July 21, 2014

THE PLAN Summer 2014

Plane tickets are booked. All that's left is winning tickets.

8/23 - 14:00 Arrive Narita.

8/23 - 18:30 SmileY inc. Talk & Live Event at TSUTAYA O-nest - failed lottery.

8/24 - 14:00 Arrive Narita.

8/24 - 19:30 Akuma no Riddle Talk & Live Event at Hitotsubashi Hall - Ticket secured. 3rd row.

See Nunu, Yukachin, Azumin. I haven't even watched Riddle yet but...dat cast.

8/25 - TBD

8/26 - 18:30 Kagurazaka Yuka First Concert at Nakano Sunplaza - Sold out.

8/26 - 18:00 Akesaka Satomi no Riamachi - public recording. Look for HARAPEKO shirt on Nico.

8/27 - 14:30 Kagurazaka Yuka First Concert at Nakano Sunplaza - Ticket secured.


8/27 - 18:30 Kagurazaka Yuka First Concert at Nakano Sunplaza - Pending general sales.

8/27 - 19:00 Blade Dance Matsuri at Theater 1010


8/28 - TBD

8/29 - 16:00 Animelo Summer Live 2014 - Ticket secured.

Ayachi, WUG, Minorin, fripSide, JAMPro, Altima, etc. And Kancolle might provide another chance to see Baum.

8/30 - 11:50 Hapimelo Ebisu tr 2 - Ticket secured.

Ayase Rie = ave;new's Shirasawa Rie.

8/30 - 16:00 Animelo Summer Live 2014 - Ticket secured.

IDOLM@STER 765, ML, and CG. angela, Hocchan.

8/31 - 12:00 Amamiya Sora Skyreach Event - Bumped by Watanabe Yui.

8/31 - 12:30 Teekyu Festival at Anisama Outdoor Stage

Skipped 10ch because Watanabe Yui at Anisama outdoor stage is more important to me.

8/31 - 16:00 Animelo Summer Live 2014 - Pending last minute sale.

Backup plan will either be to see Ookubo Rumi

8/31 21:15 Ohenro Screening at Kadokawa Cinema Shinjuku - Ticket Secured.

Because Yamashita Nanami is my favorite WUG.

9/1 - 17:00 Leave Narita, go home

Pretty easy compared to some of my past trips, and relatively less DD with a tight focus around Yukarin, Baum, and Nunu.

Posted by Paranda at 5:59 PM | Comments (2)

November 14, 2013

THE PLAN Winter 2014

You know the drill. This time's trip will carry an IDOLM@STER theme since I became a producer earlier this year, but I will still have some time to devote to my Yuka*ins (Tamura and Ootsubo)

Updated 2/4 to reflect new events and ticketing

2/14 - 14:00 Arrive Narita.

2/14 - 19:00 Steins;Gate Special Fan Meeting with Imai Asami at Kadokawa Cinema Shinjuku - ticket secured.

158k to see Mingosu: worth it.

2/14 - 22:00 Watch THE IDOLM@STER MOVIE if there is a showing.

2/15 - 11:15 Idolmaster Movie & Cast Greeting at MOVIX Saitama - pending lottery.

Was gonna watch the movie anyway. Now I will watch it and also meet Numakura Manami as a bonus. As a Hibiki P there can be no greater reward.

2/15 - 13:00 Imai Asami 4th Album release event at Gamers - failed lottery

Other than Chiaking, Mingosu is simply the best singer out of all the idolm@ster girls. It's not even up for debate. While this particular event may not be affiliated with the series, her label 5pb treated her well, giving her a nice array of catchy songs. If she sings Dear Darling I'll die.

But I failed the ticket lottery and there are no auctions..orz

2/15 - 14:25 Idolmaster Movie & Cast Greeting at MOVIX Saitama - pending lottery.

Watch IMAS again and meet Nunu again. Oh yeah there are some other cast too, but I tend to have tunnel-vision when it involves anybody in my top 5 seiyuu.

2/15 - 18:00 Tamura Yukari LOVE ♡ LIVE 2014 Spring *Fruits Fruits ♡ Cherry* Day 1 - Pending FC lottery.

I prefer smaller intimate lives than SSA, but if it's Yukarin I'll take what I can get. Last year's Cute & Cute & Heart was one of the best Yukari events I've ever been to. Will apply for legitimate FC lottery entry with my membership, which can request up to 4 tickets so people are welcome to join.

Update: Got tickets for 5 people plus myself, all from USA. We'll be the AMURRICA section in SSA!

2/16 - 12:00 Hamiraji DVD vol. 3 event - ticket secured.

2/16 - 14:00 Idolmaster Movie & Cast Greeting at United Cinema Toyosu - awaiting general sale

Different cast greeting with Azumin this time. But have to leave early to catch Hamiraji event.

2/16 - 14:30 Hamiraji DVD vol. 3 event - ticket secured.

I went to the DVD vol. 2 event last year where I got photos from all 3 members, it was amazing. Talked to Yukachin and Nozomi and Miho in person. Yukachin was so cute, I almost got a heart attack BEFORE I talked to her just from waiting in line. Since this is an event instead of owatashikai, it's possible they will perform Fuwari Brand New Day together as Yunomi, which seeing live would be a better gift than any possible autograph or handshake or goods could compete with.

I go to these for Baum, but this year I also have a much stronger appreciation for Nozomi thanks to more radio listening and also that blasted card collecting mobagame.

2/16 - 15:00 Milk Lariat Special Live 2 (Vol 6S) - Ticket secured. Resold.

This respected live organization names its events like apple names gadgets, but unfortunately 6S is not quite the same as an upgraded Milk Lariat 6. Arguably their best singer in the entire lineup ChouCho is noticeably gone. And who did they replace her with in the same headline position? Hitomin. LOL.

But, it's not a bad event at all, and I actually did buy tickets since Mimorin, KatoFuku, and even Nanjo (though a bit depowered without her fripside counterpart sat) are worth seeing even solo so giving it up was not easy. But given the dilution from other names, it ended up losing the edge to the recently announced Yukarin events. So now I have a spare ticket. Talk to me if you want it.

Update: Damn with the Sakura Saori and Ootsubo Yuka added, Milk Lariat's guest list was suddenly upgraded from mediocre to REALLY good. But Yukarin takes precedence. Mimorin + Nanjo I was lucky enough to see at Animax Musix Taiwan this year already. Baum I'll see twice earlier on the same day. But I'll have to suffer for my decision to sacrifice Sakura Saori, my favorite non-seiyuu singer in the world.

2/16 - 16:00 Tamura Yukari LOVE ♡ LIVE 2014 Spring *Fruits Fruits ♡ Cherry* Day 2 - Ticket secured. Wouldn't be oukokumin if I didn't go to the same even twice.

2/17 - Visit official IM@S Museum in Namco Nakano (MUSEUM IS CLOSED) THE IDOLM@STER MOVIE 2nd viewing

2/18 - 19:00 Kawano Marina Oneman Live Imperfect Blue +S - TBD. I actually wrote a thing about meeting Marina on the street in the past, so I might go to her live now to see how much she's developed.

2/19 - TBD

2/20 - TBD

2/21 -18:30 AgeAge Idol Carnival #176 at Shibuya Club Crawl - ticket secured.

A long-running chika idol event which includes Morinaga Mami. I last went to AgeAge Idol Carnival #136 back in 2012 and it was solid. Will be good physical warmup for the big IM@S event the next day.

2/22 - 17:00 THE IDOLM@STER M@STERS OF IDOL WORLD!!2014 - failed all lottery attempts. No choice but to auction

2/23 - 13:00 NonNonBiyori Web Radio NonNonDayori! Nanon public recording at JSF Science Hall - tickets go on sale 2/8.

Ayaneru, Rieshon, Asumin!!! Aside: JSF is great, the seats are super close. Also this will be the second time I see Asumin in this place. First time was at the Busou Shinki preview event.

2/23 - 17:00 THE IDOLM@STER M@STERS OF IDOL WORLD!!2014 - Ticket secured.

2/23 - 22:00 Idolmaster post-live offkai - reserved

2/24 - 17:00 Leave Narita, go home

Relatively short and only uses 6 vacation days if I do things right, leaves plenty in the tank for IM@S 9th live, and potential YuruYuri-focused trip for later in the year.


Posted by Paranda at 10:57 PM | Comments (5)

August 18, 2013

Animelo Summer Live 2013 Flag Nine

I didn't actually plan to go to this until a month ago, but a few things happened with AX that caused me to take the plunge. Like my YuruYuri trip in February, this will be a quick and focused "business" trip: go in, do the events, and get out.

Here's the plan:

8/21 11:00 - Leave from Newark Airort
8/22 14:00 - Arrive at Narita Airport
8/22 18:00 - Arrive in Akiba, buy shitload of Kingblades
8/22 19:00 - Official MarvelYell Channel - Niconico Uta Studio. Required Mamipyon viewing
8/23 06:00 - Go to SSA, buy Anisama official goods (undecided)
8/23 11:00 - Anisama outdoor stage - Some Dwango newbs, plus Sanada Asami, HIMEKA, and backstage Kanda idol group
8/23 16:00 - Anisama Day 1 proper - In order of caring about: Minorin, Choucho, Milky Holmes, ray, μ's, earthmind, Cinderella Girls, Misawa Sachika, May'n, EE (everyone else)
8/24 11:00 - Anisama outdoor stage - Nagareda Project, some Dwango newbs, plus Iizuka Mayumi, some indie seiyuu units, and backstage Kanda idol group
8/24 16:00 - Anisama Day 2 proper - A good day. Gorakubu, Million Stars, fripside, angela, LiSA, Sumipe, Kurinoko, Aiurabu, Mamegu, Luna, Eir, EE
8/25 11:00 - Anisama outdoor stage - TBD
8/25 11:15 - Dekashatsu Kissa 4 year anniversary event to see Mamipyon again (depending if none of the TBD interests me)
8/25 16:00 - Anisama Day 3 proper - Best day. Yukarin, HaiyoritaiG, Nana, Ayachi, Maon, petit milady, sphere, Pikasha, YuiKaori, Ogura Yui, Nanri, KitaEri, Itou Kanako, Mikakoshi, Nomizu Iori, EE
8/24 10:00 - Check out, buy imas goods
8/24 17:00 - Leave Narita Airport

Also I want to go do Yukarin karaoke at least one of the nights, but haven't decided which day yet.

It's going to be awesome. My only regret is missing Dempagumi inc. at JX

And I realize I'm already taking my next trip before I even wrote about my June one. I do have a ray concert report, I really do. And Itapara. Itapara was the best thing I did on my last trip. I just have to edit it once things stop getting in the way. Or not, since I never follow through.

Posted by Paranda at 1:14 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2013

THE PLAN 2013 Summer

Well at this point I'm pretty much committed to my 6/14 - 6/23 dates, so I can plan the itinerary.

19:00 Nanri Yuuka Third Live - tentative. Will try to get same-day ticket

18:00 RAYVE 01~Ray's magic castle~ - ticket secured

May potentially go to Denkyun in Tokyo though. Obtained excellent 200's range ray ticket so I can't give that up.

11:30 Hamiraji bromide owatashikai - ticket secured. IT'S BACK ON!
12:20 Iguchi Yuka calendar owatashikai - failed lottery
14:00 Hamiraji bromide owatashikai - ticket secured free ticket up for grabs if you can meet me claimed
17:30 µ's 3rd Anniversary LoveLive - failed lottery
18:00 WE LOVE Itapara - Saori Sakura Love You Live - Gifu Gaisen - Ticket secured
Stop by Gamers Nagoya to see Yukarin's live outfit from I Love Rabbit 2012 on display

Go back to Gifu to visit Yoroken if there's time.
19:00 Perfume / MAXIMUM THE HORMONE live in Zepp Namba - ticket secured

Day trip to Toyosato

Visit YuruYuri Museum at Gamers. Buy YRYR Nanamorichuu Festival Blu-ray. Hopefully a certain someone is tenchou for the day. She is but only in July
18:30 SHIBUYA GIRLS SHOW TIME in Shibuya DESEO - Ticket reserved. Required Morinaga Mami viewing #1 for this trip. And lol Starmarie

18:30 Dias Records Presents! Girls Spark Vol.10 in Ookubo HOT SHOT - Ticket reserved. Required Morinaga Mami viewing #2 for this trip.

Queue early for Yukarin live goods, attempt #1
Day trip to Izu Oshima Cost and schedule make it not worth it for a 1 day trip.
23:00 AniCrush vol. 0 in Akasaka Androidol Cafe - Tentative depending on if I'm healthy enough to do an all-night event. Maybe I could sleep from 5AM to 11AM the next day though before Momoi event.

12:00 MarvelYell Tandoku Kouen vol. 1 - Canceled. Superseded by Momoi event.
12:00 Hikounin Sentai Akibaranger Ita themesong commemoration event in Shinjuku Tower Records - ticket pending. I thought this would be the first year since 2006 that I didn't see Momoi but luck has a way of working out
13:00 Good Idol Music vol.3 - Outdoor idol festival hosted in Ueno Park from 1PM to 7PM. Mamipyon is in the lineup. I'll head over as soon as Momoi's event is done, then stick around until 5PM before going to SSA.
15:00 @JAM 2013 in Zepp Tokyo - ticket pending. I'll only attend partially and leave at 17:00 I'd have to leave at 16:30 to make it on time
18:00 Tamura Yukari Cute'n Cute'n Heart in SSA - ticket secured

Queue early for Yukarin live goods, attempt #2 (if 6/21 fails)
12:20 Hanazawa Kana calendar owatashikai - failed lottery
13:00 Taketatsu Ayana "apple symphony" the Live - ticket secured. If it's not over by 15:20 I'll have to leave the event early for Yukarin
16:00 Tamura Yukari Cute'n Cute'n Heart in SSA - ticket secured

Posted by Paranda at 11:19 AM | Comments (10)

January 28, 2013

Open call for YuruYuri Live Event 3 Nanamorichuu Festival

Gonna repost the same offer I just made on twitter. So Yuruyuri Live Event #3 Nanamorichuu Festival is coming up next month.

Due to various circumstances, my various YRYR ota friends couldn't make it so I've got 1 extra ticket. And it's been surprisingly hard to get rid of that extra ticket.

I got these through legitimate means by winning the BluRay promotional lottery and bought them at retail price. In the worst case scenario, I'll just eat the cost because both tickets combined are still way cheaper than if I even bought a single ticket on auctions (which goes for close to 40k yen for a similar seat). Or I'll probably try to auction it off when it gets too close to showtime.

However, I'd much rather have them used by another fan who can enjoy the live. If you are in need of a ticket, write me via comments here, twitter, or email. No price markup if you buy it from me this way.

Location: Pacifico Yokohama
Date: February 24th, 18:00 (doors open 17:00)
Seat: 1st floor, 19th row, center
Cost: 7605 yen (7000 ticket + 605 fees)

Posted by Paranda at 9:28 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2012

3 gripes about Pony Canyon's Utagassen release

It's no secret that I think YuruYuri is the best managed seiyuu PR vehicle in the last decade. The show was so effective, it singlehandedly pushed a squad of no-name rookies into my A list. I care more about JD Baum than Taketatsu Ayana. Looking at the weekly radios, soundtrack naming events, DJ shows, iron-man autographing marathons, nation-wide tours, and fan appreciation festivals, no other show in my memory has ever gone to such lengths to promote their core seiyuu in such a huge variety of appearances.

Which is exactly why it's also kinda disappointing when the ball is dropped in other ways. And Pony Canyon did that just a little bit on the YuruYuri Nanamorichu Utagassen concert release.

First, I have to say I have no issue with the content itself. The setlist was just perfect, the performances were more polished, and the extras were exactly the kind of stuff they knew seiyuu fans would like. There's backstage footage of the pamphlet photoshoot, S2 PV, and concert. They even included a full 2.5 hr audio commentary track for the concert, where you can hear everyone squeal along embarassedly to their actions on screen or reveal trivia like how Yukachin invented the first "po~po~" call for Akari's theme song at a Nico broadcast event, how/why Tsuda did away with the stand-mic for her performance this time, and what people were doing backstage in between songs.

And to make up for Ainama's absence, they brought in Mizuki Nana Kuraguchi Momo who was just amazing in every way. So, I really have no problem with the content. In that aspect, it is one of the best releases of the year.

Kuraguchi Momo, the best surprise of the concert. She's sooo good.

The real problems were with certain aspects the presentation of that content, and that manifested in three ways.

1. Packaging

This is my release? Even though it's a limited edition BD release, it's just a generic white plastic DVD box with a cover insert. That makes it look really cheap. No printed case, no digipak? You know, fans are willing to pay a premium for limited edition partly because it looks good on a shelf. But the bigger issue was the lack of a box. For the premium release, PonyCanyon decided to include a special booklet featuring a collection of photos from the concert. 40 pages of full-color photos printed on premium paper. That's great, but when you pack something like that, you need either a box, or at minimum a slipcase to keep the disc and the booklet together. Instead, the book was just bundled outside the case and wrapped in flimsy throw-away plastic wrapping. So where exactly am I supposed to store the booklet once I've unwrapped the thing? The wrapping isn't the resealable kind.

Companies like King Records understand this well. For example, take a look at this Yukarin "I love rabbit" bluray from earlier this year. Packaging was nicely done here, with resealable wrapping, outer slipcase, and inner fold-out that held the discs and booklet. Hocchan's Q&A is another good example, which put the booklet and case in a decent looking box.

Couldn't you have given me something like this. Heck, charge an extra 500 yen for it.

