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Well folks, I’m finally back from my nearly 2-week vacation in Taipei, Taiwan. It was kind of an interesting trip. It started off with my mom getting severe jet lag almost immediately upon landing at Taoyuan International Airport. Then upon checking in to our hotel, my mom got a nasty cold (which she suspected was the result of sitting on a 12-hour flight full of recycled air & intense air conditioning). She tried to muddle through the rest of the trip, but it was obvious that she was just completely drained of all energy & enthusiasm during the first full week.

By the time the second week came around, my mom was pretty much burnt out from the Taipei city environment & ready to go home. On top of that, my aunt was also ready to head home. She spent most of her days holed up in her hotel room, due to her tired & sore feet. My aunt had originally planned to visit Taiwan, not to take a stroll down memory lane, but to get a cosmetic spa treatment; then she chickened out at the last minute. After that, she was pretty much over her trip & wanted to head back home.

Jian & I had a pretty fun time during our stay in Taiwan, but by the end of the second week, we were also feeling a little burnt out as well & definitely looking forward to heading back to the comforts of our own home & bed (& definitely ready to get out of the constant rain). Of course we didn’t relish having to burst our cozy little vacation bubble, but it was time to face reality & the real world again. We definitely stuffed ourselves silly with good food & some delicious cocktails, & squeezed in a good amount of shopping. We also got a well-balanced taste of Taiwanese culture, historical landmarks, & city living. Here are some of the highlights of things I learned from my trip to Taipei.

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01. The taxi drivers in Taipei are the worst. I’m sorry, but they are just horrible, plain & simple. The taxi drivers are equally rude & mean…& I mean it. (No pun intended.) Here are two prime examples of how badly the taxi drivers suck:

  •  A.) On the day it was raining the hardest, my mom & aunt wanted to go back to our hotel to rest up before dinner with my uncle. My mom was feeling tired from her jet lag, & my aunt was feeling burnt out from department store shopping. They had planned to take a taxi from the giant department store we were at, but when they told the taxi driver their destination, he flat out refused to take them as customers. He angrily told them to get out of his car all while proceeding to scold them about how he did not want to drive all the way to the neighborhood where our hotel was located (which was actually not very far from the deparment store we were shopping at).
  • B) There was one day when Jian & I had planned to take my mom out for a nice Taiwanese breakfast (& let my aunt sleep in). Jian went online & found a small breakfast shop near our hotel to take my mom for breakfast. We originally planned on using Uber, but we decided not to wait for an Uber driver, & tried a cab instead. Here’s where the story takes a nasty turn. First off, the cab driver got upset when Jian didn’t immediately tell him where we wanted to go (no exaggeration). When we told the cab driver the name of the café we wanted to go to, the cab driver claimed he had never heard of such place, & it didn’t exist. Jian continued talking to the cab driver & gave him a specific address. The cab driver then said that that address (specifically the street name) did not exist. Jian tried to describe the location by giving the name of a nearby hotel (or some sort of landmark), but the cab driver continued his “that doesn’t exist” rant saying that neighborhood had nothing. So basically, that cab driver gave us a bullshit story so he wouldn’t have to take us to a neighborhood he didn’t want to drive to. At that point, my mom was extremely annoyed, plus it was raining fairly hard…so she gave him an equally snotty attitude, & told him to take us to a place he would recommend. He then brought us to a nearby shop that was about to close for the day, not bothering to mention that they only operate super early in the mornings & close early (we got there at 10am). When we told the cab driver the place was closed, he ignored us & made us exit the taxi anyway. Jian & my mom were so pissed at that point we took Uber instead to the original café we wanted to go to. The Uber driver was so much more helpful & friendlier. He knew exactly the café we wanted to go to, & even talked about how popular it was.

These two experiences turned us off from ever taking taxi cabs again in Taiwan. From that point on, we exclusively used either the metro or Uber as public transportation.

02. The MRT in Taipei is so easy to use, & such a convenient way to travel around the city. Just like the subway system in Tokyo, the metro in Taipei is efficient, on-time, clean & relatively cheap. Plus, it’s a great way to get around town without having to walk in the rain. Jian & I practically used the MRT the most while we were in Taipei. For certain destinations that were a little too far from a standard metro station, or if it was late at night, or we were too tired, we would then use Uber.

03. Speaking of Uber, this is also a great way to get around town. The Uber drivers are very friendly & easy to talk to. The cars are relatively clean (some cars we rode in smelled like tobbacco &/or beetlenut pulp), & they’re also efficient. Using Uber in Taiwan is the same process as it is in the U.S.. The only thing I would suggest is to make sure you put a travel notice on the credit card associated with your Uber account, so your payments will go through without any problems. Quite a few locals had warned Jian & I about taking taxis, more specifically about how taxi drivers will sometimes scam you by purposely taking a longer route just to get a higher fare. As for our experiences with Uber in Taipei, we were fortunate to have not experienced any scammers (knock on wood).

04. Disclaimer: Looks can be deceiving. The architecture in Taipei, from the outside, looks very outdated & stuck in a 1990s time warp. On the inside, the decor looks quite modern. There are quite a few modern & contemporary structures dotting the Taipei skyline, but for the most part, the city feels a little dingy & past its prime. There’s not a lot of old historical architecture either. Even though Taipei shows a lot of its Japanese influence, it is definitely not as modern looking as Tokyo.

05. Continuing my architectural theme, Jian had made a very keen observation about the buildings in the city. He mentioned that he had noticed that many of the buildings in the city were either giant shopping malls/department stores with huge food courts, or they were hotels. The other third of the buildings in the city were convenient stores or restaurants. During our 2-week stay in Taipei, we were getting pretty sick & tired of seeing the same old boring department stores or touristy hotel chains everywhere.

06. One must-try food when you visit Taiwan is the quintessential shaved ice (& new Korean trend snow ice), especially with fresh fruit. Taiwan’s national fruit is the mango, so the traditional shaved ice with fresh mango (& a scoop of ice cream) is the most recommended dessert. My favorite shaved ice toppings are red adzuki beans & condensed milk. It’s what I’ve known & have eaten since I was a young girl. These shaved ice treats are great to cool you down when it’s hot outside. They’re also just as good to eat when it’s been raining throughout your entire stay on the island.

07. A new trend I saw popping up all over the city was churros. Yes, you heard me. I said churrrrros! Those cinnamon-sugar coated fried sticks of delicious dough. But, wait. These aren’t just any churros. They’re churros formed into the round shape of a doughnut. Two of the most popular shops in Taipei are Street ChurrosChurro’K. These hot & crispy treats come with a variety of ooey-gooey, sweet dipping sauces & toppings. Now that I’m writing about it, I kind of wish I had tried these churro rounds when I was in Taipei, but I was trying to balance out my diet & not eat too many sweets (which I tend to do when I’m on vacation). Plus, all the food we were eating at every meal made me too stuffed to even want to eat dessert.

