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slowly catching up with backlog

If you follow the rss feed for this blog, you might notice that I filled in the rest of January with 365photos! I’ll fill in February soon…

School is still keeping me very busy (tonight I’m awake because I had to finish part of a project orz;; ) so I still can’t devote tons of time to this blog, but I’m definitely making plans (and lists!) for when I make my inevitable comeback~

So as you might know, I’m often mistaken for younger than I am… this isn’t because I’m short (I’m not) or that I dress childishly (I don’t think??) but perhaps because of my small face… in the past I’ve been mistaken for up to 8 years younger than my real age! But today we reached a new low… a coworker said I looked 12! (°口°;) !!(a statement that was later revised to 15 after I protested)

I’m only an inch taller than I was at 12 so I guess that’s not too far off but-

am I now aging backwards???

(no it was obviously hyperbole but this person is younger than me even!)

if only I could cure my undereye circles, then I’d feel confident that I really seemed so young ahaha;; 

notice of content division

So, I’ve finally decided to segment my online blogging life and this blog has been more or less split in two!

milkypink.net will continue to exist as a personal blogging space for talking about random things.

miuofstars.net will take over Japan-related subjects, such as dolls, figures, games, manga, and anime. in addition, I’m making an effort to maintain it as a bilingual blog. I’m nowhere near fluent in Japanese, but practice has to happen somehow, right? XD; I’ll probably also post things from my upcoming trip to Japan there, as well. I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll copy over entries from tokyo-shoujo.net yet or not. I may well repost the 2008 trip reports on mos.net with photos included, though XD;

I’ve already copied over the relevant posts from here to there, but I won’t remove them from this blog (although I may link them later, not sure).

Sorry if this split makes things more annoying for anyone – I figure there are people who want to read about specific subject-related stuff and skip all the personal junk XD; everyone is still welcome to follow this blog, I’ll continue to post non-Japan reviews and maintain my 365photo task here so it won’t be completely neglected!

disassembled; quick-arriving packages

two photos today, since I didn’t post yesterday~

tangles of branches (003 of 365)

the first was taken in the morning yesterday, before I left.

got my head in my hands (004 of 365)

the second was taken this afternoon, when I disassembled Aryanna in an attempt to restring her with her current elastic.
that was a miserable failure, by the way. her strings were so stretched out it wasn’t possible to even push them to reconnect after I’d trimmed them down. so she’s currently in pieces. Well, her torso (minus head) is assembled currently (^ ^; ) somehow that one was okay.

I ordered new elastic from Luts along with other things I’d been meaning to order (the string puller and forceps were out of stock unfortunately! (T_T)), including two alternate pairs of hands, a face mask (so her faceup doesn’t get dirty in storage), silicon wig cap (to keep the wig from sliding and also to prevent [further] staining), and some pretty extras I happened to notice, like a crown headband~ (^ ^) No clothing items – there wasn’t anything I was particularly interested in, and no other dolls. I’m really out of the loop when it comes to other doll companies, so I don’t even know where to start regarding SD-sized clothing. I want to make most stuff myself, but certain things like shoes I’m definitely never going to make myself…. (^ ^;; ) I’m also tempted by a wig I saw at Leekeworld recently, but a) I need to remember what her wig color was first and b) she has three wigs already so technically she doesn’t need any others….

I have more photos from the disassembling that I might post to flickr later, and I’ll certainly take more photos once she’s been restrung properly (she’ll be able to stand~!).

The other event today was the arrival of my ミックミクかがみ Nendoroid. It’s Kagami in Hatsune Miku’s 「ミックミクしてあげる」 outfit, as seen in the Lucky Star OVA. This Kagamin is #62 in the Nendoroid series – I hadn’t realized there were so many now! (@_@) regular Kagamin is 28a, b & c (Comptiq, HP, and Chara)… and I think Tsukasa and Miyuki were just released not too long ago. Of course I’ve preordered Yui & Mio Nendoroids, but I’m getting a little nervous because some sites don’t seem to cut off their preorders even when they aren’t sure they’ll be able to fill all the orders they get. I suppose it’s no loss to them, if they don’t charge until shipping, if there’s not enough stock, the order just gets canceled – but for the customer, what do you do? Have faith the store you’ve chosen will come through? Place two and cancel the slower one? What if it falls through? Resort to ebay? I managed to snag HP ver Kagamin for a reasonable price (considering her popularity and length of time she’s been discontinued) on ebay, and it’s likely Mio & Yui will stay somewhat reasonable right after release, but there’s always a chance the company will end up with an unusually limited quantity, or they will just be SO popular demand greatly exceeds supply. K-ON! is pretty popular (evidenced by it gaining a second season! so excited!), but has Good Smile anticipated this? Well, one way or another those two will be mine. Ritsu and Mugi are a pass, though. (Sorry girls, one of you interrupts my OTP and the other is, well, entertaining but not my favorite.)

