Friday, December 27, 2013

2nd One OK Rock Concert in Singapore!

Rui Hashimoto (OOR's official photographer) captioned this photo taken right after the concert, "Singaporean audience was splendid!"
This post is a little bit late in the making, but as they say, better late than never? Though I'm sure a post fresh after the concert would have made me remember all the details better but I will do my best to remember all the nitty gritty details!

Breathtaking view on the way there! Singapore ftw!

When I found out that One Ok Rock was coming to Malaysia as part of their Asia Tour I was over the moon! But work schedules clashed so I ended up going to the Singapore concert instead but I have absolutely ZERO REGRETS. Despite being considerably more expensive, it was an experience well worth it because I got to MEET the boys after the concert! How I achieved this Holy Grail of fandom, you may ask? I was one of LAMC Productions' (one of the event organizers) 10 winners of the One Ok Rock Meet & Greet competition on Instagram! The day I found out I won, I was in a bank, so I had to stifle my excitement but inside, I was doing cartwheels of joy! Anyway, I had to register and pick up the Meet & Greet passes at the concert venue, so with my airplane ticket and backpacker hostel booked, I was off!

Concert tickets costed $78 each!
Meet & Greet armband
 Getting around in Singapore was pretty easy, everything is just so clean and organized. Traffic was clear, and it took only 15 minutes to get from Changi Airport to the concert venue at The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel Sentosa. (Yes, I arrived in Singapore just 3 hours prior because the Malaysia and Singapore concerts were on consecutive days.) Lockers are readily available at the Forum which is in walking distance from the venue, just downstairs really. I didn't want to attend the concert with all my luggage. I actually went with a friend so we just shared a locker, it was about $20 for 24 hours and we could still use it the next day when we visited Universal Studios Singapore.

A very small part of the queue!
Standing up, waiting to go in...

Back to the concert, when we arrived (2 hours before the concert), we found all the concert goers all queued up and chilling on the floor. Some have been there as early as the wee hours of that morning! Most of them were wearing the black OOR fanmade T-shirts or the official T-shirts (also black) but these were SOLD OUT when we arrived. Now we knew we couldn't bring food or drinks inside so we ate outside before proceeding inside. I think they actually sold drinks inside and they do check your bags before you go in.

Rockin' it out!

Once inside, we listened to some songs and some staff tested out the equipment and pumped up the crowd so when One Ok Rock finally burst out on the stage, the screams were deafening. But the sound of the guitars quickly drowned out the crowd and the rest was pure magic. Unlike the Malaysian concert, Ryota was shirtless after a few songs because he apparently plays with 100% power when shirtless. Haha. The girls went wild of course. More so after Taka cheekily stuffed a red thong given by a fan during the encore into his back pocket, though it was originally meant for Toru.

This was the setlist for that night:

1.Where idiot should go- 
2.Ending Story?? 
3.Deeper Deeper 
4.Nothing Helps 
6. Let's take it someday 
7. Jibun ROCK 
8. Clock Strikes 
9. Be the light
10. Liar
11. Answer Is Near
13. Re:make
14. Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer
15. The Beginning

16. Wherever you are

My clearest shot from where I was standing. Still blurry sadly.

I was standing somewhere in the middle near the right where I could see Toru, next to some Japanese high school boys and they were really big fans of OOR, though I think I got elbowed in the head a couple of times. =_= There was a bit of moshing but it only got unbearable halfway through the concert when they decided to shine these huge spotlights onto the crowd. Worst. 10 minutes. Of my life. It got really warm and any longer and I might have been one of those girls escorted out because they were close to fainting. When they switched it off, it was as if there was wind sent from heaven. Earlier, I think Taka tried to make more room for everyone by asking us to bend down and leap up when he gives the signal, so everyone had to back up a bit. But after that, they rushed back in front again and I was separated from my friend for a little while, but I scooted back during the Be the Light performance because that's just the kind of song to listen to next to someone close.

Toru seemed surprised when everyone sang along to the intro of Clock Strikes and seemed energized somehow after that. I seriously don't know how these boys can perform the day after a concert because they just sweat buckets during the concert and they don't hold back. Ryota and Toru were leaping all over the stage with their guitars and even had a face-off culminating into an intense showdown inches away from each other. Tomoya has the cutest accent when he speaks English (I heard it was because he wears a noseclip for performances) and I've watched videos of Taka and Tomoya speaking Malay during the Malaysia concert and my heart sort of burst in pride to hear them speak in the local language. They do aim to please and they work hard at it! Taka threw his mike all over the place and caught it every single time. I love their showmanship when they perform. They took a while coming out to perform the encore, maybe the crowd wasn't encouraging enough? But I think most people were completely tired out after a truly rockin' concert, shouting ourselves hoarse.

