Friday, May 29, 2009

Getting a Handle on Things

So I just canceled my Alter Saber Lily preorder, leaving just Yoko Bounty Hunter Version as this month's singular preorder. I've been trying to whittle down my anime expenditures as of late, reflected in the rhetoric 2-3 posts of the past month or two. I'm in that horrible middleground that most people that consider themselves otaku, are not. In fact, most of the audience seem to be on one side of the fence or the other. They're either 17-21 year-olds who have a part time job or rich parents and no obligation to pay bills and buy a lot of figures, or they're adults who have "made it" and can buy whatever the hell they want with reckless abandon because they're masters of science or art. (Or they're poor and they mention how they can't buy molded hunks of plastic here and there) In any event, I have yet to finish my degree, and I've (stupidly) mortgaged about 5 years of my life now over buying said hunks of plastic. The fact that they're all extremely limited in production was part of why I didn't stop in the first place, but I sort of want my tale to have a happier ending. Continuing to have no diploma and a mediocre job will only lead to a mediocrely diploma-free existence.

As I've said in the past on here, a change of scenery would be more than welcome, even a slight one to pop this bubble of routine would be nice. I think this is a nice start to that. Removing a figure that would've cost over $100 with shipping, that I can easily obtain on Yahoo Japan Auctions a few years from now when the economy has rebounded and I (hopefully) have a career, I feel, is definitely a good start. An occurrence like this is partially the reason why I stopped reading almost entirely. I know that if I read that site as much as I had been before, I would probably end up preordering and ordering a lot of things that I don't really need. I'm going to make a post about that later (I've been putting it off) but for now that one sentence explanation will suffice.

Buying unnecessary, aesthetically pleasing things is fun. I won't deny that. If I had to define myself I think perhaps I'd have to invent a new word: "hedomasochist". I overindulge with a lot of things, it's a real problem. Nothing bad yet, alcohol is kind of a turn off (I have no idea how something that makes someone feel so shitty would be addictive, so to alcoholics I sarcastically salute your vigor), never tried a drug in my life and have never really wanted to other than pot (I've had a contact high or two and they were fun, sue me for wanting to see what the real thing is like), not too much of a gambler because my logical brain intercedes killing any potential fun or profit. Mainly it's just with oral fixation - namely non-alcoholic drinks, and collecting stuff. And even with collecting I usually have a discerning eye. Uuuuuuunfortunately for me and many others, Japan makes too many well-crafted items of interest.

However, I've always had this thirst for travel, this wanderlust, in me. And keeping myself here is absolutely a masochistic act. If I ever forget this, my mind reminds me when I read any J-Blog and automatically think, "Wow I could be doing/seeing that right now," being ironically flanked by my PVC collection behind me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

USB Keroro Gunsou Pasotomo

Suddenly the top of my computer case is very busy. First I got my USB owl that sits on his little plastic tree stump and bobs his head and blinks. Today, my Pasotomo (shortened version of pasokon, Japanese for personal computer and tomo, shortened version of tomodachi which is Japanese for friend.) Keroro Gunsou arrived! He plugs in to any USB port and reacts to sound and voice by swinging his head and his cheeks light up. He was actually bigger than I expected, I was expecting a tiny version of Gunsou-san, this iteration is as tall as my USB owl and his stump. He's adorable, though a talking version with his seiyuu from the anime would be cuter, but there's one small problem I have. I wouldn't so much mind the fact that he's overtly-sensitive to sound if the motor in his neck wasn't so loud. It sounds like a tiny locomotive of sorts, and with him being set off by the slightest noise I found that it started to grate on my nerves kinda fast. Apparently he's pretty popular, being sold out at both HLJ and Hobby Search. He retails for 1800yen.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gone Fishin' - i.e. Busy Tweeting

Yes, I've joined the "revolution" of slaves to messaging 2.0. That's sorta why I haven't been posting here lately. I've been talking to "real Japanese people!" lately, in Japanese, so I've not been on or haven't really had anything relevant to post here, either. If you'd like to follow me, you can do so here.

It's sorta funny because I never really stepped back and noticed how verbose I am until I was regularly communicating with people in another language. I may have studied Japanese for a long, long time now, but honestly I didn't really use the skill on people that much. It's very different whenever you're just reading a magazine, or a figure package or a website or listening to a song, versus talking to real live people and having to think on your feet. But trying to convey thoughts in a language that has a whole lot of subtext, virtually zero sarcasm and where one word can have 3-4 meanings... it becomes difficult to break habits in English that just don't translate over well.

