Where did the year go?!
I think that’s the side effect of being busy or active - time seems to fly.
That being said, 2018 brought fun, laughter, peace, joy, food, love, travel, games, adventures, and most importantly, great changes.
If anything, I’m incredibly grateful for all the opportunities for this year - aside the many panels and boothing experiences, I was able to finally finish the first (unedited) draft of ‘The Saccharine Vote’, so I’m looking forward to another journey of sorts to come soon!
Second year running! Am so happy that this event managed to come together to become another annual anchor in my calendar.
We didn’t booth this year, but Kenny (Books Actually) gave us the opportunity to sell our books once again with the rest of the Books Actually titles. Unstable Foundations, my debut comic, was also launched during this festival with the rest of the Phase 2 COSH titles then.
This festival is shaping up to be pretty amazing on its own, with its own identity. Looking forward to seeing more in the years to come!
ALL IN! YOUNG WRITERS FESTIVAL
Thanks to Carlo, the Book Council, and the organizing committee behind All In!, Pulp Toast became a partner to 2018’s All In! Young Writers’ Festival again.
Apart from taking selfies with raised eyebrows, Wayne, Mickey, and I were given the opportunity to either speak or moderate various panels this year - be they about storytelling and writing in various genres, formats, rejection, and mentorship.
READ! FEST 2018
Sometimes, milestones tend to breed more milestones.
The launch of Unstable Foundations later led to more events - READ! Fest 2018 being one of them. The Tiger got to give a workshop on partnership a couple of times, while I managed to get a spot to speak about Unstable Foundations and talk a little bit about creating Heritage comics with the rest of COSH.
ILLUSTRATION ARTS FESTIVAL
Jerry dragged us into organizing committee status this year.
On top of the added responsibilities, it was a hectic time running between both booths for the Ronins and COSH Studios. Regardless, it was still valuable experience - an event to learn from and look forward to in the years to come.
24-HOUR COMICS DAY
Like IAF, I found myself in a more administrative / organization role for 24-Hour Comics Day as well.
It was definitely an experience - staying in LASALLE overnight and watching all the students and participants go through with their works. What was more amazing was how everyone still came together after 24 hours of blazing through their comics for the final photo.
I left my Municipal Liaison position a couple of years back to concentrate on working with Jerry and Wayne, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy Nanowrimo for the wonder that it is! Our usual spot has been closed for a while, so we’ve moved Write-In operations to Chevron House this year instead.
PUBLISHED WORKS -
I’ve said it once and I will always say this - Elvin Ching (a.k.a. Zeropointfive) is a sweetheart.
Unstable Foundations - the comic we have been working on for COSH Studios - was released at the beginning of this year. After that, it was just a series of panels and launches talking about this piece. While Unstable Foundations is my first foray into comic-writing, it’s also my first solo writing project, so the stakes just got higher, among other firsts.
First mention in The Straits Times, first panel invitation, first time working with a distributor.
And hopefully, the first of many to come. Thank you all once again for your support, feedback, and encouragement for this comic!
PULP TOAST / ROTI BAKAR #4: THIS IS A TEST
It’s amazing that we have made it this far.
When I first started Pulp Toast, I thought it was going to be just single print runs for a couple of issues before we were done. Once again, thank you all for supporting Pulp Toast (we even got our first overseas order this year!) - and here’s to many more to come.
Friends & Family
New friends, and spent more time with the Valkyrie Knights, the Ronins, and my family. I wouldn’t say we had a particularly good year (I’ve been to the hospital multiple times this year - as a patient and a visitor), but I’d say I’m still grateful for how well we managed to recover after.
Perhaps the greatest thing to happen to me this year - I finally got into a longer-term RPG group. I had a single session about 2-3 years ago with a few friends, but nothing really panned out after.
This time, however, I pretty much dove in - 3 different RPGs on my roster at the moment, with about 2-3 more games I have yet to read up on on my end.
Regardless, to this group of adventure capitalists, thank you all and here’s to more adventures!