2. Video quality

This is a 100% crop that I saved saved at maximum quality when the camera was fairly still. I didn't pick this as an example of the quality at the worst point, it's the AVERAGE. Now lighting can play a huge factor in terms of noise, but if it was just noise, I wouldn't be complaining. You can play spot-the-defect bingo with this screenshot. And many of them were completely avoidable just down to crappy compression. There should just be a rule that you do not try to cram more than 3 hours of 1080p concert footage onto one 40GB disc. Again, I'll bring up King Records because even though they fuck up audio CD releases badly, they actually put out a pretty good product as far as concert BDs go. They uncompromisingly keep H.264 video near max at 36mbps which is why you sometimes get Disc 1 with 90% of the concert, and then a Disc 2 with 15 minutes left over. That's exactly what should have been done here. Put the concert on disc 1, and put the extras on disc 2.

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather change discs than see blocky artifacts, blurring, and banding everywhere. Grainy concert footage does not compress well compared to other video, and 27mbps is just NOT ENOUGH. The inconvenience of multiple discs can be easily fixed with the magic of AnyDVD. Poor video quality can not.

3. Editing

Finally, and this is probably my least legitimate complaint, but it's a matter of personal taste: who was selecting the shots for this thing? Why would you go for upper body close-ups when the girls in the commentary are specifically saying "oh the dance for this part is cute?" or going wide audience shot when they say "I love the hand motion for this." It seriously needed more full body shots because YuruYuri songs are full of cute dances. The worst thing was BOTH of Yukachin's "henkawaii" dance motions during the chorus of Miracle 1 2 3 happened OFF SCREEN. WHY?

It's a shame in some ways, because even though the concert itself was more enjoyable, this particular blu-ray release was worse than Nanamorichu Recital (which also suffered from problem #1, but just narrowly avoided #2 and #3). I can only hope next year's live concert isn't handled the same way when released to video.

Edit: Rereading what I wrote, it's a pretty negative post, but overall, the commentary and performances made the watching experience enjoyable so I'm not slamming it or saying that I shouldn't have bought it. I just wish the things I mentioned above weren't botched.

To lighten the mood, here's an Ootsubo Pro gif

Posted by Paranda at 2:21 AM | Comments (0)

July 6, 2012

THE PLAN 2012 Summer

Looks like 40% chance I said last time became true.

8/24 Arrive in Tokyo. Nanoha movie
8/25 CharaHobby 2012 - Uesaka Sumire's Armored Guards Infantry Regiment Broadcast at the Radio Osaka booth Plans cancelled as they conflict with azusa event.
8/25 azusa "visuel" release event - Mini-live, handshake, and autograph event with azusa. My first impression of azusa was at an Amagami event last year but it was so good so I'll gladly attend another event.
8/25 PhotoKano "Your Eyes Only" Premium Stage - Never played the game but the cast is quite good. Talk event with Itou Kanae, Mizuhashi Kaori, Oogame Asuka (AND Nakahara Mai, Kanemoto Hisako, Shiraishi Minoru apparently!)
8/25 Animelo Summer Live Day 1 - Nanri Yuuka, Yukarin, Kawada Mami, Afilia Saga East, LiSA, Haruna Luna, StylipS, and others at SSA
8/26 Animelo Summer Live Day 2 - HaiyoritaiG, Gorakubu, Hocchan, Minorin, Kurinoko, Milky Holmes, KitaEri, Ishikawa Chiaki, Ray, and others at SSA
8/27 - 8/28 Climb Mt. Fuji
8/30 - 9/14 Working!!
9/1 Spotlight on Itou Noizi at STGCC in Singapore
9/15 Sphere's orbit live tour 2012 FINAL SPECIAL STAGE at Makuhari Messe in Chiba. Plans cancelled as they conflict with YuruYuri and I'm not sure I'll make it back to Tokyo by curtain raising time.
9/15 YuruYuri Fan Appreciation Festival Day 1 at Akihabara UDX. Premier exhibition
9/15 AnB Premium presents 28th Ikasu Akiba Tengoku at Kagurazaka Explosion. Top 10 underground idols voted by fans.
9/16 YuruYuri Fan Appreciation Festival Day 2 at Akihabara UDX. 1 hr act and minilive.
9/16 Denpagumi.inc 2nd ONE MAN LIVE live "Ai wo denpa ni" at Liquidroom in Tokyo
9/17 Tamura Yukari LOVE LIVE 2012 Autumn Fall in Love at NHK Hall, Tokyo
9/18 Ageage idol carnival 136 at Shibuya Club Crawl. Because I became a fan of Morinaga Mami.
9/19 Sakura Saori Birthday TBD (I'm looking at you Tsukiyume. Announce something! Looking less and less likely) Nothing was announced.
9/19 Miritan Online Furukawa Mirin birthday event at Dear Stage
9/20 Buy some black canned coffee from Kazusa-Ushiku Station. May also jump off bench yelling "Warp! Warp!" if no one is looking.
9/21 Busou Shinki talk event at Japan Science Foundation. Mostly going for Asumi Kana, but rest of cast is good too.
9/22 Yuriyurarararayuruyuri Housoushitsu special stage at Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair Couldn't get a ticket.
9/22 Taketatsu Ayana "Onpu no Kuni no Alice" release event at animate, Nagoya. Cancelled, conflicts with YRYR
9/22 Tamura Yukari LOVE LIVE 2012 Autumn Fall in Love at Nagoya Congress Center, Nagoya
9/23 YuiKaori photobook autograph event in Akiba Didn't win lottery.
9/23 B.G.M Festival PRIMAL - Too many good artists to even list. But mostly I'm going for ave;new, Momoi, CooRie, Uehara Rena, and Hiromi-nee.

Posted by Paranda at 12:27 PM | Comments (10)

April 10, 2012

Legs, spreads, and maturities

Discussing seiyuu as financial instruments was some stupid fun between some friends on twitter, but after reading this from Akirascuro I ended up thinking too hard about it and my reply morphed into this post.

What kind of considerations would be needed to set up a seiyuu backed security?

Seiyuu careers unfortunately have few similarities with trading vanilla stocks or bonds. You don't really own seiyuu as equity, nor do you enter into the fandom with a large purchase you intend to cash out at a later time. Rather seiyuu career trajectory is much like a series of cashflows without a principal payment at the end. If she reaches maturity date (retire) it's not like you get your money back. Similarly if her career tanks you will not be first in line during the liquidation to receive payout (though this has happened in a certain sense for those in other idol fields).

Instead you pay for her slowly over the years, and you enjoy a seiyuu's work season after season. You could think of them like a dividend paying stock, self issued, but purchased by their agencies who sink the initial cost in training and bringing them up. As they establish their fame in the industry, they may pay out increasing dividend. Fans aren't the agencies so they'll never be able to see the payment, but through the magic of derivatives they CAN still take a position on that dividend. To take account of the complexities of seiyuu career modeling, some sort of security similar to a dividend swap or TR swap on the OTC market would be my choice.

How to design it? The pay leg would probably be some floating rate linked to an index on Seiyuu Income per Season plus or minus some spread. This could be adjusted based on the seiyuu's drawing power, as well as some risk adjustment for the likely direction of her future. Naturally, a seiyuu with lots of fans and very few antis would allow anti-side to demand a huge premium over the index rate. Conversely, seiyuu who are widely expected to fail or have a scandal that kills her career will have no shortage of counterparties willing to discount that rate.

On the other side the receive leg can be some quarterly payment linked to the money she makes per season. This can be derived from episodes acted, media appearances, Oricon sales charts, and other factors in income. Since it's all hypothetical anyway you could even link to some intangible like personal enjoyment out of the roles. Or something dumb like skirt length.

As for maturity, it's hard to say because with individual seiyuu, the cashflows could end at any time and career length varies wildly. Sure you can link the underlying asset to some basket of seiyuu from an agency, or large group with varying ages and an annual rebalance policy, but that takes the fun out of it. After all why be a seiyuu fan if you can't play favorites? We could deal with the uncertainty via short maturity and roll or set it up like a constant maturity swap, but for the TRUE FAN (tm) who's willing to bet some serious money they can do long maturity with a call provision to exit the position. It could be based on time periods or base it around some defined events like career-derailing scandal, tragic illness, a Hirano Aya-type lateral move that changes classification of the underlying security, a systemic Arts Vision style incident, or other unforseen risks. But truly hardcore fans won't even want a call provision so they can lock in their opinions and prove their loyalty.

Designed like this, there is still big money to be made. Assuming you're locked in with a far off maturity date, there are plenty of good trades you could have made.

Loyal fan trade:

For a period of time after K-ON, Toyosaki Aki was overvalued. However, when the boyfriend scandal hit, the market overreacted and spreads went the other way. The loyal fan said "fuck the haters, this scandal is stupid" and bought into an Aki-swap with a massive discount. Now her career is better than ever.

When Nazuka Kaori announced her marriage, the cautious investors remembered what happened to Kaida Yuko and tried to net out their position. More loyal fans who remain unfazed and considered the type of actress she was snapped her up on the cheap. Though there was indeed a brief hiatus, Kaori came back and went on to do several more beloved roles.

Eyes for the rookie trade:

For those with a bit more appetite for risk and bragging rights to say "I liked her before she was cool", you can always take a position on a promising newcomer. People who did this in 2001 for Mizuki Nana hit the jackpot. People who did this for Sakai Kanako in 2006 (including myself) sadly got wiped out. Harukas investors probably broke even since her career mostly matched expectaions. Personally, I would go long on Uesaka Sumire right now for the nice obscurity discount.

Of course there will also be challenges. For example, seiyuu merchandise sales are illiquid enough that an investor with deep pockets could potentially manipulate the underlying asset via large CD/BD purchases that lead to the seiyuu getting a big push from the agency. Another point is that these are obviously uncollateralized, so "seiyuu-backed" is not even remotely true: Ain't nobody gonna gift-wrap Kobayashi Yuu and deliver her to my doorstep (except maybe in my dreams). And we are well familiar with the risks of undercollateralization. But I'm already overthinking this thing so I'll stop here.

I'd love to hear other ideas for instruments and strategies.

Posted by Paranda at 6:37 PM | Comments (5)

February 28, 2012


Well it's that time again, when I get fed up with work life and start daydreaming about my next "cram many events into little time" trip.

As for scheduling, all of March/April/May is out because I will be on a work-related trip having adventures in scorching heat (and probably puking my guts out from unsanitary food) in one of the emerging markets in Asia. Despite the proximity, travel to Japan from there is actually MORE inconvenient. Instead I'll cry about missing Anime Boston.

June is out since I will finally be moving into a home I recently bought and busy supervising remaining renovations.

So, that leaves this year's THE PLAN to fall around 3 possible dates

1. Nanoha A's release in theatres on July 14th, 2012. Surely there will be some good side stuff scheduled for the summer. But, an exceptionally good AX guest list may prove to be an adequate substitute. (35% chance)

2. September 19th - Sakura Saori's birthday and a possible entire week of ave;new tie-up cafe and bar minilives the week before or after. (40% chance)

3. Milk Lariat vol. 5, probably in November or December. Because MLT owns despite my complaining about it being too long last year on twitter. Usually can overlap with additional Momoi or Yukarin events. (25% chance)

Posted by Paranda at 1:48 AM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2011

Mizoraji 200

Instead of spam twitter, I'll just liveblog Mizoraji episode 200 here as I listen. Shit is hilarious so far.

A bit of background, Mizoraji is the nickname for "Sasara and Ma-ryan Seitokai Kaichou Radio for ToHeart2," a radio program that I've been really into for the last few months. Thanks to catsspat who raved about it a lot, I finally checked it out last summer and I've been hooked since.

The two hosts are Ono Ryoko and Kogure Ema, who are voice actors for ToHeart 2 characters Sasara and Ma-ryan respectively. Each episode is between 30 and 60 minutes long and only has a few basic corners. Special corners like voice requests only last a few seconds, so the majority of it is what feels like mostly unscripted talk in response to questions (futsuota and fukigenyo). In general they seem to have a good time and the talk can derail into amusing ramblings on whatever subject they want. Describing their own show, they once compared it to "two tipsy ladies talking way too loudly at an izakaya."

More than once, they'd say something that they joke about not being broadcast material on air, but of course it always gets aired. In a recent episode, they even dragged Saito Chiwa into a continuing discussion on panties. Ema remarked on a later episode, it was a good thing she didn't have her manager there during the recording or he might have nipped it in the bud.

Ono is a fast talking, gives-no-fucks, wisecracking type, but overall is a nicer and optimistic person who is the "light side" of the duo. Her normal voice is a bit abrasive, but when in the right mood, she will turn on the charm like a faucet and speak in the most godly cute voice. Despite her speech sometimes being very masculine, she's actually more girly of the two, more easily embarassed, sometimes says sappy lines, and tries to give Ema makeover tips (like trying to make her grow her hair out).

In contrast, Kogure Ema a.k.a Ema-sama is the "dark side" of the duo. She's more pessimistic and has a bit of an S personality although I feel it's overstated by many people. Rather she's kind of like Yukarin but even lazier. She's also a bit of a shut-in who stays home all day and claims she has no people skills despite her tremendously clever wit. Notably her abuse is usually self-deprecatory in nature as opposed to Yukarin's tendency to dump on fans. Still that doesn't stop her from occasionally calling out a fan's actions, teasing Ryoko, or finding innuendo in things she says.

At public recording in Tokyo
Ema: So is anyone here from Hokkaido today
Fan: Me!
Ema: What? Are you stupid!?
Ryoko: *sweetly* Oh, could it be you came all the way just to see us?
Fan: No I'm just on a business trip
Ema: Of course not. I knew it!

Their two personalities mesh quite well together almost as if they were like two best friends, and despite the differences, there isn't any dominant personality. Both are very talkative, very funny, and neither one can resist getting a nice burn in at the others expense. A while back, I tweeted a segment from fukigenyo which I think is good to pull out as a good example of their usual banter. Episode 199's Christmas special is also a good example of the general mood between these two: Ema getting a foot massage (slightly abridged).

For the 200th episode which just aired minutes ago, the show dropped the usual format for a special theme where Ryoko and Ema called listeners of the show and interacted with them directly for a strictly timed 3 minutes and 20 seconds.

Amusing stuff so far...


Near the end of the first call

Ema: Which do you like, Sasara or Ma-ryan?
Fan: I knew this was coming
Ryoko: Don't hang up, don't hang up!
Ema: Now tell me!
Fan: Maaryan
-time limit cuts him off-
Ryoko: That was really good timing


On calling a fan at the office

Ryoko: Huh are you at work right now?
Fan: Oh, yeah
Ryoko: Well then, get back to work!


So fucking awkward lol

Ryoko: Guess who?
Fan: Ono-san
Ryoko: Ohhh awesome
Ema: Nah I bet he's talking about a different Ono
Ryoko: Wow you really know me. Thank you, I'm Ono.
Fan: Yeah
Ema: Ema's here too
Fan: Oh


Ema is way too clever

Ryoko: Do you know who we are?
Fan: Uh It's...mizoraji, is that right?
Ryoko: Is that right?
Ema: Yeah maybe I might be Kogure Ema


So jealous he got character voices. I like how it suddenly dawns on him he's speaking THE Ma-ryan senpai and Sasara

Fan: Hello
Ema: *in Ma-ryan voice* Yasu-ryan
Fan: Yes, speaking
Ema: *in Ma-ryan voice* Yasu-ryan right?
Fan: omg
Ema: *in Ma-ryan voice* Who could it be?
Fan: Ma-ryan senpai?
Ema: *in Ma-ryan voice* It's Ma-ryan. By the way, Sasara is here too
Ryoko: *in Sasara voice* Kusugawa here


Ema truly is a Hikkikomori

Ema: So the theme for this time is, what did you do for Christmas?
Ryoko: Do you wanna know?
Ema: If we tell you, you have to tell us. You need to promise
Fan: Ok I promise
Ryoko: Ohhh. Ok, as for me, I worked. Worked on 24th and 25th
Ema: I'm so jealous.
Ryoko: I did an event.
Ema: *backing out*
Ryoko: Hey we had a deal!
Ema: I was doing a Monster Hunter party the whole time. 23rd, 24th, and 25th.
Ryoko: You're living it up
Ema: In a way

Posted by Paranda at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2011

THE PLAN ~Autumn 2011 version~

Man it sure seems like these are getting more frequent. But I think this will be my final trip in quite a while. Of course that's what I also said last time.

As usual I'll post my intended events and travel schedule. The primary goal for this trip will be ave;new events. Originally I would have been satisfied just going to Milk Lariat but the planets aligned and somehow enough events came together that I can now build the following itinerary. Add in my first big Nana event and this is shaping up to be another one of those super-trips. Hopefully more stuff can be added so my event count is even higher than last year's.

11/19: Arrive at Narita. If my plane arrives early (2pm or sooner), I will attempt to rush through customs and buy a last-second ticket from a scalper to go to 5pb Live at Tokyo Dome City which starts at 4:30. After that, I have three options. One, I can do the smart thing and go to sleep to save energy for Chaos Party. Two, I can go to MOGRA for Anisong Index page 26 - a tremendously bad idea to party all night but not off the table. Option three is to attend the Amagami SS all-night screening, which features a 40 minute talk with some top names like Itou Shizuka, Nazuka Kaori, etc and a mini-live by azusa. Which is still staying up all night but at least sitting down. * Amagami SS event confirmed. Tickets bought

11/20: Chaos Party 2011 at CLUB CITTA. Shaori promised she'll make it good SOWASOWA. Also I'll actually pay attention to Rierin now instead of totally not realizing she was even there like Anisama 2008. Seeing Sato Hiromi and YURIA for 1st time is also a good bonus. * Confirmed. Tickets bought

Suara, if only you had scheduled your Karin Fuugetsu live tour on a different day during my trip I would have found some way to go.

11/21: TBD

11/22: Miracle Sora Night ver. 3 at Shinjuku LOFT/PLUS ONE. Tentative on this. Apparently it's the third live event for Tokui Sora who is the voice for Milky Holmes's Nero (Yellow). Guests include Inoue Nana and Shikura Chiyomaru among others. I'm surprised she has had two small solo events before already. I suppose she must have been a minor idol before Milky Holmes then.

