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In my continued quest of documenting “99 Things That Bring Me Joy“, the next stop in my journal brings us to childhood activities I don’t want to outgrow. I don’t believe I am experiencing a “Peter Pan syndrome”, but I do still feel very young-at-heart even though I am rapidly approaching my late thirties & my early thirties have come & gone in a blink of an eye. Actually, I’m not really sure how to exactly describe myself. I can relate, get along with, & easily talk to all sorts of generations. I can chat with older adults about 1960s culture, reminisce with my own generation about our carefree youth in the 1980s & the grungey 90s, & when the kids of the next generation spit out slang lingo I can talk to them without checking the Urban Dictionary every 5 minutes.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have built up a lot of my current collections by adding on to things I’ve kept since my youth. Even though I am learing how to let go of items I once thought were sentimental on the basis of decluttering my home, I still keep some of my treasured childhood objects & collectible items. I use some of those items as a starter/base in building my collections. A few of my other childhood collectibles are still able to be used in my arts & crafts projects. (For example, I have a few rubber stamps from the mid-90s that I’m still using in my craft projects today.)

Aside from collectible objects, there are a few childhood activities that I continue to engage in, even as an adult. They’re not really exciting or unique, but they make me happy, no matter what age I am. Let me give you a few examples.


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I wrote in an old post about the London Bus LEGO set that I had completed, & within that post I had provided a full list (as of 2017) of all the LEGO sets I owned. I’ve been playing with LEGO building blocks for as long as I can remember. My experience with LEGO blocks began with a simple tub of miscellaneous blocks that my mom bought for me at the Toys ‘R Us store when I was a little kid. There was a long span of my life (meaning my teenage years) where I stopped playing with LEGOs.

Then as an older adult, I started playing with them again, or should I say building sets again. I guess I jumped back on the LEGO bandwagon at the time when it was trendy for adults to go back to doing childhood things, like coloring & painting, in order to relieve stress. (What did they call the trend…”zen coloring for adults”??? LOL!). Now that LEGOs are back in style, & have become trendy for people of all ages, I’ve really thrown myself into building what LEGO calls “creator sets”.

My collecting of these large LEGO sets have really taken over my house to the point where I could easily turn my house into a small toy store. Thank goodness my collecting hasn’t taken over my life so much to the point where I will buy every new collectible set that’s released. I only buy the sets that interest me, but it’s still becoming an overwhelming collection that I hope to one day pass on to my future child. In the meantime, here is an updated list of the LEGO sets I have so far…

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If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning, then you know all about my sticker collecting. I mean, I basically won’t shut up about it & write about my sticker collecting in practically every other post. I have been collecting (& using) stickers since I was around 10-years old. I still even have a few of my old stickers from way back when. I won’t go in to too much detail about my boring sticker collecting, just know that I’ve been collecting stickers nearly my entire life.

Do you remember when I introduced my sticker storage box (named Trevor)? Well, he’s overflowing now.

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This photo of Trevor taken circa July 2012.

This is Trevor now. He is a super hot mess.

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Even my craft washi tape collection got so overwhelming that Pierre spilled out, & we now have his little brother named Jean-Luc.


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I’m not an avid coloring book artist these days, but I still color like a kid from time to time using a coloring page app on my tablet. When I was a little kid, I loved coloring in school. I couldn’t freestyle/hand draw to save my life, but I loved coloring. I still can’t draw (barely stick figures & crude symbols), but I still enjoy coloring from time to time.

I remember when I was a teenager & I discovered tracing paper for the first time. I had this beautiful hardcover art book from the artist Mary Engelbreit, who was my favorite artist at the time. I would spend hours in my room, sitting on my bed, painstakingly re-tracing all of my favorite prints from that book. Then I would take my treasured deluxe box of colored pencils & color in all of my traced pages, trying to copy Mary’s artwork. I had so much fun tracing those artworks & getting to color them in at the end.

Today, I don’t exactly color in actual paper coloring books with coloring pencils & crayons, but I do have a coloring app on my tablet called Lake Coloring, & whenever the mood strikes or if I’m feeling a little out of sorts, I’ll whip out my tablet (which I have named Richard), & just color away to clear my headspace, with my only worry being which color to choose. I wouldn’t exactly say that this type of coloring is a stress reliever, but it does actually distract me (in a good way) & helps me to temporarily forget about whatever was on my mind to make me feel moody.


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I didn’t read comic books & graphic novels when I was very young. However, I remember one of my older female cousins was really into reading Archie Comics. I had another male cousin who loved to collect MAD magazines. He even had the board game that was a spin-off of the comic magazine.

