Year One, and an update


Hey WordPress,

It’s been a while. Today is kind of a special day for this blog because a year ago today is when I had started this blog. It was Christmas night, and everyone in my family was off in their own rooms; I was sitting on the dimly-lit living room sofa. Feelings of loneliness emerged…

I felt lonely to be at this place called home, and the usual impulses came to me: drinking, smoking, masturbating, watching anime… things like that. And as usual, I identified them as something that I didn’t fully want to do–I would much rather be having fun with people if it were an option. But there are seldom things to do on Christmas, much less last minute plans.

So looking back, I’m actually surprised at my decision–or should I say, resolve–to start this blog. I had been meaning to join in on discussions surrounding anime, and I actually did it. And what a journey it has been already.

I had been blogging fairly consistently up until my family and I visited Korea back in July. The trip was certainly an eye-opener for me in terms of me recognizing my privileges and the cultural assimilation that had taken place.

Since then, I’ve been learning about a few key concepts that has been helping me better understand who and how I am, one of which I want to share today: capacity. I learned about capacity through facing a dilemma during my trip:

The problem was that I felt incredibly torn between two seemingly exclusive methods of presenting personal narratives. One method was to share my thoughts and observations in the moments that they occur in, and the other was to wait until there is some conceivable resolution and present my perspectives after-the-fact.

This is what would happen: I would have all these passionate and emotional thoughts from events that I would write down to help me remember later. In these moments, I would feel strongly compelled to share them with just about everyone, only to feel extremely awkward in sharing them afterwards when, frankly, I don’t feel so strongly about them anymore.

I realize that running on emotions isn’t the smartest thing to do all the time: ‘don’t fight when you’re angry’ or ‘don’t shop when you’re hungry’ comes to mind. But many times, I felt frustrated in knowing that my depression had a large part in my motivation and enthusiasm levels having a very short half-life. ‘What’s the point? Who would want to read this anyways? Who cares?’

And so, I wanted to do my reporting right away in order to appropriately capture the sense of rawness of the emotions I experienced from the situations that I came across. After all, that’s what I really wanted to share, things that I found to be poignant.

As for the real world, I didn’t really have the opportunity to make that choice in Korea because I didn’t have the time or the WiFi (I know right? In Korea?) available. And so… if I ever write about Korea, it’s by definition going to be from a retrospective perspective. For better or for worse, writing things after-the-fact does tend to have more wisdom and clarity in them, which the immediate perspectives can lack.

What happened after I got back from Korea, and what frustrated me enough to make me give up on writing about it, was in my pursuit to capture my trip just as I had experienced it. It was so that readers could experience it as well, as close to mine as possible. I know that may sound silly, but it came from my strong desire to be understood. The experiencing of culture shock, discovering the weight of family, and painfully coming into an understanding my privileges after re-visiting Korea after 14 years was staggering, and I wanted to share exactly that.

I remember on the plane ride back, I started the blog off with something like: “It’s been quite a journey. As I’m flying back…”. I couldn’t finish it because it was just too big of a project. But as I kept sitting down to write the rest of the contents afterwards, I would be stuck at modifying the introduction portion of my post to match the passing of time. And with each iteration, I would try really hard to capture the challenges of the last iteration and so on…

It became a really big mess. I even considered putting all these into a prologue and calling it a day. But of course, I wanted an actual prologue to talk about my expectations about going to Korea that I hadn’t written yet…

No, it just wasn’t going to happen. At least not to the standard I wanted it to be. At a point, it wasn’t even about the narrative being shared as much as it was about the way it was being shared, in its structure, pace, clarity, etc. I wouldn’t have been satisfied unless the work satisfied me.

Yeah no… I was attempting to write about something that I myself didn’t have a coherent understanding of. The trip was emotionally dense. There were so many themes. I mean, it was my life. I thought that I unpacked and decompressed all that I was in my most-ambitious-to-date blog post series. But nope. My family issues and probably corresponding emotional issues were just starting to be identified and recognized.

That’s going to be fun to unpack, learn about, heal through, but only after understanding all the brokenness and being exposed to all the pain again. Holy Spirit wants me to be whole again. Am I going to accept the invitation?

