Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rena - Camera Star

We had our first official celebrations with Rena this year, since last year didn't really count as Mabel was still in confinement. We headed over to the bright lights over in town, and Mabel was fasinated with all the glowing lights as well as those huge christmas trees. We also had a couple of gatherings all over the place, and there was much to eat and drink. Haven't been running too much since the marathon, and since I've also signed up for the Adidas Sundown Marathon mid next year, I figure I can rest for a few more days and really start gearing up training once 2010 arrives. And in the mean time, I'll still be clearing my annual leave. I've also been thinking of setting up some new year resolutions, so hopefully the next blog posting should feature some of them. It hasn't really been a great year, but there were lots of memorable times in 2009. More of this in the next post :p
We also spent a few hours in the Singapore Botanical Gardens to have our family pictures taken, and it was also an excursion with some of our friends and their kids. It was pretty fun, albeit a little hot and Rena got pretty tired early on. We then decided to retire from the shoot and had a meal there instead. Still, we thought the place was pretty nice and should be returning in the near future.
Most of my online ordered stuff have already reached, excluding the select few which went out of stock. The latest arrival were my 2 pieces of Finaly Fantasy Play Arts figures: Tidus from FFX and Cloud from Crisis Core: FFVII. Both are really very well detailed, and got me tempted to order more from the same series. I would already have ordered Squall from FFVIII and Yuna from FFX if they were still in stock. I'll be on the look out for them, that's for certain. I've also just gotten myself a new phone this month, and I'm sure you guys know which phone I'm referring to, since most people in Singapore have the same phone, haha. Well, I wasted no time in jail breaking it and having new themes installed through Cydia and Winterboard. I also managed to understand enough about OpenSSH, and did some modifications to my lock screen too. The possibilities are quite endless, and I'm syncing new apps and themes on almost a daily level. The picture you see above is the product of a free app found in the itunes app store, and I've taken lots of pics which you can either see in my Facebook album or in the video I made below :p

And speaking of videos, I've created a new blog site called Akiba Studio. It was created as a means for me extend my creativity by reaching out to more people who enjoy taking pictures of their loved ones, be it their newborn baby, toddler, wife or husband. With the advent of digital photography and internet accessability, basically all of us have the power to share media, through pictures and videos. And with the ease provided by various Social Service Networks such as Facebook or Friendster, it's never been easier to update friends and relatives with the touch of a button. Through my services, I hope to encourage more people to start taking pictures, and eventually create videos and pictures to cherish them as precious memories. Thus, comes the creation of this website. Do check it out, and help me refer to as many people whom you'd think might be interested!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

四十二キロの挑戦へ!

Again, I've neglected this blog for way too long. I'm even thinking that most people are not going to come back since I've not been updating on the weekly basis that I've been doing for so many years. Well, it was really busy for me, and I've been going on this project to kick start something, although it's put on hold for now (temporarily). There's also Rena's birthday celebration preparation that I had to see to, and not to mention all the last minute marathon training that I had to force myself to go thorugh, in a last ditch effort to get myself in shape for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. It was my first attempt at such a long distance, although I've been running the Army Half Marathon for nearly a decade now. I didn't really get a fantastic timing, but in the end my objective was just to complete it, which I did, and the feeling was great especially with Mabel and Rena at the finishing line waiting for me. I walked a lot due to cramps, but in the end it was still pretty alright and I'm glad I didn't stop. The post run recovery period was hell though, with all the abrasion and hurting joints. But I enjoyed it thoroughly, especially when I see so many people running together of all age, race, gender, and sizes. It felt great, and I've already signed up for my next marathon, the Adidas Sundown Marathon happening in May next year. I'm looking forward to the training, but of course after this well deserved rest first! Although it hasn't been a really good year in terms of the received bonuses, I still spent a little on my toys and figures, mainly from overseas online purchases. Don't get me wrong, I order them online because they cost hell lot more locally in shops, and there were multiple sales going on through those websites. I'm actually saving, since I'll definitely have to carry on with several lines in my collection series. I've got mostly Kamen Rider discounted stuff, such as the Twist Action Form series, and also some of the Legend Rider series and also the figures from the new Double series. Some other stuff are still on the way though, for example this new series of the Dragonball Kai line, which forms part of this new Master Grade series. It's a first of it's kind, and I'm really tempted to start collecting this as well. As long as it's well made of course. Other stuff include some figures from the Final Fantasy series, namely the main characters Cloud and Tidus from VII and X. I've wanted to get them for some time, especially Tidus, but sadly the Yuna figure was sold out. After all, FFX is my favourite game of all time and it's a shame I don't really have their figures.
Berryz Koubou recently released their 21st single, and I'm currently hooked onto both songs on it! It's really great, and seldom would both songs be equally good on one released single. The first song is called Watashi no Mirai no Danna-sama, and the second song is called Ryuusei Boy. Check out the video of the Ryuusei Boy here which have embedded. The song's great, and the dance looks really nice too. Rena gets all jumpy when she sees the video too, so I'm looking forward to the day when she's old enough to dance :)




