News Ticker


Latest Post



Toys Review


Japan Culture

Recent Posts

Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Kakichan sea version Wallpapers

Friday, June 15, 2018 / No Comments
The Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay were two of my most favorite attractions in Singapore. The plot of high value land siting at the Gardens by the Bay was previously the subject of Government dilemma - to build private condominiums and skyscrapers and collect revenue or to build a high cost garden for all citizens and tourists to enjoy. As we know, the final decision gave birth to the iconic Gardens by the Bay, which runs contrary to the principle of running a business; the ticket receipts which does not cover the high maintenance of running the two Domes and the entire repertoire of the Garden. Such is the sacrifice of the Singapore Government to give up revenue in exchange for a quality lifestyle to its citizens.

Kakichan The Oyster

Being familiar with these two attractions, I drew a Kakichan sea version of the attractions, beginning with a sketch.

The characters used for Gardens by the Bay (upper drawings) were pretty straightforward. The two Domes - Cloud Forest and Flower Dome are shells itself, just like Kakichan's shell. I used sea corals to replace the trees. Takorin, the dumbo octopus, one of my oc took over the Singapore Flyer.

As for the Marina Bay, I originally drew three large standing fishes but then I felt it didn't match the asethetics of the majestic Marina Bay Sands (MBS) Hotel. Then I remembered Hammerhead Sharks! The hammer-like appearance of the sharks, when joined side by side would form a nice bridge on the top. By the way, there is this awesome (and instagrammable) Infinity Pool over at the 57th storey of the MBS hotel which overlooks the panoramic city skyline of Marina Bay.

The two sea turtles depicts the shopping malls and Casino. The MBS museum features an orangy whale. 
Notice that for the Merlion, I added a touch of "Kakichan" by clipping some shells onto the lion's mane and tail.

It's easy to use our local fruit Durian (with an extreme pungent odour) to conjure the elegant musical theatre Esplanade but since this is a sea version, I thought why not use a bloated up Puffer Fish and reverse it, since the belly would produce the curve needed for the rather round shape.

If you like the kawaii look, you may save to your computer to be used as Desktop wallpapers. Please do not erase the credits on the bottom right. 

Design Sketch by Max Wong
Illustrated by Shiriel

Do you like the two attractions as well? Which animal is your favorite? You can also write to us to request for a different background colour or orientation. 

Hope you like the Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Kakichan sea version Wallpapers!

Written by Max Wong

Book Review: Japanese Whisky The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit by Brian Ashcraft

Monday, May 28, 2018 / No Comments

"For relaxing times, make it Suntory time." 13 years after Lost in Translation's release, it seems as though the whole world has caught on and made their relaxing time a Suntory one, or Nikka...or any other Japanese whisky brand in fact, judging by how the industry is making international headlines every month. For the last three to four years, Japanese whisky sales has shot through the roof both domestically and internationally, winning numerous accolades and garnering immense praise from both critics and consumers alike. However, the attention has been a double-edged sword, with newer boys in the business being forced to innovate with non-age statement expressions or to bide their time and hope that the world is still as receptive in a few years. For market leaders Suntory and Nikka, they must be kicking themselves for not having the foresight to predict the success they're having currently, having opted to play it safe when the industry was in a lull. For the former brand, it has had to cease distribution for its popular Hakushuu 12 and Hibiki 17 expressions. On Nikka's end, they've had to do the same for their Yoichi and Miyagikyo lines. And as for myself, I regret not buying a few bottles when I had the chance to while I was travelling..and for finishing my bottle of Yamazaki 12 a little too quickly. Oh well, they say that hindsight is 20/20 after all.

With all the buzz surrounding Japanese whisky recently, I was curious to find out what made their take on the caramel-coloured spirit so appealing to consumers worldwide in recent years, even beating out bigwigs from Scotland and the USA. Enter Brian Ashcraft's Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit. I came across the book while window shopping recently and eventually bought it after my browsing session threatened to become an in-depth reading. The book is split into two parts, with the first one detailing the history of Japanese whisky and what makes the tipple uniquely Japanese. However, I'm willing to bet that the second part is what most people would flip to instead. It details the major players in the market Suntory and Nikka, along with several rising stars and what the future of the industry holds. After the introduction to each brand, there is a set of tasting notes and scoring for a number of their whiskies by Japanese whisky blogger Kawasaki Yuji. These tastings include bottlings that are rare or might not even be available anymore, unless you've a spare arm or leg of course.

