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WHO: 99 Things That Bring Me Joy

WHAT: Things you collect

I think I have nearly beaten this topic to death in my blog. I talk a lot about many of the things I enjoy collecting, especially stationery & office supply related things. Here in this blog, I will not go into too much detail about those collections I have already talked about, but rather I will explore more of the collections I tend to keep hidden. So, let’s jump right into it, shall we?

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sample of my pin collection

I have talked about my pin collection in at least two or three other blog posts, so I’m not going to talk much about this here, but I will give you a little background information on how I first got into pin collecting. When I was a wee child, growing up, my maternal grandmother manufactured official licensed merchandise for the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. One of the biggest products she manufactured at the time were enamel pins for Coca-Cola & the Olympics. I had no idea at the time how popular enamel pins actually were. Hey, I was only a toddler at the time, & anything that wasn’t Hello Kitty related didn’t register on my radar.

During my teenage years, I didn’t really develop much of an interest in pins. I was mostly interested in listening to music & hanging out with my friends. Then, in my mid-twenties, due to my new found obsession with anime & manga, I started buying cheap pins to show off my favorite characters, not even caring that it made me look like I was trying too hard to act younger than my actual age.

These days, as you well know, enamel pins are making a comeback in fashion trends. Jian kick started my renewed interest in collecting pins when we both started collecting pins from some of our favorite Japanese streetwear brands. I then slowly transitioned into collecting all sorts of other enamel pins that reflect my interests & style. I have one particular plain wool sweater that I stole from Jian is my favorite, & I like decorating it with those pins from time-to-time (not every time, though). You’ve pretty much seen the bulk of my collection by now.


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Ridge “Where In The World Are Jezza, Hamster, Captain Slow & The Stig?” Postcard print set via Gallery 1988 Los Angeles

I really wish I could whip out my postcard collection, & catalogue every single one for this blog, but it would take me way too long. As of right now I can’t even count how many postcards I have in my collection. They’re all scattered in different places. I’ve got a majority of my collection neatly organized in photo albums in a plastic bin somewhere in the dark abyss that is our house storage closet. Then I’ve got a couple more tucked in between a stack of greeting cards in another plastic bin in my frequently used closet.

I started collecting postcards when I was in high school. On the weekends, I would tell my parents that I was spending time with my friends at one of their houses, then we’d all run off to the big San Francisco city (which my parents would’ve punished me big time if they ever found out back then). We’d usually frequent the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood because that’s where we thought all the pot-smoking hippies & cool people with tattoos hung out. There we’d discovered all kinds of dirty, naughty things that we knew our parents would disapprove of.

I remember the first postcard I ever bought had a picture of two drag queens on it. It had some funny caption about dudes in women’s clothes written on it. That was my very first encounter & experience into the drag queen culture. I was so fascinated by these two bros in colorful dresses & wigs, wearing the most extra snatched beat mug, I just couldn’t stop staring at the photo, practically analyzing it within an inch of its life. After that, I was hooked on collecting postcards that I thought were dirty, edgy, & cool. That meant that I also had to buy the postcard of a beefy guy in skimpy bikini-brief underwear, with the crotch cut out, & the words “Flick My ____” on it. In case you haven’t already figured it out, the cut-out crotch was meant so that you could place the postcard over your light switch, & you can guess the rest of it.

These days, I don’t collect many ready-made postcards. Instead, I like to buy blank postcards & print my own designs on them to give to friends as birthday cards, or thank you cards, or any other special occasion card. Since discovering the power of Photoshop, I’ve learned to make graphic images of my own that I can print out & give to friends. I even make my own Christmas gift tags on postcard cardstock during the holidays.


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Pablo: my plastic bin of stationery sets

Let me tell you, I have been collecting stationery sets for a very, very long time. I don’t just stash them away in a bin (like the one shown above) & never use them. I do actually use them to write letters. Yes, I have been handwriting letters since a young age.

When I was merely a tween, & would read all the girly magazines like Teen BeatBOP, I used to write fan mail to my favorite teen celebrities. Now, I’m not going to incriminate myself by revealing the types of things I wrote in those corny letters. However, I would often use some of my colorful letter sets to try to stand out amongst the other fan mail with hand drawn pictures.

