Blog 220 > Live Action, Asians, Aki & Me

Aww, thanks, Aki-chan! Happy Belated Birthday to you too! Sadly, Aki-chan’s message is genuinely fake, hehe. But yup, 5 days after Aki-chan’s March 14th birthday, on March 19th, I climbed another year higher, wiser and more tuned to the ways of live-action J-drama, K-drama, Asian gravure idols, and Japanese onigiri. Not bad, huh? On that note, my Tender Toyboxers, let’s step away from “fake” 2D anime and animation this week, and instead, sit back, relax with a bowl of sticky rice, and enjoy a refreshing bottle of “real” 3D entertainment. Ready? Then let’s do it. Let’s start the show…

Part 1 of 5 > My 44 Live-Action in 2009

During my last mega-cast, you might remember what I said about “fake” anime.

Fake? Has anime started to feel fake yet? Yup, you heard me, hehe. The reason I ask this is that… the unexpected and inexplicable sensation swept over me that: “Anime [is] starting to feel fake”. It lasted for only a few moments. But this was the first time I felt anything like this before, after 4-or-5 years of unwavering anime loyalty. Even during real-life disruptions… But perhaps, over the recent months, my rising consumption of 3D live-action J-drama and K-drama, as well as the growing influence of Asian friends, co-workers, culture and cuisine have collectively caused a greater impact than I realized. An impact both visual and emotional. Perhaps. Thus, for those few moments, 2D anime felt “fake”. It no longer felt “real” to me.

Oddly, despite finishing several more anime titles over the last couple months, I haven’t experienced another “inexplicable sensation” since then. Nevertheless, to highlight my “rising consumption of 3D live-action”, in the tradition of my “annual anime lists”, I now present for the first time ever, my “annual live-action lists”. Yup, to complement My 41 Anime in 2009, here is My 44 Live-Action in 2009. Hey, did you catch that? I wrote “44” live-action, 3 more than my “41” anime. Fascinating, huh? From ancient warriors to eccentric pianists to moody lovers to galactic trekkers to insatiable pirates to high-school delinquents to super-rich schoolboys, it’s been a lively live-action year! To be specific, here are my live-action faves of 2009!









Next, here are my complete lists of live-action faves and 44 live-action titles-seasons of 2009. Hmm, while my anime titles witnessed a striking monthly drop after September 2009 through December 2009, my live-action titles witnessed a strong presence during those same months. Whether or not there’s a genuine personal “fall of anime”, it’s tough to ignore a personal “rise of live-action”. And tougher to ignore just by the very existence of this list!

My Live-Action Rating

  • +++++ DOUBLE WOW! 5 of 5 stars! Maximum for full seasons or films!
  • ++++ WOW! 4 of 5 stars! Maximum for half seasons!

My Top-10 Full Seasons > 5 of 5 stars!

My Top-5 Films or Specials > 5 of 5 stars!

My Top-2 Adult Films > 5 of 5 stars!

My 44 Live-Action Titles-Seasons in 2009

December 2009

  • [–] Tomb Raider 2 – The Cradle of Life (2003) – Finished (again) 29 Dec.
  • [–] Tomb Raider (2001) – Finished (again) 27 Dec. Yup, finally finished “Tomb Raider” again.
  • [44] ++++ Sherlock Holmes (2009) – Finished 26 Dec. Heyyy, not bad, not bad! Maybe 4 of 5 stars?
  • [43] ++++ Hana Yori Dango Final – Director’s Cut (2008) – Finished 25 Dec. Aww, added or extended scenes, 4-5 of 5 stars!
  • [42] ++++ Hana Yori Dango Final (2008) – Finished 24 Dec. Ahh, the film finale to the TV series. Should I give 4 of 5 stars? Or 5 stars?
  • [41] +++++ Hana Yori Dango – Season 2 (1-11) – Finished 22 Dec. Wow, another dramatic 5 of 5 stars!
  • [40] ++++ Evanescence: Anywhere but Home (2004) – Finished 17 Dec. Wow, not bad, I’d say 4 of 5 stars!
  • [39] +++++ Jumong – Season 3 (41-60) – Finished 14 Dec. Wow, finished my self-defined “Season 3”, episodes 41-60. Epic 5 of 5 stars! Wallpapers and review at Blog 218.
  • [–] Star Trek (2009) – Finished (again) 13 Dec. Yup, watched the film again, a better version of the downloaded movie file! Yup, 5 of 5 stars again! Wallpapers and review at Blog 214.
  • [38] ++++ Equilibrium (2002) – Finished 05 Dec. Hey, finally watched this “Matrix” clone. Not bad, I’d give 4 of 5 stars!

November 2009

October 2009

  • [34] ++++ Battlestar Galactica – The Plan (2009) – Finished 24 Oct. Not perfect but not bad at all, 4 of 5 stars! Images and review at Blog 218.
  • [33] +++++ Jumong – Season 1 (1-20) – Finished 19 Oct. Wow, finished my self-defined “Season 1”, episodes 1-20. Epic 5 of 5 stars! Wallpapers and review at Blog 218.
  • [32] +++ Densha Otoko (2005) – Finished 17 Oct. Didn’t quite pay attention to it, due to some physical distractions, hehe. Poster and review at Blog 218.
  • [–] Forbidden Kingdom (2008) – Finished (again) 04 Oct. Not bad for a second viewing! Poster and review at Blog 218.