What's more, words like 皮肉 (hiniku), which means ironic, can also mean sardonic and sarcastic. In English these words are separate entities. Sardonic means that you're being sarcastic with the intention of being insulting to the subject of said sarcasm. Sarcastic means that you generally indicate by your inflection, the opposite of what you're saying. "Oh yeah, that's good," would mean that you're trying to indicate - via sarcasm - that you're not looking forward to whatever "it" is. Moreover, often times you have to add 的 (teki) or っぽい (-ppoi) to "augment" the states of some words, while others have their own special word and yet still others are set into different facets of grammar.

Upon learning more and more Japanese over time, I find it ironic (heh heh) that a culture that is so steeped in beauty and the arts, has - to me at least - a language of "approximation". I guess one could argue that the arts are how the Japanese express themselves, but comparative to English, there aren't nearly as many "unique" adjectives/adverbs. Conversely you could also say that English has too many created words, as it's easy to branch or combine or mangle in the English language.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Digging for Treasure

Well it wasn't exactly digging, more like foraging. I found my old Super Famicom games in the closet this week. You can tell I was about 16 when I bought these, just by looking at the titles. Isometric DBZ Action-RPG game, G Gundam (so good), The Great Battle III (SD Gundam series) and Live A Live (a really great little RPG from Square that never made it outside of Japan).

I remember that each of these games cost well over $100 with shipping, back in the day. I actually ran across an invoice that for whatever reason I saved, for my copy of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the limited edition from Japan on the very day it released, and that cost me $130 with overnight shipping (I was young and stupid and impatient!) for the PS1. God, I'm such a frivolous, impulsive human being. I can draw so many parallels to my collecting figures today - and consequently why I don't yet have my bachelor's degree. >< Yes, my life has been stunted because of figures and games. It's like a punch in the gut to actually admit it. There's more to it obviously, but the financial aspect I owe to those things and being about as reliable with money as leaving your appletini with an alcoholic.

Completely unconnected to this epiphany - and in the interest of being a grownup for once - I've canceled the gross majority of pre-orders I had made at any and all online retailers for figures and paraphernalia. I really need to actually do something with myself, and that unfortunately requires money.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Geez, I'm lazy, I haven't posted anything in like 5 days. cough.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The joys of social networking...

You know, I really love writing in this blog and posting things over at Danny's site. Blogging allows me to express myself, and invite people into my little sphere of madness and talk about things I want to talk about in a genuine way. Recently, I reactivated my Facebook account and made a Twitter account. A blog, in a way, is a social networking tool. If we didn't have other people reading our blogs 90% of us wouldn't write them, more than likely. FB and Twitter both have/had their unique charms to a fault. But the novelty of both is quickly wearing off, for this traveler at least.

At first both apps were really cool, nothing amazing or earth-shattering, but they were easy to use, I enjoyed making contact with people from like outside of, I added real life friends (that I talk to in real life almost daily, so that's not that thrilling) and life was good. Twitter, was a little more random because it's not as "protected" as FB, in that I can follow you and I don't have to ask for your approval. So that was a little more fun, as I made a few Japanese friends and brushed up a bit and got a confirmation that my Japanese is actually somewhat good still, talked to the owner of J-List, Peter, et cetera. However all of this, FB especially, became very disingenuous. I thought that since Facebook was - like I said - a little more protected, it wouldn't be on that MySpace level of, "Wheeeeee animated GIFs! Random graphics and ads!" that I hated so very much when I got roped into making one of those accounts years ago. But alas, that wasn't the case. The more people you add, the more ridiculous, stupid things pop up asking you to join this group and that group and then there are people like Danny that post a million things for more page views, but never reply back. And as far as I'm concerned, with people that I linked up with, but haven't talked to or lived around for a long time, they have local friends/associates that they post about local things with and I have no idea wtf they're talking about so I just end up hiding their updates. This is the disingenuous part. You're supposed to use these utilities to network with people, when all I've really done is communicate in an utterly superficial way. Someone on Twitter posts a song they're listening to, I make a comment, that's it. I don't think either of us is gratified or educated by this - if they even read my reply, and we've both wasted 30 seconds of our lives doing this. The brushing up on my Japanese part is neat, and it's great to talk to people on the other side of the world, but even those conversations go nowhere fast because we don't really know each other so (as my cousin's host sis once put it before "social networking" was around and was speaking about penpals) "You run out of things to talk about by the second letter and then you never talk to each other again."