As I got older, I would write fun letters to my high school friends, which eventually transitioned into writing sweet letters to the boyfriend I was dating at the time. I didn’t have a long list of boyfriends back then. I barely started dating when I was in my early twenties. (Yes, that’s how late of a relationship bloomer I was.) I first briefly dated one guy in college, but he turned out to be a Grade-A asshole/douchebag. I then dated one guy I went to high school with, but we had long since graduated by then, & we had a terrible falling out after a pretty lengthy relationship. I even dated one guy from Australia on the internet, but he turned out to be an even bigger douchebag than that first guy I dated.

Thinking back on those times, I only wrote letters to one of my ex-boyfriends, & that was because I had signed up for a 3 month study abroad program, & we both promised to write letters to each other. It wasn’t until I met Jian, & then I really pushed myself to put those letter sets to good use. I wrote Jian dozens of letters, & he kept every single one. I’m not sure if that was due to him being sentimental or just too lazy to throw out old papers stuffed into a junk bin in his closet. I’d like to think it was the former reason, but either way, it was a good use of all those expensive sets I bought from Japantown.

Here is one example of a few of my oldest stationery sets that I’ve kept through all these years.

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samples of what you already know about

Are we going to beat this dead horse? Really? Are we going to discuss this topic for the umpteenth time? You don’t need to read another boring blurb about my long-time obsession with stickers & my new found obsession with decorative tapes. I just recently wrote a blog about all the new craft tapes & tape accessories I just bought, so you can read all about it over on that post.

One of my earliest childhood memories was of my sister keeping her own collection of stickers. She was around the same age as I was when I started collecting stickers, but she kept all of her stickers in those old fashioned photo albums where you had to peel back the plastic sleeve of the page & affix your item to the sticky back of the page. My sister would peel off her stickers from the sheet & apply them straight on to the blank pages of the photo albums, thus rendering the stickers utterly useless other than to look at like tiny cut-out images.

When I had stumbled upon my sister’s old sticker albums, I was absolutely appalled that she didn’t use any of her stickers to decorate anything she owned. She merely kept them all in a photo album as though they were priceless collectors stamps. Well, unlike my sister, I actually use my stickers for decorating things & in various arts & crafts projects. You know the rest of this story.


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putting Leroy on full display

Another topic that you’ve probably heard me go on & on about many times over is my collecting of pens. So, I do not really have to go into too much detail about it. I will say, though, that there are two styles of pens that I am a big fan of & use most often. One style is the Sarasa push clip gel pens by the Zebra brand, & the other style is the FriXon colors erasable markers by the Pilot brand. These two styles of pens are the ones I use the most often when I make cards for friends, or when I am writing personal notes.

I have been using & collecting the Sarasa gel pens for many years already, & somehow my handwriting looks better when I use  these pens. I prefer to use the 0.5mm tip size; it’s a fairly fine tip size that doesn’t scratch through thin paper, but it’s not so thin that your handwriting looks faint. Although I have only in recent years become a fan of the erasable markers in the FriXion line, I do have a couple of the color-pencil-like erasable gel pens, & two of the ball knock retractable gel pens that I keep in my purse at all times.

I love these two styles of pens; one is a truly erasable pen with a clean erase finish. The other has one of the best medium tip sizes that is not too fine or too thick. Both of these pen brands have great ink color ranges as well. They’re both great tools to use in arts & crafts projects, or to make bullet journals & planners which have become a popular trend these days.


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I never played with dolls, but I played with these.

Pinky:St, also written Pinky Street (ピンキーストリート Pinkī Sutorīto), are plastic (PET) figures designed by BabySue and manufactured by the Japanese company Vance Project. Their distinguishing feature is the interchangeable parts. The heads, hair styles, clothing and accessories can easily be switched between figures according to taste.
The figures are about 10 cm (4 in) tall and compatible with 1:18 scale dollhouses, furniture, vehicles and other accessories. Many special edition Pinky:St figures have been produced based on characters from Japanese anime, manga and video games.

One of my first serious collections was a series of plastic doll figures called Pinky:St.. I first saw an advertisement of this toy series in a Japanese anime & manga magazine called New Type Magazine, that I once had a subscription to. This magazine is still in existence, but they have long since discontinued their English-translated magazines, which was what I had a subscription to. The magazine subscription was super expensive back in the early 2000’s, but it was worth it. I read every issue from cover-to-cover.