I can’t remember where I first heard the word, capacity. But it’s become a keyword in that I think of things in terms of capacity now. I think my friend Chris the architect guy uses it a lot. Simply put, what I wanted to achieve, is beyond my current capacity.

On the other hand, my Twitter has become the medium to share the thoughts and emotions of the immediate. I use it frequently and I’m really enjoying using it.

Merry Christmas everyone!


First thoughts on Eureka Seven (2005)


I finally gave in to Chris telling me to watch Eureka Seven, and here I am making a post to share that I’m enjoying it a lot. And I mean a lot. Although I’m only 5 episodes in, I already feel as though it might replace something in my top 5 list. The only thing is that, apart from Pokemon, I haven’t seen any series longer than 26 episodes, and Eureka Seven clocks in at 50 episodes. So it’ll be interesting to see whether the series will be able to maintain the fantastic pacing it has had so far. I’m hopeful.

A large part of why the show has been so appealing for me comes from its romance/relationship centred plot, which is something that I didn’t expect to see going in to the show. In particular, I’ve always loved stories where a boy and a girl do adventures together, like Nadia and Castle in the Sky. And these stories don’t seem all that common place. What I like about this dynamic is that it’s cute and sets up for ‘pure and innocent’ affections, however awkward or slow. And at the same time, there’s this earnest pursuit of good we see these kids navigate together.

The other thing I really liked is the setting, and it directly contributes to me getting sucked into the story. There seems to be a lot going on in that world, and I can already feel its rich history, scale, and mystery. The execution of the plot is perfect, because for the main character, there was just the right amount of boredom, threat, and life changing catalyst to kick off his adventure.

I’d like to mention that the premise of the show isn’t necessarily fresh to me. There are obvious parallels to Eva, and the character dynamics of the two main characters heavily remind me of the ones in Nadia. I feel like I could name drop Cowboy Bebop and Gurren Lagann as well. But really, this doesn’t matter because Eureka Seven feels very much its own, and a captivating fantasy world at that. One of the stand out execution in the show is capturing a young boy’s curious and energetic outlook on life. I think this really brings the story to life.

Finally, contrary to what I had expected, the animation looked great. It looks nostalgically 2000s without it having aged badly. If anything, it gives off a stylistic feel (along with the aspect ratio) that feels clean and well produced. Character designs are good, and actually, there is something about Eureka’s character design that feels unique. Opening theme is obviously awesome (sasuga FLOW).

All in all, the 50 episodes count doesn’t feel like a chore, but rather a treat to really allow myself to delve into and engage with their world. It’s like the joy of watching a show you really like knowing right off the bat that there are multiple seasons to enjoy.

The Weight of Family (feat. Senjougahara)


I still haven’t shared much from my time in Korea–for reasons–and unfortunately, the poignancy of the trip has faded quite a bit since then. But there may be another way to share its individual stories, and this may just be a better method in that it gives me the opportunity to really flesh out the themes. And of course, I’ll be going back to the basics: using anime to help me talk about things that are otherwise difficult.

So I just got off the phone with my aunt in Korea, and what I didn’t know was that it was also Thanksgiving there–thematically equivalent to our Thanksgiving. And in that short, 12 minute phone call (Kakao Talk), I reconnected to the experience of ‘family’ that I had felt in Korea.

What I learned only after my trip–from listening to my friends–was that this experience of losing ones family is quite common for immigrant families. And I mean families aren’t just your mom, dad, and your siblings living in a house. It’s your grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and all of their children spread across the country. And I have like 30 cousins. Apparently.

In Bakemonogatari, we learn about Senjougahara’s past when she chose to cut off her ties with her mom, which is how she–literally, in the anime–lost her weight. Now, I’ve seen this arc a couple of times, mainly while trying to get people into Bakemonogatari, but it never hit me as hard as it did when I watched it after my trip to Korea.

