Saturday, September 26, 2015

Anime Reviews: Furi Kuri (FLCL)

Hey everyone! So the other day I was hanging out with a friend and we decided to binge watch some anime. Since I was failing at coming up with a show I'd be interested in watching, he suggested Furi Kuri (Fooly Cooly or FLCL are some alternate names). I'd heard about it before, but had never actually seen it, so I agreed.

 Furi Kuri is a story about Naota Nandaba coming of age and his interactions with Haruko Haruhara. And I only really know this because I read the Wikipedia article the next day. Furi Kuri is an extremely confusing anime with lots and lots of randomness and general lack of consecutiveness. If you thought Kill la Kill was weird, boy do I have news for you. While there is some story there and a bit of consecutiveness, in general Furi Kuri does not make a lot of sense. There was a lot of "What's going on!?" and "I don't know. Keep watching." going on that night... To quote the director, (quote shamelessly taken from Wikipedia) "comprehension should not be an important factor in FLCL." So, getting past the confusion of the story, I actually liked Furi Kuri alright. It has a fun art style and also uses some unconventional methods such as re-using manga panels in certain scenes to tell it's extremely crazy story. There's also a lot of good humor as well as just plain random humor that had both me and my friend laughing our behinds off. I definitely wouldn't recommend showing this to a friend that's still pretty new to anime and Japanese weirdness, but I would recommend watching this if you're looking for something short and humorous to binge watch. In total, there are six episodes of Furi Kuri, so it's easy to just sit down for an evening and watch the whole thing!

As always, if you want to recommend a show for me to watch and review, leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Relationship Advice From a Single Potato

Hey everyone! So in case you couldn't guess from the title of this post, I am single, and I'm going to be letting you all know about things I've learned from being in and out of relationships as well as single. First thigs first though, let me tell you what I know nothing about: Lasting, long-term relationships and long distance relationships. With that in mind, let me tell you what I've learned.

#1: It's never too late for your first boyfriend
 To be perfectly honest, I didn't have my first official boyfriend (both parties agreed we were dating) until I was 19. I'd had some mutual crushes and been on a few group dates previously, but I had never dated one person exclusively. I learned a lot from that relationship as well as subsequent relationships, but one of the main things I learned is that it doesn't matter if you're 14 or 35: You're never too old to start dating for the first time. Don't let yourself feel down because you aren't in a relationship and there's people younger than you going steady. There's no need to rush.

#2: Don't feel pressured to have a relationship
 It's pretty common for single people to see others in relationships in media and around them and feel like they have to be in one to fit in or feel happy. There's no reason to force a relationship just to have one though. While it's nice having someone else to care about and to care for you, it's better to stay single sometimes. When we rush into relationships to feel included, we can end up with harmful people or with someone we don't actually get along with. So don't force yourself. If you're single, enjoy your time with yourself. If you're in a relationship, don't feel the need to stay in it just for the sake of having a relationship. If things aren't working out, it's better to break it off and go your separate ways than stay unhappy.

#3: Get to know you
 I think one of the most important things I've learned relationship-wise is the importance of knowing and loving oneself before getting into a relationship. I've had a lot of jerks come through my life and a lot of potential dates missed because I didn't know or love myself that much. It's really hard to expect someone else to like you back if you don't even like yourself. Take your time being single and spend it getting to know yourself better. Write in a journal, talk to yourself, find out what you do and don't like. And once you've gotten to know yourself better, it'll be easier to accept yourself and find someone who will respect you rather than take advantage of you. Looking back at some of my previous relationships, I realize I was just looking for someone to like me in lieu of me liking myself and that a lot of them didn't have any respect for me. They just saw me as something easy to play with. Fortunately I stuck to my guns on some of my more important beliefs, but I still wish I'd realized my own worth instead of letting myself constantly get sold short.

 #4: Don't be afraid of short relationships
 So, the majority of my romantic relationships have been less than a month and I've dated quite a few guys in the past couple of years. A lot of people joke around and call me a "man eater" because of this, but ultimately, I know this isn't true. I'm still pretty new to dating and am learning more and more with each relationship. Some people find "the one" and start off with a lasting, long term relationship. Lucky them. Some of us have to test the waters out though and get to know ourselves as well as figure out what we want in a relationship. As I mentioned before, I didn't really have much self love back when I started dating, so I struggled finding someone to have a relationship with. These experiences have taught me more about myself than I could have learned on my own. Sometimes the negative things one ex has to say about you are things you really like about yourself. For example, one time I inadvertently ended a relationship by dumping a bunch of glitter on the guy I was dating when he fell asleep. (He would often come over to hang out and then just fall asleep on my chair when I wanted to have someone to talk to, so I had gotten pretty annoyed at this trend.) He later called me childish and said I needed to grow up. Thing is, I like the fact that I can still be a happy and giggly goofball despite having been through some difficult things. I'm pretty mature for my age (I grew up around older people, so I act more like them than someone my age), but that doesn't mean I don't like poking people for no apparent reason or getting giddy about something I find amusing. Heck, my mom has to kick my dad under the table when he won't stop making jokes at dinner sometimes and they're over 50. So, don't be afraid of short relationships. You can learn more about yourself from a grouchy ex than you might realize! And you can also learn more about what to avoid in relationships from them too.

I hope you all enjoyed my advice today! If you want to date, have fun doing so, just remember you should always be the most important person in your life. Don't let anyone else tell you you aren't worth it.

