Sunday, July 29, 2007


It's been nearly a year since our last trip to Tokyo, Japan. We're actually in the midst of planning for another trip in November this year, and are getting more friends to go with us this time. It'll be another free and easy trip, where me and Mabel will plan most of the itinerary and cover more of the tourist attractions, such as Disneyland and Asakusa Temple, and of course Akihabara. Interested? Contact me or Mabel!

We woke up early this week as well, and headed for town to avoid the jam which begins late morning. As expected, there wasn't a lot of people out on the roads at 9:30am, so the trip to Takashimaya was smooth and parking lots were abundant. I wanted to get some books from Kinokuniya, specifically the Claymore English manga, but sadly they only had volumes 5 to 8. Nonetheless, I got for myself the Death Note final volume 12, Naruto 38 and Bleach 28.

Mabel, on the other hand got for herself lots of stuff, such as clothes and other self beautifying equipment. She also forces me to get more clothes for myself, reason being I can skip the shopping crowds during the festive periods )read: next year's Chinese New Year). For me, I just wanted to make my way to Kino as fast as possible, so I tried whatever clothes she fancied for me and bought 4 shirts, which were more of the same as those already in the wardrobe. We had a late breakfast at a Chinese Dim Sum restaurant, but were too hungry by that time and didn't have a chance to take pictures.

I also got for myself a Kamen Rider Chalice from the Blade series, which was on sale at Takashimaya. Still need a few more to complete the Blade series, but no hurry and I'll most probably wait till all the figures are available. Too bad the Toy sale at Taka, although featured very cheap stuff, didn't have anything which I fancied. Sad, as I was hoping that they would have some Ultraman Mebius figures on sale, like what they had for Nexus a few years back. Too bad, but at least I got something back from the trip.

We bought our national flag from the neighbourhood Residents Committee centre, and displayed up the flag outside our window. It looks really tardy, and sloppily done up, but that's the fault of the HDB contractors. They gave us 2 hooks for us to put up the flag, but the hooks are too near together for the flag! I've already stretched as far as possible, but still the flag cannot be pulled straight. I might need to go and improvise and reposition the hooks. Seems many others are experiencing the same problem in the area. Damn those contractors need to do their home work next time.

Promised to take new pictures of my collection previously, and so here they are. Here you see my Kamen Riders, Garo, SICs, and also some Super Sentai figures. Not a lot, but still a pretty healthy collection. Click on the pics to enlarge.
And here you see my Ultraman collection, with also my Gundam collection, which is dying off as I've got no time to take out my compressor and air brush to make new kits. I'm too lazy to get and mix paint too, so I'm settling for the easier plastic gashapons and figures.

More Ultraman figures, and also the CiBoys which Mabel used to collect. You also get to see my only resin figurine, Yuna from FFX2. I got her for a special price in Taiwan, and I knew I had to take her home.

I chanced upon this video link on a forum, titled "Imagining the Tenth Dimension. It's got me pretty intrigued, and I would have gotten this book if I had more time to find it at Kino today. Check out the video, and learn how the author expresses his theory on the 10 dimensions. To me, the 5th dimension represented the other alternate time lines which originates from the line represented in the 4th dimension, "time". And as the clip mentioned, there are 2 ways of changing time, by either going back to the past in the 4th dimension to create the 5th dimensional new "you", or creating a fold via the 6th dimension, which is the short cut. There are still lotsa of unanswered questions and other hypothesis,but I'm not going to think too much on this. I do, however, having a sudden urge to go see Back to the Future, where the alternate future was created when Marty brought Biff back to the past to hand the sports almanac to his younger self (to create the 6th dimension).
Having just bought manga volume 38, one of the articles in between the chapters showed this picture which I found interesting. People who buy the official manga will know that Kishimoto includes short stories usually on his past experiences, how he came to love DBZ, etc. Among those stories are also fan art, and introduction to his staff members or his assistant artists. This picture is drawn by one of them. Finally, Naruto looks like Hokage material! There are other pictures, but not as creative nor interesting. Sorry for the low quality though. I don't have my scanner with me and took this with a camera. Click to enlarge.
Another week, another update. Last one for July, before we hit August! I've also updated the poll (finally), with some new options for you to choose this time. Please vote, so that I can (try to) include what's more wanted on this site. Until next month, I'm leaving you with this clip of Morning Musume performing their single, Onna ni Sachi Are on the latest Haromoni on the 22th of July.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