I've been a long time fan of the Winning Eleven series on the various Playstation incarnations through these years, but last week I bought Fifa 10, and betrayed the series which I have played since over 10 years ago. Well, I tried the Winning Eleven demo and it didn't play well, and I did some research on both games. Turns out that Fifa has really picked themselves up recently and they have produced a solid game. I tried the demo, and it really does shine, although it was pretty obvious they stole some ideas from W11. However, they had some good ideas themselves, and the game plays great. I even invited some friends over the next day, and they enjoyed it as well. Hopefully I'll get better and kick their asses soon~! That's it for this update, I'll again try to update on a regular basis and keep this blog updated. Till then, here's another Rena video! JA!


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Friday, December 04, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Rena!



Rena celebrated her 1st birthday, on the 28th of November 2009. These are some of the pictures taken on the day with the setup and the guests. Thanks to all who turned up, and especially those who helped out. We appreciate it dearly, and please forgive us if we haven't been able to express our thanks on that day due to the hectic day that we had. Enjoy the video!
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rena- Sentosa



Basically, this is a video that should have been done over 2 months ago, but we didn't really get the high resolution photos until recently, and my overseas trip just delayed the process even more. This time we took the photoshoot outdoors, at Sentosa's beautiful beaches. Enjoy! :pLilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

Sunday, November 15, 2009

やっと家に帰りました~

This is the longest hiatus that I've ever taken since I've began blogging a few years back. Well, I've just returned from over 3 weeks of an overseas work assignment, and that I've been onto some other stuff at the moment as well. Couple that with other work and family commitments, and you've got a busy man running all over places. Well, it's not all work since I always try to maintain balance and not give my PC and PS3 too much lull time. The 3 weeks overseas was extremely boring and tough to pass time, since we were at such a rural area that we didn't even sleep in buildings and have to be contented with make shift tents that flood during the frequent passing showers. It's unbearably hot in the day, and damn cold in the night time. I didn't get sick, but many did. The runs were done in such cold temperatures, and my lungs hurt after the runs. There wasn't anything much to look forward to, since the r&r sucked as well. At least it's over, and it will be a few more months before my next overseas trip.
Rena's growth seems accelerated while I was away. She can stand not, albeit with support. And she's gotten a lot more interactive as well, giving things to people and also handling things around her with more curiosity. She fell sick midway through my trip, and thankfully she recovered from the fever and I could focus on work, especially when I didn't have any phone connections during the said period of time. She's nearly 1 year old now, and Mabel and I are both busy with preparations for her mini-party, due end of this month. Look out for pics soon!
I didn't spend much overseas, except perhaps on the phone bills, but it shouldn't be a lot, and I would have saved some compared to staying in Singapore. That gave me a good reason to go on a shopping spree, which I did. I bought quite a coupled of stuff, and you can see most of my stuff in the 2 pictures here. First, I've gotten the DVD of the second installment of the 20th Century Boys movie series. Having become a fan after the first movie and read the entire manga series, I'm looking forward to a faithful and good translation to the big screen. I also got a Kamen Rider Agito figure, in the same series as the Decade figure I bought a while back. It's big and detailed, and even posable to a certain degree. No complaints here.
The more expensive purchases were these. The PS3 version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and also the official guidebook, which was half the price of the game itself. I don't have the original game, but I played it on the PC a while back, and I enjoyed myself. I completed the main game in over 8 hours, but there's still new modes and difficulties to have a go at. As a long time Metal Gear Solid Online player, the differences were huge. One was focused on gameplay but lacked realism, and the other gained popularity due to its realism and balanced gameplay. I just hope I can sustain my interest long enough in the online play and get to use my headset once again. :)

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Rena - To the Bird Park!


