if i were doing a japanese themed town i would totally use this

Alex Hirsch interview with A.V. Club
  • AVC: Why make these revelations now? Did you build the cliffhanger into season two knowing that there’d be a hiatus at some point?
  • AH: There were a number of reasons, but that was definitely a consideration. It’s not easy to predict how the episodes will be spaced out, and in season one we were told by the channel that there would be a large mid-season hiatus. So to prepare for that contingency this time we decided to treat season two almost like two seasons, each with their own rising tensions and story arcs. That way if it was split up again we’d at least be breaking it into satisfying chapters.
  • But the other reason—and possibly more important one—is that half of the fandom had already figured the mystery out! As early as “Carpet Diem” in season one, fans were beginning to speculate about the meaning of the mysterious glasses in the Carpet Room, and during the year break between seasons, those speculations grew into full-blown “Stan has a brother!” exposés by the fans. I’m talking PowerPoint presentations, flow charts, timelines—this is probably the first time a Disney TV show has been analyzed like the Zapruder film. When we began season two, we knew that we couldn’t wait all season to dig into this. Halfway through the season seemed like a good compromise.
  • AVC: The authorship of the three journals was one of Gravity Falls’ biggest mysteries. How do you feel now that you no longer have to keep that secret? Does this free you up to tell stories that go beyond the contents of the journals—or is it the start of a whole new mystery?
  • AH: Gravity Falls is a show about mysteries and magic but first and foremost it’s a show about characters. The arrival of a new member of the Pines family will have ripples that dramatically affect the lives of Dipper, Mabel, Stan, and others. It’s exciting to finally reveal this big answer, but even more exciting to me are the new mysteries that this will begin to illuminate. Stan sacrificed so much to bring his brother back, but who is Stan’s brother? Why was McGucket so worried? How are the children’s destinies tied up in all this? What is Bill Cipher really after—and who is the true villain in Gravity Falls? For fans of the show, the mystery has only just begun.
  • AVC: Was Stan’s brother part of your original concept for Gravity Falls? Or was he a piece of the puzzle that presented itself after the series was in production?
  • AH: Believe it or not, Stan having a secret brother was the plan from the very beginning, and if you start to go down the Reddit rabbit hole, I think your mind might be a little blown by just how many clues and hints we planted pointing to this conclusion, even going back to the very first episode. From blatant things like Stan’s license plate having the wrong name (seen in episode 102, “The Legend Of The Gobblewonker”), to metaphorical clues, like the broken two-kid swing set in Stan’s mind (seen in episode 120 “Dreamscaperers”). Even the title of this episode is a reference to the code “Stan is Not What He Seems” hidden in the theme song seen in our very first episode. Ever wondered why Stan was so distraught at his wax doppelgänger’s “death” in “Headhunters”? The Internet sure did, and they’ve been very busy putting it all together ever since!
  • AVC: How can Stan rebuild the trust Mabel and Dipper had in him? Or is that bridge burned?
  • AH: Mabel is a character who’s trusting and forgiving by nature, and I think as long as she believes someone’s heart is in the right place she will give them a second, third, and fourth chance. Dipper isn’t nearly as trusting, so I think that when someone finally earns his trust, it is much more heartbreaking to have it violated. Remember: The kids knew Stan as a liar before they knew him as someone who truly cared about them, so I think for a character like Dipper, he’s more mad at himself that he let himself trust an obvious con man like Stan in the first place. It’s a huge blow to his ego, a huge betrayal, and I think it will leave him feeling isolated from his family in a way he hasn’t been before. Where these feelings take Dipper will be explored in the upcoming episodes.
  • AVC: In making “Not What He Seems,” were there any cliffhanger episodes from other series that you looked to as an inspiration, or as a guide for what to do/what not to do?
  • AH: Cliffhangers are a lot of fun, but I think they can be easily abused if you’re not careful. The test I use is this: “Would the episode have still been satisfying on its own, even without the cliffhanger?” If the answer is yes, then the storyteller has earned the twist. If the answer is no, you’re making a soap opera—an endless trail of breadcrumbs but no actual bread. Episodes like last season’s “Gideon Rises” deliver an entire satisfying adventure with its own conclusion before blindsiding you with the cliffhanger, and our goal is to follow that model.
  • AVC: There’s a “government agents coming for E.T.” vibe to the arrest scene in “Not What He Seems.” Were you hoping to show that Agents Powers and Trigger could pose as great a threat to the Pines as any of the paranormal forces in Gravity Falls?
  • AH: Definitely. I remember as a kid being scared of the things that go bump in the night, but I was way more scared of adults. We wanted to show that in the world of Gravity Falls, Stan’s actions have had serious consequences, and that Dipper and Mabel are up against something they’ve never faced before. Ultimately though, the agents are just a plot device. Their most important role, from a narrative perspective, is to act as a catalyst to turn our characters against each other and force them to confront their allegiances to one another.
  • AVC: The events of “Not What He Seems” affect the whole town—were there any citizens of Gravity Falls that you were hoping to integrate into the episode, but couldn’t?
  • AH: Our episodes have a strict 21-minute time length, and if I go even one frame over that, Mickey Mouse will eat me in my sleep. So every episode has ideas, characters, jokes, and scenes that I wish I could have included but had to be cut for time. Characters are sometimes skipped if they don’t directly affect the plot and we’re tight on time. “Northwest Mansion Mystery,” for example, didn’t have any Soos in it at all for this reason. This is actually something that fans frequently dedicate totally undue drama to. I see stuff like, “There was no Robbie this week! He must be dead!” “Mabel had less lines this week than last week! Hirsch hates Mabel!” “WHERE’S GRENDA?! I ONLY WANT GRENDA!” I’m glad fans love the characters so much, but rest assured Gravity Falls fans! Whoever your favorite character is, they’ll be back, and it’ll be awesome.
  • AVC: Is there any significance to the “C” shape that the secret code to Stan’s hideout forms on the vending machine keypad? “C” for “Cipher, Bill” maybe? Or is this a “Is it a rock, or is it a face? I think it’s a metaphor” situation?
  • AH: Your tin foil hat is starting to show, Erik! We never intended any significance to the shape of Stan’s secret vending machine code, but just the fact that you’re asking these questions makes me very happy. When I was 12 years old, I was obsessed with codes, conspiracies, and secret messages. I would record TV commercials with SoundRecorder.exe on Windows 95 and reverse them to see if I was being subliminally influenced to watch Pokémon by Japanese spies. (It turns out I wasn’t. Or was I?) My goal with Gravity Falls is to make people as paranoid and insane as I was as a child, and I’m delighted to see it’s working! Haha. Gravity Falls has transformed the children of America into an army of Dippers. I couldn’t be more proud!
  • AVC: Where are you planning to take the show from here? And how soon until a new episode airs?
  • AH: Networks are pretty tight lipped about programming strategies, but I’ve been told that Gravity Falls will return “this summer.” Although I don’t know the exact date, you can trust me: The wait will be worth it. Anyone who enjoyed this first half of the season will have their face melted off by the second half. Get ready!
  • Source: http://www.avclub.com/article/gravity-falls-alex-hirsch-his-shows-big-cliffhange-216411?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=Default:1:Default
My Japan Visit + Naruto Exhibit + Boruto Movie + NYCC Preview

