Monday, December 31, 2018

Goodbye painful 2018

I did not have any meals with rice for the past 2 days and I had a bad gastric pain yesterday afternoon. 6 antacids and 60mg omeprazole later, there was still discomfort and I kept rolling on the bed until don't know what time. Eventually I managed to fall asleep and I woke up without the pain. So at least my new year's eve is not ruined and I can feel less emo recalling my 2018.

Work
Work destroyed my life and I was overwhelmed with all the negativity that I cannot remember anything positive from it. I gained the experience of hiring, firing, doing appraisal, and promoting people and that was it. I had been wanting to leave the job since the last few years so I suppose finally God answered my prayers. No doubt I am angry and bitter of getting no promotion and lousier grade from the more work at the same pay grade in the past year but looking back, I am thankful for that final push to finally putting an end to this toxic and abusive relationship. I feel much happier and finally have a work-life balance with my new work so the past 3 months have been pretty great for me.

Finance
I am broke or I think definitely I am broke. With the sudden demise of my laptop, I basically lost the excel file of records of all my spendings since 2011. While I have some back up from my MoneyLover app, I am too lazy to rearrange the data into the excel file. The failure to do so definitely makes me lose track of my spending. Not to mention that I went to Japan twice this year and just paid for the next trip in April 2019 yesterday. Add on to the sudden surge on toys spending in December without the year end bonus after the job change.. Oh la la.. Let's shall not talk about money anymore. Haha..

Health
Let's talk about mental and physical health separately. Without exaggerating, I really think I was going insane before I changed job. It was not so much about the stress but more of the meaninglessness of what I did that all the stress was not worth it. Comparing to the work-life balance I enjoy now against the money, it is safe to say that I have learnt my priorities. Money and status cannot buy health or happiness or enjoyment in life.

Physically I have not been taking a good care of myself as much as I wish. I still go to gym regularly and definitely can feel that it helps with the muscle strength. My main goal of weight loss, however, is still a dream. I can't be disciplined with my diet and binge eating so gym only helps to prevent me from going over the 70s. Shudder.. Recently I hurt my back and I am not sure if it was from overexertion, from ergonomics with the recent change to a desk-bound job, or a combination of both.

Family life
Family life took a plunge this year. It is ironic considering I flew home a few times since my grandma and an aunt passed away this year. It is painful and disappointing when your family is not supportive in your difficulties. I gave up and if my family cares more about their work and money, so be it. Why should I bother? I have been away and living alone for so long anyway and they don't matter as I don't matter. Currently there is so much anger within me that I choose keeping quiet as the lesser of the two evils than to lash out. With fewer days of annual leave now, I do not know if I will ever spend holidays at home anymore. I find talking to my parents awkward now as they have made it clear repeatedly that money, status, and work are more important to them than my own well being.

Personal life
I usually dislike cliches but my 2018 experience proves that what does not kill me makes me stronger and I have to agree that I am a millennial after all. Haha.. It was such a difficult decision to quit my job because of the comfort zone, the money, and the status. I worked there for 6+1 years and there were some changes and legacies that I left behind. Not to mention that as a manager, there was some power and control that I had. In the end, I made the plunge to prioritise my happiness above all. The experience of quitting a job and starting fresh again will definitely be valuable. This is my first time after all so it will be less difficult to do it again in the future if the needs arise.

For a quick break before starting the new job, I went for a solo trip to Tokyo. Similarly, having done it the first time, it will be less difficult to do it again and hence I will be going to Japan again next year alone. I will try to be even more adventurous there: to visit a place I have not visited before and to find a local tour guide to accompany me.

So yeah.. who needs family or friends? They are all humans after all.. The one that I need and cannot run away is...

God
I was away from church since 2017 and I only returned after my life turned into shit. I started attending mass again in August as I was desperate to find for a new job (at that time I already made up my mind that I would quit without even securing a new job first). Looking back, perhaps everything that happened was God's call to return. That reason alone makes everything worth it. Call me naive but this is the very same reason that I tell myself to justify all my angst since being sent away to Singapore in 2002: at least it allows me to be a Catholic.

2018 is easily the worst year I had that I can remember. To confirm that, I read back my reflection posts from previous years and I chuckled at the irony that I said at the end of 2017: no way 2018 would be worse than 2017. 2018 is not a roller coaster but a nosedive for me. Everything just became super shit in the middle of the year. I am thankful that things are picking up again after I took the plunge to quit.

For the first time ever in my life, I just went to the end of year Thanksgiving Mass. Add in another cliche here: I will not know or appreciate happiness if I have not experienced shit. The Beatitudes was the Gospel reading today and it was the first time I could appreciate the irony behind all the "happy/blessed".

With that, I would like to prioritise the following in 2019:
1) Spirituality
I am not interested in getting married as I am too engrossed in making myself happy. At the same time, I am not interested in chasing after money or I have a calling to serve God. Honestly, I don't know what I want to do with my life. It is never a joke when I say I want to die because I am pretty happy and satisfied with my life now that life is simply going through the motion without any life goals.

2) Health
Let's start with zero bubble tea, followed by potato chips, and getting back to my L-men cereal as dinner. It is going to be difficult but I did it in the past so I can do it again if I am ready to be discipline again.

3) Finance
Aiyo, at the very least, try to tidy up the recording sia. It is not really about the money but the data will be a bearing on how damaged my diet and how crazy my toy spending are. With that, it will be another reminder to push my discipline for health.