This was my first rock concert and the headbanging crowd was certainly one of a kind. There were a couple of long haired shirtless guys in the crowd who barged in jumping into people to get to the front. Seriously 'rock kapak'-looking people, girls with hair of all colours, boys with Japanese hairstyles, aunties, otakus, you can find them all here. There was also a girl who was trying to crowdsurf from the back to the front but fell down because nobody caught her at some point somewhere not too far from me.

After the concert, I was told to meet at the lounge area of Hard Rock Hotel, but we lined up with the Sentosa Security near the concert area first. He was a really funny guy, asking what fangifts we got for OOR and saying some Japanese girl popband was coming soon (who caresss, we're OOR fans). The other contest winners were really nice and asked for a photo with me. Some of them were stunned to hear that I flew in from Sabah that day for the concert. You'd think I stayed in Timbuktu or something, to see their faces. I got the boys just a few Sabahan souvenirs, yunnow, just in case they ever wanted to drop by Borneo or anything. If they're reading this, ONE OK ROCK, Sabah has awesome tattoo artists and great diving!! *fangirl craziness*

Fangifts from Sabah

The fanmeet lasted about 15 minutes, the boys had changed from their concert clothes and looked surprising fresh! Such stamina. Only Toru looked a bit tired out, me thinks or maybe he always has that stricken expression on his face? He came off as a really serious guy but I am in awe of him. I got to shake hands with all them and exchange a few words. Taka was so pleasant and had great skin up close. He even consented to give hugs when asked (though I didn't take the opportunity because I was feeling er, self conscious, because man, was I sweaty and stinky after the concert). Tomoya and Ryota gave off a friendly vibe and look genuinely happy to meet their fans! No personal photos allowed as well as autographs, but they accepted everyone's fangifts. I have just a group photo to remember them by, then afterwards I met up with my friend who was waiting outside.

HIGHLIGHT OF MY YEAR! OMFG I never thought I would be there at the start of 2013, because I never even so much as listened to J-rock, but I did watch quite a bit of anime once upon a time. All because of one Rurouni Kenshin movie and it started a chain of events. I wish OOR great success in the future and I will DEFINITELY go to another concert if I have the chance. I'm beginning to feel like A-Pink's Eunji's character in Reply 1997. Not quite sasaeng level though. Oh God no.

One OK Rock Meet & Greet at Singapore Live 2013 (LAMC Productions)
My winning entry

1st Teaser Trailer For Rurouni Kenshin's Sequel Is Out!

When I heard the news, I could barely contain myself with glee! Next summer, the wildly popular franchise (of the anime Samurai X fame), is coming out with not one, but TWO movie sequels! The first movie was what got me obsessed with J-rock band, One OK Rock in the first place, you should really listen to The Beginning if you haven't already.

The two films are tentatively named Rurouni Kenshin: The Great Kyoto Fire Arc and Rurouni Kenshin: The End of a Legend Arc. A 30-second teaser trailer has been released and you can watch it below!

New cast additions include Tatsuya Fujiwara (Death Note, Battle Royale) as the resident baddie, Makoto Shishio, and my, does he look badass in the stills. The other cast additions I'm not too familiar with their previous work but the casting of Misao and Aoshi look pretty acceptable to me. They were two of my favorite characters in the anime and I'm so glad they didn't butcher the casting as they did with Sanosuke! Honestly.

Yusuke Iseya as Aoshi Shinomori

Tao Tsuchiya as Misao Makimachi
Two movies to look forward to in Summer 2014!!

Source: Anime News Network

Back to Basics

My, my, haven't I been a neglectful blogger this year? And one of my New Year's resolutions was to blog more but unfortunately, real life got in the way and it was all I could do to keep up with my other various social networks (drama-watching, sadly, has taken a back seat during this time). But don't fret, I've been keeping myself up-to-date thanks to the hard work of drama bloggers out there (may the drama gods be ever in your favor)! In the past few months, I've been moving house, catching up with friends, working, taking some time to see the sights of Singapore (more on that later) and spending a lot of time with family! It's been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs this year and I'm so glad I wasn't alone through it all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers, family and friends and let this season serve as a reminder of why we do what we do, then reflect but not waste time regretting too much. There's much to improve on for me in 2014! I pray for a lovely and fruitful 2014, come what may!

