Atarashii NEWS!

Today is a sad day for me, as I've just read about the parting of ways for 2 members of NEWS, that is YamaP and Ryo-chan.

But it is also a hopeful period as now that the status of NEWS have been confirmed as a 4 person group, that they will move forward and bring happiness to their fans again by more appearances, singles and albums in the coming months and year.

To Yamapi and Ryo-chan, I wish you all the best in your future endeavours and will still read up about you when I see your news. However, as both your music(individually and in Kanjani8) are not my cup of tea, I will only go that far for you both.

Thank you for 8 wonderful years of being in NEWS and growing together with the group to where they are at now.

Kei-chan, Shige, Tegoshi & Massu, GANBARE!!

Arashi on a group date?!

Recently I watched an earlier episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare where the guests was teaching them things about the
Italian way of life(my grasp of Japanese is almost non-existent, so I could be wrong about the subject).

Anyhow, one of the things being done was a group date with a group of 5 girls. And they played a game that brought back memories for me.

The ten of them(Arashi and the 5 girls) had to play this icebreaker game where one person(chosen in secret) must wink at all the others to put them out of the game. If he/she is caught, then that person loses and gets a punishment.

The game brought me back to my school days because it was one I've played many times during inter-school gatherings. Its a good game as an icebreaker.

I don't want to spoil the show for those who haven't watched it, but Sho was adorable in it! And of course, the rest of the Arashi boys too =)

Some highlights of the show:-

The boots are grumbling?

And because I like Sho, I shall end with him =)

(no subject)

Is it so very difficult to make a change of direction in our careers? In my mind, i have the image of the car I'm driving reaching a T-junction on the road, and I'm at the junction, trying my level best to turn right instead of moving stalwartly forward, but the gears are not co-operating, the traffic on the opposite is not letting me through and the policeman by the side of the road is giving me the evil eye.

I wonder how those people who made the decision to drastically change their career path did it? How did they manage to successfully venture into a new path and convince people of their skills and determination?

Maybe it is all about the determination coming through in the way they carry themselves into the situation and how they express themselves as well. If I were to reflect on my actions in comparison, I think I'm not so passionate, and have so far just given a sub-par impression. Probably that is why the feedback haven't been that good.

Well, tomorrow is another battle to fight and another obstacle to overcome. Wish me luck!

Death Note cute!!

I just got myself two nendoroid petits(mini figurines that's got big face and small bodies) of the two character in Death Note 1..and they're so cute!! I wanna share the pics which were taken for the cute!!(i know, i know, I'm repeating myself..haha..)

Misa from Death Note - 01   
Misa looking elegant

L from Death Note -01  
L..and what's that there? Wings?

L & Misa 
The both of them together..not! And spotted : a halo on L's head!

Misa - 02  
Profile shot of cute!

L - 02  
L, with wings and he in heaven?

Futatsu no Spica Episode 2

At the end of episode 1, Asumi was told by Sano-sensei that she will never make it to space as her father was the one who caused the crash of the Japan's first spaceship, The Lion, which killed everyone in the ship and those people who were nearby when the spaceship fell from the sky. Classes continue with a test for swimming with clothes on. Unfortunately, that is not Asumi's strong point. There is a funny scene when all involved had to have their body measurements taken for the fitting of the spacesuit. The measurements were loudly announced by the staff who was doing the measurements. Those who were waiting beyond the privacy screen were all laughing at Omi when she pleaded that her measurements to not be announced.

Ukita have started viewing Asumi as her rival and declared her intentions to never be beaten by her. Shu is seen sleeping again and they gang can't believe that he is the top of his class as he never is seen studying.

Ukita's mom visited the school to inform them that one person from the class who has the best results will be given the chance to go to NASA.

It's the time for the parent-teacher meet and Asumi's father has been called to the meeting. However, in the flashback, its shown that her father opposed her decision on entering the space school. As such, Asumi is unsure if her father will attend the meeting.

The next day, the swimm
ing practice continued. As Omi was swimming her lap, her foot cramped. Asumi immediately jumped into the pool to save her. Ukita, was watching all this with a frustrated look on her face. Later, in class, she nonchalantly informed Asumi on the correct method to save a drowning person. Omi got fired up with Ukita's condescending tone and both got into a fight again. Asumi suddenly stated that it is not possible for a person to go to space on his/her ownself. Sano-sensei entered the class at that moment and again announced that the person who keeps thinking of "cooperation" and "friendship" will never be able to go to space, that everyone must think of their classmates as rivals.

Omi was walking back after class and suddenly spotted Shu working in a grocery shop. The shop owner spotted her and teased her for being Shu's girlfriend. Shu didn't comment and just gave her a can of drink, while putting his index finger on his lips, clearly indicating " keep this a secret between us". Omi smiled while looking at the drink.

