Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Summer's Getaway

The cat is back!

Featuring Nyanko-sensei from Natsume Yuujinchou San airing in this summer season of anime. Just finished the first episode and it's such a pleasure to watch, just as before. It feels great to see Nyanko-sensei's antics again. The visuals and music are just as wonderful as ever. The best part is the warm fuzzy feeling that Natsume never fails to give me after watching it. I love how the subtle storytelling is able to convey emotions so delicately. Heavily dramatic dramas have never been an appeal to me. I'd say I prefer a gentle summer breeze over a storm. Be prepared to shed some tears over the journey with Natsume. Even as cold-blooded as I am, Natsume has quite successfully brought tears to my eyes again and again. Not bad for a change after Spring's season of hot-blooded action animes. The last time I weeped was when Merry-go was give a fire burial. Oh, and when Ace died.

Another tear-jerker of the season is Usagi Drop. It tells the story of 30-year-old Daikichi taking guardianship of Rin, who is an illegitimate 6-year-old daughter of his grandfather. I think his 79-year-old grandpa is incredible in a different sort of sense. The scenes are beautifully done and emotions are handled with sensitivity. It is heart wrenching to see Rin asking innocently in front of her father's coffin: "もう、起きないの?"(He won't wake up anymore?). A quiet and obedient child, Rin easily earned my sympathy. In comparison, the bratty kid called Reina totally irks me off. Throwing tantrums and making noise at a funeral, 真是没教养的死小孩. The OP and ED animation are also done befittingly, bearing looks from the art of children's story books. Needless to say, I await the next episode fervently.

By the way, Usagi Drop has been adapted into a live-action film to be released next month, starring Kenichi Matsuyama and Mana Ashida. Not exactly the guy I had in mind, he just doesn't have the aura of an 30-year-old white-collar worker. Still, it's definitely better than Yusuke Yamamoto casting as Suoh Tamaki from Ouran. I cursed when I saw that.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not holiday

Went Batam over the weekend. Don't think I'll ever make a second trip there again. The area is just so touristy that the prices are equivalent to SG, but the standard is totally not there. In any case, I think mine was a trip of bad luck and disaster. On the day of departure, I arrived at Harbourfront at 8am to collect ferry ticket for 10am boat. However, due to the incompetence and inflexibility of the ferry agent, I was refused a ticket because my name was not in their list. Note: i was a replacement for my friend's friend who couldn't go, so her name was there and not mine. The situation was that my friend had emailed the changes to the travel agent more than a week ago, and the travel agent was to forward the changes to the Batam side, and Batam side would send list of names to ferry agent. However, the ferry agent insisted that they did not receive updated list from Batam, and totally refused to issue tickets even when travel agent was there to prove the change. Best of all, the manager doesn't work on weekends, so there was no one onsite with the authority to override the changes. WTH. As if most people would go on a holiday during weekdays! So the travel agent had to keep calling Batam side to email the list over. In the end, they took over 2hrs to send the email and settle everything. Another WTH. What's the point of email if they need an hour to send and receive! And so, I missed my 10am ferry and was rescheduled to a 1220pm one. Well, at least my group was not the only one, another pair of couples and a family of 10 had the same problem. The rest of the trip was just downhill all the way. A&W without hotdogs, and half of the things on the menu was not available. They only had fried chicken, couple of burgers and rootbeer float. They might as well call themselves KFC. J'CO at similar price, but doesn't taste as good. I saw flies landing on the donuts. Dinner was ok at a seafood restaurant 5mins away from hotel, BUT, lunch(provided by tour) was at the same place! And they served sh***y food for lunch! It's almost as if the restaurant kept all the bad ingredients specially for the tour groups. And all the kueh sold there, I think I'd rather Bengawan Solo, tastes so much better. Nothing to shop, nothing to see, nothing to do. I condemn Batam.