Update: cancelled. I went to madoka cafe and dearstage with some friends instead.

11/23: ANIMAX MUSIX 2011 at Yokohama Arena. A mixed bag, but has some good artists that I've seen before. KOTOKO, Minorin, angela, Faylan, Oh and I guess I care about Kalafina now too since I became a fan at AX. And get to see ELISA for the first time. * Confirmed. Tickets bought

11/24: Yumemi Nemu (likely) at Tokyo DearStage. I didn't care about Nemu-tan when I saw her last year since I didn't know her, but now that I've heard Mahou Shoujo Miman a million times I can appreciate the unique voice. No guarantee that she'll be there, but I think there's a good chance she appears for her own anniversary.

11/25: Kalafina "After Eden" Special LIVE 2011. Tentative on this but leaning towards maybe not. Actually I managed to snag a ticket from danie on the cheap, so it's * Confirmed. TIckets bought

11/26: MAMI KAWADA m.a.l.l LIVE 2nd stage. Perfectly timed. I saw my first ever KOTOKO live concert last year. Now it's time for my first Kawada Mami concert. * Confirmed. Tickets bought

Ack! Now I find out MOSAIC.WAV is doing Uzumasa again. Going to Kyoto is actually more convenient for me since it's on the way to Osaka and they are absolutely awesome live (see last year's report). it's too late to change since I already bought Mami tickets. Although I guess it's still better if I go see Kawada Mami for the 1st time than seeing MOSAIC.WAV for the 3rd time.

11/27: Milk Lariat Vol.4 Zoku ・ MOE CORKSCREW at OSAKA STUDIO PARTITA. This is important because Momoi and ave;new are both appearing again, and in the past they have typically had long set lists. Almost hour each. It will also be my 1st time ever seeing Yuinyan, assuming I'm not able to go to 5pb. Milk Lariat is famous for being really long in general and full of fans who even do calls to CMs and background music in between set breaks. * Confirmed. Tickets bought

11/28: Day trip to Kyoto. Fushimi Inari Shrine + Tofukuji in morning, Kiyomizudera in afternoon and evening.

11/29: Kyoto again OR Amanohashidate OR day trip to Nara.

11/30: I'll just browse Umeda in the morning then hop on the train back to Tokyo. Already had a good time in the south part of Osaka last year thanks to nyol so I probably don't need to go down to Den Den Town or Dotonbori areas again.

May'n LIVE TOUR 2011 WE ARE side-B at Nakano SUNPLAZA. I'm not a huge May'n fan but I did meet her at AX and I guess I like Macross F songs so I might go to this. I'm skipping May'n again because my good friend is arriving this day so I think we will just do some standard tourist stuff in Tokyo.

12/01: Go touring in the morning. Then meet up with Moy who is arriving today.

12/02: Tour for Imperial Palace for 10 AM. I still need to submit my application with Imperial Household Agency and finalize party members. The list of names has to be sent in early so contact me urgently if you want to join the tour group.

12/03: Possible morning sidetrip to Odaiba and walk across Rainbow Bridge to see Tokyo Motor Show. Then, Mizuki Nana Tokyo Dome LIVE CASTLE at Tokyo Dome. Historic event and biggest Nana live ever. LIVE DIAMOND in Seibu Dome looked awesome so I expect this to be even better. * Confirmed. Tickets bought

12/04: Mizuki Nana Tokyo Dome LIVE at Tokyo Dome. Go for round 2 * Confirmed. Tickets bought
         OR Lisani! LIVE 2011 Tokyo Kokusai Forum

12/05: Wrap up and go home

Other things to do:

Play AQUAPAZZA at the arcade.
Check out the Tsukiyume Anisong DJ bar. Hopefully they have an Otarhythm event around that time. Otherwise I might just have a really long dinner and show there. They take requests from people who order off the course menu (4 person minimum).
Play Twin Angel pachislot - need to go with friends for this one since not-gambling establishments are probably seedy.
Go see Japanese version of any famous broadway musical (maybe CATS in Yokohama).
Iron Chef restaurant tour: Kenichi's Shisen Hanten in Akasaka, Sakai's La Rochelle in Shibuya, and Michiba's Kaishoku-Michiba in Ginza.
More foods in Osaka.

Also keeping my ears open on all the radio shows I follow in case they announce cool stuff during that time.

Those others who are going for any reason, I hope our paths cross and that we can hang out. See you there!

Posted by Paranda at 11:18 AM | Comments (4)

June 20, 2011

New LoveLoveLovable corner appreciation!

Sorry, this is yet another post on LoveLoveLovable, the wonderful radio show hosted by its irresistible personality Sakura Saori!

If you're not familiar with LoveLoveLovable, you can go check out the latest episode right now, read my old intro on the show linked above, or simply listen to this if you're short on time.

Due to a formerly irregular schedule and various hiatuses, it has been a long journey since the first broadcast back in 2007, but last week the show finally passed the 100 episode milestone. Congratulations!!

To mark the occasion, for the 101th episode, Saori has announced a refresh for the show. In addition to brand new catchphrases (TBD by twitter entries, winner will receive an autographed shikishi) and background music, there will be new LoveLoveLovable corners intended to refresh the content and draw in new kinds of listener mail. Many of these came from the special brainstorming session she had with MayoP on the 2nd radio CD release.

LoveLove Alaburu (??)
(WTF is alaburu? Even Saori doesn't know!) In this corner, readers send in things they want to passionately say out loud, and Saori will yell it out in their place. It seems you can vent, or exclaim things. This seems like an alternate version of "Anata ni Yell!" but we'll see how it works out in practice. You know...there are a few couples who listen to LoveLoveLovable radio together. I wonder if any of them has the guts to use Saori to drop a "X, marry me!" line? I'll mail them a wedding gift from the USA if it happens. Eternal respect, yo!

Kamisama-like ni Otasuke-tai
The title of this corner is a play on the avenew project song "Angel-like ni LOVE-ritai". When you call the God Help Squad, Saori will magically appear in your window and grant you a wish! </fantasy>

Actually the truth is this appears to be a reverse-advice corner where Saori will pose a problem, and then listeners can send in their advice on how they deal with it. This week's problem is how she should calm a growling stomach in the studio. Uh...eat something more than a single grapefruit for breakfast? You're already skinny! Now if anyone needs to go on the grapefruit diet, it's me.

Ima nansai?
Oooohhh, finally a game corner! It seems like you are supposed to send in some personal experiences, and then based on the maturity of it, Saori will try to deduce your mental age and whether your are childish or an adult. This has potential to be fun, and I'm very interested in what Saori thinks is adult-like, when she herself speaks the way that she does. But Saori-oneesama is just too nice, I think all the guesses will be reasonably couched in safe praise or "oh it's good to be young." I doubt we'll see a Yukarin-style put down, but then again Saori is a Yukari fan...

Chiwakura Chronicle
For the unacquainted, Chiwakura-san a.k.a. (・ω・*ξ▽ is the radio show's 3 year old mascot character, loosely based on a Chihuahua. She likes snacks, rapping, going surfing, and collecting lingerie. Although Saori designed her, many aspects of Chiwakura-san are suggested by listeners, so she has plenty of weird traits (her hair curls are filled with sweets and function as emergency food rations). Similar to the "Minna no Chiwakura-san" corner, this new corner allows for more building of Chiwakura-san's character, but in the context of a story. For the corner, Saori starts off with a basic premise, then lets the readers decide what happens next. Every week, someone can contribute a little bit and add to the tale. The current story is about Chiwakura-san's very recent third birthday. BTW if you turn Chiwakura's birthday month and day upside down, you get Saori's birthday.

Tearful Story
Saori's upcoming album "Tearful" focuses on the intensity of various emotions she felt in the past few years. That provided an inspiration for this new corner. However, Tearful Story isn't "tearful" as in sad. This corner invites sharing of emotional tales that make you get emotional, whether it's happy or sad. The details aren't entirely clear though. Saori talked about this corner in episode 100 but it doesn't seem to have made it to the final list in the blog post. We'll see in the near future whether this is still a real corner or not.

Existing corners such as Futsuota (the primary corner) and Kikasete memory ave;new are also still around as staple opener/closers, but some other corners like "Oshiete My Sweet", "Nandemo Lovable 3", and "Challenger Saori" are no longer among the available choices in the radio dropdown. It does make sense, since these topics have already been answered many times. There are only so many different sweets you can eat, and so many different top 3 lists you can make. But, I am a bit sad about Challenger Saori going away simply because it was the most infrequent and still had so many possibilities. Still, with all these new corners to rejuvenate the show there's much to look forward to. And no matter how the format of the show changes, there's one thing I know will never change. Beerchat.

From Episode 99:

After a very long segment about Twin Angel cafe's cocktail drinks
SS: "Hey I talked a lot about alcohol. Sorry to everyone underage who can't drink!"

Listener 2: "What are your top 3 sparkling liquors?"
SS: "Ah hope you don't mind me continuing to talk about alcohol. I wonder if it's really alright."
SS: "Ok, really sorry that I'm talking so much about drinking!"

Listener 3: "It's summer time and that means more beer! What are your favorite foods that go with beer?"
SS: -_-;; "Hey you know recently I'm not drinking THAT much."

To make it better, the show is now also on a weekly schedule to broadcast every Wednesday so you'll always have something to listen to. It's also a testament to just how much Saori spends working. She's someone who starts every day with "Good morning, I'll work hard today!" - even on the weekends. Which brings me to another thing I observed...

We know in the niche-entertainment industry, the pay is quite low and the life isn't exactly glamorous if you're not at the top, but from reading various seiyuu blogs you kind of get an sense (or illusion) of a fairly casual life. Every other post is about hanging out at somebody's house, afureco party, eating at restaurants, shopping, pulling all-nighters at bars, etc.

Then you see Saori's schedule and it's like "Damn." Saori seems to do two things in her life: work, and drink. But I'm not too surprised - Saori's schedule is just incredibly busy. Like all the other singers, she has singing, composing, songwriting, and event responsibilities. And despite her status as an 8 year veteran, she still has regular lessons with her voice coach. But beyond that, Saori also blogs the most frequently out of all the ave;new singers (with quite long content) and hosts her own solo radio show. Without guests to bounce off for natural conversation, she has to write nearly an hour of prepared material and responses for each show.

One hour of material is no small task, as I have now learned thanks to twitter. It takes at least 10 - 12 hours to write, record and edit, and often she can't hit her own deadline. Typically, she will accept letters all the way up to 1 day before the scheduled broadcast day. Then on the morning of the broadcast date, she'll actually begin recording. She'll tweet something like "Ok, time to go tape the show" and then we'll get complete silence. It isn't until 11:30 PM that she'll tweet a quick "Sorry I'm late, it's almost done!" message and by 1 AM we'll see a completed episode up on her blog. And after all THAT, she may then spend another hour replying to all of her twitter messages before finally throwing up the white flag and sleeping.

Furthermore, Saori is also basically ave;new's full time graphic designer. ave;new's album covers, jackets, ad prints, and websites are her creations, and in each you can see hints of Saori's ornate design sense, which involves heavy use of color and images. At a larger company, all of this is enough work to be the job of at least 2 or 3 people. It's the kind of work ethic I can really respect, but I hope she stays healthy.

At least we've seen recently that Saori does occasional karaoke parties with fellow ave;new visual producer Sato Mayo, one-time ave;pro guest singer Kikouden Misa a.k.a. HQN ("hakkyun" is that sound she makes in the song), and singer Toromi. Saori getting all buddy-buddy with toromi is kinda interesting. I wonder if we'll see a collabo any time soon?

Posted by Paranda at 4:32 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2011

Tamura Yukari LOVE LIVE 2011 SPRING *Mary Rose* Goods

Final round up of goods purchased during this trip.

1 x Pamphlet A
1 x Pamphlet B
1 x Postcard A
1 x Postcard B
1 x Calendar
1 x Microfiber towel
1 x Live towel
1 x Usamimi Parka
1 x Chocola puppet
1 x Limited one piece
1 x Limited senshuuraku T-shirt
1 x "Yukari Ai" Happi coat
1 x Meron Ondo CD
1 x iPhone4 Case
1 x Jigsaw puzzle
1 x Limited "Cherry delivering loveletter" keyring
2 x Spring Mary Rose teatime strap
2 x Yukari blue pouch
2 x Yukari yellow pouch
2 x Pinup poster A
2 x Pinup poster C
4 x Yukari coin case
3 x Yukari pin badge
1 x Eraser (???)
1 x Metallic cherry fastener
1 x Spring Mary Rose round plastic keyring
1 x Yukaringo photobook

1 x Day 2 concert streamer
1 x Call book
2 x Yukari Kingdom passport stamps
1 x Fairy one piece from last year's SCS
1 x Vinyl "Milk" pouch/purse from last year's SCS (aint never gonna wear dis in public, but somehow I still wanted it)

Layout of the big items. Pamphlet B is the best out of all the photo items. It's less like a collection of random pictures, and more like a complementary guide to the calendar. For each page of the calendar, the pamphlet contains tons of alternate photos in the same outfit, costume closeups, and neat information about how they put the shoot together.

Smaller items. Day 2 gachagacha luck was terrible so I have lots of duplicates (all from the 2nd day). I am giving these away since I don't need so many copies.

Keyrings and straps. There's also a metal zipper attachment and plastic keyring that's hidden away in the same bag (too hard to photograph since it's on the inside)

iPhone 4 case, with my phone inside. Seeing this case prompted me to rent an iphone in Japan to try it out so I could use the case. Since I liked it, and now I had a case, I decided to buy an iphone as soon as I came back to the US.

I particularly like the metal box that holds the puzzle pieces. It's like a lunchbox. The card in the box is what it looks like if you put it all together

The best parts about the happi this year are the little Yukari doodles which surround the bottom half of the coat.

The calendar this year, which is now finally fills up that empty spot on my wall

Since I became a citizen a while ago, I also made sure to get my official documents to enter/exit the kingdom.

Passport stamps for both days. I learned not to press too hard on the stamps or it bleeds through the page.

Finally some souvenirs from inside the concert hall itself. Fan call book, and day 2 concert streamers which popped out during Chelsea Girl

Posted by Paranda at 4:59 PM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2011

Sakura Saori's Valentine choco special

Some commentary by Saori from today's special Valentine's edition of "Oshiete My Sweet!" as heard on Love Love Lovable #95.

Meiji "Melty Kiss" Strawberry Koi-Ichigo

Saori: First up is Meiji "Melty Kiss."Strawberry Fruity...uh..Nou? Koi? Strawberry flavor. Melty kiss is a good name isn't it. And it looks good. This package is well made too in strawberry-pink. It has a classy feel to it. "Melty Kiss" - UMAAAAAA XD. It definitely is Koi-ichigo. Not just sweet but also a little sour. The best aspects of of melty kiss and strawberries combine into one! What a wonderful chocolate

Fujiya Heart Choco (Peanuts)

Saori: This has been around a long time, but I never tried it before! So cute. I love peanuts and chocolate combo. This has a great mix between the milk chocolate and peanut flavor. I'll eat half now and half later.

Tirol Chocolat au Orange + Strawberry Confiture (32 yen)

Saori: Tirol has so many flavors! I'd like to eat all of them but we don't have enough time for that. Let's eat the new flavors offered for Valentine's day. First the orange. Mmm, It's awesome I just got a big shock. It's a little sweet, and a little bitter. What an amazing discovery. Delicious. Ok, next is strawberry confiture flavor. This was sold withthe orange one and it's white. Ohh...it's good too. Inside the white chocolate is the strawberry filling. It's a little like a cherry, and the filling is syrupy and so soft. What a gentle sweetness. Lastly is kinakomochi. I love kinakomochi. Actually two years ago I ate it all the time so much that I got tired of it. I haven't bought it in a long time! And it reminds me of ave;new's miwachan! Oh..It's cute - it looks like an airplane. Ah. Just as always, it's so good!

Meiji Melty Kiss Whips.

Saori: I really like this blue packaging. And it's so light. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. It melted in mouth. What a wonderful feeling. This has so much cream and quite a pure chocolate taste. I wanna eat a lot. Everyone please try it.

The Premium Calpis ~Creamy Chocolate~

Saori: Eeehh. Just the"premium" is making my heart flutter. The package is so cute, with the Alice character on it. I wonder if it's good. What an interesting smell! "Harrrrggh...eehhhh...*uncontrollable giggling* (the BEST reaction. It's like she just took a massive bong hit, and went full on into Homer Simpson drool) It's a sparkling chocolate! Sorry for such an inadequate description! IIt's sweet but...It's really hard to describe. It's an addictive taste. Too hard to explain. Definitely drink it. Augh I'm so full!

Posted by Paranda at 6:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2010

New family member

"Um..it's nice to meet you. Please treat me well"


Just to get it out of the way, NO I did not take up the bottomless money pit of a hobby that is doll collecting, nor am I interested in that particular subculture. Due to certain reasons I had to pick up Sakuno. She will be the only DD I ever buy, and it was a careful decision after weighing a lot of options.

That said, I'm pretty satisfied with it. It's like a gigantic figure! Well worth the...uh forgot how much I spent. But she'll be my photo model and will occasionally help present goods.

Here she is after meeting the only other fashion doll in my house, the evil Sister B (still in box). Like a mighty conqueror she towers over all the other puny figures I have.

Posted by Paranda at 3:09 PM | Comments (1)

September 17, 2010

Busy first day

Usually when planning stuff, I take amount of estimated time, and triple it to get how much it will actually take. Unfortunately I didn't have that luxury since in my greed to squeeze in JAM Project 10th Anniversary tour, I was forced to bank on zero delays.

Obviously that fell apart. I got to Narita around 2:15. Took an hour to get through immigration and customs, deliver baggage to Sapporo, pick up my cell phone, and head over to JR office to buy a NEX+Suica pass. Got on NEX by 3:45 and was in Tokyo at 4:45. Plenty of time to get to Budokan right (they open doors at 5:30 and begin show at 6:30)? Wrong.