I’m headed to NYC for comic con in a few hours but I didn’t want to leave before posting this for you guys.  Better late than never, here’s my write up of my trip which includes my thoughts on the Boruto Movie and the Naruto Exhibit that I visited while there. 

Here’s a video of me thumbing through some of my Nardo swag:

For my milestone 30th birthday I didn’t want to do the standard stuff. I wanted to do something special. And I knew I didn’t want to do it at home.  So what better idea than to visit one of my favorite places in the world?  Yeah, it’s a 7,000 mile trip. Yeah, it’s during the sweltering summer. Yeah, I would be missing classes in my first week of a rigorous MBA program, but let’s be real. There was no way I would be celebrating my 30th sitting in a classroom at night after putting in a 10 hour shift at work all day. Nuh-Uh. So where was I instead?  At Universal Studios Japan of course, enjoying fun stuff like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, roller coasters, Terminators, and things like that. 

I’d never been to one of their parks before (or Disney World/Land for that matter) but after visiting Japan’s I definitely plan to check out the ones we have stateside.  I want to go inside Hogwarts castle, and I sure as hell wasn’t waiting in a 4 hour line to do it that day.  

I hadn’t practiced Japanese for a while and only started brushing up about a couple of weeks before the trip.  But when I got there I was really shocked at how it started coming back to me. I was saying things I forgot I knew, lol.  It would just come out.  It’s so interesting how that happens when you’re immersed in it.  My accent is apparently still decent too. I kept getting asked repeatedly if I lived there (and no, it wasn’t the standard “your Japanese is good” even when it sucks comment. I could tell as they were listening to me that they were genuinely surprised). They were shocked to learn that a school in America would actually offer courses in their language.  But the funny thing is, even my high school offered Japanese (along with Russian, German, Latin, Italian, French, Spanish, and sign language).  But I guess we’re a special case. So I think I plan to start studying it again. I missed out in high school, but I took classes at University and then had a tutor for a couple of years, and then there’s all that anime I’ve been watching since I was like…10, rofl.  So I guess it makes sense.  

