wingblossom: (Default)
It might be excitement over the JET program or the realization that I never finished talking about my trip last summer, but all of a sudden, I feel the desire to write about the two weeks I spent during August in Japan! I have a journal filled with entries I wrote around that time, but I kept procrastinating when it came to typing everything up, mainly because I was worried I wouldn't be able to cover it all. So, I'm trying something new.

For each city I went to, I'm going to make a list of things I noticed or really enjoyed or somehow, beyond all reason, caught my attention. Certain posts are going to be longer than others, depending on the amount of time I spent in a given city, but I plan on making a few notes about each place. Starting with Kobe. Which is also probably going to be the shortest entry, since I was there for only half-a-day.

Also, warning! I went with my friend Eiko (who I've known since high school), so mentions of her are going to pop up pretty frequently.

Kobe )


Jun. 12th, 2010 01:02 am
wingblossom: (Default)
As anyone who's ever read Newton knows, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Now, substitute "action" with "piece of wonderful, fantastic, good news," and "reaction" with "piece of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad news."

Basically, I went to the dentist today. And found out that I may have to get a root canal done next month. My reaction?


Right. So, I can safely say this is something I'm not looking forward to. With one exception, most of the dentists I've seen in the past have been great, so I'm not too worried on that count, but I've also heard that there tend to be far more complications once root canal work is done. (If anyone can disprove this, I'd be glad to know.)

It also doesn't help that I think of this song from Little Shop of Horrors whenever it comes to dental check-ups (thanks to being part of a production that performed this play in middle school) most of the time.

Aside from that, sparring was also kind of "ow"-inducing in Tae Kwon Do today. More than usual, that is. But fun nonetheless. And I got the chance to try some new flavors of Italian ice today! Java chip, chocolate hazelnut, and key lime. The place that specializes in it on Bell Boulevard, Ralph's Ices, has a ton of available flavors; way more than what I've seen stocked at most ice cream shops. Nothing quite beats apple crumb, though -- at least not yet.

And despite what the above sounds like, no, I don't actually have sugary desserts that often. Despite having cavities. Which brings this post full circle, more or less.
wingblossom: (art)
Okay, like I promised! An update on my life. It's been so long since I've written anything here; I feel like I have several months worth of catching up to do. So, first things first:

I found out about my placement with JET, and as it turns out, I'm going to be in Kobe! Not even just Hyogo Prefecture; the actual city. I...just...asj;fkfgjk, wow.

I never expected that for a second. Especially because the first choice I put down on my application was Sendai, Miyagi, all the way back in November of last year. (Which also happens to be all the way in Tohoku.) The best guess I can make is that someone saw I requested an urban placement and that my second and third-place choices were both in the Kansai region, so they figured that Kobe would be a good match for me.

I was lucky enough to visit Kobe last summer, so I have an idea of how the city looks, particularly around Sannomiya. In fact, I remember really loving the atmosphere and architecture because of its strong European influence. Still, I'm looking forward to finding out more information from my contracting organization in early July. I've heard that most unmarried JETs end up in either Hanayama or Gakuentoshi, the latter being the more suburban of the two. Since I'm pretty much dying to know more about where I'll be staying -- and what schools I'll be working at! -- I doubt these next few weeks can go by too soon.

More benefits? Excellent public transportation (which means that I don't need to get a car), plenty of options for entertainment, shopping, and food, quite a few other Kobe JETs in the area, and a tight-knit English-speaking foreigner community along with a large minority population. Since it's a port city, it also transitions from sea to city to mountains very quickly. In addition to that, I'll have the chance to visit Kobe's Chinatown! And from what I remember, it's supposed to be very metropolitan and fashionable, which should be interesting.

I was preparing to wind up someplace inaka, which I would've been happy with as well, but. Yeah. Wow.

wingblossom: (fandom (tokikake))
One last fandom-related post before I start making updates on my life again! There's a Sailormoon party going on in the comments section of [personal profile] beckerbell's post here, and I encourage anyone who's ever liked the show -- even just a little bit -- to check it out. I always enjoy talking about the series, and reading her post on its wonderful female characters sparked my affection for it all over again.

For those who might be interested, my comment thread is over here.
wingblossom: (Default)
So, I finally got my scanner back up and running today! As a result, I decided to post a few sketches I've done recently to celebrate that.

Princess Tutu, Furuba, and an original character )
wingblossom: (art)
Went to a Taiwanese restaurant on Main Street today called Ice Fire Land, for my mom's birthday. I've been there once before, but the reason for its name only just dawned on me: the shabu-shabu dinner = fire, while the shaved ice (or fried ice-cream!) dessert = ice. Duh. That should have been obvious!