Took 30 minutes to find my hotel because it got a name change and I ended up plugging the address into GPS and waving my phone around like a dowsing rod until it looked like I was going in the right direction. I didn't get checked in and everything sorted out until almost 6. Then it was off to the concert. Of course, in my haste, I plugged in "Budokan" into a net search and took whatever directions it gave me. This eneded in major failure as I was led over to "Tokyo Budokan", not "Nihon Budokan". Upon seeing the Tokyo Budokan

Err I appear to be walking in the middle of nowhere down a side alley.

*Sees Budokan*

Hey this doesn't look like the one in concerts.

*Gets closer*

Man it sure is sparse. There aren't any crowds, but I'm a bit late, maybe everyone went in.

Gosh it sure is quiet, and I can't find any merchandise stands or even signs. Let's ask this old friendly looking dude where the entrance is.

Security guard takes a glance at my ticket and goes "Actually this is a ticket to the Nihon Budokan".

Uh oh...

Well my mind is blown. He sends me off to my destination with a "good luck, hurry!" and I start rushing back to the station to get to Nihon Budokan.

At this point, I'd just like to say that Hyperdia is a fucking godsend. Security guard just told me my final station and I was able to get over there pretty quickly thanks to the directions provided by this tool. My only complaint? It overestimates human walking speed. Why yes, I will indeed take this 600m walk from Shin-ochanomizu to Ogawamachi up and down several flights of stairs, two sets of ticketing gates, in under 4 minutes. You know, 600m in 4 minutes translates to 9km per hour. That's 1km below the average human running speed. Even if I knew the station inside out without looking at signs, that's kind of stretching it.

Anyway I get to Budokan around 7:30, and this one looks like the proper building I see in concert DVDs all the time. Skipped all the merchandise and headed straight for my seat in East Wing, 2nd floor.

Budokan is decently big, but nothing like the huge Saitama Super Arena so even though I had 2nd floor seat way in the back it was actually a really cozy feeling. The hall has a house atmosphere where everyone faces each other with the performers nested in the middle. There were a ton of people beneath me and you could see the whole crowd, including the people way on the opposite West Wing pretty clearly. The stage itself also felt pretty close and you could actually see the performers instead of relying only on the jumbotron for far-away seats.

I managed to catch Sakamoto Eizo's intro and MC, and they started going through of songs. There was also this buff Brazilian guy who I didn't know, and he seemed decently well liked. But the crowd wasn't really fired up until Mizuki Ichirou came in and got massive MASSIVE Aniki chants. This dude is so senior, he calls Kageyama as Kagechan.

I don't actually follow JAM Pro all that much so I didn't really recognize many songs until near the end starting with Breakout. For the encore, they had a montage that included a lot of pictures they took with overseas fans during their world tour in 2008.

In the second encore, they broke out the classic GONG to ultra-extended SKILL transition that always ensures arm/leg death for majority of people. During GONG they put the lyrics up and had the crowd sing everything and it was awesome.

I had a good time as a casual fan, even if I did miss the first third of the concert. When coming out, I noticed Budokan has really steep stairs. It's not obvious going up, but coming down, each time I stepped I had almost freaked because there's a big drop where I thought I missed the steps. Leaving the hall was also like herding cattle, with people flowing slowly through penned enclosures and an ad-hoc traffic sign directing people to go or wait. Not many fans got on the Shinjuku line so I thought once on the train I'd had all my excitement for the day. Transferred to Chuo Line and headed back to the hotel to call it a day and write up a blog.

Well apparently not. Somebody tell me what the fuck is in Suidabashi, because when we hit that station a massive human wave just crashed in through the doors. Probably more packed than any train I've ever been on in NYC (even including that ride that caused my e train rant). This was just some hammerspace shit on a different level. I had about a dozen hands pressed to my ass and started getting a bit paranoid about pickpockets jacking my wallet with a ton of cash in it, but I couldn't turn around or even bring my arm down to check. The uncomfortable condition persisted until at least Ryogoku when finally a huge swath of people left and we went back to being a merely "crowded" train car. Overall it was a unique experience, but not one I'd like to repeat. Note to self, avoid riding Chuo Line through Suidabashi at 10:30PM at all costs in future.

Now back in hotel room safe and sound. Going to get some rest and wake up early for TGS tomorrow, if I can successfully fight the jet lag.

Posted by Paranda at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)

July 8, 2010

Travel Plans

No Otakon for me this time. But with NYAF's Minorin announcement, I think I now have enough information to create a tentative plan of action for this fall. This will use the last of my vacation days for the year.

Itinerary (last updated 09/13, FINAL VERSION)

8/03/2010: Added both Momoi live houses. Sacrificed Fukuoka shows entirely, added MOSAIC.WAV event in Kyoto

7/22/2010: Momoi live house added, Tokyo Game Show added. Matsusaka food trip cancelled, 2nd Yukarin live in Fukuoka bumped.

09/17: Fly out to Narita Airport. Attend JAM Project MAXIMZER 10th Anniversary tour in Budokan.
09/18: Visit Tokyo Game Show 2010 during the day, check out Milky Holmes at event stage. Then go to JAM Project again, if energy permits
09/18: Spend entire night to attend Anisong Index page 12 at Club MOGRA until dawn (starts at 23:00. Yeah! Gyaran!!!). Emergency capsule hotel use if about to pass out
09/19: Direct flight to Sapporo. Attend KOTOKO LIVE HOUSE TOUR 2010 Matsuri event
09/20: Generic tourist stuff in Sapporo. Check out 1st ever Sapporo Autumn Festival.
09/21: See May'n SUMMER TOUR 2010 at ZEPP TOKYO
09/21: Some nature stuff in the morning. Then rent a bike and travel cycling road between Sapporo and Kita-Hiroshima. Take overnight train back to Tokyo.
09/22: Train to Niigata, have some Koshihikari rice from Uonuma, explore. Wake up at 4AM and camp out for Yukarin goods.
09/23: Tamura Yukari LOVE LIVE 2010 kick off in Niigata
09/24: Train to Osaka. Do some stuff people are supposed to do in Osaka.
09/25: Early morning excursion to Nara or Himeji. Take train to Kyoto, check out Kiyomizudera. Then head to Toei movieland to attend MOSAIC.WAV live.
09/26: Early train to Tokyo. Maybe go to open portion of Dengeki Geneon matsuri and hope to catch a glimpse of Kugyu. Then train to Sendai for Tamura Yukari LOVE LIVE 2010
09/27: Visit Akiu Otaki falls, maybe visit onsen, see Sendai stuff.
09/28: Fly out Shanghai for World Expo (Cancel if good concerts show up in this timeslot) Haha def. not paying $2000 airfare from Tokyo to Shanghai. Back to Tokyo.
09/28 - 09/30: Check out dearstage, reserve 1 day for Disney Sea, and, and...uh...wing it?
10/01: Back to Niigata. Take it easy.
10/02: Attend Momoi Live Tour 2010.
10/03: Train to Koriyama. Attend Momoi Live Tour 2010.
10/04: Spend morning in Tokyo. Then fly back to Newark International Airport.
Just in time for...
10/08: Two Towers at Radio City w/ Orchestra (went to same FotR concert last year and liked it). Forced to skip Minorin panel and autograph session due to work.
10/09: Stalk Minorin at NYAF

There you have it. 9 (10?) concerts in the span of 3 weeks, and only 12 vacation days used. I may shift "touristy" type stuff if necessary as this events page slowly fills out in case I want to attend some of them.

May'n concerts are expendable. Yukari stuff is set, but can be bumped in two cases:
1. A Momoi concert appears (very possible Confirmed as she has a new album release scheduled for 9/15 and will probably hold events to promote it)
2. Any live ave;new event in which Sakura Saori and Shirasawa Rie both appear. Probably not since they already did a big live but I can dream.

Arrival/depature dates are flexible until my self-imposed deadline of August 15th. On that day, I'll finalize by buying all necessary plane tickets.

Criticisms/suggestions are welcome in case I'm overlooking something big.

Posted by Paranda at 6:54 PM | Comments (10)

June 17, 2010

Mehr Licht (more light) part 1

***** Update 2013 *****

I noticed this old page is getting some traffic lately. I just want to say, all of this information has been completely obsoleted by Ruifan in 2012. The 12-color KingBlade X10 was a huge breakthrough which pretty much dominated the penlight market, and allowed entire sets of flashlights to be replaced by a single product. Now companies like Lumica are playing catch up and responding with their own versions like Lumica Ace, while Ruifan seeks to keep their advantage with frequent and substantial improvements like X10 Mk. II. There's a penlight arms race going on in 2013 and we get to benefit.

***** End of update *****

Momoi and UO on the shores of Waikiki Beach. Photo by tenton

Lately, I've been thinking about how to plan my upcoming seiyuu driven related trips and that lead to thinking more about concert lighting.

While glowsticks have been used for fan participation in idol concerts since at least the 80s, they are especially heavily used for Momoi concerts and even carry a bit of emotional significance. Momoi generally thinks of a concert as a two way exchange where the feelings of a performer connect with the energy of fans, and she often mentions her first experience of cheering on her favorite idol with lights as an eye opening moment that is one of her fondest memories as a child. Since then, just consider some songs, like "Kagayaki Cyalume", "Yume no baton", "Lumica", "Me-ar-ri-hi-to" and you might notice from the theme that Momoi has been quite busy indoctrinating her audience with the same ideas. So it's no wonder that Momoists myself included probably have a bit of interest in lights.

Current inventory:

Yellow High 10 Firefly 30 minute chemical light stick
Orange High/Ultra 2 Fenix LD20 LED flashlight + orange diffuser wand
Orange Ultra 20 Firefly 5 minute chemical light stick
Blue Normal 1 Concert pen light
Pink Normal 2 Concert pen light
Blue High 1 Pocket Neon light
Pink High 1 Pocket Neon light
White Normal + 1 Party wand (Multiple LEDs)

To start from the basics, the standard instrument would probably be the chemical light glowstick, which comes in a variety of colors and three flavors. There's the 6 inch, 6 hour glowstick, a cheap long lasting stick which usually forms the staple of cheering. A 6 inch, 30 minute high intensity glowstick, which is a brighter version of #1. It's more expensive and harder to find, but generally used on a song-by-song basis to match some color. And finally, there's the 6 inch, 5 minute ultra high intensity stick (usually orange) - a military grade signaling flare that we call UO. It costs $1 - 3 a piece depending on where and who you buy from and produces blazing results.

At some point a while back, a shift happened where some fans started to feel that it was more cost effective and environmentally friendly to use electronic lights, and we slowly saw pen lights start to take the place of traditional glowsticks. Still, as many songs required the use of UO or high intensity lights, this wasn't a complete solution. Then, somebody had an idea to start using high powered flashlights. One thing led to another, and today, there are a lot of fans out there with gigantic penlight collections, dozens of flashlights, custom designed and patterned diffusers, and even home-made LEDs rigged to a tube.

A pen light insert being signed by Momoi. From her twitcast

Custom engraved LD20 gifted to Momoi by a fan (Silli) during Desucon in Finland. From her twitcast

Speaking more personally, among some friends, there has been a collective goal to get 100% transition from chemical light sticks to electronic alternatives without sacrificing the brightness and convenience of the former, but it has been an ongoing process of trial and error with flashlight models and application.

As a note, I am not being paid in any way to recommend anything in this post.

The latest model that seems to be favored by Momoi fans (in the US at least) has been the Fenix LD series, specifically the LD10 and LD20. As electronic light sticks, they do satisfy three important attributes.

1. Re-usability

Re-usability comes down to more than just being able to turn it on and off through multiple sessions. They should be easy to service, replace, and easy to customize. If it falls short in any of these areas, you will always be tempted to go back to chemical lights. But, when done right, electronic lights will mean less waste, less garbage to dispose of, fewer liquid-related messes, and longer lasting light.

In the LD20 and LD10, the 21.5mm flashlight head fits for Fenix's own various diffuser attachments, but can also take a tube from a standard pen light (the kind that you buy at concerts) with a little bit of tape. You can see the comparison shot later down showing how effective it can be to swap out the standard bulb. Second, its AA batteries can be found in any convenience store, and the replacement process is a simple tool-free unscrewing of the end cap by hand.

2. Brightness

For the most part, brighter is better. But when thinking about brightness for a concert light, there's usually a time and place for regular light, and ultra light. The natural thinking is that you should always be on maximum brightness, but sometimes it's better to have different levels. For one, you might be blinding the people next to you and annoying them. After all the point of the lights is to support the artists along with the fans in a synchronized manner, not break the harmony and distract them. Ultra might not match the mood of the performance. For a slow song when everyone switches to blue for a calming "ocean effect" you don't want your light to look like an emergency flare. And consider a song like LOVE.EXE - usually everyone will switch from regular glowsticks to ultra orange. When this happens, you will get really pumped after suddenly feel a major shift in the tone because the whole room just lights up. If you were just using ultra mode the whole time, the effect is diminished. Rather, it's better (and cheaper) to go with the flow of the concert*.

As for an LD, the lowest setting at 9 lumens is satisfyingly bright without standing out too much, and the turbo mode at 180 lumens, while no match for a freshly cracked UO, can ably compete a few seconds in. Fenix LDs aren't special in this area, and there are other models that do have multiple output modes, and even higher brightness. However, with LDs priced between $40 - $60 a better deal hasn't popped up yet...or has it (more on that later).

* Of course there are always a few hardcore dudes who are willing to burn through tons of UO* to do Wolverine (glowstick between each finger, aka Balrog as Momoi calls it, aka wada-san) for the entire duration of an event. If you want to buy 8 flashlights to do this and can actually hold on to them all, more props to you.

3. Handling
This is determined by the durability, size, weight, general form of a light so that it is comfortable to hold and but also able to withstand force and potentially impact while it is being waved around. LDs are generally suitable, but not without shortcomings. As far as the LD-20 goes, its size and finish create conditions that are not optimal for concert use. The long handle, weight, and finish seem trivial at first, but after 2 - 3 hours the hard metal becomes irritating to the hand and the unbalanced weight makes keeping a grip difficult. You will find yourself gripping by the wand instead of the handle. Additionally, on lower settings, the light can flicker on impact. We're still not sure what causes it (it usually doesn't happen while in turbo), but multiple owners have confirmed this to be the case on their own models. LD-10 fares much better, suffering from no issues with flickering, and is much lighter and comfortable to hold and much more recommended for long term use while LD-20 should probably be reserved for UO due to its higher output. In both flashlights, heat is a problem while if in Turbo mode for more than a few minutes and this places a limit on how long you can stay in UO. This is usually not a problem, but sometimes you get back to back UO songs and have no choice but to deal with it or switch to chemical backup. We're still looking for sleeves or grips that can provide some insulation.

In terms of durability, so far both of my lights have been excellent and have survived being dropped, launched as projectiles, and other accidents. The orange traffic wand attachment on the other hand, while advertised as being made with "Bayer plastic used in bullet proof applications" is actually pretty brittle and has broken three times on relatively minor impact (once with each other). Even the tubes that come with penlights are probably less prone to breakage. Luckily they are cheap to replace.

Overall, Fenix LD series is probably currently the best choice available that I know of. If I had to choose one, I'd say the LD-10 slightly edges out LD-20 due to much better handling at the cost of UO brightness. In terms of alternatives, there are definitely others, such as the Surefire series which may meet or exceed in some of these areas. However the Surefire carries a high premium for its construction and name brand, so it will probably cost at least twice as much. It's not a bad choice if you have a lot of other uses for the flashlight and go hunting/camping regularly, but unless you have cash burning a hole in your pocket, I don't recommend it due to higher cost yet when used solely as a concert light.

Comparison of LD flashlight at 9 lumens with standard concert pen light. Identical exposures


Even though I consider Fenix my primary workhorse light, it's not always convenient to swap color covers in the middle of a concert, and it's definitely not economical to buy a new flashlight to premount each color. Sometimes, you have to settle for other lights. Many people contributed to buying and trying the various items listed. I've collected some that have worked decently. They serve well for misc colors, backups, or even as a main light if you don't really think buying LDs are justified.

Concert Pen Light
This is the standard light that's always sold officially by idol seiyuu like Momoi, or Mizuki Nana, or Tamura Yukari, etc. for their concerts. The source is not very bright, and can be prone to going out if the wiring is loose. They are passable if you forgot to bring your own lights, and they will last the entire duration of the event since they have quite a long life. But I doubt you will ever reuse them once the battery goes dead. You need to take the whole thing apart including the knob to replace the battery, and by then you'll have probably bought a new light anyway for the next event. Though it's not recommended in as a light source I listed it here anyway because you might still want to buy the light as a souvenir, or (if you went the flashlight route) to unscrew the tube and get that tube insert so you can put on your own light. Just keep in mind every time you get one you're going to get another unneeded piece of plastic, so I'd limit ownership of these to 4 or 5 max. There are better ways to support the artist than buying too many of these.

Cyalume Classic Penlights
They're decently bright and are designed to look just like a regular glowstick. If you're in Japan and need glowsticks in a pinch, they can be found in nearly any store that sells glow sticks in Japan for about 1000 yen. However, they only take button cell batteries. Although they are manufactured by Omniglow, I haven't seen these sold anywhere outside of Japan. They're good, but not worth importing. If you are in Japan and want to buy a glowstick around that price, I'd consider the Pocket Neon unless you really prefer the cyalume shape.

