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In The Mood For Chicken

Saturday, June 24, 2017 / No Comments
Argh!!! Help!!! Is there somebody who could lend me a hand here, pretty please? I wish I knew what had made these chickens (and a pig) so angry! I just wanted to take home a chicken for dinner. I have a craving for some fried chicken. Don't you love fried chicken too? Or maybe you take yours braised or roasted instead? Hmm, a whole chicken feast would be nice, don't you think? Argh!!! The chickens! Are they still attacking me?

How about a side of fried chicken wings? I wouldn't mind some at home, since there is room to be messy while eating them. Yeah, I don't usually have them outside, because it can get rather messy and awkward at times. I like to dip them in some hot sauce though. Barbecue sauce is fine as well. I leave the lime or lemon for fish instead.

Hmm, karaage! Something like this is the best, but you might have to fight with others for a bigger share. Yeah, karaage is easily the most popular dish at parties and such. I usually eat them without rice or noodles though, since the meat is sufficient to fill the stomach. Oh, don't forget the sauces! Different combinations are possible here. I like sweet chilli sauce and wasabi mayonnaise!

Speaking of fried chicken and rice, I suppose nothing else could beat the simple yet fulfilling harmony, especially after a long day at work or something. Really, there is no need for side dishes. Just a bite of fried chicken, a bite of rice, repeat. Of course, nobody is stopping anybody from eating the lettuce, parsley or cherry tomatoes too...

I certainly don't mind chicken drenched in thick, gloopy gravy. This would really complement bowl after bowl of rice! Or you could tear up some bread and mop up the plate! Oh, I can never imagine how a chicken dish can be complete without its skin. Always leave the chicken skin on, please. If the idea of eating skin makes you sick, at least offer them to somebody who wouldn't mind eating instead of just disposing the entire lot.

Ah, if you happen to be rather health-conscious, just cook your chicken in a hot pot! Throw in lots of greens, mushrooms, tofu, noodles...the possibilities are endless. The broth will be so rich and wholesome that you might just render the health factor useless, because I assume that you would probably ask for more rice to finish the hot pot.

Last but not least, roast chicken. Well, since the good old days of cooking stuff over a slow fire from sticks and wood, the classic style of cooked chicken stands undisputed in civilisation. Sure, the idea might feel a little barbaric, but the rare indulgence wouldn't harm anyone. Hmm, just keep hurling those huge chunks of meat my way...

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

Eromanga Sensei

Thursday, June 22, 2017 / No Comments

As the Spring season got under way, I noticed Eromanga Sensei's episode discussions on Reddit receiving hundreds of comments and how it was among the most popular anime on AniChart's list. It completely flew under the radar for me when I previewed what would be airing in Spring, other than it's slightly risque title. When I finally got around to watching it, I realised it had nothing to do with a mangaka producing a H-Manga series. Instead, the protagonists are a light novel author and illustrator duo. And if you're wondering where the 'Eromanga Sensei' fits in, you'll find out later on in my review.

Eromanga Sensei revolves around first-year high school student and light novel author Izumi Masamune. He's paired with a mysterious illustrator bearing the pen name Eromanga Sensei. Through the course of the first episode, he discovers by accident that his shut-in younger sister Izumi Sagiri was the titular Eromanga Sensei. Although initially embarrassed and even hostile towards Masamune, Sagiri gains confidence and manages to leave her room in later episodes. If watching this reminds you of OreImo, it's because their light novels share the same author, Fushimi Tsukasa. Yes, even the romance in Eromanga Sensei goes down the same path, at least for now.

Expectedly, the cast grows as the season progresses. Sagiri's energetic and persistent classmate Jinno Megumi is first to be introduced, followed by other light novel authors bearing their own quirks and eccentric habits. I certainly hope popular light novel authors aren't like that in real life. The supporting cast was the highlight of the show for me, lifting an otherwise ordinary story. Rival light novel author and potential love interest Yamada Elf threatened to steal the show at times, having a number of episodes dedicated to her solely. Sagiri's character development was a boon too, growing out of her 'tsundere' stereotype. Usually, I get tired of these characters quickly, having seen one too many in other anime, but Sagiri was an exception.

