JJ Project, WINNER, Taeyang, and all my other favorites

Here are my latest discoveries that you need to know about if you don’t already:

Tomorrow, Today – JJ Project

JJ PROJECT IS LOVE, JJ PROJECT IS LIFE. Does anyone even say that anymore? I don’t care because JB and Jinyoung are musical gifts to this world (and the cutest BFFs). Listen to this. This is the soundtrack of my 20s. If you don’t understand Korean, you have to read the lyrics to get what I mean. I love this song so much and am so happy they came back this summer with Verse 2.

K, now listen to the live version where their vocals shine through like diaaamonds, whatever that means. Also, their fashion concept for this album is so simple – I love. Jinyoung in white shirts is *___* and Jaebum with that too-cute hairstyle.

If you thought Tomorrow, Today was the best thing since GOT7, you’re in for a treat because Verse 2 has 6 other great tracks. My favorites are On&On and Don’t Wanna Know but I can’t skip any tracks when I start from the first track. Well done, Jinyoung and JB. Now when can I meet you to tell you that?

Love me, Love me – WINNER (aka the soundtrack of your summer)

Winner, if you’ve been reading my tweets, has slayed 2017. Does anyone even still use ‘slay’? Is ‘bae’ still relevant? Because Winner is. I love how they are now listed as Jinu, Hoony, Mino, and Yoon. So fun and easy to remember for people who have trouble with Korean names.

This song is so catchy and even though I thought it resembles Really, Really, it’s more of a cousin song than a sister song if you know what I mean. Both amazing but different. Watch the video for the guys in short shorts (okay, just Seunghoon but you know what I mean). My bias is Seungyoon even though Mino is a cutie. Yoon-ie forevah will be scratched onto a padlock and chained to a fence in Korea.

This song is from the latest album ‘Our Twenty For’ and the other title track is Island which is so-so only for me. You might end up liking Island more since I’ve seen a lot of comments saying they prefer Island. If you like both songs, welcome to the Inner Circle fandom, please feel free to ask me about all things WINNER.

Because YG makes epic dance practice videos and this one is no different. Just think of it as a music video spinoff haha. The fashion concept for this comeback is questionable but hey, I’ll take it along with Yoon’s killer vocals (and smile).

Ko Ko Bop – EXO

I still haven’t found out what Ko Ko Bop means. I just know that this song is the song that brought me to EXO. Once I heard this song… I knew. I don’t think I can be considered an EXO-L yet but I do like Chen and think he doesn’t get enough screen time?? I looked up some of their old MVs and Lotto is another song I dig.

This song is so sick, as one of my Japanese friends would say. The Eve is also not bad.

White Night – Taeyang (sadly, not a full track)

My goodness, August has been saturated with comebacks and I LOVE THEM ALL. Get ready to be mesmerized by Taeyang’s vocals. You’re welcome. Taeyang brings his emotions into his songs like no other and you can just feel how much work he put in and how proud he is of this album.

Here’s the full album. I love track 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7. My sister has been loving Darling but I just can’t fully get behind it. Maybe in time I will? The only 2 songs I don’t really like are the two title tracks :/ If you’re wondering where I’ll be, I’ll just be putting coins into my piggybank so that I can attend a Taeyang concert. Feel free to contribute.

Sorry – The Rose

I discovered this by accident – just mere clicking around. Thank you, Youtube suggestions, because this song is amazing (those husky voices tho). Ever since I discovered Day6, I have been on the subconscious prowl for Korean bands who do their thing well. No rapping, no dancing, just pure vocal and musical skillz. The Rose is one of them – celebrate!! So far, they only have one song out because they just debuted but I look forward to their future music.

Rain – KNK

And here we have vocal and musical skillz + dancing skillz. Be still, my heart. You can watch the MV with emo scenes of the boys or you can watch this kickass umbrella choreography video instead. You’re welcome. This is one of my favorite dances yet (did you even see that part where the umbrellas came up as wipers during Seungjun’s part?). I love the dapper concept for this comeback, too. KNK is also hilarious and such a fun group. If you haven’t heard, they are all super tall, wow them legs. Jihun needs more lines, to be honest.

Where are you? – CLC

Wow, is this really me? Have I found some girl groups that I like? Apparently! This 80s vibe is to my taste and I like the video concept, not overly sweet nor overly sexy.

Friday Night – SONAMOO

I haven’t listened to this song too much but I like it for the most part. The sexy concept is okay, not too bad. I haven’t done much digging into the girl groups yet and they are still pretty new so I’ll wait a bit before getting to know the members and watching the interview videos.

All Night – Girls’ Generation

I know my sister has been on the GG train for a while but it didn’t happen for me until this year’s 10th anniversary comeback. I know the girls’ names and faces through news articles and a few interview videos. It’s also nice to watch videos and learn what their personalities are like. Usually with younger groups, the members are afraid to be themselves or don’t know how to be themselves yet so it’s a bit awkward/boring.

Easy Love – SF9

Here are our favorite boys. I almost forgot to include them in this list! SF9 is <3. This song from start to finish is our jam. Other noteworthy songs: Fanfare, Roar, Watch Out, and K.O.

If you thought one Taeyang was enough, you’re in for a shock because a second Taeyang exists and he’s the freakin’ vocal AND dance line in SF9. Also has fab hair, a killer smile, and a cute BFF relationship with Hwiyoung. I love Yoo Taeyang, that is all. Inseong is the other vocal line to watch out for. Can’t wait for their comeback so that I can see more of these boys.

Look at my Taeyang with blue glitter hair.

Edit: Ah, yes, I forgot one more group.

Plz Don’t Be Sad – Highlight

I can’t believe it took me so long to discover Highlight (formerly known as BEAST). I saw this song a lot on Youtube but I dismissed it until I watched Highlight on Weekly Idol. They were hilarious on Weekly Idol and their poor Random Play Dance section reminded me of Big Bang’s. I’ll have you know that I shamelessly know the chorus dance to this song and made sure people at the fried chicken restaurant we went to last week knew that LOL. Calling You is equally good so check that out too.

