Waifu Pillow Talk

Last night I was talking to my family about sleep. The conversation turned to pillows, obviously… I use three pillows. One to rest the side of my head on. One to add weight on top of the blanket. And finally, one that I “cuddle”.

“Cuddle” is the best way to describe it I guess. I either place the pillow between my knees to space out my legs, or I’ll put it half under my chest and place my arm around it. I used to sleep in the fetal position and still do if I’m sick. But the pillow thing is just a comfort feeling.

In the past I have used a body pillow as my “cuddle” pillow. Last night our daughter was asking if I needed a “Waifu Pillow“. Naturally I said sure. Our kids have seen these pillows at Comicons all their lives, so it was no surprise that they know what they are.

The conversation then turned to which “Waifu” I’d want. I think my kids were trying to decipher how pervy their father is when it comes to Anime. So I fed into it. I told them it had to be an anime girl with the biggest breasts and the least amount of clothes.

After quite the lengthy conversation of my kids naming off numerous female anime characters- I have a feeling that this father will be getting a new pillow as a gift one day. Hopefully my wife winger jealous of my future “Waifu.”

Shoes Make The Man

I bought some shoes the other day. Seeing them made me happy- so I needed to own a pair. I haven’t been excited about shoes in ages. Once I started living on my own, all I did was buy whatever was cheapest, but those hardly ever lasted- meaning I had to buy shoes more frequently.

Back in 1987- I loved my L.A. Gears. With fish gill sides, colorful laces and license plate tags. I was ending elementary school in style! Word.

Then came my Reebok pumps in the early days of high school. Gimmicky and expensive. But I was trying to fit in with people I hardly knew.

The balance of my high school days and into my early 20’s I was a Converse and Airwalk fan. Flat shoes were perfect to slip on and great for all those hackysack sessions.

I’ve always loved shoes that make a statement. From ugly patchwork to vibrant neon- they say shoes make the man, so I guess I’m just a zany doofus.

Over the past few years, I have been enjoying comfort again. Walking around Tokyo or Disneyland meant my feet needed better support. Sketchers have become my shoe of choice for a couple of years now. The other day I discovered a shoe that shares my love of anime as well. I picked up some “One Piece” inspired Sketchers.

I think that my style and choice in shoes is being passed on to my son because he got a pair of “One Piece” shoes as well.

If the shoe fits… wear it.

More Astro Boy

The place- Edmonton.

The year- 1983.

The time- 6am.

Everyday before elementary school, I would watch a cartoon called Astro Boy. I had to wake up super early in order to catch the show because it started at 6am every morning. Except on weekends, when I would catch reruns of The Mighty Hercules on Sunday mornings. Two very different styles of animation and story lines.

My daily viewing of Astro Boy started my day off on the right foot. At the end of every episode, Astro would do a recap with mistakes. The Astro voiceover would then ask if you caught his mistakes. It meant the show required undivided attention. Everyday at school, I blathered on about this cartoon constantly. This evolved into other kids also watching it. Eventually the show became the talk of the playground. We would argue over the “mistakes” and talk about that day’s villain or battle.

As I grew up, I took the lessons that Astro- aka Atom– taught and instilled them into my life. Pure kindness and compassion shown from a robot. Who’d of thunk that an anime machine would forge my pathway through life?

As I got older, I received the collection of 1983 Astro Boy on DVD many years ago. I also received the 2003 series. On a few road trips, my children have marathoned through both series.

Because of my children knowing that it was a childhood favorite of mine, they bought me a couple of characters they found. These were discovered in a gas station toy aisle during one of our road trips. The toys may not hold any real value to anyone else but me. I love my family for always thinking of me.

When I was about 18, I really wanted a t-shirt that I had discovered that depicted Astro Boy in a hologram image that would change depending on the view of him. You could see the inside workings or his outer body depending on the angle. The down side was twofold. First, this was the early 1990’s and the shirt cost $80 (approx. $150 in today’s market). Secondly it was one size too small for me.

During our trip to Tokyo last year, I found the shirt again. My wife told me not to buy it because there is no easy way to care for the decal. Turns out she had also found the shirt and knew it would be perfect for me. This past Christmas, I received the shirt. My inner child bounced with joy.

The original Astro Boy that came out January 1,1963 was the first cartoon to introduce Anime to the world. I have loved anime ever since I first saw Astro on tv in my living room when I was 7. I also wrote about Astro Boy last year. I’ve even expressed sadness over the end of an era for a t-shirt that I loved based on another favorite anime- Akira.

What was you first anime show?

Do you have fond memories of cartoons from you childhood?

Aggretsuko

I have many bonding moments with my kids. Usually over a tv show or movie. I’ve shown them some of my favorites from my childhood and a few others from more recent years.