08. Oooooh! I have quite a few things to say about the emerging craft cocktail scene in Taipei. When Jian & I first visited Taipei four years ago for our friends’ wedding, there weren’t that many places to go chill out & have drinks (like old fashionedsgin tonics). Now, there are more & more cocktail bars & lounges opening up all over the city serving up innovative concoctions as well as the “classics”. The two of us had the best time discovering a few awesome (& some rather unique) cocktail bars. I’ve listed some highlights below.

  • The very first cocktail bar Jian & I visited was called Dig Out. It’s a very small 10-person space, located a few minutes drive outside of the Mitsukoshi shopping square/complex/park. The bar’s atmosphere is very cozy with leather furniture, comfortably cushioned bar stools, with a very rustic, vintage, & wood decor. The bartender we spoke to could speak a little bit of English (& we can speak a decent amount of Mandarin), so we were able to chat with each other & really have a fun time. The bartender was very skilled at twisting classic cocktails into creative new drinks. The most memorable thing for me about Dig Out was that they used little, novelty, dessert spoon sized metal shovels as stir sticks, for a fun & cute nod to their name.
  • One other highly memorable bars we visited was called R and D Cocktail Lab. Started by a French man, you’ll find tons of ex-pats & foreigners frequenting this bar. This place is located on a quiet street, but is pretty roomy in terms of capacity. You’ll definitely find your standard fare of classic cocktails as well as house-made cocktails (on tap), & other delicious libations concocted by the very-skilled & highly knowledged bar staff. The proprietor of RnD, “Frenchie” (as he so nicknamed himself), is very warm & friendly, & he likes to mingle with the guests almost as much as he loves to create delicious, refreshing, yet strong cocktails. Jian & I met a really cool guy named Ben on our second visit to RnD. We exchanged pleasantries (he’s from Chicago, & we’re from San Francisco). He talked about his business trip & first time visiting Taipei, & we ended up giving him our travel guide book. We hope he actually used it, & maybe one day he will pass the travel book on to someone else he meets on another business trip.
  • I never thought I’d end up drinking very boozy cocktails with my retired mother & her sister (imagine Grace & Frankie from the Netflix TV show) while on vacation. My mom & aunt can sometimes be a little “frisky with the whisky”, & other times they are very conservative & will only have a small nip of a glass. On this trip, I was surprised that my mom & aunt happily & eagerly joined us for a drink or two. We thoroughly enjoyed Backyard Jr., a whisky-centric cocktail bar. With over 2,000 varietals of whiskies, bourbons, & ryes, we had a great time sipping our Hot Toddys, Old Fashioneds, High Balls. Of course Jian had the most fun chatting it up with all the bartenders. He always has a way to charm the bartenders & is able to talk with them for hours on end about cocktails, spirits, & the cocktail drinking experience. My mom, my aunt, & I enjoyed the plush decor & soft jazz music, & we all truly enjoyed the food!
  • One drinking experience we had in Taipei that both intrigued us & baffled us at the same time, was when Jian & I visited Wa Shu. I’d call it an experimental cocktail bar. This minimalist bar was started by a Japanese ex-pat, who also happens to be a very strict taskmaster when it comes to keeping his bar staff in line. We heard him on several occassion openly scold his staff for various tasks he felt were not done to his exact standards. Here’s where things get a little confusing for us. This bar doesn’t have a standard drink menu. Instead they have a menu with a list of flavors, fruits, & taste profiles for you to choose from. You tell the bartender what types of flavors, fruits, &/or taste profiles you prefer, & they will create a drink for you. (You can’t just order a plain ol’ martini or whiskey sour.) Also, this bar does not carry standard spirits. All of the spirits they use to make cocktails are infused with some sort of experimental recipe, or some unique herb or barrel wood. It was hard for us to grasp the concept of telling the bartender what flavors we liked because most of the flavors we like, within the spirit-forward cocktails we often drink, were not listed on their menu. It was also hard to describe our taste profile because this bar only makes light & fruity/herbal drinks, but they don’t really understand how to make spirit-forward drinks. Let me just sum this up by saying cocktails in Asia are by far much “lighter” than the “stronger” cocktails over here in the States, & we sometimes struggle with grasping that concept.

09. Amidst all of the tall skyscrapers, shopping malls, & very 1990s designed apartment complexes, there were lots & lots of greenery dotted all over the city. It was surely a welcome sight in contrast to all of the chaos that surrouned us daily. Everywhere you turn, there’s always construction happening somewhere. So, it’s nice when you can find a small park here & there, or when you are able to walk down tree-lined streets. If only the greenery could help lessen the pollution in the city, but there are just too many motor bikes & motor scooters clogging up the streets with their nasty exhaust. On some days when it wasn’t raining, we were able to enjoy taking a stroll in the park, or in the small garden next to a museum.

10. Lastly, I will end this list with food. Oh man, I didn’t even notice this until the last couple of days of our vacation, but Jian had pointed out that all we’ve been eating throughout our entire trip were starch-filled foods. All the vegetables at the places ate at were so bland & over-cooked that we ended up not really eating much of it. Besides, since they were over-cooked, the veggies pretty much lost all of their nutritional value anyway. Most of the dishes we ate consisted of some sort of green onion (a.k.a. scallion) pancake (always made fresh), a rice bowl meal set, soup dumplings, a bowl of noodles, or some sort of steamed bun filled with meaty delights. It was practically rice on top of noodles on top of bread. Towards the end of our trip, Jian & I started drinking more pressed/blended juices just to get the fiber from the fruits, & we tried eating whatever veggies we could (bland or not). We wanted to re-balance our bodies again before flying home as two human-sized dumplings. I think I had the hardest time eating in Taipei. Whatever I saw, I wanted it all. I could not decide which of my childhood favorites I wanted to eat first. On the flip side, I thought my mom & my aunt were going to go buck wild eating all of their childhood favorites (since they actually grew up in Taipei), but they ended up being the most finnicky about food out of our entire group & didn’t really go wild with the food. Jian tried to keep up with my eating habit, but he ended up feeling very bloated & unsettled towards the end of our trip. By the end, we were definitely ready to go back home & eat a classic hamburger.

Well, this is the end of my first Taiwan blog post. If you want to see photos from my trip, you know, to get a better grasp of the time I spent there, the food I ate, the places I visited…please check out my Instagram feed (@mel__senpai). My Instagram feed is my most active social media account, & the best place to follow me & to contact me. Until next time, 干杯!

Today’s song of the day:

“Let Me Show You” by Kero One ft. Azure

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my unorganized mind

September has come & gone, & I’ve been pretty busy. Between scheduling visits to see my doctor about the health & maintenance of my lady parts, & family events, & anniversaries (of sorts), it’s been a pretty hectic time for me. I’ve been inwardly thinking a lot latey, & there have been a few key things that have been circling around in my scattered brain.

First things first, this past month officially marked the 5-year anniversary of my father’s death. I rarely discuss this topic to anyone, ever. Ocassionally I’ll talk to Jian, but I mostly keep this topic to myself. This is an extremely sensitive subject within my immediate family, & I have an even more extremely difficult time trying to talk about this topic with any of my family members. I really have to walk on eggshells around my family if I even mention my dad in passing. I wish I was exaggerating on this, but unfortunately I’m not.

