If I am not sharing something Japanice (anime, cosplay, Japanese food, and anime conventions), I will be talking about virtually anything. From life lessons and my daily encounters to politics and current events. It's a personal blog after all. :)

Enjoy and feel free to give comments and input.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu~

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Respect Copyright, Respect Yourself

Did you know that it was World Book and Copyright Day last 23 April 2013 and that tomorrow, 26 April 2013, is the World Intellectual Property Day?

Intellectual property especially copyright have significant impacts in the lives of otaku and J-Pop enthusiasts. I wrote an essay about these topics in observance of these days of celebration. If you have some spare time, you may want to read the following essay. Don't worry, it's relatively short... just approximately 1,200 words. =D

Image Source: http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/ip-outreach/images/ipday_2012_icon.jpg

Respect Copyright, Respect Yourself

 "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." With all due respect to Charles Caleb Colton, he must have forgotten to include in his aphorism an expressed note that he is either being sarcastic or that with flattering comes an acknowledgement of that which is being imitated. Colton, having been a writer himself in his lifetime, must have said this in such a context wherein he knows that to flatter someone through copying, it goes without saying that the one being copied from is recognized and highly respected by the imitator. 
Ironically nowadays, in the advent of the knowledge and information economies as well as in the ever-continuous rapid advancement of technology, copying of information whether it be technical knowledge or creative works seem to be just a mere walk in the park. Copying of information and subscription to it can be done by anyone, anywhere and anytime with a laidback attitude as if it is just an ordinary unharmful daily activity. Piracy and plagiarism have become so prevalent that most people either do not realize or could not care less on the impact of the buying of unlicensed optical media with information like music, film and literary among others, or the indiscriminate copying of others' academic works without credit. Impacts to not only the society as a whole but more so to one's own values and personality that may not be so readily obvious but are extremely significant nonetheless.
 As a student, I have seen to it that I quote the authors and include my sources in every term paper that I submit to my professors without fail. I would otherwise feel like a thief in plain view if I will not be able to cite the people from whom I have taken parts of my paper. As a matter of fact, I see quoting others as bolstering whatever position I take in a paper that I am writing. Else, I would feel incomplete from the incompetence of reinforcing my concepts with the ideas of others.
 As a hobbyist, an otaku or more commonly known as a fan of anime and manga or Japanese comics, I admittedly watch videos and read scanned comics online. It is a way of otaku life after all. However, I never forget to pay my respect, appreciation and admiration to animators, author-illustrators, producers and publishers of these works by watching and supporting locally franchised anime programs as well as buying licensed anime DVD and mangas or comics. Recently, anime films such as Naruto: The Movie have started to be shown in local cinemas. Shortly thereafter, more anime films  will follow suit like One Piece Film Z and Hunter X Hunter. A friend once asked with a bit of sarcasm, "Why will you spend for movie tickets to view films that are downloadable and can be readily watched online?" To which I replied with pride and a smile, "We have to support these releases so producers and distributors are made aware that there is a following here in the Philippines and for them to be able to continue making similar showings and releases in the future. It is not about being imprudent or splurging money. It is all about doing ourselves, the fans, a favor . It is about our identity."
 The local otaku community have been rejoicing in the announcements of the debuting of these films in the Philippines. A few months ago, the Japanese anime-inspired film, Rurouni Kenshin, was a blockbuster. So much so that original DVDs and VCDs went on sale shortly afterwards. Entertainment companies must have taken this as a cue that Filipinos are mature enough to support this kind of launches and releases despite the fact that the target audience are technology-literate and capable of simply downloading copies from the internet. It is very heartening how it illustrates that most youth like Filipino anime and manga enthusiasts understand the importance of supporting both the industry that brings them pleasure and the people behind it through patronizing licensed or official media even if cheap, pirated copies or free downloads are available.
 Incidentally, I am also a Japanese Pop Music or J-Pop enthusiast. It is not a bewilderment for me to know that in spite of the digital age, J-Pop idols and artists continue to sell their music and videos in high volume and record-breaking sales achievements. It is, for me - by far, the best example of how people respect copyright. Fans adore and support their favorite artists by collecting original creative merchandises of their idols. They deeply understand that without their subscription to their idols' artistic talent, it will not be possible for the artists to continue providing their fans entertainment and enjoyment. The same thing can be said to Filipino artists and their fans although the Philippine entertainment industry is much more prone and is actually already suffering from the consequences of rampant piracy and the seemingly indifferent Filipino consumer towards intellectual property especially copyright.
 The dichotomy presents both the rewards of respecting copyright and the ill-effects of disrepute for creativity as well as disregard for intellectual property rights. The creations achieved from such literary and artistic works that bring pleasure and deliver happiness to people are put on the line whenever anyone would engage in piracy online. Indifference to copyright does ripple to economic proportions that is self-defeating as it affects the society as a whole and its individual components. But more than the economic perspective, the worst consequence of one's blatant disregard for copyright, to my mind, is one's loss of identity and culture.
 Whether it be scientific or academic, literary or artistic, if people do not value the underlying intellectual capital in a creation, albeit intangible, it is tantamount to prostituting themselves - that is either putting their abilities to waste or demeaning their very own existence. On one hand, as a human, we are endowed by the ability to think, to interact and to analyze ideas for us to produce our own academic evaluations; hence, to plagiarize is an incompetence as a rational being.
 Patronizing pirated intellectual property or copyright-infringing materials and products, on the other hand, is denial of one's own identity. We identify ourselves with what we watch, read and listen to. In the process of imbibing the artistry, we feel happy then eventually grow passionate and appreciative of these artistic creations. For anyone to patronize unauthorized copies of one's favored literary or artistic material is far from being appreciative of its author or artist. Simply put, one cannot claim to be a fan of another if he or she contributes to the downfall of the creator. We cannot assert an identity if we refute the very artistic creations that we associate ourselves with.
 Copyright is the protection of culture. It is one's appreciation of others that translates to the preservation of one's identity. You respect copyright, you respect yourself.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Local DVD Release: Rurouni Kenshin Live Action Film

