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Hey! Should I be this happy/relieved that I didn’t get sick until after my trip to Asia? I don’t know. Well, I’m very much relieved that I didn’t get sick at all during my trip to Asia, but I did, however, get a cold & a fever when I got back home. My body just can’t adjust to the rapid climate change fast enough. It was super hot in China, then coming home, it was quite chilly, & that sent my body’s immune system into a tailspin, which resulted in myself catching a cold that became compounded with a small fever. I am now at 87% recovery, if you can claim regaining an appetite for Taco Bell fast food burritos to be a sign of good health. But hey, at least I’m back to the point where I can sit up long enough to write this blog post & not feel like the room is swaying, or like I want to physically recall what I ate for lunch. Yuck! Anyway, let’s get on with it then.

One thing I love to do whenever I travel to Asia is to stock up on a ton of stationery goods that would usually be imported, over-priced, & expensive back in The States. This is especially & exceptionally true whenever I go back to Japan (because everything made in Japan is so damn cute & resistance is futile). So, needless to say, I pretty much gorged myself silly while I was in Hong Kong & Guangzhou on stationery goods, as well as a bunch of souvenirs for friends & family. Did I ever mention to you that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE GIVING GIFTS??? Yes, I love to give presents to friends & family even when it’s not any special occasion. Hey, I can give as well as I can take…but I like to give more. Ok, I’m going to jump right into the thick of things & just post my G*d D*mn photos already.

hk stationery haul

Zebra Sarasa Push Clip Gel Pens

I am a Zebra Sarasa Gel Pen addict & fanatic, especially of the 0.5mm tip sized pens. I think I have nearly one of each color in the entire pen line. When I first saw the “pastel milk” series of pens at my favorite online pen shop, I nearly creamed my pants. I was tempted to buy every single pen right then & there, but ultimately decided to wait. However, when I finally saw these pens in Hong Kong, I could no longer resist them. I saw these pens at the popular bookstore chain JP Books (by Joint Publishing Hong Kong) near my hotel, so I grabbed every color I could get my grubby little hands on. Since they didn’t have the entire pastel milk series of colors on hand, these are the colors I chose:

  1. Yellow (not part of the color series)
  2. Milk White
  3. Milk Pink
  4. Milk Orange
  5. Milk Green
  6. Milk Red

Aaaannnd…do you know what’s the best part? The bookstore was having a “buy three gel pens get one free” event that day! Now, you know I won’t pass up that offer. However, here’s the catch: the “free pens” only come in black ink. You don’t get to choose your own “free pen”. These are the free pens I ended up picking:

hk stationery haul1

I also have a passion for washi tape. My storage box that I keep all my tapes in, which I named Pierre, is now full to the point of nearly bursting. The same goes for my pen box, which is named Leroy. Leroy got so full, I had to take away some unused & unwanted pens to make room for my new additions. Now, I’m not saying that I’m exactly a stationery hoarder, but I’m getting there. I’d much rather say that I’m an avid collector.

hk gz stationery haul

washi tapes

Some of the washi tapes I got at JP Books in Hong Kong. Others I got at a different bookstore called Eslite Bookstore in Hong Kong. The rest of them I got at a third bookstore called “方所书店” (a.k.a. Fang Suo / a.k.a. Commune) in Guangzhou. These are the designs I chose:

  1. London print
  2. Pink cherry blossoms
  3. Metallic gold Japanese geometric pattern (this metallic color is more bronze)
  4. Blue & Red plaid pattern (this pattern is a comedic parody to the cheap plastic woven shopping bags popular in Hong Kong)
  5. Metallic gold with white pin-stripes (this metallic color is more yellow-gold)
hk stationery haul3

Sanrio washi tapes

I should also note that I am a Sanrio fanatic (more accurately, a “purist” fan). I’ve been an avid fan & collector of Sanrio goods since the early 1980s. My sister’s biological father used to manufacture goods for Sanrio, so my sister would get a lot of free goodies from her dad when she was younger. As she grew older, she would pass down a lot of her unwanted stuff to me, which I cherished greatly. Also, I would get a lot of cool & unique Sanrio gifts from all of my aunties & uncles from Japan, which turned me into an instant fanatic. So, obviously when I saw these washi tapes, I snatched them up immediately. Ok, I’ve seen these tape designs in the U.S., but they’ve always been too expensively priced, so when I saw how affordable they were in Hong Kong, I bought them right away. These were the designs I chose:

  1. Sanrio characters with a vintage stamp pattern
  2. Timeline of Hello Kitty designs
  3. Hello Kitty’s family & friends pattern

I saw one roll of tape with a pattern of Hello Kitty faces in a neon colored artsy avant garde design, but I didn’t get it because I thought it looked too weird, & I probably wouldn’t use it in any of my DIY craft projects. I am a purist Hello Kitty fan at heart, & I covet the very traditional Hello Kitty style from the 1980s & 1990s, NOT the new, modern designs of Hello Kitty wearing rocker clothes or wearing “nerdy” glasses.

On top of pens & craft tape, I also got a few greeting cards. I love the unique designs of greeting cards from Asia. A lot of the cards will have intricate cut-paper patterns or a cool pop-up effect. Plus, they don’t cost much more than U.S. based Hallmark greeting cards. Most of the cards I chose were birthday cards, since those are the category I tend to use the most. I also got my friend a “new baby” card, since he became a new dad two months ago. These are the birthday cards I chose:

hk cards collage

birthday greeting cards

How could I write a stationery blog post without including the most important item of all? S-T-I-C-K-E-R-S! Yes, folks! I bought even more stickers. My sticker box, Trevor, is almost bursting at the seams as well, & he is already huge! Jian says I have a sticker problem, but I think buying more stickers is a great solution to my problem. These are the stickers I chose:

hk stationery haul2

my sticker hoarding continues

  1. Motor scooters
  2. Chocolate bars (this sticker has some metallic elements)
  3. Sail boats (actual stickers are primary colors, not neon colors)
  4. Pink cherry blossoms with cats
  5. Tea cups, saucers, & plates (this sticker has some metallic elements)
  6. Korean lovely bear
  7. Shiba Inu & Japanese theme
  8. Miscellaneous animals
  9. Metallic schedule stickers with borders, frames, gems & ribbons
  10. Schedule stickers for the calendar
  11. Metallic seal stickers with message: Especially For You

When I was in Guangzhou, Jian took me to the modern art museum that recently opened. It was beautiful, & we learned quite a bit of history about the city. I originally had no intention of buying anything from the gift shop, but Jian encouraged me to buy these fun name stamps. Of course, he just wanted me to buy the stamp pad with his name, but I ended up getting more than just that. These stamps are cool because you can pick whichever stamp base you’d like, & all of the stamp pads can be interchanged. (They were also cheap as hell & extremely kitschy, so why not?) I chose these stamp bases & stamp pads:

gz stationery haul


  1. Limited edition “Year of the Monkey” base
  2. Asian girl (which coincidentally resembles the Korean cartoon character Pucca)
gz stationery haul1

If you can read Chinese characters, congratulations! You’ve figured out our names. 😐

  1. Jian’s surname
  2. Year of the Monkey (this came with the monkey base)
  3. My mom’s maiden name (got this for my mom, just for fun)
  4. My surname (or is it? Mwahaha!)

We are getting towards the end of this blog post. No, wait! I have one more thing to show you. Well, it’s not exactly stationery related. Actually, it has nothing to do with stationery at all, but I thought I’d include it in this post because, a. it’s a part of all the crap stuff I brought back, & b. it won’t fit anywhere else. Now, I normally don’t post anything about beauty or makeup, but I recently found out that one of my all-time favorite Japanese brands MUJI now carries their own beauty & makeup products. I only picked out three things to start because I don’t normally wear makeup, but I wanted to try them out. In the U.S., most, if not all, of our MUJI shops do not carry the full line of cosmetics (nor do they carry the awesome line of food products & groceries made by MUJI). These were the items I chose to try out:

hk muji mini haul

Me so pretty!

So far, I’ve only tried the cuticle oil & the nail care oil, & I must say that I am in love with them! They work really well, & none of these products were even wallet draining. If the lip gloss works just as well as the other beauty products, then I’m so glad I took a chance to try these items. For those of you who don’t know what the first two items are, 1. cuticle oil is supposed to moisturize the skin around your finger nails to prevent unwanted dryness & peeling, which makes the hands look sloppy & unkempt, & 2. nail care oil often gives your finger nails a healthy looking shine & is supposed to strengthen your nails to prevent brittleness & chipping. Of course everybody knows what lip gloss is used for. It’s for you to eat. No. It’s for kissing. No. It’s makeup. Duh.

