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kid activities cover

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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kid activities2

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.

trevor

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.


kid activities4

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.

manga library.png

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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like a kid again

So, I feel like ever since I came back from my very first trip to London, I have become obsessed with all things British. I might be turning into an Anglophile; I’m not sure. Well, I can say that I was an admirer of British things, people, & culture ever since I was a little kid, & that admiration has carried on into my adulthood. Also as an adult, I still carry that inner child within me, & that has also continued in my fandom for LEGOs.

I believe I may have already mentioned in a previous post (way back when) about my collection of LEGO Creator sets.

lego completes.png

This list is dated as of September 2017

I’ve already got the Tower Bridge & Big Ben sets as gifts from older brother on Christmas & my birthday. So, it was only fitting that I get the London Bus set when it went on pre-sale to all LEGO rewards card members.

 

I know it sounds ridiculous to call it a pre-sale-for-rewards-members-only when it was basically sitting on the store shelves for anyone to grab two cussing weeks ahead of it’s scheduled mass release date, but you know those marketing guys…They really know how to bait-&-hook gullible suckers customers like me. So, I basically ran into this set by sheer coincidence while I was window-shopping at the mall.

I guess Jian was doing some “bro-tastic” weekend event with his male co-workers, & I was left alone to my devices & decided to peruse the shopping mall unsupervised. I always have to make my rounds at the LEGO store even if they don’t have any new sets, & I caught this sparkling gem displayed in the store window. I walked into the store (about as calmly as a bull in a china shop), & grabbed the last box sitting on the shelf. The cashier promptly told me that this set was on pre-sale for rewards members only, but I figured anyone could grab it since it was sitting on a regular store shelf with no special sign or label.

What did I do next? Well, after I brought this set home, I proceeded to build it. It took me an entire weekend to build, as I would take breaks in between each numbered set of instructions.

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The bricks come in individually numbered bags according to the instruction book, which over the years have gone from thin, individual booklets, to one thick book about the same thickness as an old fashioned telephone directory. I usually separate all of the brick bags by number, & only work on one set of numbered bags per day.

I know for a more skilled LEGO set builder, this London Bus could’ve probably been completed in a few short hours, but I work very slowly, examining each piece to make sure I’m following the directions to the letter. That’s pretty much my lame excuse to cover up the fact that I’m not good at counting the dots on the bricks, & I’m crap at measuring short & long pieces. So, that pretty much slows me down immensely. Jian on the other hand, is so quick at building LEGO sets, & he has a good eye at measuring & counting the pieces. He could’ve probably built this set in one afternoon. I like to take my time to make sure I’m not making any mistakes. There have been quite a few times in other sets where I’ve made mistakes in measuring pieces & had to break off sections & re-do them.

It might take me a long time, but I don’t care. I get enjoyment & fulfillment in taking my sweet ass time. I will put on some relaxing jazz or chill-hop music, or whatever strikes my mood on Spotify, & then I will proceed to open up the little plastic baggies & empty out the contents on to paper plates or bowls. This helps me find pieces faster, so I don’t have to go digging around in each individual baggie. The results give me a feeling of fullness, satisfaction, & accomplishment that can only be described by admiring the finshed result.

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There you have it! My completed London Bus! I can’t wait to see what new sets LEGO will think of next. Until then, I’m on my way to build my next set, which is the Creator Carousel, given to us by our extremely generous friends from Southern California!! Cheerio & cheers, mates!

P.S. The Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats -slash- Kings of Leon concert I went to two weeks ago was incredible!!! I took a few videos & posted them on my Instagram page. I barely knew three songs by Kings of Leon, but I had a blast anyway. Then, I let Jian & another friend of ours talk me into going to watch A$AP MOB in concert (sometime between now & October, I think). On top of that, I’m waiting, like a giddy child on Christmas Day waiting to open presents, to go watch The Killers (my all-time favorite rock band) in concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles early next year. My cuss! It’s going to be a glorious time for music & live events…

Today’s song of the day:

Hello there!  It’s been a while since my last posted entry, & I offer my apologies.  As it turns out, since the Thanksgiving festivities, my niece passed on her sick germs to me, & I got sick (yet again).  I ended up getting an ear infection coupled with a nice little sinus infection (wrapped up with a pretty bow).  It’s been over a week & I still have some lingering symptoms of my sinus infection.

HOWEVER………The show must go on!  I shall soldier on & continue my blog entry.

Xmas is fast approaching, & I must say that it is one of my most favorite holidays of the year.  Well, to clarify, I’d like to say that December is probably my favorite month of the year…since it’s the Winter season, Xmas festivities are celebrated all month long, AND…my nephew’s birthday is also in December.  So, for me, there’s lots of activities this month.  There’s also a few recent traditions that I’ve been keeping up with over the past few years.

Every year, around Nov/Dec, I like to stock up on new calendars for the next year.  (You’ve already seen my planner diary in my previous entries.)  Here are my new calendars for 2013:

This is the calendar for my spare bedroom at my parents’ house…
home calendar

This one is for my apartment.
Fun Fact: 赤塚不二夫 (Fujio Akatsuka) is the artist of popular comic 天才バカボン (Tensai Bakabon).
apartment calendar

This is the calendar I’ve been using for this year:
2012 calendar

I love festive decorations for any occasion…especially Xmas!!  I finally got my first Advent calendar.
Believe it or not, I actually got this at a Starbucks coffee shop in Tokyo.
I wasn’t able to find this at any U.S. Starbucks retailer (or at any China Starbucks), so I believe I got myself a good deal here.
advent calendar

This is what the apartment finally looks like after jazzing it up for the holidays.
I wanted to keep decorations to a minimum, since the apartment has very little storage space. (I don’t like clutter.)
Anyways, I will be spending the main parts of the Xmas holidays at my parents’ house…so…
I then got a small symbolic Xmas tree & added 2 Xmas edition LEGO sets from my growing LEGO collection.
apartment xmas

That’s pretty much it.  Not much else to report on our tiny home-front.  Oh wait!  I almost forgot…

I got a little trigger happy at the card shop (again) & got 3 new greeting cards to add to my ever-growing stash.

new greeting cards

I also got a storage case for  my decorative (Washi) paper tape.
My giant hobby box is just stuffed to the brim & couldn’t hold them all.
tape box

Calendar

March 2019
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