The group was discussing on dividing some of Asumi's laps between the rest of them, in order that Asumi will don't have to shoulder the burden too much. However, Ukita stood up and said that she has no intention of shouldering other people's burden and that she will need to take care of herself.

In the parent-teacher meet, Asumi was sitting with her instructor, waiting for her father, who was late. She seem already resigned to her father not appearing when her father walked through the door. The meeting proceeding smoothly. Later, while walking outside the school with her father, Asumi blurted out the question that have been plaguing her, on whether her father is really the on who killed the crew of The Lion. Her father admitted it. When Asumi asked if her remembered her promise to him that she will take him to space when she's grown up, he clearly remembered but lied to her that he have forgotten. Asumi was dejected by the answer. Ukita, who watched the conversation from the distance noticed Asumi's sad face.

Asumi was in the planetarium watching the stars and enjoying the crackers given by her father. When the lights came up,Asumi started clapping in delight at the show. the guy Asumi met the other time(Mukai Osamu-his character haven't been formally introduced, so I'm keeping in line with that) couldn't help laughing at her antics. They began talking and he saw that Asumi was looking depressed so he tried to cheer her up with a story. Asumi's spirits lifted a little after the exchange.

The next day, while on the after a run, Fuchuya told Ukita a little bit on the background of Asumi and why she is so driven to go to space. He told her about Asumi's father fault in the crash of "The Lion" spaceship and the death of her mother from that crash, on how difficult it was for Asumi's father to have to shift from the feelings of a perpetrator to that of a victim.

Later that day, Ukita caught Asumi practicing her swimming alone in the pool. Suddenly, she noticed Asumi drowning and immediately jumped in to save Asumi. While in the process of saving her, Ukita had to pull onto Asumi's shoulders and that caused a slight injury to Asumi's shoulders.

When they were both out and cleaned up, Asumi tried to comfort and encourage Ukita with a story to tell Ukita indirectly that she is not alone, that she has friends around her supporting her on. In return, Ukita affirmed Asumi's dreams of going to space, and encourage her to not be bothered by other people's expectations or obstacles.

The day of the swimming competition arrived. The team decided thus, Sho and Fuchuya will swim 250m, Asumi and Omi will do 150m and Ukita will do the original 200m.
The race starts.
They got a head start and was doing well until Asumi's turn came. Due to the shoulder injury that she got during practice, she was not able to really swim well. all her teammates could see that she was struggling to complete her part of the relay. Ukita decided to encourage Asumi on with the swim, to see Asumi's dreams of them all going to space coming true. Ukita jumped into the pool earlier than planned and took over Asumi's laps. Eventhough she managed to catch up on some of the time, their team didn't win the race. Asumi was really sad that she caused their team to lose. however, Ukita declared that though they lost this time, they will win the next competition.

Asumi even declared to Sano-sensei that she won't give up her dream of going to space, that she'll definitely go to space. Ukita also confronted her mother and declared the same intention.

Asumi met Mukai Osamu's character, who's name is Kiryu Haruki. It seems she kind of like him. Fuchuya saw their exchange also suspected something. When Asumi introduced herself to him, he seemed to be particularly interested in her surname, Kamogawa.

In the next scene, we see Asumi's father taking out the paper where Asumi wrote her promise to bring her father to space, meaning that he actually didn't forget. He was visiting a primary school and bump into Kiryu Haruki. That's when we the audience is brought to realize that Kiryu's parents were also a victim of "The Lion's" crash.

Kiryu promised Kamogawa-san that his daughter will never graduate from the astronaut school, that he will never allow for that to happen, because of his parents' lives that were sacrificed in the crash.

Futatsu no Spica Episode 1

Its the year 20xx and Japan had just build their own spacecraft and will be launching it soon. on the day of the launch, a little girl, named Kamogawa Asumi, and her friend, Fuchuya Shinnosuke, were at a festival, and watched the launch from afar. Unfortunately while on its way up to space, the spacecraft burst into flames, killing all aboard.

Ten years later, the little girl is now a high school student, on her way to her first day in school. This is not just any school. Its a Space School, established for the purpose of molding young minds to oneday, maybe, become outstanding astronauts.

Asumi's good friend, Shinnosuke, a guy, also manage to pass the exam to get into the same school. It can be seen right from the beginning that Shinnosuke admires Asumi, and may even like her as more than a friend. They bantered as they walked together to the school.

In the class, there were a small number of students together with Asumi and Fuchuya. Among them are Suzuki Shu, Ukita Marika and Omi Kei.