September 2009

  • [–] Jumong – Started 20 Sep. Epic! Even though this was only the first episode, I felt I had to mention when I started such an epic series! Wallpapers and review at Blog 218.
  • [31] +++++ In the Mood for Love (Fa yeung nin wa, 2000) – Finished 20 Sep. Yup, watched the film plus the DVD extras. Wow, 5 of 5 stars! Maggie and Tony remind me sooo much of us! Uncanny! I mean, how did I avoid watching this? Since I already watched “2046” before, how? After meeting her, must be fate? Poster and review at Blog 218.
  • [–] So Close (Chik yeung tin si, 2002) – Finished (again) 11 Sep. Yup, finally finished the film plus the DVD extras again. I don’t remember what rating I gave when I first saw it, but I’d give it 4 of 5 stars today, hehe. Images at Blog 217.

August 2009

  • [–] Death Note 2 – The Last Name (2006) – Finished (again) 29 Aug. Yup, watched it with her, hehe. Wallpapers and review at Blog 210.
  • [–] Death Note (2006) – Finished (again) 29 Aug. Yup, watched it with her, hehe. Wallpapers and review at Blog 210.
  • [30] ++++ The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) – Finished 22 Aug. Yup, watched it with her at Sunset Station Casino. Hey, not bad, 4 of 5 stars! Several moments of near tears. Wallpapers and review at Blog 216.

July 2009

  • [29] +++++ Torchwood – Season 3 – Children of Earth (2009, 1-5) – Finished 31 Jul. Whoa, didn’t tear up, but still emotional 5 of 5 stars!
  • [28] +++ Lord of War (2005) – Finished 29 Jul. Just okay, 3 of 5 stars.
  • [27] +++++ Zettai Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend, 2008, 1-12) – Finished 24 Jul. Watched the 2008 TV series, followed by the 2009 extra episode. Wow, 5 of 5 stars! With the first ending, so many tears streaming down both my cheeks. Screencaps and review at Blog 213.
  • [26] +++++ Gokusen 2 – Reunion Special (2005) – Finished 24 Jul. Wow, two-hour reunion! Teared up too, 5 of 5 stars! Screencaps and review at Blog 213.
  • [25] +++++ Star Trek (2009) – Finished 21 Jul. Yup, finally watched the downloaded movie file. And I’m glad I did, 5 of 5 stars! Wallpapers and review at Blog 214.
  • [24] ++++ Watchmen (2009) – Finished 12 Jul. Wow, finally watched the film-version of the break-through comic, 4 of 5 stars! Wallpapers and review at Blog 211.
  • [23] ++ L – Change the World (2008) – Finished 11 Jul. Ehh, nice to see “L” again, but such a poor plot, 2 of 5 stars. Wallpapers and review at Blog 210.
  • [22] ++++ Smallville – Season 8 (1-22) – Finished 03 Jul. Haha, a six-episode marathon till the 22nd-episode finale! Whoa, intense 4 of 5 stars! Wallpapers and review at Blog 209.

June 2009

  • [21] +++++ Gokusen 3 – Graduation Special (2009) – Finished 27 Jun. Awww, wild, wacky yet warm. Yup, no doubt, another 5 of 5 stars! Screencaps and review at Blog 208.
  • [20] +++++ Terminator – Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2 (1-22) – Finished 19 Jun. Wow, the stylistic reverence and cinematic adherence to the original film trilogy is uncanny! An impressive 5 of 5 stars! Wallpapers and review at Blog 207.
  • [19] ++++ Blade Runner – Director’s Cut (1982, 1992) – Finished 14 Jun. Hehe, after “Hard Boiled”, I was then inspired to watch “Blade Runner” again, starring Harrison Ford and Edward James Olmos. Still a cyborg-gunning 4 of 5 stars! Posters and review at Blog 207.
  • [18] ++++ Hard Boiled (Lat sau san taam, 1992) – Finished 14 Jun. Hey, finally watched this film! Directed by John Woo, starring Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. A bullet-flying 4 of 5 stars! Wallpaper and review at Blog 207.
  • [17] ++++ Nodame Cantabile – Special in Europe (2008, 1-2) – Finished 13 Jun. After the live-action series, watched the two-episode “Special in Europe”. Awww, 4 of 5 stars! Screencaps and review at Blog 207.
  • [16] +++++ Nodame Cantabile – Live-Action (2006, 1-11) – Finished 12 Jun. Haha, the live-action version of the extraordinary anime! Wow, sublime 5 of 5 stars! Screencaps and review at Blog 207.
  • [15] ++++ In July (Im Juli, 2000) – Finished 06 Jun. Ahh, a random non-Asian change via Netflix, finally watched this German romantic comedy. Aww, hard not to fall in love with Christiane Paul. A colorful 4 of 5 stars! Images and review at Blog 205.

May 2009

  • [14] +++++ Red Cliff – Part II (Chi bi xia: Jue zhan tian xia, 2009) – Finished 04 May. Double-wow! Spectacular 5 of 5 stars! Wallpapers and review at Blog 201.