Last night was different in the fact that my daughter wanted to share with me a new show. She is a Hello Kitty Fan and this new Netflix show is from Sanrio (the people who brought us Hello Kitty). Of course I was expecting cutesy but got something else entirely.

Instead of a cute little kitty with a bow, we are treated to a female red fox in business clothes. She has a daily office job that is sucking the life out of her; so after work she resorts to drinking beer and singing death metal karaoke. The show is cute in many aspects. Such as the animation and the thoughts that go through the fox’s head.

Surprisingly our 14 year old daughter says she relates to the character. Putting on a daily show, but having a built up frustration that she needs to hide from everyone. The content and language aren’t suited for small kids, but teens and adults alike should get some enjoyment from the show.

We have finished watching half of the first season already and plan on finishing the rest before the weekend is over. Maybe now my daughter will appreciate more of my older music…

Astro Boy

Today was the third time my two youngest and I built some Gundam models that we had received at Christmas. I sat with them as they built their own “Petit’gguy”. They have a small collection of them now.

I walked them through how to read the instructions. I also showed them how to cut each plastic piece out carefully. Watching them assemble their models made me profoundly proud. Their concentration and attention to detail was impeccable. Once the kids were done, I started on mine. It was a calming activity that we all enjoyed.

During the builds- I put on “Astro Boy” from the early 80’s. We also have another box set from a more recent 2000’s reboot, but the original to me was a better fit for today. Astro Boy was my first introduction into anime when I was a young child. It was sci-fi fun that I connected with almost immediately. Through the years following, anime became a favorite genre of mine. My children have also developed a love of anime.

One time when we were driving down to Disneyland, we stopped at a gas station for a short break. On the back wall near the restrooms were a bunch of toys. My children had to buy me the Astro Boy characters that were there. It was really sweet that they wanted to make me happy. I guess they understand how to get to my soft spot.

Having connections with my children is something I’m really happy about. We share a love of many things. They’ve even introduced me to shows that they have become fond of- such as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Teen Titans GO as well as others. We sit and watch together and talk about the shows.

Having quality time with my family has always been important to me and will continue to be for many more years.

Death Note? More like Death No.

Sadly, not everything Netflix touches turns into gold. The other day, my family and I watched the Netflix version of Death Note. The only thing about the movie was that it was DNINO. Yup. It fell under the trap of using a name of a popular show and had nothing to do with it. It was “Death Note In Name Only”.


Death Note was originally written as a fantastic anime. Years ago, my wife and I fell in love with it. So much so that we bought props and merchandise that reminded us of it. My wife has a necklace with an “L” on it and sometimes I call her “L”. I have a copy of a “Death Note” for myself. We also have a couple anime t-shirts from the series. Our eldest daughter has the series in manga form as well.


“Death Note” is a personal favorite anime of mine. It’s up there with “Akira”, “Astroboy” and “Cowboy Bepop” for shows that make the anime genre what it is. The Netflix version of “Death Note” is terrible. Even as just a regular movie it’s not good. This new movie only had the names of most of the characters and Ryuk. Not much more than that was accurate to the original story.


If I could write in my Death Note the names of those responsible for this terrible film, I would almost be tempted to do so. This new film was sacrilegious to the original. After watching the film, I am heartbroken by the knowledge that it wasn’t true to the storyline.

My advice to those thinking they should watch this new version of the show, watch the original anime instead. Trust me- you will love the character interactions and the climax of the storyline much more.

Netflix, I am saddened by what you have done to a beloved anime. Furthermore, if any director takes on “Akira” you better make it as accurate to the original as possible. You wouldn’t want fans going Neo Tokyo on you.

Anime Convention

This upcoming weekend is the only Anime Convention we do.  It’s a local Vancouver one and is run really well.  We have been loyal to this convention for a few years and even did the winter one that they put on.  If you are in the Vancouver area this weekend, stop by Anime Revolution.  We will be at Booth 301.  (Side note: It just so happens that there are 2 Pokestops nearby us as well!)


We don’t do Anime Conventions regularly due to a few reasons:

  • They only draw in a few thousand attendees.
  • Most anime lovers are students with little to no money. (We are a business and still need to make money)
  • It is strictly anime.  Not comics, mainstream movies or videogames.
  • Our travel expenses exceed the earnings we would be capable of.
  • Most anime conventions are held in Universities or Colleges.  This means they cater to those students who are usually there to watch movies.

Those reasons aside AniRevo is an anomaly in the fact that we make a profit at it.  My wife also has a fan base here that stop by regularly to buy her products.  AniRevo is also becoming larger every year and it’s nice that we’ve been a part of it from the beginning.  It is held in the Vancouver Convention Centre East Wing and not at a university.  This alone shows their growth and potential for years to come.  