Pocket Neon
These are a great inexpensive choice, and quite commonly seen at concerts in Japan. Even Misato Aki was using them. They were originally recommended to me by a Japanese Momoi fan and became one of my first electronic light stick purchases in Japan. They served very well on the 2 included AAA alkaline batteries during Animelo for nearly 3 continuous hours before finally dimming down (will last even longer on Lithium). They are very bright as you can see below in the comparison, far surpassing the standard concert pen lights and the Cyalume Classics. From my experiences with them, they are sturdy and can withstand most impacts without any permanent damage. The only problem I have with these are the unpredictable wait times during a cold start, which can sometimes take up to a minute (and then you forget if you turned it on or off). They are also somewhat short, though it's not noticeable in the dark because the glow aura appears much larger.

Left to right: Concert pen light, Concert pen light, Pocket Neon, Cyalume Classic. From To-zen Nikki

There have also been some lights that simply didn't pass the test. For two lights to avoid:

Happy Camper light sticks
Probably one of the first results you'll find if you search for lights in English on the internet. They are cheap, and easily available in the west, but their brightness is average and they only take button cell batteries. They are also a bit fragile and can cut out if you wave them too hard. They might be well and fine for camping as the name suggests, but not recommended for concert use. On the bright side, they go for about $5. Just be warned you get what you pay for.

Nite Ize LED wand
Had some experience with these from another owner. They're manufactured by Inova which also makes higher end flashlights. While they're sturdy, the grip is difficult to get used to. And unlike pocket neons they are not bright enough to make up for the shortness of the tube. They also leak light at the tip and need to be capped. Not recommended in general, but if going the budget light stick route, they are probably more reliable than Happy Camper mainly since they don't randomly turn off.

In part 2, I'll post about what is still to be done, environmental concerns, problems we've yet to solve, battery tips, and ideas for future. And I'll be trying out a new light. Can there be a brighter UO substitute than Fenix LD20 for a reasonable price? Maybe...

Two lights on full turbo. Guess which one is new.

Posted by Paranda at 12:05 AM | Comments (8)

March 4, 2010

Wandafuru Revival

Leave it to a rapping puppy to spur my first post in a few months. I just couldn't resist commenting on Sakura Saori's latest LoveLoveLovable #82. This week's show features 27 minutes of Sakura Saori Chiwakura-san (sproing) doggedly trying to cram as many "wans" into a sentence as possible.

chiwakura.jpgChiwakura-san, who turns 2 years old this coming June, redubbed the show WanWanWandafuru and sat in for Saori while she was off busy preparing for ave;new's 3/13 appearance at Club Citta. Fans took the rare opportunity to learn more about Chiwakura-san, as well as try to slip in some questions about Saori behind her back. However, the real gem this time was the big reveal of some serious rapping skills in the ave;new camp. And we're not talking about Kent and U-key. In the closing Memory ave;new segment, MC Chiwakura dropped some serious beats in "Chiwaku-rap." - the special bonus track produced for last summer's Comiket which finally made its radio debut.

Since it first began broadcasting in 2007, the show hasn't changed much. The general format revolves the sole host, 25 year old ave;new singer/writer/art designer Sakura Saori reading and answering listener mail categorized into "theme corners" as determined in the previous episodes. During each corner, she picks out a few listeners "Lovable Names" and reads their mail aloud, which almost always starts with "LoveLoveWa" (she will scold you if you don't start your letter correctly).

Anyway, I figured I would give a brief overview of the theme corners. Note: while I'd love to link to every example I reference, it's going to be based mostly on memory since older shows aren't up anymore.

Nandemo OK. As general Q&A, this is the most frequent corner and the largest component of the show. It is in almost every episode as an opener for Saori to get things moving with 3 - 5 questions, though some episodes are dedicated to her blitzing through dozens in rapid fire. While you do learn useful information like what kind of glowsticks to use in her concert (white), a lot of the entertainment comes from the personal anecdotes, in which Saori goes to great lengths to fill in details of her character. Half of it sounds like fiction, but what do I care?

Among other things, we learn about her love and struggles with beer, her apparently boring and secluded hermit lifestyle, and her inability to get valentine chocolates except from ave;new coworkers

Once a fan indirectly asked about her voice in real life and she basically affirmed (so she would love us to believe) that it's her default real life voice and strangers will even laugh at her for it. Sounds like bullshit to me. If it actually is true, then I might as well believe the stuff about the hermit lifestyle too. Try to get through your formative teenage years with that voice - it will fuck you up real good.

Oshiete my sweet
Oshiete my sweet is a segment where fans choose some kind of dessert for Saori to eat in the studio. The only rule is that it can easily be bought from a convenience store. Despite that, somehow these usually wind up being weird as hell confectionaries that nobody has ever heard of like curry flavored popsicles. I think she should combine this with Challenger Saori and just drop the "dessert" part. Then we'll see if she can take requests to get drunk on shots mid-broadcast or eat all kinds of nasty creepy crawlies.

Anata ni Yell!
Always nice when it appears, this corner is entirely for fans. Saori becomes a cheerleader and drops a goldmine of cute inspirational lines (that is if you find things "ei ei OOOOO" and magic incantations to be inspiring). Saori gives these out quite liberally, and they can get LONG and incredibly personal. This is less creepy than you think though. Surprisingly, most fans who write in betray the kimo-wota stereotype and are usually ambitious young students trying to ace exams and stuff, not 50 year old dudes asking for courage to leave mom's basement. Among various things, she has recorded wake-up messages, job and commuting mantras, and exam passing charms. I was almost tempted to send in one of my own but I don't want my name called out on a show like this :3 Sorry Shaori

Possibly no longer relevant. I think this used to let fans ask questions to other members of ave;new. Recently Saori has mostly done away with referring to guest Q&A as a corner at all though and just brings on guests to answer questions directly. You get people asking a.k.a.dRESS random stuff like who was his favorite character in ToLoveRu. It's informative when it happens, but dRESS apperances also have the downside (upside?) of having the show's background inexplicably replaced with his own theme song, which sounds like some 70s style porno soundtrack. Too bad there's no accompanying video where we can see his famous hair.

Nandemo Lovable 3
Ask Saori for her top 3 whatevers. Favorite drinks, music, candies, cafes, perfumes, soaps. Anything is fair game. Sometimes she just answers them straight up, but other times it can go on to an interesting tangent. Generally, this is the weakest corner for me, not because it's a bad idea, but because a lot of this involves everyday products/foods/locations that can only be found inJapan. A lot of the fun for listeners is probably going out and actually buying or trying out the "top 3," but all I can do is make lists of "oh yeah I gotta go try that next time" which pile up.

Challenger Saori
Opposite of Nandemo Lovable 3, this is the most fun corner where Saori attempts any challenge sent in by fans. It can sometimes be very teasing because she saves really good challenges for the next show. These segments always own tremendously as they tend to take her out of her element.

Memorable challenges include
- An entire episode where she's forbidden from using keigo, which she uses very heavily by default. This of course ended in cute miserable failure, with Saori inventing ridiculous nicknames for readers in order to make them sound more casual, and her tendency to mash up fake suffixes that were half formal, half informal whenever she slipped up.
- A challenge to sing low notes. I suspect this was almost certainly a fan trying to get her to break character by forcing her voice to go into the lower and presumably "real" registers. Of course Saori bailed at barely 1 octave below middle C. Come on Saori I know you can go lower dan dat!!!
- The episode that spawned this entire post. LoveLoveLovable #82.

Kikasete Memory Avenue
The request corner. Each show winds down with one song request from Saori's discography. Usually, she'll offer insight on the creation of the track and what it's generally about, but sometimes she seems confused about her own niche genre. Whenever she plays some blatant moepop track she says she hopes you will enjoy it with your "special someone" or listen to it with your family during sentimental moments. I guess she's not wrong. You can use it to initiate break ups of the "whoa I didn't know you were into that" nature. And what could be more sentimental than the sight of parents crying out where they went wrong?

Minna no Chiwakura-san
Finally, we have a common show closer. Chiwakura-san is a dog that you can write in about. It's very open ended and can range from discussing her hobbies (like her being a hardcore surfer), surprise appearances, and so on.

Recently I've been insanely busy due to work obligations during a time of major events in my industry, so I've had to choose my time wasters carefully, but LoveLoveLovable's content never disappoints even if I do gripe about some corners being worse than others. Plus its slow and infrequent podcast schedule manages to be one of the easier and funnier things I can actually keep up with without feeling overwhelmed. What's more, there's a kind of familiarity with the letters since 99% of the time it's the same 8 or 9 guys who rotate in and out every few broadcasts. They're practically members of the show (especially this one dude who knows he always gets read and has begun addressing letters to the listeners).

Well, I wrote a lot of words but I guess all I really want to say is go listen to Chiwaku-rap right now.

Posted by Paranda at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

October 8, 2009

MOMO-i designed Fostex Headphones

Well these babies finally came a few days ago. With two identical sets of stickers and no application instructions, I decided to wing it and just throw stickers on wherever there was space. Hey I can always buy another set if I mess up both times.

I did not get a collectible photo. RG said they may send these out separately at a later time so I'll wait for it. If you got one included with your package... welp I guess I just got screwed then.

Now with my terrible design sense out of the way...

The package also contains a MOMO-i Namagoe Tester mini CD. It's more of a toy than anything else, but very novel and a cute idea. There were 6 tracks total.

  1. 1KHz - Momoi saying AAAAAAAH

  2. 100Hz Momoi humming MMMMM

  3. 5kHz - Very high pitched squeal

  4. Left/Right channel test - Momoi saying migi/hidari (felt stupid during this one because I didn't pay attention to the L/R letters and put my headphones on backwards!)

  5. Panning test - Momoi going nyan-nyan-nyan followed by a VERY cute skit where she 'yoissho's left, right, and center several times.

  6. Headphone information - Specs, care and maintenance instructions with moe voice commentary in the background.

For testing, I used my Sennheiser HD280 as my comparison model. It seemed fair as they are both close in type and price. I plugged these into my XFI card with no amp, and played back both the tester CD and some live concert clips that I often watch. I do not consider myself a true hardcore audiophile, so there were minimal controls and I did not use any objective measuring devices. What I type is just my general feeling:

Fostex is light and comfy with little to no pressure on the ears compared to HD280 (which feel like iron earmuffs after an hour). The headphones are not as loud as HD280 so I had to fiddle with volume a bit. There is a bit clearer distinction between instruments, and a bit less coloration in the voice. This definitely seems like a set of headphones great for listening to radio and long dramas when you are in a quiet room, or when you are wearing them for hours at a time. I prefer the HD280 when watching live concerts with a loud crowd though, even if the bass bleeds over a bit. They add a bit more flavor even though there is greater distortion. Both headphones are closed-ear so they are pretty good for general use and will block out most ambient noise. I'll probably keep these plugged into my PC while I hook up my HD280 to my XBOX.

For the heck of it, I also test-ran them against my HD595s for some choral pieces and Cello solos. They fared surprisingly well, though they are two very different types of headphones meant for different purposes. HD595 had a stronger bass, but its main advantage was the immersion factor - they basically don't exist as headphones when you wear them.

I didn't bother comparing against Shure E5s or CX300. I will probably never use these for PMP since they are so conspicuous.

Posted by Paranda at 12:51 AM | Comments (4)

September 11, 2009

Buy this if you are cool

Momoi's custom designed headphones are out.

Comes with goodies such as stickers, Momoi voice CD for audio testing, and collectible photo. They didn't just make an English page for fun. Show RG that overseas fans are good for it!

Posted by Paranda at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2009

Month-end figure arrival

Haven't listed any new figures in a while. Don't worry despite the tragic loss of a few favorites in "the great fire" (R.I.P. 1/8 Milfa, 1/8 Ilfa, 1/8 Pastel Ink, and others), I'm still getting them regularly. Kaitendo's 1/6 Tamaki (blue box behind) delayed my order for a month and a half, but everything finally arrived today. This 1/4 Nanoha has some great details (clear lines even on the fingernails) but the plastic feels cheap and weighs so little that I'm afraid to pick it up without snapping it in half without the support attachment. It's definitely one of those figures I have to handle with kid gloves.

When scaled to 1/8 Nanoha, she appears to be a bit on the short end. How can a 1/4 adult be only twice as tall as her 1/8 child self? I might just be spoiled though. My first 1/6th figure being Magical Girl Rin set artificially high standards for everything else because that was basically a 1/4 figure molded out of solid steel but mislabeled as 1/6 PVC.


1/4 Fate, the partner in crime, should arrive in 5 months (Don't look at the same page on amazon.co.jp if you don't live in Japan, it will only make you sad).

Also, checking my orders today though, I realized I missed the first press *Dreamy Maple Crown* Blu-Ray. Somehow I thought I already preordered it when the newsmail first came out, but I apparently didn't. Slightly pissed off about that one, especially because the 1st press DVD taunts me by being not sold out yet.

Posted by Paranda at 1:40 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2009

I suppose it was inevitable

When you hang around Momoists a lot, you get infected by the camera nerd disease.I decided to go with Nikon, since as another fan put it so simply, "we need another Nikon guy."

With the seed planted in Hawaii this March, and watered thoroughly at Fanime last month, the initial whim to start playing around with DSLRs has finally come to fruition.

Today, the last piece of a recent string of photo-related purchases arrived to make a usable, if not hastily assembled kit that I intend to carry around for my upcoming trips. It consists of: one Nikon D700 body, two very basic lenses (Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens, Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens), a Gitzo GT3541LS tripod, and a Really Right Stuff BH-55 head with Pro II clamp and RRS D700 quick release plates. This seems to be what was most recommended by others. Of course, while getting "recommended" gear is cool and all, I'm still aware that as a beginner amateur, the biggest limiting factor will be my own crappy skill so I probably won't really appreciate it until a few years down the road.

I also plan to get Nikon's 14-24mm if I do decide to go to Japan this summer for Comiket and Animelo 09, as I would use it heavily in the week between while hiking Mt. Fuji and doing other stereotypical tourist stuff (with less time devoted to buying crap this time around).

Animelo is up in the air right now since I am a little tempted by a few other certain events. I do plan to get the 70-200mm VR whenever Momoi comes to the states again though (next year please - because everyone seems to think it's going to get refreshed with a better version).

In the short term, I have a big batch of figures arriving soon, probably Monday, including the giant 1/4 Nanoha which I will use to test-drive the long end of the Tamron.

Posted by Paranda at 2:15 PM | Comments (6)

May 30, 2009

Death curry?

Went out and tried some ridiculously hot curry with a few friends at Brick Lane the other day. Only I and one other guy ended up doing the Phaal challenge. This is that infamous restaurant with the gas masks. I usually have lots of vindaloo but this thing was pretty damn intense. I could barely finish it and I'm lucky I ordered paneer instead of lamb.

As Komugi is my witness, I'll never eat anything that hot again. This is "seeing lights in the corner of your eyes" level hot.

I got this little certificate for completing it.

Posing while in lots of pain

I do wear my Momoi T-shirts even in NYC for completely unrelated stuff :) If I had a bit less shame I probably would have brought my Habanero-tan figure to the restaurant table as a mascot too, but alas I keep my otaku tendencies on the down-low here limited to innocent looking apparel and Suara phone straps.

Also I should probably write my Fanime report soon too. It was pretty nice though, and I finally got peer-pressured into signing up for flickr so I already uploaded some items there. Also signed up for a twitter account but I haven't tried it out much yet (3 days too late now since I COULD have been updating at the convention). We'll see how things go...

Posted by Paranda at 1:48 AM | Comments (3)

May 1, 2009

Dear Albany

Posted by Paranda at 1:10 AM | Comments (2)

April 18, 2009

New Momoi forum

Since our old admin has been MIA for half a year and was the only person able to approve new accounts, a new Momoi board was set up by a fan which we will use to plan events.

Please visit us at forums.halkomomoi.com :)

Posted by Paranda at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 7, 2009

Completed the Handbook of Fixed Income Securities (the Fabozzi book)

My first New Year resolution success story at last! I bought this book my first week on the job but it just functioned as a base for my Potemayo figure collecting dust. I finally decided this year that I'd been putting off way too long and if I didn't start then I'd never read it in my life. It took me 3 months using up what free time I had when I wasn't fawning over idol seiyuu but I finally finished all 1500 pages of this monster today - cover to cover.

So what do I have to show for it?

Nothing I guess, because I forgot most of details. I can't retain info like I used to. At least I can recall roughly where a topic is in the book real fast if I need to look it up.

Thems the breaks...but I feel good enough to brag about it. So that explains this post.

Posted by Paranda at 12:15 AM | Comments (2)

March 17, 2009

DMC concert goods

I'm back home finally. Forgot to post this before I left:

Despite eventually bailing out on attending Yukarin's Dreamy Maple Crown 2009 tour, I managed to get a few concert goodies shipped over thanks to nyol (lots of overlap between Momoi and Yukari fans) who sacrificed many hours on line and some $200 in my stead.

In the picture starting from top left, going clockwise: Yukari Oukoku Hachimaki, bag, DMC B2 poster, mon cheri single, METAUSAHIME single, 2009 B2 calendar (six poster pages), Cherry key holder, portrait set, and pamphlet/photobook.

I wish I could have gone but the circumstances just weren't right. Here's looking at 2010. Maybe then I'll finally put these to use.

Koiseyo puppets are serious business.

Funny story while at Chuck's in Hawaii: Another Momoi/Yukari fan asked me who I liked more: Momoi or Yukari. On my seiyuu idol fandom scale from 1 - 10, Momoi would be the only 10, Yukari would be an 8, and most everyone else would be somewhere below that so it wasn't a super hard question. However when I replied out loud, I somehow slipped and said "もちろんゆ-" before correcting myself. It was too late - she commented on the "yu" part. How can I live with myself after such blasphemy?

Posted by Paranda at 10:25 PM | Comments (7)

March 8, 2009

Packing up concert gear

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments in my last post. I am now packing since the trip is 4 days away.