I do not want to let work control me so I want to keep a low profile. As long as I earn enough and work does not affect my personal life, I am satisfied. For family, I give up hurting and trying. I will only pray that God will give them happiness that I cannot give.

Goodbye painful 2018 and I look forward to a better 2019.

HAPPY

NEW

YEAR

2019

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Fakebook

As the year is ending and I cannot go home for holiday, I shall use the time to tidy up my life before the new year comes. With all the incoming toys that I have bought and pre-ordered, I have no choice but to pack some of the boxes to my extra storage space. I spent the past 2 nights finding the most optimum way to pack and this morning I finally placed 2 large boxes.
Now this is how my extra storage space looks like
For record purpose, I am updating the information from the previous post about this storage space. The size of my locker is 1.10m (depth) x 1.22m (width) x 1.31m (height). The sizes of the Tsume boxes are Virgo 82cm x 60cm x 49cm, Shiryu 78cm x 50cm x 48cm, Leo 77cm x 46cm x 45cm, and Ikki 48cm x 38cm x 35cm. For the 2 boxes that I put today:
~Small box (46cm x 34cm x 32cm) has the empty boxes of Aoba and Shinji and Kaworu listening to music
~Big box (57cm x 41cm x 46cm) has empty boxes of Athena Exclamation bookends, Sailor Jupiter Figuarts, Lynx from Chrono Cross, Heero and Relena, 6 Kuroko Break Time figures, and 3 Ace of Diamond palmmate figures.

With the new year coming, Orchard Christmas decoration will be removed soon and I realise that I don't have any friends to help me take picture. How sad my life is. Not to mention that my family life has been shit lately. I am just in a bad mood and so sian of my parents only thinking about work, money, and nagging about finding wife bla bla bla. I have equally shit options of ignore messages or replying rudely so I choose the former. Honestly, with unhappy family life so far, it is not surprising that I am not interested to start one myself. With the realisation of the sad state of my life, I decided to register for a retreat next week. Initially I planned to register after reflecting my life but since I was busy with packing the past few days, I did not have the time to do so. Let's see if this retreat allow me to hear what God wants me with my life.

Anyway it is a good thing that I realise and I acknowledge my miserable life without shame. Lol. Different people use social media for different reasons. I don't have instagram and only have facebook so I am only referring to facebook. I use facebook to back up my photos and share emo statuses more than happy ones. Happy things just keep to myself and no need to boast ma. So it is not surprising that now I feel much better at work, the frequency of my status updates also drops. Last Saturday I met my secondary school senior and when I told him that I am happier with my new job, he said "No wonder your facebook last time was like that and nowadays is not like that".

Others, however, may use facebook to hao lian their lives, or to pretend that they are happy, or perhaps I am just being biased. The reason why I say this is because I am shocked when an ex-colleague confided to me that she is stressed with her husband being unfaithful, she is clinically depressed, etc. It is totally unexpected since everything looks fine and sunny in her facebook. I am at age where my peers are getting married, having kids, etc and my main pet peeve is when they share all the small things going on with their relationship and kids. I can understand if you are happy when you are engaged, married, honeymoon, celebrating birthdays or anniversaries. However, if daily/weekly meals or sports or activities also want to post, I am honestly just wondering if you are really enjoying your life because for me when I am busy enjoying my life, my digital life is my least priority. Sorry for being salty and perhaps that is why I am so lonely as I share few similarities with majority of people.

I am also catching up with two friends that I had not been contacting for a long time. I was surprised when one just moved back to Jakarta this August. Ouch :( Last time I occasionally met up with him to drown our sorrows sia. I am emo but then realise that he is more emo than me sia. At least I don't share his sentiment of the boredom living in Singapore like have to rent a place or take public transport. My main gripe with my previous job was because of the job itself but in general I am okay living in my mancave. Haha.. Now with stress level at the job is better, my stress shifts to family. Bleah.. Life can never be perfect eh. Another friend is the one who moved to Surabaya a few years ago. We lost contact because I blocked him on facebook during the 2014 election because I did not find it political jokes funny. So I wished him Merry Christmas through LINE and with the election coming, I tell him I will block him in LINE as well if he starts the political stuff again.

I have decided on my next YOLO trip next year during my birthday. Initially I planned of only going to Japan over the weekend before realising that it will be Good Friday on the friday after my birthday. Thus it makes more sense to take the whole week. I want to explore Tottori since I really want to visit Conan town. The sand dunes also excite me as I can paraglide, sandboard, or ride a camel. I have no friend with similar interests ba. The things that hold me back is I have never been to Tottori before and communication barrier since Tottori is not a major tourism area yet. Thus I am stuck with getting a local guide. Other than that, I have done with my research for the flights, hotels, etc. After 3-4 days at Tottori, of course my plan is to visit Disneyland again. Hahaha.. As of now I do not have plan B yet if I cannot get a guide for Tottori so I am really praying hard to hear a positive response soon.

