Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Live stream of Hikki concert "Wild Life"

Woke up at 2am to watch this!  She was fantastic in the concert.  She sang all the hits including a cover of "Across the Universe" and her new songs from her new album.  It was a really classy show and I think it was generous of Hikki to allow the live stream of her concert free online.  Sigh, I wish I had been there.  Okay off catch some more z's.

Friday, December 3, 2010

New Pepsi Nex CM from Hikki

This one features her new song "Can't Wait 'Til Christmas."  I like her white outfit.

Monday, November 8, 2010

宇多田ヒカル - Goodbye Happiness PV on YouTube!


Here is her official YouTube channel with all her other videos! I think this video is really adorable and I like how she references her other videos. I also like the whole "webcam" idea of the video. Also, puppets!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Paradise Kiss" live-action movie promo

From ANN:

I really liked the anime.  I like Keiko Kitagawa too.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Kuragehime"

Funimation is streaming "Princess Jellyfish" (a.k.a., "Kuragehime").  It's about socially inept otaku women who live together and share a nun-like (i.e., man-less) existence.  But Tsukimi (a jellyfish otaku (??)), meets a stylish and hip cross-dressing man who wants to be friends with her an her nerdy building-mates.  It's featured on the "Noitamina" time slot on Fuji television, which means it tries to reach the nontraditional anime watcher.  I've seen the first two episodes and enjoyed them.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Star Driver"

I don't know what is going on in this show, but it shor is purdy.  It manages to squeeze in mecha, an elite boarding school, a potential love triangle, mouth to mouth resuscitation, pretty boys, and some impressive art.  The plot is still a mystery to me.  I think I like the OP by Aqua Timez.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Bakuman"

First post about the new fall season: "Bakuman."  I liked the first episode which sets up the relationship between initally reluctant manga artist Moritaka Mashiro and wanna-be manga writer Akito Takagi.  Using Moritaka's crush on a classmate, Akito persuades Moritaka to team up with him to become a mangaka dream team.  I like the art style and the gentle humor of the show.  This is one I'm going to try to keep watching.  (Also, the two guys are cute.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Utada Hikaru in Pepsi NEX commercial

Check out a snippet of Hikki's new jazzy song “Hymne a l’amour ~Ai no Anthem~” featured in Japanese Pepsi NEX commercial at this website.
Update (long overdue):  the commercial has been long gone from the Pepsi site...and is nowhere to be found on YouTube.  Enjoy the pic though and enjoy Hikki's last video on her YouTube channel. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku"

Just watched the first 3 episodes of "Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku" starring Matusumoto Jun of boy-band Arashi and Takeuchi Yuko.  It's a likeable show, which I like a lot better than "Smile" which also starred MatsuJun, but was sort of a big downer which I never did manage to finish.  This is more of a comedy which I think suits MatsuJun better.  The little girl Kobayashi Seiran is really adorable.  I never saw Takeuchi Yuko before, but I really like her acting and her chemistry with MatsuJun. MatsuJun plays a struggling actor living in the shadow of his famous acting father.  I love his hair in the show!  (Squeal.)  I'm not sure about the hat he keeps wearing, but he is still cute.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"The Godfather: Part III"

Why do I keep rewatching this movie?  On subsequent viewings I can see all the foreshadowing of the tragic end.  Al Pacino's performance is a bit over the top, but I think the character of the Michael Corleone becomes more emotional over time due to his guilt over his past life of crime and the murder of his brother.  Sofia Coppola may have been miscast, but she fits the bill as a naive girl who swallows all the lies her father and cousin tell her.  Andy Garcia is hot as Vincent, especially in the scene where he makes gnocchi with Mary.  Comparisons to part 1 and 2 always leave part 3 lacking, but I enjoyed plot with all its business/banking/Vatican politics and the revenge scene at the end set to opera.  Michael gets "pulled back in" and he suffers for it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Peet's Godiva Dark Chocolate Raspberry Freddo

