‘Where is my life headed?’

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Sometimes, life can feel stagnant. I’m in that thought/mood bubble right now. It made me think back to Haruhi’s Endless Eight, and how the repetition of daily life, no matter how great, can make you feel mundane (let’s pretend that this is a noun) and lost. Here’s what I wrote in my journal earlier this morning:

Where is my life headed right now?

I’ve enjoyed experimenting with setting up an online presence
Giving hours of thought on content creation and being a content creator
Motivated by different factors at different times like artistic expression, vocational ambition, personal growth, or just a way to interact among different communities

During these last few months, I’ve enjoyed exploring and learning about cultural differences
For example, when I’m on YouTube, I watch a lot of interviews on Asian and Korean people
Ultimately, I want the knowledge and skill to be able to reconcile and bridge cultural and personality differences in my communities

On the simplified side of things, it seems as though there are bad things in every country; no culture is perfect
It’s also true that there are good people everywhere, not to be overlooked by their place of origin

And it’s not a “it’s 2017″ kind of a thing
Love has always been love, kindness and respect has always been the same way
It’s how we appreciate and listen to others

As my perspective and outlook on life extends from momentary feelings to looking ahead say, a year, I have to ask, where is my life going?

And it’s kind of a scary thought, and a thought that can only come after certain stability and consistency has been established
It’s impossible to discern or care about this if my life remained in day to day chaos

Ellie has grounded me so much
Emotionally, and, in finding fulfillment in life

So for the first time in my life, I’m starting to accept that my life is what I make of it
I simply wasn’t able to consider life like this before
There is no perfect life; I can’t possibly learn and understand everything
I’ll always have flaws and blind spots

With the ever increasing understanding that Jesus is God’s greatest and perfect demonstration of His love
And that Jesus is God, and God is good–how will my life change?

With the current prospective career path underway, what will my life look like in a year, or 5?
Life has oddly become something I need to try enjoying in the present
But there’s an interesting shift from living life for the moment to living life in the moment
It’s about appreciating and practicing gratitude

Life is life
So significant and insignificant at the same time

Well there you have it. Haruhi says, “I wonder if this was good enough”. That’s sort of my mood of the day, wondering if the choices I’ve made in my life are good enough. And even though I know Jesus is ultimately the author of my story, I recognize that this is a very human feeling to have.

I’m hoping that I can unpack what happened this year as my birthday is once again approaching. Stay tuned, I guess? Head over to my Twitter if you want to find me active.


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!

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.

My experience with Persona 4 (2008)


At least once a year during the summer, my employer/client’s family goes on vacation. They usually don’t give much of a notice, and so once again I found myself with a free week. I thought that I would use this time to finally finish my post about my trip to Korea, but I ended up getting distracted by this game called Persona 4 instead…

The thing is, I had gotten recommendations to play P4 many times in the past, but I always declined. Even Chris told me that I would love it, as the game revolves around forming relationships, but I seem to have a tendency to be disinterested when others tell me to try something. I don’t really know why. Maybe things just aren’t as appealing or special unless I come into them on my own (exceptions always exist though).

Anyways, the more ‘reasonable’ reasons why I didn’t try P4 was because of its character design and inaccessibility. I mean, I actually couldn’t play it since it wasn’t available on the PC, and this was my go to reason/excuse. But out of all the things, my boredom while visiting my parents’ house in Nanaimo motivated me consider it again, and upon probing further, I found out that near perfect PS2 emulation had been a thing for a while… *eyebrow dance*

But soon, I ran into another problem–Persona 4 was dubbed. For me, it’s the audio that really brings a character to life, and as I’ve explained before, dubs just don’t convey the same idea of emotions because of the English language itself. But it seemed that I had no choice as I couldn’t read Japanese.