After the Zoo, it was fitting that the next family outing be the Jurong Bird Park. Another tiring day but marked by some good photos. Song that I used is call Ii Wake Maybe by AKB48. It's a really nice song and I like it a lot. I also have another one of their song I'm going to use, but that's for another theme..... hope you enjoy this one as much as I did making it!
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Sunday, October 04, 2009

つに、ぼくが帰ってきた!

It's been a long time since the update, but really, September was really a busy busy month. Work took up most of my free time, and during the weekends I was too tired to even go for my runs, much less getting pictures and blogging. I've also not touched my PS3 and KOF for the past few weeks..... you can imagine how bad it was. Anyway, I'm thankful for a break in between the tedious work periods, but it won't be long before we get the ball kicking again, since I'll be embarking on another work trip to down under Australia relatively soon.
We spent weekend this week with a trip to the Jurong Bird Park. It was our first visit there, since I've never been there before. It wasn't as boring as I thought, and it was really comparable to the zoo. Mabel took lots of pictures, and you can bet they'll be showing up on Facebook really soon. I'm also doing a video on it as we speak, so watch out for that really soon. Also, Mabel's been putting in a lot of effort for Rena's bithday celebrations next month, so more details on that coming within the next few weeks too. It's going to be hard work trying to keep up with all her ideas....
Playing lesser games the past month doesn't mean I can't get new ones. With the release of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 on the PS3, you'd knew it was a matter of time before I get my hands on this one. I wasn't really a fan of the first one, but this one blew my mind away with the Japanese demo released a while back. It has more characters, modes, weapons, everything. Even new gimmicks for the perverted minds. Just check out one of the CMs here:

I'm currently trying to clear this game, so that I can embark on the team missins and perhaps get together with some pals on PSN to clear it together. Lots of stuff to unlock, so this will probably take some time. The various levels of difficulty levels will mean plenty of replays as well. I'll probably keep KOF aside for a while, since I keep getting myself thrashed online. Need more training, just wish I could afford the time.
It's been a few years since we had a new Ultraman, the last one was Ultraman Hikari from the Mebius series, I believe. With the release of the new season of the Ultra Galaxy series (which I know nuts about since I've not been watching Ultraman for a long time), it's timely for them to release another new member from the Ultra family. This time, his name is Zero. Hopefully it doesn't mean he's a zero, since he apparently is the heir of the classic Ultra Seven. From the trailer, he dons an armour suit in the beginning, but later sheds it to reveal his twin eye sluggers. It shows him being trained by another vet, Ultraman Leo. Personally, I'm not too keen on his design. He looks like a metalic reindeer, and they should have kept the suit red instead of a mix of blue and red. Who has Seven been messing around with to get such a blend of colours?As for Kamen Rider W (Double), I still think they're are the gayest Kamen Rider in history. With their gay henshin poses and fighting stances, perhaps that's what they want to establish: that they are metropolitan Japanese teen boys who can transform and fight the city. The CG scenes haven't been the greatest too, but at least the bike and the different versions of the suits are still pretty nice. I just hope that they can do better in the villain aspect and keep away from the Super Sentai feel that is ruining the series.
Plenty of action in the past 5 episodes shown so far, but I'm anticipating the arrival of a new rider soon. These days, 1 rider is not enough for the entire season. Just look at Decade, at least 1 new Rider every 2 weeks. Ok, so they aren't really new, but at least we can have our fix. I'm looking forward to the movie that was released in August, and also the upcoming Decade X Double movie that will premiere in Japan this December. I'm going to work on the Bird Park video now, so check back soon for that. Ja! Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

Monday, September 07, 2009

Rena - To the Zoo!


Rena's first visit to the zoo, documented by various pictures we took. She took a nap halfway through and was more interested in the birds than the polar bears, so we'll have to take her there again after she learns how to run. And yeah, KOF re-match time :)
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

写真を撮るために海岸へ行った!