I was blessed enough to get a few trips in this year - not including the most frequent trips to Petaling Jaya to visit the Tiger - and whether or not they are out of or still within the country, I’m glad I managed to loosen up and have some fun.
That being said, I’m definitely looking forward to Nihongostan 2 and Comic Fiesta 2018 - can’t wait for the rest of December!
FEED ME-NANG #2
What can I say? We got hungry again. LOL.
This time, the Tiger and I went to celebrate Eugene and Katrina’s wedding. And while the rest of the girls added more food to the list to eat, we emerged with a valuable piece of advice to manage about 12-15 meals in the span of 32 hours.
This trip was many things - New sights, new sounds, new food, new company, and a test of patience. Haha.
Despite it all, I was glad I was able to bring my mom and cousins on this trip - we’ll definitely be back to Japan again, perhaps with our sights set on new locations.
2018 has been fun-filled and action-packed for me - sometimes a little too much.
That being said, 2019 is when I set out to delve deeper into minimalism, at least physical minimalism - paring things down to just what brings me joy and recalibrate my focus.
Unfortunately, this means that I will be minimalizing my blog and reduce all updates to this site to just be news of any upcoming events, and interviews of fellow local / regional authors. That being said, some of my blog serials will be updated and put into eBooks available for download. The first of these books will be available for download when my email newsletter is sent out!
Once again, thank you all for your support. While we mark this close to a part of this website, I do hope to see all of you again on our new email list.
Sign up to receive news of my works-in-progress, trips, tips, and whatnots here.
I never thought I’d make it this far.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s begin.
When I started writing this post, I thought to keep it simple and just list things I'm happy about, grateful for, and want to improve as I go into my 3rd decade of mortal existence. Since I drafted that post and now, the actual date, many things have happened:
That being said, I will never be grateful enough for all the good things that have happened, especially over the last few months and years. To the people around me (even the ones I probably see too much of), thank you for sticking around =).
Last year, a friend asked if I was afraid of turning 30 this year.
I said, “I’m not afraid of turning 30, I’m more afraid of looking back and forward and realizing that I’ve been wasting my life, not working towards a purpose I resonated with.”
There are many things to be grateful for, to be happy about, to improve, and to look forward to. While I don’t really feel much of a change, I thought this’ll be a great avenue to take stock and appreciate the good, the bad, and the future.
Happiness and Gratitude
As I turn 30, I would say that I’m incredibly grateful for the following (to spare all of you from exposition):
At the same time, I only hope to go on and try to improve myself on these areas as well:
What’s Up Ahead
While I take a break this coming quarter, I’m looking forward to:
I’ve never really been fully confident in myself - I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s incredibly difficult for me to compartmentalize and organize. However, another good friend gave me a good piece of advice:
"In a time where you have no idea who "yourself" is, try reframing it to think about who you want to be."
We are a combination of our own stories and doings, after all.
I have so much more to say, and so many more people to thank. But to be incredibly concise, I’m grateful that with the support of my friends and family, I do feel improved, at least in this aspect.
So now that I’m entering the third decade, here’s to another decade of living, learning, loving, and pretty much, new adventures!
To be honest, I didn’t want to write this post - but Universal Studios Japan took up the entire day and was so fun, it had to be a separate post on its own.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
I was most excited for this place because one of my cousins is a Potterhead. So we ended up going there early (to the point where the cast members had to tell us to return later for crowd control purposes).
It was cool (hehe) to experience Wizarding World at a lower temperature - the snow-capped buildings didn’t feel so out of place. Regardless, we had loads of fun immersing ourselves with themed souvenirs, photo opportunities, and of course - BUTTERBEER.
Our only disappointment was that Forbidden Journey was down on that day due to a ride fault (Yes, the ride SMRTed on us. Grr…).
Note: Until now, it is still assumed that you need to line up on the day itself and hope that there are still tickets / timeslots left to Wizarding World for the day. What we did was to buy the Express Passes in advance which guaranteed access to Wizarding World, together with express lines to a few other rides. Just remember to buy your entry ticket separately as well!