April 2009

  • [13] ++++ Shinobi – Heart Under Blade (2005) – Finished 25 Apr. Ahh, the live-action film alternative to the novel or anime. Too few ninjas, but not bad, 4 of 5 stars! Wallpapers and review at Blog 199.
  • [12] ++++ Police Story 3 – Supercop (Ging chat goo si 3: Chiu kup ging chat, 1992) – Finished 19 Apr. Wow, Jackie Chan’s third police-punching action-packed roller-coaster ride, featuring the dazzling Michelle Yeoh, 4 of 5 stars! Screencaps and review at Blog 198.
  • [11] ++++ Battlestar Galactica – Caprica – Pilot (2009) – Finished 18 Apr. Heyyy, the pilot for the 2010 series! Wow, wickedly impressive 4 of 5 stars!
  • [10] +++ Seven Swords (Chat gim, 2005) – Finished 10 Apr. Stunning imagery, but ehh, not bad, 3 of 5 stars.

March 2009

  • [09] +++++ Battlestar Galactica – Season 4 (1-20) – Finished 21 Mar. Wow, glorious final episode of the final chapter! Wickedly breathtaking, heart-stoppingly mind-blowing, with twists, turns and surprises till the end, haha. For a full 90 minutes too. A galactic 5 of 5 stars! Wallpaper and review at Blog 194.
  • [08] +++ Snakes & Earrings (Hebi ni piasu, 2008) – Finished 21 Mar. Hmm, a revealing yet startling window into soul-searching underground characters. The plot wasn’t too bad, 3 of 5 stars. Screencaps and review at Blog 194.

February 2009

  • [07] ++++ Police Story 2 (Ging chat goo si juk jaap, 1988) – Finished 21 Feb. Wow, Jackie Chan’s police-punching sequel, 4 of 5 stars! Screencaps and review at Blog 190.
  • [06] +++++ Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge (2008) – Finished 20 Feb. Wow, spectacular big-budget adult film, 5 of 5 stars! Screencaps and review at Blog 190.
  • [05] +++++ Pirates XXX (2005) – Finished 10 Feb. Wow, impressive big-budget adult production! Haha, except for the explicit sex, almost like a “real” movie, 5 of 5 stars! Screencaps and review at Blog 188.
  • [04] ++++ Battle Royale (2000) – Finished 06 Feb. Whoa, with all the bloody violence, unexpectedly complex and layered, 4 of 5 stars! Screencaps and review at Blog 188.

January 2009

  • [03] ++++ Police Story (Ging chat goo si, 1985) – Finished 28 Jan. Wow, Jackie Chan’s police-punching classic! Even after 24 years, the stunts are still insane, 4 of 5 stars! Screencaps and review at Blog 187.
  • [02] ++++ Doctor Who at the Proms (Special, 2009) – Finished 11 Jan. Heyyy, not bad, pretty entertaining! Such moving and memorable musical pieces for the reimagined sci-fi series, 4 of 5 stars!
  • [01] ++++ Sarah Jane Adventures – Season 2 (1-12) – Finished 04 Jan. Ahh, a more child-oriented version of the reimagined “Doctor Who”, but still quite an entertaining 4 of 5 stars!


Part 2 of 5 > Hana Yori Dango to Dae Jang Geum

Congratulations to “Hana Yori Dango”! Although “Nodame Cantabile” stole the prize of “Fave J-Drama”, I couldn’t overlook “Hana Yori Dango” either. So I gave this J-drama an “Honorable Mention”! Let’s take another look why.

Yup, not just two seasons, but also a film finale. In the same effective “dramedy” style seen in “Gokusen” (Blog 208 and Blog 213) and “Nodame Cantabile” (Blog 207), “Hana Yori Dango” likewise dances playfully between exaggerated over-the-top comic-violence and heart-breaking-heart-warming tears. Especially captivating are Mao Inoue (as Makino Tsukushi, 牧野 つくし) and Jun Matsumoto (as Domyouji Tsukasa, 道明寺 司), also a graduate of “Gokusen”. And oftentimes, successfully frustrating too, hehe. But yeah, an undeniable 5 of 5 stars overall, across both seasons and both film versions.

To celebrate, ranging dramatically from 1024px-to-3000px resolution, here are 13 wallpapers, scans and other images. Feel free to enlarge!













Inevitably, following the success of the “Hana Yori Dango” (2005, 2007) J-drama series, the K-drama version “Boys Over Flowers” (2009) was born. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy its slower pace. Especially on the treadmill. So after willfully enduring 7 of 25 episodes from January 13th to January 20th, I finally gave up. Ugh, the 7th was the slowest episode thus far. That’s when I switched back to another K-drama, the classic “Dae Jang Geum” (2003) series, hehe. Nevertheless, here are a couple of images for your idle and idol enjoyment!


Coincidentally, on March 2nd, while Autumn-chan was strolling through the library, she managed to pass by an aisle of manga, thought of me, and snapped some shots on her iPhone, haha. Not just “Hana Yori Dango” (Boys Over Flowers), but “Kare Kano” (His & Her Circumstances) too! Wow, it’s been ages since I blogged about “Kare Kano”. Let’s see, Blog 184? Yup, I think that was the last time!