2017-10-07 22_27_45-Greenshot.png

You see, I had lost all my ties with my family back home. I mean, my situation wasn’t as intentional, but rather as a direct result of moving far away. But there definitely were some heavy stuff in there as well. Like the fact that I didn’t always get along with my family. Or that identifying as Korean became difficult and embarrassing to do as I grew up on Vancouver Island. There’s brokenness for sure. And for the past 5 years since I’ve moved out, I’ve completely lost knowledge of the bond known as family. I mean the way I saw everyone, they were either my friend or they weren’t. Even at church, forming a family centred around Jesus–as special and amazing it is–was simply the idea of companionship and sharing life together. And not to undervalue the church but to reveal my capacity to understand the depth of relationships.

When I met some of my relatives back in Korea, I could physically feel the weight of our bond. It was actually too much, because it was deeper than anything I had known. It was heavy and I knew I wouldn’t be able to understand it yet. And by no means I’m saying it was bad, but to think that I had lived most of my life without this? It was really sad but at the same time, I’ve never actually missed my family because… how could I miss something that I don’t know about? I was overcome by this new feeling familiarity, unity, bond, and support.

And that’s when the weight of my family came back to me–good and the bad. And tonight, I felt it again. It’s not fluffy (fuwa fuwa) or pleasant like that, but it’s certainly something I will treasure. And for sure, it’ll be a long journey and a healing process that will undoubtedly be painful, but like Senjougahara, I’ll desire it.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Blog Season 2?


I know I’ve been absent in my blogging–I’m aware of this fact pretty often. I have ideas laid out for a few posts but they’re not written yet… classic Simon.

Anyways, I thought I throw in a mini life update(?). If any of the other ones are worth writing, I’m sure their truths will stand through the test of time… or something like that.

とにかく, this September…

I am not going to school (Yay!–for now anyways).

I’m still working as a Behavioral Interventionist, twice a week. Sometimes, working with the kids make me so happy like nothing else.

I’m still leading at Young Life, and it’s an amazing community. It gives back way more than I pour into it. It encourages me so much.

I’m still leading at Rappers Without Borders, and our execs are amazing this year. I’m learning so much from this position.

I’m still watching anime, and I got some new perspectives. I feel like a seasoned anime water now, but I’m watching a lot of trash rn.

I’ve been slacking off on taking care of myself like running, yoga, and stuff like that. Stopped drinking beer every night.

Started out a bit depressed (classic) but doing well now.

Church is something I take for granted all too often. It’s the body.

I had an interview with the school board for a student support position. Kind of anxious about the results but, God is good and He is for me.

I recently had to research for kitchenware and vacuums to purchase on Amazon. It’s really not all that different from looking at phones, cameras, or any other consumer goods.

Physical touch was more important than I had realized, and it brought on a lot of healing.

I’m pretty bad at the ‘business’ side of things, whether it be networking, professional development, and ‘stuff like that’.

Maybe I should cut my hair (it’s pretty long, if you haven’t seen me irl).

I said that I would finally learn a street dance this year but…

My producing definitely pulled back to being a hobby.

This isn’t to be negative, but I could be a much, much better person. I recognize some of the areas to grow in, but then I’d have to acknowledge being blind to so many others. I want to be “transformed by the renewing of my mind”. I want lead a Christ-centred life. If anything though, I do have this desire and I know it is good, and I know my faith in God makes me righteous in Him. And in Him is my identity.

I am lazy. I give up too easily. I get frustrated and upset quickly. I’m not good at communicating. And these are all too embarrassingly transparent. Everyone around me knows. How I made it this far I don’t know. Or… no, I do know. And it’s all too clear. I have to remember this, and walk in boldness.

Thank you to everyone in my life who inspire me, teach me, encourage me, support me, help me, heal me, build into me, lets me build into them, lets me heal them, let’s me help them, let’s me support them, let’s me encourage them, lets me teach them, lets me inspire them, and lets me share Christ with them.

Update is over, for now. As Chris likes to tell me, thoughts are an ever evolving process.

Solar eclipse, Zero no Tsukaima, and Expectations


There was a solar eclipse today, and I kept on thinking of Zero no Tsukaima, a harem anime I watched back in high school. From what I understand, it was a fairly popular series back when it aired (I mean, how often is it that an anime gets renewed up to 4 seasons?). But it hasn’t aged all that well: characters pretty much follow their archetypes to a T, and it didn’t deviate much from its contemporaries in the harem, romance, comedy, and ecchi genre. But, as I fondly remembered the series’ characters, I wondered why I loved it so much in the first place, and I wondered whether it would still have the same emotional impact if I were to watch the series again today.