(Changed my layout yet again, to a basic white palette. A blank canvas for 2014, but I just might keep it simple.)

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Block B's new MV is more than Very Good!

One of my favorite bands towards the end of last year is back with a bang! New hairstyles, more rap and crazy dancing - that's Block B! 

Actually I watched their previous MV on the mini album before this. Be The Light was just okay, nothing to sniff at, generic yakuza scenes which is reminiscent of their debut MV. In fact I preferred One Ok Rock's song with the same title. (Just had to make that comparison, can't help it!)

But Very Good does not disappoint! Freaked me out a little thought with the clown masks! Northampton clown reference? And Zico licking his skull scepter might be a Miley reference? Anyway, missed these guys, hope the stage performances are every bit as awesome! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Crayon Pop's Addictive Beatz!

As baffled as I was by Crayon Pop's skyrocketing popularity in South Korea after watching one performance video of theirs on stage, I must admit that this dance cover by some of the uniformed bodies of South Korea's most courageous was hilarious! The campy dance moves to the incessant "Bar, bar, bar~" lyrics just took the cake for me and hit a home run with it.

I dare you to watch this without smiling! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Haruma Miura & Sato Takeru at SWV, Mabul in Sabah!

So apparently HARUMA-freaking-MIURA (Bloody Monday, Koizora) and SATO TAKERU (Beck, Rurouni Kenshin) was at Sipadan Water Village, Mabul in Sabah to promote a Japanese tour agency or something. Before anyone's ovaries explode, this was back in April 2011, 2 years ago. Now I wish I went to Mabul a whole year earlier, but I was doing my big climb up in Mount Kinabalu around that time.

So I just have these pictures to tide me over. I'm hoping that if they ever do come back again, it will be on Sabah's West Coast this time. Preferably Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. *prays to drama gods*

Mabul is a gorgeous place to snorkel and dive but some of the backpackers need to manage their wastewater and drainage systems better. I wished I could dive some more at Sipadan while I was there. Only did one day's worth of dives, not nearly enough! And my heart broke a little when I left, it was just that beautiful.

Photo credit: Akira

September Quickie

September already! Seems like I've been busy/asleep/a walking zombie these past 2 months after I finished watching Game of Thrones. On the TV side of things, I've picked up the sitcoms Men At Work, Big Bang Theory (yes, I've fallen into the Sheldon trap!) and 2 Broke Girls. All of them have strong friendship themes, not so dissimilar from Japanese slice-of-life dramas. Though nothing is quite like American humor. With New Girl season 3 starting this week I'll be sinking my teeth into more yummy goodness!

As for the drama front, I haven't been watching any new ones since Dramacrazy went down. (Dramafever sucks.) Though I have been keeping up with recaps for The Master's Sun, Who Are You and Good Doctor. (BTW, what is with all the ghost-themed dramas? I have a hard enough time sleeping after reading a recap, much less watching it.) Dating Agency: Cyrano was the last drama I finished, which was so-so but had really lovable characters. I am still in the middle of watching some slightly older dramas, Padam Padam and I Need Romance (finished the 2nd season which was lovely, only getting to the first now).

I also have this little Japanese drama which I'm praying is watchable - Boku To Star No 99 Nichi. Though anything with Kim Tae Hee is NOT promising! It does however have Nishijima Hidetoshi, who was absolutely spellbinding in Sayonara Itsuka which had some truly memorable lines. The movie itself (Sayonara Itsuka) was bittersweet and for some, might require a degree of patience.