This is an especially difficult subject to talk about around my mom because this will just re-open an old can of doubt she carries around with her in her expensive hand bag at all times. It’s hard to pull her out of her cycle of self-doubt once she gets on the Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda train. I also never talk about this subject with my siblings. We just don’t express our feelings to each other. That’s not what we were taught growing up, to communicate & express our feelings between each other.

I’ve tried talking about my dad to my oldest brother, in which we share this biological father together, but he flat out doesn’t respond whenever I mention “dad”. My other two siblings, on the other hand, are too busy squabbling amongst themselves over their extremely strained & estranged relationship with their own biological father. All of them, due to our glaringly large age gaps, I assume, treat me from childhood up until today like I am just the little baby sister of the group. To them, I’m the spoiled, sheltered, coddled baby of the family. So, I’ve learned to stay quiet & shrink into the background.

On the day of the anniversary of my dad’s death, I thought about him long & hard. However, I mostly thought about how I never got to properly grieve over his death. I never got to mourn his passing. From the time my dad was taken to the hospital up until his death, I did what I always do best. I nurtured & cared for others. More than myself, I took care of everyone else. So, while all of our friends & family poured in to see my dad, hold his hand, shed a tear, say goodbye, I was busy making phone calls & comforting those who were agonizing & weeping over the phone. I wanted to break down & cry my eyes out until they hurt, but I held it all in. I wanted to scream & shout & stomp my feet & pound my fists, but I didn’t want to freak my mom out any more than she already was. Because I didn’t want to see my (at that time) fragile mother completely lose it, I held my composure so that I could be her realiable shoulder to lean on. When everyone around me was crying, I kept a stiff upper lip. I’ve now built this hard shell around the topic of my father. I keep everything to myself. I only let my emotions & feelings slip out when I am completely & utterly alone. No one ever asked me how I felt when my dad was dying. Nobody asks me, even now, how I’m coping (or feeling). I’ve grown accustomed to it.


On another topic, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I will never see eye-to-eye with my sister. We never did when we were growing up together, we don’t now, & I don’t think we ever will in the future. For a brief period of time, I thought my sister & were growing closer as siblings once she started having children. My sister relied on me to help her with the little things like running to the grocery store, or babysitting the toddler kids for a few hours.

Then, when my sister went through the process of her divorce, she grew to become a very difficult person to get close to. She became increasingly controlling in all aspects of her life to the point of overbearingness. It also became difficult to have a conversation with her, even on neutral subjects, for she would get argumentative very quickly.

I always give my sister the benefit of the doubt; I cut her plenty of slack; I give her countless breaks because I know she is struggling & doing her best to be a good hard-working single parent. My sister is struggling to raise her two amazing children, all while juggling a difficult job environment, an overbearing cuss of a boss, & a resistant ex-husband who allegedgly refuses to properly co-parent their children together. While I try to make my sister’s life a little easier by offering to help her in any way I can, she ends up taking advantage of my assistance, & she often tells me that my help is actually not helping her at all. I know my sister has past unresolved issues, extreme insecurities, & a lot of resentment due to her parents divorce (a.k.a. our mom & her biological father) when she was a child, but because she hasn’t dealt with these issues, she unwittingly takes out her resentments on the people around her.

I know she doesn’t mean to project her insecurities & issues on others (myself included), but I can’t help but think to myself sometimes that I should be taken out of her “line of fire” because all of this divorce stuff happened way before I was even born. Why should she take out her resentments & issues out on me, when I wasn’t even born? On top of that, I have no connection to her father whatsoever. I’ve barely met him a handful of times throughout my entire life, & we’ve never spoken more than 1 or 2 sentences to each other at best. I don’t hold anything against my sister. I know these are her own demons to slay, but I can’t help but think that she’s not making things any better by snapping at other innocent people.


The third item I want to talk about is coming from a completely different direction. I want to talk about the dreams I’ve been having lately. I wish I could remember the dreams I’ve been having lately. They’ve been extremely vivid & detailed. For the past several days, I’ve fallen into a terrible sleeping pattern. I’ll try to go to bed at a more reasonable hour than I have been in the past. I really am trying to change my sleeping habits. However, for the past several days I’ve been waking up feeling extremely groggy, exhausted, & like my mind has been on overdrive all night long.

Some mornings I’ll even wake up with a sore back, noticing that I was in such a deep sleep the night before that I didn’t even move or change positions while I was sleeping. My body was frozen into one position all night. I will wake up feeling like I’d only taken a nap & had not really had a full night’s sleep. I can sometimes recall bits & pieces of my dreams in the morning, but mostly all I can remember is that in my dreams there were a lot of action scenes & lots of talking. There was one morning when I woke up & I could remember that I had intense thoughts in my dream, like I knew what my dream-state character was thinking in the dream. I could remember whether I was running or walking in my dream. I could vaguely remember talking to other people in my dream. I remember one scene perfectly, where I was trying to climb a set of stairs in the backyard of my house, & the stairs were crumbling beneath me. I could practically feel the soft wood when I tried to grab the gate door with my hands. That’s how intense & vivd my dreams were.

My dreams lately have been so action-packed, as in I move around a lot in my dreams, & I’m often moving from place to place in my dreams. I also do a lot of thinking & talking in my dreams. There was one day where I woke up from a particularly intense dream. Well, I mostly woke up because my bladder was screaming at me to go relieve myself in the bathroom. However, after that, I fell back to sleep & had yet another vivid dream. That caused me to feel very disoriented when I finally woke up for the day. These past couple of days of dreaming have really messed up my sleeping patterns, & has kind of done a number on my body. Last week, my sleeping pattern was so out of whack that I ended up getting sick. I caught a fever & the chills, but luckily those symptoms only lasted 24 hours. I was back on my feet again by the time the weekend came around. Now, I can assure you that my sleeping patterns have returned to normal. I stopped having such vivid & detailed dreams, & I’m now waking up feeling more refreshed than groggy.


On one final note, I’m excited to tell you all that in two weeks from now, I’ll be in Taipei, Taiwain!! Yes, I’m going on another trip again, but I can promise you that this trip is not for my personal pleasure. This time I’m escorting & chaperoning my mother & her sister, who haven’t been back to the city where they grew up for more than 35 years. I can understand that these two (senior) sisters are reluctant to travel by themselves, so when my mom causally invited Jian & myself to travel with them, we eagerly said yes. Jian loves Taiwain, & I love to travel with my mom & aunt. Also, I like to take care of my mom, & I want to chaperone her so that she will feel safe & comfortable knowing she has someone with her who can help her & keep her company (besides the company of her loving sister).

My mom is feeling both excited & anxious going back to the city where she grew up after too many years of being away. She’s had countless invitations by her friends & many opportunities to go back to Taipei, but she always declined & found an excuse not to go. This time she put her foot down & decided to go back, or else she might miss her opportunity when she gets older & is no longer able to take long flights. I am so excited to be there with my mom as she relives a little bit of her childhood memories. I feel kind of disappointed that my other siblings (the ones that share the same biological mother with me) don’t do these kinds of things for my mom or with my mom. I understand a little that they each have their own obligations in their lives (like difficult work schedules & raising children), in which they can’t just pack a bag & fly off to wherever, but a part of me feels like they’re missing out on important milestones & memorable experiences with our mother that could bring them closer together.