Well, thanks to Google once again, I found out about the existence of an “undub” version of P4. But then again, the English voice acting wasn’t bad, and many other pro-sub people were in agreement, some of whom were even favoring the dub. I wasn’t sure which version to play until I saw a comment saying that they hated the original Japanese voice acting because of a character named Rise, only for me to find out that–to my surprise–her seiyuu was Kugimia Rie! I fondly remembered Louise from Zero no Tsukaima and was super stoked to be able to hear her voice in the game. And then what really solidified my choice for the undub version was that one of the main characters was voiced by Horie Yui. It was a no brainer (I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on my blog but she is my favourite seiyuu).

So… I spent the last two days playing it, and wow, I really went in on this game. For both days, I was up around noon, and I would play the game until about 4am! Except for an hour or two spent on getting food and going to the bathroom, I seriously played nonstop. And I only ‘went to bed’ (as I had been playing the game on my bed) because I was at the point of absolute exhaustion. This binging pattern was kind of reminiscent of me doing drugs…

But I have to say, I’ve never binged this hard on before–or rather, I physically could never. Where did my stamina come from? Are my stretching habits finally paying off? I was both concerned and impressed about what I had just pulled off. I mean, the last time I did something like this was when I played the Fate/stay night VNs last September, but I remember not being able to push past 12 hours a day–not that that’s anything to be proud of. What I have to say though is that, sinking my mind into something to this degree, the experience can go far beyond feeling immersed in the game to feeling some kind of psychosis.

For example, the first time I played Minecraft back in my first year, I think I played for about 8 hours straight. And afterwards, I felt this haunting loneliness for some reason. It was incredibly disorienting to realize the difference between reality and that world where all I did–and could do–was craft stuff. This prolonged involvement inside a limited world caused my mind to become depressed (like, literally physically) and out of touch with reality, resulting in anxiety.

That used to be the case, anyways. It’s actually a weird balance because, after a day of binging, my head actually becomes ridiculously clear–if I can finish the game before the onset of psychosis. There’s a real sense of achievement and letting go of things in the real world that results in some real mental health boosts. As for a game this size… well, I found myself knowing better to stop, and being able to stop, which is why I took the day off to write about it as well as to do some exercise. My body would most definitely have gotten sick if I kept this up.

So I guess it’s indicative of my better overall mental health, which is great. I mean it’s weird; for better or for worse, I’m unable to immerse myself into the game like before. I’m aware that I’m playing a game, but this doesn’t take away from the enjoyment. I often think about its connection to reality like how many man hours it must have went into creating this, or the community that forms around the game. And, as a spiritual health indicator, I found myself naturally checking in with God every once in a while during the game, instead of, say, coming out of a game how ever many hours later and realizing, ‘oh right, God exists in my world’. I mean I was always relieved when I realized it though.


I have lots of (positive) things to say about P4. I don’t know if I’m in any position/authority to talk about games, but I do try to play at least one or two titles a year. And I do know that I prefer indie games that have the adjectives RPG, visual novel, side-scrolling, rogue-like, pixel-graphics, adventure, survival, open world, and things like that.

Anyways, right off the bat, Persona 4 is pretty much the perfect game for me. First of all, it’s just a really well made RPG. It’s an engaging adventure/mystery story, and I really like that it’s presented in a visual novel format that occasionally switches into anime. I also like that its 3D overworld sprites look pretty much like anime. The 2D character design wasn’t the most appealing for me, but… that’s okay.

One of my favourite games is the Dragon Quest Monsters series. Not many people know about it in the West, but it’s similar to Pokemon in that you acquire monsters to battle other monsters to repeat the process. In my opinion, DQM’s monster breeding system makes it so much more interesting than Pokemon, and well, P4’s monster fusion system is even better than that.

Although I initially felt overwhelmed by the game’s strategy and mechanisms, it turned out to be way less complicated than I thought, and it was definitely worth getting familiar with. P4’s world is open world enough for me, and I could see why Chris said that I would love it. It’s pretty much a study on character and personality, as it shows characters growing up with different struggles and them overcoming their own selves. It’s that thing I like about watching anime and this game is quite intentional about it.