The plot is definitely not Eromanga Sensei's strong suit, with Masamune struggling to come up with an idea for his new light novel. His love for his sister inspires him and his editor eventually accepts his manuscript. However, the characters, gags and pacing of each episode makes the process more entertaining than my summary sounds. Expect cameos from characters affiliated with the Dengeki brand. Think Kirito from Sword Art Online and Ruri/Kuroneko from OreImo. They were pleasant surprises and I'm sure that there'll be more to come as the season progresses.

As the episode count grew, I began to understand why Eromanga Sensei was so popular. The lovable characters played a big part in making sure viewers returned for more every week despite the simple plot. A-1 Pictures did a great job animating this series, even beating out Saekano, I daresay. I'm looking forward to a second season and an improved plot because the characters will face challenges tougher than a writer's and artist's block...right?

Written by ET

Interview with Nanami Chiaki (Danganronpa)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 / No Comments
Are you a gamer? If you are, you may want to compete against our Super High School Level Gamer, Nanami Chiaki!
You haven't heard about her yet? She's awesome!

Besides having a glorious online life, Chiaki also leads a fulfilling school life. In fact, she is the class representative of the elite class in Hope Peak Academy, where all the talented high school students are scouted to join that one particular class. Not to mention... she is actually one of the stars of the Danganronpa franchise, and one of the main characters in the second game of the series, Super Danganronpa 2. If you are a fan of the franchise like I am...... you would have noticed her in the 2nd season of Danganronpa anime: Despair side~

Now let's take the time to welcome Chiaki onto the stage and ask her about how she feels about the franchise. There may be some spoilers from here on so be sure to tread with caution.

Good afternoon. Tell us more about yourself.
Good afternoon... Um, more about myself? I love games. I usually spend an entire day playing my games and I think that's why I don't have many friends... but I'll be happy if I can make friends through games.

I heard that you made friends with your entire class and even played games together. Are they your first friends that you made from games?
No, the very first friend that I made was Hinata. Hinata... Hajime...

He was a normal person, and was never allowed into Hope Peak's Academy's elite class, but was always striving to become one of the members. His unwavering determination and perseverance is

But I heard that he changed sides in the end. What do you think about it?

I was shocked. He just stopped coming to the park one day and the next time that I saw him... he looked completely different. But somehow, I still knew that it was him.
Alright, but his betrayal led to your death. Do you blame him for that?

Well... I don't feel like I died. After all, my life helped save so many of my friends. Everyone is so precious to me and I am granted the chance to come back as an AI to meet everyone again. To play games with everyone again... on Jabberwock Island, with everyone being exactly how they are when we are all still friends with each other.
It's amazing to be given this second chance.
To meet everyone once again.

I see. This has been a very touching and educational lesson. Do you have any last words to say to everyone?
Hmm... Please support Danganronpa and check out the anime.

Also, I am made into a figure by Phat! Company, and I'll be reviewed on this blog soon. Do check it out and hopefully I will be aesthetically pleasing enough to be part of your collection, then we can play games together.

I... won't... lose!!

Thank you very much, Chiaki.

~ Reina-rin

In The Mood For Ramen

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Oh, hi! You have got to pardon my manners here, because this ramen I am slurping right now is just...hmm, I can't seem to think, talk and eat properly simultaneously! Gosh, can you believe this soup? Let me have another quick sip of it...ah, I can't think of anyone who doesn't fancy a bowl of piping hot ramen! Hmm, I am assuming that you love your ramen too? Yes? Come to think of it, I have an anecdote to share about ramen. Care to hear me out?

The other day, I was in the mood for some ramen after school, so I decided to stop by one of my favourite ramen shops for lunch. As I slid open the door, I could immediately feel a giant fiery wave consuming the atmosphere. Gosh, two young women were glaring at each other while their hands had just severed the disposable chopsticks, all ready to dive into their bowls of ramen. Who doesn't love a ramen-eating contest? I was so amazed by the sudden flow of competitiveness that I had actually forgotten my own hunger pangs!

But I would rather slurp and enjoy my ramen comfortably. Honestly, I find competitive eating very risky to one's well-being. Ramen is usually so piping hot that the idea of guzzling the entire bowl simply invites death, or the Heimlich Manoeuvre. Oh, I am not stopping you if that happens to be your expertise!