Speaking of the eclipse, I had been looking forward to it for about a month, and I actually felt ‘hype’ when I thought about it. I would imagine that it used to be a really big deal at one point in time, when it wasn’t possible to understand the phenomena behind the sun’s disappearing. I mean seriously, it must have raised quite a bit of concern seeing the world turn dark. Fantastical worlds certainly draws influence from this mysteriousness of the eclipse, and so eclipses are used as this rare, ‘only occurs once in every 1000 years’ sort of a thing with connections to magical energy.

ZnT is no different (I don’t want to spoil any of the others), and the eclipse plays a big role in the show’s plot (in season 1). I guess it must have left quite an impression on me because I thought that eclipses were this grand thing, where in reality–and it certainly didn’t help that it was only a partial eclipse from where I was in the world–it just looked like a white dot that wasnt quite round (and I used the necessary special viewing glasses of course). I don’t know what I had expected… I thought that there would be something of significance. And I may have thought that I could view it with my naked eyes.

Expectations rooted in fiction aside, ZnT has a type of fantasy that I’m quite susceptible to, and a lot of it has to do with expectations. Here was a self-insert protagonist who used to live out his mundane, day to day life. But all of a sudden, he is forcibly removed from that world and is brought into a world where, despite differences and challenges, he is surrounded by people, opportunities, and a space to cultivate himself.

In this context, even if there are things that are incredible frustrating–like Louis’ stubborn, abusive, and compulsive behaviour towards our protagonist–there are expectations for a happy ending. Typically, harem romance comedies can be hard to watch because of their skewed balance between frustrations and their resulting pay offs. Counterintuitively, however, there is also the idea that you don’t let frustrations deter you because with this much frustration, there has to be a equal and opposite pay off. Louis is as stubborn as she tries hard at other things, as abusive as she is affectionate, and as is compulsive as she is passionate. I don’t know, I kind of made some of that up, but like actually, everyone’s characteristics have room become good or bad qualities.

Ideally, the level of miscommunication between two people shouldn’t break verisimilitude. Often enough though, they do upset believability and I’m forced to wonder if Anno really meant what he said when he said that most people in the anime industry are autistic.

There’s another thing which I’m quite susceptible to, and it is the longing to be saved. I don’t know, I can’t be the only guy who sometimes wanted a princess to save me. That idea just sounds nice. And it was the same idea with Dragon Maid, and to an extent the Monogatari series. Whether it’s relying on someone else or on your new found power, there is a cause to be okay to act different, because the circumstances have changed. All of a sudden, you have a maid that just wants to love you, or all of a sudden you’ve become immortal due to vampiric powers.

And so… I long for this. I want to be taken out of my world. I want an opportunity for a relationship, no matter how tough it may become (enclosed in that semi-dysfunctional, romantic bond). And I want to be saved and have my circumstances changed.

But what’s crazy is that Christians kind of believe in all of this. I mean, whether they’ve contextualized their relationship with Jesus like me or not, Jesus is nothing short of a supernatural lover who wants to save me. Is this incredibly idealistic or was I simply made to desire Him?


Back then, I fell in love with Louise, and so I fell in love her world. Very similar to Rosario to Vampire. Yes, these are all trashy shows. But as trashy as they were, I loved the incredible moments when characters were willing give their life to save their loved ones. It’s a different kind of trash compared to, say, Eromanga Sensei.



So to answer the question at the beginning, I think I’ll still be able to enjoy the show. I like J.C.Staff’s art style, and I love Kugimiya Rie as a seiyuu. Except… I started to like these two things because I watched ZnT. So it’s a bit of a paradox.