Cities of USA - New York, San Francisco, Hollywood
Main street is always a joy to walk through - definitely putting you in the mood for the theme park itself.
Hollywood is home to a crazy amount of shops and Mel’s Diner, where I had one of the greatest burgers ever (I’m not a burger person), as well as the queue to Hollywood Dream, one of the tallest and longest rollercoasters in Asia. The Tiger and Sarah went on this ride before, you can stand in line for up to three hours.
New York was where we had fun with the Spiderman ride, one of my favourite rides in the park. Be careful when you’re heading here during parade times though - it can get rowdy! Food and souvenir carts are aplenty here as well.
A new addition since we last came - the minion park was chock full of people, curious or just enamoured by the bright colours and adorable minions dotting the place and just making the environment an amazing place to be at.
The Minions 4D Ride is also great fun - unlike its Universal counterparts in the USA, Japan’s version will have you experiencing Gru’s lab and minion training the moment you step off the queue, and into the ride’s pre-show.
Just remember to resist the temptation of the banana.
While this place is definitely for the children, I was sure my Mom had the most fun here. Universal Wonderland boasts areas for various childhood characters - Snoopy, Sanrio (Hello Kitty and friends), and Sesame Street.
Mom was decked out in full Elmo gear just for this moment - and got a snapshot with their Easter Elmo as well. Rides here are mostly sheltered and milder to cater for the younger age group, peppered with bright colours to boost the happy atmosphere.
Like you do with Duffy Bear in DisneySea, don’t forget to say hi to Moppie - a Universal Studios Japan-exclusive (ish) character who can always be seen around Elmo and other Sesame Street friends.
And that’s it for my trip to the Kansai region! If you’d like to see the places we went to in one place, search for the Osakejiak18 blog posts or click here.
I saved Osaka city for the last post because it was our ‘homebase’, so to speak. That being said, be prepared for a longer post - and all the places we were to around the city.
We stayed in Higashishinsaibashi (Eastern Shinsaibashi), just a stone’s throw away from the main shopping area in Osaka. Here’s a glimpse:
Shinsaibashisuji & Dotonbori
We stayed near Shinsaibashisuji the first time we came here in 2016. Fast forward two years later, I brought my parents, neighbours, and cousins to the same place.
Very much like the main shopping street of Central Osaka, Shinsaibashisuji is a line of shops and branches of restaurants leading across the river to Dotonbori, another popular area among tourists. On top of the many clothes, accessory, and shoe shops, these two places are lined with snacks and gifts as well.
Some of the places we enjoyed were:
It was nice to walk through this place - since this trip didn’t include a visit to either DisneySea or Tokyo Disneyland. If you’d like, you can buy tickets to the two parks on the second level as well.
2 Chome-1-23 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo, Osaka
A 24-Hour Bookstore on Dotonbori, spanning five (5) levels and a basement. Grab a drink at the Starbucks on the first level and have a seat on Level 2 with a book. If not, each level has a specific category for your reading needs (that is, if you can read Japanese). One of my favourite places to head to in Osaka.
1 Chome-8-19 Dotonbori, Chuo, Osaka
Speaks for itself, doesn't it? Also, note - there are two branches along Shinsaibashisuji itself - one where you can buy takeaway tarts, and the sit-down restaurant.
Another note: Remember to check out their seasonal specials and branch exclusives!
2-8-1 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo-ku, Osaka
The Second Best Melon Pan
Here’s a statement of confession: I regret not getting one of these the first time I came to Japan.
Here’s another statement of confession: I regret not getting two of these when I came back again.
Like the less greasy, more heavenly version of the Po Lo Bun, Melon Pan is one of the most iconic foods we know from Japan. Located in a food truck along the Dotonbori shopping street, get in line early or fight the long queues!
1 Chome-4-19 Dotonbori, Chuo, Osaka
It’s not difficult to spot this place - just find the dragon.