For a quick gloss, shabu-shabu: hot pot with broth and another, larger bowl full of ingredients like vermicelli noodles and greens and pumpkin and tofu, all uncooked on the side. Typically, you order a portion of fish, pork, or assorted seafood to go with all of this, and take a variety of other sauces (like garlic, hot pepper, sesame oil, peanut sauce, scallions, etc.) to set on the table. As the water boils, you dip each ingredient into the hot pot, and then remove it, garnish it with any sauces you want and eat it. When you're done with that, you take the broth along with whatever's left of the other ingredients, and drink it as a soup. It is delicious.

After the main course, my mom ordered Taiwanese shaved ice with lychee, pineapple, red bean, and condensed milk toppings. The dish was huge, so my mom, brother, and I got three separate bowls, split the dessert evenly and then dug in. I'm surprised any of us could move after we were done eating. XD

My relatives in NJ also celebrated my mom's birthday by taking us out to The Cheesecake Factory on Sunday. I've never been there before (tried to once, and the waiting time was ridiculous), but now I can at least say I've had the honor of trying both tiramisu cheesecake and upside-down pineapple cheesecake. It was wonderful, and the funny thing is, I'm not even a big fan of cake! That's an upside to eating out with family -- you can try different dishes without being compelled to eat a great deal of anything. Aside from your own dish, that is. (And even then...)

At any rate, I really enjoyed both places.
wingblossom: (fandom (sku))
Or rather, the lack thereof.

And now that I've caught up with Durarara, I'd like to have a word with Narita Ryougo.

spoilers below for both series )
wingblossom: (Default)
This anime is based off a series of light novels by Narita Ryougo, the same guy responsible for writing Baccano -- a series that I enjoyed immensely, but still have yet to do a review of. Very rarely do I post opinions of a show this early, but I think it's a safe bet to say most people who liked either Baccano or Durarara will be fond of the other. In fact, I think they're set in the same universe. So while Prohibition era New York gets the immortal alchemists and the mafia, modern-day Tokyo winds up with an underground neighborhood including a headless Dullahan on a motorcycle with a scythe. Awesome! (And no, I'm not being sarcastic, by the way.)

After having been to Ikebukuro last summer, I feel hugely natsukashii when hearing characters talk about getting on the subway and heading to Sunshine 60, or listening to the two ­otaku who provide metatextual humor and go to places like Tora no Ana.

Really love the setting and slinky bass music (the trailer was what finally sucker-punched me into watching this series), am enjoying Kida and Celty as characters, and think that Izaya is a complete and utter troll. In the most internet-applicable way possible. I also like how the unimportant background characters are greyed out with black outlines; with a cast this large, it helps in knowing who to keep tabs on. The stylization in general is pretty impressive, with a great sense of fun and energy.

I also keep calling it "Duradura" instead of "Durarara," a habit I would like to amend ASAP.
wingblossom: [fleetingimpasse] (fandom (furuba))
Welcome to another edition of the Unofficial Fruits Basket Reread! Before you start reading, grab a snack, sit down, and relax. ♥

For those who aren't familiar with this project, [personal profile] bell and I are rereading the Furuba manga with clearer eyes -- writing down our impressions as we go through each volume again and scrutinize its content, talking about new things we may have noticed this time around. We alternate posts between each volume, and reply back to keep the discussion going. If anyone has any thoughts they'd like to add, feel free to weigh in at any time!

In this post, I'll be talking about volume eight. However, do beware of spoilers for the whole series below the cut.

General reactions )
Stuff I enjoyed )
Stuff I wasn't too fond of )
Silly fanart idea )
Overall )

Links to previous volumes:

Volume One
Volume Two
Volume Three
Volume Four
Volume Five
Volume Six
Volume Seven
wingblossom: (hearts)
So, I promised [personal profile] bell Princess Tutu fanart for her birthday more than a while ago! Hopefully I'll be forgiven for my less-than-punctual reply.

I thought it would be fitting to have Ahiru in her element: surrounded by water, and near another bird. ♥ bell, let me know if you'd rather wait for a Photoshop base, or if you'd prefer a colored pencil version.
wingblossom: [pretendenitis] (fandom (the office))
Womansword by Kittredge Cherry is an interesting book that I never would have noticed if I hadn't come across it in Strand about a month ago. In glossary format, it manages to break down about eighty Japanese phrases that pertain to women in a number of linguistic, sociological, and historical contexts. It's also fairly dated: it was written in 1987, and as such, some of the information that it offers isn't as pertinent as it would have been about twenty years ago. I still have to wonder about the usage of words like otoko-masari, and Cherry's reiteration that it's never, ever a good label in the modern world.