I didn’t really start learing about comic books myself until I became a young teenager & my parents allowed me to walk to the grocery store without a chaperone. I started by reading the cheap 99¢ cents comics at the grocery store. Then when I was old enough to drive, I would spend my after school time hanging out at my local bookstore near the shopping mall. That was the time when I  was introduced to the magical world of Japanese manga (graphic novels).

Let me tell you one thing, when I immerse myself in a hobby or something I’m passionate about, I will invest a lot of time & effort (& money) into it. For example, when I started reading Japanese manga (I was more into manga rather than watching anime shows), I would read two or three series at a a time. I was always searching for a new series to dive into, which actually worked out for me because it always took at least a month, sometimes longer, to properly translate one Japanese comic book into English. It’s not easy to translate sound effects, & Japanese subtlety. To show you what I mean, let me insert a photo here.

mini manga library

I found these while cleaning out the storage closet, & miraculously they were NOT moisture damaged or warped!

I am not sure if you can clearly read the titles in this photo or not. I will list all of the titles, so you don’t have to zoom-in & sqint. Just a fair warning, I was really into the magical girl romance genre back in those days. I also dabbled in a little of the fantasy/sci-fi genre, & of course…the traditional romance genre as well.

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I haven’t quite gotten back in to reading graphic novels. Well, at least not since I graduated college, but I’m slowly dipping my foot back in to that giant pool, testing out the water again to see if I’m still willing to shell out the mucho dinero for one book every other month. I still do read, though. However, I have slowed down my reading of hardcopy books in favor of e-books on my treasured tablet, Richard. You know, it is kind of sad to say this, but… you know when someone asks the trivia question “what three items would you bring with you to a remote island”? Two of the three items I’d probably bring with me is: 1. Richard, my tablet, & 2. a power source so I may keep Richard charged at all times. (Also, item number three would probably be a hunting knife.)


Well, that pretty much sums up some of my childhood that I’ve carried with me into full adulthood. Some of these things I believe I can still carry with me throughout my childhood & not feel like I’ve outgrown them. I also feel like I can pass down some of these activities with my future offspring. At least I hope so… That’s all I’ve got to say on this subject. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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Several weekends ago I went to Las Vegas to attend my first Amazing Comic Con. I was there to support my good friend who was showcasing his self-made comic book at the convention & representing the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance. This wasn’t my first comic book/animation convention, but it was definitely the smallest that I’ve been to in a long time. It was a very fun & intense weekend filled with friends, food, & severely hot wind.

I was so proud of my friend (who happens to be the brother of one of my closest girlfriends, & the cousin of Jian’s best friend). He’s a high school art teacher by day, but a full-fledged comic book illustrater/writer by night. My friend is highly talented in any artistic field he’s thrown into, & he takes his art seriously. I truly applaud my friend for pursing his passions all on his own, of course with the support of his family & friends. So, naturally, I had to support my friend’s budding art career & bought an autographed copy of his comic book The Keepers. Hopefully one day his autograph will be worth tons of collector’s money. (Tee-hee!)

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Why did Amazing Comic Con have to fall on one of the hottest weekends of the summer, in the middle of the desert? Seriously, the temperatures in Las Vegas were over 100 degrees farenheit every day. The weather reports on TV weren’t joking when they reported that it was like being in an oven. On top of that, if you dare to walk outside (which is not recommended, at all), there’s a fairly strong wind blowing, but it’s such a hot wind that it feels as though you’re constantly being blown in the face by a hair dryer on high. The weather that weekend was no joke, & I’ll tell you that I’ve never consumed so much liquid nourishment in my entire life. I don’t normally drink a lot of water, which I know is not very beneficial to my overall health, but on that particular weekend, I drank so much water I could practically fill an inflatable kiddie pool with the amount of water I drank.

Jian & I thought we were so smart buying cheap airline tickets with early morning departures. Well the tickets were practically free, since my mom let us use her credit card mileage points, & all we had to pay were the baggage & service fees. Oh boy, did we make a minor mistake by doing this. Yes, we were lucky to get super cheap airline tickets for one extended weekend, but arriving in Las Vegas so early in the morning with nothing to do & leaving at the crack of dawn the day after partying the night away was not very good planning on our part. We both thought we could handle early morning flight times, but it really took a toll on our bodies. I don’t think I’ll be doing another rushed trip to Las Vegas again anytime soon.

