Dec 4, 2015

December 2015

Hey everyone, it's finally December and houses are starting to look twinkly and pretty everywhere!! And look, we almost have 1000 fans on Facebook! Just 46 more and we'll be hitting a milestone! Maybe we should host a contest or a giveaway huh? And to welcome the holiday season, here's a quick festive photo! I know you've missed these little Nendoroids as much I did. Thank you as always!

Nov 17, 2015

Cool Japan Festival 2015

Just when I thought I've had enough of Japanese girl bands and their catchy songs, Team 8 visits Manila and holds a live concert. FOR FREE. And nothing gets you as quickly hooked up on a band like a live concert. FOR FREE. Something about live experiences gets you so wrapped up in the moment and vividly captures all the singing, dancing and cheering in your memory that you start enjoy yourself so much and like the band, even if you weren't a fan at first. The AKB48 handshake event last September proved that first-hand encounters are very impressionable so I wouldn't expect less from Team 8's concert participation.

Team 8 is an unofficial AKB sister group, whose existence is sponsored by Toyota. While the official 48group in whole are "idols you can meet," Team 8 in contrast are "idols who go meet you." Since Team 8 is one of the newer groups, I didn't get to know them because I purposely refrained from getting into the other sister groups like SKE, NMB (there are just too many now!!) But when I learned that they were coming to the Philippines for an event, I decided to go see them because an unofficial AKB concert is better than no AKB concert lol

For your pleasure and to possibly a trap to lure you into the 48G fandom as well, I've attached my videos of the concert. Sorry about the heads--I didn't get to a good position right away. Enjoy the singing and dancing anyway!

There were two sets of the concert and I watched both with my friends. (the people in the background you can clearly hear screaming insanely--that's us lol) After the event, I found a rekindled interest in this distinct girl band. It helped a lot that the songs they sung were old favorites so I found myself listening to the singles once again. Watching Team 8 perform reminded me why I liked AKB48 in the first place.. The girls' unwavering cheerfulness, their passionate energy, their friendships so close and sweet it makes me puke with envy, their humble appreciation for ALL fans and their unlimited amounts of kawaii that probably come from some secret Japanese hot spring is all so intensely contagious that I can't help but want to sing and dance along them and throw buckets of sunshine at other people as well.

I still don't think I'll be as big a fan like the super hardcore fans out there. But AKB48 will still definitely be on my playlist, even only as a small pill of infinite glee on a dull day.

Oct 8, 2015

Jet set in Japan

One of my favorite countries in the world is Japan. I've had the opportunity to finally visit the country last March 2013 with my sister for her Suzuki convention. (read one of my early travel blog entries about it here ^_^) Although my interest in Japan started out childish because of the anime and the music, I grew to love everything else about the country as I learned more about the Japanese culture and history. After my first visit, I was already eager to go back.

If there's something I'm greatly thankful for, it's the opportunities I've had to travel to other countries and visit places not a lot of people can travel to. I was able to go to Japan again this year with my friend vanillux, when she won tickets to Watanabe Mayu's concert. Mayu is a member of the popular Japanese group, AKB48. While I missed AKB events last time in Japan, this time I was able to join their handshake event, which is similar to a meet-and-greet. I'll explain more about this in my next entry.

Japan in September is actually a nice time to visit for foreigners from more tropical countries (like me). The last warmth of summer meets the early chills of a fall, mixing sunny days with refreshing nights. Interestingly, Japan is apparently also another humid Asian country. So if you'll be visiting during that time, wear light and comfortable clothes for the day but bring a jacket or two to keep you warm at night.

For all my 10 days in Japan, these are my top 10 highlights.
  1. AKB48 Handshake
  2. Tachibana
  3. Harry Potter in Universal Studios
  4. Going Around Osaka
  5. Shibuya
  6. One Piece in Tokyo Tower
  7. Pokemon Center in Ikebukuro
  8. The Apartments
  9. Bullet Train to Osaka
  10. The Japanese
Next time, I'll talk more specifically about my experiences in Osaka and my second time around Tokyo. I'll also talk about my AKB experience in more detail. I've taken a lot more pictures of my trip but most are artistic shots, which I won't post here. Instead, you can view them on my Flickr account.

Sep 23, 2015

DOCTOR WHO: Season 9 Countdown, Part 1

Hello everyone! meaches here.

I'm trying hard to get back to monthly (if not weekly) blogging. I'm very busy with the family business but I'm still in the middle of developing my top two projects, the scifi detective manga and the creature-based fantasy collaboration with my sister. I've made a lot of progress with both stories but I don't have anything decent to upload aside from messy sketches. Maybe I'll post them here on the blog too anyway.

That actually means I'm also too busy to do any figurine photography--who misses the Nendoroids? I do!! I tried to make something special for the countdown premiere of Doctor Who Season 9. My mom gave me the a minifig set of all 11 Doctors and I decided to use them as the theme, which was to reenact scenes from the tv series. I was able to do the first four doctors but unfortunately, I got sick and had to postpone the completion of the project. I've originally uploaded the pictures on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram but if you haven't been following me there, I've reuploaded the photos here too for your convenience.

When I feel better, I'll pick the series up and finish it. Enjoy these for now and thanks for reading. Be sure to say hi!

Mar 28, 2015

Treasure Trove in Thailand

Hello everyone, meaches here. I've been in conflict about whether I should post personal stories here on "No Real Plot!" or write them up in the other blog but I finally realized I'm too lazy to manage too many blogs and social network profiles. So I decided to dump all my entries into this blog. The title "No Real Plot!" fits the bill of mixed something and nothings anyway.

