Life Lesson #70: Tattoos

Dear Reiina,

Let’s talk about tattoos. You already know that I have them, and your mom has them. Maybe one day, you might decide that you want to get one as well. I would definitely advise you to wait until after you’re 25. Why after 25? Well, that’s usually around the time a person’s brain stops developing and especially important to note is your frontal lobe, which is responsible for decision making and reasoning. While yes, there are a good number of people who don’t do any long-term thinking at all (and they’re older than that), I don’t want you to be one of those people.

I definitely recommend if you do get a tattoo, you get it because it has a meaning coupled with it. All the tattoos I have right now and will have in the future, have multiple meanings. You can say they’re like onions (Shrek reference) because they have layers. Because of that, I don’t regret any of my tattoos whatsoever. Don’t get a tattoo just because it looks cool and it’s not advisable to get a tattoo of your lover’s name.

Now, if they passed away that’s a bit different. Other than that, getting your significant other’s name tattooed on you is a stupid decision. Tattoos like that are usually a one-way street to regret and more money spent for their removal or getting it covered up with another tattoo. A tattoo is not a special sign of love because anyone can get one. It’d be a lot better to get a piece of jewelry instead because it will help you avoid getting a permanent tattoo, but also it will look good as an accessory.

Tattoos are great! Again, I love the hell out of my tattoos, and I plan on getting more. Just make sure that if you get one, it’s something you feel strongly about and will make you happy every time you see it. And please don’t let it have anything to do with someone you’re in a relationship with.

俺様: (The Great) I

If you’ve watched anime, you’ve probably heard of this way to refer to oneself at least once. 俺様 (ore-sama) is a combination of the first person pronoun, 俺/ore, and the honorific suffix, 様/sama. Basically, 俺様 is used the same way as 俺 except it’s incredibly pompous and people would only use it as a joke in real life. I actually use it when talking in Japanese (especially to friends) except I say 僕様 (boku-sama) mostly because I prefer to say 僕 (boku) when referring to myself.

Note: Just wanted to make a little side note here, but I’ve never heard anyone use 僕様, not in anime or in real life. Even my Japanese friends haven’t either, which is one of the reasons they find my use to be amusing. It has been used though, as typing it in search engines does bring back results.

This means that it’s generally limited to anime and manga, much like 貴様 (kisama).

As I’m sure you probably know, 俺 (ore) is a masculine way to refer to oneself. It gives off an extremely rough image as a first-person pronoun, and it is only used in a casual setting between people who are very close. You might find it stylized in katakana as オレ if you read manga in Japanese. It definitely can make you sound cocky and has a masculine vibe to it so it’s a pronoun that tends to be used by men. In any situation that’s remotely formal, you shouldn’t use it.

様 (-sama) is the very respectful version of san. It’s mostly used in business, clientele and religious purposes. It can be added to a person’s name for politeness and respect. The business/customer relationship is an example of this because the customer is always right. Naw, just kidding, but you’ve also probably heard of お客様 (okyaku-sama). Another example is when talking in Japanese to, or about a god. You can use the word 神様 (kami-sama) which takes the word 神/kami for “god” and then add on 様 to it for respect. One way I like to say it is like this:人生は素晴らしいものです、ありがとう ございます 鷲羽神様。Meaning, Life is wonderful, thank you very much, Washu-kami-sama.

It also can be added to the titles of high ranking people such as a king, 王様 (ou-sama). When you send a letter, the recipient’s name will be followed by the kanji 様. If you want to address a group or an audience with respect, you’d use 様 like 皆様 (minna-sama) which is a polite way to refer to everyone.

So when you put the two of ’em together, you can understand why it comes off pompous and self-absorbed.

My first exposure to the pronoun was through watching the original Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters anime. Yami Bakura used it A LOT. Characters use it to imply they’re important, powerful, or a tough guy. It doesn’t mean they actually are, but that’s what they think of themselves. They’re very arrogant, full of themselves and full of pride.

That’s all I have to say, thanks for reading!

そんじゃ あばよ!!

Life Lesson #69: Be a Big Sister

Dear Reiina,

It’s been two weeks now since your little sister was brought into this world. You’ve always said you were looking forward to being a big sister and now you are! I know what it’s like being an older sibling so I think it’s safe to say I have some knowledge on this topic. It is so important to be a good example for her, and the older you get, the more that will make sense. Make decisions you would want her to make in life.

I don’t really think I need to write any more regarding this because you have shown everyone in this family what a sweetheart you are and I know you’ll extend that loving-kindness to your little sister as well! Just make sure to build a strong bond, be a positive influence and continue doing what you’re doing now!

Dog Problem

Hi, everyone.

Yes, I know, it’s been some time since I last wrote/posted on here. I keep telling myself I need to more often and yet I don’t. I need to find a way to break that and become more productive. I love writing so it’s something I need to do.

