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Figure Unboxing and Review: Hatsune Miku - LOVE IS WAR version

Monday, March 18, 2019 / No Comments
Spring is the season of cherry blossoms, symbolizing new beginnings and love – but let’s not forget the other side of the coin: those with unrequited love! And for all those people, we have Love is War! Hatsune Miku is back to show her strategies at grabbing the attention of the boy she loves! *:.。.o(≧▽≦)o.。.:*

If the previous assembly post didn’t convince you that this holy grail is a masterpiece and worth every cent, this review definitely will. There’s so much to point out about this work of art, especially the details on the base!

The texture is amazing. It looks exactly like the one represented in the music video, and all the rivets in the structure are just to right size so they are visible but neither misplaced or overpowering. The same metallic paint is also applied on the railing, right down to the hinges – which is definitely a very nice touch to the figure, making it look as realistic as possible!

The insides of the large microphones are painted with Miku’s teal, making the color palette of this figure largely dark grays and teal. This might be a very simple color palette compared to other newer figures (such as NGNL) but this simplicity makes it an eye-catching centerpiece for all collections! It would definitely stand out with its color scheme and design among a display of vibrantly colored figures, and on the other hand, it would mesh in nicely with figures with subtle color schemes too!

The teal in the microphones also have a marbling effect, which adds dimension, variation and depth to an otherwise bland color scheme.

Likewise, Miku herself is the pinnacle of dynamism in this figure. It feels like her pigtails billowing out behind her were sculpted to cover any blank spaces between the different parts of her base, and as such helps to pull these distinct blocks together to form a scene in her MV.
Her facial features aren’t the best, as this is a rather old MV and sculpt, but the expression is on-point. You can really feel her determination and frustration burning in her eyes! Her pose also helps to put the point across with her fiercely yanking the microphone forward, and thus twirling the pink cord behind her. 
I would have loved if they went for a more iconic look, where she stomps one foot down on the railing and yells into her microphone, but I suppose with figure technology back then, that would have been too prone to develop leaning issues.

A very huge gripe I have with the figure would be the pink microphone cord. Firstly, this is constructed using a wire which is very malleable and once it goes out of shape, it is very difficult to get it back to a perfect round shape (which is seen behind Miku in the prototype). The issue with this is that GSC only provides 1 wire, so you can either get it right the first time or berate yourself for life. Secondly, there doesn’t seem to be a hole where I can slot the other end of the wire (the one not connected directly to the microphone) and it’s not mentioned anywhere in the instruction sheet or in any prototype photographs. 
I’ve slotted it somewhere for now so it wouldn’t get in the way when I move my figure around in my display but this will forever remain an enigma to me…

~ Reina-rin

Sakura Matsuri Floral Display 2019 at Garden By the Bay

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Whoever are in Japanese Culture anticipate for the cherry blossom ushering spring season although many aren't able to travel to the beautiful country rich in history intermingling with modern facilities we visit the nearest cultural appropriation event open to public at Garden By The Bay, Singapore. A three day affair designed to educate, explore and sightsee Japan's popular festive that gathers family and friends for delightful pinics underneath the swaying of cherry blossom trees; mesmerizing music plays from the backdrop infused by a pleasing fragrance drifting from the cluster of flowers. The highlight for this year was the Torri gate walking beneath the huge, red pillars while vivid cherry blossom makes a splendour canopy, strolling across a traditional ember-tone wooden Hirosaki Castle bridge inspired in Aomori. A simplistic teahouse set in the middle of the flower field, a Japanese themed Pavilion as well as peeking into circular windows to admire a series of self-contained structures. There are over 400 sakura trees implanted the extravagant showcase; a simple five-petal cherry blossom as well as double cherry blossom that appears in varying sizes and vivid tone of fuschia colours. 

Allow me to showcase you Sakura Matsuri Floral Display 2019, one of the occassion that has my focal point and immersing myself within the atmosphere of blooming blossoms; traditional garnish which makes one marvel at the allure. My journey as usual takes longer living at the furthest end of the sunny island has its own setback hence being up early and packing up my necessities beforehand. Heaving a sigh of relief when my feet steps into the flower dome as the cooling air between 23 degree celsius - 25 degree celsius to accomodate the range of florals within the wide globe but also soothes my warmth skin from outdoors. The adorable view of a pair of doll couple adorn in flowers greeted everyone. 