The groups on FB are another thing that I find disingenuous. I enjoy going to, because I know everyone there is interested in roughly the same thing, we discuss it, people comment, everyone's entertained and more educated about what they like sometimes. Joining a group on FB to me, is the equivalent of spam. You occasionally get a post that you gloss over for about 4 seconds and then move on. And I understand that "making friends" with someone eternally busy like Danny, you'll have a post that you and 10,000 other reply to and there's no reply or anything. Just as I understand that most updates reflect his site and warrant more pageviews, so it's smarter for him overall. And honestly I think he's done it in a very intelligent way, "advertising" but keeping it hidden more or less, amongst a normal post. But this whole thing leaves interaction to be desired, for me at least. If I'm joining groups where my comments are just going to get lost in the shuffle, friends with people who I don't really know that use it to keep in touch with people they do know, and finally friending people that I admire but have little time for personal social contacts, then what's the point? I talk to the people I want to talk to in real life, on the phone or over AIM or something, I don't see the necessity of updating my status to people who, for all intents and purposes, don't give a flying shit about "What I'm doing right now".

If I want to make a figure review, I'll post it on my blog. If I want to rant about something, I'll post it on my blog. I'm not going to make (hate to use it again) disingenuous posts for the express purpose of attracting more followers who aren't really even going to read or even care what I have to say. Ironically, I'm a hypocrite, because all I've been using either thing for in the past 2 days is to advertise this blog, or mirror it on FB/Twitter.

Having said all of this, maybe I'm missing the point because I have an absolutely wretched social existence, and have for like the past 3-4 years. I'm not naturally that great (i.e. - I suck and am constantly self-deprecating so I don't even approach them anymore, and yes I am openly admitting I'm pathetic -_-;) at meeting people, and this area sucks for people that aren't total fucking dullards, so when most of my friends moved away after college and such, I have just a few people that I associate with now. I'm also gun shy because I end up picking the absolute worst people to associate with, they wind up being a weirdo, manic depressive, really epically boring (like, "Oh I don't mind watching you play video games for 4 hrs at a time, but I won't play myself at all."), flaky as hell, egomaniacal and full of themselves - you get the picture. I have a few friends that I hang out with so I'm not entirely alone, but honestly I would almost rather be alone than spend time with someone who all they do is talk about themselves and how awesome their band is. Ugh. People seem to use these for their real life contacts, and unfortunately I don't have many of those anymore, and therefore I'm not doing anything exciting either, so... And the out of town friends I have on FB, I get to read about their goings on and their friends and it just serves to depress me. This all gives me very little to gush about over a SOCIAL networking site. So yeah, as I said, maybe I missed the point.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Animated GIFs are my gift to you...

As you can see, I made some To Aru Index and one FMA animated GIF in my spare time. Nerdy as hell I know. -_-; But I love it! Collect em, enjoy em, trade em with your friends! i.e. - Use them as you please.

まだモンハンマニア! (More Monster Hunter Mania)

Just a pic post, even though you can barely tell that I'm playing MH in the picture. Working on something for the first 5 eps of Hagaren (Fullmetal Alchemist) and a long-overdue post on the end of To Aru Index and Gundam 00.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Loaded Up With Loot!

The loot gods have smiled upon me! I'll order stuff on different days, from different places and don't get anything for a few weeks, and then bam, I get three packages in one day. Yesterday I got my Biribiri back. Robert's Corner Ripoff Store tried to give me some story about how they had a "powwow" (their word not mine) with the staff about what to do about the figure after 2 weeks of being incommunicado with me. This response happened a day after I filed a Paypal complaint about them, luckily I had the foresight to use Paypal as I'd never dealt with them before. What a coincidence that they FINALLY contacted me a day after I threatened them! At any rate, they amicably gave me my ducats back and amazingly enough I found this sold-out-everywhere figure at frigging Amazon of all places the day before I got the refund issued. So I got her for $4 less than what I paid at RCAS, and guess what?! They were wrong! The orange missing paint spot on the original figure I got that RCAS claims was where they pulled her from the runner? Not one paint spot, scuff or other marking on this new one.

So with Misaka Misaka <3 Axis Powers Hetalia figures and finally a box of Gurren Lagann Fortune Club (aka - Chara Fortune) "The Start of a Journey, Believe in You Who Believes in Fortune Telling" (笑).

A perfect sculpt if I do say so myself!