A certain state of anxiety

kare kano fence.fw

I want to describe a type of anxiety that I feel sometimes. Not to mention that emotional experiences and feelings are in many ways complicated and subjective, and even more so in the ways that one might try to describe them in words. And not to mention that things like anxiety are often co-morbid (psychology term that means more than one ‘disorder’ occurring at a time) with other ‘things’, thus trying to isolate anxiety by itself being somewhat of an impossible or futile thing. But–it helps that I was in that state an hour ago, and so I feel motivation and have the desire to write about it:

I’ve heard of the idea that there is no fault in the act of people who try to gain happiness. Or, for an even stronger argument, in the act of people who try to gain happiness in order to get away from anxiety–to feel ‘okay’. I can’t remember where I encountered it… maybe it was from Tumblr a long time ago.

Anyways, what is anxiety? Well, once again, not to mention–but in the process having mentioned it anyways, ironically–all the disclaimers I said in the beginning, anxiety is a state of being. And in that state, feelings can range from feeling slightly off or feeling a little discomfort, to feeling like something is severely wrong in which case the attention to the feeling takes precedence over all other functions of life. I mean, it’s only natural that, for example, if you see a fire, you would–or at least you probably should–try to get out of there immediately.

What happened about an hour ago was that I was at the very start (low end) of that spectrum. And really, nothing happened that would trigger it–at least, nothing that I could figure out–but I just happened to be feeling it. And I guess the next iteration of anxiety is the ability to notice and observe this feeling inside of me.

I’ll start by admitting that I’m a bit anxious right now. I mean, I’m inside a state of anxiety, which means that my thought process and my view of the world might be different than how they are normally. It’s kind of a good thing for the purpose of this post, because otherwise, I may not want to (or could) write about it in the same way that I am able to write it now. And I’m writing it simply because I want to, which is something of a fleeting golden opportunity. Lastly, I’m inclined to make the observation that this compulsive desire to write is an indication that I felt something poignant enough.

Going back to the topic at hand, I need to mention that I have found certain parts of anxiety to be kind of enjoyable. And this might be a bit difficult to explain, but it’s the idea that things around me don’t seem quite as real, or that things seem more interesting or fantastical than usual. In this state, I have a strong longing for intimacy. I can feel my own vulnerability. And I feel… suggestible. (I might add to the list, hot and feverish, but then it’s usually because I actually have a fever. These feelings are in the same direction, just much further along.)

I mean the anxiety itself feels horrible and uncomfortable, but on the flip side is the same degree for desire itself. And this pattern of anxiety made escaping into fantasy somehow more real and important. It made me search and long for things with an unprecedented passion. Perhaps it was in part desperation, but I thought it was passionate nonetheless. Its vulnerability was interesting, as it was kind of awesome in its sheer powerfulness. It was like falling in love.

So whenever I would feel dysphoria, vulnerable, anxious, lonely, or whatever it could be called, I would do whatever I could to feel better. Now the problem arises in the difficulty of assessing the validity of my circumstances accurately. What I mean is that I’m probably biased in thinking that I had no choice but to do the things to make myself feel better–that the anxieties really were a big problem and that it was only natural for me to seek shelter from it over all other things.

And… to a large extent. they were. But of course, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that anxiety meant I didn’t have to do my homework. That I didn’t have to go to my classes. I could just make an excuse. In fact, anxiety meant that I could neglect any of my responsibilities when I felt anxious. And soon, the lines between ‘I can’t’ and ‘I don’t want to’ started to blur. And consequently, anxiety, with its friend stress, only came back stronger and scarier after days of procrastination.

While I was anxious, there are things that I’ve done that I could only have done because I was anxious, like how someone has less inhibition when they’re drunk. I guess to a certain extent, I enjoyed doing whatever I wanted to do. But still, I really was petrified sometimes. Anxiety was debilitating. Anxiety was scary. And in those moments, I just wanted to feel okay, because feeling anxious felt like I was like dying or something. Parts of it (or even all of it) might just have been in my head, but I didn’t know what else to do. It was a habit, a pattern, a cycle.

But in that state, I sought after comfort. And I don’t mean living comfortably but to have someone care for me and comfort me. I desired coziness and warmth. I wanted to be taken care of, I wanted to be wanted, and I wanted to find love.

But many of those times, it brought me to the end of my rope. Again and again. It was quite dysfunctional and distressing. It became related to my selfishness, anger, bitterness, loneliness, and substance use (I’m counting coffee and alcohol as substances). It all became too complicated. Maybe I was just confused. Or maybe depressed. Or maybe… But then again, aren’t these indication enough that something was wrong with me?