Speaking of the classic “Dae Jang Geum” (2003) K-drama, I also started it on January 13th. But unlike the “Boys Over Flowers” (2009) K-drama, I’ve stuck with it for over 2 months, enjoying over 40 of 54 episodes thus far! Especially on the treadmill, haha. I can definitely see the interrelated influences with other Ancient Korean K-drama favorites like “Damo” (2003) and “Jumong” (2006). I’ll probably discuss it in more detail next time, but for now, here are several wallpapers for your wondering and wandering eyes.



Haha, got enough live-action J-drama and K-drama to fill your bowl?


Part 3 of 5 > Miss Actress to Aki Hoshino

Once again, Happy Birthday to you, Aki-chan! I didn’t forget your photoshoot, hehe. Ahh, my Tantalized Toyboxers, if you’ve peeked at the Toybox often enough, you’ve already seen a few of my posts featuring Japanese gravure-idol photoshoots. Haven’t you?

So finally, in the tradition of my previous photoshoots, I present Aki Hoshino (ほしのあき / 호시노 아키 / 星野亞紀) from the Miss Actress Photo Book #070 (2005). Enjoy!

Oh, before I forget, here’s an interesting side note. When I first stumbled upon Aki-chan’s photoshoot months ago, perhaps half a year ago along with Juri-chan’s or Yukie-chan’s photoshoots, I noticed how artsy-and-dark this shoot was compared to other standard bright-and-sunny idol shoots. Very cool. But when I began composing this mega-cast, I somehow lost the link! Fortunately, on February 28th, I found it again! Along with an intriguing interview I hadn’t seen before. Thus, I requested the assistance of Autumn-chan to translate and summarize the text. Thanks Autumn-chan!

Autumn-chan: finally made sense

xJAYMANx: awesome

Autumn-chan: sorry it took so long

xJAYMANx: ohh, no time at all, want to add any comments for those 6 pages?
(for blog)

Autumn-chan: i don’t have anything to add…

xJAYMANx: np, then would it be okay to ask for a brief summary?
or does the english parts sum it up

Autumn-chan: she talks about when she was in middle school and high school, how she didn’t like studying but liked to go to school because her friends were there
she didn’t know how to be friends with boys or go on dates because she didn’t know how to have a relationship with a guy (she didn’t have a father)

xJAYMANx: interesting

Autumn-chan: and then when she was 18 she had a crush on a guy that was 23
she thought he was his boyfriend until she found out that she was only one of his several girlfriends

xJAYMANx: ahh
(sent a final question) [Via email: Here are 2 more without much text. Would they fit better at the start, end or somewhere in between (about being an “all-boys girl”).]

Autumn-chan: so he broke her heart and she lost a lot of weight

xJAYMANx: aww

Autumn-chan: then she went to his home to pick up her stuff and when he saw how thin she was, he was kind to her, so she thought if she looked sick he’d like her
she was 35kg which is less than 80 pounds

xJAYMANx: wow

Autumn-chan: but she got over that and started modeling

xJAYMANx: thats super skinny isn’t it?

Autumn-chan: (yes) and she started when she was 24 and no magazine wanted her, but she somehow made it

xJAYMANx: really
that’s late to start modelling

Autumn-chan: yes
very late, she says that’s when girls stop doing bikinis

xJAYMANx: yeah
(anywhere in between, so not start or end)

Autumn-chan: i think it should start with 107

xJAYMANx: i agree
which text page talks about “all boys girl”

Autumn-chan: 107

xJAYMANx: ahh, so you’re right, anywhere in between

Autumn-chan: the second picture is probably in high school which is on 105

xJAYMANx: you mean 102 goes w 105?

Autumn-chan: yes

Without further ado, here’s Aki-chan’s photoshoot! As always, feel free to enlarge the images. You’ll notice the original interview soon enough, hehe.
































































Hehe, got enough lively bikini idols to fill your cup? But here’s a more intriguing side note. It occurred to my cross-circuited brain: Doesn’t Aki Hoshino remind you of a modern-day Japanese version of the innocent-yet-curvy Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe?


Part 4 of 5 > Japanese Souvenirs to Birthday Dishes

Okay, my Toasty Toyboxers, enough about live-action dramas and lively bikini idols. Let’s talk about food! During my last mega-cast, you might remember how I acquired my rice cooker.

On Saturday, 09 January 2010, based on Autumn-chan’s advice, I finally ordered my $122 Zojirushi rice cooker for just $9, hehe… Then less than a week later, on Thursday, 14 January 2010, I picked up my new Zojirushi from the office front desk. I opened up the box in the office kitchen and checked it out. Nice. The next night, on Friday, 15 January 2010, I cooked some Calrose white rice, mixed some ume-shiso seasoning into it, and ate half with my leftover sardines, mmm. Then made the other half into two onigiri, hehe.

Well, over the rest of January through February and March, I’ve experimented with quite a few variations of onigiri, ranging from plain Calrose white rice, to Calrose white rice with shiso seasoning, to Calrose white rice slightly browned with soy sauce plus shiso seasoning, to Calrose brown rice with wakame (seaweed) mix. Thanks Autumn-chan for the shiso and wakame! In fact, here’s a two-month-old snapshot of my Zojirushi. At near-daily use, it’s still going strong!