She is goth punk, it just seems kinda funny in the world of Zero no Tsukaima. She's adorable, and this is the best sculpt of Louise I've seen since bustier version that I purchased many moons ago which was also made by - surprise - Alter!

Biribiri makes her triumphant return!

Misaka-san again, a generic pic. Many more pics of the previous version here. Still waiting on 1/8 Index from HLJ to complete my Kotobukiya To Aru Majutsu no Index collection. I didn't really like that Misaka and MISAKA set that Chara-ani produced. The paint transfer of their eyes and mouths looks way flat and 2-D, and Misaka's hair looks lopsided. Also, what's up with not making male figures? I'd love to have a figure of Touma, and Himegami. Can't wait for To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (A Certain Scientific Railgun)!

When I was shooting this France kept falling over =P


The Hetalia box was awesome, it looked like a package that was tied with twine that was shipped to the US from Japan. I'm such a whore for packaging, and this one had some nice imagery, or 映像 eizou in Japanese. The packaging for collectible figures in blind boxes is usually very visually appealing because they're used as POP advertising displays, and they need fancy colors and eye-catching imagery to draw peoples' interest so they can justify spending 714yen on one of these. =P As for the figures, the main characters or anthropomorphized countries are all represented here. You'll probably notice that all of them have a base with a metal rod peeking up over the characters' heads. Every figure has a magnet in its head and it stands by sticking to the pole. They can be posed by moving the ball-joint in their neck to move their body around to the place/position you want it. This is the first time I've seen something like this. I don't know how much I like it, but I don't hate it. Though I'll admit, the metal rod is kind of obtrusive, I like the other ball-on-a-stick things you put into the back of other figures, to keep them standing.


"Believe in you who believes in fortune telling"

Last but certainly not least, my obsession, Chara Fortune. In this case it's Gurren Lagann. These are fairly expensive for a box, but 24 come in a box and there are only 12 to collect, so I buy a box and recoop over half of what I spent by selling the other 12. The first sets of Chara Fortune used to have paper fortunes packed with them. Since last year they've been giving each figure a "serif plate" with a category of "luck" (i.e. - Money, Health, Love) on one side and then a saying/advice pertaining to that category on the other. Usually worded in the way that that character speaks. In this box they introduced a "lucky character", the series' mascot Boota, that comes randomly included in each box. In my box there were 2 Boota included with the 2 Enkis (Viral's mecha) that were in there. These are really cute, as all Chara Fortune sets tend to be, but I don't keep them as keychains. I take those off and then glue them to plastic that I take from window boxes (in this case I took one of the panels from Louise's box) and make stands out of them so that they all stand up. I'll take a photo later of what exactly I'm talking about. The box for these was great, too. The boxes for all of this series that I've gotten so far have had no shortage of unrepititious artwork for the reason I said above. I've taken a generous amount of pics of this box, as well. This series goes the extra mile, too, in including a "box purchase only" figure in their last few sets. It's a specific figure I'm guessing that retailers are supposed to display with the box in its POP display form to entice people, because it just comes in clear plastic taped to the cover of the box, no package with a UPC or anything. This time it was a 3rd version of Kamina with his trademark sunglasses on. When I bought the D Gray Man box, it had a special Allen Walker in an envelope marked "NOT FOR SALE" taped to the inside of the box.

All in all I'm pretty satisfied with this week's haul, though I have yet to get 1/8 Koto Index, Nendoroid Louise and Nendoroid Neuro Nougami (on sale! yeah buddy!) from HLJ due to Golden Week. It should be shipping within the day, but I'm in no hurry. I'm playing Monster Hunter. ~_^

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Monster Hunt Continues...

The last few days I've been absolutely obsessed with Monster Hunter Freedom 2 for PSP. I knew that the one for Wii - Tri - came out in Japan like 2 weeks ago now, so I set out to see when the release date for NA region was, and apparently there isn't one, it's just 'TBA' right now. However, PSP users are getting a new version for that system in late June. Now, I wanted the Wii one to come here quickly because I want to be able to play online. Dot dot dot, the PSP one once again has AdHoc mode, but they said that true online play would be possible! Yay!... is what I'd be saying if it wasn't for Sony's typical proprietary paranoia/ploys. Apparently this new MH, called Freedom Unite, is going to feature online play that's not AdHoc, buuuuuut you have to have a PS3 to utilize it. Sony has a proprietary piece of software called AdHoc Party for PSP which you use to connect to Sony's site to play over the net. Instead of allowing people to use regular WiFi like every other gaming device in this generation, Sony is still intent on creating a "solution" that requires the user to buy their products for some (probably specious) reason. For what Sony has done in the past, making a lobby system on the PSP that works over generic WiFi is not a big leap.