I really want to keep up my blogging regime and to write and post pictures at least once a week, but my days are getting shorter and it's tough to work things out at work and to balance my own leisure time for hobbies, and also taking care of Rena during the weekends. At such, I'm considering changing the struture of my blog, so instead of a long post every 2 weeks or so, I might do short thoughts on a more frequent basis. This might lead to less constructive posts (not that mine are very constructive in the first place), but it might mean that I'll be motivated to log in more often. Well, we'll see how it goes from here, although I'll possibly be quite busy till the end of the year. My feeling towards this period of time can easily be summed up by this Green Day song going "Here comes the rain again, falling from the stars. Drenched in my pain again, becoming who we are. As my memory rests but never forgets what I lost, wake me up when september ends."
We went for yet another photo shoot this time (our third), but it was the first time that we were doing it outdoors. Sentosa seemed like the logical choice, and we spent a few hours at the beach and took some personal shots as well. We're still waiting to pick up the pictures, but Mabel's restricted me on my uploads because she wanted to keep some as a secret, well till the right time at least. More pics soon so check back later. There were also multiple gatherings taking place in the month of August and September, and most of the pictures have also been uploaded onto my Facebook album. If you're on Facebook, you should have already seen me spamming them. If not, do add me and just let me know who you are. Speaking of Facebook, I had a few surprise friend requests lately, many of whom are either from overseas or are friends which I've not met in years. Gotta love Facebook for it's social capacity.
I'm still into KOF XII and will try to play a few rounds either online or offline whenever I can find time. I was trying to find the official strategy guide but couldn't, so eventually I remembered that I still had some credit with paypal, and so ordered a copy of the guide from playasia.com. The shipping from Hong Kong was free, and pretty fast too. The guide itself wasn't too fantastic, but I did learn a few good tips from it and the art was good, so it'll be a welcome addition to my collection of game guides. On the toy front, I added another item to my Kamen Rider Decade series collection. It's a 25cm tall sofubi figure, and I'm actually tempted to get the rest of the figures in this series. Will be seeking out more online stores and see if I can get the rest shipped in too, since I've got other items lined up as well.
The following series of pictures is my entry for a contest organised by the Japanese National Tourism Organisation. The details are as follows: "Simply plan an extraordinary itinerary for a 7 day and 6 night trip to experience the wonders of Japan in autumn, where the cool breeze and blue skies will free your mind and create the perfect atmosphere to explore the whole of Japan on your own time with the convenience of the Japan Rail Pass (7-day free train pass). 5 winners with the most interesting itineraries will be chosen to experience their very own unique itineraries! Each winner will be given a return air ticket from ANA/JAL/SQ to Tokyo, a 7 Day Japan Rail Pass (Please see Terms & Conditions) and S$1,000 spending money and share the experience with everyone via an online blog."
I've already submitted my entry online, but the thing was that they could only accept files up to 3mb in size. So, in the end I had to compress them heavily in pdf format and to make sure that the file size limitation wasn't breached. The quality was still ok, but definitely not printing material. If you're interested and want to get the hi-res version of the files from me, do drop me a message and leave your email, and I'll sent the files or the links to you. That's it for a short short update this time, so wish me all the best for the contest and I'll update the results once I get'em. Hopefully we'll be in for another trip and this time we'll take even more videos and pictures than the last time! :p
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra review