I am so grateful, appreciative, happy, lucky & fortunate to have opportunities like this, especially ones where I can just drop everything, pack my bags & go without a care in the world. I make sure that I take care of my own personal obligations & tasks first, so that I can enjoy these special moments with my family & friends. I can’t wait to showcase my trip to Taipei. I am not going to promise a travel blog this time. I’m really bad at sticking to those, but I’m going to at least try to upload photos whenever I can. Until then, 干杯 (dry cup), everyone!

Today’s song of the day:

“If You’re Hearing This” by Hook N Sling ft. Parson James & Betty Who

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It’s that time again for me to show you another collection of mine. OK, I swear I’m not a hoarder. My house isn’t filled from floor-to-ceiling with boxes & mounds of junk. I’ve got carefully curated collections of hand-selected knick-knacks that have some sort of special meaning or purpose in my life. So far, I’ve pretty much shown you my collection of handkerchiefs & hand towels, & in one of my earliest blog posts on this site, I’ve shown you my box of miscellaneous pens, my XL sized box of stickers, & my box of miscellaneous letter sets. One might think I have a problem with letting go of things I don’t use, like I’m overly sentimental regarding personal objects, but I don’t care. I’m a proud collector of the things that I genuinely have interests in.

In this latest installment of my hoarding denial collection cataloging, let me introduce you to my pin/badge/brooch collection. There have been many pins & brooches that have come & gone over the years, but these are the current pins that I’ve kept in my collection.

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  1. I love this victory pin. This is probably my most used emoji on my smartphone, so I was very excited to get this in a pin form. I also love that this pin could also be the “peace sign”.  So, it’s got multiple meanings.
  2. I don’t usually say the word “legit”, but I stil lthought this was a cool pin. I like how it’s written in cursive, & it sounds like very Cali-casual vocabulary.
  3. I saw this large felt pin at LofT in Osaka & immediately fell in love with it. I love the cute characters acting as boyfriend & girlfriend. This pin was supposed to promote a popular webcomic turned into a fictional novel. However, I can’t remember the name of it or what it was about. I just thought this couple was too cute to pass up.
  4. I am a big fan of Nathaniel Rateliff & his music. I am especially a fan of his band Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. I love their southern, bluesy, alternative-y rock music. They kind of remind me of The Black Keys, which is another rock band I’m a big fan of. I got this pin to commemorate the first time I watched Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats live in concert (just last month).
  5. I haven’t really mentioned this on this blog, but I’ve mentioned it on many ocassions on my Instagram feed. I am a big fan of whisk(e)y & whisk(e)y based cocktails. Yes, I have been known to imbibe a cocktail or two (or three) on the weekends with my friends, & I’ve been known to knock back a few whiskey old fashioneds. I saw this pin at a craft spirits shop, & I had to get it…just for fun.
  6. I attended my first “nerdy” convention, the ID10T Conival hosted by Chris Hardwick (of @midnight The Talking Dead fame). There was a booth there selling pearler bead pins, & these two pins caught my eye right away. I’ve played the Professor Layton puzzle games on the Nintendo DS, & they were fun. I really loved the graphic design/artwork of the Layton video games, so I got these pins to honor the artwork.

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Ever since my first inaugural trip to the fine city of Portland, Oregon I’ve fallen in love with this ice creamery called Salt & Straw. When they decided to open up a location in my town, I was ecstatic. I bought a set of these pins to not only show my love for ice cream, but also for my admiration for this ice creamery.

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Seven years ago I visited the Ghibli Museum in Japan with my friends. We got to watch a short film called Mr. Dough & the Egg Princess. This short film really touched my heart & made me tear up a little bit. I loved the hero character Mr. Dough, but my favorite characters were the royal egg family. The egg princess was so cute. Basically this is the story of a tiny egg-girl who is forced to serve the evil witch, but after a blob of Dough comes to life, she befriends him & both escape from the witch’s home & set off to see the world. This was such a heartwarming story, so I got this set of king & queen egg pins as a little memento of my time spent at the Ghibli Museum, but also because I wanted to get a his & hers pin set for Jian & myself.

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These pins are so random, & I don’t even know why I kept them for so long. When I attended my first Comic Con in San Diego back in 2011, I was so naïve. I grabbed every little freebie & complimentary swag that was being offered. I was taking all of the free posters & pins without even caring what it was about. I picked up the first two pins without even caring what they were. The third pin I got for attending Conan O’Brien‘s special art gallery event for his made up comic book hero called The Flaming C. I got the last pin in Los Angeles when I shopped at the store called General Quarters. The shop attendant let me take this last pin for free after I bought a really awesome eucalyptus candle. I don’t really have anything interesting to say about these pins. They’re so boring & random.

There are two urban streetwear brands from Japan that both Jian & I have been huge fans of since their early days of tiny shops in the back streets of the hip Harajuku neighborhood in the heart of Tokyo. Man, we’ve been loyal supporters & big fans of these brands since the early 2000’s.

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The first brand (which is showcased in the pins above) is called WTaps, a very military inspired brand. The founder of this brand, Tetsu Nishiyama, is a fan of militaria & military history. His brand has branched out from clothing to lifestyle products (like camping equipment & incense burners). Jian & I both love this brand, not really for the military theme, well yes, that, but also because the quality of their products are so amazing & last throughout all the changes of fashion & trends. We’ve each got at least a dozen t-shirts &/or jeans from this brand that have survived countless washing machine beatings over the past 10 years, & they still look nearly as good as the day we bought them. As you can see above, with the exception to the Vespa inspired pin on the far right & the vinyl record symbol on the bottom left, most of these pins are extremely military inspired.

 

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This is the second Japanese streetwear brand I was talking about earlier, NEIGHBORHOOD (a.k.a. NBHD). This brand is also part clothing, part lifestyle products. This brand is more motorcycle/biker inspired, since the founder/creative director of this brand, Shinsuke Takizawa, is an extreme enthusiast of classic & vintage motorcycles (i.e. Triumph, Harley-Davidson, etc.). He even has his own extensive collection of motorcycles, & he displays some of his personal motorcycles at each of his retail shops within Japan. Shinsuke also restores his own motorcycles in his collection.

Both of these two brands (WTapsNBHD) mentioned here are very technical in style & practicality. The quality of their clothing is so good that a lot of the items we’ve purchased over the years have withstood the test of time & repeated washings, & let me tell you that I don’t always treat these clothes delicately. I’m not going out & buying expensive frou-frou detergent for delicate fabrics. I’m only using regular everyday detergent (& sometimes a spray-on stain remover) & an unforgiving washer/dryer set from the late 1990s.

A lot of the clothing Jian & I both buy from these brands have lasted so long, that now we don’t really get the chance to buy as many new clothing pieces. Now we have branched out into getting more of the lifestyle items, like their coffee mugs, incense holders, floor rugs, & other miscellaneous practical items. We used to collect pins from each of these brands every time they would design new sets for the upcoming fashion seasons, but now, we treasure these oldies but goodies which are extremely hard to find now-a-days.

