.:: 2014 Sakura-con Cosplay Wishlist ::.

January 19th, 2014

Wake the Sun? »

When was the last time I updated this blog? ….. Yeah I thought so. Well I finally decided that I would get off my butt and finally attend an anime convention again! The last U.S. one I attended was Anime Expo in 2007 (the last Japanese one was Comiket in 2011 but that one doesn’t count. ^^). And conventions mean…. COSPLAY!

I’m mostly listing this for the purposes of reference and sharing with my fellow “con-spirators” (see what I did there? XD). Let’s see if I’m actually able to finish all these…..

WARNING: THIS POST IS VERY IMAGE INTENSIVE.

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Posted in: Anime


.:: The Voice, X-Factor, American Idol…And Which One Rules Them All ::.

May 10th, 2012

Wake the Sun? »

I originally posted this article back on March 25.  At that time I was entranced with the glitzy chairs and  star-power of America’s latest singing competition: The Voice.  I was amazed by the talent and the camaraderie between the judges Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton, and Adam Levine.  The Voice was fresh and relevant in a way that American Idol and X-Factor US wasn’t.  Unfortunately, the show had its serious ups-and-downs.  Now that The Voice has drawn to a close, I’ve taken a more jaded opinion of it.  I still love it, but I admit it has flaws (as many as American Idol and X-Factor, just in different ways).

So I’ve decided to re-edit this post to reflect a more objective viewpoint.  Plus, as I stated in the previous version of this post. the American Idol vs. The Voice debate is STILL getting on my nerves.  Maybe I’m getting old and stodgy but I seriously think America is tone-deaf.

I’ve been out of this singing reality loop for a while now. I think I only watched the first two and a half seasons of American Idol before I lost interest (I think around the time of that whole Hawaii Jasmine Tiras debacle… and after the disappointment of Clay Aiken’s debut album). But now I was willing to give that reality singing thing one more go. I got back just in time to watch X-Factor’s inaugural season, the Voice’s second season, and aged and doddering Idol’s 11th season. My verdict? No singing show is (in the words of the singer Pink) “Perfect.”  That being said, I’m still most definitely a “Voice” fan. X-factor is old news but now the Net is abuzz with The Voice and American Idol going head-to-head. If Season 3 of Idol lost me, Season 11 isn’t doing any better. I swear I think I’m just watching it to justify my reasoning of why The Voice is just so much better.

Plus it makes for a good blog article. So let’s get to it! Here’s the pros, cons, and myths surrounding America’s three biggest singing shows. (Come back in a few months to see what I think of America’s FOURTH singing competition…. “DUETS!” *rolls eyes*)

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Posted in: TV


.:: Reborn on All Souls Night ::.

September 21st, 2011

Wake the Sun? »

I badly needed a new index page for my website so to celebrate the end of summer, I decided to theme it around a doujinshi cover I picked up last summer at Comiket 2010.  This particular doujinshi artist draws the Reborn characters as woodland animals… in this case wolves and squirrels.  I extracted the main graphic and recreated the background using my own photos and some brushes I found on brush king.  The colors and overall concept came from the doujinshi artist but the recreation of it is my own.

You can check out the new index site here:
http://www.animekingdoms.com

Since it was a shame not to make a wallpaper out of it, I did just that.   I’m also a stickler for tradition. All of my wallpapers have to include a famous song or poem.  So I chose “All Soul’s Night” by Loreena McKennitt.  I think it fits quite well.  Enjoy!

Posted in: Anime, Wallpapers, Web


.:: Leiko Ikemura: Transfiguration ::.

August 27th, 2011

Wake the Sun? »

On the last day of our Tohoku trip, a slight change of plans lead me and Dawna back to Tokyo a day earlier than planned. So while Dawna headed back to the land of mikans, I loitered around in Tokyo. On a whim, I decided to take Dawna’s suggestion and go to an art museum in Tokyo (rather than another trip to the manga store Mandarake where I would inevitably spend more money and buy yet more doujinshi). Thus I found myself in the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art where there was a special exhibit called “Transfiguration” on an award winning sculptor and painter  Leiko Ikemura.  I am not an art buff, and at best I mostly found Leiko’s artworks highly disturbing (like the hollow sculpture of the beheaded girl with a pigeon sitting on her neck).  So it was not surprising that as an  English Literature major I was immediately drawn to the poetry littering the walls of the exhibits instead. I believe Leiko herself wrote them in Japanese and was later translated into English (by herself or another I don’t know).  Here are some of the discombobulating verses I found.

Post research: Though she currently lives in Berlin, Leiko Ikemura hails from Mie Prefecture. That makes her poems, particularly the “Figure-scape” poem all the more chilling.  In response to the the triple disaster, she curated a exhibit in Berlin called, “Breaking News: Fukushima and the Consequences.”

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Posted in: Poetry, Travel


.:: Matsushima: 5 months and 18 days later ::.

August 25th, 2011

Wake the Sun? »

March 11, 2011 – a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami struck off the cost of Matsushima, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture in what would be known as the triple disasters of the Great Tohoku Earthquake.  Japan’s northeastern coast was devastated as the killer waves reached several miles inland, laying waste to everything in its path.