Some of its more memorable lines by the lead actress:

"To live is to be ready to say goodbye,

For loneliness is a friend who will not betray.
Shiver not in the pouring love, instead buy an umbrella.
Believe not in happiness,
even in the passions of love…
Confess not your love,
even if you would die for it.
For love is like a season;
It comes and goes to decorate life’s boredom.
The moment you call it Love,
it melts away like an ice sculpture…
Goodbye, Someday.
Happiness lasts not forever;
as despair lasts not forever.
One day you will need to say ‘goodbye’,
Just like how you said ‘hello.’
At death,
some look back on being loved;
while some look back on having loved…
I shall look back on having loved…"

Sappy stuff but for some reason I was transfixed. Maybe because the scenery and art direction was just. So. Pretty! Highly recommended for a slow-burning romance that spans for a number of years. I really wish I had the time to do a proper review for this! Alas.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Game of Thrones: Dark Wings Dark Words

One of my most favorite scenes in Game of Thrones S03E02: Dark Wings Dark Words is where Talisa sits down to have a word with Catelyn Stark who is busy making a prayer wheel for the Faith of the Seven. The gravity with which Lady Stark voices out her remorse (with a hint of stubbornness)  is absolutely compelling. Michelle Fairley was brilliant here!

Talisa Maegyr: May I help you, Lady Stark?
Catelyn Stark: No.
Talisa Maegyr: I'm sorry, I shouldn't have...
Catelyn Stark: You can't help because a mother makes one
[a prayer wheel]
Catelyn Stark: for her children to protect them. Only a mother can make them.
Talisa Maegyr: You've made them before?
Catelyn Stark: Twice.
Talisa Maegyr: Did they work?
Catelyn Stark: After a fashion. I prayed for my son Bran to survive his fall. Many years before that, one of the boys came down with the pox. Maester Luwin said if he made it through the night, he'd live. But it would be a very long night. So I sat with him all through the darkness, listened to his ragged little breaths, his coughing, his whimpering.
Talisa Maegyr: Which boy?
Catelyn Stark: Jon Snow. When my husband brought that baby home from the war, I couldn't bear to look at him, didn't want to see those brown stranger's eyes staring at me. So I prayed to the gods "Take him away, make him die". He got the pox and I knew I was the worst woman who ever lived. A murderer. I'd condemned this poor, innocent child to a horrible death all because I was jealous of his mother, a woman he didn't even know! So I prayed to all Seven Gods "Let the boy live. Let him live and I'll love him. I'll be a mother to him. I'll beg my husband to give him a true name, to call him Stark and be done with it, to make him one of us".
Talisa Maegyr: And he lived?
Catelyn Stark: "And he lived. And I couldn't keep my promise. And everything that's happened since then, all this horror that's come to my family... it's all because I couldn't love a motherless child.


Can't wait till the last episode of this season where she will probably be reanimated after the Red Wedding as Lady Stoneheart, which is gonna be batshit crazy.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Variety: We Got Married Global Edition

 Variety programs are fun! None as entertaining recently as We Got Married (Global Edition). I do love an episode of Running Man and 2 Days 1 Night from time to time but I find that the one I can't bear to miss every week is WGM! The Korean version never really interested me except when they had superstar couples like the Adam's couple (Jo-kwon/Ga-in), Lee Jang-woo/T-ara's Eun-jung, Lee Teuk/Kang So-ra, Jung Yong-hwa/Seo-hyun and Nichkun/Victoria.

What kind of show is We Got Married you might ask? This might come across as pretty cheesy, I couldn't wrap my head around the concept either circa the pilot season with Alex & Shin Ae. The show pairs up Korean celebrities and shows them a bit of what married life is like.Each week the couple is given missions to complete and you get to see them in candid interviews, talking about feelings.

One might argue that Nichkun and Victoria were probably the first ever global edition couple since they are Thai and Chinese respectively. Producers paid attention when they turned out to be one of the most popular couples. In the current show, we have Fujii Mina (most popular for her appearance in a TVXQ music back when they were still relevant) paired with FT Island's Hong Ki and 2PM's Taecyeon paired up with Taiwanese star Gui Gui.

The show is amusing so far with Hong Ki and Fujii Mina always being really shy and sweet with each other. I had a few laugh-out-loud moments with Taec/Gui Gui because that woman is hilarious and Taec somehow puts up with it. It's something you have to watch to really understand. At first I thought the couples look mismatched somehow during the press conference.

Catch it on ONE HD every Friday at 7.45pm. They usually show last week's episode first and the current week's episode later. If you don't have Astro's Beyond HD, their official Youtube channel also airs clips of each episode. Mind you, these are edited and shortened, sadly.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Good Reads: Warm Bodies

I'm in a rush so as much as I would like to do a long and detailed review on this book, I don't have the time to dissect it piece by piece and I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone who has not read the book or watched the movie. Besides, there's plenty of reviews to be found online and the testimonial alone on the book cover should be enough to inspire you to read it. It's not even a thick book, a few hours should do the trick but I like to make the story last longer by reading it slowwwly.