I’d say so. But almost stubbornly, I kept searching for answers. And I guess after 5 years, I came to a decision to love Jesus.

I won’t go into the details about that in this post (as I kind of already did here). But in the process of going through it all, it made me look at emotional states like sadness, pleasure, anxiety, joy, hope, and love completely differently. I kind of came out on the other end as this… not normal person. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want me in any other way. The fact that God loves me, and I mean really me, with all of this? And then literally living through His healing, adventures, teachings, and world? Now that’s fantasy. I don’t know a whole lot yet but it’s been amazing, and Jesus has definitely been more than enough for me.

There used to be a great deal of shame and confusion about myself. I mean, to be fair, the stuff I wrote on this post isn’t the most casual topic. But I see that I’m just human after all. Plus, most of the times, I can confidently say that I live without the awareness of these human conditions. It’s like I’ve forgotten all about it already–except when I get a little taste of it like today and get the opportunity to remember. Although, it seems like every time I feel like I’m ‘all good’, I quickly learn that I can so easily fall back into my old habits.

You know what’s a bit awkward? I wrote most of this stuff on the bus ride home, because pondering about things on a moving vehicle is kind of picturesque as well as it being actually effective (same with shower thoughts). But then I came home and listened to Kare Kano’s OP because it popped into my head like my brain was trying to tell me that it was relevant. But then the song, with its own emotional context and my own history with it, kind of re-contextualized the state of anxiety that I’ve tried to think about. Ugh.

But it helped that I wrote all the main ideas down already, and I was surprised by how quickly I was able to reconnect, in order to be able to authentically and properly channel the anxiety to write this post (LOL). I also think that Anno (who directed Kare Kano) has without a doubt went through a very similar depression as me. And of course, his works (like Nadia and Eva) communicate the human conditions and depression more poignantly. But one day, I would like to create art that touches the heart of others who are also deeply, passionately, desperately, and helplessly searching for love. (I mean, from what I know now, it’ll be more of sharing the love of Jesus rather than trying to invent my own. Although, maybe my ideal art is just creating things inspired by His love.)

One last thing I want to try and clarify is what this particular ‘anxiety’ is. I mean maybe it’s more of a loneliness and longing. This part is more for me as I have no idea how to explain it (has this post become a journal?) but I may be able to reference The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in some way. And point out the similarities and differences between this and the ‘moonlight’ state I described in here (2nd paragraph). I’m not too sure yet but they seem quite similar.


I want to mention this because I noticed that a friend of mine today was stressed(?) when I casually talked about things (I can’t remember what it was though) like I usually do. So I want to clarify a few things. When I talk about things, it means that I have found peace with it (hence being able to talk about it at all), so there is no need to feel concerned for me. On the other hand, because this is just how I process things, I have to admit that I don’t always consider other people becoming burdened by my words. So there’s that. Although… I guess it’s different than in person than in a blog. I still think it was interesting to mention. So I guess I won’t edit this out. I told her that I want there to be zero difference between how I talk and how I write my blog. I guess, for better or for worse, this is how I want to write/blog now. Maybe there are better formats (i.e. video) for something like this, but I guess I’ll probably change it up again before I know it. Plus it’s not like I post enough to have been consistent with any style yet.


This post is kind of a mess. It took me… what, like 5 hours to write it. So my state of being from the start to my state now is completely different. And it’s now 4am, so there has been a noticeable dip in quality and organization of my writing. And for some reason, I’ve been doing these meta ‘behind the scenes’ commentary in most of my writing. I don’t know. I suddenly understand why Digibro makes vlogs sound the way they do when he hasn’t slept, is drunk, and is rambling about things at like 5am in the morning. I’ll just leave it, and one day I’ll look back on this post and either cringe, think that it’s cute, or I don’t know, maybe I’ll see it as a necessary process of erasing the lines among blogging, journaling, and how I talk. A good indication is that I don’t feel anxious about publishing any of this. It is what it is, I know I am me, I know He loves me, and I’ve changed through His love… LOL this is too cheesy.