I thought of going to Paris Disneyland but my colleague who just came back from holiday at Austria and East Europe just shared her experience of almost getting her phone snatched in broad daylight when her kids were using the phone. Oh no.. I am not going to take a risk or going but not able to enjoy because keep thinking of security.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Megane Ichiba x Digimon Adventure Tri spectacles (DGM-07HOPE)

The last time I bought spectacles was in 2014 and they are still in excellent condition. The experimentation with PC lens is not as successful as I enjoy wearing them only at work. I find it helpful when having to focus on computer work at work but I find it more tiring when I am looking at my laptop or phone for leisure. The PC lens also looks quite ugly in photos as they reflect light. Thus for daily activities, I am still wearing my oldest pair which unfortunately I had accidentally slept over it and the temples are bent. Just a reminder that temples are the long part of the frame that rests on the temples and hooks to the ears. As part of aging, some the plastic part of the temples have crumbled. The combination of the bending of the temples and sharp edges from the crumbled plastic part actually hurts my right temple. Perhaps add the fact that I am getting fatter also. Therefore the time is right to get a new pair and the resistant to buy when coming across the Digimon spectacles is lowered.

Having said that, although I am crazy about anime stuff, I am not crazy enough to buy wearables if I do not plan to wear it. It was difficult to decide without seeing the physical products or trying them so I admit that I did take a risk. 3 designs (Yamato, Joe, and Takeru's) caught my interest for different reasons: Yamato's colour seems to be the most practical and less embarrassing to wear, Joe's because Gomamon is my favourite digimon, but in the end I bought Takeru's for having the smallest lens size among the three. I prefer smaller lens so without trying, I cannot imagine if these big lenses fit my face and I chose to be safe. I was worried if the orange colour will be too bright but I decided that since I like to wear green, the worst thing that can happen is I will look like kid Takeru. Haha.. Learning from my previous experience with PC lens, I choose normal lens without any gimmick for this as I plan to have this as my daily spectacles.

I am so happy that I received the spectacles on the Christmas Eve and this is the Christmas present that I am most eager to wait. I am even happier with the quality. The fit for the eyes is perfect and I do not feel any giddiness or discomfort. The spectacles is very light and is comfortable to wear. The lenses are thinner than the ones I have from Owndays. The best surprise is it is not as orange as it looks in the website and hence it will not be too anime-like to wear.

I am glad to choose this as I think the lens is too wide. I am finding it weird now but maybe I will get used to how I look since this is my very first time I wear this type of lens. I think they should have made the lens smaller because real life humans do not have eyes as big as anime characters whose eyes can easily be 1/2 or 1/3 of their faces. However, the frame has lighter shade of colour at the bottom part of the lens so that helps not to accentuate the size.

I am not going to write on the details as they can be found here but I will post photos of the real item. Hehe..
Everything that I received
The wipe: I prefer if they use the Tri version like in the website leh
The website says the design is based on Digivice but I don't really pay attention to Digivice. I am not too pleased with the material of the case though.
Digimon Adventure Tri engraving inside the case. Pretty sure the butterflies are reference to the most iconic Digimon song (Butter-fly) and 8 butterflies to represent the 8 digidestined.
Looks more like brown than orange
The golden triangle is based on the plate on Angemon's thigh/knee.
Blue-transparent colour scheme is based on Angemon's colour scheme. The 'thingy' at the end of the temples is based on the engraving on Seraphimon's waist plate.
Symbol of Digicrest of Hope
The shop still gave me the original display lens
I can guess the blue-transparent reference to Angemon but I have to google about Angemon's golden triangle and Seraphimon's waist plate as they are not something so noticeable in the series. With the anime elements so subtle, I think these spectacles are designed for people to seriously wear it and not for playthings of the anime fans. The price is not cheap too as it is similar to my Owndays spectacles. The domestic shipping is free so in total this cost me 16200 yen (price) + 786 yen (proxy service fee) + 180 yen (bank transfer free) + 1400 yen (I chose EMS so that I could get it before Christmas).

Special mention to Goody Japan (my proxy) for helping to get this. I know ordering spectacles with a degree from online is not something that people normally do but I managed to persuade them to agree to help me after I sent them the screenshot of the website after I put the degrees and they could just copy that image.

NB: I tag this post as 'Toys' just for my ease of searching in case I need to refer to this again in the future.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

I'll NOT be home for Christmas

Every time I cannot go home for Christmas, it means that my life is shit. The first time this happened was in 2010 because of FYP. This year it happens because of my previous fucking job that made me change job and hence I do not have enough leave yet for this December. So basically, this year is the first time I have to work through the Christmas and New Year period.

Anyway working on Christmas eve was not as bad as expected since my boss was also in a holiday mood. Out of the 4 hours working, we spent 2 hours to discuss things (related to work). Similar to 2010, the only thing I enjoy is when shopkeepers wish me Merry Christmas. I went for the midnight mass yesterday and I think I am too old for that: I felt tired, did not really concentrate for the mass, and was KO-ed until 130pm today. Oh well.. 

This Christmas is a reminder to re-orientate my faith. There is so much hoo hah about Disney Christmas decoration in Orchard. I joked with a friend that I will choose Disney over religion if I have too. It looks like that I follow the correct religion and I feel relieved after reading the Archbishop comments about this topic. Commercialisation and secularisation of Christmas are undeniable but as Christians, we are reminded not to lose Christ from Christmas. Without Christ, Christmas is just another festivity and public holiday. Honestly, this is also the same sentiment I have. I do not see anything offensive if non-believers want to celebrate Christmas as a festivity and I think that it is better than no celebration at all. We never know if it will make some non-believers to be curious about the real Christmas. In fact, I will find it offensive and a desecration if they put real Christian elements (like Jesus, the cross, Mother Mary, etc) for decorations. So yeah, my Catholic faith and my liking for Disney can still go hand in hand. Lol.