Tapped as the zombie version of Twilight, this book is more than that and there's a lot of heart beneath the grimy mess of brains and rotting flesh. Both movie and book have their own appeal, the plots differ slightly but in the end, are basically the same. The movie's plot is somewhat watered down for its mostly young audience but both main leads did a terrific job! If you're debating whether to watch The Host or Warm Bodies first, I would say Warm Bodies. It's the better adaptation to the big screen. But watch both. Because I did!!!

Music Time: Akdong Musician - I Love You

Was initially planning on tacking this music post to any of my other blogposts but decided that Akdong Musician needs a post to themselves! These charming siblings that won Kpop Star this year have come out with their first music video, starring Lee Hyun Woo (highly approve their choice in actor!). I Love You is also the soundtrack to Lee Min Jung's political drama, All About My Romance. You can watch the MV below. Enjoy! :)

(Upcoming Drama) Dating Agency: Cyrano


I did wonder if Soo Young (SNSD) has that something that Park Shin Hye seems to have. Like they must have saved their nation in their past life because they seem to work with a lot of my favorite actors! Then I remembered that Lee Jong Hyuk and Lee Chun Hee are both well and truly married. Family men at that too. It only makes me feel a little better though. And I would murder for her dress in the picture above. Except that it would look a little ridiculous on me so maybe I would just stare longingly at it on a clothes hanger.

TVN has been having a winning streak with romcoms lately. All kinds of fuzzies happen! Particularly loved I Need Romance 2 and Flower Boy Next Door. Dating Agency: Cyrano starts airing end of this month! I think I might be tuning in! :D

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Harder Than You Think


Music Time: ONE OK ROCK!

I suppose my friends may have seen this post coming for sometime now. I have been borderline obsessed with ONE OK ROCK after listening to their song The Beginning which was utilized as the song that plays in the credits of the live action Rurouni Kenshin movie, which is highly recommended by the way! I have watched the movie at least 4 times! Fans of the Samurai X movie may love this movie more than others (understandably). Anyway, as this post is about OOR, I will refrain from rambling too much about the Kenshin movie.

OOR is a Japanese rock band that was formed in 2005 after Toru, then a highschooler, decided to form a rock band. Together with Ryouta, they then brought in Taka as the vocalist (who was rather hilariously, an ex-member of Jpop boyband, NEWS). Tomoya replaced Koyanagi Yu as drummer, who went on to be an actor instead. Not that it was a bad choice. I loved Koyanagi's portrayal of Chiba in Yankee-kun to Megane-chan! Originally they debuted as a 5-piece rock band but Eurasian guitarist, Alex, left the group in 2009 after his *cough* train scandal.

I love their sound and Taka's ability to do slow ballads and rock songs at the same time. My favourite song picks at this moment in time would be The Beginning, Clock Strikes, Be The Light, Keep It Real, My Sweet Baby and C.h.a.o.s.m.y.t.h.! They also collaborated with Simple Plan for a special version of Summer Paradise! Check out their music videos at their Youtube channel!

Taka is especially popular in South Korea for his friendship with FT Island frontman, Lee Hong Ki. I also love OOR's crazy poses in front of the camera. They seem completely unable to take normal photos. I really dig their brand of quirky!

More crazy photos after the jump!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Currently watching: ATARU (2012)

Will do a proper review on Ataru as soon as I am done with the series and SP. This one is just going to be a short intro to the wonderful and wacky world of Ataru! Am currently hooked on this and my drama geek sisters are half in love with the lovable Ataru/Chokozai! He is acted by Masahiro Nakai (SMAP) who believe it or not, is 41 years old this year! This drama also stars Kuriyama Chiaki (Battle Royale, Battle League in Kyoto) and Kitamura Kazuki (Team Medical Dragon 2, Galileo).

The summary from the broadcast station (TBS) is as follows:

Ataru, who suffers from "savant syndrome," has the power to discover, observe, see through, and deduct microscopic evidence of unsolved cases. Why does he always go to the criminal sites? What explains his strange behavior? His sad past will be revealed as the story unfolds.