Although the pace of the first part is much slower than the second, it's far from dry, serving as a comprehensive guide to the Japanese whisky industry and showcasing how the culture of adaptability and flexibility has been present since its early years after first borrowing techniques from the Scottish. Additionally, Japan's drinking culture was explored, showcasing why whisky faced a decline for a period before its resurgence. Although beer still reigns supreme in Japan's drinking culture today due to its price, availability and how easy it is to pair with food, the guide also noted the places that sake, shochu and whisky had as well. The publication is a guide in every sense of the word, discussing the various steps of the production process and shedding light on native ingredients and materials that are used. Some of these include Japanese barley; which is already used to make beer and mizunara; a Japanese wood that's used to create casks that hold the whisky for aging and is reported to be notoriously difficult to work with.

For those of you who're strapped for time or are craving for a bottle or two already, I'm cutting to the chase, fret not. The highest scoring expressions on Suntory's end are The Yamazaki 1999 The Owner's Cask Mampei Hotel, with a whopping 98/100 and being mainly available at the Mampei Hotel in Karuizawa. Hibiki Deep Harmony comes in second at 97 points out of a possible 100 and like its cousin, is available only in Japan at bars across the country. For Nikka, its The Nikka 40 Years Old and 34 Years Old expressions all received a 98/100 but good luck finding a bottle of any of these. The latter expressions were bottled 19 and 20 years ago and as for the former, it's a limited edition, much like any other Japanese whisky these days actually.

Personally, one man's meat is another man's poison so just take the plunge and snag a bottle from any brand, you might just chance upon a hidden gem. Even Suntory's Kakubin and Nikka's Black Rich Blend hold their own against traditional whiskies that are geared towards mixing such as Johnnie Walker's Red Label or Jack Daniel's. These might even be your go-to whiskies after a long day, especially when paired with their best friends ice and soda water. However, as the industry continues to grow and with brands beginning to enter the fray, expect some duds in the coming years but for me, I'll be shrugging them off as experiments or as growing pains. The book ended up acting as an excellent introduction to the world of Japanese whisky and although several segments were bogged down by the technical aspects of whisky production, it was nonetheless a good read and a nice break from academic text, so cheers to that!

Written by ET

Tachibanakan To Lie Angle

Sunday, May 27, 2018 / No Comments
Unbelievably short anime titles that run for two to three minutes per episode seem increasingly delighted to play and tease, leaving most people extremely confused over their intentions. I still wonder about such creations, as usually one would stuff commercials and promotional videos to fill in those time gaps before the next show. Anyway, here is something that I kind of stumbled upon by accident. It isn't what I would usually watch, but amid its apparent theme springs a few pleasant (?) surprises. Welcome to Tachibanakan!

Tachibanakan To Lie Angle is classified as yuri, yet there really isn't much to be overly excited (?) by given its three-minutes-per-episode treatment. As for the surprises (?), one of them is the generous display of curves and assets supported by skimpy or no lingerie. I suppose the preferred term is fan service, not that I have anything to complain about. It just numbs rather quickly over time though. If you ask me what Tachibanakan is really all about, I would probably stare at thin air or something. Well, since it is yuri, it wouldn't be weird to expect something more sexy (?) and such over the course of the series.

Okay, so the main character Hanabi begins a new chapter of her life as she becomes a high school freshman, relocating to a supposedly posh dormitory known as Tachibanakan. Unfortunately, her relative mistakes the kanji for Tachibana, and poor Hanabi finds herself standing outside a much watered down Tachibanakan. Fate may have dealt a strong card, but it isn't totally an upsetting outcome. Hanabi sees a naked girl from the corner of her eye.

A scenario like this is very common. I mean, it is after all part of the fan service. The image embeds itself into Hanabi, who later discovers that the girl is also a resident of Tachibanakan.

Hanabi spots another resident of Tachibanakan, Konomi. Konomi shares fond childhood memories with Hanabi, but the latter only manages to place her until moments later. Konomi seems to have much deeper feelings for Hanabi, who remains largely oblivious.

Tachibanakan To Lie Angle is in fact a creative wordplay at its finest, if you happen to know the Japanese language pretty well. To Lie Angle can be interpreted as Triangle especially when read in katakana. So there will be a love triangle progressively in this series! Oh, don't mind the pair of boobs over there. I think it belongs to the landlady? I can't remember whose!

