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i'm emichii. my hobbies are writing, painting, and staring at Ohno Satoshi's face. ( more..? )
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Posted on: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 @ 12:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
my complicated relationship with creative pursuits.

Recently on twitter, I was asked to share some facts about myself and I took the chance to finally lay out how I feel towards my two often conflicting passions of writing and art. It was good for me to recount and sort through this complicated history and see it all succinctly explained in within 140 character limits, so I thought I'd post it here too.
  1. i have always been equally passionate about both writing and art, however my focus seems to swap between the two at any given moment.
  2. for most of my life, my dream was to be a writer. throughout my entire primary/high school/early uni life i did nothing but write.
  3. i wrote original fiction, series, short stories and novels. i entered competitions, got shortlisted, got published, got rejected.
  4. i submitted CVs and proposals and manuscripts. there's an agency out there who took my full manuscript and never got back to me >:(
  5. i also used to be a very prolific fanfiction writer. i often wrote for a certain crackship in a certain popular anime ww
  6. because i focused so much on writing during this time, i almost stopped drawing entirely and neglected my art.
  7. i still regret this when i think of how much i could've improved and where i'd be at now if i hadn't stopped drawing back then.
  8. nowadays, my focus has shifted into art. for now, i am thinking in images rather than words but for now, this is where i want to be.
  9. however, i am still carrying my stories and characters with me until the day i can express them and share them in whatever way i want :)
  10. in the end i think i am just addicted to creating. i love storytelling, whether it's by words or by pictures, i need to make something.
  11. this is probably why ideally, i'd love to be a mangaka/comic artist, to somehow finally coordinate my two relentless passions together.
It seems that I've really had a long complicated journey chasing my passions and it will probably continue in this way into the future. I don't know, it's still hard to analyze myself and how I feel and what I'm like as a person. What do I really like to do, what do I prefer, what am I most compelled to do, what can't I give up. The only thing I know for sure is that as complex as my relationship with writing and art is, I can't give them up, or rather, they won't give me up. I'll probably keep writing and drawing and telling stories and battling this conflicting relationship to the very end. 

(It also seems that I really do like writing things in lists. Short and to the point twitter has been good for someone like me who doesn't particularly enjoy writing proper blog posts.)

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Posted on: Monday, April 3, 2017 @ 10:42 PM | 0 comment(s)
a really long work process.

Recently, I finally finished an illustration (of my beloved boyband haha) that I've been working on for an incredibly long time. 

I've always sketched and drawn lineart directly onto my watercolour paper, so it obviously meant all the changes, errors and subsequent erasing affected the quality of my paper when I finally started painting. So it was really about time that I improved my work process, and sketched and finalized the lineart before transferring it. Since I changed up my work process a bit and made full use of my lightbox this time, I thought I'd take some photos along the way. 







Here are some scans of the picture across its four separate stages: rough layout, rough sketch (blue pencil) with lineart, final lineart and final colour.





I could really feel the difference in my final lineart, like it was much cleaner and more deliberate, but adding an extra step really prolongs the work process and the extra time took quite a toll on my patience. However, I did enjoy that I can sketch and make changes with a lot more freedom when I draft and create the lineart on plain paper first. That being said, even with a lightbox, it's not particularly easy to trace the lineart onto the final paper because my watercolour paper is quite thick and the original lineart's become more messy (in exchange for freedom). So in conclusion, it seems that creating lineart will still remain the most cumbersome and painful part of the painting process for me.

The final product as well, is far from what I imagined and I struggled a lot with the scanning and colour correction at the end. I feel like although I'm never at a loss for ideas and images that I want to bring to life, I'm often faced with the frustrating reality of not having the ability to truly create what I want. That's always really frustrating, but I've been improving at being quick to accept that this is the best I can do at the moment, and I will get better next time. So rather than dwelling on my own criticism and inabilities, I want to believe that this was another learning opportunity and that I can improve from it.

This year, since I only have a few classes before I graduate, I'm really hoping that I can dedicate a lot of time to drawing and improving my art. I'll also hopefully be tabling at two cons this year, and that's always really exciting and motivating for me. Since I'm planning to go into postgrad in the future, I think that the free time I have this year will be the best and maybe the last opportunity for me to put so much time and effort into my art. So for the rest of 2017, I'll keep doing my best for as long as I can!!

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Posted on: Sunday, January 8, 2017 @ 10:32 PM | 0 comment(s)
What I read in 2016:

Happy new year!

Before I knew it, another year was over. I’m still not sure what this blog is for, since I really don’t think I like blogging much. That’s why it will remain this mostly empty page with occasional spouts of nonsense and contemplation as I feel like it.

