Sunday, May 12, 2019

Megane Ichiba x Digimon Adventure Tri spectacles (DGM-06RLB)

After getting and being happy with Takeru/Patamon version of Megane Ichiba x Digimon Adventure Tri spectacles, I succumbed to temptation to also get Joe/Gomamon version. Takeru/Patamon was a Christmas present while Joe/Gomamon was birthday present, especially since it was just nice that I went to Japan and I opted for collection from Lawson.

One interesting fact to highlight is they use 'reliability' which is the English translation of Joe's digicrest. In the Japanese version, Joe's digicrest should be 'sincerity'. It is confusing because of Mimi's digicrest which is 'purity' in Japanese version but is translated to 'sincerity' in English translation.

The details of the spectacles can be found here and I shall only share the photos of the actual item.
The wipe
The print is slanted -_-"
The design for the spectacle case (both external and internal) is the same for all variants of the spectacles
Surprisingly the design is nothing like the spectacles that Joe wears in any of the versions of the anime
The circle is based on Vikemon's shoulder guard and the four linked squares are based on Vikemon's Mjolnir chain (the Mjolnir in Tri design)
Gomamon's colour scheme :D Strangely this design is only on the right temple but not on the left :(
Symbol of Digicrest of Reliability
The original display lens
The website states that this frame style is wellington. To me it looks like a bigger square frame so I do not really understand how wellington frame differ from square frame.
Side-by-side comparison with Takeru/Patamon design
If you ask me which one I prefer, I will say I like both. That is the reason I bought both. Although in terms of unique-ness, Takeru/Patamon design has the winning edge with less mainstream colour and I like the additional "wing-like" feel from how the temples are connected to the lens.

According to the information that I read in the top Digimon forum, the spectacles that Joe wears at the end of Digimon tri movie 6 is based on this.
Joe's spectacles here is definitely different from the one he wears previously and in the tri promotional materials (which has no frame for the upper half of the lens). 
Enough of digimon and it is time to think through about Prince of Tennis spectacles. Haha...

NB: Post is tagged as 'Toys' for ease of retrieval in the future if needed.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Landings retreat

I just came back from Landings retreat which is sort of the closure of Landing run (actually there are 2 more sessions to go) that I am currently in. Honestly I felt kinda lazy since I just attended a retreat earlier this year and I wanted my weekend to settle things after my Japan trip. Well God is kind and despite my reservations, I come home feeling blessed.

The retreat was held at FMM (Franciscan Missionaries of Mary) House of Prayer and Formation. The atmosphere is similar to Choice Retreat House as the building feels rather old. FMM has bigger canteen, hall, and greeneries. I am alright with the dormitory style of the bed area. However toilet is something that I really cannot tahan. There is no hot water and one of the toilets did not flush. Eeeww...

The main points that I take home from this retreat are:
-Love language
There are various ways we show and perceive love: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch. Different people have different styles and many times this is the root cause of misunderstanding "If you love me, why you never do xxxxx" vs "I love you by doing xxxx. Why don't you appreciate?".

I have to reflect to know myself better since the love language towards God and towards humans may be different.

-God substitutes
God is the source of love but often we stray for Him and try finding His substitutes in the forms of wealth, pleasure, power, honour. I have gone past wealth, power and honour but I am definitely still struggling with pleasure. I am not saying that the first three are not important to me. It is just that they are not that important compared to pleasure or being happy. I see no point of being wealthy and influential if I feel miserable. My pursuit of happiness makes me very selfish and impatient when my happiness/comfort/'me' time is affected. I also often think about death since I see no purpose of living longer since I am quite happy with my life on earth.

I also learn something meaningful about the Eucharist. The body and blood are separated as they represent death. After the bread is broken, the priest will put some of the bread into the wine and this unity of body and blood represents resurrection. I was also reminded that Mass is a celebration for Jesus and the focus should be Him, and not me. That means even if I feel miserable or if I don't feel that I get anything or whatever negative feelings I have, these are not good enough reasons to skip Mass and I should still go for God.

The unexpected surprise from this retreat was the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I missed going before Easter and I thought the next one I go will be this coming Christmas. I am happy that I managed to go yesterday. I had to write down the list of sins on a piece of paper (later to be burnt) and I felt I had a lot. However after the confession, I am reminded again of the gift from this Sacrament: I really felt lighter as if the burden in my heart was lifted.