I knew I wanted to eat Ramen, but with so many noodle places to choose from, and with such a large group - the parents just wanted somewhere convenient to eat. No matter, the Ramen here was still a warm bowl of comfort amidst the cold weather - and one thing I was super grateful for: NO PORKY TASTE / SMELL. (One of the reasons behind why I cannot get used to Ramen here is the strong meat aftertaste or smell in many tonkotsu-based Ramen places.)
Kinryu only has 2 items in the menu - Tonkotsu Ramen, and Tonkotsu Ramen with extra meat. Take your pick!
1-7-26 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Eggs N’ Things
According to my cousin, the potatoes here can send Anime wind onto your face and through your hair.
While looking for breakfast places that could fit up to 7 adults, I came across Eggs N’ Things, which was a straight road down from where we were staying. Founded in Hawaii, Eggs N’ Things serves Western / Hawaiian-style breakfasts - sweet and savoury.
Eggs N’ Things serving sizes follow the American portion, so if you’re not a big eater in the morning, I suggest you either give this a miss or come in for lunch. Also, note that you might have to queue for the Shinsaibashi branch.
Nishishinsaibashi 2 Chome-10-2-CriceNikko, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi
A holiday without a visit to the destination’s markets is kinda like a wasted opportunity to see how the locals live.
Located in Nipponbashi, this market was a ways from where we were staying. Despite that, it was rather straightforward to get to the moment we knew where to turn.
Filled with stalls selling produce, snacks, fresh seafood, cooked breakfasts, and many more to choose from, Kuromon market is an ideal place to head to if you’re thinking of a Japanese breakfast but have no idea of what you’d like to eat.
Personally, I recommend any stall selling Yuba Doughnuts, Oden, or Croquettes. And the lady selling grilled fruits on a stick - that one’s a winner.
Note: 2nd regret of the trip and possible excuse to return to Kuromon Market again - I DIDN’T TRY BLACK VANILLA ICE CREAM. /writes note to self for when I return
2 Chome-3-2 Nipponbashi, Chuo, Osaka
Together with Shin-Osaka, Umeda is one of the most bustling city centers I’ve been to. The only difference? Shopping in Umeda just has that many more options.
These were the places we touched base with in the middle of the bustling city center:
Ever since I went to the huge LoFT in Shibuya, I knew it was going on my list of permanent to-visit places whenever I return to Japan. Apart from their huge range of lifestyle products (AND different from Tokyu Hands), LoFT is also distributor to some of my favourite stationery brands - Hobonichi and Kokuyo, just to name a few.
Also, I finally got my Nintendo Switch from here.
16-7 Chayamachi, Kita, Osaka
Pokemon Center Umeda
Also, what’s a visit to Japan when you don’t visit the Pokemon Center?
It’s on the 13th floor of Umeda’s Daimaru Building, sharing the floor with a Uniqlo branch. While not as big as the main store in Ikebukkuro, Tokyo, Umeda’s Pokemon Center still gives you that jump into your childhood with familiar tunes piping through the speakers, and colourful pokemon in various forms and functions.
Daimaru Umeda, 13F
Momofuku Ando Cup Noodle Museum
We’ve seen this in various videos on the Internet for a while now. Also, Cup Noodles is the embodiment of childhood MSG memories. With that in mind, we made our way a little out of the city area, towards an area known as Ikeda.
Set up to give recognition to the father of the instant noodle, Momofuku Ando, the museum covers almost every product Japan had to contribute to the cup/bowl noodle trade, together with how this product came about.
It was crowded by the time we got there, so the fam decided to skip out on getting the custom Cup Noodles. However, do give it a shot if you decide to head down for this - it’s ¥300 per plain cup, before you add all your desired toppings.
Again, another reason to return!
8-25 Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Osaka
So that’s our Osaka Homebase adventure post - stay tuned for the coming and last post for this series - Universal Studios Japan. Again, check out posts for this trip under #Osakejiak18 or here.
