Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong 2015

Another long overdue post, this short photodump on the Comic-Con equivalent in Hong Kong will hopefully be the start of a series where I get to explore the different toycons and comicons around Asia (at least, since SDCC is quite an impossibility). The Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong 2015 was held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre last July 24-28, 2015. It's the biggest geek event in the country, so naturally, the hubby and I were ecstatic. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Guide to Toy Shops in Hong Kong

Being the weirdos that we are, my husband and I prioritized the most important activity when we went abroad last year—toy shopping in Hong Kong.

I know that this is a long overdue post, but it was the first time we ever went toy hunting in Hong Kong so we kind of panicked like little kids set loose in a candy store when we got there. I would have liked to take more pictures of the shops and the actual toys available there, but all thoughts of snapping photos were thrown out the window the moment we set foot inside the toy stores in Hong Kong. So. I’ll have this list updated with more photos soon when we do come back for more, but for now, I hope some descriptions will do.

1. In’s Point - 530-538 Nathan Rd, near Yau Ma Tei MTR Station

This is pretty much every toy collector’s haven. Be prepared to squeeze your way through the narrow hallways when you arrive during peak hours after work. Think Greenhills tiangge but purely for toys—it’s basically an even bigger and way better Shoppesville Plus. There are two floors filled with all kinds of collectibles from Hot Toys to lose Gashapon capsule toys. You can also find a lot of anime goodies here (Sailor Moon is still a popular bet), along with DC Comics and Marvel figures as well. While it used to be packed with action figures in years past, it’s now steadily becoming more of a Lego hub, as most minifigs, playsets, and loose bricks can be bought at an extremely cheaper price than here in the Philippines. I got myself a couple of Tsum Tsum collectibles (there’s one stall dedicated entirely to official Tsum Tsum merchandise straight from Japan!), while the hubby scored some Lego sets for himself.

Monday, January 4, 2016

I Fell In Love With The Boy In The Coffee Shop

No, it's not what you think.

It wasn't some random stranger, a fated young man on the far side of the cafe, our eyes meeting and lingering as I sit there in the corner of my booth, book in hand and the sweet aroma of brewing beans in the air. No, I don't turn my eyes away, my cheeks burning, half expecting him to get up and walk over to me until he finally does. He doesn't slide over, charm me with his smile, and strike up a conversation that will forever be immortalized and hailed as the most romantic conversation in the annals of history. No, I don't smile and he doesn't smile and we don't decide right then and there that this is it, the thing most people spend their whole lives searching for, rare and unadulterated and pure, the white-hot fire of raw love burning deep inside our hearts and threatening to consume us completely.

No, it was nothing like that.

But there was a young man. There was a lingering of eyes, a runaway fire, a coy smile, a spark.

There was a coffee shop.

And I fell in love.


A secret meeting in a bookstore, when he called me and I turned around to see him. To this day, I still keep turning around for him, seeing his face light up and feeling my heart skip a beat. A trip to the comic book store. Some embarrassing geekiness. The realization that we are kindred spirits—broken and found and pieced together—and despite taking forever, our time has finally come.


Falling in love is nothing grand.

On that first date, it's the twitch in the corner of his lips, a hint of a smile. It's him leading me across the coffee shop, the touch of his fingers on the small of my back—light, unsure, afraid. It's the endless stories we shared and the beauty of our silence, nodding our heads and feeling like we understood each other even though no words were said. It's him leaning forward on the table across from me, eager to hear everything. It's the wave goodbye, the promise of another meeting, the giddiness that reached up to our eyes. It's the way I bit my lip, my heart racing, thoughts of dancing in my room and me gazing out the car window on the way home.

I was twenty-three, and there I was, in a cheesy Taylor Swift song, one that I never wanted to stop. I’ve had my share of heartaches, but her song was right: on a Wednesday, in a cafe, I watched love begin again.


It’s been five years. Now I'm lying in bed in the dark, listening to the soft rise and fall of my husband's chest, my hand over his heart, his hand over mine. I can still see the hint of a smile on the corner of his lips, the same one that captivated me all those years ago. I can still feel the spark in his touch, the gentleness in his fingers. I can still see him, that shy stance and those hopeful eyes, as clear as the day we first met.

He is still that same boy in the coffee shop.

And every day, I fall in love with him.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2015

Contrary to popular belief, comics and graphic novels are not just all about DC and Marvel. Being a huge DC Comics fan myself, I can be pretty biased when it comes to what I think are the best. Still, 2015 was a big year for comics, and it’s only fair that we focus on what else is out there in this year-end roundup. So based on international rankings around the Web, here are a few representatives of the cream of the crop.

1.Sandman: Overture

After more than two decades since the world first read the epic tale of the Sandman, Neil Gaiman is back with a vengeance to bring us The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition. With beautifully surreal art by J.H. Williams III, the comic book is listed by Amazon as the best graphic novel of the year as chosen by the editors. The legendary story of the Dream King is reintroduced to the readers as a prequel to the main series released 25 years ago, and it chronicles just exactly what happened before Morpheus was captured—vulnerable, weakened, and burdened by an inexplicable conflict.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Book Review: ‘Wind/Pinball’ by Haruki Murakami

“One bright April afternoon in 1978, I attended a baseball game at Jingu Stadium, not far from where I lived and worked,” writes Haruki Murakami. “The satisfying crack when the bat met the ball resounded throughout Jingu Stadium. Scattered applause rose around me. In that instant, for no reason and on no grounds whatsoever, the thought suddenly struck me: I think I can write a novel.”

Thus began the acclaimed writing career of one of the greatest novelists of our time. In Wind/Pinball, Haruki Murakami gives us a sneak peek into the early life and humble beginnings of the eccentric author. “I can still recall the exact sensation. It felt as if something had come fluttering down from the sky, and I had caught it cleanly in my hands. I had no idea why it had chanced to fall into my grasp. I didn’t know then, and I don’t know now. Whatever the reason, it had taken place,” Murakami continues in his introduction, The Birth of My Kitchen Table Fiction. “It was like a revelation. Or maybe epiphany is the closest word. All I can say is that my life was drastically and permanently altered in that instant—when Dave Hilton belted that beautiful, ringing double at Jingu Stadium.”