"Are you still not fed up with the film that you still had to to buy the DVD?"

This is what a friend told me (her knowing I watched the movie several times last December) after I bought a DVD of "Rurouni Kenshin" during its local release 2 weeks ago at Odyssey in Gateway Mall, Cubao.

A question to which I replied, "We have to support this kind of releases by purchasing so that distributors are well-aware that there is a following; hence, encouraging them to do more releases of this kind in the future."

That and the DVD has an additional track which is the film's "making". *___*

I haven't opened the DVD yet though even after a staycation this Holy Week. XD

The movie and its blockbuster success last December was most probably the reason why there are now upcoming Japanese animation films soon to be shown here in Manila (and in other PH cities?). Apparently, the movies will be exclusively shown at SM Cinemas just like how it was done with "Rurouni Kenshin". So far, SM Cinemas announced that it will show "Naruto: Road to Ninja", "HunterXHunter" movie and "One Piece Film Z" this April and in May.

The local otaku and J-Pop community was stirred and ver much exhilarated with these news of being able to watch our favorite anime locally on the big screen.

Getting a copy of the DVD. Amuse PH did some raffle.

Takeru Sato lining up along my mini KISUMAI collection

Sunday, March 24, 2013

KARADA - A Japanice Body Therapy

A few weeks back I discovered KARADA Japanese Body Therapy. With its a bit striking orange motif that I almost mistook it as Yoshinoya (yes, as in the Japanese fast food), I couldn't help but notice its facade in the newly rennovated Glorietta 2. 

I read the poster hanging on its glass wall, first thinking that it's a spa, and there I realized that it's more of a physical therapy clinic. After having spoken with a staffer/therapist, I was immediately interested in their services mostly because it's a Japanese technique (of course XD) and partly due to the results of my recent  annual physical examination.
My X-ray results showed that I have a mild case of levoscoliosis and so I thought what better time to try this Japanese Body Therapy than now?

A few days after, I called to reserve a schedule. It is highly advisable that you call and secure a schedule in advance if you intend to avail their services since their schedules can be full. I opted for the "AP & Body Treatment" for 90 minutes.

It was quite an experience. The therapist first assessed my condition and did a series of techniques. I was amused with the drop-bed. LOL XD But what really made me baffled were the bone-crunching twists and snaps especially when my back bone did a snapping sound thrice. XDD Immediately after that maneuver, I can sit or stand straight effortless or with a lot of ease. Surprsingly after the session, I did not feel any adverse pain or whatsoever. It was really a wonderful therapy. I've been planning to schedule another sessioin as soon as I get a little more free time and perhaps do it a little more often.
Apparently, their Glorietta brach is their first. They will soon be opening two other braches in Makati City. One in Salcedo Village and the other is in a hotel if I remember it right.