Isn't this just wonderfully calming? Yeah, I have heard of ramen so good that even penguins enjoy a bowl or two. Do you have a favourite ramen? I usually can't readily decide what style I want, because the menu can be overwhelming. But I suppose that nobody can go wrong with a few essential flavours. Let's see...

Do you like miso? I think miso ramen is easily a favourite among many ramen lovers! There is also the spicy version if you prefer yours a little numbing. Hmm, there are several variations depending on which ramen shop you go to, but most do serve the basic type of miso ramen. Some customers love theirs with a good shake of garlic oil. I prefer mine with shichimi!

Of course, if you would like something a little milder yet still satisfying at the end, opt for shio ramen. The condiments are just superb! The soup is clearer, and you could probably swish everything around for a more appetising treat, visually and flavours-wise. Okay, maybe we shouldn't be playing with our food, but still...

Other essentials include tonkotsu and shoyu. Tonkotsu is basically pork bones, whereas shoyu is soy sauce. For tonkotsu, the soup is filled with so much collagen that I would literally empty the bowl! Hmm, the condiments...I don't have the killer combination since everything just goes so well with one another. But I would say nori, pork belly, onsen egg, and green onion usually make the list.

Gosh, can you hear your stomach growling? Because I have just heard mine! Hmm, ramen actually goes beyond just being anybody's lunch or dinner. There is a vast universe eagerly waiting for people to explore bit by bit. Then again, as long you have something to warm your stomach, it doesn't matter whether you have the universe or not! Bon appetit!

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

Devi's Japan Travels Part 3: Onsen Paradise

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After leaving Kagoshima we drove for 5 hours, it was a tough one! But the sceneries were amazing so it was totally worth it! I believe Kyushu is one of the most beautiful places I have been. I guess I am a bit biased, as I lived in Fukuoka for a year. Still, Fukuoka is in the top 10 of most liveable cities in the world. I am happy about others realising this about Fukuoka. Still, there are also other beautiful places in Japan, I just can't get enough of this country!

Driving to Oita City

We drove from Kagoshima to Oita city, we didn't take the full highway option but did the 'touristic route' for the first part. This landed us in the most 'middle of nowhere' places you can imagine. Would not be the first time nor the last time we will see places like this.

Going on the highway, we had beautiful sceneries of mountains, sea, tunnels (well, going in and out of them at least), and of course we saw a lot of Toyota Crowns, my favourite car, whooshing past us effortlessly. 

I really love this car, its design is right to my taste. And of course next to it there's the 'box' type car which you also see a lot in Japan. One type is literally called the N-box from Honda. We saw a lot of these as well, funny how it's so self-aware that it's a box hah. The weather was quite bad, rainy and foggy. But this kind of weather produces the most beautiful pictures of foggy mountains.

Driving on the highway we again encountered tollbooths who we paid (not so little) money. What I noticed was that there were mostly older men working at these booths. Also in the service industry such as cleaning and serving (older women) taxis (older men) and etcetera. Coming to Singapore I found that there were a lot of (very) old people still working here as well. The tollbooth men always told us to be careful ergo drive safely, always very polite and some of them even extra nice and helpful. 

Arrival in Oita

 After 6 hours we finally arrived in Oita City. It was a 5 hour drive but we took a break on the road at a konbini. It was a family mart in the middle of nowhere, so middle of nowhere that people were startled to see us, two foreigners. They kept staring, the staring gets more intense the more middle of nowhere you go.

Arrival in Oita City

Oita City was not a nice place. From all the cities we have seen so far this is the least appealing one. That's why after checking in at our hotel and dropping our stuff, we decided to drive to Beppu and have the real onsen experience. I had been to Beppu before, but my husband hadn't. Therefore I thought it would be good for him to see the 'hells' as it is called of Beppu. Beppu is one of the most famous onsen (hot spring bath) touristic attraction of Japan. Many foreigners and locals come here for the onsens and the spectacular views of the hells: steaming hot springs. Driving from Oita to Beppu was also spectacular, the views of the sea and mountains were amazing. It was only a half an hour drive to Beppu, so having a car was really handy in this situation. 

Before leaving the hotel we had googled some onsen that had 'family' or 'couples' rooms, so me and my husband could bathe together because women's and men's baths are mostly separated. Driving uphill we found out why this place is called hell, there was smoke coming from different places, which made it eerie yet mysteriously exciting. We drove up to this onsen and were pleasantly surprised at how amazing it looked from the outside already.