So uh… I guess that’s it for this post. I think I should maybe mention that I usually play with cheats/trainers. Like a little 2-4x exp and money from battles is all. Oh and, as usual, which I think is affectionately indicative of my relationship with Christ, I tend to see our relationships projected onto other things. So here is today’s Christian animeme that I made:

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I started the day with a shower to help clear my head. And in the shower, ideas about this post just flowed out and I was super stoked on sharing… And then I came out of the shower and after drying my hair and all that, I could feel the enthusiasm dissipating. This has been a really big problem for my post on Korea, and let’s just say that I learned once again the valuable lesson that I can’t just rely on passion and inspiration to finish projects. Sucks though.


Shout out to Yukiko for dissolving most of the self conflict that I experienced in this post in mere 2 sentences.

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According to BuzzFeed (I know, right?), “Korean students study up to 13 hours a day”. I mean, regardless of the exact average, looking at multiple sources including my dad, it’s definitely up there… kind of puts it all into perspective how I have it so good.

Re-envisioning RWB as a club (2017)


Here are a few thoughts that I have after leading as the president of RWB for a year. As my first time being in an exec position, I’ve certainly learned a lot and discovered many of my shortcomings. Here are some thoughts that I would like to pass onto myself and any future exec members:

Perhaps most importantly, I realized the importance of having a clear vision for the club. What is the purpose/motivation behind existing? Is there another organization or group that does the same thing? How are we different from what’s already available? Asking these questions are important because, unless we identify and understand this, we likely won’t have the motivation to continue when the times get rough. And it’s also important to realize that we can’t do everything. We need to do what’s possible with the resources that we have right now (funding/budget, availability, helpers, space, etc). Look at it as leaving room to grow.

And if we’re building a community, it may be necessary to consider the legacy of the club. How will the club continue to exist/run after the current execs are gone? We have to be intentional with inspiring or drawing the attention of future leaders.

And this is one of our current problems. I know that we want to build a community, but I realized recently that we’ve been doing it wrong: we’ve been trying to form a community around hip hop when we should’ve been trying to form a community through hip hop. What I mean by this is that we are not just a group of people who like hip hop. Hip hop has helped us in different ways, and we want to celebrate that.

Hip hop, then, is the coming together of diversity. We as students come from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We meet, express ourselves through the art of hip hop, and we learn from each other. That’s hip hop — a way for people from different backgrounds to easily come together.

Another thing I’ve realized was that we weren’t including people effectively. We certainly welcomed people and wished for their participation in our events, freestyling and performing may not be the easiest thing to introduce yourself into. Our focus on showing that we’re out there certainly generated interest, but this didn’t bring us very many returning members. If our freestyles were bad, people didn’t want anything to do with us. And if our performances were amazing, people shied away. We become a performance and therefore something for people to consume, not something to be a part of.

My friend Kevin told me this: every person and their stories are beautiful and incredible. There is something to be learned from each of them. So the question is, how are we including students who can’t/don’t want to freestyle or care about hip hop? Previously, our focus has been for us to be a platform for artists to connect and craft their skills. While there is certainly a need for such organization, in my opinion, this isn’t nearly as important as connecting people through hip hop. And the fact is, we simply don’t have enough resources to achieve this properly right now. I want to avoid being stretched too thin and instead build slowly but consistency.

Moving forward, we have to understand that we’re going to have to hand the torch off to someone else one day. And it is necessary to take our hands off completely because, otherwise, our presence and authority will be a hindrance to the club’s future growth. Instilling ownership is crucial to their success. I have to trust in other people’s vision and that a good seed has been planted.

As parting words, I want RWB to be a community that embraces hip hop to build ourselves. I want a club that I’m passionate about and is rewarding in itself to run. I want to have events that are inclusive and entertaining, by being something that will be fun even if it’s just the few of us. If we start off with like this, we can’t do no wrong. As for the bigger picture, I want a community and a culture of being inclusive by loving people for who they are. I want the community to be built on this ownership of changing our culture.


Image is from The Get Down