Thursday, January 20, 2022

Random Life Tips That Work For Me

The last time I did one of these was on September 17, 2020. Since then, I've amassed a few more nuggets of wisdom that I thought I'd pass on to you, loyal blog reader (disclaimer: just remember to view any bits of advice given to you by a writer/musician with a healthy amount of skepticism. Except for maybe the ones that have to do with writing or playing music).
- If you've adopted a new kitten, start them on a good dental hygiene routine NOW. If brushing their teeth proves to be too difficult (trust me, I understand), at least feed them dental treats and use a dental water supplement. With any luck, this will save you money and reduce your stress down the line (not to mention, your cat will be more comfortable since their teeth won't be bothering them).

- Probiotics. Now, I know, their benefits haven't been scientifically proven, and again, take any health-related advice from me with a giant grain of salt (figurative, too much salt is bad for you), but, hey, they seem to work for me (see: the title of this blog post). Of course, your results may vary, consult your doctor, etc.

- The morning routine that always gets my day off to a good start consists of exercise, followed by five activities that all end in "-ation": appreciation (i.e., counting your blessings, gratitude, etc.), meditation (5-10 minutes is fine, I do ten while listening to one of the many meditation music videos on YouTube), affirmation (positive self-talk), inspiration (thinking about your life's purpose, which in my case is helping to make the world a more positive place through pop culture), and visualization (picturing your goals as having been achieved, etc.). And, I guess, maybe hydration? I dunno, I do drink a lot of water and green tea...

- Experiencing ennui (per Google dictionary, "a feeling of of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement") due to the pandemic or otherwise? Well, five ways I've found to combat it without making drastic moves are: (1) vacation (yes, I know, travel is iffy right now, but any kind of break can help); (2) therapy (talking it out, also helpful); (3) refocus on your passion/purpose (see the bullet point above); (4) change your routine (even what seem like really small changes can help, like reordering the kinds of exercises you do in the morning); (5) makeover your space/yourself (nothing too radical is necessary, maybe just move some furniture around or get a haircut).

- Live in the moment.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Quickie Status Updates

Here's a brief and exciting roundup of my various projects!
Books
I've received the initial evaluation of Volume Six from my editor and will be discussing her notes with her today. Excited! Also, Volume Seven is up to 5268 words, or a little over 21 pages that comprise two full chapters.

Music
My band has completed three full rounds of the pre-production process we call "boot camp" in preparation for a special project that we will be recording in early February. Excited! What kind of special project, you ask? Don't worry, the details will be forthcoming in a future post.

Comics
Our artist, Jenny Ho, left the Glorified project after the completion of Issue #4. That's not too exciting. But not to worry, we (me and the guys in my band) have no intention of stopping and are currently searching for a replacement! (If you know anyone, feel free to contact us at secondplayerscore@hotmail.com. They don't have to copy Jenny's style, we just ask that they honor the original character designs as closely as possible.)

Podcast
Although we're currently on an every-other-week schedule due to the aforementioned boot camp process, we are still cranking out episodes and recently published our Season 2 finale and Season 3 debut. Check them (and other episodes) out here!

TV
Besides anime, I've been enjoying a ton of other exciting shows lately, including Hawkeye, The Book of Boba Fett, Cobra Kai's season 4, The Wheel of Time, Blade Runner: Black Lotus (which, I guess, could be considered an anime, but I'm choosing not to count it as such for various reasons that I won't get into here because I said this is supposed to be a QUICKIE Status Updates post), the latest Doctor Who special (time loops, yay!) and season 4 of Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir which just dropped on Disney+ and is SERIOUSLY BLOWING MY MIND

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Random Haiku For 2022

And so, we begin another year. No, that sentence is not part of the haiku (Japanese poems). The haiku start after the picture.
Hole in old towel
It looks like an angry face
Or, well, maybe not

One-month-old picture
Since then, more holes have been made
Time to throw it out?

