Archive for the “real life” Category

I suppose I should explain my lengthy absence.

Originally, it was indeed that I had encountered what I assume was burnout: I felt that trying to find something to say about everything was starting to pall, and I started procrastinating on actually updating the blog. I still liked to watch and enjoy anime, but maintaining a blog about it was tedious and troublesome. I found myself wishing that I could just wish the words in my head to appear, correctly-spelled and grammatically coherent, on the screen, without having to go through the keyboard and finding a suitable picture and whatnot.

So burnout it was; no big deal, and I could always take a break and come back later. If I ended up not coming back, well, at least I had something of a good run.

Besides, I was trying to pick up a job. I set a goal for myself: when I got a job, I would start posting on this blog again. If I got my interest in blogging back earlier, well and good, but the best case scenario was that I would start blogging again when I became a productive member of society.

Things started looking up after a few months. I had a few blog posts worked out in concept, and an inadvertant break in anime-watching made me realize that I really did miss anime when I wasn't watching. I was on track to start blogging again, starting perhaps with a series of rambling posts on the whole Touhou thing. I was feeling kind of upbeat about this whole blogging deal, and if I started blogging early before actually getting a job (which I did get, in the end), well, so be it.

And then my father had a stroke.

He didn't make it.

It's been a few more months since then. I'm still kind of picking up the pieces here, in the sort of way when I don't actually feel like doing any picking-up of anything. I don't know when something will set me off, or when I'll be watching something and enjoying it and then a tiny little voice inside my head cuts through: "Glad to see you're enjoying yourself. By the way, your father's dead."

I don't know what that will mean for this blog. I keep thinking that I should try to update it anyway: life goes on, right? But the rational approach doesn't seem to help when I pop my head out of my room to ask my father about some clarification of a random tidbit of general knowledge, only to remember just a few moments too late. Sometimes, when commuting, I get great ideas for blog posts that I make notes about, intending to write them when I get home.

And then I come home and remember and I don't feel like writing anymore.

So, in all, I don't know what's going to happen. Maybe I'll post some stuff now and again; maybe not. I'm trying to tell myself that it's okay for me to start to enjoy things again, to have a normal life. It's not easy, but sometimes I can even forget that I can't have any more enthusiastic conversations with my father about blogging the latest Japanese restaurant that opened nearby, or the convenience of my smartphone, or the latest trends in computer hardware, or indeed about anything else. It's anime; it's meant to be entertainment. It's okay.

It's okay.

This post was written because several people have asked me why I haven't updated my anime blog. I never know what to say then; they ask me the question in a jovial tone, and I try to remember that every teasing remark or misunderstanding is not actually malicious. The honestly-curious or honestly-concerned questions are even worse, since I know they expect a simple answer like "well, just burnout" or something, and I don't want to bring the mood down even more by mentioning the real reason, leaving everyone just standing around looking awkwardly at each other.

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Azusa in stockings.

Since Santa presumably knows everything you've done like some kind of more efficient Wikileaks, it is comforting to imagine that turnabout is fair play.

I've been somewhat out of touch these past few weeks due to various circumstances, which will likely not resolve themselves anytime soon. There's generally that subtle but annoying difference between having enough free time snatched out of the spaces between Doing Other Stuff, and having enough free time in large enough blocks to seriously get down to working on what I should be working on.

In other words, don't expect any reliable updates until the end of the year. And possibly a bit beyond.

On another note, I've been inadvertantly increasing my presence on Danbooru, mainly through trying to find suitable images for various blog posts. I'd like to upgrade my account for increased flexibility in searching terms (the basic Two Search Terms Only is a little stifling), but there doesn't seem to be much on how to go about doing this. Do I just send an exploratory email to the address listed or something? Is there some kind of form that needs to be filled out? Or perhaps a form letter that hasn't been put up on the FAQ yet? Fushigi mystery.

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Merchandise found at STGCC.

As anyone who might be following the Animenauts Twitter feed will definitely be aware of by now, considering how much I spam that feed, I just came back from the Singapore Toys, Games, and Comics Convention.

Most of the day was spent at the NUS talks held at the second-floor conference room, where papers on various aspects of anime were presented.

Upside, there's plenty of food for thought, particularly in the realm of fandom motivations. Downside, I have no idea how I can turn these hastily-taken notes into something resembling a coherent post.

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The first day, at least.

