If you’ve read my latest post here or follow me on Twitter, you might have heard that I’m going to Japan this year. We’re just visiting Tokyo, but there’s so much to do and so much I want to see, that we won’t be bored.
My interest began many years ago, but I was already Pokemon daily and regularly watched Dragonball Z, Sailormoon, or other dubbed anime on Jetix. But there is one other pop culture franchise that truly launched me into the otaku world: Kingdom Hearts.
I’m not even talking about the game (which is amazing), but the TV ad that ran before it came out. I loved Disney and Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts had both. The anime look just completed it.
The ad had the amazing soundtrack done by Utada Hikaru. The song is called Simple and Clean in English and Hikaru in Japanese. I fell in love with that song and I spend two hours looking for it online. I don’t remember if the ad actually mentioned it, but I missed it. The Japanese version popped up first and later I found the English version. But I was hooked.
I explored more of Utada’s music and found Maaya Sakamoto later. She’s also a well known seiyuu. One of the shows she did was Escaflowne which was one of the first animes I watched.
From there on, I went into jdrama. Kimi wa Petto was my first, with Matsumoto Jun. I loved his acting and looked him up. He is the concert master of the boyband Arashi. He provides the MC when necessary when they do live performances.
I just found out there’s a remake of Kimi wa Petto on Viki from a few years ago and I might have to watch it now…
Arashi was the biggest snowball. From there I found more jdramas, other
Japanese artists and connected more with the Japanese culture from
watching their variety shows. If you need something fun to watch, try
finding episodes of Himitsu no Arashi with English subs. Below is a
highlight reel of things they do.
All of the Arashi members did their own shows and series. By watching most of what they’ve done, drama or real life things, my knowledge and interest in the Japanese culture became larger.
My wish to visit Japan and see the places from the series in real life, taste the foods that they showed, but most of all, I want to try the sweets.
Come back later to follow me as I prepare for the trip of a lifetime. If you want to know more about something specific (like my obsession with Arashi or Pokemon) let me know in the comments below so I can dedicate a separate post to it.
Happy new year everyone! It’s that time of the year again when everyone and their mother are talking about resolutions and goals. But I just want to talk about goals.
I feel that resolutions are there to be broken while goals are there to achieve. I’m still working on my 101 goals in 1001 days and since I haven’t done all of those yet, those are the goals I’ll be working on this year
I’m going to complete a handful of these in November when we’re going on our Tokyo trip. With that trip I can thick off the ‘Vacation Abroad’, ‘Visit Tokyo’, and ‘Sing Karaoke’ goals. We’ll try out new restaurants, new foods, I’ll practice my Japanese (I’m still learning!) and maybe even buy a Instax camera to make beautiful memories.
This year I’ll be blogging about my preparations for this trip, sharing the content I find helpful in preparing for the biggest adventure this year. I’ve traveled to far away lands before, but this is the first time that I’ll be the one doing the planning and learning a new language to make the trip a little easier
I’m not a travel blog and won’t ever be, but Japan has a special place in my heart and I’ll share those sentiments with you soon. But first, more goals.
My goal is to read 45 books this year and I hope to finish a large bunch of the books you have recommended as well. The hardest part will be obtaining a copy of all of those books. I have limited funds and my library doesn’t have most of them. The Book Exchange in Amsterdam might have copies of the older books, but only if someone sold it to them recently.
Learning hangul will also be one of my active goals. I’ve dedicated a notebook to learning hiragana and katakana, so I might just as well add hangul to that, right?
My writing goals will be up on Narratess on Friday, but I don’t only want to spend time writing this year. I want to actively work on my craft. Brandon Sanderson has a course on writing on Youtube and I picked it as my free online course to take. It’s time I start watching them and apply the new knowledge in my writing
Cooking will happen. It’s about time I picked a cook book and make those recipes, right? Right.
I’ll soon do a post about what games I played for my goals. There are a few that I want to talk about and what I’m going to do this year. Stay tuned!
