Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sword Makers

LikeCOOL recently brought attention to a video on sword making in Japan. Living in this era where technology is advanced and with weaponry that could cause disastrous effects in one click of a button made me forget about checking out the state of traditional craftsmanship such as sword making.

Handmade Portraits: The Sword Maker from Etsy on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Battle Against NOEZ

It turns out there has been conflicts going on for months between NOEZ, the people behind MangaFox, and the countless people whose hard work they take (like those from scanlation groups)--well, some of them. MangaFox disregards people's requests to remove their hardwork, or more well known as scanned and translated manga, and profits from advertisements placed around the site. NOEZ also sells counterfeit anime goods online on their other few websites. They have a few websites similar to MangaFox too.

The people whose work NOEZ uses don't do scanlations for money. Of all the scanlators and scanlation groups I know, most of them don't make money off of the manga they clean and translate. The ones that do make money probably put all their earnings towards hosting their website or servers.

I don't know much about what scanlation groups have to go through or do. I wanted to give a few people a heads up on this news I recently found because if I were a scanlator, I'd want people to know about it.

More [reliable] information can be found at these sites:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

October 30: 2011 Toronto Miyavi Concert

2011 Miyavi concert in TorontoI won a place on the guest list for October 30's Miyavi concert under J-Rock North Promotions, so I attended the event with Pavanjit. We met up at the entrance of Pheonix Concert Hall in the morning and watched as the line grew longer. I recognized a few people from last year's Miyavi concert, which was pretty cool.

The doors opened at 8 PM, but I wasn't allowed in because the people at the ticket office didn't receive J-Rock North's guest list. Representatives from J-Rock North dealt with the problem and eventually got us all in.

The stage was much closer to the audience this time and fans could actually touch Miyavi. The crowd was more wild than the concert from last year, so I kind of feared for my life while standing right next to the stage. The most fun part of the concert was when some of the fans were trying to have a conversation with Miyavi. It took awhile before we got on with the show, and I know it bothered people because someone from the back told the people in the front to stop trying to talk with him (or something along that line). The most scary parts of the concert was near the end of the show: when Miyavi was giving low-fives to his fans and when Bobo tossed his drum sticks into the crowd. I was pushed to the edge of the stage and onto the floor when Miyavi was giving the fives and almost tackled while two fans were fighting over the drum sticks. It was awesome.

I don't scream or jump around when I go to shows. Did I have fun, though? Yes. I love Miyavi's new look and even though he seems more serious than he used to be, his guitar playing is still as great as ever.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October 23: Canzine Toronto

One of the larger rooms with tablesMy friend Siena introduced me to Canzine Toronto by Broken Pencil and asked if I wanted to table with her. Wanting to experience the excitement of a zine fair for years, I answered yes. Siena named our group "Amazingly Good-Looking Cat" and thus began our first experience with a zine fair.

Preparing small cat booksAfter weeks of preparation, the day finally arrived. The building Canzine was held at looked like a nicely renovated old church. We set up our table in the morning and tended to the table throughout the day. There were three main rooms throughout the building filled with artists at their table and a food bar in the basement.

I noticed I was scaring some people away with my stares, so I asked Siena to hold the front-lines. Siena, you're such an adorable sweetie.

Our tableThere were many different styles of art from illustrations to crafts and more. I was impressed by the number of people tabling and their artworks too--most looked like they were in their late teens to early thirties (ah, youth). It was a grand mash of styles and colours: simply inspiring.

There were contests and presentations held throughout the day, but I feel like checking them out. I spent most of my time daydreaming and staring into space at the table.

At the end of the day, we quickly packed up our things, put away our chairs, and left. There were still a lot of people shuffling about the building at the time.

Will I ever attend another zine fair? We'll see, we'll see.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October 15: Occupy Toronto

Ariana, Jenny, and I went to check out Occupy Toronto on October 15th. We're avid of memes and phenomena related to the Internet, so the thought of witnessing an Occupy in the flesh was exciting. We read stories on Occupy Wallstreet and wondered how such an event would be like in Toronto.

The morning of Occupy Toronto--Day 1It was cold in the morning, but it didn't stop people from showing up. There weren't as many people as I expected at Occupy Toronto--I was hoping for a whole two blocks of people (my expectations were high). The weird thing I noticed was that most of the occupy folks were on one side of the street--which can be seen in the attached photo above--while many photographers and the one guy yelling "bull shit" were on the other.

The roads on the block were off limits to the occupiers to let traffic run for awhile in the morning, but then it was closed for the occupiers to move around at around 11 AM. People started selling newspapers and subscriptions and giving out fliers. The newspapers and subscriptions had information on Occupy, but much of the information from the fliers covered topics from corporate greed to animal abuse and wages to missing persons. The purpose of Occupy Toronto started to get confusing when someone took out a megaphone and proceeded to talk about how his sister suffered a life of hardship and died working in an environment where she was mistreated. I understand how people may want to take advantage of the Occupy movement to pass out fliers, but the person's story on his sister didn't seem to match with the Occupy movement in New York. We later figured that the Occupy movement in Toronto was going to be different from the one in New York.

After having brunch, we walked to St. James Park where the occupiers were setting up camp. I was in awe when I experienced the human microphone: it was impressive when the message got across the crowd of people. Signs were everywhere around the park, and they covered as many topics as the morning fliers did. I could understand how all the things people were protesting about are related, but I wasn't sure if they could explain what the whole Occupy Toronto was about. Heck, not even I could explain it in a short 1-minute speech at the time. If I tried, I'd probably have the bull shit guy on my case. Maybe that one line, "it's about social and economic inequality," would do.

I'm late with this blog entry, but I hope that the occupiers are doing fine right now. The weather's getting cold, and winter is approaching.
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