Too tired to post anything substantial. Go here.

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At the World Cosplay Summit Singapore (Round 1) today, at West Coast Plaza for a tangential purpose, I had an entertaining time explaining the concept of a cosplayer cosplaying as a cosplayer.

Konata-as-Haruhi is a pretty common sight at anime-related events these days. I welcome this, because I find such meta-cosplay fascinating.

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(Actual Anime Festival Asia-related stuff here.)

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I Am Media

I had a long post planned out, but circumstances and the demons of technology have conspired against my posting it. Therefore, this report shall have to do.

What is not shown there are the myriad photos of us wandering around the festival, before it is a festival. We have witnessed a sort of prepatory state. (Also not shown: the buffet lunch we may or may not have intruded on. And the bit where, by pained expressions of abject embarrassment and lots of bowing apologetically, I managed to convey the idea of These Noodles Are Good to Mr. Mamoru Hosoda, director for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars.)

Pictures are appended without commentary or editing. There shall be no commentary this time; not if I want to remain in any sort of useful shape for tomorrow.

Every picture inside was taken by Kindaichi17, co-blogger for AnimeNauts. Every one of these seventy photos.

Now you know.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Apparently tomorrow is Anime Festival Asia 2009. I do not blame you if you do not navigate a great portion of the site, since, coding aside, the thing is not particularly user-friendly. It's a very busy site, full of flashing and pulsating signs; the sort of site one tends to feel inexplicably sullied after visiting, and making sure that one's anti-virus is up to date.

My curious lack of enthusiasm can be traced back to my previous posts on the 2008 version, where I rail in my typical passive-aggressive and inevitably futile way against conventions made For Fans, By Companies, which end up turning into a merchandise display, without anything for the fans to do other than Buy Stuff. This may have been intentional.

Nevertheless, I will still be attending AFA09, this time with something resembling a media pass, except for that murkily ill-defined area of "online journalism". Since bloggers in general are not entitled to said media passes, I can only assume that more is expected of me. I may have taken a Step Up, but the added responsibility is crushing me back down.

Before you ask, no, the media pass is not for this blog. It is for another. I may crosspost, or at least cross-link the report.

And yet, to get the new site acknowledged as a legitimate "online journalism" site, the webmaster of the New Site needed site hit numbers. Which were obtained from this blog's WordPress Stats.

There may or may not be some form of irony here.

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A Long-Expected Party.

As I grow farther away from what is known as the Youth Market, I realize that technically I should not be as obsessed with all these things which are meant to appeal to a target audience about a decade younger than I. Still, I react to that assertion with the sort of indifference which marks either acceptance or escapism: being grown-up does not bring with it maturity as much as greater disposable income.

I realize that I'm certainly not the oldest anime fan around, or even near to that qualification. I am still in the generation of Newfangles, and our Snappers are Whippered. I have had occasion to hastily remove myself from a surprising variety of virtual lawns.

And yet, it is a minor shock to realize that it is possible for a young anime fan to ask me "so how long have you been watching anime?", and thanks to a relatively early start, I can honestly reply "longer than you've been alive". (If you're wondering: counting only the time I was aware that it was anime and not just a random cartoon, about fourteen to fifteen years; I forget exactly.)

Anime fans above the target age of the Youth Market tend to have a certain reputation, deserved or otherwise: curmudgeonly and crotchety, liable to express views along the lines of "in my time". To be fair, this applies to more or less every community that is predominantly under the age of 25: I've seen it in all sorts of situations, and the flamewars start to look the same after a while. I suppose this is also something that comes with age, in the sense that it is more rightly associated with experience; age merely provides more time for this experience to happen in.

But age seems to be of great concern in certain discussions, especially in touchier situations. I have been told that my habit of rambling on in complete and complex sentences is a sign of some elemental concept of Maturity lacking in Young People These Days. Few people seem to believe me when I point out that I've always communicated like this on the Internet, ever since I found out about the Internet in the first place. (Which was, incidentally, around the time I discovered anime as anime. Figuring out what these strange cartoons were categorized under helped immensely.) I'm not sure how it happened; it just turned out that way.

Conversely, I've also been accused of being far younger than I am, or at least more immature. I cannot comprehensively dispute the "immature" label, since it's not something I can self-diagnose, but the chronological aspect is easily disproven. From context, it appears that I am part of the Newbie group entirely because I like current anime. These anime are not targeted at my age group, I admit; perhaps this is why I am assumed to be of the age the anime are targeted towards.