 

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These next set of pins are what I would put in the “just for fun” category. The first two pins are from my & Jian’s best friends. They went to San Diego Comic Con earlier this year (as they do each & every year without fail), & they purposely waited in the long queue at the Peanuts booth to gobble up all of the limited edition Comic Con exclusive products. As a small souvenir, they got us these two pins. (They also got me a Comic Con exclusive Outlander bandana/handkerchief, much to the outwardly-shown ire of many middle-aged Diana Gabaldon/Sam Heughan/Outlander TV show fans, to which I am extremely grateful & thankful to my friends.)

The next pin is a boombox, which I thought could be a cool symbol of the fact that I was born in the 80s decade, & I am a huge music lover. The fourth pin is one that I purchased at a pop-up art gallery for British pop artist Pete McKee. I loved all of his artwork, but wasn’t sure how I’d be able to pack a poster or framed art piece in my suitcase, & I didn’t want to figure out how to pack & ship these items back to my house, so I ended up getting a small enamel pin to commemorate my lovely time in London & to honour all of the phenomenal & eye-opening art I discovered there. I also thought this retro couple riding a Vespa scooter together was very romantic, & that was another reason why I chose this pin.

The fifth & sixth pins are ones I bought in two different stores, but they both carry the same reference. They’re both references to my late-blooming passion & appreciation for cocktails. I never snuck alcohol with my friends when I was a teenager, & I didn’t have much of an interest in drinking when I turned 21 either. It wasn’t until my late twenties when I finally succumbed to my own self-pressure & taught myself how to properly drink alcohol…properly as in learing my limits & trying not to embarrass myself too much. I chose the first of the two pins for its sheer cuteness. I loved the pastel colors & the little cocktail umbrella garnish. I especially loved the phrase “Drink Up” on the bottom of the glass. I’m only a little disappointed that the writing is so small, you’d have to look very closely to be able to read it. The second pin I got because I like to drink Negroni cocktails, but it’s also to commemorate the recently popular event called “Negroni Week” a week-long celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails & an effort to raise money for charities around the world. A few of my close friends work at or own bars in my city, so to honor them & their industry, & to promote charity giving, I wanted to wear this Negroni pin in celebration of a good cause.

The last two pins are sort of a tributary nod to my dad & his background. My dad is from Japan (born & raised), so he has a fine appreciation for sakè. I don’t particularly enjoy drinking sakè, but 99.99% of my family (both maternal & paternal) loves this stuff, especially all of my extended family back in Japan (obviously). So, I got this pin to honor the Japan side of my family.

As for the baseball pin, don’t get upset, but I’m not actually a fan of the San Francisco Giants team. Then why did I get this pin, you ask? Well, at the time, it was during the height of the 2010 World Series, & the Giants were the fan favorites to win the pennant. Almost all of my friends are huge fans of this team, & they’re not happy of the fact that I am a diehard Oakland Athletics fan. I’ve been a fan of the A’s team since birth…well, because whatever dad liked the family had to go along with it, but we did so gladly. I got this pin, mostly because I’m a big fan of baseball (over most other sports, except for European auto racing), & this pin was the most subtle & minimal of all the pins I saw in the sporting goods store. I could support my friends’ fandom of the Giants team & show my love of baseball. On top of that, my dad was such a huge fan of baseball. As a matter of fact, every male member of my dad’s side of the family, all the way down to my nephew’s generation, are all huge fans of this sport. Most of my uncles, including my own father, at one point had opportunities to play professional baseball in Japan. They’ve been playing baseball all throughout their school careers. My grandfather strictly forbade them from trying out for any major league teams, so none of them became professional baseball players in Japan. My dad, however, was able to go to college in America on a baseball scholarship, & he even played baseball for his college team in Texas. That just goes to show how deeply rooted my family is in their love of this sport. A lot of my cousins & nephews all played baseball in high school, & some of them have even won regional awards for their schools.

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This is the last set of pins I’m going to talk about. (I swear I’m rambling too much about nothing here.) I don’t know what propelled me to shop at an urban skateboard & overtly male streetwear shop, but I ended up getting this cool & childlike paper airplane pin anyway. I liked this pin as a nod to being like a kid again & making paper airplanes out of scrap construction paper. The second pin came from a time when I suddenly had an urge to dress more edgy & punk. I thought getting this pirate -slash- biker gang inspired crossbones pin would make me look super edgy & standoffishly cool. Now, I just look at it as a cool Halloween accessory. The very last (but not least) pin is very special to me. It’s a cool leather textured pin that I got in Japan at an iconic & legendary streetwear store that has long since been closed (circa 2010). I really enjoy listening to jazz music, & I thought this pin was so clever combining the trumpet into the word “jazz”. I also really liked the quality of the leather fabric & the metallic silver lettering. Every time I look at this pin, I am reminded of a nearly bygone era & fashion trend in Japan that is slowly fading away.

Most of the underground, legendary & iconic shops that once lined the behind-the-scenes back streets of the Harajuku district have slowly migrated towards the newly revived Shibuya district. Once a cutesy fashion hub for low-budget trendy high schoolers & teeny bopper tweens, Shibuya is slowly becoming the new hub for urban streetwear & avant garde fashion. The back streets of Harajuku, nicknamed Ura Hara, are fading quickly, & most of the iconic shops where you’d see queues lining out the door & wrapping around the street, are now closed. I’m not saying this area is becoming a ghost town, but it surely has lost a lot of its early 2000s charm. In its place are more hair salons, second-hand thrift stores, & consignment shops. Man, I miss the old days of Tokyo, where you’d see all the trendy kids in ghetto streetwear hanging out in the streets. Now all of those places have moved on to the internet or some other far flung neighborhood that’s not easy to get to. I can’t wait to go back to Tokyo & rediscover new places. Until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

“Everclear” (Foo Fighters cover song) by Matt Duncan

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The other day, while I was sitting at the coffee shop & severely procrastinating on writing a new blog post, I was sorting out the thoughts flowing through my mind & making mental notes about myself. I started with going over all of the different quirks & habits in my life that make me stand out. the more I think about these habits/routines/quirks, the more I get a better understanding about how I’ve reached the place in my life where I am now. Stepping back a few paces & really taking a hard look at myself has been a bit of an eye-opening experience.

There are many things that I do, things that seem kind of like rituals, they’re second-nature to me by now. Most of the time I don’t even realize that I’m doing these things, & I don’t consider them strange or unusual. However, an outside person looking into my life would think I’m a bit obsessive compulsive, or rigid/strict, or just plain weird. At first, Jian thought I was being overly dramatic or overly fussy about things, but now I notice him picking up on the things that I do that I don’t really pay much attention to…like wiping down the toilet seat after multiple guests have used our bathroom. I really wish I could say that I’m just a clean freak, but I think I’m slowly becoming a germaphobe. I can say for certain though, that I’ve got weird quirks.