I really enjoy the Halloween events in Guild Wars 2, but I missed out on it last year due to multiple factors. This year I did manage to get some things done.
I now have a shiny purple book to carry on my back (The Mad Memories: Complete Ignition backpack skin) and a purple candle to follow me around. I managed to get one of the Halloween skins from the Mad King’s Gift.
One of the things that I missed out on was the rivalry between Joko and the Mad King. I hadn’t finished the Living World story yet (and I still don’t), so that’ll have to wait until next year.
I no longer care for the skins since I knew the odds were small to get them. The farming in the labyrinth wasn’t as attractive as it used to be, also because the runs I was in were usually lead by commanders who didn’t had any idea how to lead a run. And I’m still too passive to take on that role myself. I also lack a commander tag.
With all the new and returning achievements, I did manage to get my account to a whooping 12,000 achievement points. The Hellfire Vambraces were my only option now. For someone who’s been playing since the three day headstart, 12,000 AP might be a bit low, but I don’t care. Everyone plays at their own pace, right?
I hope I can earn enough materials to craft the lunatic armor skins to finish the collection and earn some more achievements next year. Maybe I’ll have more roller beetle by that time as well and I can take part in the race like a proper racer.
My aunt turned 50 and she invited us for an hour of bowling with dinner afterwards. She’s my favourite aunt, so I really didn’t want to skip on celebrating with her. But I also knew that bowling is high risk for me.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve got hypermobility syndrome (HMS). My joints are more susceptible to dislocation or subluxation and certain movements, impact or weight will affect me in a bad way.
Holding a 3 KG bowling ball with three fingers, swinging it and then hoping my fingers won’t be stuck in it, isn’t a good way to spend my time. But I really, really wanted to take part. I haven’t done much fun activities outside of the house in a while, and this was a good opportunity to take up a different perspective.
After having dealt with chronic pain for nearly a decade, I’ve grown tired of having my pain dictate my life. In my 101 goals, I’ve actively decided to do things that I wouldn’t have done before. I could’ve added bowling, but didn’t since I didn’t see it as something I *had* to do.
Yesterday I decided I would bowl, no matter what. Well, except maybe a dislocated joint.
I was smart enough to bring my wrist brace and I wore it after my first round. Throwing those first two balls was already an attack on my wrist muscled and the brace gave me the support I needed.
My score wasn’t great, but I didn’t expect it to be. I thought I was going to be the loser, but I did fairly well and my score wasn’t that much off from my mom and sister. My score was much better than I thought it would be.
And that’s a personal victory for me. I bowled for an hour without serious injuries, just some muscle aches which will disappear in a few days. I had fun and I didn’t let my situation tell me how to live my life. It felt great and I hope this change in mindset will help me the coming years in taking back control.
This isn’t really a spoiler for the players who have kept up with the Living World story, since this happened halfway season 3. If you haven’t played the episodes yet, stop reading since this post will be one big spoiler about my frustration with this one boss fight.
Patch Preview Privilege?
Some time ago, when the patch for The Head of the Snake came out, I was still writing for MMOgames and I was allowed to do the patch preview. I first thought this was marvelous. I was one of the few who could see everything of the new patch before it launched!
I didn’t care that I could only barely make it with my full time job, time zone differences and limited computer time. It was really fun to be able to see everything without risk of spoilers and truly experience the reveals as they came. And, I’ll be honest, I got a slight kick out of knowing something amazing that other players didn’t.
The previews that I wrote had to be as spoiler free as possible and it’s what I still try to do as much as possible when I’m writing about a movie, book or game. The upside of that was I wasn’t forced to complete the whole episode, but I did it anyways. I feel that I can’t comment on a story without experiencing it completely, so I always read/play/watch everything or I won’t write about it.