I’m really loving their music as Highlight. I’ve read the comments on their videos and it really does seem like they are happier as a group under their own label now. Yay for breaking free and achieving the things you want to without someone pressing you down! Does anyone else agree that Junhyung resembles Douchin from Chemistry..?

Fiction – BEAST

And yeah, BEAST has some good songs. This is my favorite. I should listen to more of the other songs.. I remember 12:30 and Good Luck and Gotta Go To Work being pretty good.

I have peppered this post with as much slang as I currently possess in my slang arsenal because that’s how enthusiastic I am about this post!!

Enjoy!!

Raine
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The moment you’ve been waiting for: the plunge into Korean music

It has begun. Last year around this time, it was Chemistry every. single. day.

This time it’s Korean music. What is up with this time of year? Okay, so maybe this was coming… My parents have been serious about learning Korean – they text each other in Korean now – and our household as of last year has been very influenced by all things South Korea.

I’m literally 10 years late to the party. Throughout high school, my classmates were into Kpop. The explosion of Kpop started around 2006 and it hasn’t stopped since. The first Kpop band I remember my classmates being crazy about was Super Junior.

My thoughts 10 years ago: EWWW!!!!!

My thoughts now: -tears of joy-

I was not impressed at all. I wasn’t into the whole eyeliner, synchronized dancing, 10-people-in-one-band thing. Then there was the excessive plastic surgery to make themselves beautiful (though beautiful is so subjective). I couldn’t understand that. Most of them looked kind of scary to me.

Tastes change and now I find myself totally loving ALL THAT JAZZ – eyeliner, dance, huge guy group. In fact, give me more. Miles away, my mom is horrified. Okay, the plastic surgery thing is still not okay with me but now I accept that it’s their thing and while some of them aren’t really my type, there are some who are.

We always find things at our own pace so 10 years later, here we are. The irony of it all??? Super Junior is my favorite Kpop group. While Super Junior is still relevant, I feel that the newer groups like EXO and BTS are more current and growing in fan size.

Disclaimer: I’m not into the girl groups (yet, I think) but my sister is. She will hopefully do a post on that soon.

Kpop is usually bright and lively, the dance moves are killer, their makeup and fashion are always flawless, and no, you should not be envious of their ‘perfection’ because take away their makeup and clothes – and video filters – and they are no different from you and me. I feel like this is important to say because my sister and I had a discussion about this.

If we were younger, their ‘perfection’ would have no doubt influenced us in some ways and it might have been something we would have wanted to achieve or have. Knowing what we know now, we can watch these videos and look at them without feeling like they are some unattainable creatures of perfection.

Oh yeah, this post isn’t just about Kpop. I am rather – no, very – fond of ballads and the ballads I’ve discovered have been extremely pleasing.

1. Super Junior

Our favorite songs right now are Magic and Devil from their 10th anniversary album. Magic is the song that successfully reeled us in. There are 10 – or was it 11 – members altogether (I found a picture where there are 15 guys, I have no idea why) and it takes a while to distinguish between some of them but you’ll figure it out. Because they have to complete their military duty, you’ll notice that some of them are missing during different years.

I still have to wade through their previous albums to find songs I like. We’ll get there.

Someone saved me the trouble of getting screenshots from the Magic music video.

I think this is their promotional poster for Magic. I’ll name them for you to save you the trouble of Googling for a specific one if you happen to be like: oh, that one’s cute. AHAHA.

From left to right:

Row 1: EunHyuk, RyeoWook, KyuHyun

Row 2: KangIn, SiWon, DongHae

Row 3: HeeChul, LeeTeuk, YeSung (MY FAVORITE)

And this is just another picture from the music video.

The original music video was meh since there were scenes I found dull. I much prefer to watch the dance version. It’s not so much that their vocals are great, more like they make fun pop music and music videos.

2. Chen (from EXO)

Everybody loves EXO – your neighbor, your friends, the store clerk at FoodMaxx, the person sitting beside you on the plane, that girl you don’t know, you get the drift. They are huge right now and there are also 10 of them. I watched some of their music videos today and they were not to my taste.

Chen is a member of EXO and his voice is decent. His solo work is good. He’s NOT 15.

Chen’s double eyelid game is strong.

3. JunggiGo

JunggiGo leans more towards R&B/soul, which after Chemistry, I appreciate more and more. He’s only becoming popular now so he needs to sing more. My sister introduced me to his music and now I love it.His trench coat game is extremely strong. If you didn’t already know, Koreans have this thing for trench coats and until I find someone who wears it better, JunggiGo is the winner.

He’s also kind of cute, behavior and expression-wise. Shhhhhhhh!!!

4. 4men

Okay, these are the oldest guys out of everyone I’ve talked about and they are the real deal because they can sing the real-est. Their music genre is R&B/ballad.

My mom discovered them first and because our taste in music is similar, I naturally started listening to their music.

Thank you for your undivided attention. This was fun to write about. I hope you find something you like. If you’re already into Korean music, I’d appreciate any recommendations.

I’m sorry this post isn’t as thorough as I wanted it to be. I’m struggling to balance everything on my plate. PRIORITIES.

But first, not coffee, but Super Junior. See you at KCon 2017.

Raine
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Mid-week music interlude: Chemistry, Chemistry and Chemistry

Hello friends, it’s that time again. When we find a song we like and write about it. I believe the last music post was Monkey Majik’s Gravity which was over a year ago.

What brings us to this post then? Chemistry. Not the science subject. The band. GOOD STUFF. Trust me, it’s hard enough trying to look them up without including the word ‘band’ at the end of the word ‘Chemistry’. They are a R&B/pop Japanese band and I honestly never thought one day I would like R&B this much. I also never thought I would ever type the words ‘R&B’ and ‘Japanese band’ in the same line.

But there you have it. (Mom, don’t flip out at their picture.)