While confession was a good surprise, I also had a bad surprise. One session was a group prayer in which everyone had to pray for the other group members. I had to come up with spontaneous prayers 6 times and I am someone who is very bad with spontaneous prayers. I usually pray in my native language so translating adds another difficulty in spontaneous prayers. Curiously my group facilitator found that I have a gift in affirmation while I felt completely opposite.

For Sunday Mass, I was asked to do the first reading. It was my first time ever proclaiming the word of God during any Mass and I was reluctant. I did not reject as I tried not to think about myself (I was scared of making mistake and I was self-conscious about my accent) but to allow myself to do God's work. I am glad that I did that as it takes time to exercise this kind of humility.

We had a drink at RedDot BrewHouse last night. I ordered a glass of beer because of peer pressure since everyone ordered beer. Of course I could not finish it but I was quite surprised that it took half a glass before my face felt warm aka turned red. I never drank any beer before and although the green colour one (supposedly infused with spirulina) caught my interest, I decided to get something with lower alcohol content. I ordered RedDot Lime Wheat simply because it contains the name of the place so I assume that is special. I think I tolerated 5% quite well and I should have tried the green one with 5.5%. I always thought beer was bad but I had a change of mind after this. It is not as dry as wine, it is not as gas-sy as I expect, and it does not give me rapid flushing or gastric.

After 3-week suspension, I intended on returning to gym after lunch. I decided that I was too full and too lazy. Haha.. I went to Kinokuniya to collect my Free Comic Book Day package. There were leftover goodies to take for free and ooh la la some people were really greedy. Well I am still happy with some Amuro Rei post cards and Free! plastic folder.

I am very tired now as I did not sleep so well last night. Initially I used the blanket as my pillow and then it got pretty cold so I used it as blanket, although still folded halfway. Then I woke up again to fully open the blanket because of the cold.  Then I started seeing numbers 666 and 999 merged together (the 6 and 9 share the same round thingy). I saw 666 in red or 999 in green alternatingly each time I was awakened. I don't know if I saw 666 because I was worried if the dormitory were previously a hospital or if it was because I confessed that one of my sins is to keep thinking of death.

We all know what 666 means but I don't know about 999. To me 999 is a good number as it looks like 'almost perfect' to me. I will interpret this as a reminder that everything is a matter of perspective: I can see my life as hell or as blessings. Interestingly when I google the meaning of number 999, most search results seem to concur that it means a chapter of my life will end and it is time to move on. Does this signify that I will finally be able to let go my grudges with my previous job? Does this mean that after this Landings run I will start serving in the Church? I don't know.. I can only pray for God to show me the way.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Avengers: Endgame

Since missing the first day of the advanced ticket sales, I had been in an emo mood since I could not find seats which were not in the first few rows until at least next week. I think the cinemas open more screenings and when I checked for availability again yesterday, I found quite vacant halls for Saturday morning. Luckily as we were discussing about this during lunch, my colleagues asked me to check Tiong Bahru Plaza and I managed to get a ticket for yesterday 615pm. Hehe.. There were only fewer than 10 seats sold when I bought but in the end it was a full house too. So after 1 year of waiting and few weeks of emo-ing, I finally managed to watch Avengers Endgame on the opening day.

I usually love spoilers but I managed to hold myself for Endgame. Lol. The only thing I found out from my friend who already watched was whether there was any ending credits scene. Haha.. I was preparing to hold my bladder and quickly run to the bathroom if there is nothing. So just a warning for those who are reading this but have not watched it, there will be spoilers.

I may be weird and in the minority that find Endgame disappointing. I find it worse than all the previous Avengers movie. Heck, I find it even more boring than Captain Marvel. As Endgame is consider part 2 of Infinity War, comparison is unavoidable. Infinity War is the pinnacle and Endgame fails to better it and feels so anti-climactic. Infinity War feels so well planned and hits all the right notes for the character interactions (despite the massive cast), some epic memorable moments in the fight, and great humour and emotional moments. Endgame is messy and rushed (yes ironic despite it being 3 hours long): unable to do justice to the so many characters both in exposure as well as final fight, hit-and-miss jokes, emotional moments that miss some 'oomph' from poor set up leading to those moments, and uurgh plot.

As expected since the first time I read the rumours about time travel, the story is going to be messy and non-sensical. I am not going to nit pick on that since the movie's explanation is that time runs differently due to quantum realm. Thus even by taking Infinity Stones from the past, using them for some time in present timeline, they still can return it to the exact time when they 'borrow' it from the past. That is fair enough. However, it is ridiculous not to address how changes in the past will affect their future self with the most jarring example: present time Nebula kills Nebula from the past without erasing her own existence.