I got hooked on a J Drama while I was there called Konkatsu Deka. It’s only raw right now, but the dialogue isn’t that complicated and with the visuals I’m able to follow along for the most part. I’m only up to ep 4, but I try to watch it here and there.

One of my favorite foods in life is Okonomiyaki.  I tried it for the first time in Hiroshima in ‘09 and OMG was it good.  We didn’t get to go there this time, but Osaka is supposed to be a worthy rival.  I had some for my birthday dinner:
My craving for Okonomiyaki will never be sated so I plan to stop being lazy and start making it myself. And the cook from the restaurant gave me my own spatula/scraper thingie as a present after I told him it was my birthday.  #LifeGoals

I’m a figure skating fan and my #1 favorite skater these days is Yuzuru Hanyu. After winning the Olympics he became an absolute rock star over there so I was curious as to whether I’d see anything about him.  I actually didn’t see much of him except for a brief interview on television. I know he has a statue in their Madame Tussaud’s museum but I didn’t get to go there.  I did see a lot of Mao Asada ads on their trains in Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo though.  I know she’s working on a comeback so it looks like her endorsements are giving her solid support.  

We also went to their Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku near our hotel.  A lot of western celebs visit. I saw pics of Katy Perry and Norman Reedus there for instance.

Hmmm those tomoe are quite familiar. ~_^.  

Here’s some video of the finale:

A trip to Japan is not a trip to Japan unless you see Godzilla.  And lookie there, there’s a Boruto poster! Maybe they’ll defeat him for us :P.  

Here’s some video of the head in action:

I guess that’s a good segue into the Naruto portion of the trip.  I was able to go to the Naruto Exhibition in Osaka.  It was really cool.  The line was super long to get in. All I could see at that point was $$$ or I guess ‎¥‎¥‎¥ for the organizers.  The sculptures were awesome and I loved the video montages. They summarized the whole series really well. It was interesting to see the original storyboards. You could see where Kishi whited out mistakes as well as his coloring patterns.  They had all of the pages of chapter 700 and all of the pages of the final chapter of the gaiden posted while I was there.   There was continued promotion the film as I saw the trailer in several places.  I was behind these two girls and it didn’t take long to realize they were Sasuke fans.  When we got to his statue they got all giddy and one was covering her face saying “kakkoii” over and over again.  I can’t pretend I wasn’t amused.  It was like the statue was a One Directioner standing there live and in person or something.  And then they did it AGAIN at the end where they had chapter 700 up, which they had to have seen before since it’s been out for nearly a year now.  But either way they were clearly enjoying themselves, LOL.

The giftshop had a lot of cool things. Credit cards are still not widely used outside of Tokyo and I was running low on the dough.  In order to use my card I would have had to spend over 20,000 yen (roughly $200) and that wasn’t happening, lol.  But I think I had a good haul for what I did get:

I could have gotten Sasuke’s guestbook too if I pre-ordered my ticket, but I didn’t feel like trying to figure it out. Naruto’s book has Kakashi’s handsome face reveal in it and that was more important, lol.

Based on that shirt as well as a few lines on some literature there, it is clear to me that any doubts as to whether they’ll continue to milk this cash cow can be put to rest. They can and they shall keep it going in some way or another with or without Kishi.  

Later in the week I managed to go see Boruto one morning at the cinema in the picture above with the big poster.  Japan actually has a gift shops in their theatres with themed merchandise. I was really surprised to see it, especially for our own Hollywood films. There were oversized Ted 2 teddy bears all over the place.  It’s just interesting because we don’t really do that here.  But anyway I decided to snag the guide book and a few other momentos.  I was really happy to see that they still had the Rai no Sho books on hand, especially at such a prime location. The ticket was kinda pricey so having the book softened the blow some. 

The film itself was enjoyable enough.  I’m still not buying the premise that Naruto can’t spend time with his family because being Hokage means he’s too busy.  I just can’t buy that he can’t spend time with his wife and kids because it’s more important to stock shelves at a store and run all kinds of silly errands around town that people should be able to handle themselves.  It’s not quite as bad as the hand dealt to Sasuke who doesn’t see his kid at all for most of her life, but still it’s lame. With that ridiculousness aside, I thought the action was cool and I liked the voices of the new gen for the most part.  I liked the Papasuke interaction with Sarada that was lacking in the gaiden, but I was still left wanting more. Of course I know a movie can’t show everything.  Sarada’s adorable and Boruto isn’t as annoying as I found him previously. I still wouldn’t say he’s a favorite of mine though and I’m still not sympathetic to his issues.  I can’t say I’m totally sold on another go round with a new generation.  I’m still more invested in their parents at this point and don’t imagine seeing much development with them as secondary characters now.  