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This is probably my most notable quirk. I’ve mentioned this a couple of times in this blog. There are certain foods that I have to eat a certain way. For example, when I’m eating Asian food with white rice, I don’t like other foods touching my bowl of rice unless it’s meant to be eaten over rice like curry. Also, when I’m eating a snack box, I will eat each compartment separately unless it’s like a Lunchable type of box where all the items are supposed to be assembled to make one snack. The best example I can give is when I go to my local big box coffee shop & get the cheese & fruit protein box. I will eat all the items in a very specific order every single time. First, I eat the fruit. Next, I separate the dried fruit from the nuts & eat them separately (first dried fruit, then nuts). Then, I eat the cheese. Finally, I eat the crackers. I never deviate from this order. Ever.

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In the mornings, I will always make my bed. It doesn’t matter how late I will be, I will make my bed, come hell or high water. This habit has been drilled & etched into my brain from the time I was a small child all the way into my adulthood. It used to be because my bedroom was in an active hallway that guests had to pass through in order to get to the bathroom. My parents used to host a ton of dinner parties for friends & guests, & my mom always wanted my room to look clean & presentable so that when someone walked past my bedroom on their way to the bathroom, it would look nice. As a kid, if I didn’t make the bed up to my mom’s standards (my mom once worked as a housekeeper, so she has high standards), she would make me re-do the bed all over again. Then, when I became a teenager, I would just make my bed anyway, so that I could get my parents off my back & not have to nag me to make my bed. It just became so commonplace & repetitive that eventually it became engrained in my personal habits. Now, I personally will feel sloppy & like my room’s a mess if the bed is not made. I can’t just smooth the comforter over the bed. I have to nicely fold & tuck the sheets in & fluff up the pillows & the whole shebang. I also have to make my bed first thing once I get out of bed. I can’t wait until the end of my morning routine, or wait until I get home in the evening. I have to make my bed, even if it means I will be running late.

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The same goes for my bedtime pajamas. I absolutely must fold them in the morning when I put on my clothes for the day. I can’t just throw my pajamas in a pile on my bed. I have to fold them, & place them in the same spot on my bed each & every morning. Now, I’m not so exacting that I have to fold my pajamas perfectly, but I do have to at least fold them & not wad them up into a ball & throw them on a chair. On top of the pajama organizing in the morning. I also have a self-imposed rule that I should not & I do not wear my pajamas outside of the bedroom area. That means I don’t lounge around the house in my pajamas, not even on holidays, vacations, or relaxing weekends. My dad always taught me that when you get up in the morning, you have to make yourself look tidy & presentable. Wearing pajamas like they’re everyday wear only makes you look like a slob. That’s one word I try extremely hard to kick out of my vocabulary: SLOB. I never want to come off as a slob or a sloppy person. So, I don’t wear pajamas outside of the bedroom. I will be fully dressed in my everyday clothes.

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I’ve got more mundane tales from the bedroom. I’ve got a handkerchief (a few of them actually) that was purposefully given to me by my beloved dad. He hated seeing me sniffling my wet nose all the time, & he detested even more seeing crumpled up wet tissues wadded up in my pockets. So he taught me how to use & appreciate the handkerchief. A lot of kids in my generation either think this type of accessory is either outdated & old fashioned…like something they’d see their grandpas use, or way too hipster fashion. I find handkerchiefs to be extremely functional & cool. I always keep the handkerchief my dad gave me under my pillow. Yes, I sleep with this handkerchief under my pillow every single night. This handkerchief never ever leaves my bedroom (except for when I wash it, obviously). If you already follow my blog, then you’d know that I named this handkerchief Tom Hanks-erchief. I keep a second handkerchief in my purse, & I named that one Colin Hanks-erchief (yes, I named them after the actor Tom Hanks & his actor son Colin Hanks). This handkerchief under my pillow has, in a way,  become my “security blanket”. I feel comforted knowing a piece of my dad’s memory is close to me while I’m sleeping. However, I don’t need to bring a handkerchief with me while I’m traveling. For one thing, I don’t like my handkerchiefs touching foreign objects or foreign beds. Another thing is I don’t want to accidentally leave my handkerchief in the hotel bed & lose it.

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Keeping with the bedroom theme, I can’t fall asleep if the closet door isn’t all the way closed. Sometimes I try to justify my craziness by telling myself that I like everything to be orderly & neat, but really this habit stems from my childhood fears of scary things hiding in my closet & all that jazz. I have a built-in closet in my bedroom, & there is an open space between the top shelf & the ceiling which is covered by the top lip of the door frame. When I was a teenager, I used to scare myself by tricking my mind into thinking there were bugs crawling around up there. One time, I did try to get something from the top shelf, & I thought I felt something move. Ever since then, I never used the top shelf to store any of my things until Jian helped me re-design my closet & put in a new Container Store shelf system. Let me just say that I get scared very easily, even from the littlest things (like over-produced Hollywood movies). These days I know for a fact there is nothing creepy hiding in my closet, but I still like the feeling of my closet doors being 100% closed. They can’t be ajar or have a gap. I feel a sense of completeness & organization when I know the closet doors are fully closed.

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I have a similar situation with my bedroom door. In the beginning, when I was a teenager, I would keep my door closed for privacy. My parents never let me close my bedroom door when I was a youngster, so I felt a huge sense of maturity & freedom once my parents started letting me close my bedroom door. As a teen, I thought I’d be able to hide stuff from my parents if I had my door closed, but I never had anything I wanted to hide or keep secret. My teenage years were fun for sure, but they were also kind of “vanilla”. It wasn’t until I was older when I would close my bedroom door for a sense security. I thought if an intruder tried to attack me, I’d be able to hear them coming through my squeaky door, & that would buy me a few precious seconds to climb out my bedroom window to possibly escape. Now-a-days, I continue to keep my bedroom door closed for security purposes. I feel like a closed door in some way keeps out baddies & evil spirits. I will not be able to sleep if my bedroom door is even slightly ajar. It must be all the way closed.

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I don’t know if this considered part of the “bedroom” category, but it sort of applies to every category. Ever since I started wearing lip balm (a.k.a. chapstick), I must keep a stick of this addictive stuff everywhere. Let me preface this topic by saying I’m a mouth-breather. Due to my childhood health issues, I’ve had major problems breathing normally through my nose & mouth. I’ve since had cosmetic surgery to correct this issue, but I still breathe mostly through my mouth. Sometimes I find it difficult to breathe through my nose. Therefore, I use lots & lots & lots of lip balm to keep my lips hydrated, otherwise they’d be a dry, chapped mess. I use so much lip balm throughout the day that I’ve got to keep a stick in pretty much every place I can think of. I keep one stick on my bedroom nightstand, so I can apply this before I go to sleep. I keep another stick in my purse for obvious reasons. I also keep one in my car for emergencies. I keep another stick in my work desk drawer, & another one in the kitchen…because my lips get super dry after I eat. I know this is nuts. I don’t have to hide several sticks of lip balm all over my house, but let me tell you, I use sooo much of this stuff that it makes sense to me to have so much of it lying around. Yeah, I know I’m another “consumer sheep” keeping the billion dollar beauty industry in business, but I’m OK with that as long as they keep the Carmex lip balms at $1.99USD. LOL!