In addition to the power glove, Momoi wristbands, towels, shirts, and standard 6 hour glowsticks, this year's personal concert gear has seen a significant upgrade with the addition of some items and removal of others:

concert gear

- To substitute 5 minute ultra orange sticks, two new Fenix LD20 lights and diffuser accessories were added thanks to a recommendation by catsspat. These are about as bright as UO sticks but last 2 hours on the highest setting. They will be used during LOVE.EXE, henshin segments of WONDER MOMO-I, Tenbatsu!, and any other moments where UO lighting is necessary. They will save the need to carry 20 UO sticks this time around and many more in the future. The LD20 also has strobe mode although I don't think I will find any opportunity to use this unless I suddenly have a pressing need to annoy people or induce epilepsy

- A 20 capacity shotgun shell bandolier has been repurposed for Ultra Intensity glowstick storage. Since there aren't any good LD20 compatible diffusers for blue, yellow, or pink it was necessary to rely on ultra glowsticks. Ultras burn very quickly, so it is very possible to go through two or three per song. 10 ultra blue have been reserved for Yume no baton, Koi no meiousei, or any ballads that might be in the set list. 5 ultra yellow have been reserved for the slim possibility of Chuo Line (to match the color of the train) and Thundershot, and 5 pink have been kept on hand for Komugi tracks.

- For general purpose use, neon pink and neon blue electronic penlights obtained during the Animelo 2008 trip have been added to the main belt. These have a life of about 3 hours and may will serve as backup in case I run out of ultra glowsticks and UO lighting would be inappropriate for the song. Two smaller pockets have been added for AA and AAA batteries.

- Removed from this year's armory are the triple LED tactical flashlights. These were useful for R/G/B beams but were not practical for concert use due to the lack of a good diffuser and the odd angle of the flashlight heads.

- Might be removed: 7-glowstick holster. This was my primary method of cyalume delivery in 08 but it has been largely made redundant by the Fenix lights. They do act as a nice counterweight to them though. I may swap it out for a dedicated powerglove hook.

Momoists have also prepared 650 glowsticks available for the audience, shipped by tenton. This is down from last year due to Momoi only performing one show instead of two.

Posted by Paranda at 3:15 PM | Comments (9)

March 6, 2009

Fire in my NYC apt.

The FDNY does not fuck around. They will barrel their truck straight into the building, smash all the windows, and axe open doors and walls in seconds without knocking and are quite liberal with the hose. It's also not 4 - 5 firefighters like you see with drills; they'll bumrush you 20 - 30 guys at a time. I'm lucky to be alive due to their fast work.

I basically lost a whole lot of shit last night thanks to some homeless dude who decided to light up while hiding underneath our stairs. Most of my stuff is still in New Jersey though so I'm not exactly free from the shackles of materialism and ready to become a vagabond hippy with a clear sense of perspective now that I've "lost it all" just yet. Most of my figures, all my CDs/DVDs, and backups of all my drives are still safe. Stuff I lost in the apartment was about $4k worth of hardware, $2k of clothing (two suits ruined), and $1k worth of figures/posters. Some of you who have been inside there know how closely it's all packed. The rest will probably be looted by people since all the doors were busted open. I'm going to go back there tomorrow to see what I can salvage provided the stairs are safe to climb.

I hauled ass out of there as soon as I smelled smoke but not before saving my harem. No way I was going to let those firefighters bust open my door and see this (had at least some pride left to preserve).

Took the day off and temporarily staying with my parents now. Trying to get this smoke out of my lungs.

What a buzz kill just as I'm about to head off to Hawaii for Momoi Festival too.

Posted by Paranda at 5:01 PM | Comments (8)

February 5, 2009

What? Another Komugi figure

While browsing through 1999.co.jp, this famous Momoi character caught my eye.

I guess it's never too late to resurrect a character when it comes to figurines, but considering it was a niche OVA spinoff with a relatively narrow audience, I'm surprised Nurse Witch Komugi would show up years after the series closed.

Posted by Paranda at 1:44 AM | Comments (3)

January 29, 2009

Now I feel bad about buying tickets two weeks ago

Hawaii plane tickets dropped yet another $100. Damn! Looking at 401 from New York to Honolulu.

Posted by Paranda at 11:07 PM | Comments (4)

January 29, 2009

100k WS average bonus?

This certainly wasn't the case where I work, and we didn't even need bailout dollars due to having risk managers who weren't completely insane. Where's my 100k?

Actually I'm just glad I didn't get canned as a lowly 1st year monkey ^_^;;

Good thing I rushed that graduation in 3.5 years huh? Just before the bubble burst...

Posted by Paranda at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2009

Momoi calendar, San nendoroid, Hot Shot Jr.

Hmm I haven't done one of these posts in a while. I finally got all my December packages and opened everything up today. Time to show some stuff...

Hot Shot Jr. didn't look so hot in the old pictures, but in fact is totally awesome now that I notice how many decals go on it. These little racing logos really make the car, with designs for GURA GURA, ENTER, and other titles. The only reason I haven't built it yet is because I don't have any gold paint right now to spray down the hood. The special postcard is also nice, but again to reiterate, best part about this time's Tamiya release is definitely the Momoi stickers. One day I will commission a racing suit that just has these Momoi "sponsors" all over it for use in concert outings.

m.m.m. fan club members also got a 2009 edition Momoi desk calendar this year. It's perfect for putting up on your desk at work so the entire team knows you are a kimo-ota and will line you up for the next round of lay offs. Luckily all fixed income guys are really nerdy so I might get away with it...nah probably not. It's really cute though.

Here are all the months. Upon seeing the panda costume on Dec, I could have sworn I saw a whole set of these posted by Momoi on her blog, but after searching I must have simply remembered wrong. It is in the same style as the tiger costume she wore for her Toranoana instore event though.

Also picked up the Seto no Hanayome OVA Jin special edition pack that came out. The DVD case is inside a second clear slipcover case which is pointless but pretty.

The main reason I bought it was for the included Nendoroid figure of San though, who is voiced by Momoi.

Here is the size compared to a standard Nendoroid figure. I actually prefer smaller size though, since there isn't exactly much detail that needs to be molded in. The smaller size means you can fit it on your desk that much more easily instead of sitting in a box in limbo like Miku here. My desk at home is getting a bit cramped with all the figures.

That's it for now. Next time I should have the OrchidSeed 1/7 Seto San figure to show off. Then it will be the long purchasing freeze while I save up for a bunch of trips.

Momoi made a post about akinator.com today. This is actually pretty funny to me because a few weeks ago I spent like 3 hours on that site just putting in Momoi a million times to build up their question and answer database. The Tsukune-chan one is especially funny. Yeah Tsukune has basically murdered people in cold blood several times.

Posted by Paranda at 4:53 PM | Comments (3)

December 7, 2008

I'm done

Post-CFA recovery process:

- Watch Tales of the Abyss, Toradora, Macademi Wasshoi, Kannagi, all that other stuff I have been putting off for months. Esp. excited for Toradora because I haven't heard Kugyu in forever.

- Play Fallout 3, Mirror's Edge, GH3 (I just got them all! Bwahahaahaa).

- Catch up on all Momoi/Yukari radio episodes?

- Read more actual economics books to balance out the amount of bullshit that the "Economics" section keeps trying to sell me. Deficit spending will balance itself out because the average taxpayer will factor in the national debt when making his own saving decisions? I actually laughed out loud when I read that. Also this curriculum really really REALLY hates taxes (even resorted to using Laffer curve as justification) and really really loves the invisible hand.

To be fair, the test questions don't try to brainwash you in favor of a particular viewpoint though. Just stuff like "which of the following would be true under School of Thought A vs School of Thought B."

Posted by Paranda at 7:03 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2008

Hot Shot Jr.

I haven't touched my Thundershot since it was built, and another Momoi mini4wd is already coming out. There's only a little over 2 weeks until Momoi's Ultra Orange Hot Shot Jr. is released. This one is kinda weird looking but I'm sure the postcard will be all worth it. The box cover is nice again, with Momoi wearing her signature uniform but with a crown on top (like she had in the live DVDs). You know maybe next year when things quiet down I will buy a track and set these racers up.

btw motto hade ni is too damn catchy and sanding down the insides of my skull because I am unable to stop it from looping in my mind. I never even watched the show! Yet somehow....

Posted by Paranda at 9:23 PM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2008

Don't disappoint me now

Time to see if America is as I think it is. I hit the booths by 7AM and I was the 51st person in line, which I suppose is a pretty good especially since there was virtually no campaigning in this district. Just got into work a few minutes ago...and will head out to Times Square later tonight to watch results. Obama must win.

Posted by Paranda at 9:49 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2008

Thunder Shot Mk. II

I finally found some time to build this thing. Of course I didn't plan far ahead enough to think of buying a Tamiya track so the car is basically unusable. it looks nice though and the box pictures are pretty much worth the purchase alone.

This is a great picture and I wish they made posters of these. Maybe I'll blow up one to use for myself.

My plan for immediate gratification ruined as "some assembly required." The included postcard is very cute though and makes me want to buy another one of these.

I suck at models though, so the simple task of applying enamel somehow turned into a terrible ordeal involving scalpels, staples, vast quantities of paint thinner, and a mess that would make my middle school art teacher stick pencils in her arteries. Don't even get me started on the grease. On the bright side my digestive organs probably experience less abrasive friction now given the amount accidentally ingested.

Finished product. Racer Momoi will beat all comers!

Posted by Paranda at 11:45 PM | Comments (1)

September 20, 2008

What a week

I think I may have worked more in the last two weeks than the entire year. Coming back from Japan, I was still in Momoist mode and posting all those famous Momoi locations. Monday morning, I hear Fannie and Freddie both got put into conservatorship the week before and my jaw dropped.

But last week. LAST WEEK was when it truly hit: 150+ year old Lehman Brothers declaring bankrupcty, Merrill's completely out of nowhere sale to BofA, AIG collapsing and almost taking the entire CDS market with it prior to the financial industry calling the Fed's bluff and forcing it into a bailout, the oldest MONEY MARKET fund breaking the buck thanks to Lehman IOUs...it's funny that the only safe investments left are triple A rated commercial paper and T-bills. Treasury yields are so close to zero right now mattress stuffing actually seems like a good idea too. I watched even Goldman, which last year used to headline articles as the polar opposite of Bear in terms of responding to the liquidity crunch drop 30% in a day and threaten to go private. I watched Morgan Stanley sink even faster and WaMu desperately looking for buyers. Redemptions out the wazoo..credit events chained up like fighting combos - it's only a matter of time before some disgruntled war veteran who lost his pension starts remembering "that time when he served as a sniper in Vietnam". Then maybe MSNBC can actually use "panic and blood on the streets" literally and Jim Cramer might accidentally throw out his hyperboles, pause a bit, and explode once he realizes it's actually true. At this point even the guy in the bagel cart I visit on the street corner every morning is going "Hey buddy you guys doing ok?" Well no, not really. Just Lehman going bust on Monday -> "Oh shit are we going to get anything for Lehman Aggregate what the fuck do we do now? CALL THE VENDORS" followed by lots of zoo animal braying, slide whistles, and clown sound effects. Thank heavens for Barclays.

Next week looks like it could have a few land mines left. It will be interesting to see what we'll have to deal with next. Meanwhile, here's Potemayo wearing a piece of history.

150 years

And there is still Momoi stuff I need to post...priorities, priorities.

Posted by Paranda at 2:09 PM | Comments (2)

September 7, 2008

Momoi pilgrimage site: Akihabara

Tora no ana main store: topic in Momoi's Koko da yo, Enter, and other songs. Frequently has Momoi promotions in the display wiinow, although during the time we went, the current feature was Sakakibara Yui.

Hourin Park: Location of the playground structure Momoi posed on for the cover of the special edition Yume no baton.

Posted by Paranda at 10:18 PM | Comments (1)

September 2, 2008

Some photos taken over Animelo weekend

Ikebukuro. This will be home for the duration of the trip to Japan.

There is lots to see and do. But since this is a Momoist/otaku blog, let's just skip all the other touristy stuff I did and get to the substance...

animate! 9 floors of stuff. Took a good 4-5 hours to look through it all.

k-books (lots of good used stuff and comiket items)

Only bought a few things...spent conservatively since if I want to waste money on things that should never see the light of day, there was still all of Akihabara and Nakano Broadway.

Spotted while heading toward Animelo on 8/30.

Was so excited to be walking toward Saitama Super Arena

The Arena.

Merchandise tables. Combo sets and wristbands were sold out unfortunately by the time I got there. Picked up 2 shirts, towels, and pamphlet.

Outside map. Momoists set up camp in the marked area the next day.

Crowd began to swell as time got closer.

Had a blast at the concert. Jaw dropped when trying to find the number marked on the ticket and then the realization they were direct stage-side seats. Damn this thing was long. A great time was had, but I learned my lesson this time. 2 ultra oranges, 2 pinks, and 2 neon sticks is NOT ENOUGH. Wanted to UO on so many good acts but blew my entire stash right out the door with Yukari.

Goods obtained from the concert. Managed to catch a streamer that got shot out of the cannon during the encore. Since the thing was right next to me, when it went off I thought something exploded and nearly ducked for cover.


Posing with another Momoist.

Huge group of Momoists hanging out in the lower food court while waiting for seating to open. It was the same reliable group that has been to every concert I've ever seen so far. They came from all over. Some big trips to see Momoi include travellers from Osaka, Aomori (8 hrs by train), and even Korea.

T-shirt present for Momoi. Everybody included their own personal message. Takayama Saki (actress of Momoi from Haruko Update) was also attending Animelo to support Momoi and showed up to sign the shirt and say hello to Momoists.

These seats were actually pretty good and you could get a clear view of the performers as well as the entire arena. The "not as lucky" comparison is only relative to day 1, but otherwise it was awesome.

Lesson learned from day 1: stock glowsticks!!! Used up 15 ultra oranges, 6 ultra pinks, 2 ultra greens, 4 red and blue glowing bracelets, and fully drained 6 AAA batteries for neon red and neon blue light sticks.

Picked up 2 MOSAIC.WAV shirts along the way.

Still in Japan right now this is concise to save time. If you want to see parts of day 2 including Momoi you can probably find some recorded segments on Nico or Youtube although I won't bother posting the links since they will be constantly deleted/reuploaded. Also consider visiting seiyuu3 for a more detailed description of other artist acts.

Visited Akiba and a few other famous Momoi spots and specific stores/buildings thanks to a local fan who took a full day off to play ad-hoc tour guide. Maybe will visit more Momoists in Kyoto and we have a Suara concert to go see on Saturday. Let's see how it goes.

Posted by Paranda at 11:35 AM | Comments (3)

August 4, 2008

CFA cram begins

You might remember that I used to occasionally complain here about studying for tests back when I was going to NYU. Thankfully that all stopped after I graduated and got a job. I thought I would never have to think about studying again.

But since I am a shortsighted idiot, I appear to have gotten myself into a test taking situation yet again. So I can only post this for my self encouragement. Coming this December, I'll have finished my first year as a full-time analyst at "Unnamed Corporation," so I figured (way back in March), that I would aim to use my year of experience as well as my still-recent (and thus hopefully relevant) undergrad education to help study for the level 1 CFA.

Well now I regret making that decision because some 8 months after I became an analyst (almost 2 years if you include the time as intern), I still feel like I know jack about the industry. Plus, from what I've read, even having a finance background doesn't help much on most of it anyway, because so does everyone else taking the test, and it's still hard as shit and curved just enough to make 70% of grown men cry. BUT my stupid ass foolishly publicized that decision back in March in my "stated self improvement goals" at work, so now I basically have to put my money where my mouth is in order to not look like a chump. Since it cost an arm and a leg to even register for this test, I can't really afford to piss away money by failing either. Thus, August marks the start of my CFA preparation.

There is some obscenely low pass rate usually attributed to people underestimating the study time for the test. I thought I had decent cramming skillz back in school, but since I've heard nothing but horror stories about the amount of studying required from most of my coworkers who I consider real smart guys (and some who have been working way longer than I have), I have been sufficiently scared into early preparation.

My current plan is to do one session every five days, with no breaks in between except for the few days I will be in Japan for Animelo. This should allow me to finish studying about three weeks before the actual exam, so I can spend the last month on nothing but practice tests.

Also if I pass, I get to look forward to another 2 more levels of this test that are supposedly even harder before getting certified. Oh boy! Then again at least I'm not going for a CPA. Haven't people killed themselves over that one?

Posted by Paranda at 1:39 AM | Comments (2)

June 22, 2008

Thundershot Mk.II pre-order

Since Thundershot Mk.II Momoi version preorders started, I have been looking around the web hoping to find somewhere that shipped overseas. A vendor finally turned up.


They seem to be a small shop (Aoshima Bunka Kyozai) with an online page that only recently started supporting overseas customers. Their english version of the site is shady as hell and the credit card entry page isn't even encrypted but what the heck I took the plunge and ordered with them.

It isn't as cool as the pink chrome one depicted in TAMIYA's youtube video which seems to be something you can only get at events (or not at all?), but this one is cool too with the momoi wing stickers. Actually even just buying the box is worth it since it has such a cute picture of Momoi waving a checkered flag on it.

The car itself is pretty cheap, being only $9 if applying the pre-order discount. Total came out to $29 after including EMS shipping. The product is supposed to be released in early August. Hopefully the site is legit. I'll follow up if I actually get it that month.

Momoi liked toy cars ever since she was a kid. Once in primary school, Momoi thought it would be a great present for a gift exchange at her Christmas party. Unfortunately the other girl who got Momoi's present didn't like it at all and didn't even take it home. When Momoi saw it, she felt very alone when she realized her interests didn't fit in with normal girls.

Now, just by lending her name, she will help sell many of these cars, and maybe with the design more girls will start to like them too.

Update: HLJ is carrying it now!

Double-ordered to be safe. Maybe I will have two cars to race against each other :)

Posted by Paranda at 2:42 AM | Comments (7)

March 28, 2008

Holy crap I am never ordering from Hobby Search again!

