri starts as a Japan champion already competing in the world Grand Prix so it is not the typical underdog becoming a champion kind of story. However, I don't really see how Victor trains Yuri and it makes as if what drives Yuri's performance is the romance element.

The characters are likeable and each of them has unique personality. Even the Yuri Plisetsky's angst comes across for comedic effect most of the time instead of making him like the unlikeable rival/enemy. While I like the international casts, I am quite bothered that they all speak Japanese. There is no accent differentiation or stark difference in the character designs to depict that they are all from different countries.

As the series progresses, there is a difficulty in maintaining the momentum. I feel that the climax is at the China Cup which is at the middle of the series. Subsequently, things get pretty repetitive and boring before the final episode which is completely anti-climatic. The ending does not hit a high note whether it is for the competitive sports elements as well as the romance elements. Anyway I am not even sure if it is correct to say 'romance' since the Yuri-Victor's relationship is also ambiguous. They are trying hard to balance between not make it explicitly shonen-ai/yaoi to keep the series mainstream but they still want a shonen-ai/yaoi feel to make girls go gaga.

With all the hype, I hope there will be a second season in which Victor will be competitive again. It will be nice to see Victor and Yuri skating as competitors.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lan jiao

Articuno and Lugia are the first of the Legendaries that are made available at Pokemon Go starting today. After gym today, I was going to Plaza Sing for lunch. On the way, I saw this blue bird at Takashimaya so I decided to detour. I only had 5 balls and obviously this lan jiao flew away goddammit. I am not trying to be vulgar since lan = blue and jiao = bird and this bloody thing is indeed a blue bird.

After missing Tyranitar 2 days ago, my mood to walk my buddy was already spoilt so I decided to go home. Again on the way, I saw another Articuno at Novena Square 2. I alighted to try to catch. I even bought Poke Coins since I ran out of raid pass today. I spent 20 minutes just to find the exact location of the gym. And even with 10 balls this time, it flew away again.

Seriously lan jiao.. I am so upset.. and so jealous seeing people already getting both Articuno and Lugia. Bleah.. enough Pokemon Go for today.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I used to think that patience and humility are the virtues most difficult for me to ever attain. I am still impatient now but at least I can mask it with "bo chup"-ness. I am not boastful but I am proud and arrogant. Although I can suppress the outward manifestation, deep inside I know that I am still far from being humble.

It seems now that being grateful and not cynical will be even a more impossible challenge for me. Nothing is perfectly good or bad in this world. However, even if something which is 80-90% good happen to me, I will still feel the emoness from the 10-20% which is not good. Heck, even for something that is 100% good, I will still grumble. Like today I received an email that I got a teaching award. The initial excitement of getting $$$ quickly disappeared with negative thoughts like: why is it only now instead of previous years? Is it simply because there is noone else to nominate and hence it is my turn this year, rather than because I am really deserving for this?

No matter what or where, the grass will always be greener at the other side because ultimately nothing or nowhere is 100% perfect. Since green is my favourite colour, it seems that I am destined to be unhappy forever and ever because I can't help but looking at new greens.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

The reviews for Spider-Man (yes, there is a dash) are surprisingly mixed and both sides are rather extreme with their likes or dislikes. I only decided to watch it today since I still have 5 movie tickets which are expiring in November and I think I would be running out of movies.

I am actually at the camp that finds Spider-Man enjoyable. Marvel takes the correct direction not to reboot the plot about how Peter Parker gets his superpowers but to continue where Civil War ends. The plot is rather weak and forced since Peter is now "bored" with this daily life and is looking forward to the next big Avengers' thingy. While it is quite realistic as these superheroes also have normal boring life when they are not fighting super villains, it is not that appealing as a movie. The plot is also realistic in depicting that even superheroes have learning curves too. Spidey is all to eager to fling into action and still inexperienced to think of the possible collateral damages of his actions.

Vulture is a good super villain here. His motivation is rather low-key i.e. selling weapons illegally to support his family and we get to take a break from the heavier world destroying motivation of that sort. This motivation matches up nicely with Spidey who is still learning to be a superhero.

The action scenes are rather underwhelming too. There is not enough web-shooting, web-slinging, or physical fights. It is mostly CGI and CGI. That makes the only Spider-Man thing left is his personality: he talks non-stop. OMG yes a part of me find it very irritating but that is really his personality in the comics. Poor Tom Holland whom people may find very childish and irritating although he actually plays Peter Parker's personality damn well. I am not surprised that people dub him the best Spider-Man so far as his portrayal is the closest to the comic book.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is also missing the usual Marvel's comedic effects as well as the touching emotional moments. Iron Man is like-able here and he delivers some of the best lines ("If you are nothing without the suit then you should not have it"; "I want you to be better (than Iron Man)") despite his short screen time. The pep-talk and the part where Peter realises that he (almost) screwed up could have been better to ramp up the emotional parts.

