There’s a whole lot going on in the US right now but I’m at the point where I’ve started to tune it out. I’ll probably drop some rambling posts about the social unrest and venture into fringe conspiracy theories later, but not right now. It just gets so tiring, you know? Like, why should I try to carry the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders (or in my head) 24/7? It’s a constant burden and it can weigh a person down.
So, I’m trying to get back to focusing on things that I actually enjoy, like manga, movies, studying Japanese, and cats. And I’ve been working more now that things are starting to get back to normal in New York City, which is nice.
This past Monday, businesses started opening back up. There’s still no dining in, which is a good thing honestly, but it was super nice to be able to get the car washed, drive downtown, and get takeout from Thai Terminal and Veniero’s. I really missed their food, especially Veniero’s cheesecake. It was so good that I didn’t even bother to take a photo of it before gobbling it down.
Hopefully, COVID-19 doesn’t spike. I’m not really interested in another shutdown, but with all of the protests and rioting, it could happen. I wasn’t really prepared last time, so if there’s going to be another shutdown I’m not going to get caught with my pants down again. I picked up my Mom and we went to New Jersey to shop at Walmart. My cart was overflowing. LOL. I didn’t hoard TP or paper towels, but I picked up quite a few canned and frozen items along with olive oil, honey, canned soups, and other staples.
We stopped by Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater and the grocery was open (which was great because we needed Yakult) but the food court was still closed. Daiso was open and we wound up picking up some nice dishes with cat designs:
So, I’ve moved on to memorizing Japanese kanji. It’s actually more fun than I expected. I’m starting to remember the component parts of the kanji and it’s making it easier to start guessing at the meanings of other kanji. I’m hoping that by the end of the year I can read simple kid’s books in Japanese.
Speaking of Japanese, if you haven’t read Dungeon Meshi / Delicious in Dungeon, I highly recommend it. The last chapter was especially good. It’s probably the best chapter in the manga.
And speaking of reading, I’ve plowed through about 50 books so far this year, including the entire Witcher series. That one is really hit or miss and The Last Wish, which the Netflix series is based on, is definitely the best of the bunch. It was worth the time, though, as someone who really enjoys fantasy novels. I’m reading a book about Israeli history right now and it reminded me of why I was so fascinated with Middle Eastern history while I was studying it in college. I’ll probably go on a run of books about modern Middle Eastern history next. I also want to get around to reading The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I’ve been putting it off, even though I’m really interested in it.
Last thing I want to mention before putting things away so we can eat dinner is that there are new kittens in the apartment. Here’s one of them:
On our second day in Kuala Lumpur we stopped by Bukit Bintang. While exploring the area we looked around in a mall called Sungai Wang. I was excited to see that there was a manga exposition set up in the events area. I’ve had an interest in manga and anime for quite a few years, but I’ve never been to an expo so this was an interesting experience for me. These sorts of things just aren’t that common in the US, where manga and anime are still considered strange by most people. I didn’t recognize the name of the publishing company but I got the impression that the event was highlighting and rewarding local talent. It was nothing major and was set up in a small area but it was packed with people and very exciting.
I took the time to walk around and examine the different storyboards that had been set on display and browsed the racks of manga for sale. Unfortunately, most of them had been written in Chinese and Bahasa Melayu, so I didn’t see anything in my language that suited my interests. I’d really been hoping to leave with a keepsake. The items being sold were limited to two per customer so I assume they’re limited run prints.
If you can read Chinese and / or Bahasa Melayu and want to find out more about the event, it was called Gempak Starz 2009 and you can get to the website by clicking through on that name. Their site is graphics heavy so it’ll load slow.
Here are the photos I took:
This is the main stage area. I think each cardboard cut-out was done by one of the manga artists whose work was represented at the event.
These black boards were set up with manga storyboard panels on them. Some of them were more complete than others, but none seemed to have any text. A few had empty speech bubbles but most didn’t even have that. I was impressed by how detailed some of the drawings are. Two board sections had color images with ribbons marking them as finalists or winners in a competition.
This board was set up in another part of the event area. Each character drawn here has a signature next to it. I’m thinking that these were done by each of the artists represented at the event. Maybe it’s their representation of themselves or maybe it’s their main characters in their mangas. I don’t have a clue since we walked in on the event late and had missed the opening day.
Later in the evening, after having dinner and looking around a bit, we walked back through the event area and saw that they were doing a giveaway. There was a glass display case with anime-style swords in it off to the left of the stage. Those swords might have been one of the grand prizes. We stopped to watch for a while. We didn’t understand everything being said but there was a lot of cheering and laughing and everyone seemed to be having a good time, especially the kids that were there.
We also saw these two girls in kick ass maid cosplay. They worked there as part of the event crew. As they walked around the room I think they were handing out fliers. Oh, and they had candy in their baskets.