We started this particular Sunday morning extremely early. Having watched "Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix" last night with friends, we returned home to rest. The movie itself wasn't as bad as I had initially expected. I'm not a big fan of the series, and I thought the last Harry Potter movie sucked, so I wasn't too keen on watching this one. However, I felt the pacing and plot of this movie was much better thought out than the previous one.
We took some pics and also videos of Misa-chan this week, and I've uploaded one of the clips here. We've been living with her for around 2 months now, and she's gotten a little plump due to all the good food that she's getting on a daily basis. She's getting friendlier with us nowadays, and will jump onto our palms whenever we bring her out. Still, she's very scared of leaving familiar territory and will tend to stay rooted to a same spot. Well, easier for us to take care of her this way.

I've got these Death Note figurines yesterday. For those who read the manga or watched the anime, you'll undoubtly remember these figures as the ones Near used to explain his theories to the others. Having these figures sure make crime solving much easier. :)
Linked up with Sze Huat at Chinatown Central today and got the stuff which I had ordered. Remember last week's post with all the figures and candy toys? They're all part of my collection now. Costed me a bomb but after some calculations by yours truly they still cost less than Mabel's clothing expenditure. Hehe.

I've tore open all the boxes and placed the figures into my 2 glass cabinets. I'll need to take a pic of my collection one of these days. Anyway, I've got not much room left so I took out the Bleach and Naruto figures and squeezed them together with my Gundam models. The old gotta move to make room for the new, eh.

My Japanese term exam falls on this coming week. I've not been revising at all, and will have to rely on the assignments to have a crash course on Sunday night and Monday evening. I'm not too worried though, as passing or failure does nothing much except for boosting my morale. As for the oral presentation, I chose the topic "日本語の勉強で大変なことは何ですか。そのために何をしていますか", which means "What problems are you facing during your Japanese studies right now? What are you doing about it?". Here's my answer:






一つ: 毎週の宿題は全く完成します(できるだけ)
二つ: もっとたくさんアニメを見たり、音楽を聴いたり
三つ: 日本語の相手とスピチを練習します
四つ: 簡単な日本漫画を買う、真面目で読みます
五つ: いつでも問題があるとき、先生に聞きます


I went for a course called "The Psychology of Learning & Motivation" in National Institute of Education (NIE) this week. I learned some new things such as human behavourism, psychoanalyis and theories from Skinner and also Freud. On the last day of the course, I gave a presentation on Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I chose this topic because I didn't want to do a topic on motivation like the rest of the students did. Here's a summary of what I presented.
NLP is a model that examines how the human mind processes information. It states that for practical purposes, information is processed through the senses. It is strongly tied into, and influenced by how memories and perceptions are processed within each sense, in the mind. For most people, 3 of the 5 sensory based modes dominate in mental processing:
  • Visual thoughts - sight, mental imagery, spatial awareness
  • Auditory (or linguistic) thoughts - sound, speech, dialog, white noise
  • Kinesthetic sense - somatic feelings in the body, temperature, pressure, and also emotion.
  • Taste & smell are closely associated, often less significant in mental processing, and are often considered jointly.
Even a simple questions such as "Do you like this dress" will trigger a series of activities in your brain, as you try to process the information. Refer to the chart on the right (yes I know it's too small, click to enlarge).