Back in mid-January, here were my early attempts at oddly-shaped “cubic” onigiri, haha. Calrose white with shiso.



One month later, mid-February, here were my more traditionally shaped “triangular” onigiri. Plain Calrose white.


Ah yes, souvenirs from the “Tokyo Loot Fairies”! After Autumn-chan came back from Japan, she brought back quite a few intriguing trinkets. A stack of tourist brochures, curry and shiso mixes, a shopping guide and other boxes. Unrelatedly yet relatedly, my close co-worker friend Allie-chan also happened to bring back a little gift. Can you guess which one it is?





Haha, first, let’s talk about the orange box with feet on it! This was Autumn-chan’s primary present for the winter season. Any educated guess what it is? Yup, a type of gel-pack bed warmer! Just take the gel-pack, heat it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, throw it under the bed covers, and you’re good to go for the night. You have the option to stick it in the orange sack to protect your skin from any prolonged contact. But since I wore sweatpants and socks anyway, the toasty heat didn’t bother me. I must admit, it was a nice companion to my portable heaters. But it doesn’t quite exist in the States, does it? At least not on Amazon.









Ah, second, the curry mix! But not just the sauce, the mix also includes the meat, potatoes and veggies. Very convenient! Unfortunately, only enough for one plate. One, maybe two servings. Definitely not something I can find at the local grocery store, even in the “international” or “ethnic” aisle, hehe. Oh yeah, if you look closely, or enlarge the image, you can see the “3” in the bottom-right corner. That’s a mild or medium “3 out of 5” in the spiciness range.


Third, the shiso mix! Made from the shiso plant, this seasoning adds a very consistent saltiness to your onigiri. Actually, let me correct that, you can control the density and consistency of the saltiness depending on how you mix up, or don’t mix up, your cooked rice. In any case, mmm, tasty.





Fourth, the “Dessert Pocky”! Why is it called “Dessert”? Who knows? I guess it must be the cheesecake flavoring? Or the very un-dense packing? Haha, I mean, come on, even though they show 12 sticks on the box cover, any reasonable consumer might expect more than that, right? Well, nope. It’s exactly 12 sticks, or 3 sticks in each of the 4 packs. That’s all. Just 12 sticks!







Fifth, the “Super Skinny Pocky”! I forgot what the translation on the big red arrow was, but I think it was something like “Super Skinny”. Is it really “Super Skinny” compared to the traditional standard “Pocky”? Hmm, maybe slightly. But then again, I don’t eat it often enough to immediately notice the difference, unless you told me.

Ahh, here’s another curious side note. I forget who told me, either Autumn-chan or Allie-chan, but “Pocky” treats are normally considered “very girlie” in Japan. I never knew this until last year! How girlie? Well, probably as “girlie” as buying and putting on make-up. Yup, no joke. Which explains why you see only girls enjoying “Pocky” in anime and drama. Which also explains why they came out with a specific “Men’s Pocky” to target male consumers. Like I said, no joke. If I were strolling though Tokyo, I’d probably not want to be seen eating “Pocky”. For example, take a peek at the back of the box. Where Mizuki Kuroda is showing you how to add tiny hearts to your “Strawberry Pocky”. Awww, how cute and sweet. So the next time you have a craving for these chocolate sticks, don’t forget to put on your lipstick and nail polish too, haha.


Sixth, even more onigiri “accessories”, hehe. In the pink packet, sake (salmon) seasoning for mixing into the rice. In the first green packet, wakame (one type of seaweed) seasoning for also mixing into the rice. And in the second green packet, nori (another type of seaweed) for covering an exterior section of the onigiri.


Seventh, the “Japan Shopping Guide”! Covering English, Korean, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. Hardly any Japanese at all! Including train lines, bus lines, maps and product information for all your favorite shopping sites! Featuring Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Ikebukuro, Akihabara, Makuhari, Funabashi, Yokohama, even Narito Airport, and bits of Osaka too, hehe.




















Ahh, so do any of these Zojirushi rice cookers look familiar? Hmmm?








Well, that’s all of the “Tokyo Loot” souvenirs, folks! Can you guess which gift Autumn-chan didn’t bring me? The gift that Allie-chan brought back? Haha, like a needle in a haystack! Or, hint-hint, like a stick in a pile of chocolate? Meanwhile, speaking of impossibly random finds, one day, while I was flipping through the April 2010 issue of “Reader’s Digest” (yeah, a gift subscription from Dad), guess what I found on page 123? A life-sized android Miku-chan! Imagine that! If you have no idea who or what Miku-chan is, check out Otaku Dan’s post “Miku Hatsune Wallpaper Dump” (24 March 2010). Of course, “Reader’s Digest” doesn’t have any idea either.




Another month later, mid-March, here was another tasty onigiri experiment. Calrose white slightly browned with soy sauce plus shiso.



Then another two weeks later, on March 29th, I finally opened the green packet of wakame (seaweed) seasoning above. Calrose brown rice with wakame. Mmm, brown rice definitely makes a difference. Seems to add another layer or texture to the flavor. My favorite onigiri so far!