Just tried this today and it's heavenly.  Dark chocolate that's not too sweet, a touch of raspberry syrup, great coffee, and whipped cream.  Highly recommended.  Sort of like a Baskin-Robbins Chocolate Blast made with a See's candy and coffee.  (Never had Godiva chocolates, but had plenty of See's in my life.)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Kaichou wa Maid-sama" 20

Pretty funny episode with side characters gettting the spotlight.  Vice president Yukimura gets his friends to help with his relationship with his little sister.  Little sis has a thing about being a princess, but big bro is not "princely" enough.  Usui is forced to be "the prince" by Misaki.  I like the friendship between Kanou (ex-misogynist/ hypnotist) and Yukimura.  Also Aoi (net idol trap) shoots a PV in the park with the help of the 3 idiots and Yukimura and Kanou.  All the supporting players of the show are quite entertaining on their own.  From the preview, looks like Usui may get a rival for Misaki!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Hanasakeru Seishonen" play?!

Wow,  this is really being done in Tokyo from end of September to beginning of October, according to ANN.  The pic of Kajika is pretty dead on.  The guys...I dunno...especially Eugene.  I think that's Eugene.  Here is the official website.

"Star Wars" finally to be on Blu-ray

According to engadget, all six movies will be released on Blu-ray in 2011!  I see me buying the whole set again.  Wait a minute, I only have 4 through 6 at home.  I guess there is no excuse now for not getting 1 through 3.  Of course, these are the "special editions" with the Lucas add-ons, but hey, it's Blu-ray!  Here is the clip posted on engadget of a deleted scene from "Return of the Jedi" to be available on the new discs.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Utada Hikaru to take a break

Hikki is taking a break from her music career starting in 2011 after releasing her second single collection in late 2010 which will include 4 to 5 new songs.  Hoping it's 5!  Sad to hear we won't be hearing new music after this for a while, but I'm glad she is taking time out to do what she wants for herself as a person.  Here is a link to an English translation of her announcement on her blog.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

End of "Sunao ni Narenakute"

Watched the eleventh and final episode of this drama.  It may not have been the best jdrama I've seen, but damn it Eita is so appealing.  And "Doctor" finally becomes completely likable in this final episode.  The actor who plays him Hero JaeJoong could be the prettiest person in the whole group!  No kiss between him and Ueno Juri, though.  I wonder if it was banned because it would be bad for his idol image in Korea.  I don't want to spoil it, but everyone seems to get something they want or at least becomes at peace with what they have at the end.  Ganbarre!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"K-On!!" 12 and 13

Episode 12 took the girls out of school and into an outdoor rock festival.  I loved the backgrounds of the festival that reminded me of "Beck."  We get to see Mio totally stoked about her first "fesu."  Mugi doesn't get the yakisoba she wanted, but she doesn't let it get her down.  Sawa-chan is the seasoned vet who advises then on the ins and outs of getting the most out of the experience.  I liked seeing them in a different setting.
Episode 13 is another episode mostly outside of school where Azusa basically misses her light music club members as they study during the summer break.  She has hilarious daydreams about meeting the various members in odd situations such as the movie theater and water park.  Eventually they all enjoy a summer festival together, including Ui and Jun.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Real World" by Natsuo Kirino

This 208 page novel is about five Tokyo teenagers.  Worm is a boy who murdered his mother and fled.  Four girls know about it because he stole one of their cell phones and is calling the girls on its memory.  They don't turn him in and instead talk to him and help him while he is on the run.  It's not a mystery, but more of a coming of age story of modern Tokyo teenagers who have a lot of societal pressures.  Each of them in their self-absorbed way is rebelling against their expected roles in society as super students, future office ladies, or future wives/mothers.  It's a chilling read as we watch Worm flee and we see the repercussions of how these girls help and hinder Worm.  It reminds me of the movie "River's Edge" about teens who do nothing even though they know of a murder.  The end is not very satisfying, but one of the girls seems to evolve at the end.  It was entertaining and disturbing.