And so I watched G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra this week. I didn't actually plan on watching this, since I wasn't too excited from the trailers, and that I wasn't a big fan of the cartoon series. However, I did watch a fair share of the cartoon as a kid, and still remember a lot of the memorable characters in the series, such as Duke, Snake Eyes, Beach Head, Cobra Commander, etc. G.I. Joe was a integral part of any kid born in the 80s, and stands along side other classics such as Transformers and Mask. I'll give my views on the movie here, but it's full of spoilers so avoid if you want to catch the movie.The show promised to be action packed, with fantastic visuals, ninja fights, huge ass explosions, and high speed chase scenes. I wasn't expecting too much of a plot, since afterall it's based on a cartoon series and an existing toyline. I was right.
The plot was wafer thin, and raises more questions than answers the more you think about it. As an origin movie, it sets up the stage for the movie franchise by attempting to explain how to terror organisation "Cobra" plans to take over the world. No additional information was provided on Cobra, except that they are funded by a mysterious Scottish man who manages to build up entire underwater fortresses under ice caps. And of course, he has this genius evil scientist whom conveniently backstabs and takes over him without any resistance from the rest of the organisation. Throw in a love affair between the main protaganist and the leading lady and you nearly have a family reunion near the end of the movie. Well, as I said the plot isn't really the movie's strong point, but no one expected much in this area in the first place.
I thought Channing Tatum did well as Duke, although his character had some really lame lines. Some were cringe worthy, but he managed to pull it off as a special ops unit officer. On the other hand, I was skeptical about Marlon Wayans as Ripcord. When I see him, I see White Girls. Could have picked some one better, but he did work out for the role and looked good too.
Sienna Miller was hot as The Baroness. Her tiny gun packed a punch and she kicked ass with it. Makes you wonder why people still use swords when tiny guns can do so much damange. Again, her character was plagued with bad lines, and there was too much foreshadowing especially with her brother Rex. Looking hot made the dialogue more bearable, and it was pretty comical watching her climb out of her overturned vehicle and wearing her sunglasses. And yeah, "nice shoes". Rachel Nichols as Scarlett wasn't really as memorable, since she got her ass kicked in most of her screen time. She didn't even have the chance for revenge.
And yes, who can forget the ninjas! I loved ninja movies as a kid, even those horrible American ones. Head shot shurikens for the win! Anyway, Storm Shadow, played by Lee Byung-hun was easily my favourite character in the movie. He had the most personality, and also the best moves and also costume. Snake Eyes, played by Ray Park on the other hand, seemed bland and boring. Perhaps it was due to his mask and his vow of silence. He had a good role in the chase scene, but should have done more rather than hide in the shadows and call for backup. On the topic of the ninjas, I must relate back to the plot once again. I had the feeling that these 2 ninjas were trying to out do one another in a bid to become the number 1 emo ninja in the world. While I absolutely loved the scene where Storm Shadow starred at Snake Eyes in the face and said "Hello Brother" (my fave scene, hands down), it gave me promise and raised my expectations on an epic back story, and sadly the audience was let down horribly. I expected a history of bad blood between these 2 men, one filled with clan feuds, sworn enemies, entwined with bounded fate and destiny. Hell no. Instead we have 2 emo kids fighting, and when one lost he killed his master from the back and the other never spoke again. Damnit this is the biggest let down in the movie. They could have done so much more since these 2 characters would easily be the biggest stars and sell the most toys.

Last 2 characters I wanna talk about are Mc Cullen, AKA Destro. Fans of the cartoon would recognise this prominent character immediately, and we knew that some how he would get that iron mask on his face sooner or later. Still, more background would be good, perhaps to explain how he managed to get his resources. Rex, whom eventually became Cobra Commander, was a surprise since I was kinda expecting a new character to take up the mantle of the Supreme Commander. I have no big issues for him, but I really wanted him to retain his look in the cartoon series. Why not have the classic helmet and faceless mask? I read online that the mask was redesigned from the comics because the producers found it too reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan. KKK? That was ages ago, and I'm sure they were referring to the mask and not the helmet! I loved Cobra Commander's design in the cartoon, and so I kinda hated his new look. Bring back his helmet if there is a sequel!Another rant I have is that, I was waiting for the war cry to happen throughout the movie. You know, the one that goes "Yo Joe!" Well, it finally came, but it was lacklustre at best. Heavy Duty was the one who finally said it, but it was when they were escaping from the enemy underwater base. It's supposed to be a war cry, not a victory cheer! :(

As an ending note, while the conclusion of the movie screams sequel, I like to remind people that many movies leave room for sequels which never arrive. While I'm sure this movie is bound to start a game and toy line, the sequel hasn't been announced, unlike Ironman 2 which was announced even before the movie reached its first week. End of the day, I liked this movie, more so than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. G.I. Joe promised action, and it delievered. Don't get too focused on the loose plot and obvious mistakes regarding physics, and I'm sure most movie goers will enjoy this movie. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
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