A samurai couple

A flock of crowds gathers around the blissful samurai couple for a photo session although I circled my way toward a dormitory without glancing at the scenery because a better idea of literally molding as one sounds much perfect in my head. Time to adorn myself in a pretty summer yukata when it was time for a stroll peaceful although the gaggle of people said otherwise but there's a fun catch for this year, you are allowed to dress up as a samurai if only I had noticed sooner. A section was closed in for viewing of the sakura flowers flown in by Japan and Europe even though my excitement dwindles due to the lack of embellishment compared to my past visit that of which captured my attention. Nonetheless, I took the initiative to study further before giving my out the final verdict. 

Looking at the florals from behind the lenses of my Nikon camera one has to agree that it definitely calms your senses. Often, loose petals rain upon whomever standing beneath the awning of white and pink cherry blossoms and a wave of awestruck voices drift across by both tourists and locals mingling together. I was quite lucky to be one of them when it rained down on my stunt feature truly a magical experience for me. 

A pink and white petal blossom

Straight out of a sappy romatic drama scenario, the flowers create a whimsical ambience whereas gaggle of photographers attempts to brave the swarm of beings to capture a better picture of each blooms upclose. Waddling in my yukata, packing two bags and a camera in hand was not an easy task while maneuvering in and out. As mid-afternoon approached, my lethargic body crave for supplements thus I venture inside the dormitory, yet again, after a little decision making my pallete hungers for pieces of kaarage chicken as well as delicious mouth-watering donuts. During at this time, I came across a sweet individual as we spontaneously hit off with about chattering she bought several gifts for her family that of which included an aesthetically pleasing liquor infused with a cherry blossom; a jelly and daifuku that was also cherry blossom flavour. She was kind enough to let me take several pictures of her little purchase while cooing at how adorable the packages represented. 

A stall selling liquors and savouries infused with cherry blossom flavour

The two of us banded together resuming with our excursion at this point we manage to take better pictures aiding one another while rejoicing with each other's companionship. She was a great sport, laughing alongside, pointing at different locations where it was most suited for a quality pose. I could not have asked for a better partner during that moment and if you are reading this, I want to thank you for being awesome. 

Resembling a pair of flailing salmon fish fighting against the current, we battle through with a glee smile for once not mindful by the number of people towards the Marumado windows displaying each edifice of Japanese abode and teahouses. An open window for anyone who wishes to capture Instagram worthy pictures as some reminiscences familiar territories while the workmanship was absolutely stunnng. 

I applaud at their patience for painstakingly creating a miniature version of each landscape

By then, I had toured the entire attraction with my newfound friend beside me it was time for me to head back home. Bidding the cherry blossom occasion a melancholy farewell I took off for the long and arduous traverse back to my little community. Once again, I as lucky to have the opportunity to visit such a cheery festive and literally soak in with the sights and sounds of mini Japan in Garden By The Bay. 

As mentioned earlier, the verdict for Sakura Matsuri 2019 I was a little dissapointed by the lack of display apart from last year that of which was truly breathtaking and got me strolling endlessly in the esconced ceremonial ground. When that moment of me walking into the dome I sensed a crushing disatisfaction there weren't many areas for me to take splendour pictures. The expenses as usual was quite pinching but understandable. But of course, do not take my word literally since I'm sure most of those who had the chance to explore during the three day event went home with a wide beaming grin on their profile carrying gifts purchased from each stalls. Before I bid my readers a good-bye here are a few photos that was worth sharing: 

A simple white five-petal cherry blossom

This picture gives me the vibe from Edo era

If you wish to see more of pictures from the matsuri do check out my Instagram account: @blank_space_project. You can see more pictures from the current event that I shall upload soon. Thank you for taking the time out to read my blog! are you one of the visitors and if so, do share stories from your little trip and see you soon. 