An explosion occurs at a chemical factory, leaving one person dead. The investigation team concludes that it is merely an accident, but Ebina Maiko has her doubts. When she goes to the site again, she finds a man who introduces himself as "Chokozai." After blurting out a series of words that Maiko cannot understand, he suddenly falls asleep. Maiko decides to look up the meaning of these words. She is taken aback when she discovers that when put together, these words provide the key to solving the case.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Guba's "Aku Pergi" Music Video

I am completely unable to stop listening to this song at the moment! When did Sabahan singers get so good? Guba or Gabriel Robert Rawantas writes his own music and debuted last year under Laguna Records.

This one in particular is my favorite:

How much do I love that he seems to be a cat person? I hope he'll continue to make good music for many years to come.

Also recommended: A Beauty Company (feat. Diana Danielle)

Thursday, March 07, 2013


Keep our people and law enforcement safe from those who wish us harm.

May God bless us all in the coming days.

"Make love, not war."

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Music Time: Ok Bah Kalau Kau

Let's end February with something a little different! I don't usually do this but a Sabahan song has caught my attention this time. The song is called Ok Bah Kalau Kau (Okay If It's You) by Enoch Cosmic (also Aki Nabalu). The song is about forgiving someone for almost anything just because that person is special to the other. I think. Very simple lyrics and quite nice on the ears, although it sounds a Tapi ok bah kalau kau... :)


Meski pun itu suatu pedoman,
meski pun kau tahu tapi kau buat alasan,
ok bah kalau kau...

meski pun ini semua terjadi,
suatu hari ku tahu kau akan insafi,
ok bah kalau kau...

meski pun itu suatu tragedi,
meski pun kau tahu tapi kau tak peduli,
meski pun itu satu memori bahagia..

meski pun itu satu melodi,
meski pun kau tahu tapi kau lupa diri,
meski pun ini bukan fantasi bahagia..

ok bah kalau kau...

Verse 2:
meski pun itu satu cobaan,
meski pun kau tahu pasti kau lakukan,
ok bah kalau kau..

meski pun ini semua terjadi,
sekelip mata saja ku kau hindari,
ok bah kalau kau..


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Short Story By A 16-year-old Me

Stumbled on this short story written when I was sixteen after the story came to me when I was going about the business of falling asleep. Here it is, in all its raw glory (with some minor corrections), dated 19th June 2004.

Blue Eyes
The sun had gone down and the moon had replaced it in the sky, laying rest its gentle moonbeams one particular hillside. Under the branches of a willow tree, a man lay lazily stretched out on the sweet-smelling grass. It had been a long day at work and his tie was in his pocket and he was staring dejectedly at the sky. His house was some ways down the hill but he wasn't yet ready to face his hectic household. It was then that it him, right on his cheek.
Rubbing his sore cheek, he picked up whatever it was and peered closely at it. The object was hard and smooth but oddly enough, it glowed as bright as the moon that night. Of all the rocks he had come across, none was quite as strange as this one.
As he pondered on it, he realized with a start that someone was sitting on the grass next to him. He turned slowly and met the pale blue eyes of a little girl. Everything about her seemed out of the ordinary, from her misty pale blue eyes to her old-fashioned frock. Was it a trick of the light or was her hair pale blue too? Her expression was solemn while his was mingled with surprise and wonder.
The girl stared at him intently before slowly holding her hand out pleadingly. The man understood what she wanted but was reluctant to part with his new found treasure. He clutched at the object as tightly as he could.  Glancing back at her, he detected an air of sadness about her.
Slowly, he placed his precious object into the palm of her hand. He didn't have the faintest idea why he did it but felt glad when she smiled gratefully at him. Almost at once, a swirly blue mist engulfed the willow tree and after it cleared, there was nothing. The man looked all around him but all he could see was the willow tree and a firefly whizzing above his head.
Dismissing the scene before him, pretending it never happened seemed like the right thing to do. With a shrug, he bent down to pick up his hat and suitcase. As he walked down the hill, he wondered if he had been working too much lately. Halfway down the hill, he stopped in his tracks. He looked over his shoulder at the firefly glowing brightly among the branches of the willow tree. His face broke into a smile and he strode off towards his home, whistling a happy tune and a spring in his step.

Afterthought: It's a tacky title, I know. I don't think I am capable of writing normal stories where nothing out of the ordinary happens. Much as I love Jeffrey Archer and his stories, they just feel too real to me. Why not embellish it a little like Edward Bloom?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lee Je Hoon to Belt Some Notes for Paparotti!