This place is called 'Miyuki no yu'. Inside we discovered a very serene place. I really love how some onsen have a beautiful interior which makes you calm already!

We booked a room for 1.5 hours, it cost 2500 yen for an hour and every extra half an hour is 1000 yen. You can bring your own towels but you can also buy a small towel for 100 yen and rent bigger ones. It is more expensive then a public baths, which are to my experience between 300 and 600 yen without a time limit, but at least you can enjoy it as a family or with your partner. As we still had time we decided to have some dinner in the neighbourhood. We found a small place where we had some kaisendon and katsudon. Don is short for donburi, meaning 'bowl' which is a rice bowl dish with various toppings. I had some kaisen-toppings, kaisen means seafood. It was quite delicious, and one of my favourite foods.

 After eating we walked around, it became dark quite fast! But boy, we had the most beautiful views! Steam lit up with colors, steam coming from the pits below you, as the weather was quite cold I liked standing on them to heat up a bit.

 I felt like I was in Spirited Away

At Ootani Park

After our walk it was time to go into the onsen! So getting in the room, of course you take your shoes off, this is a normal thing in Japan when you enter an onsen, a house, or even some traditional restaurants. We had an inside bath and a 'rotenburo' which is an open-air bath. So before you enter the bath you take off your clothes, go into the bath area where there usually is a place where you can wash your body before you enter the bath - this you should always do before entering a bath. We first enjoyed the inside bath, this one was quite ok. Of course it was hot but because there were glass doors between the changing room, inside bath and the outside bath, the inside bath had a lot of steam so that was very nice.

The outside bath was VERY hot. But the nice thing was, because the air was quite cool, going out of the bath you cooled down and then you get in again, and repeat this. Every now and then go to the inside bath too and enjoy the steam. It was a very relaxing experience. What I especially like is the streaming water sound of hot water getting into the bath, it's so calming! I also like the big rocks giving it a feeling as if you are in the nature, an area with a lot of mountains instead of a city.

After a relaxing bath we drove back, the nightview of Beppu is also very nice. We parked our car in the hotel 'vending machine' car park, and called it a day. 

Kyushu departure, Shikoku awaits!

The next day we went out to get something to eat. We found an 'omuraisu' place. Omuraisu is basically omelette with rice, with some sauces. We could choose different kinds of omuraisu. After eating we saw an ultra-right wing car, they look so cool though. Like a ghostbusters car or something.

We saw this place, I just had to take a picture with it. Unfortunately, I did not see Vegeta here.

After breakfast we got our car and it was time for one of the longest rides of our trip: Oita-Miyoshi. Well not exactly Miyoshi city but somewhere in the middle of the mountains lies our destination. We drove up to the port and took the ferry to Shikoku.

 The front of this ferry opened up like a shark's mouth, and 'swallowed' all the cars

It took about an hour and 15 minutes to arrive

Chillin' in the ferry

It was quite cold and the wind was really strong, but we had some nice views

After arriving in Shikoku it was time to drive up to our hotel with an onsen, the Oboke Sunriver hotel. It took us about 5 hours to get there. It was one of the most beautiful drives ever, with sea on both sides of the road and mountains, more on that in the next blog! So stay tuned..

Bonus information

As an extra I will give some bonus information about parking in Japan. So of course there are parking garages, but in bigger cities there are parking spaces, sometimes even really small with just 4 parking spaces or something. Here there is an automated system to keep your car 'in place' so you can't drive away without paying.

First of all, drive (preferably backwards) into the parking space, over the blue hump you see there. This is the parking block that will go up after you park your car.

After parking, the block will go up. No worries, it (probably) won't damage your car. It didn't ours anyway.

Then you can just walk away, do your thing, and come back whenever you are ready to take off. To pay simply input the parking space number after which the machine will automatically show the amount that is due.

After you pay the block will go down but you will just have a limited (short) amount of time before the block goes up again, so drive over the block and then input your next destination into the navigation, take a sip of water, or do whatever you want to do. Parking is quite costly in Japan, so if you want to travel cheaper than I would definitely advice to get a JR pass, an unlimited public transportation pass which you can only get outside of Japan. However, a car takes you places you would normally not get to. Either way, preparation is key for trips to Japan!

~Written by Devi~