Going to Las Vegas to support our friend at a convention was the highlight of our entire trip. We had originally planned on getting tickets to a show while there, but we weren’t interested in any of the shows or musical acts performing that weekend. (By the way, it was super annoying seeing Gwen Stefani‘s billboard everywhere we went. After her band No Doubt‘s album Tragic Kingdom, I completely lost interest in her as an artist. She’s not as good solo as she was with her band.) Then, I thought we’d spend all of our time gorging ourselves silly on extravagant/flashy “Vegas” food, but surprisingly, we were somewhat sensible with our eating habits, & only splurged on one day.

Las Vegas is not quite my favorite place to vacation. I try to avoid that town as much as possible, which is often difficult because my mom’s side of my family LOVE going to Las Vegas whenever they get a chance. I’m not a gambler; I’m not a club goer. I’m not even a 20 ounce specialty steak flown in from some exotic-place-you’ve-never-heard-of eater either. However, I had fun on this trip. I enjoyed the company of my close circle of friends. We ate good (reasonable) food. We stayed at a smoke-free, gambling-free hotel in the heart of the Strip. Jian & I even squeezed in a few hours each day for some Fifa World Cup viewing. (Sorry, I’d much rather watch sports than bet on a game.) Other than the extremely exhausting day of flying back home, it was a fun way to spend a quick weekend out of town. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

I remember there once was a time in my life when I was heavily interested in (& invested in) reading comic books, specifically Japanese comic books. I would patiently wait month-to-month for each volume to be painstakingly translated, published, shipped to America, & put on the shelves of my local book store’s meager Manga section (if you could even call a tiny bookshelf a “section”). Nowadays, kids read photocopy scans via the Internet with nearly instantaneously. This past weekend, I was cleaning out a large storage closet in my house, & I stumbled upon my old collection of comic books…more accurately called Manga. I haven’t touched these books in years, which prompted me to browse through them once again. This got me thinking back on my time as a devoted comic book reader.

When I was a young child in Elementary school, I actually read a few Marvel comic books. While all of my siblings & cousins were reading MAD magazine & Archie (along with Betty, Veronica & Jughead), I was reading about Spider-Man, Silver Surfer & the like. No, I wasn’t exactly a comic book nerd like how they’re being portrayed on the TV show The Big Bang Theory, or at Comic Con. I was a casual reader at best, picking up whatever cover interested me. I completely stopped reading comic books once I became a full-fledged teenager, swapping Spider-Man for Hot Rod & muscle car magazines, as well as various trading cards. I don’t know why I chose this time in my life to try to act like a tomboy. Now, looking back on those times, I was heavily influenced by a girl who I thought was my best friend at the time, only to later find out she was either trying to sabotage my life or get inside my pants.

It wasn’t until after high school when I truly discovered & fell head-over-heels in love with Japanese Pop culture. I immersed myself into every aspect I could get my grubby little hands on, spending most of my weekends in the Japantown area of the big box city. Since my dad was originally from Japan, I felt a special closeness to that culture. That’s when I really got into watching Japanese TV shows, movies, watching anime, & reading comic books (a.k.a. manga). At that time, a majority of my friends were Asian & had the same interests in Japanese Pop culture as I did, so we were able to share our favorites & talk all about comic books.

Just like in my teenage years, I also went through a tomboy phase while reading manga. I liked to read comic books geared mostly towards the male audience, with titles such as: One Piece, Full Metal Alchemist, Gundam Seed, Megatokyo, Rurouni Kenshin, etc. I liked reading about intergalactic mechanized robot wars & epic sword fights. Along the way, I also dabbled in other genres like: comedy (Ranma ½, Love Hina, Azumanga Daioh), historical (Fushigi-Yugi), fantasy-magic (Card Captor Sakura, Alice 19th, Wedding Peach, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, & XXX Holic), & a few others here & there. Most of the manga I read had a similar theme of romance. You know the formula: girl & boy are fated to love each other & be together in the end, but not without a roller coaster ride of major ups & downs like: alternate dimensions, space &/or time portals, epic wars, magical curses, demon hunting, multi-dimensional memory loss, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

So, I’ve been sorting through my old collection of comic books & have begun reading them all over again. Most of my comic books are lacking a complete series, & I am thinking about getting back into reading manga again so I can finish the complete series of all the manga titles I’ve collected over the years. I stopped reading manga for many years simply because I have no space in my house to store all of these books, & I am also trying to tighten my budget. So that means, less shopping, more saving…especially if I want to be able to afford going to my cousin’s destination wedding. I guess we will see what happens. Until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

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