The Head of the Snake
The Head of the Snake is the fourth episode in the Living World Season 3, which off after the story of Heart of Thorns. I actually remember very little about how the story got there, only the big outline. It doesn’t matter much for this post since I just want to talk about this one man. Minister Caudecus.
It was obvious from the first time that I did the story mode of the Caudecus Manor dungeon, that this wouldn’t be the last time we’d hear from that weasel. After the explosion in the Maguuma Jungle, it is revealed that Caudecus is the confessor of the White Mantle, a group of extremists. He wants to rule Tyria and he needed the bloodstone for its powers.
Long story short: he wants to overthrow Queen Jenna and you, the commander, stop him during this episode.
Now, the writing for this season was incredibly. It has a lot of twists and turns and I really enjoyed the new maps. But. I hated how they did the progression of the story steps. One of the steps in this episodes was simply to do events in the new map.
Well. Eh. I don’t care? I’m coming here for the story. I already run around the map and heard and saw a ton of things without specifically being told to do so. The progression of that bar was slow as hell. It only made me dislike it even more.
Doing events in open world is never really a problem since there are always people around to jump in and help. This is not the case in a patch preview. Players are very limited and most of us were doing our own thing, making cool screenshots, figuring out where all the collectables are, or doing things totally unrelated to the story and/or new map.
Doing the events was a nightmare. Most of the enemies had some form of CC which made killing them in groups nearly impossible when you’re alone. Especially when you’re a super casual player who doesn’t know the optimal build and how to play the class the best they can. I’m a very average player. Maybe even below average.
I hated this. I also knew that I had limited time to finish the story, write up the article, sleep, eat, get on with my life, and work. I had a deadline and I don’t want to be late for a deadline set by someone else.
After I finally finished this step, I had to go back to Queen Jenna and the final plans were made to kill the head of the snake. I had to go to Caudecus’ Manor to deal with him.
Caudecus, a thing of evil
I hate you, Caudecus, with a passion. Not only for what you did, but also for everything that you’ve thrown my way in your manor. Your White Mantle friends, the bandits and jade constructs.
I hate you for what you did to Demmi. I hate you for sacrificing all those people. And I hate you for killing the parents of my main character.
But most of all, I hate your private dungeon. Covered in bloodstone, feeding your insanity. I hate your carvings on the walls that make it look like you’re staring at me from every direction. I hate the small size of it and you’re giant, flashy SFX for your skills. I hate how you make my camera flip through walls in a manner that gave me a headache. I hate how you summoned more of your minions while I tried to kick your ass. I hate how your jade constructs are tougher than you. I hate how you CC’d me with two skills and killed me. I hate how limited my mobility was in a small room with all your AoE. I hate that you killed me at least ten times before I managed to finish.
It took me over one and a half hour in preview to kill him. Last night I finally dared to do it on my own account and it took me 45 minutes. It was easier. Maybe they adjusted the battle a little so people like me wouldn’t have such a hard time with it.
I can genuinely say that I’m glad he’s dead. Not just because of his role in the story, but also because I know that I will never do this part of the story ever again. I managed to do two achievements and that’s more than enough. Should I ever want/need more achievements in this particular story step, I’ll be sure to bring others.
Not always good
After I finished the patch preview I could never get myself to finish this part of the episode. I knew what was coming and I hated having to do it again. That was one of the biggest downsides of being part of the preview.
A few weeks after I stopped writing for MMOgames and forfeited my right to be part of the previews, I started enjoying Guild Wars 2 again. Just a little, and only by doing certain things. But it was a start. I had my freedom again.
That’s when I learned that some (press) privileges aren’t always good. I do have to say that it depends on the person. I didn’t do well in these circumstances. Even without a full time job, I’d have to think twice before taking up such a writing job again.
I learned from this experience. I really enjoyed doing the previews and the dev team excellent in their support during those busy weekend. It’s just not for me.