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

Figure Unboxing and Review: Nendoroid Fairy Racing Miku 2017 (Vocaloid)

Friday, May 25, 2018 / No Comments
Here is another Miku Nendoroid and this time, it's Racing Miku 2017 version! If it isn't obvious yet, I'm finally opening all of my unopened figures and I hope to get them all done before... maybe December? Without further ado, let's look at this figure!
The box of Racing Miku has always been humongous, partially due to the fact that it always comes with a car and stickers to emulate the race car being used. This year's Miku is based on a fairy, and is illustrated by Tony. While I have my gripes about the scale figure (which my friend, a fan of Tony's artwork, has preordered), this Nendoroid is simply too cute and irresistible for me. So, here she is!

The front of the box is mainly in white and rather clean-looking while the back features slightly more color and design. That being said, the entire packaging is rather simple-looking and slightly plain, although I think that by doing so, it doesn't outshine the printed pictures of the Nendoroid itself.
Racing Miku figures are complimentary to the donation (8,000 yen) and thus are "exclusive" since you wouldn't be able to get them otherwise. However do note that for the 2018 version, it isn't as exclusive as you are still able to pre-order her at stores (for 6,000+ yen) although it definitely is less worthwhile than getting the "exclusive" one which comes with additional items such as a personal sponsor card and acrylic keychains/stands which are 1,000+ yen each on pre-order.

Leaving that aside, let's look at the different compartments of Fairy Miku!
She comes with quite limited pose-ability but the main bulk of the price is usually due to the car included as well as exclusive status. And as usual, Miku comes with accessories which you can use for posing Miku both inside and outside of the car. As you can see in the image below, there's the steering wheel of the car complete with hands to hold, as well as a flower bouquet which you can use when you simulate her victory!
Miku also comes with a bent leg for a cuter pose as well as hands with peace signs which you can use for a cheery double peace pose!
Additional accessories include her fairy wings and a trophy.
First, let's look at Miku with a bouquet in her right hand and a peace sign for her left. By using her bent leg here flushed out to the side at an angle, it really helps to complete the cute aspect of this figure. There are two aspects which I would like to mention about Miku's hair would be the gradient from green to yellow that adds to the soft feel this figure comes with, and the floral hair band on her left twintail has the same colors as her bouquet and really go well together!
Next, let's take a look at her outfit! It comes with a mass of white and light greens, but has a few parts highlighted by red (such as the butterflies on her boots as well as the Good Smile Racing logo. Her ears also comes with an ornament covering her ears, which plays up the fantasy aspect for this fairy themed Nendoroid.
She comes with this small green tie to boost the kawaii aspect, and some special design for her outfit, as demarcated by the translucent grey parts. You can even see her belly button through it!
Her wings uses a transparent plastic part with a light dusting of blue from the middle of the wings and designs to create a futuristic fairy appearance. I was initially quite skeptical as to how they would pull this off but the end result isn't too far from amazing. The only downside is that you are unable to use it when posing Miku in the car. I do wish they included a compromise for that.
Next up, we have Miku in the car, along with the trophy. I wouldn't go into details about the trophy as it is pretty self-explanatory but I'll like to show how the car looks before and after using the decals provided. Without further ado, let's look at a 360 of the car without any decals!

GSC has provided two sets of decals that you can use to paste on your car to make it look exactly like the one shown on the box. It also comes with a set of instructions on which to stick where in case you are uncertain. Do note that for my case, there are some stickers on either set that wouldn't come off well, and so I had to use the extra set to make up for it. Do treat each pasting like you wouldn't have an extra decal to use in replacement, and you'll mess up less.
The way the decals are arranged are exactly how you should put them on the car and it is actually rather simple to discern what should go where. Though, do note that the oil and dirt from you fingers may result in the decals being less sticky so I do recommend using something such as a pair of tweezers to carefully position the decal well. Re-pasting the decal would also obviously lead to it being damaged or being less sticky.

The most difficult decal to paste would be the yellow and pink flowers as I felt that they didn't line up well with the grooves and different angles of the car where it should have been pasted on. It wasn't very nicely done even on the prototype, so there's that as well.

It's definitely a very good feeling to finally own a Racing Nendoroid since most of them rise in price after release! Keep a lookout for her in the aftermarket if you do like this Nendoroid and I hope you'll find her at an affordable price!