Listening to K-ON! music always makes me smile… and also makes me want a guitar again. We’ll see what happens there.
Tomorrow’s going to be fairly busy, I have no idea what my 365 will turn out to be.

ordering mysteries

So about three weeks ago, I preordered the Azone Hirasawa Yui doll from Hobby Link Japan.
Immediately after ordering, I happened to check the page again, and noticed that it was updated to “order stop” – they were taking no more preorders.
With HLJ, they state that all orders are added to the system officially the following day, which caused me to panic a little bit, wondering if their website stock updated properly or if I had, in fact, just narrowly missed my chance.
Thankfully the former was true, and my order was processed without a hitch.
Yui arrived the day before I had to leave for a trip, and managed to charm her way into my luggage.
barrette close-up

Having received her, and checked her quality (as well as all the goodies she came with:
(6 pairs of hands, total, summer vest & socks, ハネムーン t-shirt, guitar & strap)
all the extras~
I realized that Mio would likely be worth the investment.
So I returned to HLJ’s site to preorder her – placed her in the cart, checked out, got the standard “order received!” confirmation e-mail.
Of course, this meant that again, my order wouldn’t necessarily be officially accepted until later.

On a whim, I checked back on HLJ to view the photos.
Again, “order stop”.
I felt more confident that my order went through this time, but still, it’s weird. How could I, both times, secure the very last preorder slot?
Mentioning this to someone, they jokingly replied that “Well, if they only have one….” yet that seems unlikely. HLJ is no tiny business, although perhaps character dolls (as opposed to figures) are?
On top of this, Yui has gone from “Discontinued” to having disappeared completely from HLJ’s database! I’m glad I bought her when I did (@_@) I had no idea she’d be so limited. I’m starting to wonder how many were made, exactly.

Mio doesn’t ship until the end of February, so Yui will have to survive on her own for a couple months. (Nendoroid Mio ships end of Jan, though, so she’ll have a mini!Mio to いじめる-er, play with :D)

On an unrelated note, I’ve decided to take up the 365 photo challenge for the 2010 year. I may or may not post all photos here, but I will most likely report on my progress. I know that seems like a cop-out, but I really want to feel free to take photos of whatever without worrying too much – any obstacle like that might prove to interrupt my 365 attempt.

Umineko Ep6 has been released!
I’ll report back on that subject once I know more…. :D

short update

JLPT in one week.

………

once that’s out of the way, I’ll have to figure out what my next top priority is (might be driving).
maybe I’ll blog more. (yeah that’s not going to happen XD)
new laptop coming soon, estimated ship date is this coming Wednesday. It probably won’t arrive until week after this, however, since I chose standard shipping.

2009 has just one month left in it.
2010 should be the year everything changes.
scary, but exciting.

—————————-

日本語能力試験まで、一週間だけ残ってる。

...

それが終わったら、次の一番大事なすることを決めなきゃ。(運転することかもしれないね)
もっとブログしようかな~(なんてね。 笑)
新しいノートがすぐ来るはず。発想予想は今度の水曜日。急送じゃないんだから、来週の前に到着しないかもしれないけど。

2009年は一ヶ月残ってるの。
2010年はすべて変わるはずだと思う。
怖いけど、やっぱりドキドキするよ~

Pushing Through

The number of times I’ve restarted kanji study is rather ridiculous. Ostensibly, this was because the previous methods weren’t just right – something was off so nothing was sticking. In class, I’d always just memorize what I needed to for the tests and then forget it shortly afterwards. You could say I’m a good procrastinator about that kind of thing; I can cram the knowledge in and do well on the test, but in reality what have I learned?

I’m smart, and I’ve come to realize over the years that this, combined with traditional public (and even some private) schooling, is not as nice a thing as you might think. I’m also incredibly lazy. I think I became this lazy because I was allowed to be – if I didn’t study, I’d still do well. In fact, I never really studied at all, save for a couple cases (one of which lead to me eventually giving up on the subject all together and I STILL passed), until I got to college. I like to think I’m one step above some of my friends who wouldn’t do homework, wouldn’t go to class and still did well because at least I actually went. Well, for most classes. Despite being able to do decently without any effort, Japanese was actually the first subject I felt like I did well in, and understood. I suppose I understood other subjects, like English, Algebra and Calculus, but I often didn’t feel like I consciously understood them. I was apparently also decent at French, but I never felt like I understood it, either.