The Japanese word KARADA, by the way, literally means "body" in English.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Japanice Style @ Akira Salon

I jokingly live by the words, "Mess everything with me and mess my life but NEVER mess my hair." But sometimes, I take it a bit seriously. LOL 
One thing's very certain with me, I like Asian hairstyle and I always wanted to have my hair styled by a Japanese stylist primarily because I think that there must be a difference in their styling technique with that of local stylists. Also, it's because I always liked the hair styles of my favorite J-Pop idols and so I wanted to go to a stylist who actually know Japanese hair do, I'll be showing Japanese hairstyles that I like to have after all.
However as one would expect, hair salons here in Manila that has Japanese stylists are very far from common. I remember searching in the net to try to find one and it only proved my thoughts that it would be difficult for me to find one. For the past 3 to 4 years, I have gone to a salon nearest to what I've been looking for. I went to Tony & Jackey. It's a salon with Korean stylists. They definitely understand Asian hairstyle. I used to think that I am more satisfied with the styling they do as compared to other local salons but I also always feel far to be completely satisfied.
And then I came across a blog that mentioned Akira Hair and Make-Up Studio that's located in A-Venue Mall in Makati Avenue, Makati City. I decided to try their services and get a new hairstyle shortly before the new year 2013.
Here's my hairstyle last December before I went to Akira. It already grew long. It was a lot shorter when I had it completely permed at Tony & Jackey.

I would sometimes straighten my bangs and the sides using hair iron.
Still "Before"
I had the idea of ironing my bangs straight and leaving the perm at the back when I saw this hairstyle of KISUMAI's Kento Senga. It think it really looks cool and pretty. It's pretty cool. XD 
Kento Senga of KIS-MY-FT2

And so when I went to Akira, I was torn apart between getting a full perm again or rebonding my hair until I decided to do both. XD
I had my bangs and the sides rebonded while the back of the hair was permed again with little curls - like the curls of a telephone cable as Akira-san described it. =D

Sometimes I'll style the bangs one-sided but most of the times I go for full bangs. I really like how the style turned out.
Christmas Day

Here, I attempted to copy Senga's hairstyle. My hair was black though after that I thought of getting a hair color in my next visit.
Do it Senga-style

After two months, I returned to Akira to get a hair cut and the much-anticipated hair color. I returned to the salon two weekends ago.

Me, Madz and her moral support XD

They suggested to color the eyebrow too LOL
First time I did that

Tadaaaah! =DD

With Akira-san

With Madz and her moral support for me XD
I love the result. The hair color is perfect. It is obvious but not too loud or striking. It suits me whether I am in a casual get up or in an office/business atmosphere. You know that feeling of being fashionable and casual without being looking too juvenile? I think that is how I would describe my hairdo. =D

Officemates say they also like my hair color

My hair at the back is still permed while I would sometimes iron straight my bangs. Most of the times though, I just blow dry the bangs and let it look naturally wavy. The hair loooks nice even without applying a hair product . However, to make the curls at the back look defined I would use mousse.

OK, here's the catch. Most people might find the services a bit too expensive expecially for those who don't even spend more than Php 100.00 for a haircut. XD But as in any other reputable salon, you pay for the satisfaction you get from the services.
Akira-san is basically a celebrity in his own right in the hair and make up industry. His salon's website illustrates his background as having worked as [a] top-stylist at a world-famous salon in London. He returned to Japan, his career as a free-lance make up & hair stylist took off and hi work has been seen in the beauty industry, including Fashion Magazines, Advertisements, CD-Jacket, PV, Fashion Shows etc, in Japan, New York, and London. [In] 1995, [he] established Hair & Make up studio in Tokyo. Now he is based in the Philippines.
Complete satisfaction. That's the one thing I kept on missing everytime I go to the salon to refreshen the hair and the looks, even during all those times I had been going to at least two branches of Tony & Jackey. I have always felt that something is always amiss especially with the thought that stylists in Tony & Jackey are like on-the-job trainee-stylists. So there, having finally been able to discover a reputable Japanese hair stylist in Manila, I'm just happy. ^___________^

Oh! This entitles me and my family for a 20% discount on all products and services. Sugoi na! XD