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Kaichou wa Maid-sama" 11



This episode was really funny as Misaki and her two friends follow Usui after school to find out what he does and where he lives.  The funniest part is when Misaki is trying to imagine Usui's family and they all look like Usui except with lipstick, or a mustache, or a bow in the hair.  I like how he fulfills all the activities they imagine because he overheard them talking about it.   I also like how Usui finds delight in accidentally being invited to Misaki's home and seeing how Misaki lives.  The mystery of Usui's home life is still out there, however.  I can't imagine why Misaki isn't all over Usui what with all the phermones he is exuding and all the rescuing he does.  I guess Misaki really mistrusts guys except when she has that master-servant dynamic to fall back on while at the maid cafe.  Is that too much analysis?  Anyway, I love the deadpan delivery of Usui's seiyuu too.  The show has really grown on me.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"K-On!!" 10


We get to see Sawa-chan in her "Death Devil" mode and it's pretty awesome. I smell another single coming out and this time it's metal! The four girls follow Sawa-chan to find out who the mysterious person is who dropped her off at school one morning. Turns out it's a former band mate who wants to reunite for one special occasion. Sawa-chan doesn't want to tarnish her teacher image, but she can't help it when she sees the HTT botching up her song and must correct the situation. I like the above picture of the four former light music club members.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Tsuki no Koibito"


It's got Takuya Kimura, Shota Matsuda, Keiko Kitagawa, and two actresses new to me, Ryoko Shinohara and Lin Chi Ling. I watched like one episode of "MR. BRAIN" and did not think Takuya Kimura was all that hot. But in this show, he is pretty hot, especially in his scenes with Lin Chi Ling, Taiwanese actress/model. The chemistry is at a ten between these two. Shota (from Japanese F4 fame) is hot with his short hair! Takuya plays a rich badboy, who manipulates the beautiful former Chinese factory worker into becoming the face of his furniture empire. He is a total jerk, so that's probably why he is appealing. (Sigh.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"K-On!!" episodes 8 and 9



Episode eight should be called "K-On!! Yochien" because of all the flashbacks to kindergarten between Yui and Nodoka. There is even a flashback of Mio and Ritsu in grade school. The type of friendships each pair has was evident even back in the day. Where is the Mugi flashback anyway? Her mysterious past must somehow come up later in the series. (Hopefully.)
Episode nine actually brought a tear to my eye when Oba-san looks so pleased and proud to see Yui up there with Gitah in the newly formed spinoff group YuiAzu. Nice to see the Hokago Tea Time can withstand the tensions of members wanting to do solo work (ha ha).

As for other anime I'm watching, "Durarara!" is officially confusing for me. I wish the leaders of the Dollars and Yellow Scarves, and the Slasher-Mother would finally talk to each other about what's going on. I like Dotachin and the Russian sushi restaurant characters and hope they get some story soon.

I also may start rewatching "Revolutionary Girl Utena." I enjoyed the show, but didn't really understand the end and probably won't again.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Cross Game" streaming on VIZanime.com

Watch the first five episodes at www.vizanime.com.

Also the first five episodes of "Vampire Knight" (small girly squeal).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Sunao ni Narenakute (Hard to Say I Love You)"; New Spring Anime