August 25, 2011 – Dawna and I visited the Matsushima Bay, the nearest point of land to the epicenter of the great earthquake.  Prior to the earthquake, the pine covered islands of Matsushima were known as one of the three most scenic places in Japan, the others being Miyajima in Hiroshima and Ama no Hashidate north of Kyoto.  Following the earthquake, the area was hard hit, though not nearly as bad as areas to the north or south.  This was due to the unique structure of the bay and the high hills that surround it.  Still, it did not escape unscathed and if you were to visit the area today you’ll find numerous tsunami warning signs and before and after pictures of the carnage.

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Posted in: Travel


.:: Dream Log: The Seeds to Save Earth ::.

August 24th, 2011

Wake the Sun? »


When you dream, do you remember it? Are you involved in your dreams? Are you the main character? Or are you a silent observer watching the events unfold?  Most of you would say the former, or not remember them at all.  I’m no different from you, and most of my dreams I either don’t remember or full of discombobulating images taken from distant memories or current situations I’ve been stressing about.  But every once in a while I get that strange dream where I am not an actor and witnessing things in the 3rd person.  These dreams have a stream of characters, a plot and a climax.  More often than not, they involve some popular Japanese anime I love.   The last time I had one of these dreams was probably back in 2003, when I dreamed of the great Bishonen Anime Tournament (no kidding) featuring characters from Gravitation, Full-Metal Alchemist, and .Hack (among others). Previously I’ve dreamed about Ronin Warriors (Yoroiden Samurai Troopers), Clamp’s X/1999, Rurouni Kenshin, Weiss Kruez, and various fantasy-esque themes.  This time, the main characters were from Gundam Seed (finally! I was wondering when I’d get a Gundam Seed dream!).

I woke up in a Tohoku Inn at around 5:30am in Aomori with the vestiges of the dreams lingering but fading quickly.  Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to grab a pencil and pad and record it rather than go back to sleep.  The following is what I can make up my hastily scribbled writing.  I take no responsibility for the workings of my deranged mind during the cycles of REM.

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Posted in: Anime, Dream Log


.:: Yamanashi? Or Not: A Day Told in Texts II ::.

August 22nd, 2011

Wake the Sun? »

Having parted with cash I wasn’t supposed to have but guilty laden with delicious doujinshi, I attempted to meet up with Dawna and Wendy.  This “attempt” turned into a huge comedy of errors, miscommunications, and freak events that never happen in Japan (aka train delays).

Prior to starting our Tohoku journey, we were to meet in Yamanashi prefecture, an inaka prefecture about an hour and half outside of Tokyo on the northern side of Mt. Fuji.  Yamanashi’s unique climate made it Japan’s premiere source of grapes… and thus wine.  Near Yamanashi City in Katsunuma, is a place known as the “Grape Cave” where, for a paltry fee of 1,200 yen, the wine enthusiast could sample a number of Yamanashi’s plentiful wines.  Think Napa Valley, California except that the fee is a one-time deal and the time limit unlimited.  Yes that’s right, 1,200 yen for all-you-can-drink wine with unlimited time. Though I myself am not a wine enthusiast (actually I’m not a fan of alcohol in general) I thought this would make for quite an entertaining show with a lot of blackmail (which did indeed happen though I wasn’t there to watch it unfold). The plan was for me (coming from Osaka) to meet the two of them (who were coming from Tokyo) there and then to head back to Tokyo.

Here’s why that plan didn’t actually come to fruition (no pun intended)…

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Posted in: Travel


.:: Osaka, A Day Told in Texts ::.

August 21st, 2011

Wake the Sun? »

“You’re going WHERE?!” was the response most people gave me when I said I was traveling to Tohoku.  Well I shall defend it as such: 1) It was the last region of Japan I hadn’t visited, 2) the Great Tohoku Earthquake was several months ago and the region had rebounded and was encouraging tourism to help rebuild its economy, and 3) we weren’t going anywhere near the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant’s exclusion zone (more on that later) .

But that’s not what this post is about.

So prior with meeting Dawna and Wendy for this vaunted Tohoku trip,  another friend of mine, Zung, and I had gone gallivanting in Osaka.  The previous day we had fun watching uniformed high school boys labor under Japan’s sweltering heat chasing balls at Hanshin Koshien station for the chance to be crowned high school baseball Koshien champions.  This was followed by a relaxing afternoon in Osaka’s 7-story spa and water park called Spa World.  After a good night’s sleep in a capsule hotel in Namba, I said goodbye to Zung and wondered how on earth I was going to spend the rest of my time in Osaka.  Then I discovered that Mandarake, a chain doujinishi store, had a branch near Umeda Station.  What ensued was a search that seriously rivaled Luffy’s elusive journey for One Piece…

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Posted in: Travel


.:: 5 Years Later: Goodbye My Apartment ::.

August 6th, 2011

Wake the Sun? »

August 6, 2011.  Exactly five years after I arrived in Japan I finally bid goodbye to my dear domicile.  It was tiny, on the fourth floor with no elevator, had a broken stove and AC, a kitchen the size of a hallway, a shower that overlooked the bathroom sink, and the incessant call of cicadas under the sill.  Still…. it was home.   Goodbye my apartment…. I shall miss thee!

One more month and my caravanting in Japan must also come to a close. How time flies!

Posted in: Random


.:: My Misadventures in South China (Index) ::.

May 20th, 2011

Wake the Sun? »

Whew! Two weeks after returning from China, I finally finished all the back-dated entries I had to write post-trip (I thank that iPhone-stealing bastard).  As I did with my previous trip abroad, I’m creating a static index page listing all the entries in chronological order for ease of navigating.

Before I do that though, I’d like to point out something rather intriguing….

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Posted in: Travel Index