A common style of processing, where eye flickers in directions seem to tie into mental processing. Such processing is associated with sensory word use. For eg. a person asked what they liked about the beach, may flick their eyes briefly in a direction (visual memory access, often upwards), and then use words that describe it in a visual sense ("The sea looked lovely“). Refer to the picture below on the different types of cues given. Remember different people might have different cues than suggested by NLP, but what's shown is the norm for a right handed person.

So why is NLP important? Well, some tasks are more optimally performed within one representational system than by another. For eg. In education, spelling is better learned by children who have unconsciously used a strategy of visualization, than an unconscious strategy of phonetical "sounding out". When taught to visualize, previously poor spellers can indeed be taught to improve.

Will be away for another course this week, but it's work related so it's not going to be all fun and games like in NIE. Hopefully I'll learn more interesting things and to share it here too. I'll also be catering time for runs in the evening, so that I can train up for the upcoming half marathon. I've only clocked up to 10km in my last run, so I'll still need to go for some long distance runs. I don't want to repeat the same mistake of not conditioning my body enough like last year. That's all for this week. Bye!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Weekends are the best. Not just because I get to taste Mabel's cooking, but also a good time to chill out and do stuff which I normally can't find time to do on weekdays. This week, Mabel tried her hand in making curry and fried rice. And as usual, we invited friends over for dinner and also to try out my wife's cooking.

The dinner spread included fried rice, which was inspired by Mabel's colleague Vanessa, chicken wings in teriyaki sauce, and also curry chicken with bread from Delifrance. Another sumptious and full meal, I must say. Now you'd probably realise why I'm always looking forward to the weekends.
I'm going to get even fatter from all these meals, so while Mabel was busy preparing the good (hey not that I didn't want to help but I was seen as a nuisance in the kitchen), I was setting up my room for a work out session, with a dance mat I got at a discount price and the software known as Step Mania. I had downloaded some H!P and Morning Musume songs to play to, and while I started the game like a duck trying to get the steps right, I began to catch the rhythms and beats and could clear most of the stages. Even William got into the game and we were playing till past midnight. Here's a video of one of the stages. DDR seems a little dated, but believe me we were both sweating it out trying to get A ranks.

"Kamen Rider: The Next" teaser trailer and poster is out. The movie mirrors the story of Kamen Rider V3, in that Shirō Kazami is captured by Shocker (in V3, it is Destron, and the Double Riders turn Kazami into Kamen Rider V3 by his own choice), and turned into a cyborg, just as they had done to Hongo and Ichimonji. However, Kazami is just spying on Shocker so he can find his sister that they kidnapped, and meets up with the first two Kamen Riders in his search.

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (機動戦士ガンダム00) is the latest television anime of Sunrise's long-running Gundam franchise. Premiering in October, I'm definately looking forward to this new series. The Gundam designs in this new series remind me a lot of the Destiny series Gundams, which while isn't a really bad thing since the show was action based, I'm hoping the series will do better than Destiny because I thought it sucked. Well, only time will tell. Will post my thoughts as more information on the show gets released.
Just realised that I've chalked up to nearly $150 worth of goods to be collected this coming week from Sze Huat, our resident toy seller from Ultraman Lah. Well, it's not really that shocking, considering that I've not bought anything in ages, and instead kept most of my ordered stuff with him in the time being. Will be making a trip to Chinatown this week to pick up my figures, which include the Ultimate Solid 3 series (shown above).
The Ultraman Mebius Hyper Detail set which includes 2 versions of Ultra Seven, who celebrates his 40th birthday this year, Ultraman Mebius in his Burning Brave mode, Ultraman Hikari and also Father of Ultra.

Also out is the Vol.8 of the Equip and Prop series for Garo. This time the White Knight gets released. It's been a while since any Garo figures were released, and I'll have to get this just because the movie rocked, and that I've collected most of the series in this line anyway.

Another line which I've been keeping since the start is the Kamen Rider Sofubi series. This time, the 2 riders I'm getting are: Kamen Rider Kuuga. and.....