~ Reina-rin

Figure Unboxing and Review: Magical Mirai Hatsune Miku 2017 (Vocaloid)

/ No Comments
Magical Mirai Miku 2017 was definitely one of the better Miku Nendoroids. I do love these Miku Nendoroids that we get a very different costume for every year, such as Snow Miku! This is also the second consecutive year that I'm getting a Magical Mirai Miku Nendoroid... These are just too cute!
As you can see, the theme is very close to a Magician theme and she comes with a wand and some playing cards to perform her magic tricks! Something good about these Nendoroids is that they often come with a whole bunch of accessories and this definitely does not disappoint!

She comes with three different faceplates, a wand, a top hat, a different bottom body part to pose her floating mid-air, and several exchanges of limbs.

She also comes with this background sheet that shows a circle of cards. You can display this either behind (as in official pictures) or in front of Miku to heighten the effect that she is casting her magic. Of course, this would work with any other Nendoroid as well.
For this Nendoroid, you can display her with or without her top hat. First, I'll take a look at her without her top hat so we can see her facial features and hair better.

And the first thing which I would like to highlight is that her hairstyle is quite different from the common Miku Nendoroids we see everywhere. Not only is the color slightly different, she also has a "straighter" and "chunkier" front part between her eyes, while the usual Miku only has one thick bunch of hair in the same area. The next two images below would provide a comparison for a better emphasis of what I just mentioned.
Next, let's take the same image from above back to take a closer look at the front view of the outfit of this Miku's Nendoroid.
She comes with a little dark blue tailcoat vest with a tiny ribbon to hold the entire set-up together. In addition, she comes with this dress that has a beautiful dark to light gradient going on and the bottom is lined with a thick border of lace and littered with three to four different star patterns. In addition, she comes with gloves to match the white lace and a pair of boots to complement. The boots uses a slightly translucent white shade and violet accents that contrasts well against the blue to add a splash of color to this Nendoroid.
She also comes with bloomers that not only really matches the concept of this outfit but also has each ruffle carefully sculpted. You can really feel the detail and amount of effort put into such a simple outfit by the sculpting and painting crew!
From the back, we see even more purple accents on her vest which helps to tie the color scheme used for the boots better with the rest of this Nendoroid.

Looking at the back of her head, do you see that criss-cross sectioning of her hair? I really love how that looks in real life and on Nendoroids and since not all Miku Nendoroids actually have this sectioning, I did hope that this Miku would have it and here she is, just as I wished for! That being said, the side strands at the nape of her neck is slightly awkward looking and I hope that they would have used something that would be more natural looking.
Now let's look at the other accessories that Miku comes with, starting from the wand. It comes with the elegant colors of gold and red and ends with a translucent teal apple-shaped top that matches Miku's hair color. This fits mostly well in Miku's hand and also complements her theme.
The other glorious accessory that comes along is this rainbow with playing cards and stars to create a more magical effect. When you match this with the wand, it looks just as if she has just casted a spell or performed a really cool magic trick! This rainbow has a peg hole at its back which you can then attach to the base with a ball-stand. By using a ball-stand, you can also change the angle for the rainbow to create different nuances in posing.
The other accessory which I'll like to highlight is this skirt part, which does come with different folds and lined around the edges with patterns which are better seen with this lighting. The flare of this skirt also makes it suitable for a pose where she is sitting or jumping in the air.
The other side of the skirt doesn't have any patterns which are worth mentioning but do note that it comes with a peg to join to her pelvic and legs. This peg also helps with posing her as you can have her either just leaping or sitting in the air.
And finally, last but not the least, let's take a look at her top hat. It comes with some decorative accessories at the left side - some roses, a playing card, and a dangling star. It also comes with a white ribbon that contrasts well against the dark colors of the hat.

Unfortunately the hat isn't well-balanced on her and instead of putting a magnet, GSC has chosen to use the purple felt strap for securing the hat to her head. The hat comes with the felt strap already attached to one side of the hat while the other side comes with a velcro. You have to slip the felt strap under her chin and attach it to the velcro. While this may hold well in the short term, I have my suspicions on its durability if you are the kind to move the hat around frequently.
That being said, this Miku Nendoroid is definitely one of the cutest and I hope that you'll consider purchasing one if you have the chance to do so!

~ Reina-rin