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Singapore Bicentennial 2019 by Milkcananime

Sunday, March 10, 2019 / No Comments
As Singapore celebrates its 200 years this year, also known as Bicentennial, I take this occasion to draw some of Singapore's heritage using our own anime characters. The history of Modern Singapore began in the early 19th century with the arrival of the British East Indies and Sir Stamford Raffles. While Singapore had long existed in the centuries prior to the British arrival ­– as a settlement under various names such as Singapura and Temasek – it was the signing of the 1819 treaty that signalled the founding of Modern Singapore.

I usually draw in landscape mode using A3 drawing paper. I hardly sketch unless it is a geometry or vector design but jump straight to drawing. In designing this heritage piece, the first building I drew was the old Singapore National Library, followed by the Chinese Garden. The Central Fire Station was more complicated than I thought and this part took me the longest. Kakichan the Oyster and Algae Chan on the bumboat was the most fun to draw and I found myself constantly smiling. While the top portion seems a tad serious, the bottom portion was all kawaii and playful. All in all, this piece took me about 3 weekends to finish. From this point onwards, my illustrator Shiriel Corda took over and digitalized the artwork.

Explanantions (from top left to right) :

Central Fire Station
Completed in 1909, the Central Fire Station was Singapore’s first proper and modernised fire station. It was a three-storey building with an impressive lookout tower. The tower was used to spot fires in the vicinity.
Besides housing the firemen and their families, the station also had an engine house, a repair shop, a carpenter shop, a paint room and a training yard. The Central Fire Station is located at Hill Street.
Conservatory Shophouses
Typically, shophouses consist of shops on the ground floor which open up to a public arcade or "five-foot way", and which have residential accommodation upstairs. Shophouses, like terraced houses in England and townhouses in the U.S., abut each other to form rows with regular facade, with fire walls between them and adherence to street alignment.
These shophouses speak to us of Asian heritage and culture more strongly than almost any other structure does. Tourists often enjoy walking and taking pictures around shophouse districts because of the variety of colours used in their facade decoration. 
Singapore National Library (old)
The National Library had its beginnings in 1823 and was inextricably tied to the establishment of Singapore’s first major educational institution. Raffles laid the foundation stone in 1823 for the Singapore Institution and the building was completed in 1837. However, this national icon of Singapore which had survived through the turbulent times of World War II, but could not defend itself, was closed on 31 March 2004 and demolished in 2005 to make way for the construction of the Fort Canning Tunnel.
Singapore Chinese Garden

Designed by Taiwanese architect Prof. Yuen-chen Yu and built in 1975, the space is modelled after the northern Chinese imperial style of architecture and landscaping, particularly during the Sung dynasty period. The ‘Bai Hong Qiao’ bridge, for instance, follows the style of the 17-Arch Bridge at the Summer Palace in Beijing.

At the entrance of Chinese Garden, you’ll find a pair of majestic stone lions guarding its gates. Statues of these proud creatures have traditionally stood in front of imperial palaces, tombs and temples in ancient China, and are said to possess a mythical ability to protect.
Indeed the 13.5-hectare garden feels like a slice of ancient China transplanted to the west of Singapore, complete with a series of stone bridges, pagodas and a tea house.
Gasing (Spinning Top) – played by Moochan
The traditional game played mostly among the Malays in Singapore is the Gasing. The game resembles a wooden “grenade” (gasing) with a protruding metal tip. A rattan string is used to wrapped around the and the player has to throw and release the string to allow the top to drop and spin.