Mmm, doesn’t all of this onigiri make you hungry? But now, let’s rewind back over the past week to my other delicious birthday dishes! Remember the green box of medium curry mix above? Not just the sauce, but the meat, potatoes and veggies included too? Well, here’s the mix when cooked in the microwave for a minute, and poured over nice and sticky Calrose brown rice, mmm. Doubly delicious when shared with Autumn-chan. Awww.


Afterwards, dessert! Chocolate bread pudding and yummy apple pie! Need I say more?









Mmm, if all of the onigiri didn’t budge you, then the pudding and pie must have! So that was Saturday, March 20th. A few days later, on Tuesday, March 23rd, a couple of my coworkers Melanie (in brown) and Michelle (in black) decided to treat me to a belated birthday lunch. Awww. My choice: T.G.I.F. With some strawberry lemonade, fried green beans, a Jack Daniel’s Sampler platter (packed with chicken, shrimp and ribs), and of course, the final ice-cream dessert accompanied with the universally embarrassing T.G.I.F. staff singing. Bahhh.







Happy Birthday, dude! By the way, my Tempted Toyboxers, if you’re curious about last year’s birthday antics, appetizers and assassins, feel free to take a peek at Blog 194.


Part 5 of 5 > Firefox Personas to Google iGoogles

Are we there yet? Last but not least, here are a few random technical updates on the web browsers and websites I’ve been using. Back on February 18th, I finally installed the new Firefox 3.6, played with its cool Persona skins, and ultimately settled on the “Black Catgirl” browser skin. Nice! Next, on February 22nd, I finally explored iGoogle, configured my iGoogle home page, and ultimately settled with a 3-column “Black UI” theme. Double nice! So on February 28th, with everything pretty stable and set in place, I decided to take some screencaps (Photoshop-edited for content). Yup, very black, very cool.




Yup, my “Black Toybox 2007” blog design is still running pretty well. Three years sticking with the same design, same theme, same look-and-feel. Not too shabby. Not at all.


Heyyy, thank you, my Trusty Toyboxers, for making it this far! I hope you enjoyed my stumble and climb through live-action drama titles, lively bikini idols, and tasty onigiri. Once again, Happy Birthday, Aki-chan! And thanks to the other gracious gals who glided through this mega-cast. Yukie-chan, Juri-chan, Mao-chan, Autumn-chan, Allie-chan, Miku-chan, Maria-chan, Melanie and Michelle. So did you guess which gift Autumn-chan didn’t bring me? The gift that Allie-chan brought back? Yup, the blue-boxed loosely-packed cheesecake-flavored “Dessert Pocky”, haha.

  • Doesn’t Aki Hoshino remind you of a modern-day Japanese version of Marilyn Monroe?
  • “Pocky” treats are normally considered “very girlie” in Japan. How girlie?
  • Of course, “Reader’s Digest” doesn’t have any idea either. Miku who?

Till next broadcast. Peace. Out.


Final Flashback

Aki-chan: “Happy Birthday, Jay… Got onigiri?”


25 thoughts on “Blog 220 > Live Action, Asians, Aki & Me

  1. When I first saw the title of this post, I thought Aki referred to Autumn-chan. Was wrong~! XD

    And all the onigiri make me feel like making my own, too, haha. I also can’t help but think you’re doing free advertising for Calrose. ;) By the way, that chocolate bread pudding looks quite interesting; I’ve only done it with raisins. Do you have the recipe, by any chance? :)

  2. @Jenn-chan: Ahh, understandable! Since one form of “Aki” means “Autumn”, doesn’t it? Hehe. Heyyy, if I can make onigiri, anybody can. But Calrose isn’t a brand, it’s a type of rice, so no corporate freebies for me, sadly enough. Yeah, that choco-bread-pudding thing was tasty! Not as tasty as the crispy and crunchy apple pie, mmm, but no complaints from me. Unfortunately, Autumn-chan bought it from a shop, so no recipe. Gomen. ^_^;

    P.S. Haha, will you post your onigiri too?
    .-= xjaymanx´s last blog > Blog 220 > Live Action, Asians, Aki & Me =-.

  3. Yes, Aki can mean autumn. :) Lol brand or not, it’s still advertising! ;) Calrose is a US-cultivated Japanese rice, right? I’ve lived in a place where Japanese imports are readily-available for so long that I sometimes forget others might not have sushi rice at hand; I’ve heard that some people essentially use mushy (more water added) jasmine rice to make nigiri. Inner onigiri purist is horrified!

    Ahhh that’s a pity. I like bread pudding~ Made a batch yesterday with raisins in the microwave. Easy to make and ingredients at hand. :) I don’t think apple pie is quite that easy…then again, somehow I never get pies right. :S I think the flour for the pastry needs more accurate measurements than I can give..:( Apple crumble is much easier, though. XD

    P.S. Haha, wasn’t going to since don’t really know if they’ll taste all that good for lunch tomorrow, but here’s a pic~

  4. @Jenn-chan: Okay-okay, I guess I’m advertising rice, yeah-yeah. Right, specifically cultivated or originated in California, thus the “Cal”. Hmm, I’ve tried Jasmine rice, but hadn’t thought of “mushifying” it. Actually, even with normal amounts of water, Jasmine onigiri has a lighter, more fragile texture. Which is quite refreshing in its own way. Purists be “darned”, haha…. Mmm, apple crumbles sound quite nice right about now.