Received this in my email:

[Your Order.]
Alter Exelica (Completed Figure) 1/8
Item price :14,060 yen x Q.T.Y :1 = 14,060 yen

Shipping Cost 6,100 yen
tal cost 20,160 yen

6100 to ship a single figure? This thing had better weigh 30 pounds...

Posted by Paranda at 11:31 PM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2008


Saturday report is coming soon!


Posted by Paranda at 5:01 AM | Comments (3)

December 5, 2007

Sister B dolls to be sold in limited quantities

Momoi fans may be pleased to know that Licca Castle will be selling 1000 Sister B dolls, available for pre-order on January 15th. 20 buyers will also receive a Kawaii JeNny DVD vol. 2 as a gift. Orders are 6000 yen each. Although Licca does not accept sales from foreigners directly, doll collecting is very popular so there are many online companies that you can ask to pre-order for you, assuming the dolls do not sell out instantly. The "Sweets Angels" dolls will also be available on 12/12 if you want those too.

Posted by Paranda at 2:23 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2007

m.m.m. membership card

Came today. Handwritten name and number confirmed :)
Card front
Card back

Posted by Paranda at 12:57 PM | Comments (4)

November 3, 2007

Yuen no Amulet and R.G.B. arrive in mail

Along with a very nice surprise poster.

The PV is awesome in DVD format, and I love the song. R.G.B. will take a little more getting used to.

Posted by Paranda at 4:42 PM | Comments (2)

November 2, 2007

Experiments with Omamo Ringo-san 2

I spent waaaayyyy too much time trying to get this thing to run properly in Foobar2k. Still can't get it right completely. Damn I need sleep...

Mebius Ring on Windows Media Player

Space Love on Foobar2000

But it's just too cute isn't it?

Posted by Paranda at 7:20 AM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2007

Off to AX

See you guys there. MOMOI TIME!!!

Posted by Paranda at 2:44 AM | Comments (1)

June 8, 2007

Working a lot of hours lately

So I've been up since 7AM Tuesday without sleep, I've ditched two summer night classes, I've completely lapsed back into my massive coke drinking habits but made worse combined with coffee (I bet my blood would fizzles if I bleed), my meals consist of random takeout delivered and eaten at my desk, and now I'm finally going to go home to get some rest before coming back at 6AM again to make sure nothing is messed up. And I've been wearing like the same shirt for three days...note to self: bring some clean shirts and ties to stash in desk drawer next time.


Work is fucking awesome...

Posted by Paranda at 4:34 AM | Comments (1)

January 28, 2007

Well it seems like I overspent

After paying bills today, my checking account now has only $3 after factoring in next month's rent. I'm functionally broke. Momoi is just releasing too much stuff lately, and I can't keep up with her while still maintaining my figure habit. I'm going to have to conserve a little for the next few months, so...this will be my last "stuff" post for some time I guess. Luckily there doesn't seem to be too many new figures coming out that I want.

January's loot:

Set of 3 Range Murata Pinky figures.

1/6 Akari, 1/6 Aka, 1/6 Saber, 1/6 Majichan, 1/8 Eruru, 1/8 Lucy, 1/6 Tamachan, 1/8 Asa.
Eruru and Fate are actually from November, but I didn't want to disturb the stack.

Closer look at Lucy Maria Misora, one of my favorite figures I got this month. I now have a figure of every ToHeart2 main character, so I can recreate a school scene for my various sick fantasy worlds.

Any figure of a character voiced by Momoi also gets a spotlight of course. Here's Tamachan!

I also really like ARIA stuff. Closer shot of Akari!

And probably my best purchase of the month: Fate with Bardiche in zanbar form! It's an awesome figure from Alter.

I also got the Movic version of Fate, with her Haken form Bardiche but I haven't opened this one yet. I liked the pose though.

Another favorite of January, Mamiya from Magikano. And she is indeed wearing the special cat! Now I need a Maika figure to round it off for the most amusing duo ever.

Max Factory's gorgeous Blanc Neige figure from Shining Tears..

And lastly, 2 limited edition box sets of Eureka Seven DVDs.

Not pictured: Nerd-tan from Akibablog (because she's currently serving desk duty in my apartment). And now I'm all out.

Posted by Paranda at 1:02 AM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2007

Back to school again

But before leaving...a last trip to Medieval Times. My throat is sore from yelling.

Main course: half a chicken. Way overseasoned, but delicious all the same. Utensils are not included, and surprisingly they only hand out one moist towelette AFTER the meal. Luckily, I remembered to wash my hands before going in this time.

Our knight preparing for the joust! We got the Green Knight this time. He sucked at the preliminary games but was a pretty good mock fighter who did a lot of fancy sword work, plus he was a gutsy rider who usually went twice as fast as the other guy. He ended up winning the proper part of the tournament also, which was nice, since the last time we came here, our old Red/Yellow knight dominated the ring/hoop stuff but got eliminated first round in the challenges. In the end though Green got backstabbed the King's right-hand man, so we grudgingly accepted Red as the replacement champion. Much booing ensued.

Fun times. Damn this winter break ended fast. I will be heading back to NYC in two days for the spring semester. I'll also be resuming my job. I'm almost afraid of going back to work considering I left a project I was working on for 3 weeks unfinished :3

Posted by Paranda at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2006

Exam review interrupted by mailman

A good interruption.
Momoi KOTOKO care package
My Momoi and KOTOKO care package. Yume no baton, Saigo no rock, Ippozutsu, Chercher, and Uzumaki. Bonus KOTOKO postcard included. No Momoi extras unfortunately.

Arrest her officers! For the crime of cuteness!

Back to study.

Posted by Paranda at 9:12 AM | Comments (2)

December 15, 2006

I have been awake for 22 hours

In that time: 1 can of pringles, 2 packs ramen, and 1.5 liters of tea consumed, 300 music Momoi/UNDER17 tracks scrobbled, 210 pages of global economics textbook read. Health is failing. 2 practice tests and 6 powerpoint slide sessions left. First round of finals in 8 hours. Must...persevere...

Posted by Paranda at 6:11 AM | Comments (1)

December 12, 2006

Windows Media Player 11 still sucks

Since my specially DIY-upgraded 40gb H-340 was snatched away by a thief in October, I had been shopping for a replacement for some time. Unfortunately, the excellent H-340 model had been discontinued by iRiver and followed up by newer (yet somehow inferior) H-10 models. Aside from that series, there was no other HD player I wanted so I decided to go with the flash player instead. Originally I wanted to wait for the Cowon iAudio D1 model, but as Blip Festival came up I decided I couldn't wait any longer.

Apparently, photography, recording, video-taping, etc..was encouraged by the festival organizers, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone by buying the 4GB Clix which had just come out since it also had a recorder. I always record events when allowed now - a lesson I learned after MISSING THE CHANCE to do this with Kawasumi at Otakon. Here's a short clip of YMCK's Opening at Blip Festival

I've now been using the Clix for a week. As an mp3 player, the clix is OK so far, but a major MAJOR downside is they force you to use WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER to synch files to the player. Although WMP11 is an improvement over WMP10, and it looks fancy and glossy, it is still a huge crock of shit when it comes to supporting ID3v2.4 tags - it doesn't, and it'll overwrite to ID3v1 or the equally crappy ID3v2.3 if you look away! As a foobar2000 user for God knows how long, I refuse to switch over to this slow and buggy abomination of music software until at least ID3v2.4 support is added.

So far I've been compromising by making a backup of my entire music collection (hooray for 2TB - I can't stop buying drives) and a disposable folder specifically for when transferring over to WMP. In short, it sucks.

Posted by Paranda at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

December 1, 2006

I hate the E train

There is probably no experience in Manhattan's subway system worse than taking the E line during morning rush hour. In the mornings at 8AM, I wait at the 42nd street station along with rows and rows of other passengers. The E train will usually come already packed from the people who got on at Penn Station one stop before. Yet no matter how full a subway train looks from the outside, the interior defies physics. I'm always amazed at how dozens of fresh passengers can somehow cram themselves into an already overflowing car that looks like it's about to split at the bolts.

Inside, standers are stabilized from the rocking movement of the train since their positions are locked in a perpetual game of Twister with the other passengers. If one person moves slightly, it will trigger a shockwave of shifting that can be felt at the other end of the car. If God forbid someone needs to get off the train at a stop, the careful equilibrium will be lost and the situation inside the car will degenerate until the crowd becomes a large undefined mass of arms, legs, newspapers, and briefcases...not unlike the swirling tornadoes of dust and limbs that depict brawls in gag cartoons. After a period of time, those who need to leave will have migrated from the inside to the outside through Brownian motion, and everyone else in the train is now in a completely different location than before and probably missing their wallets. We all sigh with relief for that tiny bit of free motion, before holding our breaths again to watch in horror as 40 new people rush in the doors to stuff the gap that was created when one person left.

This agonizing circus act will repeat itself for several more stops, with more passengers magically boarding at each stop despite us having run out of space long ago. Just before the train is about to reach critical mass and collapse into a star, we arrive at 53rd and Lexington. It's my stop, and apparently everyone else's. From riding the E train, I've learned that every single person in New York city works near 53rd and Lexington. Immediately the entire train will drain out to the station, leaving behind only two or three people, probably broken or unconscious. At the station, a new battle begins. This one is a battle for the escalators.

The 53rd street platform is shared by E trains arriving from both Queens and downtown, and they will frequently unload at the same time so it is not uncommon to have hundreds of passengers all together at once in underground station. Unlike most stations, we only have an exit at one end of the platform. It has two escalators and one set of stairs. However, because we're so far down underground, very few people take the stairs. Instead the huge crowd will step onto the escalator, four people at a time. The end result is one of the worst capacity bottlenecks ever. If any one escalator breaks, the delay increases exponentially. If both break, any operations managers in the crowd will typically have a stroke and die on the spot.

The return trip fortunately not as bad. No thanks to the E train of course but at least it's made somewhat bearable since taking the stairs down isn't so bad. Also, when going back, the herd is split into two groups. The first half gets off at 34th Street, the second group gets off at 14th. 34th is Penn Station so I can understand, but I still have no idea what's so special about 14th Street that could account for so many people leaving here.

Posted by Paranda at 1:37 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2006

I am going to whine about midterms

There are two periods of stress for a student associated with Thanksgiving. The week before Thanksgiving, when all the midterms pile together. And the week after Thanksgiving, when the graded midterms are returned. Results are mixed. Monday started out good. I inexplicably aced my second Econ and a programming exam. Even though the new job had eaten away at my free time, things seemed to be under control and I was looking at getting away this semester with pretty good grades.

This was of course balanced out today after I found out I bombed on my second financial systems midterm with the proud score of 60.5, completing fucking up my previous B+/A- average in that class with no chance of recovery to A status. In retrospect, I really should have contacted the professor to let him know I wasn't ready to take the test that week. Maybe I could have gotten an extra day to prepare. I'm now shooting for a middle B if I'm lucky.

Although they were sufficient for economics classes, apparently my bullshitting skills can't cut it when it comes to the world of hard finance. Unlike the econ exam, where I was only stuck on a few questions while confident on the rest, I really didn't know my shit for this test and I didn't dare risk drawing stupid joke doodle/answers since each point was so precious. Instead I opted to go for the "obscure with semi-jargon and bad handwriting until it looks sort of correct" approach for when I had no fucking clue about the answers. Maybe I should have tried drawing after all, it worked surprisingly well for my first econ midterm - I got full credit for that question. Hmmmm it must say something about those two subjects.

Posted by Paranda at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2006

My trip to the NYSE

This week I took a trip to the New York Stock Exchange, the largest stock exchange in the United States measured by market cap and one of the last great exchanges with a trading floor. Although it has been closed to visitors indefinitely for some time now, one of my professors through his various connections was cool enough to arrange a special visit for 20 interested students where we would be allowed to observe the day's trading activities from the members gallery, and ask questions to one of the directors there. Cameras allowed as long as there was no flash, so I took a few pictures.
NYSE photos
NYSE photos
This is Wall Street in downtown NYC. The building with the big flag is the NYSE. It is surrounded by many stern looking armored guards with automatic weapons which I decided, for my own health, not to capture on camera. We had to get ID verification twice, additional photos taken, and get questioned at two checkpoints before getting our clearance badges printed.

NYSE photos
NYSE photos
I was the second person in, so I had to wait in the lobby for quite a while. That wait lasted almost half an hour. Now I understood why the professor limited attendance to only the first twenty students that signed up.

NYSE photos
Finally we were escorted to the largest of the five trading floors. The NYSE has changed a lot since movies depicted it in the 90s and 80s. Due to the merger with ArcaEx, NYSE became a hybrid market, maintaining both the floor exchange system as well as an electronic system. It's not as frantic on the floor since the majority of transactions are now done electronically or routed straight to the specialist, but massive orders are still occasionally walked over. Supposedly, only 5% of all orders are walked over now. As technology continues to roll out, the director estimated that soon, the floor itself may not even be needed. But even as he predicts the death of the floor, and with much of the horrible shouting and running reduced by technology, the place still seems pretty packed, and LOUD. I can only imagine how bad it must get when big news hits, or how it was before they put in the new system.

NYSE photos
Here is a ticker. They are obsolete these days and are only mounted for atmosphere, since almost all the brokers have their own computers and handheld devices to check whatever info they may need.

NYSE photos
This is a trading post. Each post has certain stocks listed at it where the trade is executed. For special orders, typically very large ones, the brokers actually have to walk over to the posts where they meet with a specialist of whatever stock they wish to trade. The specialist keeps an order book which facilitates the orders between other brokers, helping make sure the process is fair and at the best price.

NYSE photos
These are the booths that line the walls of the floor. This is where the floor traders get their orders from their firms or outside brokers so they can bring it over to the specialist. Much of it is done through handhelds now, but before they set up an electronic network when the brokers got their orders by phone, they all had to physically run out to the floor and engage the specialists face to face.

NYSE photos
One of the coolest parts of the floor is really above it. Everything runs up through an elaborate wiring and pipe system suspended overhead.

Posted by Paranda at 4:36 PM | Comments (1)

October 14, 2006

XP-tan, Eruru, Fate

The trio arrives. Amenbo's reputation sqeaks by to live another day.

Posted by Paranda at 9:22 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2006

Amenbo's service has seriously deteriorated lately

I don't know what has happened with Amenbo.com. Last year, they were the only store to stock Windows ME-tan figures, and they used to be a pretty good service. However, in the last six months they've screwed up so many times now I'll probably ditch them. They need to fire their shipment processing interns or something.

In June, I ordered a Shuffle Kaede figure from them. Instead they sent me Nerine. I let that slide since Nerine was only slightly cheaper than Kaede and I planned on getting her later anyway, but that was the first hint of problems to come and I probably should have paid attention to the warning signs. I ended up getting Kaede for $40 at Otakon since she was sold out on most online stores.

In August, I placed an order for 6 figures with EMS shipping and paid immediately after with Paypal, as I have always done. For a week I kept getting payment requests in the mail. After 10+ emails to their inquiries department with my payment confirmation number trying to show them I had ALREADY paid. As the weeks passed and the paypal dispute deadline came around, I threatened to retract my payment, so they finally confirm and ship. Except they shipped to a completely wrong address in the wrong state. My package ended up somewhere in the Midwest; I live on the East Coast. Another 10+ emails and another 1 weeks later, they finally resend to the right address. There was no "Sorry we screwed up so badly" consolation coupon. At the very least they should have reimbursed my EMS shipping costs. This month delay essentially negated the EXPRESS part of EMS. Oh well, I got what I wanted and I was too tired to bitch any further.

At this point, I should have decided to stop using them, but hey I had racked up $30 worth of points with them in the past and I thought it would be unlikely they messed up again on my account. I mean it was just by chance right? Sheer bad luck combined with bad timing right? So I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. Seeking to avoid the paypal confirmation disaster, I ordered 3 figures and paid with credit card this time so they could charge me directly. Everything seemed normal when they confirmed shipping only a day later on October 6th and sent me a tracking number. Since EMS typically arrives in 3-4 days, I decided check on the shipping status of my item today.

"Your item number is not found. Confirm your item number and ask at your local post office."

I copied and pasted my tracking number a few times and even typed it in manually to make sure there wasn't some sort of character glitch. Nothing. So Amenbo sent me a fake tracking number? Where the hell is my package?

I've just sent Amenbo.com another inquiry. This is basically the last straw. If it turns into the 10+ email with week-long delay nightmare like last time, I guess I'm through with them for good, even if I do have to sacrifice those shopper points (I can't use them yet).

By contrast, HLJ, Hobby Search, and CDJapan have never screwed up my orders so far. Amenbo is the first one I've run into problems with. Normally I wouldn't care as long as they get things sorted out eventually, but I figure the frequency of the mistakes here are too high to be just regular bad luck. Maybe I sent too many complaints last time so they blacklisted my account to get intentionally shitty service, or maybe they just have zero quality control with regards to order processing. Who knows, but here's just a warning to others who might use Amenbo for their figure collecting purposes.

Updated: I got a response back fairly quickly this time. Turns out they had set up my shipment but during packing procedures they noticed my Windows XP-tan box was pretty damaged so they cancelled the shipping to replace it. I got my new tracking number and all is fine now.

Posted by Paranda at 1:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2006

Momoi CD, Otakon loot, and other things

momo-i quality ~Best of Momoi~, Halko Momoi's first independent album, has arrived. Somewhat disappointingly, the "photobook" is not a real separate book but actually a hybrid built into the first edition album jewel case. The case is a hardcover book format, with adorable Momoi baby and school pictures (with commentary) as well as a collage of recording studio photos attached to the inside cover. There is an additional booklet neatly sandwiched between some pages of the photobook, containing lyrics accompanied by photos of Angel Momoi and Demon Momoi in various stages of DBZ-style battle before finally reconciling their differences on the last page. The disc is a fine black with the text "momo-i quality" printed in a futuristic silver font.