You see, I've recently warmed up to an interesting benefit in corporate careers. As I've mentioned in my previous post, I'm involved with the family business now and that's what has been eating up most of my time like school deadlines. But the time I've been working has taught me a lot of lessons and insights.

When it comes to business trips, we usually think it's the same boring meetings and seminars and other office events, just in a different location. It's partially true that business trips are solely meant for activities related to the business but since those trips also mean traveling to another place, it can also be a time for experiencing other cultures. So when my dad and I went to Bangkok in Thailand a few weeks ago, we made sure to have a few extra days for sight-seeing and going around the city.

Thailand was an interesting country. Despite being a popular tourist and shopping stop, the local Thai managed to preserve their cultural roots and maintain the Thai flavor in their fashion, architecture and cuisine. The weather was typical Southeast Asian hot and humid, where a five minute walk under the sun leaves you sweating like you came from the sauna. Bugs and critters and sausages seem like the popular street food but I stuck with less creepy-looking pad thai noodles and fried chicken. I bought just two cute hats but brought home more memories and life lessons.

I never really talked about the struggle I went through in helping out the family business instead of pursuing a career in the art industry. After graduation, I worked as a freelance artist for about a year. I had planned to go to Thailand (interestingly) and join this missionary art school after the freelance project finished. Yes, I was into the 'my talents for Jesus' thing and yes, it's a missionary school that uses art and media to share the Bible. I thought it was the next best thing since I didn't think I was talented enough to be able to work my dream job in Disney. However, during the course of preparing my application, Dad asked if I can stay at home instead and help him run the business. God didn't tell me the same thing specifically but the Bible did say to honor my parents. Admittedly, I initially disliked working in the business, stuck on the desk typing invoices and receipts and talking to all these customers and suppliers that I've never met.

Our line of business is simple but "old." I don't mean archaic or obsolete, but I mean that it's not a trendy line or a quick job, not a field popular with fresh-faced, fashionable and talented young adults who like to live life excitingly and extremely. So feeling suppressed from creative pursuits, I became bored to death to a point that I started to doubt if I heard God correctly. I mean, who trades what they like to do for something they don't like to do? I asked God again and again if this is really what I'm supposed to be doing with my life because it sure feels like my youth is being wasted being cooped up with these middle-aged men, balancing finances.

But over the dinner with my dad's business partners and associates, mingling and interacting with entrepreneurs and professionals, I discovered something. All of these events happening in my life right now are meant to develop my character for the future. This is a future I didn't know, a future I haven't dreamed of yet, a future God had prepared for me. I have no idea where administrative and managerial skills and diplomacy fit in my life but I became sure that it will be important. My time and experiences in the family business is the exact preparation I needed for whatever position I will holding in the future. This was the first revelation God showed me.

The second revelation happened during our last day in Thailand. Mom asked Dad to buy this coffee brand she liked and we searched for it through several grocery stores. We were leaving one mall to cross to the next one when a familiar melody floated into my ear. The chorus was from "Wonderful Rush," a song from my current favorite anime, Love Live. When I realized the music was coming right outside, I automatically rushed out the entrance to an open plaza where I was greeted by a crowd of cosplayers cheering and dancing along to a performance onstage.

I felt overcome with delight and wonder. I stumbled on an open anime convention and I could hear God laughing. It felt like He told me two encouraging things: 1) He was reminding me that He really rewards those who listen and obey Him, and 2) He was telling me that I'm on the right path in my life, to keep it up, that I'm doing okay and I'll be okay in the end. Somehow, Dad understood too. After we moved on to the next mall where we finally! found the coffee, he let me go back to the plaza and enjoy the convention while he finished doing the groceries.

So, despite the conflicting interests I had and the skepticism I was developing, God trumped all my fears and doubts in life and taught me the perspective I should be looking at. This is the longest personal entry I have written in a while but the lessons I've learned and the renewed perspective for my life need to be told. I believe it's all part of my journey to become better, as a person, as a Christian and as an artist.

Jan 29, 2015

What I've Been Doing

Hello everyone! It's meaches here, I'm still alive! I've been so busy lately that I don't have enough free time for blogging. I'm more active on Twitter and I have Instagram now too because my friends told me to get one. Follow me both @norealplot and say hello! The reason I'm busy isn't just with the family business but I'm also concentrating very hard on writing and designing my comics. It's not easy with the limited time I have but I'm making it work the best way I can. And of course, I want it to be good so I'm taking extra care with the quality of the story.

I'm actually working on two projects. One is an all-ages sci-fi/fantasy comic series that I've been tossing around since high school? It is my life's work! haha! The other project is a more recent collaboration with my sister: the idea is a children's story featuring animals having adventures. That's all I can say for now. Above is the sneak peek of what the character designs might look like. I'm mostly going for a simplified cartoony style to keep the work load light. But really, who doesn't love cute cartoons?

I've also been drawing a lot of Doctor Who. You all know how much I love Doctor Who. When the 8th season finished, that was the time I decided to doodle some 12th Doctor. Sometimes I think I'm forgetting how to draw. I'm getting rusty. Both are bad. lol. But I found the 12th Doctor is fun to draw as much as he is charming, despite his elderly wrinkles. I like how he still manages to convey a child-like "innocence" in his character.

So I've only posted the nicer drawings here. You can find the sketchier sketches on my art tumblr. Thank you again for reading!