This while Caudecus thing the reason why I didn’t play any of the following episode or the Path of Fire expansion with my main character. Not being able to do the story of my main, the character I’m most invested in, has hurt the enjoyment of the game. Now that I’m passed it, I’ll continue with her story, do the other episodes, the expansion story and the new episodes. It’ll take a while and I know that I’m playing through the story again. The big difference is that this progression is for myself.
I’ve watched a few movies, two of them were on the list of recommended movies: Interstellar and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Two down, eighteen more to go.
My husband told me to watch this one, but more people recommend it to just about everyone. I remember Twitter fawning all over this movie when it came out.
I really enjoyed the movie, but I don’t know enough space stuff to fully understand the story. I do believe that if I had known more, I would’ve liked it even more. The concepts of wormholes, blackholes, space/time relativity, altered gravity and fourth and fifth dimensions are hard to understand. Separately, but even more so when they’re all thrown together in a two hour story.
Another problem I have with any movie in space is that some of the cinematography is giving me a headache. I get that there’s on ‘ground’ in space and everything floats around each other, but the rapid movement in the background is enough to make me motion sick. (I had to close my eyes during some of the scenes in Gravity as well.)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
I prefer the first one. I never read any Marvel comics so I only know what’s in the movies. The Guardians of the Galaxy movies both seem a little far fetched, plotwise, but this one seems even more so.
The whole god/demigod thing might just be one step too far. If it was a standalone movie, I might’ve accepted that, but in such a big universe with Doctor Strange and the Norse realms, having one god who could create everything seems wrong. IMO, you can’t have a all powerful god in a universe with a pantheon.
I do like the execution. The cinematography and art direction are great. I love the characters, especially the couple of Groot and Rocket. I just wish the story was different.
The highlight of this movie (and the first) is the soundtrack. It’s filled with 80s hits and I love it. There is a Spotify playlist with all of the songs if you want to listen to it on the go.
Today is the last day of Blaugust. A few days before August began, I had an itch. An itch that needed to be scratched. I wanted to write about games again. Other things that interested me besides books, reviews and writing. I knew I had another blog (this one) and it was the perfect place for the creative outlet that I needed.
My new laptop also arrived around that time. I could develop a new work routine and had to get used to a new keyboard. My laptop is a normal 15,4″ Acer and I used to work on a 10,1″ convertible tablet. The big screen is definitely motivating me to write more. It’s easier to see everything (I’m getting old) and my eyes don’t tire as fast.
The first week I wrote five blogs in one day. I was excited. The discord was filled with activity and ideas started pouring in. Making drafts was the easiest thing to do to keep track of all my post ideas. I could just pick one of my drafts, write it and schedule it for whenever I didn’t have a post ready. This blog used to have memes on specific days, but I stepped away from that for Blaugust. And besides blogging here, I still had the weekly blog on Narratess.
Overall I’ve written a lot, 36 blog posts and I’ve done writing and editing for my fiction as well. I’ve grown my Twitter following, and followers for both blogs. Going forward I’ll still stick my one post on Narratess and I hope to at least post once a week here as well. I want to use the rest of my writing energy to fix my short stories and work on my first draft. I’ll keep reading everyone’s blog which should become more manageable when there aren’t 80 new posts every day.
Thank you everyone for all the beautiful posts, interactions, and help that I’ve received. I hope that I can keep contributing to our amazing blogging community.
It’s a little over a year ago since I started with this list and I already completed some of them. That was kind of the point, to pick long and short term goals.
Last year has been full of big changes. I quit my job to start writing and blogging full time while also taking care of my health. The few months after I quit, I was still busy with the wedding. Both before and after. It took up most of my energy just thinking about everything that had to be done. When all of it was done, there was this empty space left. I needed something to work on.
Yes, my writing, I know. But I also wanted to accomplish something on a personal level. I wanted to grow as a person. Using 101 Goals, 1001 Days, has allowed me to do so. Learning Japanese is purely for my own satisfaction (and my brother’s girlfriend is delighted that I’m doing my best getting to know her culture). Trying out new recipes is what will make our day to day life a little more adventurous. Eat something you’ve never eaten before. I want to learn new skills, but which are related to what I want to do professionally.