In general I’m more or less winding down with fandom and checking off the last few things. I’ve seen the film, I’ve seen the Naruto exhibition, and now I’ll go to New York Comic Con (and don’t worry, I’ll be rocking my NH/SS Family shirt for all the Narutard stuff) to round out 10 years. I’ve got a lot of swag on hand so I hope he can sign several things. I’ve got tickets to one of his signings before I attend the blade rave.

We also managed to snag tickets to the Studio Ghibli museum. They sell out months in advance but thankfully we scored some. It’s a beautiful facility. They don’t allow photos inside, but my friend snuck one in anyway in this mini room. 

The door is also really small, lol.
We could take pics outside though:

We got a commemorative ticket with a few frames from one of his films (my friends had different films).

Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favorites so I couldn’t walk away without Howl and Calcifer swag. I looked for a Sophie too but they didn’t have it *sad face*. 

They didn’t have that crystal block at the museum, but I found it elsewhere at Nakano Broadway (thanks for the recommend to head there witchtimez) and had to add it to my collection. At least there’s Sophie too!!

A trip to Japan is not a trip to Japan without Ramen. We went to the Golden Gai (off the beaten path for most tourists) and it was soooo good:

The Japanese don’t eat ramen like we do. They slurp it like it’s the last thing they’ll ever eat and it’s LOUD, lol.  I didn’t quite get the hang of it like that so I took a little longer to finish.  I like to think I was savoring it and I wasn’t just a hopeless gaijin lol.

We went to Akihabara where I ran into the Boruto takoyaki stand. I’d seen it on the internet but I had no idea it was actually there lol. I can confirm it’s not to scale because I’m 5'7 and Sasuke is suppose to be 6'0 I think?

We also ate at the Gundam Cafe which was nice:

You could win these in the arcades:

Then we rounded out the night with Karaoke and Purikura. And yes, though generally I wouldn’t call myself a fan, we rocked out (or I guess popped out) to T-Swift. You only live once I guess. *Haters gonna hate hate hate…*
I have over a 1200 photos so I can’t post everything and I’m not going to document my entire trip since I wrote plenty here, but I visited Kyoto, Osaka, Hakone (the Ryokan and onsens were sooo relaxing), Nara with all the deer, and rounded it out in Tokyo.  It was a 10 day trip and I packed in a lot of stuff, but that still wasn’t enough time to see everything I wanted to see and do everything I wanted to do.  But it’s no matter. I’ll be visiting Japan throughout my entire lifetime (even my school’s program offers a study abroad session there) so I’ll save those things for next time.  

On the way back, I gotta say it was definitely nice to be carded.  I asked for wine as my drink and the Japanese flight attendant asked how old I was. I said 30 and her eyes bugged out, lol. 

So yeah that was the trip in a nutshell!  I’ll just end this with the pretty Yukata I got fitted for at the Ryokan in Hakone :P:  

I have plenty of videos and you can check them out by clicking here if you’d like.

Ja ne!!

[TRANS] Hanako Vol. 1106 - B.A.P Interview

An interview to the 6 who have returned with the best album

Because of the members, I was able to overcome the hard times

YG: We went on a hiatus from the Autumn of 2014 for around a year, but what I realised from the restart of our activities was that standing in front of our fans on stage was a very blessed thing. It strongly made me want to continue standing on the stage in the future too.
DH: During the hiatus, the ones that supported us were our family of course, friends and finally the members. Because the members were always there with me, I was able to not feel lonely even during mentally painful times.
JU: Releasing a new album in Korea as our comeback, and starting a world tour in Seoul this February. We prepared a lot and I think it contains the performances that we really want to do.
DH: It’s been decided that there’ll be concerts in Nagoya and Osaka in June, and Tokyo in July. Compared to other countries, the Japan concerts are of a larger scale and I think we can show more in terms of performance. Please look forward to the solo stages that we’ve thought up too.

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Concert Report with pictures!

Just a quick (ha ha no) report on my lightning-fast trip to Hawaii and back, with pictures, personal, by friends, and grabbed off of Japanese media to show off the insanity :D I’m going to put it all behind a cut though now that I can again, since I’m home and have my computer. Good lord, I’d heard the mobile app was terrible, but … O__o

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