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Dochin; Kaname

The band consists of Yoshikuni Dochin and Kawabata Kaname. They can sing. I won’t lie; we looked up their concert video once to see if they could sing live as well as the album tracks and they are the real deal. Brb I’m crying because their voices are beautiful.

Initially we couldn’t tell their voices apart and we thought only one of them sang while the other played an instrument. Nope, both of them sing and now that we’ve listened to their songs about, oh I don’t know, a thousand times, it’s obvious whose voice is whose.

We only had 5 of their songs before this: Life Goes On (side K and side D), This Night, Ai No Wa (ugh, favorite), Period, and Brand New Season, and all of them are EXCELLENT.

The story about how we came to listen to a ton of Chemistry songs goes like this: one day I said, we need to find new music to listen to because we were beginning to get into one of those music ruts. Then on a separate occasion, we were talking about the Life Goes On dance video that I found long ago which I found amusing.

Also, the story behind how we discovered the band Chemistry in the first place: we watched Antique Bakery (laugh-out-loud and actually interesting show, please check it out) and the opening theme was Life Goes On (side K) and the ending theme was an instrumental Life Goes On. The rest, as they say, is history.

Anyway my sister loaded said video:

And subsequently, we enjoyed it so much that we went to look up more songs by Chemistry. We loaded their 2010 Regeneration Tour and the rest, again, is history. What a treasure trove of good songs we stumbled upon.

I don’t know how many times we’ve watched their concert video but rest assured, we’re this close to learning their dance moves. I kid about the dance moves but not about the repeats. I also oddly do not mind their strange outfits and think Dochin’s gold pants are fancy. Brb laughing to myself.

Some of our favorites we found from their 2010 concert include: Go Alone, Yoake Dawn, Crossing, Floatin’, Once Again, Superstar, Here I Am.

Then we found this gem and the number of repeats has gone off the charts. They collaborated with a dance group called Synergy and produced a few good songs coupled with some pretty good dancing. Here you go:

Chemistry – Shawty repeat count so far? I lost count but if the repeat counter is correct, we’ve listened to it over 100 times in just 3 days. That count is probably inaccurate since those 100 times were on my sister’s computer. LOL I think at least 200 views alone on Youtube have been from us.

It might be just me but the word shawty sounds quite weird coming from them. I don’t care. We love it so much.

This Night – Chemistry

Have a winter version of Aishisugite.

Other favorites we’ve found: Merry Go Round, Aishisugite (which means I love you too much and has such a wonderful piano intro), Kimi no Kisu, A Better Tomorrow, Move On and Together (such a fun song that makes us dance). The acoustics are amazing but they don’t have too many of those on Youtube so no video here boo 🙁

We’re embarrassing. We’ve been dancing (us, dancing, what?) and karaoke-ing. A. LOT. Like nobody’s business. Those who do not want to karaoke with us are not allowed. Possibly the only apartment playing Japanese music… Hmm… This post is surprisingly mild even though I’m doing internal star jumps and cheesy dance moves because I LOVE their music.

Sadly, the band has gone hiatus and it’s hard to say when they’ll be back since they seem to be quite happy doing their own solo projects. :'( STOP IT, COME BACK! We’re not thrilled about their solo albums but after being together for 10 years, I suppose a break will do them good?

If they ever get back together, you know we’re going to be at their concert. At the same time, we’ll go seek out Fukuyama Jun and take a selfie with him. My inner lovestruck teenager wants to squeal and draw hearts around his name. Ahem, nothing.

My sister wants to make it clear that she absolutely loves Chemistry. And so do I.

And then I realized that this post is WAY too mild and doesn’t manage to express my delight and joy towards Chemistry so have this: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE CHEMISTRY SO MUCH AHDJASKLFJSLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WANNA GO TO THEIR CONCERT RIGHT NOW!!!!!!! JSDLFJSDLFASDASJDL!!!!!! My true feelings have been conveyed.

Now that this post is out, back to our Chemistry concert. Over and out. Enjoy.

Raine
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2014 in review

2014review1

Good afternoon. As I write this, it’s 3PM, we just came back from having pizza and now I’m sitting here, wondering where all the time has gone.

2014 is ending? But how? Isn’t that usually the question I ask at the end of the year?

So how did 2014 treat me? There were ups and downs and loop-d-loops and I probably came out a bit more different than I expected. I think I did a lot less than I intended to but I learned a lot more. To put it simply, 2014 has been a year of trying + discovering new things and unintentionally dropping some things.

Mostly it started with our move. Vancouver seems like light years away. When I think back on those days, it almost seems like it happened in a previous life. We started 2014 in Vancouver and honestly? It sucked. Well, there, I said it. Our time in Vancouver sucked. It was like a punch in the gut. My motivation went right out the door along with my hope that things would be different. I stopped drawing, I stopped doing nail art, I stopped working out, even my writing kind of stalled, and I felt like utter crap (understatement).

It just wasn’t doing any of us good so my sister and I decided to apply to the college we had originally planned on going to. It was stressful applying so late but we got it done and we were accepted. We left Vancouver at the end of April. Looking back… well, I can’t really say much about it except occasionally I think about the fish and chips shop we used to eat at weekly, the gorgeous sakura trees I walked past every day on the way to the bus stop, the 3 snow days we saw, and the sushi place we went to whenever we didn’t feel like having fish and chips. Oh, and my astronomy class. Um, yeah.

Highlights: getting to see our first snow. It was more beautiful than I imagined and I had so much fun playing in the snow. So much so that I almost forgot about how crappy it was there.

snow-15 snow-20

We went home for summer. With that, those 4 months were over. Summer was a lot of things but mostly ignorant bliss and eating out and getting to see our pup. I also worked for a couple of weeks at a customer service department. It was interesting if not boring (long hours) and draining (reading complaints every single day is mentally exhausting, no kidding). The best part was getting to have lunch with one of my friends from high school every week since we were both in the same area. Towards the end of summer, there was a lot of packing and stressing out from packing and planning for school. I would put up some pictures from summer but my phone went kaput a few weeks into summer.

