Saturday, August 23, 2014

Japan Again: Climbing up the Tourism Social Ladder - From Floors to Futons to Skyscrapers (2014)

Preface: I had originally flirted with the idea of writing this post as a series of haikus/senryuus for each amusing, pleasant, and irksome event that occurred on this trip, thinking that I would save a lot of time (on word count), but it didn't take long for me to remember that composing indirect poetry is much more time consuming than a detailed step-by-step forensic recollection. Laziness saves the day again. Without further ado, please enjoy the following Massive Wall of Text.

I wasn't too keen on this trip, having been to Japan in December last year and again in March this year, but hey, who am I to thwack a gift horse on the snout (please ignore my uncalled for bastardization of the proverb). "Guide" is my profession within the family (examples of titles held by others are Pianist, Artist, etc.). I'm quite glad that I avoided being gifted the title "Lawyer", despite having a Bachelor's in the field (though I don't have any particular bias against the profession, mind you). Funnily enough I have never been called by what I actually do, probably because it's a mouthful to say- Recruiter, Headhunter- or legal dealer in persons, if you so prefer. Enough of that, though. To tie the two items together- though I am as almost always the designated Guide, having been to Japan twice in a short period, I really didn't have much of an idea of where to go or what to do. This wasn't helped much by the majority of the group not being very interested in what people usually go to Japan for- onsen, (traditional and otaku) culture, history, the red light districts... ahem. Moving on:

Friday, June 6, 2014

Maleficent (2014): On Love, Child Welfare, and Awkward -nomics

6th June 2014 marks the day where I finally worked up the courage to pay money to watch a Disney movie in a cinema. Actually that's a lie, since I did pay to watch Iron Man 3 and The Avengers. I've been somewhat biased against Disney movies for years- I am of the impression that Disney films are mostly Western Bollywood musicals with fluffy and happy (throughout or eventually) plots. For a recent and popular example, let's take a short peek at Frozen. I considered watching it (briefly), but was put off by the constant singing and the fact that there's a little ugly talking snowman in it- call me racist (or speciesist?) but I'm not a big fan of snowmen, the only exception being the twisted ones in Calvin & Hobbes. I wasn't even interested in listening to the hit song Let it Go- something about it grates my nerves (though I've yet to listen to the entire song- so color me biased). Heck, the only thing I somewhat enjoy about the movie Frozen is that every time I do a "Which Frozen Character Are You Quiz", I get Elsa. Enough of that however- chew on my thoughts on Disney's Sleeping Beauty remake/retelling, Maleficent.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

CNY 2014, Vienna: Disinterested Foreigners, Dead Pianists, and yet more Schnitzel.

If you're a charitable sort of person, or if you're the type that enjoys picking up on irreverent factual tidbits and annoying helpless people, there's a lot to feel sorry for the Viennese. In case you're wondering, German is the official language in Austria, and once in the capital you'll only see 'Vienna' in English text. Everywhere else, it's 'Wien', and the people living there are called 'Wiener'- interestingly enough the Germans saw fit to name a sausage after them (Viennese have the sense not to use the term- they call it 'frankfurter' instead, according to Wikipedia). On a vastly larger scale, most people either think Austria is either a province of Germany, or hear 'Australia' instead. The latter point can be applied to Australians as well, I guess. Anyway, after Munich, Vienna- the second destination on our trip.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Gundam Build Fighters (2013): Winner of the Marketing Plan of the Year Award

It is probably fair to say that the Gundam fandom was split into two factions (again) with the announcement of the 13th television series, Gundam Build Fighter (GBF). Coming right after the show known as a masterpiece, or amusing experiment, or travesty against history known as Gundam Age- the positive side of me can't help but feel that animation house Sunrise used GBF as a platform to give the finger to all their noisy fans believers. The more cynical part of me feels that they are using GBF as a giant marketing ploy... For once, both of us are probably right (judgment courtesy of the third impartial me). Without further ado- on with the obligatory summary.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Tokyo 2014 (Again): Minor Repetition and Leftover Observations

I'll admit that I found myself rather surprised at being in Tokyo again, just two short months after my last brief stay there. For some reason (I never got around to asking why me), I was selected to accompany my manager on a business trip to Tokyo, to attend a sort of overseas work expo, where recruitment agencies from across Southeast Asia would set up booth to interview prospective job applicants.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sakura Trick (2014): I missed out on the Hanami Season, but this more than makes up for it

Image credit: mikan (ama no hakoniwa)
Provided I can find a suitable image, I should probably start off every single anime review with this meme, the 'special feeling meme'- one of the rare few that I actually like, mostly thanks to the rich context for those in the know, and for the actual effort involved in making in. Yeah, I know. I'm horribly late in jumping on the bandwagon, but hey, I'm a puffed up bourgeois who hates having to take public transport, remember? Geez, I can't believe that I actually spelled bourgeois right in (memory fails me completely- and conveniently, here) my first time using the word three years since graduating from law school. Back on track after that unnecessarily long-winded opening, I am definitely not late in cranking out this 'review' (commentary, more like)- this 12 episode show's last episode aired sometime near the end of March '14. On we go then.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CNY 2014 - Munich, Germany: All Hail the Chicken Schnitzel

Now before we go any further- Alle Rüstungs Exporte Verbieten: All export of armour is forbidden. Whatever that means. Why post a picture of what looks like some political party's slogan emblazoned on a minivan, when I have absolutely no comment or understanding of what is going on here, and it really has no bearing on what you will be reading in the wall of text to come? It's simple really. I chose this photo to start off this post, and so I felt that I just had to explain what's going on in it. Why choose this photo, you ask? Oh, you don't want to hear the honest answer to that, do you. Well isn't this photo just amazing? It encapsulates everything about Munich at the time of our visit. That's the Mariensäule right in the middle, standing tall and proud in the middle of a sprawling cosmopolitan city; then there's the active display of democracy, a large group of protesters or supporters of some odd political party, contrasted with authority backed by weaponry. This is the beating heart of Munich, the center of Bavaria......