Monday, February 18, 2013

{FOOD} Yomenya Goemon - Japanese Pasta & Pizza

Japanese food, seafood and pasta.
The three things I reply every single time I am asked as to what is my favorite food. True enough wherever I dine whenever pasta is in the menu, I would most certainly order seafood pasta. And that is why when I first heard of Yomenya Goemon, a Japanese spaghetti house, I was thrilled, curious and so eager to visit the restaurant and try the food.
I was watching one of the programs of Myx (yes, the music channel) that was about food and different restaurants in the metro when I learned of this Japanese spaghetti house. Since then, I had been meaning to taste their food. The chance came when I went to Greenbelt 3 last Friday to watch a movie. It was  a good thing that Yomenya Goemon was just a floor below the cinemas and so I asked my friend if we can have dinner there.
MJ emoting over pasta XD
They have a wide-array of choices centering on pasta and pizza with an Asian or more particularly, a Japanese twist. I think that I would perhaps never feel fed up with their menu. Their "Half & Half Set" that consists of two half-orders of two given pasta, a glass of drink and a bowl of wafu soup pegged at Php 480.00 to Php 580.00 is priced reasonable and will surely fill you up.

Sausage, Bacon & Beef Chorizo with Chili Tomato Sauce

Mentaiko Shrimp & Japanese Herb Ao-Shiso

I loved their "Sausage, Bacon & Beef Chorizo with Chili Tomato Sauce". Its spiciness and is just exact and its texture was nice so as their "Mentaiko Shrimp & Japanese Herb Ao-Shiso," which at first made me wonder if it was cream-based but according to MJ it's not and that it must just be in olive oil. What I was sure of is that I very much fancy the taste of the seaweed and herbs in it.

Straight to food trip after coming from the salon. :D

The very next day after I took a new hairstyle at Akira Salon in A-Venue Mall along Makati, Avenue, I returned to Yomenya Goemon and brought another friend.
We ordered a pasta and a pizza for sharing. Much to our surprise, we were so very full after dining that we had to wonder what was in the food that made them so heavy. >_< The ambience is so neat and orderly that we didn't notice that we hanged out for quite a while in the restaurant chatting over meal. The wait staff are attentive and a manager was thoughtful over the customers. 
Mixed Pizza

Vongole Pasta

A friend bon appétit is a friend in gluttony. XD

I enjoy dining and being at Yomenya Goemon that I now have a favorite restaurant in Greenbelt. Being a pasta person myself and a lover of anything Japanese, I think it was just inevitable that I would endear myself with this restaurant. =D
In closing, I cannot suggest anything at the moment but for them to play J-Pop music to add in the ambience. ^_____^ 

Suggestion: "Play J-Pop Music" LOL


Thursday, February 7, 2013

{COSPLAY} Fairy Tail: Freed Justine

I'm back for my first February blog entry which shows that so far I am in keeping with my New Year's resolution to keep on blogging. XD

My eighth Japanice Resolution for 2013 is to improve my cosplay. I got to realize that I really need to start on going down to the details of my cosplays when I cosplayed Freed Justine from Fairy Tail. I noticed some details that I fail to give attention at.

Jellal and Freed Justine

When I think about it, failing to go to the details are most of the times brought about by the fact that I have to change into costume either in a cramped rest room or in the mall's food court (when I wear my costume in the food court, I need not "change" but rather just simply put on the costume). The point is that I don't really get the luxury of time and convenience to get all things and parts of my cosplay completely done and made. I don't even put on make-up aside from a quick application of basic foundation. That is why I would admit to always falling short of doing a perfect cosplay. But then again, having imperfections would always mean lots and lots of rooms for improvement. Improvement in itself is always a welcome challenge for me. So looking at the brighter side, I can expect that I have always something to work at.

For this blog entry, I would also be sharing how I made the sword-props for Freed Justine. Freed's sword is a rapier which he uses both as a weapon and as a pen with which he writes his Letter Magic especially during battle. This is just the second time I made a weapon-props. The first time was when I made a quincy bow for my Uryuu Ishida (Bleach) cosplay. I think I made a satisfactory job with the sword except that the blade was too wide.
The materials I used for this sword are as follows:
1. All-purpose cardboard;
2. A round tension curtain rod;
3. Masking tape;
4. Silver spray-paint; and  
5. White, blue and green all-purpose paint.

Most part of the props-making involved cutting and shaping the cardboard into (1) the blade, (2) the hilt, and (3) the decorative Fairy Tail insignia on the hilt and "wrapping" the sword handle.
The curtain rod serves as both the skeleton of the blade and the sword handle. After assembling all the parts of the sword, I wrapped everything in masking tape and painted the blade and hilt white.
It took so much time before the white paint completely dried and then I noticed that the surface of the sword seemed to have "runs" or it became uneven, primarily because of the masking tape getting wet, I thought. It made me think that I should have just directly spray-painted the sword silver, without first coloring the masking tape white, to avoid getting the surface uneven.