Now that I have watched this, it is not surprising why reviews are so polarised. A part of me thinks it sucks as a superhero movie in which I am expecting action movie spectacles. Another part of me thinks that there has never been a superhero movie from this angle yet: the boring daily civilian lives. I guess Marvel is angling this movie to establish Spider-Man's position in the Avengers and the bigger Marvel Cinematic Universe, rather than to create a Spider-Man-centric universe. I am not gonna say this is movie good or bad, but I will just say that it is enjoyable enough.

And gosh.. the dash is irritating! Why can't it be just Spiderman instead of Spider-Man?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

No progress

It is always one or the other. It is never both. Before I started gym-ing last year, I had no trouble controlling my diet but I had trouble committing to night jogging sessions. Now that I start going to gym, I am having trouble controlling my diet. Honestly, I think my current state is worse than the past because I am spending more money for both gym and the food. I am aiming to restart my diet again tomorrow. Lets see how it goes...

I have been gym-ing for 6+ months. Yesterday was the second quarterly testing and I am disappointed :( Comparing the results with the previous quarter, clearly there was no improvement whatsoever. When I did the first one in April, I was still doing squat pull. Recently, I have been doing some jump pulls but clearly I am jumping rather than pulling. Although I am not sure if I misheard the instructions that I had to hold my arm at 90 degrees or otherwise it would not be counted because in the previous test, I could hold as high as possible. Thus I was slowly lowering myself until 90 degrees and tried to hold there. Not to mention that the ring was so high that I had to "climb" the wall with my leg first to reach the position. So tired already lor...
I might have chionged too much for the squat and that was the only improvement that I could see. After that, my thighs were already at the limit. In fact the tabata showed my weaker state. In April, I did the 2x5kg dumbbells for the first 4 sets but yesterday I only used 1x 6kg mountainball and I still could not get past 4 sets.

I had to rush for a friend's wedding so I went for the quarterly testing in the morning. Next time I will definitely go for a late afternoon session like what I did in April. There was nobody and it felt much more relaxed. Yesterday morning was so crowded and we were queueing for the coach. To have strangers looking at me doing was also embarrassing especially since I am lousy. Not to mention that it made me even demoralised when I saw others were doing better than me. Even the petite girl before me was able to complete all the tabata set with 2x5kg dumbbells. Haiz.. I am really a loser.

It was so tiring and I nearly fell down when I wanted to grab my phone to take photo of the test sheet. My knees and thighs were wobbly and had no strengths. Partly because I did not really do a proper cool down since the next person was up on the line as well. You can tell how tiring it was from the lousy quality of the photos I took of the form. I thought the first one in April was so blur that I made sure I did better yesterday. I managed to keep the focus but the photo was still slanted. Not sure if the last number is 11 or 12 although it does not matter anyway.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Natsume Yuujinchou (Season 5-6)

Whee... Natsume is back after almost 5 years break with season 4 ended in March 2012. Season 5 was released in October 2016 and season 6 just finished airing in June 2017, making this as my most up-to-date anime watching experience. Lol.

The overall feel of the slice of life theme is still very similar to the first 4 seasons which is a good thing as that is what makes Natsume Yuujinchou special and unique. The is some progress in the story as in these 2 seasons, it seems that Natsume has grown in his acceptance in his power to see youkai and is interested to learn more about his power. He is now also more open to Tanuma and Taki when it comes to youkai things. With the limited number of episodes, this is done at the expense of the slice of life portion of the story. There is very few releasing of youkai names and there is fewer story involving Natsume and his classmates. The one I miss the most is the lesser interactions with Natsume's youkai friends. Even my favourite Kogitsune does not appear at all in these 2 seasons T_T

The best episodes from these 2 seasons are those pertaining to the people around Natsume. There is an episode of Touko's life before adopting Natsume (the white crow thing at the end of this episode really made me cry) and an episode on how Nishimura and Kitamoto becoming friends with Natsume. Reading people's comments on the message boards for these 2 episodes make me realise that I am not alone. A lot of people have the same sentiments with me that how we all wish that in our daily lives, we have kind people like the ones surrounding Natsume. I think we all enjoy Natsume Yuujincho because in our real lives, we are tired of the wicked people around us.