I love the natural lighting the Vancouver Convention Centre has to offer.


People in the Vancouver area love anime.  Vancouver is a major hub located in the Pacifc Rim with a huge Asian influence.  Because of the diversity of Vancouver we get to experience more of what the world has to offer than most.

We have made numerous friends at these shows.  From vendors to artists to customers.  It’s a great feeling to be locally recognized and supported.  That’s a major reason we do this con as well.  We love to show our support.  Having this as our only Anime Convention is like us remembering our roots and where we started from.

Feel free to stop by this weekend or visit Ningen Headwear to see what we have to offer.

J-Pop

I’ve always loved anime as can be read here: Akira. We’ve introduced it to our children since they were young.  There are certain storylines that I have really enjoyed.  I even debate “Subbed” vs “Dubbed” with people depending on the show (Subtitles whenever possible in my opinion).

Yesterday was a rainy day, so in the morning I played around with my android box and Kodi.  For those that don’t know, Kodi is a program that allows streaming of videos and music from around the world.  I was able to self-teach myself how to navigate it through my iPhone via an app.  It didn’t take long to set up and learn.  As I was browsing the music stations, I discovered Vocaloid Radio.  Essentially it was electronic dance music sung in Japanese.  After playing some J-Pop music through the house, my two youngest children came to me and asked to build their models they purchased last month at one of the conventions we were at.

Group selfie time

 


It seems that hearing the anime music inspired them to want to build their Gundam model bears.  I find it fascinating that music can bring forth ideas of where the music is from.  Japanese J-Pop brought my children thoughts of anime, mech robots and sushi.  If I played classical chamber music (personal favorite btw) throughout my home, it brings me thoughts of elegance and royalty.  If I play techno or disco, I am brought back to the nightclubs of my youth.

Music strikes emotional responses in everyone.  It’s one of the universal languages that everyone understands.  I don’t speak Japanese, Korean, German, French or any other language for that matter.  But I love listening to music, both modern and traditional, from around the world.  It brings me to these places without leaving the comfort of my home.

Today, I enjoyed some 80’s party mix radio and Depeche Mode radio.  I plan on exploring more radio stations throughout the summer.  First, I’m going to install some more speakers in my backyard so that I can enjoy gardening at the same time.

Until then, I’m off to discover some K-Pop, Reggae and Bossonva.

My favorite shirt will finally be laid to rest.

We all have a favorite article of clothing that makes us happy.  When we wear it, all is right in the world.

Today marks the last day I will forever wear my favorite shirt.   My first thought when I realized its untimely demise was, “Maybe I can save it… Turn it into a piece of art, or a rag!”  But no.  The shirt is done.  It’s run its course.  Only one thing left to do: Let me tell you my story.

I was 17 or so when I bought the t-shirt.  Big deal, 17 year olds buy clothes all the time, but I bought this shirt with my own hard earned cash.  I’d bought stuff before with my own money, but this shirt meant something more to me.  I forked over $40 plus taxes for my shirt.  $40 nearly 23 years ago.  THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY.  Based on inflation in today’s dollar would be equal to $65 for the shirt.  Last year, I had trouble spending ten bucks on a shirt.  But this shirt did last two decades.

I was a mallrat in my late teens.  I wandered around our local mall all the time.  It was a place to go to meet with friends and kill time & brain cells.  I must have passed the store that sold the t-shirt  a few dozen times before finally buying it.  The store was called “Distrito” and it specialized in unique clothes and junk.  Stuff you’d usually only find in downtown Vancouver.

 

Kids today will never know the joys of being a Mallrat.

 

There was only one shirt and it came in one size.  My size.  It called out to me to buy it.  So I did.  It was from the 1988 anime film “Akira“.  A film that made 14 year old me realize that animation isn’t limited to Disney films and Saturday Morning cartoons.  GI Joe wasn’t ever this violent!  My mind was blown.  From the first time I saw the movie, I fell in love with anime.  When I saw the t-shirt, I knew it was going to be mine.

Farewell old friend.

My shirt and I have been to hell & back.  I’ve bled on it, barfed on it, and got many other stains I’d rather not share with you.  It was my favorite piece of clothing I have ever owned, sweat stains and all.  My wife hated it, so I stopped wearing it in my regular rotation.  It became a work shirt.  But now, it’s done.  The material had become so thin, it was practically not even there.  It ripped today as I was taking it off.  I’m not the Hulk, so the rip terrified me.  A rip so horrifyingly loud that as soon as it happened, I knew the end was here.

So now, I say goodbye to a favorite article of clothing.  It brought me years of joy.