How it’s played:

Tie a string tightly around the top of the gasing.
Throw the gasing and pull back the string at the same time. The gasing that spins the longest wins!
In the spinning contest, the person who can afford to keep his top spinning for the longest amount of time wins the match. The top is usually launched and then carefully transferred onto a wooden panel to spin for as long as it can. Surprisingly, the current record stands at two hours! If you were playing the striking match however, you wouldn’t have to watch a top spin endlessly – instead, you’d be playing to topple your opponent’s top by deliberately striking their top with yours. The aim is to displace it and cause it to lose its speed and balance.
Batu Seremban (5 Stones) – played by Miwa Haruka
Batu Seremban is a game that is played with five stones. Seremban refers to the West coast of Malaysia where the game was brought to Singapore from. In the past, players used to substitute today’s pyramid-shaped cloth bags of sand or rice with actual stones or seeds.
The game of five stones is believed to have originated in Ancient Asia, during the Siege of Troy in 1184 BC. Played sitting down, the game that involves a complete set of eight steps, has been said to improve eye sight, memory, and concentration.
How it’s played:
Throw the five stones on the ground and select one stone. Then, toss it in the air.
With the same hand, pick up a second stone from the ground and catch the first stone very quickly before it touches the ground.
Now with two stones in hand, toss one of the stones into the air and pick up a third stone from the ground.
Next, throw one of the three stones in hand into the air, whilst picking up a fourth stone from the ground and attempting to catch the falling stone.
Finally, throw the fourth stone into the air and pick up the final stone on the ground.

The game of five stones has seen players invent many different variations, each with varying difficulty. Interestingly, this game has also travelled to many different countries and assumed different names such as Jackstones, Chuckstones, Dibs, Dabs, Fivestones, Otadama, Tally and Knucklebones.
Marble – besides Miwa Haruka
Also known as kelereng or goli, Goli is a game played with marbles. Made of either glass, clay, limestone, or plastic, the marbles are used to hit another players’ marbles in an attempt to claim them. The marble game is often played in a sandy area.

How it’s played:
Draw a circle on the ground and each player will place a marble in it.
Draw two parallel lines.
Throw the marbles from behind one of the lines.
Player whose marble is nearest to the opposite line starts the game.
Players then stand behind the opposite line and throw their marbles at the ones in the circle.
Player gets to keep the marble that is knocked out of the circle’s boundary.

Goli requires skill and accuracy to throw one’s marble to displace the others in the circle. Often, players miss the circle by throwing their own marbles too hard or aiming for packed areas of the circle that is more challenging to dislodge other marbles. The end of the game arrives when there are no more marbles within the circle anymore and one of the players has collected the bulk of the circles’ marbles for himself. This was one of the most popular outdoor games in the 70s and 80s.

Bumboats - rode by Kakichan the Oyster and Algae Chan

Bumboats were used in the Malay Archipelago for loading, unloading and transportation of cargoes, supplies and goods from ship to shore, and vice versa. In Singapore, bumboats are also called twakow or tongkang. They were once used extensively for transport purposes along the Singapore River, Rochor and Kallang rivers, and also along the coast of the mainland and other nearby islands.
The front of these boats are often painted with “eyes”, so as to enable them to see danger ahead. Old rubbers tyres fixed to the sides of these boats are used as shock absorbers in case of collision with the quay, jetty or other boats.

Life surrounding the bumboat is seen as the epitome of early Singapore’s entrepreneur spirits. Bumboats are often laden with all kinds of goods. Workers or “coolies”, each bare-backed with only a pair of trousers, carried the bulging sacks ashore, and walked precariously across a plank, connecting the water and land. Underneath the boat’s curved canopy are pails, pots and pans. The bumboats could have been their homes where they would also cook and wash up afterwards. A hard life for these illustrious workers who helped build Singapore to what it is today.
Since the Singapore river clean-up campaign in 1983, bumboats have been refurbished and given a fresh coat of paint with colourful illumination. They are now used as River-Taxis by licensed operators to ferry passengers – which comprises mainly tourists – along the Singapore River for sightseeing and pleasure rides up and down this historic waterway. 
Hopscotch – played by Amami Kisa (Queen Bee)

The children’s pavement game was said to have originated from the Roman Empire era, and became popular in England in the 17th century. After the Second World War, the game made a comeback in London, and its popularity soon spread to Malaya and Singapore.

Hopscotch was often called teng teng locally. The game was played by drawing a series of numbered squares on the ground – either scratched out on dirt grounds or with a chalk on concrete floors – and using pebbles or stones to “reserve” the squares. Due to the airplane-like outline of the square diagram, it was also known as the Aeroplane game.