I let Vancouver hold me back for too long. I didn’t even realize that I was way down in the dumps until one day I woke up and thought to myself, ‘oh my god, I think I’m a bit depressed’. I didn’t want to do anything and I was just going through the motions. I was lost and tired. Kicking myself out of that funk wasn’t easy and admittedly sometimes I still think I need to haul myself further out. Lesson learned: don’t let a place and/or its people drag you down.

August was crazy. Settling into a whole new place was challenging (probably an understatement seeing as we were kind of homeless for 3 weeks) but we managed somehow and we moved into an apartment. The running around didn’t stop there and in-between going to school, it was wild and hectic. Looking back, of course it doesn’t seem as stressful but it was. I have that experience to thank for making me more knowledgeable and realizing that I’m more capable of handling ‘adult’ stuff than I thought. Lesson learned: you are capable of a great many things but at the same time, you are enough.

But school has been okay, we’ve made some friends, we know our way around campus,  we did some volunteer work that I’m proud of, we know most of the streets around our area like the back of our hand, we’ve found places we enjoy going to (yes, this includes Costco), we finally don’t live in a tiny bunker under someone else’s house (aka in Van and lol rent wasn’t cheap either), we’re close to San Francisco (which is, duh, my favorite place) and Disneyland (which we have yet to get annual passes to hehe), we’ve got a car now.

2014collage

I also turned 21 this month. I would say it was a quiet affair but it was definitely a bigger thing than last year. My mom and sister took me out for a nice lunch and we even had dessert – a decadent brownie topped with ice cream and nuts aka my favoritest dessert evar – which we don’t really do on other days. At night, we went to our favorite dim sum place which is this cozy hole-in-the-wall that we like to call our spot. I had cake too. Haha, how my mom and sister spoil me. On the same day, our Thanksgiving haul from Target arrived so that was a bonus.

Again, my mom and sister (aka ninja gift givers and surprise experts) managed to surprise me with their presents. I wasn’t expecting anything at all – I’m happy just having dinner with people I love – but I should’ve if the past years have been any indication of their surprise skillz. My sister presented me with a piece of art she drew for me and what makes it beautiful and special is the meaning behind each drawing. My mom got me a locket with three charms inside (all of the charms hold a special meaning) and it’s amazing. Jeez, I’m gonna have to work extra hard to top their surprises for their birthdays. 😉

No alcohol has been consumed since then. I’m fun that way.

Blogging wise, I’ve been less motivated this year but I feel like the few posts I did write were very real and keep true to our tagline haha. Who knows if 2015 will finally be the year we clean the heck out of this blog and work on it twice as hard? But then again what’s the fun in blogging if it becomes a chore? Heh, we’ll see if any blogging goals make it to my 2015 goals (if I even make a list).

2014 was the year I tried to get with the times in terms of social media. I made an Instagram account and discovered that I would rather play Sudoku than Instagram. It’s boring and the only account that I truly love is Snoopy. I should probably follow more people and get into it but no, really, it’s boring. A bunch of edited pictures, yay, the end. Maybe it’s just me…

OH. I almost forgot. We watched K: Missing Kings this year. I think that calls for more cake or something. Season 3 is coming next year. More champagne, more cake.

I said in my 2013 review that I wished that I learned to drive. Well, it wasn’t so much as learning to drive than getting my license but I did it. I’ve got a California’s driver’s license and honestly?? It feels amazing. Sometimes it still doesn’t feel real. I can drive. It’s a big deal to me haha.

Yeah, I guess 2014 has had its moments, good and bad. I stumbled and fell and it took me longer to get back on my feet but I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned this year and for the less pleasant things, I will chalk them up to experience and grow from there.

So I’ll be myself and you’ll be yourself,
I really don’t think it’s something we have to start over from the beginning to find – Rashisa, Super Beaver

I am currently obsessed with Rashisa by Super Beaver from the anime Barakamon (one of the most touching and eye-opening shows I’ve watched this year). Reading the lyrics, I feel that the song was written for me (hello cheesy me). This year I’ve struggled with accepting and finding myself. I’ve had moments where I just drift off into unpleasant thoughts and wonder if I’m happy with who I am now and think of how much better I liked the old me. It hasn’t been easy admitting to myself that I’ve been living in the past instead of moving forwards. Which is why I’m grateful for my sister and mom who have been nothing but supportive of me. They’ve put up with my crap and they see the best in me when I can’t. With that, I would like to declare Rashisa my song of 2014 and my theme going into 2015.

Here’s to being ourselves whoever that may be and let’s meet again next year!

P.S: Of course it’s so me to write a post that could have been halfway organized and that could have used more pictures. Oh well.

Raine
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Lately

welcome-pumpkin1

I have a long overdue update of how things have been. Firstly, hello October! I’m seeing lots of excitement over the fact that it’s October.

While the excitement over pumpkin spice latte, October 3 which for some reason is of some importance because of Mean Girls (which I still don’t get why has to be a reference for almost everything) and Halloween everything are beyond us, we do appreciate beautiful fall foliage, cooler weather, and the pumpkin patch that we’ve seen in our neighborhood!!

Halloween is around the corner. We don’t celebrate it but it’s a big deal here, isn’t it? If you need us, we’ll just be here… hiding behind our computer screens LOL. We are wondering if any kids from the neighborhood will come around trick-or-treating. We’ll have to run out to Costco to get candy. Speaking of which, we just came home with a big box of chocolates. Because they were on sale and you know, because chocolate.

Anyway, on with the update:

1. I have a tan. I arrived all white and pasty after four months of winter in Vancouver. I’m approximately three shades darker. -crying in the corner- Even with copious amounts of sunblock and an umbrella, I still got tanned… Oh well. See, you don’t need to go to the beach to get a tan.

2. Girl power prevails. We’re miles away from home and we’ve had to do stuff that we’re not used to doing (read: have never done before).