Still the sacred capital of Japan, Kyoto was most certainly on the list - given how I didn’t manage to go the last time. And thanks to Lyn’s previous itinerary from when she last went, we had a rough idea of where we were going to.
But first, the Shinkansen!
I wanted my parents to experience travelling via the Shinkansen at least once. And while it was about a 15-minute train ride to Kyoto, it was nice to see the rest of the group get excited about ekiben (Bentos you eat on the train) and the speed of the train itself. Before we knew it, we were at our destination - Kyoto Station.
We took the Sanin Line from Kyoto Station to Saga-Arashiyama station later on. Our plan was initially to eat lunch first, then take our time along the main shopping street and places of interest.
No such luck later on.
The main street towards the Arashiyama Park and Bamboo Grove was decked with traditionally-built shops, surrounding the main temple with stops for snacks, crafts, and with various restaurants. We had to stop quite a few times because some members of our group kept getting distracted by various snacks, coupled with the Singaporean-Chinese need to bargain and question everything. (Yeesh)
Note: Please don’t bargain at a Japanese market - it’s rude and bad form. Also, Japanese shop owners are generally quite trustworthy so you don’t have to worry about them selling you “fake” or “inferior” goods.
We managed to get some amazingly delicious soba near the river at the end, followed by a relaxing stroll through the Arashiyama Park and Bamboo Grove. Like Nara, the Sakura were in bloom, which lent the place to some great photo opportunities.
Arashiyama Park was just across the river from where we had lunch - you could choose to have a stroll along the river, or skip stones at the rocky river banks. The Bamboo Grove on the other side of the main street - a place just as serene, but bearing a different kind of beauty.
Among the street stalls, rickshaw pullers, and yukata-clad people, it was a different kind of amazing to capture the image of the sunlight peeking through the lush green bamboo forest. The cemetary at the corner and the different shrines that dot the forest gave that level of zen you’d expect to get in this place.
That being said, we made our way back, knowing full well that we’d be too late for Nishiki Market, but not before we made a stop at Molette, a restaurant near Kyoto Station specializing in Omuraisu.
PLACES WE VISITED:
Places of Interest:
Arashiyama Park Nakanoshima Area
Saganakanoshimacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Saganonomiyacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
Japan, 〒616-8385 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Ukyō-ku, Sagatenryūji Susukinobabachō, 1 本家桜餅
Estimated cost per person: ¥~1,500
JR Kyoto Isetan, 11F
Estimated cost per person: ¥~1,500
Check out my other Japan trip posts with the hashtag - #Osakejiak18, or click here for the rest of my posts.
Note to self: Head to Nishiki Market the next time I head down. No excuses.
Our first trip to Kobe was motivated mainly by gluttony and eyes bigger than stomachs. My second trip to Kobe (and this group’s first) was motivated by the same desire to have Kobe Beef again.
That being said, I can tell you the TL;DR version of this post now - we were at Steakland and it was all worth it.
We split into two groups (Dad can’t eat beef), and the cousins and I got the dinner shift. What you see above was my dinner (just my share) with the cousins. The above-pictured meal consists of cubed Kobe beef, crispy fried garlic, sauteed vegetables (bean sprouts, xiao bai cai, mushrooms, zucchini), konniyaku, a croissant roll with the world's best butter (Hotel brand), and dipping sauces.
This was the non-Kobe beef lunch shift - where my cousins and I went to Coco Curry with my Dad. We were still full from a heavier breakfast so the four of us shared a salad, a corn soup, Croquette curry, and Vegetable Curry. Also, YES FINALLY - COCO ICHIBANYA IN JAPAN.
In between, I brought them all on a walk to the wharf. Being a pier city, I thought it would be great to take everyone to the seaside to have a look. So we took a walk to Kobe Meriken - near where the first American Embassy was in Kobe.