So, feeling competent with the language, I initially put a lot of effort into learning it. This energy eventually declined until I was back in my pattern of study-right-before. I never put as much effort into learning kanji as I should have. I just learned what I needed to learn for class. I ignored my brain telling me nothing was going to stick this way. I was getting As, wasn’t that enough?

No, it wasn’t enough. This didn’t really become clear until I arrived in Japan, and my teacher called me out on it. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was really behind in Japanese, that I might actually do poorly grade-wise. In fact, I think I failed a few tests. It was a steep learning curve – the way we were learning and being taught was completely opposite of how I’d been learning back in the US, but it was the way I knew I should have been learning it all along. By the last month, I was starting to get comfortable with this new system, and felt I could really do well. In retrospect, it might have been really beneficial for me to stay another semester, but practically speaking it was difficult to organize.

I returned home, and returned to my old study habits, since that’s all that was required. Graduating with a bachelors in Japanese, I felt like it was almost a joke. I wasn’t anywhere near fluent, although I felt more fluent than I had previously. After graduating, and lacking any real purpose, I took up attempting to fill in the large gaps in my kanji knowledge. I was at a loss as how to achieve this. I tried japanese-kanji.com, which focused on knowing the readings and definitions for each individual kanji. I got to about 400 or 500 and then stopped. That’s about where my natural ability falls out – I didn’t know more than a handful of characters beyond that, and it became difficult. So, I lost interest.

I tried again later, using a similar method and a book I’d owned since I started learning the language. I wrote the characters out, over and over again, saying the readings each time. I think I made it to about 300-400 this time, mostly because the copious amount of writing was really difficult to keep up. I have some peculiarities in the way I write due to teaching myself as a child and no one correcting it, so constant writing is something I have trouble with. Just saying the readings wasn’t going to cut it, and I couldn’t continue writing that way, so again, my energy decreased and it got pushed aside.

In another fit of determination, I tried the flashcard approach. I could bring them everywhere with me, it was perfect! I even managed to finish writing up a whole set of 1945 kanji flashcards (not a small feat!) but studying them was another matter. It’s too hard to learn something like kanji without words to place them in (frequently when people are describing how to write names, for example, they’ll mention the kanji based on the common words they’re found in), so this method was a bust.

I was insistent to not lose to yet another failed approach, and while looking for information about the JLPT, I stumbled across nihongoperapera.com, which I’ve mentioned previously. I bought the recommended Kanji in Context books, since a learning system designed for the intermediate to advanced speaker of Japanese seemed more suited to me than crashing through elementary school style repetition at this age. Shortly after this, however, I discovered Otona no Kanji Renshuu, the DS software that helps you remember kanji by practicing readings and writings, so I left the books aside for the most part. OKR is a great tool for drilling knowledge, but since it’s all in Japanese, if there was vocabulary I didn’t know, I wasn’t learning it (the short phrases given in the tests are not nearly enough to give context for definitions), and as I said above, no meaning = no remembering.

So, I pulled out the KIC books, and started to make flashcards… on my computer. This was a really time consuming process, to the point where I’m not even done with all of the lessons even now, but I think in the long run this is an excellent approach for me. But this alone isn’t going to cut it – self-rating allows for short cuts and laziness, so OKR will be my backup review, along with readthekanji.com, which has the benefit of helping me learn vocab for the JLPT levels as well.

I certainly have additional studying to do to prepare for the test, but kanji is the foundation for everything. If I can’t read the test, I can’t do anything! XD I periodically update my twitter with OKR/RtK scores, so keep an eye out if you’re curious how I’m progressing without waiting for another blog update.

{ started 2009-06-07 06:53:18
published 2009-07-14 10:45:18 }

New Layout… sort of

New design, same old skin… (*^▽^*)

It’s less… compact than the other one, but I think this encourages more reading and less.. uh, squinting. I’ll probably tweak it more as time goes on but it’s satisfactory for now.

Today has been nice and sunny, if chilly. Still not up to my standards for spring, but moving in the right direction anyway…

Mostly been creating 漢字-related mnemosyne flashcards on the computer from Kanji in Context, recently, while trying to keep warm (a.k.a. ensuring blood is circulating to my extremities).