We did okay, I think. I managed to get a decent phone plan for us, we managed to apply for internet and electricity service AND set up our own modem, I ordered a printer and set it up, we managed to ‘assemble’ our own furniture (okay, it was pre-assembled but we had to cut it out of the damned boxes because the tables were stuck inside), we’ve hauled stuff way heavier than ourselves, we’ve unscrewed bulbs and bought insect spray that we had to use on a cockroach (omg). That’s taken care of at home by our dad and in Vancouver, our brother. So this is all new to us.

Sometimes I am torn between thinking of myself as a princess who would much rather leave the ‘tough’ work and techy stuff to Dad and a do-it-yourself-and-depend-on-yourself kind of girl who takes interest in how Dad fixes the door. I guess that would make me a warrior princess? Just call me Xena. Lol jk. My mom has always told us that girls can do or be anything that guys can, sometimes even better (#badassmom/#ladybossadvice/#onlyfemalemanagerinherdepartment).

In short, you can do this, ladies. You are just as capable as a man. Except maybe for trying to lift a mattress by yourself lol.

3. I occasionally find myself thinking about the astronomy class that I took in my Vancouver uni. I still can’t believe that I finally took an astronomy class and what more the professor’s love and enthusiasm for the subject made it even better. I find nature incredibly fascinating and in part I have my mom to thank for this. We had quite a few books about things like volcanoes, wildlife and nature in general while growing up. Astronomy is one of those things I have marveled at since young and wanted to study even if it was only for the briefest four months in college. And I did it and I’m happy that I did.

I even learned about black holes which was something I have always been very fascinated about. I remember asking my dad how black holes worked (I think it was while we were watching some outer space show, maybe Star Trek) and he couldn’t really tell me. They seemed scary and interesting at the same time. Astronomy tidbit of the day: black holes are massive dead stars that collapse from the sheer weight and pressure exerted onto itself.

And one thing that I took away from the class is that astronomy is for everyone. Everyone can learn stuff about the universe from the internet or books or whatever. It’s not like chemistry where you have to memorize chemicals and stuff (ugh, why). I always thought that you had to be a super physics genius to get astronomy. Which is why I’m motivated to start reading up on astronomy stuff and subscribing to newsletters (if you know any, let me know). Did you guys read about the story of how the ‘Man in the Moon’ came about? The article came out a few days ago and apparently, the craters on the moon aren’t formed by asteroid impact but rather, a volcanic event. Very cool stuff indeed.

I am still upset that I didn’t get to go to at least one star viewing event but I know one day I will go (very Disney-like of me, I know… I’m thinking Rapunzel finding her new dream ahaha). And here’s what I also learned from astronomy which somehow isn’t ingrained into everyone’s well of common sense: there is so much more out there than meets the eye and you are just the teeniest tiniest most microscopic speck in the universe. The end. Infer for yourself.

4. My sister and I are taking an art history class this semester and the professor is HILARIOUS. He throws in the wittiest, driest, most accurate references all the time and we’re just rolling on the floor, laughing. Well, it’s more like trying not to burst out laughing so there’s more shaking and trembling in our chair than anything. The professor knows his stuff – seriously, he’s like the only person I’ve known so far who has endless general knowledge. I highly recommend his class and art history in general because it is such a fascinating subject.

5. The library is awesome. That is all. I am in love with Robert Crais’s Cole and Pike novels and was SO happy to see the whole collection in the library. I know I’ve said this many times before but Robert Crais is just a literary genius. I hope he has a book signing nearby so that we can go and tell him exactly that. Picking out The Watchman out of all the books on the thriller shelf two years ago… amazing. The appeal was mostly in Pike’s name though.

6. About the weather (because what’s a ‘lately’ post without weather updates?)… it was cool for a few days – like the 70s – and now the temperatures are soaring back up again (yay -_-). People showed up in full winter gear on the days when it was cool. That was amusing. It’s like they were just waiting to bust out the scarves, boots and heavy sweaters. Which would have been fine if it hadn’t gotten bleeding hot in the afternoon.

7. About food. We have a hangout spot that we love. We’ve been to a Korean BBQ twice and I personally rather like it. I know my mom loves it (hehe). We tried a Japanese place which is supposedly ‘the bomb’ and has lots of positive reviews on Yelp. Our verdict: a cramped and kinda gross place (and trust me, we’ve been to some pretty yucky places before) with a messy ordering system, no waiting area for takeout orders, abrupt and unsmiling staff, and dry, so-so food. We are on the hunt for better Japanese places.

We also tried a Chinese restaurant which had raving reviews on Yelp. Our verdict: nothing that special, nice interior but super salty food, and what the heck is General Tso’s chicken anyway? I’ve never even heard of it and we’re Asian. If you’re looking for authentic Chinese food and you see General Tso’s chicken on the menu, run. Chinese food tip of the day: chicken dim sum will never be as good as pork dim sum.

Cheesecake Factory was disappointing in terms of service and we discovered that we don’t fancy key lime cheesecake. Oh well, at least the pasta was good. We’ve also just recently discovered a Thai restaurant that’s cheaper and WAY tastier than the one we went to twice. The lady is also much friendlier. Score.

On the home kitchen front, we’ve been cooking like nobody’s business. The oven has been put to good use and I hope we get to roast turkey for Thanksgiving this year. The cooking is fun but the cleaning is another story. Who likes washing the dishes anyway?! Or scrubbing that damned pan with the burnt sides?? Please send kitchen help lol.

8. Oh, you know what we’re excited about for the fall? Fall anime. Ahaha, you totally saw this one coming, didn’t you? Well, we’ve got a lineup of shows to watch and we’ve already kicked one off the list. Hopefully I’ll have time to write some brief reviews of the summer anime we watched.