Kamen Rider Amazon! I hear that Kamen Rider Hibiki is the next in line in this detailed and high detailed series. It's really amazing that such a high level figure is being made of riders which series are shown over 30 years ago. Good stuff, and I'm looking forward to the day where Kamen Rider Black gets the conversion.

And occasionally, the sofubi series also releases special editions of figures (whenever copyright issues are covered for). This time, Spider-man gets the sofubi treatment! 2 versions, the symbiote black Spider-man and also the normal red and blue version. Both looks great, and I'll be taking pics and posting it up here when I get my figures this week.
That's all for this post. I'll end this week with another J-pop PV. It's from the ED theme of the anime "Claymore", which both Mabel and me are watching. As I've mentioned in several previous posts, this show rocks. Do try and watch if you're into serious anime. Good stuff, and better than Naruto and Bleach (which I've dropped) anyday. Till next week, ja!

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Firstly, I would like to take this chance to congratulate Bryan and Wendy for officially becoming husband and wife on the 7th of July in the year 2007. It's a great date to get knotty, as the banner in the hotel ballroom stated. Once again, me and Mabel sincerely wish them a blissful marriage in this new chapter of their lives.

It was a busy day, having to take pictures and to rush from place to place, but nonetheless it was a very happy and eventful day to remember. The ceremony didn't take long, and was graced by family members and close friends from both parties. With the ROM over, the newly weds can now take their time to plan for the wedding dinner. We were quite exhausted by the evening, and went home to rest and even skipped dinner because we ate too much at the buffet lunch.

The Jyuuken Sentai: Gekirangers movie has been confirmed and the plot will take place in Hong Kong. The plot revolves on the Gekirangers, Rio, and Mele being teleported to a island. Jan eventually meets up with Hong Kong Interpol Officer Lao Fan who came on the island to expose the sinister plot of Hong Kong Media King Yan who is the founder of a newly created martial arts, called Mechung Fu, which allows its users to transform into mechanical Beast-Men by combining science and martial arts. Well, unless I go all the way to Japan for the movie I'll have to wait for the DVD to come out.

Kamen Rider Den-O gains yet another new form in the series, known as Wing Form. Sieg (ジーク, Jīku) is a swan Imagin that first appears to Ryutaros carrying a human infant. Sieg allows for Den-O to become Wing Form. This year's movie has also been announced with the Super Sentai movie. The movie spin-off of the 2007 Kamen Rider Series, entitled Kamen Rider Den-O: I am Born! (仮面ライダー電王 俺、誕生!), will be shown in theaters in August 8, 2007. The film will take place in an alternate timeline and will feature the Edo Period along with a new Rider, Kamen Rider Gaoh. I've been following the regular series for quite some time now, and it's still entertaining although most of the plot gets old quickly. Hopefully the new upgrades from the movie will make the show more exciting.

A set of 2 DVDs called the "Ultraman Story" which is divided into the Red Chapter and the Silver Chapter has been announced. I'm thinking of getting this just for the art work on the DVD covers alone, which shows both the classic and new age Ultramen. Really cool designs, and I'll try and get my hands on this if possible.

Morning Musume's new single is out! And finally, Jun Jun and Rin Rin make their first appearance in a single. Taking over Fujimoto Miki as the new leader, Takahashi Ai takes the centre stage as the new leader of the group. I hate her new hairdo though.... much too curly. "Onna ni Sachiare" (女に幸あれ, "Onna ni Sachiare") is the thirty-fourth single of J-pop idol group Morning Musume and the first for eight generation members Li Chun (Jun Jun, right) and Qian Lin (Rin Rin, left). They barely got solo lines in the new PV, but at least they got to sing alone rather than poor Michishige Sayumi. The new song sounds nice, and the dance looks cool as well. Too bad I can't say the same for the outfits, which reminded me of some of the other PVs like "Ambitious". Check out the PV here:

Fellow H!P group Berryz Koubou's new single also came out recently. I've not been able to listen to it till now, mostly due to the reason that I've been lazy to manage my iTunes of late. Anyway, their 14th single is called Kokuhaku no Funsui Hiroba (告白の噴水広場). It's their second consecutive slow song, and I'm pretty much looking forward to another fast track which kicked ass like Munasawagi Scarlet (胸さわぎスカーレット) did. Here is the PV for 告白の噴水広場:

Not too sure why but I've been feeling rather drained of late. Perhaps it's the deadlines in work, and also the late nights of surfing net and posting in the forums. I'm also suffering from a perennial back problem which has worsened since my recent soccer game injury. I get frequent backaches which really hurt and I need to bend up slowly to straighten myself after extended periods of inactivity. Really need to get this sorted out soon. Till next week, I'll end off with one of the best own goals in the history of mankind. Ja!

Sunday, July 01, 2007


We celebrated our good friend Kelly's birthday along with Huiming and William last Friday. We decided to go along with a steam boat dinner as there was less preparation needed and we could just buy whatever we liked to cook and eat. As usual, we had a fantastic meal and everyone ate to their heart's content. The food mostly consisted of sea food along with vegetables and other meat types. We also added in lots of udon and tofu to give it a more japanese feel. Thankfully we didn't need to play any games to finish up all the food and nothing is wasted at the end of the day.

Kelly's in her 4th month of pregnancy now, and Wee Lee's doing a fine job taking care of her and their future son. While the girls were taking turns to make cheese cake, the guys were also busy competing against each other on our PSPs. We went head to head in games such as Ridge Racers 2, Virtua Tennis World Tour, Dragonball Budokai 2, and also Pro Evolution Soccer 2007. Seems more and more of our friends have their hands on the PSP now, and it won't be long before we get 8 players together for a round in Ridge Racer. Till that day comes.... I'll need to go train up more. Not that I can be beaten easily, but I won't want to under estimate other players. We need to get our hands on more multiplayer games, and level up the other players so that it's more fair though.

The following day, we went over to Mabel's colleague's place. Vanessa and Shawn played host to us and the other guests, and even prepared fried rice and curry chicken which tasted exceedingly delicious. Since it was a pot luck type of dinner, Mabel brough over her freshly baked cheese cakes which she spent the night before making.
Here you see some of the food brought in by the other guests, including otah and sotong balls. There were also other good stuff not pictured here, such as Constance's deserts and Adeline's sugar coated chocolate cake. Short of handing our survey forms, Mabel promoted her cakes and demanded feed back from all those who gave it a try. For me I'm trying my best to give new suggestions so that I can get other cakes instead of cheese all the time.
We had a great time there and sadly had to leave early because we were going to catch the Transformers movie in town. Thanks to Vanessa and Shawn, and hope to see you guys again soon.
I love the Transformers. It's one of the most memorable catoons series I've watched growing up in the 80s. Like many other kids during that time, Optimus Prime was our hero. It was awesome watching the Autobots battle the Decepticons, including all the transformation sequences, and the battle bases that transform into huge robots, etc. Many things from Transformers have become iconic, such as the Autobot and Decepticon insignias, the 2 leaders of the opposing forces, and also the other chracters such as Bumblee Bee and Starscream. As a Transformer fan since the G1 era who watched the Japanese TF series, here are some of my thoughts on the movie.I thought the movie was brilliant, but I'm still going to nitpick on some issues. Possible spoilers abound so stop here if you've yet to catch the movie.

1. The graphics and CG are the best you'd expect from any Hollywood movie, period. No major complains here, except that some times the action scenes move too quickly to see what's happening on the screen. It's gotta do with the overall design and transformation sequences of the Transformers, but the design issue is altogether another topic and I'm not too keen to touch on the G1 vs Movie designs debate.