Time travel aside, the main plot is also terrible as a lot of characters seem to be out of their character and they are just used as convenience plot devices. I am okay with them emo-ing over the snap bla bla bla but what happen during the 5 year jump? Do everyone just move on and do nothing until suddenly when Ant-man comes back, everyone is suddenly interested in Thanos again? Time travel is not Bruce and Tony's expertise but after this mention about time vortex, within a few days they are able to device a plan. Bleah.. convenient but rubbish.

Captain Marvel is the latest edition to the team and her involvement in Endgame is crap too.Without watching the ending credits of Captain Marvel, we will not even know how she returns to earth. Well even in Endgame, we still don't know how eventually she is 'accepted' as part of the team, how she finds the spaceship that Tony and Nebula is stranded, how she just disappears after the first fight with Thanos and how she simply reappears again at the final fight. While for the characters who return from the snap, they are just shown for a few seconds just to remind us the audience that they are present and they have returned. That is the biggest letdown for me. Even the long awaited "Avengers Assemble" rally is so weak and uninspiring (the tease at the end Age of Ultron feels more inspiring). The final battle is essentially a repeat of the final battle in Infinity. They have all the opportunities to make the fights better, after all it can be seen as a 'revenge' from the snapped characters, but nope.. none of that.

Endgame can be summarised as a trip down memory lane. We get to revisit the old movies from different angles and fill in the emotional missing moments that the characters in the present timeline never get to experience (such as Thor and his mum, Ironman and his dad at a timeline where Tony was not even born, Steve and Peggy Carter at a timeline where Steve was still frozen). It also provides a good closure for the pioneers to exit the movie but the meaning is sort of lost because there is not enough build up and follow up after Black Widow and Ironman's deaths and Captain America's growing old (which actually is completely out of character for him to be that 'selfish'). Some fanservice easter eggs moments, especially for those who read the comics such as Captain America's "Hail Hydra!", Captain America's wielding Mjolnir, Pepper join the final fight with Rescue Armor, New Asgard, Falcon to take up the mantle of Captain America, Professor Hulk, and so on).

In conclusion, I think that the movie makers begin with the main goals of nostalgia and providing closures for the 3 Avengers mentioned above and the rest of the elements is fitted in where and when necessary resulting in all this mess. Great conclusion to the whole MCU storyline since the first Ironman movie in 2008? Yes! Great movie on its own? Nah.. I would say it is quite rubbish as a stand alone movie.

All that hype and waiting for one year ends with tears for me.. too bad it is not emotional happy or touched tears but tears of disappointment. The Avengers and MCU have definitely become part of history in film making and cinema industry. With a closure like this, I am not that positive on the future direction of MCU. They have messed around with time travel, written characters out of characters, and brought characters back from 'fake' death (aka Thanos' snap) so there is nothing stopping them from going full comic book mode with retcons and bringing back characters from real death.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Conan Station (Yura Station)

This is the post specifically for Conan Station which is officially known as JR Yura station. Despite all the Conan tourism, it is essentially and functionally a small station in a relatively quiet city. Inside the station, they make use every possible space for Conan decoratives. Outside the station are all the additional things to cater to Conan tourism: a tourist information center, Conan statues, and direction boards with Conan decorations.