9. In other random pieces of Spud news: we have a cat (if you didn’t read about that); I am on Instagram (it’s getting lonely there, having only one follower); we are in LOVE with Antique Bakery – it is an excellent show with an opening theme we have been playing on repeat and I love the originality of the idea behind the story; checking the mailbox and seeing the parcels I ordered is always a highlight of the day especially when it’s all wrapped up nicely; we are thinking of getting some fall decor for our place (maybe a cute wreath) but have no idea where to look; and we are also thinking of getting plants since we have a little patio outside but we’re not exactly green thumbs so we don’t know what plants to get. Suggestions?

Pretty sure there are tons of other stuff that happened; they are just eluding me at the moment.

What have you been up to lately? Any plans for October?

Raine
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My undying love for K: Missing Kings

The countdown is over. We just came back from watching K: Missing Kings. It was worth the wait, the money and the cinema experience.

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Thank you so much, Mom, for agreeing to pay that ridiculous amount for the tickets and for going along with our otaku madness. Thank you for dropping us off on a weekend when the malls are the most crowded and for dropping us off even though the car had a flat tire. I honestly thought we were going to have to walk to the mall haha.

[This post is 2500+ words long so feel free to scroll past if you’re not into anime]

If you haven’t watched it, the trailer for K: Missing Kings is here:

Prepare yourself for spoilers in this post. All the spoilers right below. Do not read if you haven’t watched it. Repeat: Do NOT. It will take the fun and joy out of watching it for the first time.

Here is what I wrote in March about what I hoped would be in K: Missing Kings. Let’s see how many of my dreams came true:

1. PLEASE LET MIKOTO BE IN THE MOVIE! – Check!
2. Let Anna be the new Red King!!! – Check!
3. Morita Masakazu as the new character Mishakuji Yukari?!?! – Check!
4. Can’t wait to see what Angela brings to the table music-wise. – Check!
5. It would be nice if Yata and Kusanagi get a bigger role! – Check!
6. I hate Fushimi for obvious reasons. I do not, however, hate manga Fushimi as he seems like a slightly better person. – By that I meant I hope his role isn’t ridiculously big. Check!
7. Let there be flashbacks so that we can see young Mikoto and Totsuka! – Check!
8. Somebody needs to make Awashima and Kusanagi kiss already. – Aww, no, but they had cute scenes all-round so I’m happy.

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K: Missing Kings Official Poster (which we took pictures with!!)

And now we arrive at my thoughts on K: Missing Kings. Here we go:

The beauty of the opening scenes was just captivating. After the 25-minute long recap of the first season which I thought was unnecessary, K Missing Kings had us from the get-go. It lived up to all the hype that was built up over the past year. You know how some movies just create so much hype that when it’s actually released and people go see it and it’s disappointing and people get crushed? Yeah, that. K did not do that. I fully expected it to go either way – disappointing or pleasantly surprising. It was neither. It was beautiful.

Outside the cinema, I asked Skye, what if it sucks? And she just said, it’s okay, just believe in K. Either way I think it will be satisfying enough for us. Thinking back, it seems kind of cheesy since it’s just a show but K IS NOT JUST A SHOW. -yandere in me rears its head-

We followed Gora, Tsuda Kenjirou, Morita Masakazu, K Anime and angela’s twitter last year so we’ve been keeping up with all the updates. Especially the 100 Days of K Visuals which is a one-picture-per-day countdown. I dunno who their marketing team members are but WELL DONE. The Twitter updates were great and kept us on our toes.

I LOVE that they didn’t waste any time at the start. They just introduced the new characters and kept the ball rolling till the end. There were basically no unnecessary scenes. How is that even possible right? I thought surely there’d be some unnecessary scenes – maybe annoying Fushimi scenes or some Ashinaka Academy scenes – but there were none. If you want to know the plot, Skye is writing that so wait for her post.

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Beautiful Mishakuji Yukari and Yatogami Kuroh

Yukari. What can I say about this beauty? He was just AMAZING. Who knew that he’d be one of those narcissistic beauty boys? He reminded me of Yumichika from Bleach because of his slight(?) obsession with beauty. That beautiful hair though. Love it. Don’t you just love it when pretty boy characters can fight well? Yah, because I do. Mishakuji Yukari, you have my heart. Well, actually Mikoto does but maybe you can share hahahah.

Anna as the new Red King. I was hoping that it would be true and it was. And it was a hundred times better than I imagined. Anna, we are so proud of you. You deserve to be the new Red King. The warmth of your red. The warmth of Mikoto’s red. Your powers. All of it. You read that right. Anna is a girl – a child even – but she is NOT a queen. She is a KING. Girl power all the way.

Wow, when her sword appeared in the sky. Such a powerful moment. What I love about Anna is her determination to not be a burden to others just because she’s a kid. She wants to be able to protect the others the same way they protect her. Thinking back, her words ‘I want to protect everyone’ carry so much meaning behind them because I think she wanted to protect Mikoto but didn’t know how to.

I also love that they showed her insecurities about herself and about becoming the new Red King. She was shown to be a stony kid in the first season with not many emotions or reactions and I think people got the wrong idea about her but hopefully they’ll see in this show that she’s more human than that.

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Munakata Reisi confronts Suoh Mikoto in season 1

Munakata made fewer appearances than I thought but every scene that he was in made so much sense. Especially near the ending when the Scepter 4 members saluted Anna as a welcoming of the new Red King and Munakata stood at the end, just waiting. And when Anna went up to him… it was the most awkward yet moving scene.

Like, there’s Munakata – the man who killed Mikoto to stop Mikoto’s Sword of Damocles from falling and creating a huge crater; he didn’t want to kill Mikoto but he had no choice if he wanted to protect the city and its people; he saw Mikoto as a friend even though they had clashing personalities; he wanted to save Mikoto but couldn’t get through to him.

Then there’s Anna – she loved Mikoto so incredibly much but knew that he was reaching his limit and she also knew that Mikoto wanted Munakata to be the one to kill him and there she is, standing in front of the man who killed Mikoto. Her conflict is clear – while she cannot be grateful for Munakata killing Mikoto, she is also not angry at Munakata for fulfilling Mikoto’s wishes.