How cute is this piece of news? Everybody's favorite actor gone for military service, Lee Je Hoon, is acting as a gangster who wants to sing! Jang Ho (Lee Je Hoon) has a talented voice, but because of his poor family background, he became a gang member. Nevertheless, Jang Ho still likes to sing and desperately wants to become a singer. He enlists the help of Sang Jin (Han Suk Kyu) who used to be a well regarded performer in Italy, but is now a music teacher at a local high school in a small city. He's not the most passionate of teachers. Kang So Ra plays Sook Hee, a classmate who has a crush on Jang Ho. 

This movie is based on the true story of Kim Ho Joong, who first appeared on Korean TV Show, Star King, on July 18, 2009. During the program, Kim Ho Joong surprised people with his vocal abilities and also made people cry because of his back ground story. He grew up as a troubled kid who joined gangs, but because of his grandmother he began to sing in earnest. Stills and the trailer can be found below! 

The guy this movie was inspired by - Kim Ho Joong

Sunday, February 17, 2013

J-dorama: Orange Days (2004)

Picked up this drama a week ago after I realized it was sitting in my hard disk. I have heard of this drama and it seems to have achieved cult status with lovers of this genre. It should have been right up my alley but since I mostly watch kdramas, I didn't have a lot of time for jdoramas. I discovered that it is quite a charming drama that most university graduates or students on the brink of graduation can relate to. The screenshot above pretty much captures the dilemma of these university students.

For starters, Dramawiki tells me that Kai Yuuki (Satoshi Tsumabuki) is in his senior year at university studying social welfare psychology. At present, he is in the middle of job-hunting season. He is finding it difficult with no job offers so far. One day, he meets a girl who is playing violin in the campus. She is Sae Hagio (Kou Shibasaki). In marked contrast to her beautiful tone and attractive looks, her personality is somewhat impertinent. And to top it off, she communicates through very vulgar sign language. Four years ago, she lost the most important thing for a violinist - her hearing. As a result Sae closed off her inner self from the outside world. Kai finds himself on a date with Sae, in place of his best friend. Unexpectedly, he comes into contact with Sae's private side. Love, job-hunting, friendship... Setting a campus in spring as a dorama's backdrop, it's the start of a glittering youth drama. 

Things I love about this drama:

The close bond between the friends! Lovely to see Kou Shibasaki in this, she's a very talented actress. I even watched Battle Royale just to check out what was her breakout role. It was an eye-opener and I loved it! Satoshi Tsumabuki is so easy on the eyes (his smile! *swoon*), he can be listed as one of my fave Japanese actors along with Osamu Mukai, Nino, Yamapi, Shun Oguri, Sousuke Takaoka, Koike Teppei, Eita, Abe Hiroshi and Takayuki Yamada! I also like how it's not just another Slice Of Life jdorama and more of a simple romcom. No trace of suicide/bullying/terminal disease that is so rampant in dramas these days. I think what makes this drama stand out is also the use of sign language! A lot of the drama's big moments is communicated in silence with subtitles but you can 'feel' every gesture they make because of how the actors emote. 

Another big plus is Eita! Love this actor in everything he does, truly. Hiroki Narimiya is hilariously acting as a university student here when he acted in the far more recent Yankee-kun to Megane-chan as a high school student. Brief appearances by Yamada Yu and Ueno Juri have me scratching my head because they have a lot of star power these days! Miho Shiraishi as Akane is a rock for Sae and I'm glad Sae has a friend like her around. I also love the length of this drama which is both good and bad because it's short (at 11 episodes). 

Favourite moments:

  • The end of episode 1. Completely shoujo-esque but not in a cheesy way. Knew I had to keep watching.
  • Vacation scene with the Orange Society! Shanghai Honey by Orange Range is now burned into my mind.
  • Beach scene with Kai and Sae.
  • Bus scene where Sae is saying goodbye in the rear window. Sign language can be really convenient!
  • Graduation. 

Since I will be suffering from Orange Days withdrawal for the next few days, I'm going to be watching Dororo the movie (2007) in the not-too-distant future. It stars both Shibasaki Kou and Tsumabuki Satoshi as well as Eita!

Till we meet again!
Five stars for Orange Days!!