Anyway, I like being open about myself on the Internet and sharing details about my life, the good and bad. Unfortunately, this one falls in the latter category. The family dog is sick. You wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at or watching her, but she’s not in great shape. Long story short, my dad took Kookey (that’s the dog’s name) to the vet and they did an ultrasound, blood test and all that jazz.

It turns out she has a tumor in her gallbladder. She has a heart murmur and her kidneys are bad too. The surgery cost was no problem, but according to the vet, due to her age (she’s 16), it most likely wouldn’t make that much of a difference. She’s been given steroids though.

Obviously, I don’t like this. I’m incredibly sad about this. Kookey has been a part of this family for 16 years now! We’ve had her since I was in friggin’ middle school! To put it a bit more in perspective, I graduated university last year in May! I know that death is an inevitable thing, but I didn’t want it to be like this. But Kookey is a tough dog, so I’m optimistic she’ll be with us for some time at least.

That’s all I have to say, thanks for reading!

そんじゃ あばよ!!

Life Lesson #68: Take Some Photos

Dear Reiina,

I’ve been thinking about it, but I think it’s a good idea to take some photos every now and then. I was going through some of my photos on my phone, laptop and my Flickr (yes, I have one!) account. I’ve come to realize whilst I do have photos from my childhood, high school, university and even up to now, I also realized there aren’t many of them. Even less when it comes to high school and especially my university days.

So that’s why with this one, I’m asking you to keep the title in mind. You don’t have to take a lot of photos. Being present in the moment is a good thing. Just a photo of yourself or when you’re with your loved ones. You’ll come to treasure them in the future.

Make sure you also know where to find them, okay? Even though I have all the photos in my phone, laptop and on my Flickr (yes, I have one!) account, I also made sure to have them on a USB stick and saved in my e-mail. You could also make albums if you want. I use my Flickr as a digital photo album basically, but I’m talking like an actual photo album you can hold in your hands. You don’t have to, of course, but it’s just a suggestion.

But you don’t need boxes and boxes of them in your attic. Trust me, you don’t. Just a handful of good photos from each year of you and your dearest, are really fun to look through every now and again.

Keep videos to a minimum, please!

Please don’t be like those people at concerts, or wannabe clout chasers who have to video everything. I remember going to see Kid Cudi live at Orlando, and there were people just on their phones recording every second rather than just enjoying it. I’m sure some of them couldn’t resist uploading their videos to their favourite social media sites as proof that their lives are exciting and they’re lit or something. I often feel like people are REALLY missing being in the moment because they’re recording. But to each their own at the end of the day. I just think there’s something nice about being entirely present on a certain part of the globe at a certain time and knowing that at this time, I’m here and experiencing this in my life.

The occasional videos of life are wonderful, and again, you’ll cherish those too! But there’s no need to video everything, you don’t need to have every moment from your life recorded or to watch.

New Job

I don’t think I said on here that I got a new job, but I have a new job. I’ve had it for almost three months now. Part time cleaning crew at TGI Fridays if you’re curious on the specifics. I do actually enjoy it since I love cleaning and I’d rather get paid to do that than get paid to cook (even though I love cooking/baking too).

My coworkers are all nice and pleasant to me. I’m not there to make friends or date anyone so that’s all I really ask out of someone I’m working with.

The last thing I want to say is I don’t get an identity when it comes to a job. Maybe I will when I become an entertainer or get more money from my art and interpretation/translation stuff. But anyway, when it comes down to it, all I want is to have a job that has a positive effect on society, pays me well where I’m not struggling financially, doesn’t stress me and let’s me have a life outside of it. I just don’t see jobs or careers as some divine destiny or identity.

That’s all I have to say, thanks for reading!

そんじゃ あばよ!!

Life Lesson #67: Lies All Lies!

Dear Reiina,

The above title is a reference to a line from Scorpion from the Spider-Man Movie video game I used to play as a kid. I played that game for hours on end and it’s definitely one I’d like to play on a live stream in the future.

Anyway, today’s life lesson is about telling the truth. I highly encourage you to always do that.

There are a few family members (I’ll tell you who they are when you read this) who are chronic liars. They lie just to lie. They talk just to talk like they’re filling up space. It takes more effort to come up with a fake story and having to remember it whenever asked. The adage “What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light” holds true. Some things may take longer to manifest into your life, but sooner or later they will take surface. I’m not going to say there aren’t times to lie (the only times I would, would be if telling the truth would put someone’s or my life in danger), but how often do you REALLY need to? One of the things I pride myself in being a man is being a man of my word. So Reiina, if I say I’m going to do something, you don’t ever have to doubt that I’m going to do it.