Complicated. But Anna handled it like a champ. I’m glad that the Red and Blue Clan are on friendly terms with each other now.

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Clockwise from extreme right: Kusanagi Izumo, Yata Misaki, Kamamoto Rikio, Kushina Anna, Suoh Mikoto, Totsuka Tatara

I didn’t even think it was possible to bring in Mikoto and Totsuka without the story becoming ludicrous but Gora really blew me away with what they pulled off. It was just one of the rawest and most beautiful scenes in the show. I cried. I cannot even imagine a more appropriate scene in which Mikoto and Totsuka appear. They even had lines!!! And the scene just reflected the core of the Red Clan – the Red King, Mikoto; his serene and easygoing right-hand man, Totsuka, who balances his violent powers; and Anna, the princess that they love and care so much for.

Which is why I can say this: even though Mikoto and Totsuka had barely a few lines, it’s enough. It’s enough for me. I’m happy with how they left things with Mikoto and Totsuka. Wishful thinking though: it would be wonderful if somehow Mikoto and Totsuka could come back or maybe have more scenes in season 3 (maybe in Anna’s dreams again).

Kusanagi is also part of that core that I mentioned above but his purpose was shown in other scenes. He’s the wise and collected one – the one who reigns in Mikoto and Totsuka when they get out of hand. The other who has a steady head on his shoulders and doesn’t give in to whimsical desires or raging fits of anger (except where his bar is involved). I felt a bit sad for him after listening to the drama CD because HOMRA started out with the three of them (him, Mikoto and Totsuka) and now the only remaining founder is himself. How does he feel about that? His friends ‘abandoned’ him, you could say. Surely he must be hurting inside. But Kusanagi isn’t one to openly show his sadness and distress. I wish they showed some of his inner thoughts about Mikoto and Totsuka being gone.

I thought he closed the bar and left to go ‘find himself’ or something like that but yeah, we should have guessed that being Kusanagi, he would only want to move forwards and do what he had to do. He went to Germany! To Germany! What the heck? Haha, I thought that was a bit radical and independent of Kusanagi to go alone to dig up info about the Dresdan Slate. Ugh, Kusaji is the best. So cool and collected and charming. No wonder Seri likes him so much. ;] Can I ever get tired of listening to his Kyoto dialect?

Kamamoto as Anna’s protector brought heart-warming scenes. Haha, thin Kamamoto is not too bad. I thought I would hate him because honestly, roly poly Kamamoto is adorable so why change him into summer Kamamoto? His relationship with Yata was lovely as ever. About Yata – it was heartbreaking to listen to the drama CD in which Kusanagi announced that he was closing the bar and leaving on a trip, HOMRA was disbanding, Anna was going to stay with Kamamoto and Yata being angry at everyone for leaving. The way Yata expressed himself in the drama CD was emotional and quite the opposite of how Kusanagi reacted. Without Yata, I don’t think HOMRA would be the same. I’m glad they gave him a bigger role and made him go after Anna. Love Yata and his pride.

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Yatogami Kuroh and Neko

Kuroh. was. great. Kuroh is the star of the show, I think. Well, actually, I can’t decide because everyone’s role was equally important. But Kuroh fighting Yukari was important. Kuroh facing the guy that he once looked up to as his ‘older brother’, Kuroh facing the student who dared to point his sword at Ichigen-sama, Kuroh standing up for his new king and his beliefs, Kuroh wielding Ichigen-sama’s sword (Kotowari), Kuroh with his long flowing black hair, KUROH JUST AHSAKLFHDSFJSDLGJD!!!!! Stop, I love you, Kuroh.

Neko was surprisingly pleasant to watch. I didn’t quite like her in the prequel but she has won me over after watching Missing Kings. She was hilarious and I actually enjoy her interactions with Kuroh. Also, her protectiveness towards Anna <3.

Sorry but I may be the only one who is glad that Fushimi got fewer lines. He wasn’t nearly as annoying as he was in the first season but I still prefer to see less of him.

Moving on to the Green Clan, did the Green Clan’s ninja, Douhan, look like Alex from Kuroko no Basuke or what?!! I didn’t think that Yukari would be in the Green Clan or that he’d be that villainous. I honestly thought he’d come fight Kuroh but eventually join forces with Kuroh (no idea what inspired that thought). Surprise, surprise. And the parrot was an interesting twist… I thought it was Yukari’s pet.

k-seiyuu cast

TsudaKen (in pink), Komatsu Mikako, Sato Satomi, Horie Yui (in red), FukuJun, Namikawa Daisuke (in white), OnoD, Sakupyon (in red), angela (consisting of Atsuko and Katsu)

The music was A class. I mean, just when you think nothing can top the first season’s OST, we are introduced to even more amazing music. All the piano scores and sweet tracks… Anna’s song = tears of joy. Angela’s new song Different Colors is as refreshing as we expected it to be. They need to continue being the official K band.

Where do I even begin with the voice acting? Like Skye said in her K review, the seiyuus are the voice and soul of the characters. Morita Masakazu as Mishakuji Yukari was PERFECT. Sakurai Takahiro as Kusanagi Izumo just gets better. As with Fukuyama Jun as Yata Misaki who seems to really embody Yata’s personality. I may or may not be crying right now. Even if I’m not, know that I’m crying inside. Horie Yui, I LOVE you! You are the perfect Anna.

Also, Ono Daisuke deserves a paragraph of his own for his amazing voice. He voices Yatogami Kuroh and holy mackerel, he is PERFECT. That voice. I love it. I want to meet him one day and tell him that he has a beautiful voice.

And obviously you know I love Tsuda Kenjirou. I’ll just name the rest of the case because they deserve the credit: Tomokazu Sugita as Munakata Reisi, Sawashiro Miyuki as Awashima Seri, Miyano Mamoru as Fushimi Saruhiko, Nakamura Yuuichi as Kamamoto Rikio, Komatsu Mikako as Neko, Namikawa Daisuke as Isana Yashiro, Kaji Yuki as Totsuka Tatara.

k-scenery bridge

This is the sketch of the bridge to the Ashinaka Academy in season 1. It is already so gorgeously detailed. Can you imagine what the second season’s art looks like?