As part of desire to re-orientate my faith, I am interested in a retreat in January and in joining Landings programme for next year but I am still hesitating. That is not surprising as it is not the first time (and nor will it be the last time) that the Devil will pull me away every time I want to move closer to God. I never had a chance for a retreat in my previous job as I had to work on alternate Saturdays. The chance has finally come and I would like to discern with what I want to do with my life. I keep saying that I want to die since I am satisfied with my life and I have no more life goals. I may not be happy but I am not chasing happiness either so basically I just do not know what I want to do with my life. For Landings, I have been in and out of church repeatedly and this is the second time I feel the desire to join. A part of me is telling me that since now I am back to attending mass, I have returned and is no longer returning so maybe I don't need to attend Landings anymore. That is exactly the same excuse I had previously. Now I am planning to skim through my blog for reality check to find out how frequent and previous reasons for being in and out of church for the past few years. I hope I can do it tomorrow to realise how messed up my life and faith have been and it is time to really make a change.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas and God bless :) I am not so merry as I am still tired after midnight mass yesterday but I am grateful that my landlord cooked and offered me to eat his Mee Siam for lunch. At least I did not need to go out today. Haha.. Now back to emoing of having to work tomorrow T_T
Randomly found from google/tumblr

Monday, December 24, 2018

Gallery of Light by Olszewski: Aladdin "Magic Carpet Ride"

The last blog post I wrote on vintage toy collection was in March 2017 for Death Box. Since then, the absence of post is not because I stop shopping but more because I am too busy. For example, I completed Final Fantasy Chrome collection since a few years ago but until now I am too busy and lazy to take out 20 over boxes and take the picture of them. However, since I am in a good Christmas Eve mood today, I will post about Gallery of Light by Olszewski: Aladdin "Magic Carpet Ride" that I found by accident in October this year.

I am aware of the existence of this item since many years ago but I never find one which is on sale or in the midst of auction. In fact, the information on this item is also very elusive to find. Based on the research that I can find, this Aladdin piece was released in November 2008 with an original price of USD 70. The one that I own is 'naked' without box and CoA so I can only provide the measurement of the actual item: 13.4cm (L) x 9.3cm (W) x 9.8cm (H). Despite the small size, the item is surprisingly heavy which suggests that the components inside should not be plastic or toy-like.

I bought this for $160 and it is in still in good working condition despite the cosmetic blemishes to the surface of the item. Although we cannot open to see actual 'figure' inside the light box, the details of the 'figure' is testimony of the dedicated craftmanship behind this item. The fact that the light and the electronic components are still working a decade later is another proof of the quality. When the light is on, the whole diorama depicts the scene from the movie very nicely. The Magic Carpet Ride happens in the night and the light in this diorama looks like moonlight through the woods instead of 

One feature that surprises me the most is how the switch is subtly incorporated into the design of the light box. Initially I panicked since I could not find any switch where the markings of "on" and "off" are. I had to find youtube videos to find where the switch is. Without further ado, it is picture time.
Back view
The base. Notice there is no switch near the battery compartment as well as the "on" and "off" markings. Oh ya, I forgot to mention that this is operated by 3 x AAA batteries.
Side view. Just to show some blemishes :(
More blemishes at the top side.
With the light on in a bright room
With the light on in a dark room
Let's zoom in to see the details now. I can only zoom when the room is dark and the light box is on. If the room is bright, the glass case will reflect light and we cannot see the inside.
A Whole New World~~
Even the Magic Carpet is so detailed
Lastly, in case you are still wondering about the switch...
It is here!!
Gallery of Light is a fantastic line of Disney merchandise which has its own unique charm. Lucky for me, I am do not like high-maintenance things so I find it a hassle to take out the batteries when not in use and to switch on and off when I want to enjoy the display. In addition, I don't want to think about what to do if the light bulb reaches its end of life. Size also matters to me so I prefer a collectible which is bigger in size, more impactful on display, and enjoy without the gimmicks. I usually derive my pleasure admiring the details when I am doing the dusting anyway.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas shopping

My room is filling up with boxes as I am lazy to open up my packages since November. An Amazon package which is estimated to arrive after Christmas miraculously arrived on Friday. With that, I decided to open up all these Christmas presents from myself by myself and for myself before the Christmas. Haha..

The first box that arrived in November contained Shinjiro's Travel Book that I bought since September. Lol. I bought it for 1200 JPY from Yahoo! Auction Japan which was a good deal since the original price is 3500 JPY. I am actually quite disappointed with the book since it is not like the typical photo books with few photos and varieties. Oh well :( This box also contains Kotobukiya ArtFX J Conan that I bought from Amazon Japan for 3980 JPY during sale which is more than 50% off from the original price 8000 JPY. Unfortunately, the domestic shipping to my proxy was shockingly expensive at 1200 JPY compared to the international shipping for this box is only 1910 JPY leh. Haiz.

The second item that arrived in early December is Bleach illustration artbook: JET. I pre-ordered it in September and the item is released in December. I completely forgot about it and the next thing I knew, the item already arrived. Lol. Another 16000 JPY gone but for such a heavy item, the international shipping is very reasonable for only 750 JPY. I don't know how Amazon Japan international shipping fees work since when I ordered only 1 Digimon artbook, the shipping also cost me 750 JPY.

Kinokuniya is having a Christmas sale since last week until tomorrow. Last Sunday I went to check out the prices and I bought some from Amazon instead because they were cheaper even after including the shipping. I bought Harry Potter: A History of Magic (American Edition), The Archive of Magic: The Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Lights, Camera, Magic!: The Making of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and Injustice 2 Vol. 4. The massive difference is only for The Archive of Magic (SGD 70.19 after Kinokuniya discount vs USD 21.16 at Amazon) but that is enough to make the whole total for the 4 books cheaper than if I buy from Kinokuniya.