Why do we keep it?
It is easy to replace
I really don't know

Like the year gone by
There is no past, no future
There is only now

Twenty twenty-two
A year is just a number
Illusion of time

All is energy
Even this old, worn towel
Reflecting the light

Perhaps we will see
The meaning of existence
Through the face-like hole

Thursday, December 30, 2021

New Year's Resolutions By People From The Joel Suzuki Universe

Happy New Year, everyone! What are some of your resolutions?
Joel: To spend more time outdoors.
Felicity: You already spend a lot of time outdoors in Spectraland.
Joel: I know. I mean when I'm at home on Earth.
Felicity: Whatever.
Joel: What are your resolutions?
Felicity: To drink less diet soda. That stuff will kill you.
Taylor: To play less video games and read more books.
Alison: To be more patient with people.
Art: That's a good one.
Alison: Well, it was your suggestion.
Art: I'll try to stop giving so much unsolicited advice.
Alison: That's your resolution?
Art: Yup.
Alison: Ha. Good luck with that.
Fireflower: "New Year's resolution?" What is that?
Felicity: It's when you say you're going to do something but then after a couple of weeks you end up not doing it any more.
Fireflower: I see. What a curious custom. In that case, I resolve to stop playing pranks on others.
Felicity: Nice one.
Lydia: I'll be 100% positive and hopeful during baseball season, no matter what happens.
April: Wow, seriously?
Lydia: Seriously. Also, you heard what Felicity said, right?
April: Oh. Right.
Lydia: What about you, Brian?
Brian: Hmm, let's see... I resolve to work hard every day on revisions and rewrites for Volume Six of the Joel Suzuki series in the hopes of publishing it before the end of the year.
April: What is the "Joel Suzuki series"?
Lydia: Sounds like a book series that has something to do with your cousin, obviously.
Joel: Who, me?
Felicity: Do you see any other April's cousins around here?
Alison: You're writing a book series about my son?
Brian: Okay, gotta run. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Happy Holidays!

From all of here at the Brian Tashima Blog and the Joel Suzuki Series, we hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season.
Felicity: Dude.
Joel: Me?
Felicity: Yes, you. Do you see any other dudes around here?
Joel: I thought Brian was here.
Felicity: Nah, he's mailing it in. The intro to this post is just a copy-and-paste from last year's.
Joel: Oh yeah, you're right.
Felicity: Anyway, I was gonna say - he's making us wear these badly-drawn Santa hats again.
Joel: I know.
Felicity: Isn't that irritating to you?
Joel: I guess.
Felicity: Well, it's irritating to me.
Joel: Okay.
Felicity: So, I say this year, we get back at him.
Joel: How are we going to do that?
Felicity: Let's put cat litter in his chili.
Joel: That seems pretty mean.
Felicity: You think so?
Joel: I do.
Felicity: Okay, well, do you have any ideas?
Joel: Hmm...
Felicity: Oh, I know, how about we hide the TV remote.
Joel: But then we can't watch TV, either.
Felicity: Yeah, you're right.
Joel: We should probably do something that is equally annoying to him making us wear these hats. That way, it'll be, you know, equal.
Felicity: True.
Joel:
Felicity:
Joel:
Felicity (snaps fingers): I got it. Duh, it was so obvious.
Joel: What was?
Felicity: This.
Joel: Good one.
Felicity: I know.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Anime Roundup

Time for another edition of Anime Roundup!

Tokyo Revengers
When a 26-year-old video store clerk learns that his ex-girlfriend and her brother have been killed by gang violence, he travels back in time to when he was a middle school delinquent-wannabe in an effort to change history. It's kind of like Erased crossed with, I dunno, West Side Story? Sons of Anarchy? I don't actually watch gang-related stuff, normally, but this show had a lot of hype and ended up being a pretty fun (and violent) ride. Question: just how many crowbar hits to the head can a teenage gang member take without going down? Answer: Many, apparently.