Why 32GB Just Isn’t Enough

(Or: Why, Yes, I Do Need My Whole Music Library)

In my constant search for news on a possible 64GB iPod Touch, I run into forums where about 50% of the people are snubbing even the concept of a 64GB touch, saying that a) it’s impossible to fill up that space!!!11! or b) why do you need so much with you all the time?!?!?
My answers to these cries are a) no, it’s far from impossible. I have 45GB of music, right now, and if you add some videos and apps to that, it’s not so hard to fill up (^ ~) Plus it’s always nice to have room to grow – who wants an MP3 player that JUST fits their music/video collection right now? It’s bound to increase, someday, maybe sooner than you’d think, so why play so close to the edge?
and b) this is a multiple-part answer, and it can be broken down into just 2 simple facts:
1) I am fickle.
2) Music is my lifeblood
The first is pretty simple to understand – my mood changes suddenly, unexpectedly, and even I can’t completely predict it. How am I supposed to know what songs I’ll want to listen to today? What if I want to share some song with someone else, but I haven’t been listening to it lately? What if I’m out of the house for several hours/don’t have time to customize my iPod playlists because I leave? It’s just much easier to have all of my music with me all of the time.
By this point, you might be thinking “You spoiled girl! If you don’t have exactly the music you want, just suck it up and live with it!” and this brings me to my second point:
Without music I am fragile. When I say music is my lifeblood, I don’t mean that I’m an audiophile, because in general, I’m not. I have music ripped at 128kbps and don’t mind that much – I can tell when it’s better quality, sure, but it doesn’t bother me because it’s not so much the quality of the sound, but the heart behind the music, and what it makes me feel. Music calms me down when I’m nervous, allows me to function the way society expects (with the small addition of one headphone covering one ear), keeps me from emotionally exploding, gives me energy, helps keep me moving, propels me forward even when I don’t really want to be going anywhere. It’s like magic, it is magic, the way it affects me. Music has more control over my moods than I do – if you could figure out the exact way, you could probably emotionally control me like a puppet.
“But wait,” you might be thinking, “If this is true, why not just listen to whatever music you have with you at the time to move out of your desire for other music?”
There are times when this is okay, but I often get stuck on wanting something in particular. And nothing will move me from this want. Like I said, I’m fickle.

Luckybags Force Change

I’ll admit that reason #1 why I buy (and love) luckybags (福袋) is the bargain. Sure, sometimes the items inside end up only being worth (to me) what I paid for them (and sometimes not even that!) but it’s the lure of the bargain! 40,000yen worth of stuff for 15,000yen? Yes please! In a cute bag? What am I waiting for?!
But that’s not the only reason.
Why else?
Because fukubukuro are a random assortment of items, I get the chance to try out things I wouldn’t normally wear. Sure, this is always the case, but luckybags force this opportunity upon me – I’m faced with the clothing, and the chance to say “hey, let’s see how this looks” without having the option of thinking “am I really going to buy this?” (because I already did XD), only “am I going to sell this?” It’s much more work to get rid of something I already own, so I seriously think about each item before I put it up for sale. This time, I don’t think there will be much I’ll sell, just the coat, probably.
Oh, coats.
I can never fit into Japanese coats for girls because they always assume girls have tiny shoulders, which, I guess, most of them do. But when you’re ~173cm tall, you don’t have narrow shoulders, usually. And I certainly don’t. No matter how skinny I am in the middle, it’s always the shoulders that get me.
Anyway, I will probably take a picture of my current outfit and upload it later. If you know my normal fashion, you might be surprised! (no pink to be found XD)

Technological Appearances

While I was looking at netbooks before, someone asked me, “Why do you put so much emphasis on design?”
They were referring specifically to my wanting a pink netbook, but it’s more than just that.
Why can’t I just deal with electronics in terms of what’s inside?
Why does the color, shape, aesthetics matter?
I am immediately inclined to ask all of you who don’t care, why don’t you?
For laptops, especially, I’m going to be using it all the time. I’ll be staring at the keyboard, the trackpad, the screen border, the cover…. how can I not care? Using the same black/grey bleh scheme makes me want to scream! It’s not me, it’s not how I feel, it isn’t my computer if it doesn’t have the look that I like.
Maybe, in the past, when there was less choice it was okay.
But now! When you can get computers in almost every color you could want, why settle?
But manufacturers still don’t understand. They make pretty notebooks with awful specs. Like they design the case and then go “oh but no one will care what we put inside! they aren’t going to actually use it.”
I hate it especially when electronics are targeted at women, with elaborate, often gaudy outsides, and internal components from five years ago! Why can’t there be high-spec’d items with a cute/stylish outside?! Is there really no market for such things? Is it so hard to have colored casings? (Dell, I’m looking at you! You have a dozen outer colors but your insides are all the same! At least make a white version!)
It’s times like this that I ponder trying to start up a company to make cute/stylish electronics with nice insides… ( > >)
For now, I’ll just keep digging through the thousands of products that all look the same to find my perfect digital companions ♥ *pets her pink WD external hdd*

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