What is Natsume Yuujinchou without nice theme song?
Opening song for season 6: Floria by Tomohisa Sako
By far, this is the best song from the series. The melody is uplifting and the singer has a really soothing voice.

Reading the comments that currently the anime has caught up with the manga, I think it will be another few years before we can see season 7. And I hope they draw Nyanko-sensei back to the older style because I think he is really fat in this season 5-6 sia...

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Identity crisis

So last week Harry Potter is celebrating its 20th anniversary after the first book was published on 26 June 1997. Time really flies but perhaps it is because I only came across Harry Potter in 1999 or 2000. Looking back, I was really really in Pottermore that I wrote a post about it. I was sorted into Ravenclaw back then. With the recent revamp of Pottermore, I decided to re-do the sorting (although there was a choice to reclaim the previous House) to see if I would get Ravenclaw again. I got Hufflepuff -_-"

So yes, currently I am facing an identity crisis. Lol.. Like yesterday during the Harry Potter film concert, when the conductor asked which House the audience is in, I could not associate myself with any. I used my gmail to create another account today and yet I got Hufflepuff again. No offense to Hufflepuff but I can't seem to relate to their values according to current Pottermore description: hard work, patience, loyalty, and fair play. In fact, I am a complete opposite: lazy/trying to find shortcut at work and very impatient.

The description for the other Houses are: Ravenclaw prizes wit, learning, and wisdom; Slytherin are proud, ambitious, and cunning; Gryffindor values courage, bravery, and determination. I think I am a Ravenclaw based on my preferences when answering the game-like questions (not sure if I am biased because of my very first Pottermore result) but yeah I am rather nerdy, proud of my brain, eccentric, and individualistic. But looking at my real life personality, I am not ashamed to mention that I am the closest to a Slytherin: arrogant, competitive, and will do anything (as long as not illegal) to achieve my goals, but I am not really a team person. Hmm.. come to think of it, I can't think of anything contradictory from Ravenclaw so maybe that's my House.

So because there was concert merchandises whatsover, I try to see if eBay has any of the concert programme booklet from overseas. There is nothing and instead eBay shows me wands. Of course the original wands from The Noble Collection are crazily priced and I could only afford the fake replica from China. The last time I followed the wands was in 2011 and that time I bought everything that was available: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Voldemort, Sirius, Draco, Sirius, and Fleur. Lo and behold, now there are 21 other wands that I have yet to own yet. I bought all (lol) and that set me back $200 exactly. Less than $10 each so it is a better deal than USD32.50 each from The Noble Collection. I am a peasant after all. Haha.. 21+9 is a total of 30 wands but that is still not a complete set. OMG hahaha.. Not to mention Fantastic Beasts..

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone ~In Concert~

Film in concert is an interesting concept of watching a movie with a live orchestra playing all the background music. I watched Harry Potter films for several times and out of all the music, perhaps only the main theme song and Hedwig's theme are really legendary. Ultimately, I decided to spend the money just for the experience and possible concert memorabilia. I googled and overseas, they are selling programme booklet, wands, butterbeer, chocolate frog, etc. For someone who is still wishing to visit Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the thoughts of able to try butterbeer and getting merchandises are exciting.

I arrived an hour before and I was disappointed to find that there was NO concert merchandises whatsoever. I overestimated the screen size and height and a seat at the top level was actually too high. Although it was tiring for my neck, it answered my curiosity on how the concert was made possible. I found it intriguing that the orchestra would be playing non-stop throughout the 2+ hours movie and how they could keep track when to play at which scenes etc.

The conductor had a tablet in front of him, on top of the usual score, to help him. There are actually some parts in the movie that there is no music at all and the orchestra can take a short break. During these breaks, the conductor's tablet will show the movie. When it is time to play again, it is actually like a rhythm game and the tablet will turn black to give signals when to start playing and when to pause.

I find everything to be quite underwhelming. The orchestra played so well and it did not feel like watching a concert. Everything was quite smooth that it felt like watching a movie. That is like a double edged sword since it made the whole thing a super expensive movie experience for $109.

At the beginning of the concert, the conductor tried to hype up the audience by asking who belong in which House etc. He also mentioned for the audience to feel free to clap, cheer, or jeer at their favourite movie scenes instead of purely treating this as a concert experience. Unfortunately, throughout the show, there was little interaction with the audience. He also mentioned for the audience not to go home immediately after the movie was over because there would be a surprise form the orchestra but I did not see any surprise leh..