By combining long and short term goals, I always have the idea that I’m working towards something. Some things are easier to track than others (quality versus quantity), but that’s okay. I’m expanding my Japanese vocabulary and I notice that I don’t rely on the subs in animes that much anymore. It’s getting easier to work out new recipes when I want to substitute an ingredient and I also know how to work with flavor and spices.
I don’t notice my personal growth on a day-to-day basis, but looking at this list, I see that growth. I believe I’m a better person than I was before, but I still have a long way to go. I’m glad that I chose to do this even when the challenge seemed a little too daunting before. You don’t grow if you don’t challenge yourself.
In one of my earlier posts I asked for recommendations for books and movies and you’ve given me a ton! I’ve made a list of the twenty books that I’m going to read for this goal. The other books I’ll add to my general to-read list, which I’ll read whenever I find the time and have access to the book.
I only have 28 movies so far (not shows, just movies) so if you have any recommendations beyond these, please let me know. I also know there are a handful of movies that I probably won’t like and maybe a few that I won’t be able to find since they’re old. I’ve also added the years to the movies as a reference point. If I have the wrong movie, do let me know as well, since I wasn’t sure about a few.
I want to thank everyone who’s recommended me books and/or movies. I really appreciate that you took the time to share the books/movies you love. I hope I can help spread that love as well.
The Siren by Kiera Cass
Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer
Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara
East by Edith Pattou
It by Stephen King
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
Borne by Jeff Vandermeer
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Off To Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer
Alif The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw
Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Guernsey Literature and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
The Four by Scott Galloway
Weaveworld by Clive Barker
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
We Are Legion by Dennis E. Taylor
5 to 7 (2014) (already watched this one, liked it very much)
The Guernsey Literature and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
I’ve been playing The Sims 4 lately and there are a few things that I don’t like. I already expected the dozen expansion packs, stuff packs, thematic packs. They know where to milk the money. But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about things that aren’t related to money.
The Design Tool (The Sims 3)
I miss being able to edit outfits and furniture and give them the colours and textures that I want them to have. The customization options were much more expansive and that allowed me to really create my sim and my house. Even the hair colour options are very limited. I used to create my sim with crazy hair colours, mix high lights, low lights and the main colour to create amazing colourful haircuts. That’s something I can’t do any more. It’s harder to match items with each other from other sets as well. There is no guarantee that the colour is the right colour to match with something else.
Community Mods (The Sims 3)
I remember that I downloaded hundreds of custom made items from the community. The modding community was the best. I could browse for days just to get the right dress, haircut or house. There were some amazing houses. In The Sims 3 the modding community was accessible in game. It was way easier since everything was automatically added to the game. That was a great way to manage all the items. I know that I added several gigabytes to The Sims 2 and it actually took half an hour longer to start the game. I needed to cut down my downloaded assets, but it was hard to see which ones I could
Building lots (The Sims 2)
I have the feeling that there aren’t as much places to build as in the previous games, especially if you haven’t bought any expansion packs. Even the newer areas have limited lots due to all the commercial lots.
I used to have a choice of fifteen or more lots in different sizes. Now my options are limited. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the ‘open world’ feeling that started in The Sims 3 or not, but even these ‘neighbourhoods’ feel small and limited. It doesn’t excite me. I’d either want the system of the old Sims (The Sims 1 and 2) or The Sims 3. This halfway thing isn’t great.
Do you want to game with me?
You can add me on Steam, Origin, Raptr, X-Fire or League of Legends. All use the same nickname: Endalia.
Or, if you want to give me some extra love and want to play League of Legends and you don't have an account, you can sign up here and give me some love <3
Diablo 3 Battle Tag: Endalia#1709
Guild Wars 2 Identifier: Endalia.8109