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This quirk is kind of gross, but I’m going to mention it anyway. This would probably sound better if I told you I was over 65 years old. I mean, it would sound more reasonable if I was a senior citizen with a bladder problem, but I’m neither a senior nor do I have a bladder problem. This is just something that’s developed over time. I used to be able to hold my urine for ungodly amounts of time when I was a teenager & didn’t care about urinary tract infections, or bladder infections, or general health issues whatsoever. Now, I feel like I’m in the bathroom more often than not, especially at night, even more so right before I go to bed. Like the description says above, I’ve got to pee before I go to sleep or else I can’t fall asleep at all. No matter how much I try to will myself to not think about urinating, telling myself my bladder is empty & I don’t need to pee, I just can’t fall asleep. I have to pee at least once before I go to sleep. I guess it’s all in my head, but my body just won’t let me rest.

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This next topic has a connection with my previous bathroom topic. I am constantly, & I mean CONSTANTLY sweeping, vacuuming, picking up loose hairs off the floor. I’ve noticed three places around my house where there’s the most amount of shed hairs on the floor & that’s the kitchen, my bedroom, & my bathroom. No matter how many times per day that I thoroughly brush my hair, I am constantly shedding hair. I even take one of those hair, skin & nails supplements to strengthen my hair & to prevent excessive shedding, but I don’t notice any difference in my hair. I still shed a ton of hair, & no my hair is not thinning…thank cuss. I probably spend at least an hour, cumulatively, per day cleaning up all the shed/loose hairs off the floors in my house. I can’t stand dirty floors, & even worse, I can’t stand seeing hairs everywhere. My bathroom is the hardest hit area of shed hair. I’m constantly taking my cordless Dyson vacuum & cleaning the floor in my bathroom. Not only is it gross to have loose hairs all over the floor, but what would guests think if they saw an unkempt bathroom? Yuck!

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Finally, let me take this loose hair dilemma one step further. I also dislike seeing loose hairs sticking out of my hair brush. I don’t spend ungodly amounts of time per day cleaning my hair brush, but I at least pluck out the loose hairs that stick out to the sides after I brush my hair or use my hair brush to style my hair. I don’t necessarily go so far as to obsessively clean my hair brush, but I at least want it to look neat & tidy. The same goes for my round styling barrel brush as well. I get grossed out if I see loose hairs sticking out of my brushes, & will pluck them until all the loose hairs are gone. It’s just another one of my organizational quirks. I can’t help myself. That’s also probably the main reason why I don’t like to use other people’s hair brushes/tools, & I don’t like to share mine with others. I feel very uncomfortable when I see Jian grabbing my hair brush to brush his hair, even when he has just washed his hair. Knowing that his hairs are tangled in my brush creeps me out. See below for an example of what I’m talking about.

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Well, there you have it. Those are my main habits/quirks/routines/patterns in a nutshell. I know I’m a weirdo, clean freak, obssessive compulsive germaphobe, or something to that effect, but I’m learning to deal with these things every day. I used to jump up & down, rant & rave, & have a mini freak-out over some of these things. However, the more I openly recognize these quirks, the more I’m able to find ways to handle them differently. I try not to let myself fully freak out over these little things, & I think I’m getting a better handle on myself. I embrace these weird aspects of myself, & work on not letting these aspects take over my life. That’s the best I can do. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“Audi.” by Smokepurpp

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Even as a young child my tastes & interests were pretty much all over the place. I liked things both girls & boys liked. I wasn’t a tomboy by any stretch of the word, but I wasn’t feminine/girly either. I’m not sure how best to describe myself other than to say that my interests were split right down the middle. I can’t say that it had turned me into a balanced person, but it opened my eyes up to new interests. Let’s take a look at what I was into when I was a little tyke.