Straight away, the class teacher taught them a difficult subject, causing many of them to have difficulty catching up to the studies. Equally tough was the physical eds class. That first day, they met the many teachers and special tutors who would be teaching them throughout their schooling there.

While on her way to class, Asumi saw a guy (played by the uber cute Mukai Osamu- love him in AtaDan!) playing with water rockets. She felt a kinship with the guy as she also like to play with water rockets. After chatting a short while with him, Asumi continued on to class.

Omi didn't like Ukita as she felt Ukita was accepted into the school due to her family's connections, and not by her own abilities. When she found out that Asumi was also from such an "influential" family, she began ignoring Asumi.

The next day, the whole class was told that they are going to be given a test. Its team effort where everyone must contribute to the test, otherwise the whole team will fail. In random order, Asumi, Fuchuya, Shu, Ukita and Omi are in the same team.

The test requires that they build a miniature version of a structure that is situation away from the building that they are in. In each instance, only one member can run to view and memorize the structure. Every member can only run once. And there is a time limit to this exercise.

In the beginning, everyone was fighting with each other, especially Ukita and Omi, because Omi was the slowest of the group in a run. Suzuki Shu suddenly suggested that the person with the best eye for perspective should go first. Asumi immediately suggested Omi, as she is an avid photographer, thus having a good eye for pictures and designs. Next, Fuchuya was sent out as he was the one who is good with mechanism, what with having his own motorbike and all.

In the observation room, the teachers and special tutors were watching the interaction and noted that the guy, Shu was clever in phrasing his sentence in order to send out the slower team members. By highlighting each of those two members strengths, he draws attention away from their weakness of being the slower runners in the group.

All this while, Ukita was rearing to have her turn, and when Fuchuya came back with another piece of the structure puzzle, she grab her turn. When she got back to the team room, she quickly continued the assembly, but seeming to change the positions of certain items. immediately, a fight broke out, as Umi and Fuchuya disagreed with her design. While the three of them were fighting, Asumi and Shu tried to figure out the discrepancies. Suddenly Asumi realized that the perspective of their three members were different becasue they were looking at it from different angles.

Quickly, Shu took his turn, running at top speed. Once he got back, they continued building the miniature. Then they hit another snag. There don't seem to be enough pieces, or something like the pieces don't fit perfectly. Time was running out and all the members despaired of ever finishing this test.

Asumi rallied them all with her passion for going into space, and slowly they all backed her up and told her to go for it, to run like the wind. Asumi came back to the room, with just enough time to spare to put the whole miniature together.

Just when they tought they've completed the test succesfully, they were locked in the room and told to provide the pin no. to unlock the door. The pin no. is their room number. All four of them groaned, as none of them noticed the no. on the door as they were running in and out of the room. Asumi came to the reacue again. She proved her knowledge of the stars, constellations and space, by correctly informing them that their room numbers are arranged in the order of the different stars in space.

As they walked out of the building, tired but satisfied that they have successfully completed the test, Umi made peace with Asumi, realizing that Asumi was not the type who would get into the space school base on connections.

My thoughts

I was waiting and waiting for the appearance of Mukai Osamu. I'm real glad that he is in from the first episode of the show.

Ok, enough of the side-track on the show =)

From the beginning, I kinda knew that they would give the first episode over to showcase the heroine's (Asumi's) strengths in the team. But they writes are able to tastefully bring it up, thus not making Asumi seem arrogant or pushy about her abilities. Instead she came on as sweet and sincere in her feelings for her team members and in providing whatever help she could to reach the finishing line.

What I didn't expect was that the writers also highlighted the character of Suzuki Shu. From the first scene, I had already pegged him as the "playboy" of the group, with his laidback attitude, and smiling face. I'm glad to say that my first impression was wrong. He came across as a laidback person, yes, but also a person with good leadership qualities, and a serious side to him that he constantly hides behind the playfulness.

i like this show quite a bit, and wouldn't even mind if there is not even a hint of romance in it. That's because the description of the awesomeness of space travel and the passion that each of the characters seem to potray is already enough to grip me along with the story.

By the way, I've also posted this review in my blog, but i can't help it..I wanna share my very first review on japanese drama with everyone, everywhere!

Discounts on english comics at Kino!

Kinokuniya have been having a discounts special on ALL english comics (grahic novels and mangas) for the whole month of June 2009. They give 20% discounts on english comics, for every other item purchased in the store.

And the offer is ending this coming Tuesday!! I wish I've enough cash to purchase all the books that I'm interested in, but I'm just a working person, earning off of a corporation..sigh..