I am also interested in Yoshitaka Amano: The Illustrated Biography Beyond the Fantasy Limited Edition and hardcover edition of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild-Creating a Champion Hero's Edition but their shipping from Amazon wipes out all the Amazon's discount. I am still considering to get them from Kinokuniya but I am still undecided because of space issues. As always..

Nonetheless, I bought a Peter Rabbit plushie which was placed in a dump bin in Kinokuniya. I was hesitating whether to buy it or get it from eBay. Since the price is comparable, I decided not to wait and buy it from Kinokuniya. After the 20% off, he is about $26. Not sure why he is grouchy when in the movie (that I did not watch), he is all smiley and playful. Anyway my main reason to get him is because his shade of blue reminds of the "ui biru" that my mum refused to buy to accompany my childhood rabbit plushie. Lucky I bought it last week since today I never saw that dump bin anymore.
Peter Rabbit (with Bugs Bunny that I bought many months ago)
They look quite similar, don't they?
From Premium Bandai, Digimon Art Book Ver. Pendulum arrived yesterday. I was not satisfied with the first book as I find many digimons are missing and those missing digimons are in this Pendulum version. I enjoy this more than the first book since this book features more digimons that I like such as Gomamon, Patamon, Angemon, and Angewomon.
Today I went to Kinokuniya again and although I did not buy anything, I saw Taiwanese version of Fairy Tail Illustration Book ~Harvest~. Siao liao. I never know there is another Fairy Tail artbook and this was actually released in 2016. I looked for this online and that resulted in me buying many more items online: Heero Yuy from Alpha x Omega, a garage kit of Heero with figma style (not a fan of garage kit but I will get any Heero figure), Gilgamesh by Funny Knights, and Sosuke and Nagisa by Altair. For the last 2, I gave up on waiting to get a second hand on sale. CD Japan is giving 500 JPY coupon and I bought Nagisa from there. Sosuke is already sold out and that is actually the trigger for me to get both instead of waiting longer and risking a sold out. Initially I was emo seeing the coupon as I just pre-ordered Digimon plushies from CD Japan last week. When I checked the plushies again, I was relieved since they are sold out now. Heng I already pre-ordered.

What an irony.. I was scratching my head finding storage space last night and today I bought 5 new things. Bleah.. I promise that this is Christmas/New Year gifts and I will not buy anything else until next year. For now, I am eagerly waiting for my Digimon spectacles which should be delivered tomorrow and I am praying that this will be the ultimate Christmas present which will not disappoint.

After waiting since 2011, Aladdin musical will finally open in Singapore next year. Hallelujah!! Without much thought, I bought the VIP since there is seat in the first row for the final show. And after further thinking, I decided to watch another time for the opening show as well. Lol. I feel poorer today so I bought the cheaper ticket for a seat at the second floor this time. I am so excited and can't wait for all the Alladin stuff coming next year.

Lastly I am also excited with 2019 Conan movie since the setting is in Singapore. It is even more special since the release date coincides with my birthday. Too bad that is the release date in Japan haha.. Add Conan to another shopping list for 2019. In fact, now I am thinking if I should take a few days leave during my birthday to fly to Tottori for a few days. I want to visit Conan town (the real name is Hokuei town) and I do not mind exploring the sand dunes (can ride camel!), temple stay, mountain, and Hakuto Shrine. Now the biggest challenge is to find a local tour guide as Tottori is not that famous as an international tourist destination yet so I think communication will be a challenge. I don't mind paying for a personal tour guide to help me plan itinerary and most importantly to help me take photos. We shall see if this is going to be another solo adventure for me in 2019.
So funny seeing Merlion literally vomits blood HAHA

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Twenty thousand

Few months ago when I did not have the time to write anything about my life, my life was shit. Now the same thing happens but for a completely different reason as I am enjoying my life now. That's why I have been posting about the movies, anime, etc. So now I am going to write about what has been going on with my life.

It has been 3 months in my new job and I still have nothing to complain about. No doubt at times boredom starts to kick in for doing the same thing everyday but that is the nature of working life. While physically is the same everyday, I am still being stimulated mentally everyday. With different drugs, different journal papers, and different information, there is simply no opportunity to do the work in auto pilot mode.

I did not know why HR was in the rush to clear the paperwork for the end of the year but my confirmation appraisal was done after only 2 months and I am officially a confirmed staff effective from 1 Dec. That allows me to receive a pro-rated 13 month. Hehe.. The amount may not be much but it is a nice surprise to receive something unexpected. The increment cycle in this company is in January and I may still get an increment depending on my boss. Lol. I am not expecting but let's see if I get another surprise.

That brings upon realisation about money matters. After taking into consideration the pay cut due to less working hours, no more leadership allowance, less leave days, as well as definitely lower bonuses, I am looking at $20k less annual income. That is the cost of work life balance, freedom to be myself at work, mental health, and sanity. Am I willing to accept that? Surprisingly the answer is yes. Perhaps indeed at this point of time, my life priority is not all about money.

I am enjoying my regular life now as there is no more shift changes. Sometimes I feel a bit more stressed if I come past 9 am. I need to learn to chill since there is no really official timing here as long as I work 8 hours a day. The stress comes from my own expectations to try to reach by 9 am. I feel much relaxed after work. Previously I always felt in a rush and even when walking from bus stop to home, usually I would be sweating like mad. No more such things now.