    P.S. Awww, those heart-shaped onigiri are pretty cute. What type of seasoning? Almost looks like green bits of nori, but not sure about the yellow bits. Egg yolk bits? Hmm.
    .-= xjaymanx´s last blog > Blog 220 > Live Action, Asians, Aki & Me =-.

  5. Haha, yeah well if it’s cooked normally it’s kinda ok… but I’ve had mushy rice in restaurants too many times to like it. :( Fluffy rice ftw~

    Though there’s a malaysian onigiri-like rice thing called Ketupat. Wonder what rice goes in that, hrm. And whether it’s mushy.

    Haha, thanks. They were originally triangular, but I changed the shape slightly since it reminded me of a four-leaf clover when arranged in the container. :) I’m not sure what they are, I just used a Japanese fried rice seasoning pack. Maybe corn? XD I think it does have wakame/nori in it, though.

  6. @Jenn-chan: Ahh, that’s the problem, too many restaurants! You just need a cool Zojirushi and your fluffy rice is good to go! Hmm, let me know when you figure out the “ketupat”, hehe. I’ve tried Basmati brown rice, but since it turned out too hard, I think I cooked it in the wrong setting, doh. Actually, this weekend, I might check out an Indian market, and look for some “ready made” curry packs (with all the meat, veggies, and mix already in it). Just add my Calrose brown rice, mmm. Oh, okay, then your fried rice seasoning might have egg yolk bits after all. Interesting. Thanx for sharing!
    .-= xjaymanx´s last blog > Blog 220 > Live Action, Asians, Aki & Me =-.

  7. Sir, I am impressed with your onigiri skills. I have a rice cooker myself (although it’s not quite as awesome as yours). But lately we’ve just been using it to steam vegetables, no rice.

    Also I had NO IDEA Hana Yori Dango has had such a recent live action series. I’m a casual fan of the manga, it’s fully released in the US but I’m a few volumes short of getting to the ending. When I have the time, I plan on sitting down and reading it from beginning to end marathon style. Even though I own the last few volumes, I’ve forgotten too many of the beginning details to truly enjoy the ending.
    .-= lovelyduckie´s last blog > ARIA Hauls + My Now Complete Set =-.

  8. @Duckie-chan: Heyyy, thanx! Ahh, for me, rice definitely rules over veggies. And Calrose brown rice over all other rices, hehe.

    Ahh, the manga. Yeah, as I can see from the photo above, over 30+ volumes, right? Well, even if you haven’t finished the manga, maybe the live-action series might rattle your memories a bit? Yup, one of my faves… Speaking of “Aria”, I’m in a similar boat. I’ve downloaded the 2 seasons, but haven’t gotten around to seeing past the 1st episode yet! So we’ll see. Btw, congrats on your complete set!
    .-= xjaymanx´s last blog > Blog 220 > Live Action, Asians, Aki & Me =-.

  9. Fuwah, the bandwidth killer striketh again, haha. It’s been some time, eh? I thought you would still be in a state of perpetual Autumn;)

    Anime starting to feel fake, eh? To be honest recent shows haven’t been quite interesting, but there are a few promising titles this season like Arakawa, Night Raid, and Saraiya Gojou. Durarara! is quite ok too. Still, like you said, nothing epic enough to knock me off my seat…

    Hmm, I remember you mentioning that you watched DN2 with Autumn-chan somewhere sometime. Past blog post, perhaps. I don’t think I’d look forward to watching DN with girls, though- they’re all big fans of L. Life’s hard for Light’s supporters, sigh.

    I see you’ve been watching Galactica- my heart gave a little jump when Baltar dreamed that Adama was executed, heh. And as for Marilyn Monroe=Hoshino Aki… I dunno. I thought she was an AV idol for a moment, haha. Pretty amazing that she translated all tha for you, though. I would have been way too lazy to do anything like that had someone asked me too (I’d just tell them to take a photo of it and dump it into 4chan, haha).

    Pocky is considered to be girl’s snacks? First time hearing that. I am so
    gonna walk around with a Pocky stick in my mouth next time I’m in Japan. If. Strawberry flavoured. But probably without the hearts:P

    @Jenn: apparently ketupat rice has ‘santan’ in it- coconut milk.
    .-= aprilius20´s last blog > Institutional bias, failed plans and self-inflicted torture =-.

  10. @A20-man: Heyyy, you’re back from the land of living dead! I don’t have much time to reply line-for-line at the moment, but letting u know I got your comment. My availability should loosen up after I submit my June-1st work project. Exciting stuff. Sadly, no Pocky involved. ^_^
    .-= xjaymanx´s last blog > Blog 220 > Live Action, Asians, Aki & Me =-.

  11. @A20-man: I’m back! Ahh, I wish I were in a “state of perpetual Autumn” were it not for the other balancing states of working, exercising, eating and sleeping.