Christine Feehan - Dark Prince

On Tuesday, I finished my first book by the author Christine Feehan. The book is titled Dark Prince. Its the first book under her Dark series.
Dark Prince, Book 1

Short synopsis

The story is all about vampires, and another race of people called the Carpathians. And before you ask, the vampires are not the main characters( sorry to disappoint!)

Now the Carpathians are not humans, but also not vampires. they drink blood, can live for a very long time, are adverse towards the sun, and prefer the cover of night but they don't kill for the fun of it, and they can shape shift into many different creatures, not just bats. Carpathian males need to find their lifemate, which must be another Carpathian, in order to feel anything ever again. If they give up hope at finding their mate, they will either kill themselves, or else turn into a vampire. This is because they no longer have any feelings, and killing is the closest they can get to feeling anything at all.

The hero of this story is Mikhail, the prince of the Carpathian race and the leader to his people.  He is perilously close to turning into a vampire, and have decided to end his own life before that happens. Unexpectedly, a female psychic heard his thoughts and felt his despair, and intervened before Mikhail could carry through with his decision.

Surprised at the human woman's psychic link to him, Mikhail went in search for her and that's when he realized that she, a human, is his lifemate. How can he know that? That's because for the first time in a very long time, Mikhail is looking out into the world in colour. The woman's name is Raven.

Now, of course, a romance story would not be complete is there is no sexual tension thrown into the picture. That is also another one of the signs that a Carpathian male has found his mate. His sexual appetite, which would have disappeared over the eons, would suddenly return, and in full force.

So it is with Mikhail when he saw Raven. Of course, they had to face a lot of obstacles before they finally got together. Among them is the fact that she is human, while he is almost and immortal. So, there is a struggle on conscience, "should Raven be converted or not?"

Then, there is the threat of the vampires in the life of Mikhail and Raven. You see, the Carpathians are a dying race. This is because there have not been a female infant born into the clan for eons now. So that means they are running out of lifemates for the men in the clan. And as such too, the men are slowly going crazy, turning into vampires and killing themselves.

Anyway, there is the vampire threat, the conversion problem and of course, lots and lots of sexual tension all around between the two leads.

For a happy ending to happen, of course the Carpathians won the day, and love conquered against Mikhail's personal demons(the threat of the vampires, of course! in case you didn't read the above synopsis..hehe..), the decision on the conversion of Raven, and the future of the Carpathians (everyone is putting their hopes in that Raven will conceive a girl for the men of the clan to find as a lifemate~not really a pretty picture. Imagine, their child becoming their friend's wife!~)


The storyline is actually quite interesting as there is much intrigue and chemistry among the characters. However, almost three fourth(3/4) into the book, when the lovebirds have found their connection, I was already waiting for the story to end. I guess for me, the thriller part of the story wasn't engaging enough to pull me along into the whole realm of the story.

The introduction of the various side characters who will of course be having their own stories in the following books under this series are well written. i say this because from just the whole array of the supporting characters, I wasn't able to correctly guess who would be in Book 2. And this keeps the story fresh, because then, even though I'm still not a fan of her books, I will want to pick up the next book in Christine Feehan's Dark series, just to find out who is in the next book.

Now for the main characters. Mikhail is painted as the typical alpha male, and he acts almost like a Neandarthal when he is with Raven, protecting her, surrounding her, stifling her at every turn. Good thing Raven is the (above) average modern woman of the twenty-first century, and doesn't stand for all this testosterone show-play. She stands up to Mikhail at every possible turn and keeps his ego in check. At the same time, Christine Feehan still tries to inject a little fragility into Raven's character. I guess its just natural to do so, since she is after all the female character, and will need to be saved by the hero sometime in the story. I like female characters that have a mind of their own, and the men to be strong and heroic. Just my average, typical love story..haha..

Overall, its an interesting books, with some good twists in the story, and a pretty good build up of the suspense and the sexual energy(the first 2/3 of the story, anyway) between the leads.

If you're a fan of supernatural stories, or vampire-like stories, or alpha male and strong "damsels in distress" stories, then I recommend this book for you. Its a good book to introduce you to Christine Feehan's stories.

Saiunkoku Monogatari

Yesterday night, I was introduced to Saiunkoku Monogatari anime...and absolutely loved it!..well, the 7 episodes I've watched so far.

I especially liked the girl in the story..she is so modern for a character that is supposed to be in the long ago era.

I can't wait to finish downloading the whole Season 1.

I've taken a peek at the story of the Season 2, but it seem like the relationship of Shuurei and Ryuuki didn't blossom at all. how come?! This had kinda deflated my earlier enthusiasm for the story. However, I will continue to follow the Season 1 story and hopefully it will still delight me.

~goes off now to download more episodes~