With the cool wind from the sea and the colourful flowers that dotted the place, it was no wonder so many locals flocked to this side of the city for a relaxing Sunday afternoon. The wharf is also the location of the 1995 Kobe Earthquake Memorial - a sombre reminder of the brutalities of nature and the hope of recovery after.
After a relaxing afternoon on the pier, we made our way back to the Kobe-Sannomiya station by way of the Motomachi Shopping Street.
It was not until I returned from this trip when I realized that Kobe was quite well-known for its desserts. That being said - here’s to more excuses... ahem, I mean... reasons for returning!
PLACES WE WENT TO:
Places of Interest:
Kobe Meriken Park (Also where the 1995 Kobe Earthquake Memorial is located)
2-2 Hatobacho, Chuo Ward
Steakland Kobe (near Kobe-Sannomiya Station)
Miyaba building 1-2F, 1-8-2, Kitanagasadori
Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo, 650-0012
Expected Prices: ¥1,600-2,000 (Lunch) ¥4,500-6000 (Dinner)
The last time we were here, a deer ate a good chunk of our map. This time, we were ready.
Emerging from the depths of Kintetsu-Nara station, we quickly obtained at least 3-4 maps for our rather large group (7 of us). That being said, the amazing people at the Tourist Information Centre circled a few places, smiled, and said, “We have cherry blossoms today!”
Sarah’s Luck had finally rubbed off. LOL.
After a quick run to the bathroom - off we went!
One of the great things about Nara was how you could see the transition from the city-area to the suburban and sacred spots. In a sense, this place embodies the attraction of Japan to many people - the balance of the bustling, efficient city, and its accessibility to the calmer, peaceful country-esque locations that speak “Japan”.
Like what happened before, we encountered the deer just a short walk from the station. Following trusty Google Maps and the main road, we found ourselves in front of the Himuro Jinja Shrine, with trees in full bloom and neighbouring shops selling grilled mochi and ice cream to add to the experience.
For a person who has not seen Cherry Blossoms in real life, I do get why it’s such a big deal - they bloom in various shades - pink, pale pink, red, white - but the flowers only stay open for a few days before fluttering to the ground. Needless to say, the place was packed with tourists and locals alike, so we made our way to Todaiji soon after taking the photos we wanted.
Standing tall and grand, the Todaiji Temple is a Buddhist Temple that survived two major fires (and countless incidents) since its construction in 752 AD. One of the incidents got so bad that craftspeople had to replace the Buddha head because it got too badly damaged. That’s why you could see the different shades between the Buddha’s body and head when you enter the temple.
Apart from its vast, zen aura, Todaiji Temple is peppered with various other Prayer Halls, each there for anyone to visit. But remember, keep to their rules - both out of respect for the people, and respect for the place:
That being said, we had a pleasant time at Todaiji. And the sweet potato (along with the other snacks) we had on the way back to the station helped too.
AND NOW - TO THE FOOD.
We were a big group (7 of us), so I thought Kameya was more up to our speed in terms of space and food. Check it out:
Mainly teppenyaki-cooked food from the area - Okonomiyaki, Yakisoba, Yakiudon, and the Yakisoba Rooru, which is Omelette-wrapped Yakisoba, and apparently our favourite. If you’re looking for a family-friendly place, or just a place to sit a group that’s larger than 4 people, where you can eat the local cuisine and hang out, I’d suggest Kameya.
BONUS: It’s just down the road from Nakatanidou Mochi - where we were fortunate enough to have front row seats to a fresh batch of mochi being made. You can catch a glimpse of the video I took on my Instagram here.
PLACES WE WENT TO:
Places of Interest:
406-1 Zoushi-cho, Nara-shi
Entrance Fee: ¥500 (Temple only)
樽井町７, Taruichō, Nara-shi, Nara-ken 630-8218
Estimated Prices: ¥1,000 to 1,500 per person
29 Hashimotocho, Nara 630-8217
Prices: ¥130 for 1 freshly-made Soybean-filled mochi
Note: There are also many street vendors from Nara station to Todaiji so do grab a few snacks along the way if you'd like. Just take note of the deer (Yes, they'll snatch your food away from you).