I think I hurt my back so I suspended my gym for a month. Since 2 weeks ago, I am back to gym but now I am more careful and I try to alternate my sessions. Recently there is discomfort again (although not pain until like last time) and I am really unsure if it is because an injury or it is because I am desk bound. Sigh :(

I also have more chance to go to Orchard Road. In the past month, I had gone on some weekday evenings (and on different days as well) and I finally conclude and give up to will ever have pictures of the Disney decorations without the crowd. Haha.. Combined with Saturdays and Sundays, I think the total number of times I went Orchard Road in the past 3 months is more than the previous months of the year. I even saw Joseph Schooling once last month after my lunch. Not sure what he was doing at MBC but some people were waiting for him as he appeared from the carpark and he entertained photos. From his body language with the strangers, I think he is a great guy. My hair was shit then otherwise I would also thicken my skin to take a photo with him la. Olympic champion leh!

Company culture has been quite chill and non-toxic so far. For example, the eves of Christmas and New Year are made official half days and if people want to take leave, they can take as half instead of a full day. Wow.. so sad I am not taking leave this year. We also had a Christmas lunch celebration and on that day, we only worked until 1030 am before going for the lunch and there was no need to return to the office. Haha.. My team went for karaoke after that and even my boss' boss joined us. These are unimaginable things in my previous job.

This morning I went to my old workplace to say farewell to my ex-staff who is retiring at the end of this year. The trip made me very sure that I made a decision I did not regret. Just imagine, I already felt all the negative emotions right from the bus ride. The bus was empty and I could not understand how some people would still want to shove their ways etc. I had to deal with these kind of people everyday last time.

After catching up with ex-colleagues from other departments and sharing about my new work, I realise how blessed I am with a much more balanced life today. Just imagine, if I have to find something to complain about my new job, the biggest challenge I find is simply ergonomics and sleepiness from sitting down too long. Hahaha.. They are so trivial compared to my previous long laundry list of daily complaints. I am not interested and do not bother to be a busybody to ask how things are after I left. I asked an innocent question "How are you?" (notice it is not "How is work now?") and I saw my ex-colleagues' literally sank. No exchange of words was necessary and I knew what they meant. Haha a part of me actually felt quite relieved because now I know that at least I did not make their life so miserable as their manager last time. Lol.

With that visit, I am sure that I am happier now and I am glad I made the decision to leave the toxic comfort zone for a better life. For the minority of people who supported me in making the crazy decision a few months back, I would like to say thank you. In return, I can only share my testimony that money cannot buy quality of life, mental health, and sanity. Please do not be a slave of money if you find your job sucks and affects your life. It is not worth. The question is: how much do you value your own life and happiness? For me, I know they are worth even higher than $20k a year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Psalm 113

I usually try to avoid blogging about religious stuff as I feel that religion and relationship with God are something private. However, I usually write a note after a confession as a record since the first part of confession is always the declaration of how long since the last confession it has been. I am glad that I did so as this time, my blog posts are really helpful to remind me that my last confession was pre-Christmas 2016 and there is nothing since then as verified by separate posts of "I almost did not attend any mass at all for the whole 2017" and "I started to attend mass regularly this August after throwing resignation letter".

Believe it or not, the Devil is always trying to stop me from coming nearer to God. Yesterday I was so eager in preparation for confession but today I felt so lazy. There were so many excuses passing through my head to not go. Yep the same thing that happens every weekend as I am preparing to go for a mass, or when I want to go for my monthly volunteering, or when I am interested to join any church ministry.

Thank goodness I overcame the temptation and went for the confession. I definitely feel much better now. I felt so touched when the Father said "welcome back". Yes, being away for 1.5 years is very long. It made me realise how messed up my life had been because of work. Today is coincidentally exactly 3 months at my new job and never even once I regret or look back to return to my previous job. That feeling is enough to prove that my life is much better now.

Lying is something that weighs me down the most and presently 2 lies are still haunting me. I lied when I wanted to quit my job because I had to be politically correct. I lied to avoid meeting my parents when they came here 2 weeks ago because I wanted to standby my principle that I am super unhappy (present tense because I am still angry right now) that they flew by Lion Air. Grudges.. Anger.. They do nothing good and they just damage me. Knowing myself, I know it is not easy to let things go. At this point of time, I can only pray for the grace to let things go. Again I am very grateful for what the Father said that this body is a temple of God and I should get rid of all these ungodly emotions to allow God to settle.

I had been away for so long that I was very confused with the whole confession process. Last time, the church was darkened, people queued for the confession, went to the pews for the penance, and left. Today when I went, the church was bright and there were so many people sitting at the pews. The screen showed that for individual confession, we were asked to start immediately with how long since the last confession, and there was no need to say the Act of Contrition. I am still asking my friend for an explanation to understand this format. Haha..

Another new thing for me is about the penance. Instead of prayers, I was asked to read Psalm 113. Actually I am not sure if I heard correctly but I shall presume that what I heard is correct.

Psalm 113 New International Version (NIV)

1 Praise the Lord.[a]

   Praise the Lord, you his servants;
    praise the name of the Lord.
2 Let the name of the Lord be praised,
    both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised.

4 The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
    his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
    the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look
    on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 he seats them with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
9 He settles the childless woman in her home
    as a happy mother of children.

Praise the Lord.