It's a little odd to make such assumptions, I think. After all, just because I like Card Captor Sakura doesn't make me a ten-year old girl, as novel as that would be.

A common analogue I've seen would be a certain sort of gamer decrying people who like Final Fantasy 7 or later, claiming that they Have Not Experienced Better. They point to the Super Nintendo era as the True Classics; seeing as I started gaming on the old Nintendo Game And Watch and Atari 2600, I think I may be misunderstanding the criteria for "True Classic". I like Final Fantasy 6 more than Final Fantasy 7, but I still like Halo more than Doom. When people say "remember the time when games were better than today's" I have to honestly reply "no, I don't remember, sorry."

Nostalgia is perfectly acceptable, and reminiscing about stuff I've seen before in happier times is not an activity that is inherently deplorable. However, saying that they are objectively better because of their age, occuring in some sort of Golden Age of Anime, is simply incoherent and bizarre. I recognize that the whole "moe" thing may not last, and if everything swings towards a Darker and Edgier and Angstier style, I'd probably stick to my happy shiny fluffy moe bishoujo harem comedies. But that is preference by genre, not by age, except by coincidence.

After all, it's not like I can claim Ranma 1/2 to have any objective superiority to To-Love-Ru.

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From the Hidamarble song collection booklet.

For some reason, once you become an established blogger who does okay-ish in terms of site hits, nowhere near the Big Guys but still kind of ego-boosting, a great many people start wanting to recruit you into their blogs.

I'm not entirely certain why. Maybe it has something to do with having developed your own style, or showing that you actually know how to spell, or something along those lines. Why I was not so scouted a few years back when I was blogless (well, I had and still have a Livejournal, but it's more for slice-of-life) is a mystery.

I turn these invitations down. The chief, primary, and overriding reason is because I have enough trouble writing my requisite posts on this blog, much less come up with something new and different for someone else's. It's the time factor, mostly: so many things are happening in Real Life that require my attention, largely because they tie kind of directly into being able to eat, preferably while watching anime with an Internet connection. I have this chunk of hobby time which looks substantial, but quickly gets consumed by all sorts of things, mostly due to stuff I agreed to do during the less hectic times. They're still technically hobbies, but being responsible for them turns them into obligations which I have to do, whether I continue enjoying them or not.

Blogging about a subject in general takes up more time than simple typing speed would indicate. For one thing, I have to keep up with both the anime I want to blog about, and the anime that everyone else is blogging about, and the anime that may or may not be blog-worthy. (These may be the same thing.) While I am doing so, I also have to find something to say about them, rather than the usual "eh, it's good" or "eh, it's not good".

Other stuff like GamerS I treat as a test of my improvisational abilities. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. So it goes.

All this has left me surprisingly little time for my other hobbies; I've been meaning to continue my long-abandoned Card Captor Sakura fanfic, but unless I can justify it by posting it in instalments on this blog (which I doubt will be welcome by anyone), it will have to wait. And then there's the whole genderbending thing to work on, sometime.

I mention all this not to whine, but… well, maybe just to whine a little. But the original intention was to illustrate why I always seem to be posting Things Of No Substance every week, both sometime on Saturday evenings.

I have also received a rather more compelling offer to write for another anime blog; the extra compulsion is because the offer was extended by Real Life friends. In the fevered contemplation that ensued, I was wondering what the reactions here would be if I moved all my standard anime reviews there, and kept the "side" stuff like the CCS episode summaries and Nanoha GamerS here. I could link or crosspost the review-type stuff back here, as a lazy shortcut. There shall be the place for the more respectable face of anime blogging (relatively speaking); I am quite certain that nobody else on the Internet is going to want to host these weird screenshot comics of questionable legality.

Knowing these guys in Real Life and interacting with them on a regular basis allows for some extra accountability: if someone seems to be slacking off, we can commence with the "wtf mate" and smacking each other upside the head, like a peculiarly injokey Stooge troupe.

Honestly, what I'd really like is a year off from all obligations, so I can work on what I want to, when I want to. There's a zillion stories I want to write, but life is not so easy. I should have called this an anime and creative writing blog. I'm still tempted to do so, but the decision never seems to stick, especially in the cold light of dawn.

Time shall tell how it will all end.

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