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Just Be Yourself

Hey everyone! So recently I've been going through a lot of things all in due process of growing up. And I've come to realize a lot of different things that have changed my life for the better, so I want to share some of these things with you guys. We only have one life, so let's learn to make the best of it.

#1: Don't Lie to Yourself
 Up until a few days ago, I've been lying to myself about certain aspects of my personality. I didn't want  to accept a part of me that I wasn't used to, so I decided to just kinda ignore it as much as possible. This isn't a healthy thing to do. Take the time to talk to yourself and get to know all sides of your personality. Intentionally hiding yourself from yourself and consequently others can lead to you feeling ashamed of yourself and possibly even make you hate yourself. You're stuck with you for your whole life, so don't lie to the most important person in your life: you.

#2: Write Down All Your Problems
 I, as I'm sure many of you do, have trouble expressing my problems and tend to let them build up until I have a breakdown. This isn't healthy. Take the time to sit down with a notebook (or carry one with you) and write down everything you can think of that's been bothering you, even the small stuff. I tend to empathize with others, so some of my worries aren't even my own problems. Something as simple as having sore muscles or a pimple can cause a lot more grief than it should if you don't realize that you're also dealing with homesickness, grief over a lost friend, or something else more serious like that. Write down everything and you'll soon find that a weight's been lifted from your shoulders. After all, knowing is half the battle.

#3: Take Time to Cry
 In today's busy world, it's hard to find time to fit everything we want to do into a day, much less a week. We can get stressed out and want to cry, but end up bottling it up inside so people don't think of us as a cry baby. But if we don't give ourselves time to cry in private, we could find ourselves breaking down in public at the slightest provocation. I work in an environment where professionalism is strongly emphasized, so having a breakdown at work is unacceptable for me. Because of this, I often have to put my emotions on the back burner, then by the time I get home I need to do some chores and head to bed. This causes me to wear down more easily, so there are days I just have to decide to head to bed earlier or take a longer shower so I can just spend some time crying. If you're having a bad morning, but still have to go to work, allow yourself to cry for as long as possible while you're getting ready and wait until the last minute to put your makeup on so it doesn't get ruined. Go to your car (or your room if it's close) and have a breakdown over lunch if you need to. Just make sure to drink plenty of water after so you don't get dehydrated.

#4: Don't be Ashamed to Call a Friend
 Sometimes I get so worried that I'll be a nuisance to my friends if I call them just to cry and talk about my problems that I end up suffering in silence. My advice is this: If they're your friends, they won't mind having you call for support. Sometimes we just need to talk to someone and get all our frustrations out, and good friends are always there to support you. Even if you have a therapist or other trained professional that you have regular appointments with, sometimes you can't discuss everything with them in the time you have. That's why you need to realize that your friends are there for you and you shouldn't feel bad calling them just to blow off some steam. I know a lot of my friends are comfortable talking to me about what's bothering them, so I shouldn't feel bad calling them when I need support. And neither should you.

I hope you all enjoyed today's topic! I've been having to learn a lot of things on my own since I'm far away from my family right now, so I hope that what I've learned can help people in similar situations. Stay strong, everyone!

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Conventions Big and Small: Sac Anime

Hello everyone! So I've been going to various conventions since I was 12 or 13, but only recently have I started going to a wider variety of conventions other than a biannual local anime convention that I've been going to for years and it's smaller spin-off cons (comic books based usually). So, since I've been to more type and sized conventions, I thought it would be fun to do some comparing and contrasting of the different ones I've been to. Today I'm going to be talking about one of my first cons. Let's go!

Sac Anime
 Sac Anime was my first convention and has grown a lot since I started going. Unfortunately, I've had to stop going since work has caused me to change coasts, so I haven't been in a few years. Sac Anime has become one of the larger conventions on the West coast and has changed locations multiple times as it continued to grow over the years. When I first started going it was a smaller, more family oriented convention that was beginning to outgrow it's location. I remember my mom talking to some of the staff there and they were all super nice and looking to make the con more fun for everyone. Shortly after I started going to Sac Anime, it had to change its location to a hotel due to size. After a few years of going though, the family friendly aspect started to drop and the staff stopped being as nice and "what would you like to see" about the con than when I first started going. While it's still a fun con to go to, it has definitely grown in size and popularity, causing it to become a bit less fan and family oriented.

Here's some of the features of the con:
  • Vendor's room
  • Artist's alley
  • J-Fashion show
  • J-Rock and Japanese inspired bands
  • Anime viewing room
  • Trading card game tournaments
  • Video game room
  • Popular/famous voice actor and cosplayer guests
  • Various panels (voice actors, cosplayers, games, etc.)
  • Cosplay masquerade
  • Rave with live DJs
  • Cosplay contests
I've been introduced to a lot of cool animes at Sac Anime including Fairy Tail and Black Butler thanks to the anime viewing room. The vendor's room always had a good variety of sellers with anime merch, J-fashion, corsets, and various accessories. I only got to attend the cosplay masquerade a few times since it was a big event and often had super long lines that started an hour or two before the actual event. There were also lines for the voice actors and other guests, but I usually wouldn't wait in line for autographs as I never was really that into getting autographs (though I do have several I got when I ran across people of interest outside of their signing time). There were some good bands over the years that I heard, the ones I remember the most being Akai Sky (I follow their bassist on Twitter) and Buranden (I haven't been able to find anything on them, so I'm not sure if they're still together).

 I've had a lot of fun at Sac Anime over the years and am sad I can't really make it anymore, but I'm looking forward to checking out more of the con scene here on the East coast!

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