Lying just takes a toll. Each lie will feel like weight that you have to carry. At least it does for me, but for the few family members I mentioned, to them it seems more addictive than anything. If you get into the habit of lying, you can hardly become truthful again. I’m also writing this because I hope you know that it’s okay for you to tell me anything and I mean anything.

Also, on the flip side, I hope you never use the term “brutally honest” to describe yourself either. People who are honest can also be people who respect others and other’s feelings. I rarely see a comment that is “brutally honest” and positive at the same time. What’s the point of brutality, anyway? This isn’t Mortal Kombat. Polite truth is a better policy. Hurting others immediately and automatically sparks their defense. And once their defense comes up, you’ve lost their open ear. They will no longer hear you.

Your honesty is not honesty if you only use it to demean and berate others.

Why Asuna Would Have Been a Better Protagonist

After ordering a T-shirt with Asuna’s motif (this one) on it, I was thinking about why I even bought it in the first place considering I’m not a fan of Sword Art Online at all. Then I remembered, I always liked Asuna’ character and way back when I first watched SAO I always thought the series would’ve been more interesting if she was the main character. Throughout all of the media such as the light novels, anime, manga etc. two characters get the most attention: Kirito, who is the protagonist and Asuna, who is his girlfriend/love interest.

As this posts suggests, if Asuna took Kirito’s place (better yet, if there was no Kirito to boot that’d make me a happy camper) there’s no doubt that things would turn out differently, and arguably, for the better.

Better Character Design

I always thought that Asuna had an amazing character design. It’s something that fits for the kind of anime she’s in and you probably would expect it in an MMORPG. When you think of Asuna you more than likely think of the first pic with her classic outfit. Asuna was a commander in a guild called The Knights of the Blood Oath. During that time, that was the outfit she would wear when she was out and about in the virtual world. The outfit has been and still is a popular source for cosplay because of the clean design and details which make her look bad ass.

I also really liked her Alfheim Online outfit even though it’s basically the same thing, all you would have to do is change accent colour to red, and it would basically become her Knights of the Blood Oath uniform. Asuna has definitely had better outfits/costumes as the series progressed, but I just find the blue hair and eyes and elf ears to accentuate her facial features. Asuna has always been an attractive waifu, and to me, the blue design makes her even more so.

And it might be because I’m a man, but she is overall better to look at than Kirito too.

No Damsel in Distress

Before the Fairy Dance arc, Asuna was easily the best character in the series and for good reasons. She was known for her strength, speed, fighting skills, and bad assery. But then she was reduced to nothing more than a Princess Peach who needed to be saved by her boyfriend, Kirito. But unlike the Super Mario series, Kirito is nowhere near as fun or entertaining as Mario and the antagonist, whose name I don’t bother to remember because of how friggin’ stupid and looney he was is no Bowser either.

If she had been the protagonist since the beginning, then she would have not allowed this to happen, and even if it did, she would have no one to rely on but herself which would make for more creative storytelling. Instead of demoralizing, degrading scenes that don’t seem to serve any purpose other than to convey that Asuna relies too heavily on Kirito, it could have been used to show how a strong, independent woman is able to overcome an insurmountable situation. Or how it’s best not to underestimate someone just because she’s a woman, or that even if her parents agreed to the marriage, she doesn’t want to marry him because she wants to marry someone she’s in love with and she’s a big girl who can make her own choices in life! There are a number of better ways that part of the arc could have been written, but I definitely would have preferred it to not have been written at all.

A More Psychological Traumatizing Backstory

When SAO first started, Asuna wasn’t a gamer or even a casual player. It was her older brother who bought the VRMMORPG Sword Art Online, and she just so happened to play it when things decided to take a turn for the left. What that tells me is that it was her brother who was supposed to be trapped in the virtual world and not Asuna. If she was the protagonist, viewers would see why Asuna is the way she is in the real world and enter her thoughts and how she deals with being trapped inside the online world. Whilst in the real world, the anime can show scenes of her brother dealing with the guilt and trying to find a way to bring his sister back to the real world.

If you’ve at least watched the first season, you’re aware of the drill: if you die in the game, you die in real life. Since Asuna is the epitome of a noob, there would be even more worry, not only from her brother, but the viewers on whether she would be able to survive as she would struggle to learn the mechanics and how to fight at the beginning of the series. It would also make for good ideas toward her character growth as she gets acclimated to the game with her goal trying to beat it.

Consistent Character Growth

When Asuna is first introduced, she came off more as a no-nonsense tsundere who has an affinity for cooking and baking. However, after falling in love with Kirito, she became more gentle and fell more in line with what would make a perfect waifu. Then as previously mentioned, she became a damsel in distress during the Fairy Dancer arc and eventually regained her character from the lost and found in Sword Art Online: Alicization. I can see why initially she would be a bit serious since she was working more towards escaping the virtual world as soon as possible and even though that’s admirable, it was to the point where she completely forgot about living and finding some good in the present.