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dropped the bomb

After 1 month of rumours and speculations, the big bomb was finally dropped this morning. Yes, I have to be the in-charge at my current place. There was no question, there was no discussion, it was straight away: congratulations and your appointment letter is on your way.

No matter how this is going to be sugar coated, it is not going to change the fact that I don't want this. If it is something good, everyone will be fighting over it. When nobody wants it, it is obvious that this is a bad deal. I don't even have mixed feeling about this. What I feel is all negative about this.

Ultimately, what are the perks for all the additional shits? I heard the additional allowance is going to be $200. That is not even $10 extra per day and is completely meaningless compared to the additional responsibilities and stress. Will it mean a higher grade for appraisal? I doubt it.. Even without being in-charge, I have twice gotten the 2nd best grade available and the only increase is to the best which I don't think will ever happen to me. So what is the point of taking all the extra shit for the same grade? Haiz..

Perhaps I should learn to be more grateful.. because perhaps there are people who are aiming for this post.. I don't know. More over, I have always wished that I can earn above 5k by the time I reach 30. With the additional allowance, I will be able to achieve that goal. Sorry for my ungratefulness, God :( But at this point of my life, I simply can't be bothered about things anymore. I just want to slack and enjoy life. I don't need extra stress and extra shit for the extra money that I don't even know what I am going to use it for.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

STEPS back to the 90s

I did not know that STEPS released new singles and a new album this year to celebrate their 20th anniversary. I had no idea how youtube ended up recommending the Scared of the Dark which was actually released in March this year. 2 days ago, the official video clip for the next single, Story of a Heart was uploaded. Wheee...
Scared of the Dark
Story of a Heart
It is really great to hear them like what they used to be 20 years ago, especially Claire's and Faye's vocals. They are always great at singing covers and their original songs still can be hits or misses. Even the music videos and the dances are still like their old music videos.

Ian used to be my favourite but I think he does not age well. He looks quite different from his younger days and does not seem as goofy. Lisa looks like she has some botox or plastic surgery. Faye, Claire, and Lee age very well. In fact Claire and Lee look as young as in the past. I hope in 20 years time I still look like myself in the 20s man..

The music in late 90s to early 2000s is the best and clicking from one music video to the next can easily use up 1 whole holiday. Westlife, Spice Girls, STEPS, S Club 7, Britney Spears, Boyzone, and many others... The list is just endless. Listening to the music from my childhood really makes me realise how old I am. Time really waits for noone. It also makes me realise that I lost part of my childhood in the first 4 years when I came to Singapore as I did not really know the final few songs before these great groups disbanded. Yep.. those were the years without TV and internet connection.
I Know Him So Well
I just came across this song when watching a video of STEPS singles. This was released as a double A-side with Words Are Not Enough. I don't think STEPS released a music video for this but I found the by Mel C and Emma Bunton, the 2 Spices with the better voices :)

The only productive thing I did today is cleaning up my table and dusting my 4 Tsume statues. I was so reluctant to do it but once I started dusting, I thought it was kinda therapeutic. It is always like that. Haha.. I also finally tried the new Pokemon Go gym and raid. The new gym system sucks but at least the raid is quite enjoyable despite the limitation of only able to do it once a day with the free raid pass.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Square zero

All the effort in the past 1 month to work on my CPIP is officially in the drain now. Last week I received the 'bomb' from HQ to inform me that I should avoid anything pertaining to medication reconciliation for now. HQ is planning to standardise the workflow so it is best that I try not to create something new again. Of course I am disappointed.. all the data collection, all the talks to gain support from other departments, even the meeting arrangement.. Haiz..

I guess I am old enough to accept this kind of thing at work. So just move on and find another idea. With the meeting with facilitator on next Wednesday, I am back in square zero now! Not even at square one since I don't even know what I am going to do. I am still doing some detective work to see if the next idea about renal dose adjustment will be a good topic. I finished screening through 350000 (yes 350k) lines in excel file to find the golden 160 lines that I am looking for for my background data collection. This is a data based on the prescriptions and I am still waiting another half of the data before eventually able to decide on the new project title. Bleah.

Recently I am feeling more and more tired that my naps tend to over till the next morning. With the long weekend coming, I finally decided to go to my aunt's home tonight to pass her stuff that I brought since my April trip home. Ouch.. In fact I was even thinking of going over in September after my trip to Osaka so that I can also send some souvenirs but I realised that one of the stuff is expiring in October. Lol. So yes I better go now since I can (over)sleep for the next 2 days.

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.