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  1. One of the first toys I remember playing with as a young child was LEGOs. I remember my mom had bought me a bucket of miscellaneous pieces, & I would sit in my room & build stupid things. Not things like cars or houses like most normal kids. No, that wasn’t me. I clearly remember one time when I built a toy gun. I thought I was being badass & rebellious at that age (I was probably about 6 or 7 then). I was being really secretive about it, & when someone would pass by my room to check on me, I would pretend that I was making alphabet letters or random shapes. I was so scared that one of my siblings would notice I was making a toy gun & tattle tale on me to my mom. After building my toy gun & feeling so smug that I had made a weapon of zero destruction, I quickly took apart all of the pieces to hide the evidence of my not-so-nefarious creation.
  2. When I was a kid I used to be utterly obsessed with the cartoon character Strawberry Shortcake. I loved her, & I wanted to be just like her living in a cute house next to all of my friends with cute fruit-y dessert sounding names. I always hated it when the Peculiar Purple Pieman came to ruin all the fun & happiness. I don’t even remember how I got introduced to Strawberry Shortcake & her sweet friends. All I can remember from my childhood is that I used to own a few VHS tapes of the show & a vinyl record of the Strawberry Shortcake theme song. My aunt even hand sewn a red security blanket for me with a huge Strawberry Shortcake pattern on it. I still have that blanket to this very day, & it looks just as new as the day my aunt gave it to me. I rarely used it as a security blanket. I mostly kept it folded up & tucked away so I wouldn’t get it dirty or worn out. (So typical of me!)
  3. I remember playing with Transformers when I was a little girl. I didn’t own any of the robo-toys myself, but there was a Japanese boy who lived up the street from me who owned a few of the Japanese versions of these awesome toys, & we used to play together while our moms hung out like two chatty 「おばあさん」(Sorry, mom). This boy let me play with his Optimus Prime, while he played with his other much cooler Japanese robo-toys & kaiju toys. I also used to enjoy watching the American cartoon on TV. I didn’t understand, or care to understand, the rivalry between the Autobots & the Decepticons. All I cared about was how cool it was to have a car that morphed into a talking robot friend. By the way, my two favorite characters when I was a kid was 1. Optimus Prime because he was the cool leader, & 2. Bumblebee because he was a small-ish yellow car, & I was a small kid. 
  4. When I was a little kid, we had a male teenage cousin living with us for a couple of years. My cousin was super awesome & cool. He was like a big brother figure to me (aside from my actual brothers), & we used to play together. This cousin used to collect G.I. Joe action figures when he was younger along with MAD Magazine comics. I wanted to play with him & my older siblings, so I got into this line of toys so that we could have a common interest. Of course, I wanted to get all the female action figures, even if they were on the enemy Cobra team. My cousin had tons of these action figures, & I only had one…the lady with the white ski outfit & the removable skiis, which my cousin always reminded me not to loose the skis for my action figure or else he wouldn’t let me play with his G.I. Joe figures anymore. I don’t know why I chose that figure in particular. I just wanted something I could play with alongside my cousin. Did I mention that I also watched this cartoon as well? I used to watch tons of cartoons as a child. My family, especially my generation, revolved around the television set.
  5. My sister’s (biological) dad used to work in the import-export industry, & he used to work with Sanrio, the company that started the Hello Kitty trend. My sister’s dad used to send her a bunch of free Hello Kitty stuff like stationery & toys, & when she got older, she would pass down her stuff to me that she didn’t want. That’s partly how I became utterly obsessed with all things Sanrio. It also helped that my aunts & uncles in Japan would send my dad care packages & include a few Hello Kitty toys for me. I loved watching the Hello Kitty & Friends TV show, & had a few VHS tapes of the movies. Then, when I was in Kindergarten, I met a Japanese girl in my class who had the same interests as I did. She lived in my neighborhood, & our parents became close friends. Since both of our dads were Japanese living in an American suburban neighborhood, they were able to speak Japanese to each other, & that brought our families closer together. This girl quickly became my best friend & our mutual love of all things Hello Kitty strengthend our bond. Even after my friend moved back to Japan in the 3rd grade, our families still keep in touch. 
  6. Go Bots is like the red-headed, black sheep, wannabe, lesser counterpart to TransformersTransformers fans absolutely crush Go Bots to oblivion, & it’s kind of taboo to say you like both toy/cartoon franchises. I liked Go Bots about as much as I liked Transformers. I loved how cars & other vehicles could morph into talking robots. Like I mentioned before, I was super into watching cartoons when I was a kid, so it was only natural that I watched this cartoon as well. I pretty much watched all of the cartoon hit shows.
  7. I really liked Rainbow Brite. I had a Rainbow Brite doll, & I loved braiding her yellow yarn string hair. I also loved her rainbow colored outfit with the pink-ish/blue-ish iridescent colored skirt, & the cute little star tattoo on her cheek (like a little beauty mark). I was into Rainbow Brite around the same time that I discovered the TV show Punky Brewster. I loved how they both wore colorful clothes & went on awesome adventures. I used to play with my Rainbow Brite doll & pretend that she was my little sister.
  8. How did I ever discover Thor, of all characters? This was right around the age when I started to have crushes on boys & was practically infatuated with any male star on TV (like actor Scott Baio when he appeared on Happy Days as Fonzi‘s cousin Chachi). I think I had somewhat of a crush on this beefy, blonde Norse god, but I was mostly envious of Thor’s winged helmet & powerful hammer, which I used to call a mallot (don’t ask me why). I sooo wanted a winged helmet like Thor’s helmet . There’s not much else I can say about why I liked Thor of all the action hero characters from the 80s and so on. I just thought he was super cool, & I kind of wanted long, shiny hair like him.
  9. OK. My love of Care Bears is a whole lot easier to explain. All the kids in my family loved Care Bears. When my siblings, cousins, & I were all younger kids, I’m not sure who decided this, but we were all assigned a specific Care Bears character to be our personal mascot. Mine was Friendship Bear, the bright pink bear with the rainbow 🌈  on its tummy. I loved how cheerful & happy this character was. (I’m like my 9-year old nephew in a lot of ways, mostly because we don’t like sad or negative scenarios. We like happy endings & positive scenes.) When we were all younger, each of us kids had our own Care Bears stuffed animal & toys, & some of my cousins also had Care Bears security blankets & stuffed pillows sewn by my aunt. All of us as kids watched the Care Bears movies & TV shows. We played with all of the posable action figures & Play-Doh putty kits. It just became our “thing”. I’m not sure of the origins & how this all came about, but I remember this Care Bears theme running in our family when we were all young kids.
  10. So, for this explanaition I’m going to lump He-ManShe-Ra together. Yes, they go together anyway since they’re both siblings. However, I will confess that when I was a little kid, I thought He-Man She-Ra were boyfriend & girlfriend. I had no idea until I was a teenager that they were actually brother & sister. When I was little, I pretended that He-Man She-Ra were dating. Well, I ended up scratching that childhood memory once I learned they couldn’t exactly date each other. I loved He-Man sooo much when I was a kid. I guess I had a thing for blonde super heroes because I also really liked He-Man‘s blond hairstyle in this cartoon. The bowl cut reminded me of so many Asian boys that went to my primary school. My favorite Masters of the Universe character had to be Cringer at the time. He was such a wimpy lil’ chicken shit, & I could totally relate to that because when I was 8 years old, I also was way too wimpy & mousy to do anything outside of my comfort zone. (That’s also probably why I loved Scooby-Doo because he was a wimp too.) I also was super in love with She-Ra‘s horse Spirit, but especially when it turned into a rainbow-colored magical unicorn (a.k.a. Swifty). I remember having a He-Man & a She-Ra action figure when I was a kid. I wanted a Battle Cat figure, but my mom said it was too ugly, plus I didn’t like Cringer’s face, so I ended up getting a Swifty figure instead & was so pumped when I could play with it in the bathtub & pretended it was a swan that could swim. Yes, I was a weirdo back when I was a mere 8-years old. (I once also jumped into the bathtub with my socks on when my sister dared me to do it. If anyone tried to dare me to do that now, I would probably scream bloody murder & physically attack that person for even suggesting such an aggregious act of barbarianism.) My most fondest memory of my childhood was one time when I forced my parents to take me to the event center to watch He-Man On Ice. I also made them buy me a light-up plastic He-Man souvenir sword that would say “By the power of Gray Skull…” when you pressed a button on the hilt. I also got one of those souvenir flashlights with the fiberglass strings at the end that spun around when you pressed on the button. Looking back on my childhood now, I can’t even begin to decipher why I wanted to be like He-Man (& not She-Ra). I wanted to be a blonde buff guy with a bowl haircut & a wimpy, chicken shit green tiger sidekick.
  11. Last but not least, I had to say one of my most favorite toys was a pair of expandable plastic roller skates that weren’t even real roller skates at all. They were clip on roller skate wheels that you attached to your shoes & could barely  skate around the concrete patio in your backyard. I found a great commercial on YouTube to show the awesomeness that were Fisher-Price roller skates (a.k.a. “practice skates”).

I would put on these skates every day & ride around in my backyard, pretending I was cool & like I was in an imaginary race with other skaters. I wore these skates out. I was so excited when I found out they were adjustable & I could expand them to fit my growing, yet still small, feet. I wore them until my feet could no longer fit in them. Then my mom gave them away to a lady she knew who had little kids of her own, but couldn’t afford to buy toys like this. When I wore these Fisher-Price roller skates around my backyard, I thought I was so badass doing some sort of extreme sport. That just goes to show how crazy my imagination was, even at such a young age.

You see, even at a small age, I was able to stretch my imagination, even if it was beyond far fetched & dumb. I’ve always said, especially to myself with my own inner thoughts, that I have an overactive imagination. That’s what fuels me to write. It’s what motivated me to start a real blog. Many moons ago, I used to have a failed LiveJournal account. I also tried to start a so-called blog on Facebook when they once had a notes feature. At least on Facebook, I was once able to write 100 consecutie notes in a daily challenge I set for myself. It’s all of these things from when I was a kid that propelled me to where I am today, writing this blog post for you. I hope you enjoy, & this somehow takes you back to when you were a child & gets you to think about what kinds of toys & characters inspired your inner child. Until then, cheers mates!!

Today’s song of the day:

“Wait for the Moment” by Vulfpeck

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Need an iced drink to cool down, but it’s gotta be caffeinated to perk me up. ☕️
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