After spraying-painting the sword blade and hilt silver, I proceeded to design, cut and paint the Fairy Tail insignia that would decorate the cup hilt of the sword. Notice that "tail" of the insignia functions as a knuckle bow that adorns sword handle. I wrapped the cardboard cut-out in masking tape before painting it green.

Lastly, as the final detail, I attached a small rubber ball at the tip of the sword handle and colored it blue. Actually, it's not a ball but an Animax rubber cellphone stand that is attached to the flat and smooth backside of a mobile phone so that it can stand. Luckily, I just to insert it in the hole of the curtain rod and it attached perfectly. =D

With other Fairy Tail cosplayers during the Ozine Anime Figure Special 2012
Now going back to my concern on attending to the details, some of the details of my Freed cosplay that I did not do, both intentionally and unintentionally, are (1) Freed's bangs are swept to the right and covering the right eye, I swept mine to the left XD, (2) I didn't tie my hair to a low pony tail, (3) I didn't put a mole under my eye, (4) I didn't have Freed's signature lightning hair strands jutting out backwards from the sides of my head, and lastly (5) I no longer had time to make a brown scabbard for the sword. XDD
Anyway, I want to do an improved cosplay of Freed Justine again with a Laxus by my side. =D

Character: Freed Justine
Series: Fairy Tail
Cosplayer: Hiro
Venue/Convention: Ozine Anime Figure Special, December 2012
Photos: Mark (aka Kram)
Costume: Commissioned Tailor
Props: Hiro

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


One of my Japanice New Year’s resolutions is “to promote J-Pop” in Manila. I get to do this through a J-Pop dance cover group named “KIS-MY-BOYS” that covers the J-Pop group KIS-MY-FT2 or KISUMAI (check myearlier blog entry on “what is KISUMAI”) in which I am a member. The group have had some changes in the members’ line up since we started in June 2012 but the members as they are now seem to have steadied. The members are all into Japanese Pop Culture. Common interests such as anime, J-Pop, J-Rock and cosplaying make the group solid (I will no longer mention what “other interests” that are very common XD). All the members enjoy our performances and remain committed to rehearsals. As the main proponent of the group, I make it a point that everyone has fun in doing what we do. Our performances and the very group itself have also become an advocacy in not only promoting J-Pop Culture here in Manila but also to form invaluable friendship with other members of the local fandom. As basically the first (and so far the only) all-boys J-Pop cover group, we take a little pride in being instrumental to fuel the local fandom’s vibes and enthusiasm in J-Pop.
And so, it is very important for us to stay close to each other even if there are no rehearsals and J-Pop events that are upcoming. We are after all, friends and not just mere dancers who happen to belong in the same group. That is why for our first get-together this year, we decided to go to a theme park and dubbed the activity as “KIS-MY-BONDING”. It was very fun-full and thrilling for the boys to spend some time somewhere apart from rehearsing and playing Tekken (although we also spend a lot of time in the karaoke XD). It was really great for our other friends and fellow J-Poppers to have joined us in our simple excursion.
I also recall everyone singing Kisumai songs when we’re all about to go home. They just had to sing a Japanese song inside the van we rode from CCP going to EDSA that the driver must have felt awfully out-of-place. LOL And finally, the irony of it all is that there were at least five (5) instances that our group was persistently referred to as “K-POP” by other park-goers. Blame the hair and the fashion and the aura?=D K-Pop is the Asian Pop genre that’s mainstream locally so the reference is certainly inevitable. XD Trying to illustrate to other people the distinction of J-Pop and K-Pop is definitely an exercise in futility. But yeah, the torment of being misidentified can sometimes be burdensome. If you’re a J-Popper, you would know. =D
Here are some snapshots of the bonding we had that is so “KIS-MY”. ^_^ More photos in our facebook page: www.facebook.com/kisumaiboys

From Mall of Asia to Star City

At Mall of Asia

We fancied the wall bearing the KISUMAI member colors except Kitayama's LOL


At Star City

There are two boys missing-in-action

Another group shot

Nikka gave the boys Valentine's Choco. It's customary for Japanese girls to give chocolates to boys around Valentine's Day

Off home. Energy drained. XD