So that’s it for us in Nara! Check out the rest of my trip to Osaka and Kyoto over April under the tag #Osakejiak18. Or access all the posts for this trip here.
Getting off the plane and stepping out of the airport, we all took a deep breath to ward off the fatigue from almost half a day in the air. While everyone else looked around in excitement, I only exhaled under my breath, “TADAIMA!”
And while the travel blogs for this trip come up over this month, here’s a list of posts affiliated with this trip:
That being said, be prepared for loads of food. To follow these blogs and photos on my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Blog, check out #osakejiak18.
First off, Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, especially to the Tiger - here’s to 5 more years and many more beyond that =).
That being said, the red and pink hearts were most likely greatly outshined by the red and gold of Lunar New Year decorations. So without further ado, I’d like to wish all of you, readers and supporters of this blog and my works:
Most people who know me will say that I’m a very competitive person. While I’ve been trying to tone down on this, there’s also something good about the drive you get that typically comes from someone who sees everything as a competition. And that was for me to channel this energy to compete with who I was a year ago.
2017 came with many highlights - speaking at All In! Young Writers’ Festival, launch Pulp Toast #3, being in the Best New Singaporean Short Stories, and going to Jakarta and PopCon for the first time with the Ronins. Suffice to say, I had a very eventful year.
MY BEST MOMENTS OF THIS YEAR:
#BUYSINGLIT, ALL IN! YOUNG WRITERS' FESTIVAL, AND THE SINGAPORE WRITERS FESTIVAL 2017
Literary-wise, I couldn't really have asked for more - I got to booth at a literary market, speak at a panel, give a workshop, listening to the legendary Junot Diaz, Ken Liu, and JY Yang, and even meet Marie Lu. On top of that (and not pictured), the many other launches I went for in between (J's launch of "The Red Threads of Fortune" and "The Black Tides of Heaven", Best New Singaporean Short Stories Vol. 3 etc...) were just encouraging and inspiring.
POPCON ASIA, ILLUSTRATION ARTS FESTIVAL, AND COMIC FIESTA 2017
Boothing didn't just stop at the #BuySingLit Festival. We also had fun as the Rolling Ronins at the Illustration Arts Festival, Comic Fiesta, and our first stint at PopCon Asia in Jakarta, Indonesia. Loads of fun and eating, loads of talking, people falling sick after, will do it again.
PULP TOAST / ROTI BAKAR
There's a lot of talk about when you want to talk about Pulp Toast / Roti Bakar. But instead, I'm just going to leave this collection of pictures here to remind myself that if you keep at something you love doing, together with a group of people who are as committed as you are, you will see results.
#LONGBKKEND & FEED ME-NANG 2017
From a fulfilled promise to possibly the shortest itinerary I've ever seen, this year's travel bug caught on and caught on good. Apart from that, I cannot have a great year without great friends, food, and amazing destinations - Bangkok (after 16 years), and Penang (because, you know, we were hungry). Many thanks and kudos to Lyn for her travel planning prowess as well!
So as I enter a year where the first digit of my age is going to change, I’d like to increase my focus and get to improving my current skills and make time for the things that are the most important to me.
First in this year’s endeavour, I hope to finish and pitch my novel (finally) and get to work to finishing a fictional podcast I’ve been researching and working on since last year. Pulp Toast #4 will definitely come out, but I’ll be taking a more managerial role with it. You can also expect a bit more from the Ronins this year as well - now that we kind of have a general direction of where we’d like to go.
Second, I’m hoping to spend more time with the Tiger, my friends, and my family - something which, somehow, hasn’t been happening too much even though I’ve been working from home.
And finally, I’d like to take some time to engage in personal development - things which I’ve said I wanted to learn but ended up not doing because of time or just plain tired laziness. That being said, I’ve a list to cross for this, so here’s to learning as much as I can!
So that’ll be me for this year. Moving onwards to the big 3-0, and many other experiences!