Just saw the first episode and I am really looking forward to watching this spring jdrama. It's Eita and Ueno Juri again from "Last Friends" and both are really cute and appealing actors. In fact, just about everybody is cute and appealing in this jdrama about Twitter friends who meet in the real world. It actually does remind me of "Last Friends" which is a good thing. I am also looking forward to "Tsuki no Koibito" which includes Keiko Kitagawa which hasn't started yet.
On the anime front, the spring season looks really promising. The Funimation website is streaming "House of Five Leaves" which looks really good. It has a strange but attractive art style. I have to admit to watching "Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru"(aka Uraboku)on Crunchyroll. It's like "Nabari no Ou" (with that suggestion of BL) and "Vampire Knight" combined. "Kaichou was Maid Sama" looks like a great shoujo anime with the pretty and tough heroine attracting the cool, good looking potential boyfriend. If you want something mature and gritty, "RAINBOW" may be something to watch. But it's sort of soul-crushing in the way these teenagers are treated (ie sexual abuse, physical abuse) in their 1950s-youth-authority prison. Not for the squeamish. Looks like I am all over the place with the anime but this season has got an extremely wide range of selection so I am bound to drop half of everything I started. Quite a different season from the last one where almost nothing was appealing. Oh yeah, "Ookiku Furkikabutte" is back for season two and the quality looks just as good as before!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Sherlock Holmes" Granada TV series

Upon visiting Amazon's Deal of the Day, I found the 12 disc set of the Granada television series "Sherlock Holmes" starring Jeremy Brett. It was a good deal and I always enjoyed catching this on PBS when it is sometimes aired. Right now I am watching "The Solitary Cyclist" for the umpteenth time (every time I catch the show, this episode is on) and thoroughly enjoying it. The remasters are really good and there is no awful VHS graininess as I had feared. Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock. The production values make each show a little BBC period piece. I look forward to many mini-Sherlock Holmes marathons on my days off!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"K-On!!" is back!


It's back and it's delightfully entertaining, sort of relaxing and nostalgic. All five band members are back for another year in the light music club. We can look forward to talks over tea and cakes and the occasional breaking out of improbably mature rock music playing. And of course, moe times ten.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cast of live-action "Kimi ni Todoke" revealed


I forgot about mention of a live-action "Kimi ni Todoke" movie till I read this. I'm a fan of Haruma Miura (really cute!) and I think that casting is spot on for Kazehaya. Never heard of Mikako Tabe before, but hope there is chemistry between the two. According to the article above, this movie will be released September 2010.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Kimi ni Todoke" ends


Another great show ends! Sawako finally realizes she "likes" Kazehaya as more than a friend. Pin provides comic relief. I want to go to a shrine like that someday. This show was beautifully drawn with excellent backgrounds. The development of Sawako's friendships with Ayane and Chizu was one of the best parts of the show. Hope to see more soon!

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Cross Game" Ends


I'm so sad "Cross Game" has ended. I really enjoyed the finale. All the characters, even the really minor ones, are included, at least a little bit. I hope someday soon another anime of this quality will come out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Kimi ni Todoke" 24


Alas, this is about as close as they get; the accidental hug from almost falling over. Chizu and Ayane plot to leave Kazehaya and Sawako alone on New Year's Eve which also is Sawako's birthday. They and the unknowing Ryuu follow them around a bit as the couple visit a shrine. It's a cute episode where they kind of go on a date and get to know each other better. We still don't know too much about Kazehaya up to this point. I wish more stuff would happen in these episodes. Last episode was about a Christmas party Sawako wanted to ditch her parents to go to but didn't. Not much else happened except she exchanges digits with Kazehaya. Hope next episode moves the relationship forward...but it probably won't!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Shutter Island"


SPOILER ALERT! NO REALLY!
Okay, just saw "Shutter Island" today. Very well done noirish, suspense-mystery set in the 1950's starring Leonardo Decaprio and Mark Ruffalo. The mystery really makes sense, until the twist ending a la "The Others." Turns out the whole I-gotta-be a hero to save people from government funded brain surgery to turn them into assassins is a hallucination in order to prevent Decaprio's character from believing he had murdered his wife who had drowned their three kids. I feel really manipulated, but I guess that's part of the fun. I still don't get how much was a hallucination, and how much was real. I kinda liked the hallucination story better than the reality.