Well, that concludes the end of this long-winded blog post about stationery. I still have to post my pictures from my trip, but I am still sorting through all of them, & I’m editing the photos Jian has shared with me, so that’s going to take a while. Plus, I’m still getting over the last remnants of my recent illness. I promise you, my immune system is not as weak as I make it seem. I am a healthy person, & haven’t gotten ill this many times in a rather long stretch of years. I just don’t know why I’ve been prone to getting ill so easily in the more recent months. I’ve been taking good care of my body & myself, & I will continue to do so. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:



nighttime skyline view from Harbour City

We just got back from my trip to Hong Kong & China, & our bags are all unpacked; the clothes are all washed, folded, & put away. I thought I would have time to blog during my trip, well, at least write a little each day, but I was so very wrong. Each day was packed full, & my sleep schedule was so out of whack. Every night I wouldn’t go to bed until close to 4am, & every morning I would wake up around 9am-ish & not be able to fall back to sleep. I was running on a minimum of 5 hours of sleep each night, & I would run myself ragged in that dreaded high humidity & nearly unbearable heat during the waking hours of the day. Well, at least I was able to keep up-to-date on my travels through InstagramFacebook check-ins.

Thank God for free Wi-Fi & phone card SIM cards with data plans! I was able to use my smartphone in Hong Kong by purchasing a phone card-like SIM card with a reasonable data plan for one flat fee at the airport. These SIM cards allow you to make local calls & surf the Internet using an LTE data plan, & when you run out of data you can just purchase a new SIM card at a participating store. It’s very disappointing that these SIM cards can only be used in Hong Kong & not in China. In China, if you want to buy one of these types of SIM cards for your smartphone, you have to go through a strict process (including showing your ID or passport), & they are quite expensive. Our hotel in China offered to help us secure a SIM card for our smartphones, but we declined on the basis that we didn’t want to spend that kind of money & we most certainly did not want to have to submit our identification. In other words, it was just too much hassle. In order for us to communicate daily with Jian’s relatives, Jian took one for the team & used the International roaming plan his company set up on his company smartphone. He was conscious not to over-use his data, so as not to give his company’s accounting department a heart attack.


So, let me tell you that arriving in Hong Kong at 6 o’clock in the morning is great, but at the same time, it sucks! Nothing, & I mean NOTHING is open at 6 in the morning except a few breakfast restaurants & some coffee shops. What can a person do when it only takes him/her 20 minutes to unpack their bags & get settled into their hotel room, & it’s still early as hell? Well, we just made a go of it, & proceeded to start our day with the rest of the crowds heading off to work in their office finery. Why did we even think it would be a good idea to grab breakfast at 8 o’clock in the morning in the near sweltering heat? Who knows, but we had a great time nonetheless.

As per my usual forgetfulness, I completely forgot to take my own pictures of our hotel room. We stayed at the Marriott Renaissance Harbour View Hotel in the Wan Chai district. Our hotel room was small (if you think in terms of American standards), but it was extremely functional & practical. I absolutely loved our hotel room & all its tiny glory. I felt right at home in all of its Asian compactness & sensibility. Of course there is the age-old notion of “a hotel room is only meant for you to shower, sleep & store your luggage”, but we fully utilized our hotel room, taking rest breaks in the afternoon so we could recharge our batteries & head out for a night of eating, drinking, & shopping.

Please excuse my terrible lack of hotel photos. I really wanted to show you a glimpse of what our room looked like, so I had to unfortunately borrow a few stock photos from Trip Advisor. A quick disclaimer: ALL IMAGE CREDITS BELONG TO TRIP ADVISOR.

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Well, that’s all the time I have left for today. I’m trying to gather even more photos from Jian’s smartphone. I will try to update again sometime within this week. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

Well, yesterday I cut the pad of my index finger on my left hand. I was opening the metal screw cap of a bottle while I was cooking, & I scraped my finger along a sharp edge of the cap. It wasn’t a deep cut, luckily; merely scratched skin, but I still wasn’t expecting the cut to sting this much…even on the second day. Ok, enough about my injury. Let’s get on to some more pressing matters.