I am looking forward to a blessed Christmas and I hope this is a U-turn for the better in my life.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Digimon shopping

Digimon tri reignites my Digimon fanboying and while searching for images for my blog post, I discovered more Digimon-related merchandises that tempt me. Firstly, I managed to find a complete English set of Digimon 01, 02, Tamers, and Frontier comics from a carousell seller. $20 for 14 comics book is extremely good deal. In addition, it was my first time using Park and Parcel which is a very convenient way of delivery. For $3, the seller packed the item and I could collect it from Peek-a-Box at Junction 8. That is definitely better than travelling a meet up at ulu places.

Secondly, I bought 2 Gomamon plushies from 2 different carousell sellers for $10 and $5. I know these are not authentic but there are so few official Gomamon plushies and I don't know where to find so this is the closest that I can get to having Gomamon plush. There is metal wire for each ear so that the ear can stand and bend like in the anime. With these being bootlegs, the wire is not long enough and look at the non-standardised shapes.
Only a week after I bought both, I discovered that there will be official Digimon plushies planned for release in March 2019 to commemorate 20th anniversary of Digimon. If only I have a huge space, I will buy a complete set :( Nevertheless, I decided to be crazy and pre-ordered 2 Gomamons and 2 Patamons. Let's think about space issues when they arrive next year.
All look so cute T_T
Thirdly, Digimon tri collaborates with a Japanese spectacle shop, Megane Ichiba, for Digimon-themed spectacles. I am crazy enough to pre-order through Goody Japan and I am thankful that they are willing to put in the degree for the lenses after I provided the screenshot. I am planning to wear the spectacles for daily use so I was seriously thinking about practicality. In terms of colour, I think Yamato/Gabumon or Joe/Gomamon versions are the safest. However currently my spectacles are blue or black so I decided to be crazy to get Takeru/Patamon version. Hahaha.. See how it goes. If the fit is good, I will be ordering Joe/Gomamon version as well. I am not biased just because I like Gomamon but I dislike the exposed temples. Temples are the official term for the "arms" of a spectacles.
I don't dare to visualise myself wearing Koushiro's frame
That is all for the Digimon related things, at least for now. Haha.. With Christmas coming, the shopping does not end here. After great deliberation, I make up my mind not to get Royal Selangor Age of Ultron figurine. With the Avengers: Endgame movie coming, I am hoping for a possibility of an even more fantastic figurine with more characters. I finally gathered the courage to ask the price for Picxel. A board of 10" x 10" is $100 and there are options to merge several boards to make a bigger picture. Now I can finally put aside my curiosity and my wish to get this. Haha.. although it will be quite a unique piece of art to own that can be based on my face, I think $100 is too expensive for something that may not look so obvious like me. Lol.

With that I decided to shift my attention to get another clay figurine of myself. Lol. This time the shop is called Duomedoll and I decided to try the personalised figure, instead of choosing from the available bodies, since it only cost $20 more. Initially I wanted to have the body as Squall but the quotation was too high for me ($360). So I decided to design the body as Heero instead. Let see how it goes when it is done.

To end this waste money post, I gladly share that last week someone bought my Cedric Diggory wand. Wow.. after more than 1 year being posted on carousell, finally someone bought it. The buyer was also very nice and I am happy to deal with her. She was happy as she thought the wand would be of some cheap ass quality.
Sold for $10

Sunday, December 2, 2018

C3 AFA Singapore 2018

I felt so tired after 2.5 hours extra volunteering hours on Saturday and I thought I would give this year's AFA a miss. Somehow I managed to wake up at 530am, went for 7am mass, and then I went to Suntec. The ticket booth was open from 830am so after I bought the ticket ($15), I had breakfast at McD. With more than an hour to kill, I decided to be greedy and got a breakfast wrap and sausage mcmuffin.

As some halls in Suntec were used for church services, it was confusing with some escalators being blocked off for church goers but the people were holding no entry signs bearing AFA 2018 logo. I thought they were blocking the escalators before the hall opened at 10am. The crowd was size-able by the time the doors opened but there was no human jam for the entry.

This AFA is hyped as the 10th year but unfortunately there is nothing special to commemorate the occassion. This AFA definitely felt less claustrophobic. The walkways are more spacious as the booths are smaller and it got really squeeze-y inside the booths. I think the crowd was also not too bad since there was no queue to enter Muse or Odex booths which I usually use as a gauge of the crowd level. Lol.