I saw the advert for these doll figures & was instantly hooked. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would ever get a chance to look at these figures in person unless I bought a plane ticket & traveled all the way to Japan. Then, the stars aligned, & I found a set of these figures at my local anime convention by accident. I had recently become friends with the owner of a newly opened Japanese toy shop near where I lived, & he had a dealer’s booth at the convention. I ran into him at the convention merely by chance, & he happened to have those exact figures I was wishing I could get my hands on. Needless to say, I was bursting with joy.

From that point on, I started building my collection, with a huge amount of moral support from one of my closest friends, who was also building her collection of specialty dolls (BlythePullips) at the same time I was learning about these cute plastic toys. At that time, I was searching every available Japanese toy store, looking for whatever Pinky:St. dolls I could get my hands on.

By the time I had learned about this series of toys, there had already been quite a few limited edition & specialty sets released in Japan which I could not acquire, unless I had a valid Japanese residential address & a big fat bank account to help me bid on Yahoo! Auctions Japan. I had amassed quite a collection of these Pinky:St. dolls back in the early 2000’s, & didn’t just collect them. I took the figures out of their boxes, played with all of their interchangeable parts & accessories, & had even made shadow box dioramas to display my figures. It was a real joy to be able to display all of my dolls on my chest of drawers until my collection became an overwhelming presence in my bedroom.

Once Jian & I decided to move in together into our own place, I, with much hesitation, ended up packing up all of my dolls into storage. I hope to one day bring these figures out of the shadows & back into the light, so I can display them again, but I’m not sure when that will be. Until then, here is a sampling of some of the figures I had collected.


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This is an expensive hobby, but think of it as an INVESTMENT.

This is a topic that I rarely talk about. Collecting designer toys & limited edition collectibles from my favorite toy brands, street artists, & contemporary designers has been a long-time passion of mine (a passion that I avidly share with Jian). I don’t like to talk about this subject very much because it makes me feel like I’m flaunting the foolish amount of money Jian & I both spend on toys (mostly designed in Japan, but probably manufactured in China). Also, we don’t like to flaunt our limited edition collectibles; we prefer to be very discreet & low-key. We both absolutely abhor the current “fuccboi” culture & don’t want to come across as the “fuccboi’s” of the toy collecting world.

I would like to just state that I DO NOT frivolously throw my money around when it comes to collectible toys (& neither does Jian, unless it pertains to Transformers toys). We are both extremely selective when choosing a new item to add to our shared collection. We follow our favorite artists & brands on social media, as well as closely follow their careers & new product releases. When one of us finds a collectible or limited edition item that we like, Jian & I will come together & discuss whether or not it would be worthwhile to add the item to our growing collection. It takes a lot of back-&-forth deliberation before we ultimately decide to buy a new item for our jointly-owned collection.

During our college years, Jian & I were a little less responsible with our finances (myself especially). Any type of toy we found to be hip, trendy &/or popular at the time, we’d try to find any sort of way to acquire the item. Even back in those days we were already thinking & planning towards the future by keeping up-to-date with the collectible value of all our precious items, in hopes that our “investment pieces” would greatly appreciate in both dollar value & popularity. However in today’s times, Jian & I have become more conservative in our acquiring of collectible toys; primarily in order to save for the future & not spend so much money, but also because we don’t have much space left at home to store other items without our place looking like a Toys ‘R’ Us store.

To give you an idea of the types of items we have been collecting throughout all of these years we’ve been together, here is a sample of a few of our collectible toys.

[ PERSONAL DISCLAIMER: Please forgive the poor quality of these images. Some of these photos were taken on mobile phones back when flip phones & Blackberry’s were still a “thing” & cameras on mobile phones were still a new concept. ]

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Gloomy Bear collage

UNDERCOVER x Hello Kitty vinyl figure1

Medicom Sobu-kun mascot figure1

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Well, there you have it. This is my crazy list of collectibles. I am sorry it took so damn long to write this blog. I have been dealing with a lot of feminine medical procedures & such, as well as running around (like a chicken with its head cut off) to attend a lot of family events & gatherings. On top of that, I took Jian on his very first camping trip in the good ol’ outdoors, complete with a tent, cookouts on the grill, & mosquitoes that can even bite through heavy duty deet spray. All in all, it’s been a whirlwind these past many weeks, & every time I try to carve out some time to write, I get pulled away from my computer to do something else (other equally important things).

Tomorrow I’m off to Vancouver, British Columbia again. Jian invited me to accompany him on another one of his work “meetings” (a.k.a. business trips). I don’t think I will write a blog post about this trip though. It’s going to be short, & most of my travel posts end up on Instagram anyway. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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