I will totally buy a Wii for MH Tri, I will not buy a PS3 just so I can play the newest PSP version of MH online, that's absurd. This is the whole PSP ---> Sony Store thing revisited. You'd think that you could connect to Sony's Store for the PSP via WiFi, it would only make a moderate amount of sense, right? Not only can you not connect to the store wirelessly, you need to install - wait for it - MICROSOFT Windows Media Player 11 to use it via USB! What madness is this?! To top this all off, you need to provide credit card info (obviously) if you wish to buy things, and if WMP11 is involved, with all of its security holes? No thanks, I'll just pirate my PSP games like everyone else, thank you.

Below are some cool Monster Hunter CMs (commercials) that's I've run across lately, including a few for Tri featuring an "Airou" and "Poogie" that speak in Kansai-ben ^^:

My Dinner With Nendoroids

Konata's about to dive in, but poor Kyouka looks disgusted

Just a real quick cute photo post. I put this up on as a news item. I've gone largely veggie now, in fact tonight I was offered a steak and couldn't take more than two bites without feeling ill. The last few times I've eaten red meat I've felt kinda grossed out, and I've noticed (not that it isn't obvious anyway) I feel a hell of a lot better when I eat veggies and fruits for meals. This actually makes me happy, it was the push over the cliff that I needed to get healthier. As for the photo, I decided to set up my favorite new dish with my nendoroids of Konata cosplaying as Saber from F S/N and Kyouka from Diary of a Crazed Family. The recipe is just spinach, onions, mushrooms, orzo, feta cheese and peppers in a little bit of butter and oil with breadcrumbs (I could never be a vegan, lulz) stuffed into a hollowed pepper and then baked with foil over it for around 35 min. The mac n cheese is homemade, macaroni and real cheese with a little bit of milk, etc etc. Nothing complex, but it tastes great!

Now playing: ジン - 獅子の種

What I'm Listening To

Another lazypost (a post where I quickly harvest Youtube videos or images and mangle them into an article that has the illusion of being deep and well-written but is just in fact a few sentences and some borrowed videos). I've been amassing favorites of songs I've been listening to, that just happen to have videos too, lately. And so I figured I'd share what's been my "life soundtrack" for the most part, as of late. I'm pretty obsessed with the new Fullmetal Alchemist anime at the moment, so Yui is at the top. ^^; But AIMI from Stereopony is so sexycutemoe. More Monster Hunter and assorted commercials tomorrow.

Now playing: YUI - again
via FoxyTunes

McDonald's Japan's Advertising

McDonald's obviously has a giant warchest full of funds built on the backs of bulging, clogged arteries, so it comes as no surprise to me that they have a unique menu for the second largest economy in the world (as well as most other markets, McShawarma anyone?). It does, however surprise me that they localize their ads to the point of homogenization, and make "traditionally crazy" ads that you would never have guessed belong to a US-based company. Even if they hired a Japanese ad agency (which I'm sure they did) it's still amazing, what with the ever-fickle and saturated with culturally-singular Japanese market the way it was when McDonald's debuted attained the market penetration it did. For some reason I find Mickey Ds' Japanese ads really entertaining, even amongst other 'wacky' Japanese ads I've seen over the years. Here are a few notables that people have uploaded to Youtube:

Now playing: Stereopony - I do it
via FoxyTunes

Chuck's Renewed....Maybe?!

So we may or may not be seeing the Orange Orange sometime soon depending on who you believe. TVbythenumbers seems to concur with nearly everyone and say that NBC hasn't made a decision yet but that the prez of NBC has told lead producer Josh Schwartz to "remain positive". But then again, I just found this on the very same site that seems to nail down that it is, in fact renewed. And then there's the site that "confirmed" it first, now saying that it may or may not be true. AHHHHHHHHH *pee-wee's playhouse "word of the day" noises* At any rate, chances seem extra good that our favorite supergeek (that now knows kung fu!) will make a triumphant return next season.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Gutsy Fansubbing

Just a quick post to say I'm glad that Eclipse is continuing (or at least still posting what they've done) to sub Hagaren (Fullmetal Alchemist). Fuck you, Funlessnazi entertainment and all of the shitty English voice actors you employ.