This year I was super determined to FINALLY HIT MY READING GOAL FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!! I kept the same goal as last year, a pretty reasonable 40. BUT I STILL COULDN’T DO IT!! Actually, early in the year I was doing really well, I was going at a very good pace and was a few books ahead. And I was thinking, wow! This is actually working? Maybe after 4 years of failure, I’ll finally reach my reading goal for the first time!! But alas, it wasn’t to be.

My reading stopped entirely at August, when my honours workload and thesis started to hit hard. The next few months were thesis-writing hell and I basically wanted to die the whole time until the thesis was due and I still wanted to die for like the next week afterwards. Anyway, I didn’t get to resume my reading till November, but by then it was too late to catch up. I spent most of December in Japan too, so not much reading happening while I was busy having fun and trying to erase the traumatising honours year from my mind hahaha. So in the end, I ended up with only 30 books for the year of 2016.

Favourite and stand-out books for the year are bolded and Australian authors marked with an asterisk. There were also a few solid books this year that I thought had admirable qualities, but did not quite hit “favourite or stand-out”. I’ll comment on those a little later, but for now, here are the 30 books I read in 2016:
  1. Paperweight – Meg Haston
  2. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloane
  3. The Pigeon – Patrick Suskind
  4. James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
  5. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
  6. Our Happy Time – Ji-young Gong
  7. One Whole and Perfect Day – Judith Clarke*
  8. Strange Weather in Tokyo – Hiromi Kawakami
  9. Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
  10. Grow Up – Ben Brooks
  11. Taipei – Tao Lin
  12. Every Last Word – Tamara Ireland Stone
  13. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – Matthew Quick
  14. Other Words for Love – Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
  15. Story of a Girl – Sara Zarr
  16. Me and Mr. Booker – Cory Taylor*
  17. Strange Case of Dr. Jekell & Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
  18. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith – Matthew Woodring Stover
  19. Summer Crossing: A Novel – Truman Capote
  20. Flowers in the Attic – V. C. Andrews
  21. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  22. Chronicle of a Blood Merchant: A Novel – Yu Hua
  23. The Perfume Collector – Kathleen Tessaro
  24. Wonder – R. J. Palacio
  25. The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
  26. Ten Mile River – Paul Griffin
  27. The Wild Geese – Ogai Mori
  28. The Chaperone – Laura Moriarty
  29. Stoner & Spaz – Ron Koertge
  30. The Devotion of Suspect X – Keigo Higashino 

Overall comments and ramblings:

Other Words for Love was a cute and decent book and held my interest, but in the end felt a bit lacking, as it didn’t seem to really drive the point home and was a bit shaky in certain parts. What stood out to me the most though, was that the writing voice was very solid. The first-person narrator voice was subtle and nuanced in just the right way to evoke enough sympathy yet also maintain a good distance. It didn’t feel heavy or forceful, and it didn’t seem presumptuous or self-centred as if forcing the reader to sympathise with the protagonist, which I think is a common danger in first-person writing. I also thought that the family dynamics and the relationships between the characters were really well done, the tension and hidden bitterness within each conversation and action was very well portrayed.

I was really interested in the legendary trashy book Flowers in the Attic, so I had to give it a go this year. In the end, it was honestly an easy read and quite enjoyable in that trashy kind of way. I can see why it has a legendary status, because the plotline is honestly so farfetched and reaching, but that’s exactly what makes it dramatic and fun to read. It’s basically all cheap thrills, disbelief and slight horror in the progression of events and so it’s very readable. It’s no amazing piece of literature and it won’t impact you deeply in any way, but it is definitely readable and fun.

I also feel like I need to say something about Ten Mile River. The plot and characters were very raw and hard-hitting, which I liked, and the language and speech used in the book really added to that. To me, there’s something poignant and tragic in this story, although it doesn’t quite seem to own that, and it just sort of floats awkwardly there in the end.  

The worst books of the year were The Perfume Collector and The Chaperone. It makes me feel angry just thinking about them. Taipei was also incredibly hard to get through. Books that I had high expectations for based on plotline and reception but ultimately dissappointed me were Our Happy Time and Forgive me, Leonard Peacock.

My favourite book of the year was definitely Higashino’s The Devotion of Suspect X. Even though I’ve read a fair share of Japanese crime fiction, this one stands out because of how differently it’s structured. It’s fascinating because from the beginning, the reader sees and follows the suspects’ perspective rather than the detective’s. This crime novel works backwards in that we know the crime and how it occurred, but what we don’t know until the very end is how the crime is hidden. Furthermore, the characters embroiled in the crime are all unique and well-crafted, they’re interesting and have clear personalities, instincts and intentions. And even while the reveal occurs, The Devotion of Suspect X adds extra depth into why suspect X acts the way they do, and it’s honestly a bit heartbreaking and leaves an impression long after you close the book. And that kind of “a bit heartbreaking and leaves an impression” is exactly the type of story I love to read!!