Not only that, but when she was first introduced she immediately had a character archetype and personality. With her taking the spotlight, viewers would see why she’s more on edge and they would be able to understand her thoughts and feelings about being trapped inside the game. There’s no doubt in my mind her character development would have flowed like water if she were the main character, as she had everything going for her.

Better Slice of Life Moments

As I’ve written on this blog, I’m a big fan of slice of life anime. One of the skills Asuna maxed out in the game was her cooking like she was playing The Sims. She was able to cook S Class ingredients (whatever that means) and during the times when she isn’t fighting, there can be scenes that show what she likes to do on her free time. Obviously, it’s making food and she would be able to show, at least in the most subtle way possible, that she has the necessary skills to be able to survive on her own.

Even though her parents tends to make all her decisions for her and it’s not like they were watching her every move in SAO, the sol scenes can let the viewer know that she’s a multifaceted individual who can not only kick your arse on the battlefield, but can serve a full course meal too! In fact, she can be the one who knows how to make the best knuckle sandwich and spray you with a can of whoop-ass! If the writers want to go a no romance route with her being the lead, then it would put more emphasis on her independence.

And that’s it! Those are my reasons why I believe Asuna would make a better protagonist in Sword Art Online. There would be a bunch of interesting ideas on what to do with her and how the story would unfold. Something of an unlikely hero who eventually becomes the most powerful player in the entire game. A waifu who understands the meaning of sacrifice, independence and self-reliance. Maybe you’ve thought of this idea at one point too, do you have any other reasons you can mention? It’s not like any of this is going to happen, but it was fun to think about.

That’s all I have to say, thanks for reading!

そんじゃ あばよ!!

My Love/Hate Relationship With Squatting

This might be the most random blog post I will ever write, but I still want to put my thoughts out there. As some of you know, I love exercising. Weightlifting, swimming, walking, running (and I hope to add tennis to my repertoire) are activities I enjoy doing. I got into it because I disliked the way my body looked and the fact things such as grocery bags felt so heavy to me. Anime such as Dragon Ball Z and Fullmetal Alchemist and professional wrestling (especially the WWE superstar Triple H) made me want to be strong physically and I’m happy I started working out. I’ve definitely come a long way from barely benching an empty barbell or only doing 5 pull ups, but there’s still one exercise to this very day that is able to kick my arse: squatting.

Compound exercises are great since they involve multiple joints and work multiple muscles or muscle groups simultaneously. If bench press, deadlift, and squat make up the holy trinity of my compound exercises, then bench press would be the father, the deadlift the holy spirit and the squat the bastard. Sorry, but my squat has not reached the level where I can call it my son, especially if we were to go strictly by the maximum weight I can move. For bench press as of this writing, it’s 230 lbs/104 kgs and my deadlift is 300 lbs/136 kgs. My sqaut though? I can barely eek out 5 reps with 35 lbs/15.8 kgs on each side. As a matter of fact, it’s only recent that I’m able to do a deep squat and get past parallel, ass to grass. But with proper form and depth comes a sacrifice at the amount of weight. Thank you, Buff Dudes!

I’m actually grateful, that wasn’t sarcasm. I do realize it is my fault that I’m in my current, but not final form. No, I’m not one of those gym fellas who skipped leg day, my legs are my favourite part of my body to train. For a long time I didn’t do squats at all, and when I did looking back, I realize I was doing good mornings. I was one of those people who bent forward so much while performing the squats that my upper body might as well have been used in a trigonometry textbook for problems regarding 90 degree angles. One trick I learned to stop this is to look up at the ceiling. That way my chest is out and it forces my body to remain straight throughout the lift.

On an even more positive note, even though they’re tough and leave me sweating and panting, I won’t stop squatting since they have helped make my ass bigger and gave it better shape. While I never found anything wrong with getting cosmetic surgery, if I were to have any work done, I would want a bigger butt. I don’t expect my ass to end up being as big as my head due to squatting alone, but I love my butt now and it’s something I emphasize more these days.

Seeing videos of powerlifters on Instagram squat is also very inspiring to keep me going. I saw a 51 year old powerlifter by the name of Sam Watt squat 715 lbs/325 kg. That’s obviously an incredibly amount of strength and he has every right to be proud of what he’s able to do at his age. I too would like to do something similar when I’m in my 50’s. In order to get to that level, I need to keep improving and making sure I do.

It’s important that I get stronger, stay motivated and consistent. It will take some time, but you know what they say: anything worth having is going to take time. In the end, I’ll be a better version of myself and that’s what really matters!

That’s all I have to say, thanks for reading!

そんじゃ あばよ!!