I came here twice: once in almost evening when I only explored outside the station and once in the afternoon when I came and left Hokuei town by train. I choose the better looking pictures so there are some pictures with strong sun and some with cloudy sky. As most people will likely visit the town by train, I will order my photos from the platform (as if just arriving in the station) to the outside. Enjoy!
The moment we alight from the train, the platform area already has so many Conan signages.
The right side is 'lighter' not because of the strong sun but because the paint colour is indeed 'bleached' by the sunlight
The waiting area for platforms 2 and 3
Staircase to cross from the ticket office (and platform 1) to the waiting area for platform 2 and 3
Rather than passing a gantry, we pass a sliding door to enter the station building where the staff checking the ticket is stationed. This small building is where the coin lockers, ticket machines, and waiting area are.
Conan stickers on the ceiling
Conan decorations everywhere
Coin lockers
The only available 'large wall space' near the ceiling is maximised with Conan illustrations
After exiting this building, the tourist information center is just on the right. There is a small selection of Conan goods here. The most important one that I recommend buying is the Hokuei Town guidebook. It will provide all the locations of Conan statues to ensure that you do not miss any. Although most of the statues can be found along the Conan Street from the station to Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory, there are a few that require detour. The book that I bought says "volume  04" since the locations of the statues may be different from the information that can be found in the internet from few years ago. Yep, all the more reason to get this book. The guidebook also has Conan Street Stamp Rally and you can get a small sticker if you can get 5 out of 9 stamps. The locations of these stamps are also indicated in the guidebook.
Conan banners
Decorations around the sitting area in this tourist information center
Decorations around the sitting area in this tourist information center
Decorations around the sitting area in this tourist information center
The tourist information center is on the right of the building that we exit just now. On the left of this building is toilet and bicycle parking area. On the way to the bicycle parking area, there are more Conan decorations.
A board pointing to the first Conan bronze statue
Conan's famous "Shinjitsu wa itsumo hitotsu!"
Map showing Tottori prefecture
 The iconic Conan town statue is at the carpark area.
The statue is not as tall as I imagined. I am almost as tall as Conan's shoulder from the ground. Climbing to the platform is not allowed.
The map showing the attractions along Conan Street but I will still recommend to get the guidebook
Conan Station is officially recognised as a name of the station
Conan Station as viewed from the Conan statue: the white door goes to the train platform and the brown door is the tourist information center
From across the street...
.. which essentially is the start of Conan Street
On my way back to Tottori City, I was lucky to board the yellow Conan train. There are 2 Conan trains: yellow and pink and there are schedules. I consider myself lucky because I did not check the schedule and was not expecting this. Haha.. Anyway the Conan decoration is only at the outside. The train will not wait for passengers to take photo. So I was lucky that this train that I took ended at Tottori City so it stopped for sometime to ensure every passenger alighted and that gave me more time to take pictures. Hehe..

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tottori Sand Dunes Conan Airport

As promised, this is a separate post on Tottori Sand Dunes Conan Airport to show pictures of various Conan decorations in the airport.
This statue welcomes visitors after collecting their luggages and exit the Arrival area
Zoomed in for Ran and Conan

 Turning right from the statue is the domestic Departure area which is rather lacking in Conan decorations except for these banners

The bulk of the Conan decorations are on the left side of the Ran and Conan statue.
Boards showing various attractions in Tottori
Boards showing various attractions in Tottori
Conan Hall with 3D image effect for phototaking with the floor
I actually only noticed Kid when I took photo of the banner from 2nd floor. On the left of the banner is the staircase to go to the observation deck.
Kid is always 'hiding' at spots difficult to take photos
 Moving on to the decorations on the left side of the Conan Hall.
Promoting Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory (GAMF)
Promoting the Tottori Sand Dunes
Took this in a hurry and the captions are blurry so I can't figure out what these images are for
There is a small room to simulate taking photo behind a mirror but I only discovered this area on my departure flight when I was alone. So no picture for this. Moving on the right side of Conan Hall which has exhibitions of Conan's equipments.
Conan's skateboard and shoes
Conan's voice changer bowtie and spectacles
Details on Conan's equipments
The image on the wall at the staircase leading up to the Observation Deck
Photo place at the observation deck. Sadly I was alone so I did not have any picture here :(
Taken this on my 16/4 morning flight and they had not changed the date.
 Back to first floor and walking further past Conan Hall...
Conan decorations for the coin lockers
Memory test game station to flip matching tiles
Cafe Poirot decoration is not that big
The exit door next to Amuro sort of ruins the photo
Amuro Tooru / Rei Furuya
Kogoro Mouri
Plate signed by Amuro's seiyuu: Furuya Toru (notice his name and the name of character he is voicing)
Plate signed by Kogoro's seiyuu: Koyama Rikiya
Next to Cafe Poirot is a shop selling Conan merchandise. There are a lot of merchandises special to Tottori so it is a good place to get Conan merchandise if you have no time to visit Conan Shop at GAMF. It is bigger and has more Conan merchandise compared to the souvenir shop at Tottori Station.
Take note of the opening hours though 915-1730
Wallpaper inside the Skygate Store
Wallpaper inside the Skygate Store
 That's all for inside the airport building.
Taken from the carpark. Still plenty of space to make the Conan Airport logo bigger.
Conan decoration also extends to the carpark
These are all the pictures I took and there are still a few things that I did not capture: the walls and glass doors facing the carpark are also decorated with Conan, more images of the carpark sections, and framed Conan illustrations lining the aerobridge.

The airport was newly renovated and reopened in July 2018. So perhaps in a few years time, there will be more decorations added and that will be another reason to visit Tottori again. Hehe..