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2017 has already come & gone. It’s already Day 3 of 2018, & I cant believe it. Time really seems to be whizzing by. This is a look back at some of my biggest highlights of 2017.

01. This past year, I really feel like I’ve stepped up my writing, & put more focus & effort into my blog. I think I’m improving in making my own graphic images & site banners, but I’m not a trained graphic artist, nor do I have any artistic drawing abilities whatsoever. So, I’m hoping I’m improving as an amateur graphic artist. I can definitely see an improvement in my writing, & I’ve managed not to get too wordy on the unnecessary details. I’m definitely going to keep writing on my blog, & hope you all follow me on my journey.

02. When I was a teenager, I had all sorts of lofty dreams of going to music concerts & festivals. I envisioned my friends & I hopping in to my little car, & we’d travel around town looking for hip music venues & clubs. Well, that never happened, & even in my early adulthood I didn’t get many chances to go to any concerts…mostly because my group of friends at the time all had different tastes in music, & I could never find a partner to go with me to concerts or live shows.

Fast forward to today, f I can’t believe my good fortune. Jian & I have each introduced the other person to new music genres, bands, & artists. Through our mutual love of music, we’ve been able to attend many concerts & pop culture festivals in 2017. Our list of events include: Anderson.Paak in London, SAVE FERRIS, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats with Kings of Leon, as well as Lord Huron, Carseat Headrest & other bands we didn’t recognize at Chris Hardwick’s ID10T Conival. We saw WEEZER twice last year. Once at the ID10T Conival, & a second time at our local Alt-Rock radio station’s winter concert called Not So Silent Night. We attended on the night Alice Merton (of “No Roots” fame), Walk The Moon, Foster The People, WEEZER, &………The KILLERS performed. Yes, we got to see our favorite rock band of all time (The KILLERS) perform alongside WEEZER!!!! It was a great way to end our year in concerts. Also, I’m going to see The KILLERS in concert again next month at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles for their Wonderful, Wonderful U.S. arena tour. I can just feel all of my teenage concert fantasies coming true.

03. I got to check off an item on my travel bucket list this past year. After all of my intense wishing, it finally came true. I got to visit London, England for my very first time. It took me a long time to convince Jian to go with me, since Jian prefers to visit Asia on his vacations, but I finally wore him down & convinced him to travel with me to Europe/the UK. I was getting a little tired of always sticking to our routine of visiting Japan or China (or Hong Kong) every time we plan an overseas vacation. I’ve been wanting to switch things up & visit Europe/the UK for a long time. Also, visiting London has been a big ticket bucket list item for me, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit my new favorite city & stay at a hotel that has completely changed my life.

04. After immigrating to the U.S. from Taiwan (she was not born there), my mom said goodbye & had not given any thought to going back until recently. A lot of my mom’s friends have either permanently moved back to Taiwan, or split their time living there 6 months out of the year. This encouraged my mom to finally want to visit Taiwan. She invited her favorite travel companion (me) her sister, & together they made plans to go back & visit the city they grew up in & left behind over 30+ years ago. Of course, my mom feeling insecure about traveling to a place she hardly remembers, she invited Jian & I to join them as chaperones who could help them navigate the subway system & help them at the airports. We had so much fun eating & drinking our way through Taipei, & making the best of our trip even though it rained nearly every day.

05. Christmas is a big deal in my family. My dad had always emphasized family togetherness during this time of the year, & as a family we took his words very seriously. All of the kids make sure to come home for the holidays no matter what, & my mom throws a huge annual party on Christmas Eve. We usually tend to keep the guest list to family & close family friends only, but this year we broke tradition, & I was able to invite my closest friends & their families to our party. We had the most memorable evening I’ll never forget. This recently past Christmas party was truly outstanding & unforgettable.

06. This past year marked the 5th anniversary of my dad’s passing. I can’t believe it’s already been 5 YEARS. I think about my dad everyday, & I still think about him as though he’s still alive. I try hard not to dwell on the negative, & only focus on the positive memories of my dad. It’s hard to go through life without one parent, especially when you are still relatively young & feel like you still need your parents’ guidance. Another year will pass, & I will continue to think about my dad every day.

Those are my best highlights of 2017. I don’t have any resolutions for 2018. I want to live my life & be happy. Cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

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Original article via Tokyo HivePUFFY to release best album to celebrate their 15th anniversary.

I’m really excited that PUFFY will be celebrating their 15 year anniversary (& I’m a bit stunned that it’s been 15 years already).  I’ve been a long time fan of the band & I have already been to 3 of their concerts in the U.S. (as well as collecting as many of their CDs as I can).

I must say that these 2 ladies are an amazing pair.  Being able to balance work & family life is not an easy task, but Ami Onuki & Yumi Yoshimura are able to make it look so effortless, & I applaud these strong women.

You know what else?  This is a little-known fact about myself: PUFFY was one of my “gateway” / “bait” bands into the Japanese Pop music scene.  Around the time I had just learned about Japanese Pop music (a.k.a. JPop), Japanese anime was just becoming hugely popular in America.  I had previously known about anime & such, but I had no clue what Japanese Pop music was like.  I had no idea that Japanese Pop music was so modern & popular all around the world.  I first learned about this amazing music genre when I was given some Japanese Pop CDs from my older cousin who resides in Japan as a gift.  He had given me one CD by Morning Musume & one by BoA.  I really had no idea what was going on or what the lyrics meant, but I had immediately fallen in love.

After that first experience, I dove head first into the world of Japanese Pop music & pop-culture.  I spent many weekends at the one music shop in the local Japantown, browsing all the aisles, marveling at all of the beautiful & shiny CD covers.  I was lucky that I had a friend that knew about Japanese Pop music long before I had even heard of it, & she recommended a few artists for me to listen to…one of which was PUFFY!  This friend was great.  Not only did she know a few things about Japanese music, but she could also read some Japanese text, so she was able to translate a few CD names for me at the time.  (Thanks friend!)

Once I had immersed myself into the Japanese Pop music scene, I was utterly obsessed!  To this very day, I am still crazy about Japanese Pop music…probably more now than I ever have before… But now I have branched out my musical ears into other genres of Japanese music…also listening to: JRock (i.e.: LUNA SEA, Judy And MaryOrange Range, the Pillows, etc.), JSoul a.k.a. R&B (i.e.: Ken Hirai, Namie Amuro, Emi Hinouchi, Kato Miliyah, etc.), JRap (i.e.: m-flo, Teriyaki Boyz, Rip Slyme, Rhymester, etc.), & JSka/JJazz (i.e.: orange pekoe, Crazy Ken Band, Jazztronik, OreSkaBand, etc.) among many others.  If you browse through my iTunes music folder, you’d probably notice that 80% of my music is Japanese,  10% Western Top 40/Pop, 8% Jazz/Bossa Nova, & 2% World/International.

Overall, I’d definitely say that PUFFY has influenced me in exploring other genres & (languages) of music.  Thank you PUFFY & Congratulations on celebrating 15 years & many more!

Ame Warashi approved!

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