"Kimi ni Todoke" 22


Back to Sawako and Kazehaya! This episode is a nice Xmas episode where Sawako really, really wants to go to a party and can't due to family obligation. However, she is granted some freedom with a cell phone from Dad, who lets her go with some tears (and smiles from Mom.) Kazehaya almost asks her out, but it's not quite a date. They do exchange presents and phone numbers at least!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Global Shinkai Day at CR

Just watched "5 Centimeters Per Second." What a truly wonderful and sad story! Gorgeous as well. Check out Crunchyroll's free streaming of Makoto Shinkai's works, "Voices of a Distant Star," "5 Centimeters Per Second," and "The Place Promised in Our Early Days." This lasts March 5 through 7. Think I'll watch "Days" sometime this weekend. If I remember correctly, it has a happier ending.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Kimi ni Todoke" 21




Another tear-jerker episode. Must be the smoothest let-down of all time by Tooru. I like how Chizu knows Ryuu is behind the whole visit by Tooru. I also like the part where Chizu flashes back to when she was a kid and can't decide which type of bun to buy. It was nice to see Chizu and Ryuu finally make up. Now, back to Kazehaya and Sawako!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Kimi ni Todoke" 20




I shed a tear myself in this episode about Chizu finally showing some anger/sadness at the whole situation and at insensitive (but still cute) Ryuu. It was funny to see Sawako finally break under the pressure and sob at Chizu's cheerfully brave demeanor. Can't wait to see Ryuu string a few words together to confess to Chizu.

Matsushita Yuya "Trust Me" PV

I like this ending credit song for "Durarara!!" Plus Matsushita Yuya is hot. I think he's a fan of MJ...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Foodie Moment



Visited Ruen Thai Restaurant in Roseville, CA recently and took the opportunity to take 2 pictures of the food I ate with my friend. I give a thumbs up if you're in the area. The Thai iced tea was also very good. The top picture is the Ruen Thai Salad (green lettuce, tomato, cucmber, onion, cooked bean sprouts, tofu topped with peanut sauce). The tofu almost had a chicken like quality since it was deep fried. The bottom picture is Pad Kee Mow (stir-fried rice noodles with sliced meat (pictured is pork), onion, tomato, bell pepper and basil leaves). Picture chow fun with a lighter, fresher taste. Both plates were clean when we were done. I'm getting hungry writing this post.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Kimi ni Todoke" 19





This was one of the best episodes in the series. I think my heart broke a little with Chizu when she heard/saw the news. Everyone's reaction was really in character. Chizu puts up a strong, cheerful front. Ayane is supportive. Sawako is sympathetic and confused about how to help her friend. Ryuu is worried and closed mouthed. Kazehaya is sensitive and supportive in his guy way. I liked seeing Ryuu and Chizu in the third grade too. I love this show.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Neon Genesis Evangelion"-- I Can (Not) Understand


I really like this opening.
SORT OF SPOILER ALERT!!!
Okay, after all the hype about the "Rebuild of Evangelion" movies lately, I finally decided to watch the original 26 episode TV series from 1995. It starts out with slowly with 14 year old Shinji Ikari reluctantly recruited as a pilot of the biomechanical "EVA" (aka giant robot) pilot. He has to save the world from the "Angels" (aka giant monsters) from which I'm still not certain whence they came, by fighting them with his robot to prevent them from making contact with the hidden "Adam" (another Angel? or something else) somewhere in an underground military base beneath Tokyo to prevent the occurence of the "Third Impact" which would probably kill everyone on earth. Whew. It's a big downer at first since Shinji is a big wimp. It gets better when he gets more confident and makes some friends finally. Then the story goes deep into psychological analysis with Shinji, the other pilots, and the scientists behind the whole EVA thing and ends with a big WTF unsatisfying ending. I even watched "End of Evangelion" 1997 movie which supposedly makes the ending of the TV series clearer. It's better but it still ends with a lot of interpretion and questions. Pluses: Cool looking Angels and EVAs, likable flawed characters, challenging ideas (why are we here? why should I be alive?), interesting Christian references. Minuses: Incomprehensible plot, the ending! Overall: I'm glad I watched it just to have seen something from the anime canon that I can see is referenced in a lot of newer shows like "Bokurano." I'll probably end up getting the "Rebuild" movies and get disappointed again :p