    Right, anime is feeling fake amidst my live-action consumption of “Death Note”, “Jumong”, “Gokusen”, “Hana Yori Dango” and so on, not to mention Jackie Chan films, Jet Li films, even “Crows Zero II” and “High Kick Girl”, haha. Plus I’m not sure if Autumn-chan was a fan of any specific character. I mean, she doesn’t follow anime or manga to begin with. So in a sense, anime for me has become more of an occasional “candy” or “snack” (“Girls Bravo – Season 2” was only my 12th anime this year), while live-action Asian entertainment has become my main meals.

    Haha, yeah, those Pocky games. Unfortunately, none of those has come up… yet. Assuming the summer weather doesn’t melt them anyway!
    .-= xjaymanx´s last blog > Blog 220 > Live Action, Asians, Aki & Me =-.

  12. Anime as a snack, with live-actions as the main course? I guess the movies are buffets then. Hmm. That might be a better description for L-A series… Right now I’m running anime marathons. All the shows that I downloaded but had no time to watch. Using the food analogy, I’ll end up obese pretty soon:P

    …Pocky melts? I didn’t know that. Anyway, you could try dropping some hints.. say, have box upon box of Pocky stocked from floor to ceiling, watch shows with Pocky game in them together, and make innocent comments like ‘oh, that looks so fun’, etc. Give it a go, hehe.
    .-= aprilius20´s last blog > The Place Promised in Our Early Days: Now why didn’t I have one? =-.

  13. @A20-man: Ahh, obese indeed! Actually, I was trying to convey anime more as a “light and fluffy” lack of substance that you forget about the next day, while L-A series and films seem more “intellectually nutritious” or “emotionally filling” that are harder to forget. I guess, in the end, actual human actors create so much more of an internal impact and impression for me.

    Hey, speaking of weight, I’m actually doing the “P90X: Extreme Home Fitness” 90-day program. (This morning was Day 61 of 90.) Which sadly, makes anime feel even lighter and lacking of any long-term substance. But like I said, they’re still great as occasional candy and snacks!

    Haha, of course, doesn’t all chocolate melt? Ah, unfortunately, Pocky isn’t so cheap in the US, and it’s even harder to find any shows with Pocky that she’d actually want to watch!
    .-= xjaymanx´s last blog > Blog 220 > Live Action, Asians, Aki & Me =-.

  14. Hmm. I’ll attribute that to L-A being, well, L-A, with real people in it. Guess it’s easier to be more emotionally connected when you have more detailed facial expressions and lips actually move in sync with speech, haha.

    P90X… sounds scary. Don’t tell me it has an ex-military man as it’s mascot? I’m going easy on the exercise- just several sit-ups, a bit of ‘air cycling’ and the like. I’m staring at the ceiling most of the time, though, not anime:P

    Ah. Didn’t think of that. I guess I’ve just never bothered to hold a Pocky in front of myself and wait for it to melt, haha. Mine don’t melt, they just vanish, really, really fast…
    .-= aprilius20´s last blog > The Place Promised in Our Early Days: Now why didn’t I have one? =-.

  15. @A20-man: Exactly. “Live action having real people.” I mean, it’s rather an obvious thing to say, right? But when I look back not too long ago to when I gorged myself on anime, one could say I was fleeing from “reality”, escaping from live humans to the “fantasy” of unreal animation. And I would agree with that. In the last 12 months, as I’ve become more confident and proud, more interactive and proactive in the real world, the animated fantasies have lost a bit their mysterious allure, lost a bit of their shine. Which is fine too. There’ll always be room for “dessert”.

    Ah, yes, P90X (Power 90-Days Extreme) was quite scary at first. Took me months to adjust to its routine. For example, the 15-minute “Ab Ripper X” segment involves complex forms of “sit-ups” as well as 25 seconds (or 25 rotations) of forward “air cycling”, backward “air cycling”, 25 reps of alternating straight leg switches, etc… Across about a dozen different moves, times 25 reps each… In other words, about 300+ repetitions of these advanced abdominal rippers. But it’s getting easier and easier every other day!

    Ah, that’s my problem! I might let the Pocky (or competitor Fran) sit out in the kitchen. Doesn’t help if room temperature is in the 80s-90s degree Fahrenheit.
    .-= xjaymanx´s last blog > Blog 220 > Live Action, Asians, Aki & Me =-.

  16. Backward air cycling? I’m having trouble imagining that. I’m just too lazy to maintain a regular exercise regime. It’s an on-off thing with me- mostly off, heh.

    I’m a Celcius person, so I don’t really know how hot that is- but since you live in the middle of a desert, I’m guessing 80-90F is pretty hot, haha.
    .-= aprilius20´s last blog > Jumping into a Bear’s Maw: Meme Trap =-.

  17. @A20-man: Hey, no prob about the exercise. According to Newton, “a body at rest tends to stay at rest”, if not asleep… Ah, Celsius. According to Google’s in-built calculator, 80F = 27C, 90F = 32C and 100F = 38C. Problem solved! So basically, my room temperature has been in the 20s-30s degree Celsius. Hot enough for ya?
    .-= xjaymanx´s last blog > Blog 220 > Live Action, Asians, Aki & Me =-.

Comments are closed.