Cowboy Bebop
A classic show from 1998 about a group of bounty hunters in the year 2071 who bounce around the solar system trying (and usually failing) to scratch out a living while occasionally facing people and events from their traumatic pasts, I can see why it's considered to be one of the most groundbreaking and influential anime series of all time. I also sampled the live-action version, which I found to be a pretty cool reimagining/remix of the original. I know some people might disagree with me on this, but I think it's too bad that it's been cancelled (the live-action version, that is).

Komi Can't Communicate
A slice-of-life comedy about a high school girl who suffers from extreme social anxiety, this is a fun show that manages to deftly handle a variety of potentially sensitive subject matter while still being entertaining. In a departure from their usual modus operandi, Netflix is only releasing one episode a week, so as of this writing I'm not done with the first season yet, but rest assured that I will watch it to the end. Do Komi and Tadano eventually get together? We shall see! (manga readers, don't tell me.) Also, Najimi is just the best.

Anime-Gataris
Crunchyroll has a category of shows called "anime about anime." After watching Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, how could I resist? Anime-Gataris is a kawaii (cute) show that starts off like a light and fluffy slice-of-life comedy about a group of teenagers who form an anime club at their high school, but then eventually grows into - spoiler alert - something much more meta as it goes along, eventually culminating in one of the wildest finales I've ever seen for something of this genre (and, as a fan of meta-ness, I loved every moment of it).

Princess Mononoke
Since the time I really started getting into anime (back in May of 2018, to be precise), I've watched over a hundred shows (at least the first season) or movies. No, seriously, I have. But I don't think you can consider yourself a "true" anime fan unless you've seen the Studio Ghibli catalog. So, to that end, once I got HBO Max I started with Spirited Away, and the moved on to this 1997 classic. The basic summary is that it's a story of the struggle between humans and nature involving mostly a young prince and a girl raised by wolves, but there's so much more to it than that. You really have to watch it to get a complete understanding. Just know that you're not going to get a simple good-versus-evil kind of tale, and that at times it will be hard to know exactly who to root for. It's complex, groundbreaking, mature, and totally deserving of all the accolades.

Android Kikaider: The Animation
Not sure how I missed this one? A 2000-2001 anime adaptation of the live-action tokusatsu show from the '70s, it's a much darker interpretation of the story that also takes care to patch a lot of plot holes and inconsistencies from the original (like why Jiro would often abandon Mitsuko and Masaru at the end of episodes). I have to admit, when I first started watching it, I didn't care for it - I think my exact words were something like "this makes more logical sense than the live-action version, but it completely drains it of the fun and the charm. It's just all sadness, all the time." But as it progressed and my mind stopped subconsciously comparing it to the original, I got used to the tone and by episode 7 or so (out of 13), I was completely enthralled. I especially appreciate how it tried to be its own thing (and succeeded) while still paying homage to its source material. Also, the classic anime art style is pretty nifty. Do people still say nifty? I just did.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Volume Seven (?!) Status Update

While Volume Six is with my esteemed editor this month, I have started working on (gasp) Volume Seven.
Can you believe we've gotten to this point already? I mean, I know I've been doing this whole Spectraland Saga/Joel Suzuki/blogging thing for nearly a decade now, but...c'mon. It feels like just yesterday that I was struggling with Mystery of the Moonfire/Volume Two (actually, it's been eight years).

In case you're new here, Volume Seven will be the final entry in the main story arc of the Joel Suzuki series. There are plans for four additional volumes, but they will be "post-stories" that deal with events that happen after the primary adventure is complete (there will still be stakes and conflicts, possibly even very large ones, but that's a subject for another day).

I'll save details about Volume Seven for future status update posts, but for now, suffice it to say that I am up to 1500 words, or about six pages. Yes, I know, not much, but everything has to start somewhere. My hope is to finish at least the first chapter or two before the end of the month when the Volume Six draft comes back from my editor and I start the revising/rewriting process in earnest, but seeing as it's the holiday season, who knows if I'll actually get there. At the very least, I'll have a little bit of something to read several months(?) from now (when Volume Six goes back to my editor for a line edit), after which I will either say "well, that's off to a pretty good start" or "what the heck was I thinking?"