The art… THE ART… Stunning. My favorite scenes were of Yata’s room in the bar (it was inside the bar, right?). Bar HOMRA just gets better. The animation is one of the BEST I’ve seen. So much attention to detail, so many shades and colors, so many subtleties that add to the beauty of the scenes. The characters’ movements and the action scenes were so fluid, you would not believe it.

I especially love the revamped look of the Swords of Damocles. If I told you that MOST of the scenery is inspired by real places, would you believe me? Honestly I was shocked when I saw that the buildings and streets and views are all real places or inspired by real places. Animated, the real places look amazing!! Don’t believe me? Watch the trailer.

Why I love K Project so much can be summarized into one phrase – character-driven story. I can’t even decide who my favorite character is because they are all connected in some ways and their unique bonds are what form the base of the story.

All in all, things added up. Things made sense. All the elements -characters, story, art, music – combined to create a masterpiece. Some unanswered questions were answered but new questions arose with this new movie so that can only lead me to wonder if season 3 is in the works. I mean, dammit there were so many hints of more to come – Yukari saying ‘we’ll meet again’ to Kuroh, the mysteriousness surrounding the Green King who did not appear in the show, Kusanagi’s findings from Germany, Shiro’s words at the ending, Munakata at the special cut scene after the credits with his mysterious ‘the burden of slaying a king… I’ll accept it’.

When I walked out of the cinema, I was brimming with emotions. So many waves of emotions that I didn’t think I could put into words but here they are… some of them, at least. I’m still supercharged with a myriad of emotions towards K: Missing Kings. Now I’m just waiting for people to upload all the gifs and songs so that I can swim in all the loveliness that is K Project.tumblr_mifi364CyZ1r4hwp4o1_500

I applaud you, Gora and GoHands. You have outdone yourself and reignited my undying love for K Project. K Project is one of the reasons why anime has become such a big part of my identity. Not even a bunch of screaming hooligans can ruin the joy of being one of the first few to watch K Missing Kings.

My rating of K Missing Kings: 10/10. My rating of K Project (which I stand corrected): 10/10.

Kizuna, once again.

Raine
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A recent discovery: authentic Thai food at Chad Thai

Hey everyone! Today I’m gonna rave about the delicious food we had at a cozy Thai restaurant because you need to go and check it out. It’s no secret that our family loves spicy food. Amp up the chili level and we will love you. It’s also no secret that hunting for the best Thai food in town is also one of our secret side projects haha.

Back home, we can get so-so Thai food for an unreasonable price and there really aren’t many Thai places to pick from. Because handing our wallets over for meh food is not our style, we usually stuck to one Thai place and ordered 3 small dishes for 4 people. There used to be one or two places that served good Thai food but they closed down years ago.

Naturally we were thrilled to discover that there are TONS of Thai restaurants in Vancouver and around. One week during a grocery run, we were deciding between Vietnamese (another favorite; man, we love our Asian food) and Thai for dinner but I brought up the Thai restaurants on Google maps and just randomly picked one.

Turned out Chad Thai (along Hastings) is a gem of a restaurant. They are SO good. It is super cozy inside and there’s plenty of parking outside. They are run by Thai ladies (I haven’t seen any male staff there) who are just the sweetest.
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Sweet and sour pork

This was delicious! There’s a lot going on in this dish – onions, cucumbers, peppers (red and green) and slices of pork. I think there may have been tomatoes but I can’t be sure. They really mean it when they say sweet and sour. It wasn’t overbearingly sweet like some sweet and sour dishes can be.thai-redcurry

Red curry – chicken

Who doesn’t love curry? I have nothing but high praise for this curry. It is the bomb. The consistency is great and the flavors are A+. You can pick the spiciness level for the dishes with a chili icon beside it – from mild to medium to hot to extra hot. We usually go with hot and it’s perfect. I think anything beyond that level would be too hot and we wouldn’t be able to taste the other flavors. It’s on our must-order list every time we go there now.

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Gai yang – grilled chicken/beef/pork served with tangy chili sauce.

We picked chicken for this appetizer. The chicken is tender, juicy and marinated very well. This was good but I think the other dishes drowned the flavors of this dish out.thai-eggplant

Pad eggplant

I am in LOVE with eggplants. I have Thai food to thank for my love for eggplants. Before this I used to hate eggplant so much to the point where I would refuse to even have any of it on my plate. Then Thai curry came along with all its glorious eggplant cubes/slices and I just somehow found myself shoveling more and more eggplant onto my plate. Haha. Now I can’t get enough.

This was tasty. If you pick hot for the flavor like we did, you get bits of red chili in the dish. Eggplant can taste quite bland but they seasoned it with just enough salt and pepper that it didn’t neutralize the other dishes. I think it’s the perfect vegetable dish to pair with stronger-flavored dishes like the curry and sweet and sour pork.

P.S: I can’t decide if I prefer calling it eggplant or brinjal. Brinjal just sounds so much cuter. Aubergine is also such a lovely name.

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Pad thai

Well, this dish we didn’t quite enjoy as much as we thought we would. 🙁 Before this I have never eaten pad thai (surprise!) so I can’t really compare it to anything. It was too sweet for our liking but it’s a big hit with many folks judging by all the orders we saw coming out haha.

That’s all we ordered. With rice, of course.

Also, when the bill arrives, they give you these AMAZING sweets so TAKE them. SO GOOD. Really just the best. Some guy in front of me paid and left his sweets on the tab so I snagged them – score!

Oh, you should remember this – always check their business hours otherwise you might just show up on a Sunday afternoon when they’re closed haha. Or was it Monday. One of those days. Yes, that was us. We stood outside and were like, huhhhh it’s closed. ==

This is our first food post ever I think. Hope you’re hungry now!

Raine
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