In the game, each player would have to hop, skip and turn around, throwing his or her stones onto the squares to “occupy” them. According to the rules, the players could not hop onto an “occupied” square or stepped onto the outlines of the diagram. At the last square, often in the shape of a semi circle instead, the player would have to turn around and pick up the stone without seeing it. The first player to complete the game would be the winner. (Queen Bee sort of cheated in this game because she could "take-off" easily).
See more Singapore traditional games here
Trishaw rider – rode by Yushiko (cyclist) and Kimaru Chan (passenger)
A trishaw is a bicycle with a sidecar, powered entirely by the cyclist. The trishaw was a popular mode of public transportation in the immediate years following the end of the Japanese Occupation (1942 to 1945) in Singapore, but started to suffer a decline in popularity from the mid-1950s onwards. By the late 1970s, trishaw riders were regarded as a dying breed with most of them primarily involved in the tourism trade.
The average income of trishaw riders in the 1950s and 1960s varied depending on the number of hours worked and fares collected, which ranged from as low as $3 to $20 a day. Trishaw riders could charge $0.20 for every half mile or part thereof travelled. Alternatively, they could charge $1.50 for every hour or $0.40 for every additional quarter hour of travel. 
However, Trishaw rider’s life is harsh and they are often being prejudiced socially and considered to be from a lower socio-economic class.
You may download these illustrations as wallpapers for your computer.

As we celebrate the Singapore Bicentennial this year, let us take a step back to remember the heritage, history and our roots of what transformed Singapore from a third world to a first world nation and not to forget to pay tribute to our fore fathers whom had laid the foundation of what Singapore is today.

Written by Max Wong

Fire Emblem: Three Houses + Pokemon: Sword & Shield

Saturday, March 2, 2019 / No Comments
Hello hello my little nuggets!!!

There's a spot of good news in a dark period: Three Houses finally has some news I'm vibrating with excitement~~

So instead of being on one opposite end of a war, this time there is peace all around and you're actually a professor of the Officer's Academy. The Officer's Academy is the training school for the Church of Seiros, which maintains the balance of power between three kingdoms. Around this time when you're recruited into the Academy, you also start to be able to see Sothis, who appears in your mind?

For the Three Houses, we have the Black Eagles, the Blue Lions, and the Golden Deer, led by Edelgard, Dmitri, and Claude respectively. So far it seems like the goal is to train the students and to increase their battle abilities in terms of magic, weapons, and specialized skills. 

You get to pick one house to main, and bring them out on missions and battles in the usual grid battle system. It also seems that this time the students will be able to interact with each other and increase support bonds. 

Honestly, this feels very different from the previous Fire Emblems, there has always been war and a conclusive ending, a sole enemy to defeat before we can end the game. However, after watching the trailers, I can't tell how the plot is going to proceed. Will we have the main antagonist or will it just be bringing students out on battles over and over? 

Three Houses is set for release on 26th July 2019. and the European limited edition set comes with an Artbook, Steelbook, Sound Selection USB, and a Pin Badge set.

The North America one gets a CD instead of a USB, and a Calendar instead of the Pin Badge Set. I'm a little undecided on getting the limited edition, but I think I'll end up ordering it mainly for the artbook. I did get the limited edition for Fates so maybe I should get for this one as well.. 

But that aside, the next piece of news I have is for Pokemon!

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield coming soon in late 2019!! I'm so excited for it!!!!

The starters are too adorable, and I can't decide between picking the Fire-type or the Water-type. I don't think they've released the evolutions yet, so there's plenty of time to decide. After watching the trailer, Sword and Shield feels more realistic to me, mainly for the fact that the players are carrying huge backpacks.

Sword and Shield will be set in a brand new region (Galar region) with brand new pokemon to collect. The scenery looks amazing, and Nintendo has mentioned the Galar region to have "idyllic countryside and contemporary cities; vast plains and snow-covered mountains."

Here's the trailer!

I'm so stoked for this year, and I really hope both Three Houses and Sword and Shield will not be disappointing. Well for now, nerd out!

Written by: ninetylives