Anyway, 2017 is going to be my year of freedom (somewhat)! (To be honest, any year after that horrible honours torture will feel like freedom haha) Apart from my final undergrad courses and some clinical experience, I’ll have a lot more time on my hands this year so I’m going to aim a little higher for 45 books this time! Tune in next year to see if I finally manage to hit my reading goal or if I will be met with failure again hahaha! !

I wish you all a wonderful 2017 and hope you all have many great books to read this year that are a little bit heartbreaking and leave you with an impression afterwards! :’) 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 26, 2016 @ 1:39 PM | 0 comment(s)
My favourite things

Jesus, church, Tehillah, Arashi, Ohno Satoshi, the Australian Open, Andy Murray, Oreo McFlurries, meaningful conversations, Australian young adult fiction, the book of Ecclesiastes, airports, Hong Kong, train rides, libraries, collecting CDs, writing stories, people-watching, youth ministry, Fullkawa Honpo, watercolours, utaite covers of Vocaloid songs, hoarding packaging materials, writing lists.  

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Posted on: Sunday, January 3, 2016 @ 12:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
What I read in 2015:

So 2015’s already come and gone and I… only read… a miniscule amount of… 26 books. Hahahaah… and to think that I had already dropped my reading goal to what I thought was a more realistic number of 40 books. OTL

As usual, my favourite and stand-out books for the year are in bold. …and I just realized that I didn’t read any Australian authors at all this year!!! I’m actually horrified at myself.

1: It's Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini 

2: South of the Border, West of the Sun – Haruki Murakami

3: A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki

4: Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates

5: Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson

6: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie

7: Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

8: Flipped – Wendelin Van Draanen

9: The Seventh Day – Yu Hua

10: How to Be an American Housewife – Margaret Dilloway

11: Hotel Iris – Yoko Ogawa

12: Us – David Nicholls

13: 84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff

14: Good Wives – Louisa May Alcott

15: The Waiting Years – Fumiko Enchi

16: The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness

17: Go Ask Alice – Anonymous (Beatrice Sparks)

18: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman – Haruki Murakami

19: Paper Towns – John Green

20: The Boy in the Black Suit – Jason Reynolds

21: Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon

22: Please Look After Mom – Kyung-Sook Shin

23: Falling into Place – Amy Zhang

24: The Library of Unrequited Love – Sophie Divry

25: The Housekeeper and the Professor – Yoko Ogawa

26: Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell 

This year’s reading was well… interesting? I read more adult contemporary and middle-grade fiction, as well as the usual helping of young adult and translated works. In terms of middle-grade fiction, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was really impressive. I really love it when children’s fiction can carry a deeper, mature element while remaining outwardly child-friendly and appealing. Alexie managed to have a humourous voice and tell a seemingly funny story, while also being straightforward with the more brutal and sobering events.

If I had to pick the most unenjoyable book of the year, it would probably be Van Draanen’s Flipped followed by Green’s Paper Towns. Flipped was just so obnoxiously juvenile while Paper Towns was irrelevant and pointless.

There were many books I read this year that were almost solid and had potential. The Rest of Us Just Live Here was fascinating in its concept and the characterization of the protagonist’s insecure personality and OCD, but failed to deliver in other areas. I really enjoyed The Boy in the Black Suit, the story and the characters, but ultimately felt like it was lacking something.

I tried reading the celebrated Yoko Ogawa this year, but I really haven’t found her work that enjoyable. While I appreciate the sentiment behind The Housekeeper and the Professor, it was painfully boring to suffer through. Hotel Iris was quite readable and intriguingly sinister though.

The Waiting Years was probably the most impressive book of the year. I can’t say it was ‘enjoyable’ because the story itself was so twisted and dark. But it was definitely a tour de force; it was so disturbing and effective that I had to read it through in one sitting. It was actually suffocating to get through, the writing really conveyed this very tight and restrictive feeling, this foreboding sense that something was going to go wrong at any time and that there’d be no happy ending. It was really an incredible read.

I also really loved Please Look After Mom. The use of the second-person narration was really different and confronting, and the changing of perspectives in each chapter was interesting. It was tragic and touching but also a little bit harsh at the same time, and I really liked it. What is most fascinating I think, is how the character of ‘Mom’ is portrayed, there was just something so poignant and real about the characteristics Shin gave her.

I feel like my biggest achievement of the year was making it through Gone with the Wind, which is a whopping 1448 pages to add to my otherwise disappointing page count. It took me about 6-7 months on and off and in that time I must’ve read like 15 other books. It was well worth it in the end and I really did enjoy it. There were some things that disappointed me though, such as how it was all forced into the mould of a romance novel in the end, when to me it was clearly the story of Scarlett O’Hara, who was such a fascinating and well-crafted character.

Anyway, maybe this year I’ll finally reach my reading goal! Hahaha… OTL
Let’s all try to read more this year! And I’ll try to blog more. But not really. 

Hope 2016 will be a good year for everyone! :)

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