Still, it's an even-handed, well-researched study that also has the advantage of cohesive organization. The book groups idioms into different categories -- female identity, young adulthood, married life, motherhood, work, sexuality, and aging -- managing to work in a lot of anecdotes that are often glossed over by other researchers. As this, it's a solid resource; if anything, I wish that it had been longer and gone even more in-depth.

more thoughts underneath cut )
wingblossom: (fandom (tokikake))
I just found the original theme for Darkwing Duck on Youtube, one true ~show of my heart~ in second-grade. My life is now complete.
wingblossom: (hearts)
amusing (???) story for today, as narrated by Scott Adams )

In summary, all of Scott Adams's tips about surviving work in corporations have to do with basically avoiding it as much as possible. Before he started publishing Dilbert, I wonder what he must have been like as a co-worker. I have a hunch that he was the understated, sensible-seeming type who people knew not to cross because they secretly suspected him of hiding either a) knives or b) top secret information sought by multiple intelligence agencies under his drawer.

This also brings me to my next point, which is that I really want to give whoever thought of The Office* a big fat kiss on the cheek and a cookie.

Well, maybe not the kiss. But definitely a cookie! It takes talent to turn the most mundane drivel into a funny, character-driven satire that manages to be as true as it is absurd. Watching the deleted scenes for s5 on Youtube today pretty much rekindled my love for it, and reminded me that I haven't seen any new episodes in a while.

It also reminded me that some people are just obnoxious, because one of the outtake vids posted up there tries to rickroll everyone. Yeah.

I think this post was supposed to have more of a point (like linking to some of my favorite moments from The Office, for example) or reveal some insight of scintillating brilliance. But sleepiness prevails yet again, so if anything, that's going to have to wait until tomorrow.

*Yes, I know it's Ricky Gervais.
wingblossom: (books)
In the city, there once used to be a holy trinity of Japanese-owned bookstore chains: Kinokuniya, Asahiya, and Book-Off.

Asahiya closed down a few years ago, but back in my high school manga-buying days, I used to go to Kinokuniya and Book-Off all the time. As time went on, however, Book-Off gradually replaced Kinokuniya in my affections, both due to its marketing and ease of access with regards to my train route. In addition, Book-Off also stocked a ton of used English books and CDs on the main floor, turning it into a "one-size-fits-all" kind of place. It was located on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue, and...I was kind of addicted to going there! Along with the Strand, it was my favorite bookstore in the city.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I stopped by there, and much to my shock and horror, I found out that the place had closed down! In the store window, there was a note that said a new location would be opening up on the 17th, a few blocks down on 45th Street. Since I had already planned on going into the city that day, I managed to take a look at the new Book-Off on its first day open.

have a look inside? )
wingblossom: (art)
Still stoked about JET. Don't know if I'll be capable of writing coherently for the next week or two, so instead, let me take pictures of some projects I've been working on with my cameraphone! (Uh, camera-on-the-phone, that is.) I'd be using my scanner if it were working, but it's not, so that option is pretty much out of the question.

cut to spare your flist )
wingblossom: (fandom (digimon 02))
Okay. I've been stalling on this for months, but at some point I figured I should go ahead and talk about my JET interview.

Or in other words, mention everything I've been telling my friends for weeks and weeks, rather than relegate everything to the back of my head while I read JET forum posts. Which, let's be honest, is actually a very tempting option! The results of the interview I had in February are coming out sometime this week (anywhere from the first until the tenth), and as much as I'm trying to convince myself that I don't care about what happens, in all honesty, I am a little nervous.

Really. :D

Part of this may be due to the fact that the application process is so very long. The online app was up in early October, my written app had to reach the Washington consulate by November 24th, I received word that I scored an interview in early January, and my aforementioned interview was on February 16th. That's a month-and-a-half gap. And from what I've found by looking up information online, candidates in the U.S. seem to be the only ones who receive no hint as to what their chances are before the results come out.

So as of right now, I'm going to stop imagining each and every little thing I could have done wrong during the application process, and c&p some post-interview thoughts I had while talking to everyone instead.


And now, all I have to do is keep my fingers crossed a few more days! No matter what happens, I think I can deal with it.
wingblossom: (Default)
Kiki's Delivery Service

Summary: (again, from IMDB) A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service.

I'll keep this short. Kiki's Delivery Service is a charming movie; one of my favorites from Ghibli (that doesn't involve soul-crushing sadness like Grave of the Fireflies), one of Miyazaki's best, and a personal favorite of mine. I rewatched it with my mom on Netflix recently.

And you should watch it too. )
wingblossom: (cookies)
So! I caved and signed up for an account with Twitter. I will probably regret this in the days to come. (Now to find the people I know who are using it. That should be a grand total

Life is going along swimmingly -- once in a while, I feel a vague sense of guilt for not posting more often, buuuut there are worse things to consider, I guess. Like the fact that I am currently trying to type without wearing my contact lenses right now, for instance.

Lastly, I take back everything I said about not begrudging Pixar/Disney their Oscar win, because UGH.


wingblossom: (Default)
let's go exploring

November 2011



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