Similar to last year, there is more area for displays and experience zones compared to the shops. The food section is also smaller this year without any maid or butler cafe. Unfortunately, everything seems lacklustre this year. Some booths have stages but I did not see activities, maybe because it is Sunday today, I don't know. The figure manufacturers such as Banpresto, Bandai, Good Smile Company, etc did not really have impressive display for their figures. Sad..
As always, a huge Gundam always welcomes the visitors upon entrance
A smaller Gundam at Bandai/Banpresto booth
Banpresto's display completely went non-anime with Harry Potter and Disney Princesses Qposkets. I think they were out of place in an anime event so I was not suprised that people were not really interested in them. Well, not complaining since that means I got to take pictures without people inside.
Poor Newt is excluded from the wallpaper
Cute but I am not a fan of this cutesy style so I am not tempted
Another wallpaper promoting Qposket
Disney Princesses
The "big" thing for this year AFA is definitely gaming. The booths related to gaming such as Fate, Sword Art Online, Namco, some live online gaming, and card game were crowded all the way since morning. Fate has the biggest and most impressive booth although their wall display of numerous acrylic stands of the game characters were so lazily done. They did not even bother to put lights and I did not even bother to take any pictures.
Character boards
No matter which angle, Gilgamesh's face is always affected by the glar
They even have this mini stage
Their wallpapers are impressive too. This is the only one that I took a photo.
Sword Art Online recycles the character boards from AFA 2016. Lol.
This is an inflatable balloon
There is an interesting booth for Tama and friends. I have never heard of this character or series despite it celebrating its 35th anniversary. The booth was always empty and was unmanned which made me wonder what the purpose of having it in the first place. Again, empty means good photo opportunities and since my name also contains Tama in it, let's support ba :p
For me personally, Natsume Yuujincho is the star. It has never been a really mainstream anime series so it is really nice to see some big posters on it to celebrate its 10th year and the movie released earlier this year. There is The Odex Film Festival at GV Suntec and Natsume Yuujincho movie is one of the movies featured but sadly YESTERDAY :( If I knew earlier, I definitely would not mind watching it and paying $45 for the ticket since one of the included merchandises is a t-shirt. Here are some of the large posters (thanks Muse!).
Thank you for 10 years (and more to come) of heartwarming stories
Pre-order opened since September and I completely forget about this :( Now pre-order is already closed T_T
For the first time ever, there is Detective Conan Bakery booth. It is not a restaurant so the food offerings are terrible. I bought the Berry Medley boba drinks ($10.50) just to get the souvenir bottles.  The quality of the bottle sucks =x I bought Conan version in the morning and I put it in my bag. There are already scratches on it now. Haiz.. Oh well, I am just showing support in hope that in the future they will consider opening a proper cafe like in Japan although even if it happens, I may not have the chance to eat there just like the Final Fantasy cafe. Haha.. For buying the Berry Medley drink, I was offered to get the food items for $2 instead of the original price $4.50-$5. I got the Conan spicy curry chicken donut which was not warm (despite I bought it near opening hours) and nothing fantastic and the Amura sandwich which was just normal sandwich with a silhouette of Amuro's head etched on it. No photos for the food stuff because there is nothing fantastic about them.
No standees whatsoever. Just this picture at one wall of the booth
The blue colour looks yucky for a drink but the taste is ok.
I bought both bottles since this is special "Singapore" version. Haha..
Notice the red arrow in the picture above. That is to show bad the quality of the bottle. The red arrow is the "invisible" line of the plastic materials being fused and they cannot even bother to have the printed stuff nicely avoiding cutting across this line. Initially I thought it was my bad luck but Amuro bottle also has the same issue so it must be the production.

I had not been buying anything in the past few AFA so shopping is no longer my main goal. The irony is that even though I was not looking for anything, a few things ended up catching my attention. Lol. I saw Fate/Extella Archer by FunnyKnights that I have been tracking online but not yet able to find a discounted one. Compared to the original price $140-150, I think $110 is reasonable enough and I bought it.

I also bought 2 haoris for a total of $30. I was lucky that I was patient because I felt a bit iffy with the designs that I initially saw. The shinsengumi one has nice colour scheme but there is a silhouette of a girl at the back while the others have kanji characters that I cannot understand (I don't want to risk if the writings are something inappropriate). Then I found another set of haoris with more classy designs but with crazy price of $90 for 2!! The ones that I finally bought are similar to the $90 for 2 but only for $30. Wow.. it is crazy how the shops here just anyhow price their items sia.

The most enjoyable part of the whole AFA, however, is the experience zones. Canon booth still offers free photos but I did not bother. The staff were like not interested in asking people to take photos so I also felt paiseh. Karin's Mound is back but the area is much smaller than last year and does not look appealing to try this year. Although last year I wanted to try it badly, I did not bother about it. Manga de Japan is also here again. Knowing my drawing skills, I did not join the manga drawing session again as the outcome will be similar to last year. Haha.. I participated in the quiz but when it comes to the lucky draw, I suck as always and I just got the lousiest prize which is a lucky draw chance for travel to Fukuoka. The best prize is to get a manga portrait drawn by the artists there.

Eh then what so fun about it? At about 3pm, I decided to take a taxi home because of the figure and the haories that I bought. With all the Natsume stuff, I watched 2 special episodes at home and then decided to enter the lucky draw code. Then I discovered that below the lucky draw, I can also put in a code to get a manga portrait drawn! I put the lucky draw code and somehow it works. Thus I decided I should go back to get another code so that I could get 2 pictures drawn. Mwahaha!! So yes, I returned to Suntec.

I am glad I did that because the code for lucky draw is actually not the code for the manga portrait -_-". Haha.. I reached again at about 6+pm and they removed the prize of having the manga portrait drawn over there. I supposed they also wanted the artists to go home soon. The changed was done at the person in front of me. Hehe and guess what, this time for the lucky draw, I got the code for the manga portrait drawing online. If I did not return, I would not get manga portrait. Just a note, although the official closing time is at 8pm, many shops already start packing up at 6pm+ so it may not be a good idea to come so late. Conan Bakery fridge is still full of the drinks so perhaps it is not that popular :(
Last picture before leaving
I am very glad that despite my initial reservation to go to AFA today, I feel happy at the end of the day. It is ironic that when I read news about anime conventions overseas, I will imagine that it will be fantastic to visit but when there is an event here in Singapore then I am lazy to go. Ok lah, must go again next year just to experience the atmosphere instead of expecting there will be things I that will like or buy.