"Kimi ni Todoke" 18



I LOVED this episode since we get to see more of Ryuu x Chizu! It's so sweet when we find out Ryuu already knows Chizu likes his older brother. I have this feeling Tooru will have a thing for Ayane :(

Monday, February 8, 2010

Career Test...using color

I just tried the free and short color career counselor test here: http://www.careerpath.com/career-tests/colorcareercounselor.aspx
And it seemed to be pretty right on, even listing my current occupation in the "Best Occupational Category." I don't know if I'm doomed or what to be in this job!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Kimi ni Todoke" 17



Another great episode with the whole gang just hanging out away from school. I loved how Pin and Sawako misunderstand each other completely. I also loved how Ryuu was so enamored with Maru the dog and with how Sawako's father eventually comes to like Ayane and Chizu after becoming alarmed by their looks. It was also cute when Kazehaya does all the nursing of Pin to block Sawako from doing it. Ah, a Kurumi-free episode, yay!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Magerarenai Onna"


Just watched first two episodes and they were really good.  It's about a 32 year old paralegal who has failed the bar exam 9 years straight.  She lives an uncompromising lifestyle with an OCD-like compulsion in saving money,  scheduling her life around studying, and defending others in need.  Will she find happiness getting married to her longtime boyfriend?  Becoming a lawyer to fight for justice?  It's well written and well acted all around.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Utada concert in SF



A big dream came true when I got to see Hikaru Utada live in concert yesterday night!  It was at the Fillmore in San Francisco, and it rocked.  She looked and sounded great.  She gave outstanding performances of all of her songs, past and present,  Japanese and English, from "First Love" to "Devil Inside" to most of her songs from her current album "This Is The One."  The band was awesome too.  We even got to hear her play the keyboards on an acoustic version of "Sakura Drops."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"Yamato Nadashiko Shichi Henge"


Another season of jdrama begins and I have found a likely contender for a must-see, "Yamato Nadashiko Shichi Henge" a.k.a, "Perfect Girl Evolution."  It stars Kamenashi Kazuya from "Nobuta wo Produce" and "Kami no Shizuku" and singer from KAT-TUN.  It's about a group of four handsome college guys who are offered free rent at the mansion of a rich family friend in exchange for making over the friend's niece into a young lady.  But the niece has some serious issues about her looks.   It's based on a manga that has already been adapted into an anime that is also known as "The Wallflower."  Wouldn't mind living with four hot guys in a mansion...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Ohitorisama" ends


Just watched the tenth and final episode of "Ohitorisama."   It's a nice, innocent, comedy-romance, the couple is just so darn cute.  I want to see Teppei Koike and Alisa Mizuki in something else very soon.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

myspace music is no imeem

Got an email from imeem that my playlists are back.  So I signed up for myspace and looked up my playlists.  All the jmusic is gone.  There are some songs from Utada's new English album and the one song I had from Jin called "ABC."  I miss my playlists!  All that free access to music was too good to last.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wii gets Netflix instant streaming

News from Engadget: finally, the Wii gets the nod from Netflix.  You need to use an instant streaming disc from Neflix though.  It's coming in the Spring...already waiting for my disc to be shipped.  Now I can have access to all the movies I didn't really want to watch with poor quality...yeah!

"Kimi ni Todoke" ep 14


I want friends like Chizu and Ayane who will stick up for me like they did for Sawako.  I'm afraid Sawako will still treat Kurumi like a friend though.  Pin is hilarious again in this ep.