2. The plot is not too confusing and gives a good background on why the Transformers are fighting. However, I've got some doubts here and there. Firstly, the US government doesn't seem to keep its top personnel informed about state matters, especially when a war could be triggered anytime. The whole sector 7 crap just doesn't do it for me. And where was the President of the United States? All we saw was a glimpse of him on Air Force One enjoying himself.Second major nitpick is why the Army captain decided to hide the All Spark in the city so that the decepticons would not find it. Yes, for entertainment wise we need to have as much collateral damage as possible, but from a military point of view it's just going to cost more innocent lives to be sacrificed. Small issue I know, but I also found it strange that all the government officials and army personnel just decided to go along and release Bumble Bee when Spike (Sam) said so.

Most of the Transformers were given a very limited amount of screen time, save for Prime and Bumble Bee. Most only say a line or two and don't show up until near the final battle. Though, getting Peter Cullen for the voice of Prime really brings back some nostagic feelings, and die hard fans would remember some of the lines from the original Transformers movie. "Freedom is the right of all sentiant beings." This line was the winner in the "Make Optimus Prime speak" contest held a few months ago, and was also said nearly 20 years ago when Prime faced Megatron in the G1 movie. The other line is "One shall stand, and one shall fall." One of the last few words from the autobot leader before he handed the Matrix over to Ultra Magnus, which eventually at the end of the movie used by Rodimus Prime to defeat Galvatron. For a while I thought that Prime would use the All Spark to defeat Megatron a la the Matrix of Leadership, but I was wrong.

I loved the Starcream in the G1 series, and I was happy to hear him call Megatron "Lord Megatron", and that the reply from Megatron was classic. Good stuff with the voices and script, although I would have preferred Jazz's voice to be more coarse like the original. The movie had a lot of comedy injected in it throughout, and they were genuinely funny. I loved how Spike poked fun at the original Transformers tagline "more than meets the eye", and how Ratchet indicated that Spike's hormone levels indicated he wanted to mate with Megan Fox. I just hated that agent from Sector 7 that's all. And perhaps that irritating voice the little decepticon makes.The movie ends with Prime anticipating more Autobots to arrive on Earth, meaning a direct sequel is being set up although no plans are official yet. Megatron's lifeless body dropped in the middle of the ocean means he might be back in the future. I don't remember seeing Starscream get destroyed, and I didn't observe carefully but did he return to space at the end of the movie?

I've enjoyed this movie, and I'm thinking most fans will too. The pros definately outweights the complaints, and I'll definately get the DVD when it arrives. Go watch this movie if you haven't already, even if you have not watched the G1 series before.

H!P producer Tsuku has produced a new group called "Gyaruru" (ギャルル). This 3 girl group consists of Ami Tokito (時東ぁみ), a idol singer who is known for always wearing glasses, Sone "Gal" Natsuko ("ギャル" 曽根 菜津子), who believe it or not, is a is a female Japanese competitive eater. She's the skinny one in the middle, despite the fact that she is considered the leading Japanese female competitive eater in Japan and won multiple contests. The last girl is Abe Asami (安倍 麻美), sister of Morning Musume gen 1 leader and current H!P solo artist Abe Natsumi (安倍 夏美). Asami was a replacement for Tsuji Nozomi after her sudden pregnancy annoucement. Gyaruru have just released their 1st single called "Boom Boom Meccha Maccho!". The single reminds me a lot of Hinoi Team due to it's para para flavour. Nonetheless, it's on my current playlist due to it's catchy chorus. Check it out:

The B-side of the single is very catchy too. It's called Onna no Ultra, and while the PV looks very cheap as just a photo slideshow, you have to understand that most B sides do not get a PV at all, and that is should be viewed as a bonus. I like these 2 songs, but I'm not too sure if their popularity will rise as only Asami seems to be the hotter girl right now.

With the end of the Death Note anime series, my hero Yagami Light is now officially dead. Until a shinigami notices me and gives me a death note so that I can continue Light's legacy of creating a perfect new world, check back again next week for more useless rantings and Jpop PVs. I'll end off this week with a clip featuring Gyaruru member Natsuko in one of her competitive eating contest. Watch and be impressed. Psyke, out.