Saturday, July 29, 2017

Hakone 2017 Part 2

On the way to Gora Park, we stopped by this nice little eatery for my first ever omurice with demiglace sauce.

Gora Park is a tropical park.

Good thing there are still ajisai that have not died yet.

Missed out on this night train passing by illuminated ajisai by a few weeks. :(

Went to Kurata  for dinner. The same Izakaya I went to during my first Japan trip.

The highlight was definitely the sushi. OMFG, so freaking fresh! Its been a long time since I've had sushi and thought OMFG.

The hirekatsu was very meh.

Walking around Hakone at night after dinner.

Did a detour to a nearby jinjya before returning back to Ohmiya ryokan and also restock my cigarettes.

Offerings at the shrine.

Love this shot. Luckily the light is activated by motion sensor.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Second Japan 2K17 trip Part 2: Hakone Part 1

Its been many years since I first went to Hakone...

.. and not much has changed, which is a good thing.

Sign at Hakone Yumoto station announcing this kabutomushi (rhinoceros beetle) and kuwagata (stag beetle) exhibition at Gora Park.

We stayed at Ohmiya ryokan where I had previously stayed before.

Very important to know your bus timetables.

Spectacular view from Motohakone-ko.

I really enjoyed the feeling of being in the clouds.

Going to Hakone jinja which is a short walk away from Motohakone-ko.

Absolutely beautiful.

Taking the boat from Hakonemachi-ko across the lake. We could not take the boat from Motohakone-ko as the weather there was not good.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Second Japan 2K17 Trip Part 1: Wagakki Band Hall Tour 2017 Tokyo International Forum July 21 2017 updated

Just got back from Japan. :( Its was my shortest and yet might be my most fun trip. I was very busy during the trip with no time to blog but let's get straight to Wagakki Band! I had just seen them in February this year and this trip was actually decided upon one month before.

Lined up 4 hours before because I didn't want a repeat of the last concert where they ran out of XL shirts. Nevertheless, the white shirt and sensui (Japanese fan) were sold out and I'm assuming its because they've run out of stock and its the last show of the tour.

The kids section for parents to leave their kids. The cynic in me thought there would hardly be any kids there but it was quite full after the show.

View from our seats on level 2. I really like this concert hall as its more vertical than wide so you can get a better view. Most of the songs in the show were from the newest album and some mainstays in the setlist.

You can see the sold out signs. Really wanted that sensu. :( Being the last show on the tour, there was a lot more talking than usual but the important thing is that they didn't use it to pad the show and use it as an excuse to work less. *cough* Scandal *cough* It ended up being a 2 and a half hour show.

Wagakki Band poster now hanging in my room.

T-shirt from the concert.

 Back of shirt with list of venues during the tour and penlight.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hanzai Shokogun season 2

Oh my freaking stars and garters, the season 2 of Hanzai Shokogun is actually pretty good. Thanks to nanimono for recommending it. Otherwise, I might not have kept watching. Not only is it very good, its so good that finally there is a police jdorama to join the likes holy trinity of Gaiji Keisatsu, Gonzo and Rinjo in the Jdrama hall of excellence.

From the beginning of the first episode when we finally find out Tanihara Shosuke's past, season 2 of Hanzai Shokogun is full of twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. Well, maybe one too many twists but its get quite a few scenes where I'm just holding my breath thinking how happy be actors must be doing such great dialogue.

I love all the characters in season 2 because everyone believes in what they are doing and will do anything to achieve their goals. Every character has pathos and there is no over acting in sight! I don't want to spoil anything but we've seen plenty of doramas about juvenile crime and revenge but never wrapped up in a package that is as exciting and thought provoking as this.

Season 2 is not just better storyline wise although to be fair to season 1, it does set up a lot of season 2 but the WOWOW direction just makes season 2 look so much better. It just looks so much grittier and movie like compared to the meh season 1. Its funny how having different directors can make the acting look very different. If only WOWOW did season 1 as well. Oh, what could have been.

My only complaint is the unnecessary revelation about Watabe Atsuro's character near the end. The storyline and the ending did not need to have it and it just came out of left field and nearly derailed the ending for me.

In the beginning of the year, I was hoping that there would be one more jdorama this year that would be as good as Quartet and season 2 of Hanzai Shokogun is it. I might do a spoiler review later when I have had time to process the four episodes but Hanzai Shokogun absolutely is a must watch and deserves to be subbed.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Blame! review

I have not read the Blame! manga before. I do know that its by the same mangaka as Knights of Sidonia which I enjoyed until it turned into a harem anime. I've considered reading the manga but I read somewhere that the ending is crap so I didn't.

Since I already payed for Netflix to watch Ouja, I decided to give Blame! a go. The movie starts out very confusing and it took a while to wrap my head around what was happening and who the characters were. It doesn't help that Blame! has the Sidonia artstyle where everyone looks the same. I guess its better than a high school animal featuring 20 girls with the same face but different coloured hair.

Blame! is basically your post apocalyptic movie about a village struggling to survive against zombies machines and our lone hero who helps them out. While the story and characters are nothing to write about, I really enjoyed the world building of the movie. There's nothing we've never seen before but Blame! has got its own aesthetics and flavour. I was less concerned with the characters and more interested in the lore of this world.

Blame! the movie feels like the first two hour episode to an epic story and it certainly did its job making me want to read the manga. If you are after more mature anime, Blame! will certainly scratch that itch and I hope Netflix will continue to pump more money into the mature anime genre. Watchable.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Hanzai Shokugun Season 1 Episodes 1-3

Hanzai Shokugun feels like an evil that men do type of series, sort of the distant cousin of Na mo Nai Doku and Petero no Souretsu. The problem I have with the show is that the main character played by Tamayama tetsuji is that he is an ex cop who quit the force because he feels bad about wanting to kill the bastard who murdered his sister.

Yes, you read it right. The main character feels that going into a murderous rage against his sister's killer disqualifies him from being a cop and feels burdened by it. I think anyone would be bothered if he did not fly into a murderous rage instead. Does anyone feel sympathy for such a weak-ass character trait? Is this lame excuse of guilt suppose to build pathos?

Main character aside, I rather like the story of Mimura's character; the unwitting accomplice to a kidnapping scheme cause her character really has pathos unlike the main character who I couldn't give a crap about.

I don't really hate Hanzai Shokugun but I couldn't really finish watching episode 4 about someone switching/fake identities. Maybe I'll come back to it later or maybe I'd just rewatch Na mo Nai Doku. Meh.

I'm losing my jdorama motivation. Need something really good asap. Season 2 is by WOWOW. Maybe I should jump to that instead.