Lyrics booklet:
Momoi booklet 1

Momoi booklet 2

Inside Disc:
Momoi booklet 3

A separately packed B2 (20"x28*) promotional poster is included.
Momoi poster

Although momo-i quality is a compilation album of past songs, upon listening it actually feels quite new since most of the songs previously released have been remixed. Here are the tracks I've picked out that have not been previously released:

Opening - dreaming more! more! - is an instrumental intro remix loosely based on Motto Yume Miyou and was composed by Momoi herself.

LOVE.EXE -momo-i quality version- features more complex instrumentals this time, arranged professionally by Shinya Saitou. The vocals have also been significantly stripped of distracting effects, and the overall result is a much cleaner song that maintains the catchiness of the original.

Far and away ~party night~ -new mix- is my current favorite on this album and a wonderful remix of Feria's theme song from Prism Ark: Prism Heart II. Slow clear vocals set to a good tune always always tend to sit well with me. The arranger is Haraddy.

Akihabalove -summery summer version- A very impressive remix by Halko Momoi, who according to the credits also played composer/arranger on this one. I find the background instrumentals a lot more varied and interesting than the pure synth sound by Perfume. As for whether she does a better job of singing, I think her pronouncing of "dekiruyo" is a thousand times cuter than Nocchi. I will not say more at the risk of starting a Perfume vs. Momoi holy war.

As for Motto, Yume, Miyou!! -now I feel...version-: although it is "new" in name, it appears to be the exact same song as bright future next step version. If someone can correct me on this and point out any subtle differences that I may have missed, please let me know.

Overall, given the new tracks and the extras, this album is solid in terms of content and a good buy for any Momoi fan, especially since many of the singles featured in this CD are no longer available for purchase.

But aside from Momoi stuff, my mail today also contained a few other goodies which had probably been sitting in CDJapan's offices for months before I finally relieved them of their misery and let them ship everything together:
August CDs
Clockwise from the top-left corner: momo-i quality, Mami Kawada's Seed, two Kimiko Koyama albums, To Heart 2 Soundtrack and Character Songs, Marinarina and Zoku Marinarina.

And lastly, because I forgot to post about it...I returned last week from Otakon. The trip was fairly productive, and I managed to cram in most of the presentations I wanted to see, excluding 4chan because fuck that idiotic line and the powertripping staffers who tried to herd it.

Out of the video showings, I most significantly came away with newfound appreciation of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, which I previously dismissed as retarded magical girl pedobait (I was ESPECIALLY put off by this genre ever since the steaming turd that was Magical Canan - which I forced myself to watch solely for Rokku character designs and Mizuki Nana voice - who by the way probably realized this show was shit and mailed in an absolutely dismal performance that I still haven't completely forgiven for someone of her caliber). Now realize the error of my judgmental ways. In the 4 episodes of "A's" that I saw, I learned that Nanoha is not a panty flashing girly girl moe show but actually about powerful mages wielding awesome steam-releasing pump-action cartridge-loaded rocket-powered polo-playing jackhammers scored to a John Williamsesque full orchestra soundtrack (HELL YEAH). Goldenboy was also pretty good and I will probably be tracking it down eventually. Out of all films, my favorite showing without question was Osamu Tezuka's Cleopatra, a terrible low-budget and unsubbed 18+ movie which was simultaneously the best and worst thing ever.

Industry-wise, I attended about 12 industry panels during my trip. Notable guests I met include Madhouse founder Masao Maruyama and director/character designer Kazuto Nakazawa, two great guests who both had CRIMINALLY low attendance (like 20-30). Interestingly enough, Masao Maruyama went to see Nobuteru Yuki's panel, and sat down directly next to me - I scored an early autograph this way. I had to miss most of the J-Rock panels due to scheduling reasons, although I did get into the MUCC/Nana Kitade concert thanks to some incredible luck. Out of everything, Ayako Kawasumi was probably my favorite for obvious reasons, and I'm still kicking myself today for forgetting to bring my iRiver with me to record it. During the autographing session, she signed my Maritan book and was particularly amused that I even knew about it.

Here is the Otakon haul, limited not by my funds but by the size of my backpack (Sunday in dealer's room was AWESOME. My budget was only $200 but I filled up wayyy before that):
Otakon stash

As you can see, a couple of good things up there..such as two Aria figure collections, new YURIA album Honey Bee, an issue of HM3 (seiyuu photobook magazine), oh and the crown jewel + ultimate goal of the trip:
Otakon stash
Otakon stash
Two autographed items by Ayako Kawasumi! :) I'm quite the happy camper.

By the way, Ayako is much MUCH cuter than any pictures would have you believe. She's just not very photogenic.

Posted by Paranda at 7:33 PM | Comments (5)

July 3, 2006

Maritan Intensive Language Drill

This lovely package came in today. Inside are full size illustrations, comics, and examples designed to help you have fun learning and speaking like a drill sergeant. Think of it as "Moetan," but only for the colorful style of English supposedly spoken by Marines (or at least what Japan believes it to be spoken by Marines). Of course, by "colorful," I mean hilarious sentences such as "I like you. Come over to my house and fuck my sister."

The pack also includes a voice CD which proved to be the best part (and is real reason I ordered this thing). Ai Tokunaga is cast brilliantly as Maritan, and her engrish inflection is noticeably better than Yukari Tamura. Still, it's scarily good enough to give me great enjoyment, despite being belittled as a subhuman amphibious piece of shit. Ayako Kawasumi, Mai Kadowaki, and Tomoko Kaneda also provide their talents as Navy-san, J-tan, and Army-san, respectively.

Some images. Click to enlarge:
Maritan coverMaritan back cover

Maritan ICE BURNS Navy-san with "lol texas" even though she isn't from Texas. She also supports the Bush administration in hating French "slots."

Pics of the allstar cast. Ayako once again shows she seems to blindly take on any role with no rhyme or reason. Not that I'm complaining.
Seiyuu cast 1Seiyuu cast 2

Posted by Paranda at 6:49 PM | Comments (5)

July 1, 2006

Gekkostate vinyl stickers.

My set of four arrived today (one for the laptop, one for my current car, and two saved for future use). Eureka 7 fans will probably recognize the logo. These were much bigger than I expected, and feel pretty sturdy. Sheets were custom cut by forum goon stormrider. Overall I am impressed with the quality and I like them so much I may order another sheet the next time he does a batch of these again.

gekkostate sticker sheet
gekkostate laptop

Posted by Paranda at 2:59 AM | Comments (2)

May 4, 2006

3 Habaneros

Pot and Booklet
Boxes and figure
Figure closeup
More figure shots

Posted by Paranda at 12:27 AM | Comments (1)

April 28, 2006

I was so worried I was going to fail my DBMS final

Good thing I got that over with. Now that I've failed it, I don't have to worry anymore.

One more week.

Posted by Paranda at 1:12 AM | Comments (0)

March 1, 2006

Firefox, wasting memory like there's no tomorrow.

Today I got a "System is low on virtual memory" warning for the first time ever on my laptop, which happens to have 2GB RAM. I was pretty shocked, since I didn't have much open. A trip to task manager reveals:
Wow thanks for the memory leak.

Uh ok. Wow Firefox decides it needs 1.2 GB of memory all to itself. All I had open was a small plain text page in a tab. Apparently, two days worth of past browsing managed to build up this much waste. Leave it to Firefox to have horrible memory leaks that have not been fixed for years. This disgusted me so much, I'm seriously considering switching to Opera or something else. Maybe even OMG Internet Explorer 7. Surely nothing can be as bad as this??

Posted by Paranda at 4:59 AM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2006

Binchotan coin bank

Somehow the idea of a Bincho-tan coin bank is just so clever to me, I had to buy it.
Bincho-tan coin bank
Bincho-tan coin bank

Posted by Paranda at 10:48 AM | Comments (1)

December 6, 2005

Oh Saber

The figures have begun arriving. Today's mail:
Saber figure, angle 1
Saber figure, angle 2
Saber figure, angle 3
Saber figure, angle 4
Ohhhh yeaaahhhh..

Posted by Paranda at 3:48 PM | Comments (0)

October 2, 2005

NJTransit sucks

What the fuck is this "no buses on Sundays" shit? In short, I was not able to see Yoko Ishida today. Now I am going to go cut myself. Or play more Katamari. Bye.

(Luckily it was ONLY Yoko Ishida and not Halko...although if it were Halko, I suppose would not even be having this problem because I'd have camped out the day before)

Posted by Paranda at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2005

Densha Otoko is over

I've finally watched the last episode of Densha Otoko. My reactions are pretty much demonstrated by this guy:
BenoistBENOIIIIIIIIIIISSST! I wrote a longer sentimental comment in ADTRW which I don't feel comfortable sharing on my site, but yeah...the general gist of it was that I cried like a little girl. Please please please watch this show for the good of humanity. When you see this horrible group of outcasts band together, it is such a good feeling Your faith in people will be restored.

Second, let us discuss Akiba-Ou Senshuken. Thanks to a particular goon, many of us have managed to see this gem in Japanese television: a quest to become Akiba King! This thing is seriously funny and also often infuriating (jealousy at awesome prizes). Where else do you see a bunch of otaku fighting each other to get to the top of a greasy slide, for a Rei figure and a chance to match sound clips to seiyuu? Except the best part of this was OMG SURPRISE APPEARANCE BY ACTUAL SEIYUU!
Inoue Kikuko surprise appearance
INOUE KIKUKO, DOES SHE TRULY UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON THROUGH THIS MAN'S MIND? Appearances were also made by Aya Hisakawa and Ai Shimizu. In the final runs of the first round, where the one to make it up to the slide got to stand next to her, the look of determination when the hardcore Ai Shimizu otaku was really something. He did manage to scramble up, and Ms. Shimizu gave him a personalized call message recorded on his cellphone as a prize.

Next up, they go to various Akiba maid cafes where they do a variety of things. Maid cafes, if you are not familiar with them, are basically restaurants where the waitresses dress up in maid costumes, call you goshujinsama, and fulfill your horrible anime maid fantasies. Sounds pretty seedy like a maid whorehouse, but actually it's kind of cute and relatively innocent considering the clientele are basically nerds. They will also call you oniichan if you ask them to.
Maids at a maid cafe
In one challenge, they had to identify the incorrect part of 5 maid uniforms. Only cosplay otaku got it right. Later, an even harder challenge involved them sampling random drinks and then trying to find which maid cafe it came from. Only two otaku made it to the final round.

The final round involved giving random girls a "moe" makeover. The two finalists drew numbers from a box, and matched them to the corresponding girl. The winner would be the one who could make their assigned girl the cutest.

One guy got pretty lucky with an easy task.

The other did not.
Really Hard

However, the guy stuck with ganguro girl happened to be cosplay expert otaku, and he ended up doing a pretty decent job with her. Linked in case you plan on watching this and do not want to spoil it. The results from the other guy were pretty weird too. He knew people would be less impressed at his transformation compared to making over a fucking GANGURO, so he had to go overboard on his girl. We ended up getting to see his creation, a "nekomimi meido imouto." Wow.

Definitely a lot of fun, and also very educational for aspiring otaku. If you have ever called yourself otaku proudly, seriously, most likely you are just an attention-whoring moron that most people hate. You do not deserve the prestigious title of otaku until you can match up to even half of some of these guys. Ai Shimizu otaku was hardcore man. In the invade your room" part, he did the concert dance without even looking! And next time, ask yourself...do you have Marimite costumes in your closet? Because they do.
The Closet
The Poster

Posted by Paranda at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2005

I was a TVO kid

I was raised from in Canada from 4 until about 10 or 11, so like most young Canadians out there, I grew up with primarily two essential channels. TVO and YTV. Today, I saw the opening video for Today's Special, and it brought back many memories I thought I had lost. I want to revisit them now for my own purposes.

YTV first:

note: I wrote this while in an excited/tired state at 2:00AM, so I am in no mood to care about grammar or punctuation or whatever. I will not be proofreading this or revising, since I wrote this for myself and don't expect anyone else to actually read it.

While YTV had interesting programming, it was always the live action segments in between that were the most fun. As a child, seeing the PJs always made me happy, somehow. They were a constant. They were always there, and having fun, and they seemed to be the one absolute proof that adults could have fun lives. I had fun watching them. It didn't occur to me that they were actors or poor struggling college students trying to earn a paycheck on children's television..no I believed that they actually and truly did live in some huge treehouse, talk with puppets, and watch cartoons all day. I still remember three names: PJ Phil, PJ Jenn (who betrayed us all and jumped ship to host the saturday morining lineup on ABC!), and PJ Allison. I was also old enough to remember the much hyped "Warren Day," when that green fuzzball took over the network. Aside from those memorable live action segments, they mostly played anime, heavily edited French and American cartoons, and some other stuff that I can't remember ( There was some show about a guy named Lupin. It may have been french. It has nothing to do with the anime by Monkey Punch. There was also show about robots, and one of them was called Ninjas and he had Bruce Lee or some other guy's spirit programmed into him, and for the life of me, I can't remember the title.)

Anyway, what I wanted to get at was, while YTV was good, TVO was better because it was mostly live action, and those kinds of shows created memories that stuck with me. Later on in the 90s, they also started one of those afternoon "host" lineup thingies. There was a white woman with long brown hair, and a tall black guy with short hair or perhaps bald. I have completely forgotten their names, but I do remember them telling me everyday to "call 1-888-TVO-KIDS." It may be nostalgia talking, but I think these types of shows, along with their host-lineup format, were worlds better than the utter garbage Nickalodeon plays today. If they ever sold DVDs of these, you bet I would buy them up right away, because they were totally awesome. What the hell is today's programming? Wild Thornberries, Rugrats, CatDog, Hey Arnold? It hurts my head thinking about it.

Among the best of the best of the old TVO shows:
Join In! (Zack, Jacob, and Nikki live together in some apartment and do stuff. It was fun.)
Art Attack (This got me interested in art. In retrospect, Niel's arts and crafts projects were always impossibly hard for any 8 year old to do well..but at least he got me trying.)
Today's Special (I remember this being my favorite goddamn show on TV ever when I was 5 years old. I still remember the episode with Sam doing chinups.)
Eureeka's Castle (Nobody I know remembers this show. Nobody.)
Ghost Writer (I used to think this was good but now I realize it kind of sucks).
How do you do? (Technically not a children's show. It was actually a series designed to teach English to foreigners. But it had a cool robot who looked like the Tin Man, and the skits where he learns to be human are hilarious.)
Inquiring Minds (Yes, inquiring minds want to know.)
Lamb Chop's Play Along (I used to watch this for hours on end when I was sick, because TVO would play this for hours on end)
Pingu (coolest claymation show ever. ever. Really, no claymation has ever topped this, not even Wallace and Gromit)
The Elephant Show (The only name I can remember is Bram, but everybody on this show was cool..especially Eric, which leads us to:)
The Eric Show (I think this only lasted one season, but in the pilot episode, Eric had managed to improvse "I need to go to the bathroom" lyrics into his song that had me rolling.)
Polka Dot Door (For some reason this was always intensely interesting, but now I realize it must have been totally boring for my parents. It is definitely the kind of show you could watch on acid though; then it would be the best show ever.)

Posted by Paranda at 1:51 AM | Comments (12)

July 6, 2005

iRivers are goddamn tanks

iRiver model H340Seriously, if you are considering buying a harddrive MP3 player and tend to be a bit clumsy, buy the H340. This little box is invincible. I was walking home from work today at a pretty fast pace and listening to my MP3 player, when I somehow snagged my arm on the wire and pulled the whole thing flying out of my pocket. Realizing my $300 investment was soon about to meet Mr. Sidewalk below, I launched forward for a desperate saving grab. This stupid maneuver only resulted in me accidentally shotputting the thing 10 feet. I watched helplessly in horror as it landed on CONCRETE at high speed with a sickening sound and proceeded to tumble over itself several times like a cracked out gymnast.

I figured that was the end of my iRiver: there was no way a spinning harddrive could survive that kind of impact. After a rather unholy amount of cursing, I rushed over and cradled it like a weeping mother, and with the absolute faintest hope I plugged in my headphone jack. The exact same song was still playing uninterrupted..at full volume... IT WAS WORKING! This fucker took a fall that would have shattered any other electronic gadget (if my cellphone or GBA landed like this, they'd be finished), yet all I was able to notice was a little scratch on one of the corners..on the ridge in the corner. Not even chipped casing. It's like the iRiver had impact bumpers. What the hell?

I spent the rest of my walk nervously waiting for the player to suddenly crap out, but it didn't. I ended up playing another full hour waiting for some disaster to happen before finally shutting it off. In short, iRiver is awesome. Thanks for building the H340, a tank of an MP3 player without sacrificing form.

Posted by Paranda at 1:50 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2005

LOTR Marathon

LOTR Extended Edition Box SetTime to advertise my favorite DVD website ever, Deep Discount DVD.

Yesterday, my LOTR box set arrived, and of course I set out to challenge the famous LOTR marathon attempted by nerds worldwide. Extended edition. Armed with huge buckets of buffalo wings and other snacks, my brother and I started with Fellowship at 10PM and carried on through the night. We went through all three films and appendixes. The experience can only be described as exhausting yet somehow extremely rewarding. One great thing about doing this though is you start noticing a lot more detail connecting the films together. I have now developed an intense hatred for Frodo's incompetence that I had never noticed before, and Sam is like the best most incorruptible invicible character ever. Gandalf was also nerfed in RotK when we saw his ass get kicked by the witch king. Jeez, that extra scene completely screws up the later battle..as there is NO WAY Eowyn could have taken down someone nearly as strong as the witch king.

Special thanks to Deep Discount DVD, with their dirt cheap prices made even CHEAPER by their special summer sale. 20% off entire cart. Use USWEEKLY as the coupon code. I got this box for 60 frigging bucks and free shipping. If you are considering purchasing the box set and running a marathon of your own, I strongly recommend buying through them.


Posted by Paranda at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)