I AM NOT GOING TO SAN DIEGO’S INTERNATIONAL COMIC-CON THIS YEAR. I am so bummed out about it, & so is Jian. We were really looking forward to it since we had such a blast at last year’s convention. This year we were even able to grab a pair of full weekend tickets, but alas, we got pushed out of the hotel balloting selection. Each year, the process of buying Comic-Con tickets & booking hotel rooms is getting exponentially worse. It can’t be helped when the convention’s own popularity nearly doubles year after year. People from all over the world flock to a little slice of downtown San Diego for a long weekend of comic books, superheroes, video games, celebrity sightings, good food, overflowing drinks, & plenty of outdoor activities & free swag being handed out left & right.

Last year we each barely squeaked by with getting two single day tickets. If you’re not a yearly ticket holder, you will 95-99% be shit out of luck in getting any sort of convention entrance ticket(s) &/or hotel room(s). This year we got entrance tickets for the full weekend, but we got waitlisted when we tried to ballot for hotel rooms. The process this year to ballot for hotel rooms was supposed to be randomized to ensure complete fairness to everyone holding a ticket, but it ended up being such a complete clusterfuck, that people resorted to Reddit & Craigslist for any available hotel rooms or room swaps. Jian & I were so disappointed by the way the hotel balloting process was handled that we essentially said “fuck it“, & decided not to go to the convention this time around. (Last year’s process was better, not by much, but still better.) Our friends are disappointed that we won’t be able to hang out together this year in sunny San Diego, but we feel we’ve made the right decision. We’d rather save the money we would’ve spent at the convention & put that money towards our big trip to London this year.

I can’t believe that London is an actual possibility for us this year! By not going to Comic-Con, we will be saving at least $1.5k-$2k USD. That’s a good chunk of money we could easily put towards our London trip. If we buckled & agreed to pay the exorbitant prices for hotels in San Diego & decided to go to the convention, we would’ve had to forgo our plans for a European vacation for a long while. Both Jian & I have never been to any European country in our lives. We’ve always had grand ideas about visiting the very cities our favorite foods & bands originated from, but we’ve never acted upon those ideas; always making excuses to travel elsewhere, mostly to Asia. This year, I am determined to visit at least some part of Europe. It has been a lifelong goal of mine, & I want to make it happen. Look, I’ve already been to Comic-Con, twice. I am OK with not going again. I’d rather use the money to visit a place I’ve never been to before. I want to break out of my comfortable bubble.

So, after we request to refund our tickets to the convention (Yes, you have to file a request to get a refund. How ridiculous is that?), we will start firming up our plans to visit London. But first, Asia. Yeah, yeah, yeah! We are still going back to Asia this year, possibly multiple times. First, I am going to fulfill Jian’s dream of visiting Hong Kong with him. He’s been wanting to go to Hong Kong with me for a long time. He wants to play tour guide & show me around all the different districts, & introduce me to many delicious Cantonese comfort foods. Although Jian is Cantonese, he’s actually from the mainland (a.k.a. the Motherland), not actually from Hong Kong, though most of our friends are from there. From Hong Kong, we will head over to Jian’s hometown in Guangzhou (southern China) to visit his aging grandparents, whom Jian is still very close to. Jian’s extended family are awesome, so I am looking forward to hanging out with them.

Later on this summer, my cousin whom I’m extremely close to, will be going to Japan for the first time. She is a typical teenage anime Otaku & an aspiring Japan-o-phile, & she is really looking forward to visiting the land of all her anime dreams come true. Her parents gifted her with this trip once she finishes this current year of high school, & once my mom heard of this trip, she immediately wanted to tag along with them. She quickly invited me to go with them, but I had to decline at the time because this Japan trip was going to coincide with my plans for Comic-Con. Now that I’m not going to the convention, I am considering tagging along with my cousin to Japan. I’d love to be her tour guide & show her around to all of the places she wouldn’t be able to go to with just her parents &/or my mom.

If I do decide to go with my cousin, I’d feel a little awkward not getting in touch with my cousins in Japan. I’d love to see them again & spend time with them, especially since we are the oldest generation in our family now. It’s just us & our kids. All of the grandparents & all of our parents (aunts & uncles) are gone. I have no more aunts & uncles except for the ones who married into our family, but no more by blood. My dad & all of his brothers & sisters have all passed away. My generation of relatives are all that’s left to keep this family together. I wonder what my mom would say if I told her I’d like to meet up with my cousins if we truly decide to visit Japan this year. This is a discussion best left for another time. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:


June 2023

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