joe hisaishi – one summer’s day | music monday

Take a moment to enjoy this beautiful music from Joe Hisaishi (Mamoru Fujisawa), a Japanese composer known for composing scores for films from the famous animator Hayao Miyazaki. Hisaishi has composed music for some of my favorite films of all time: My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.

I had a challenging morning, but hearing this music reminds me that there is a whole world beyond my petty problems at the moment. And, actually, multiple worlds of faraway lands to explore with all the Studio Ghibli films.

This definitely makes me want to watch one of them now…

Video game review & gameplay: Tetris Effect (2018)

Tetris Effect is easily the coolest puzzle game I’ve ever played thus far. The game has successfully integrated addicting musical beats and impressive visual effects to create an intensely stimulating and challenging game we know and love. The background music also adds in sound effects based on your movements of the pieces, so it’s cool to create music as a contributor in that sense.

Another unique feature they offer is allowing players to “save” a piece in place of another. I don’t think I’ve ever had the ability to do this with other puzzle games. This feature definitely helped me in making bigger combos in those later levels. Boring is a word I would never use to describe this game. It’s fun to play and to also watch someone else play (which is something I don’t say with every game).

The visuals do get really intense and distracting, which I think is part of the point, so the levels do get a bit harder faster than I’d like to. Those sensitive to intense visuals, please do more research before buying the game. It’s super easy to make a mistake with this game as you progress, so I used that as an opportunity to explore the other game modes you can choose from.

Overall, I think it’s worth the price and more affordable than most games out there. Have you played? What did you think?

fear to free

I’ve had the Bittersweet Symphony song in my head for a few days now. Why? Not sure. It’s not a song I typically listen to, although, I haven’t really indulged in music in general lately anyway. Perhaps it’s my mind wanting the vibe it gives because it certainly does give one, doesn’t it?

A close friend from college told me his favorite movie was Cruel Intentions. And for those who aren’t familiar, this song was featured in this movie. It isn’t my favorite, but it made me wonder a lot of things about life. Why some people value certain things while others do not. There’s a whole lot of things in this landscape of life that makes absolute no sense to me.

The moment you realize you do not need is the moment you realize you are free. There are pieces in life that keep us attached because of what we fear or what we can’t let go. And then there are times when we are forced to face our fears and let go of things we never intended to in the first place. Talk about cruel intentions.

But maybe it forces us to see ourselves and this world the way we should. To give us that power to make changes we know we ultimate want to progress or to feel comfortable with the beings we were born to be.

Wherever you are in your journey today, I want to let you know that you aren’t alone. I find myself always changing and progressing; no matter how slow or fast or unpredictable or impractical this path makes it.

Video game review & gameplay: Borderlands 2

If you watch the video, I’m the player with the blue font!

When would I ever have the opportunity to be a treasure hunter competing with scary monsters to find the ultimate prize in a vault? Never, unless I’m playing this game. This amusing, yet intense game has been an interesting change from the others I’ve enjoyed in the past like Tetris, Yoshi, Mario and even Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (which I liked a lot). Setting-wise, it drops us first onto this desert-like world with strange animals (I guess I would call them that?) who kind protect their surrounding territory or have the tendency to beat up whoever is around. We have to battle them (and other scary/huge/creepy/ monsters) along the way as we complete missions that ultimately lead us to the final boss battle in a giant lava pit with I think two bosses: Handsome Jack and The Warrior.

I played this specific version a couple of years ago and although I did beat it with my love, I was not as invested in it as I am now. Therefore, my memory about the different stages are a little foggy, but having just played a bit recently, I feel I can still give a quick review.

I would say in terms of difficulty, this is on the high end for me. I think this is a great game for those who can play with an experienced gamer, is an experienced gamer or have enough patience to learn the ins and outs of gaining money, weapons and completing the missions. Since I’ve always played with pretty dedicated video gamers, I can’t say really if I’d suggest this to a beginner.

If you plan on playing this, I’d definitely play with more than one person since it’s nice to have back-up during those battle sessions. I do love how this game allows you to revive yourself by fighting for your life as opposed to immediately spawn to a whole new location.

Overall, I’d say the game does get addicting. For the harder parts, it gets frustrating to play (i.e. collecting eridium to get resources and the monsters that never die) and I recall even near the end, it was challenging to beat the game. Despite the difficulty level, I would still rank this within my top ten video games (for now)!

first comment on youtube

I just got my first ever YouTube comment on a video I made about the calm life in Oahu, Hawaii. What a great surprise on Earth Day! I am so happy about it because it’s a video I made out of complete joy and inspiration for a trip I care so deeply about with full of nature, peace and beauty. The way life is there is so different from the way my life is here. I don’t get to wake up to a serene beach and full sunshine every day. I don’t see peacocks just walking around exploring freely. There isn’t much wildlife where I am at all, really.

And to see a comment means so much because it’s like a sign that this film matters more than just me; even if it’s just one person. So thank you, whoever you are, for making my day. I think this German YouTuber has a channel for decor diys. Check her out, if you’re interested—Deko Ideen mit Flora-Shop

for the love of art | light & color lab

I love art. Art will forever be a part of my livelihood as long as I can afford it, create it and embrace it. In grade school, I never really took art seriously. It was just something I had fun with and the classes at school made me happy. My art teacher from my elementary school is one of my most favorite teachers. Looking back at it now, she truly put a lot of effort, time, and money into these classes. I went to public school and if I am assuming correctly, the school did not have the funds for all the art supplies she provided. She taught my class fabric and basket weaving, clay art, painting, and even music and dance sometimes. I think the clay part was super interesting because it involved shaping, patience and a stove!

A memory I used to cherish so much as a child was when my art teacher went over to me and asked me if she could have the artwork I was making. She said it was to be showcased at a gallery at the library. I said yes. I also asked if I’d get it back and I think she said no, so I was a little sad it went away, also. But she validated me as an artist. She validated what I created and thought it was good enough to show in public. Thank you so much, Ms. S.

I don’t think I was very good at art, but my love for it was pure. I made sure it stayed with me. I even worked at an art museum for a couple of years and the feeling of walking into a space of imagination and creativity never got old. I always felt that I was entering this halo of special-ness. Every new artist we featured had something to share. Yes, maybe a couple were a little bit of a stretch, but a lot of it had depth.

Below are a few videos of art that I really think is interesting and unique. I wish more people knew about what one can do with animation, ebru art and colored lights. The artist who created all this is the author of the light and color lab blog. He has opened up my eyes to a whole new form of art that isn’t traditional. I am most impressed with his animation skills. It takes so much care and patience to complete a good animation. If you like these, too, I’m sure he’d love the support!

turntable animation

explosion of neon color

neon ebru with oil

color & design: photography and music videos

color blinds
“color blinds”

I think one of the most surprising things I learned about myself is that I really value design and color. They could be about anything; food presentation, home interiors, choreography and fashion. It’s silly to not know before, but now that I do, it seems so obvious. I did not have a desire to study graphic design or art academically. But I did for film production. I remember being a young critic on how films should have been directed. Or how I would notice all the little details on their set and the most random props. I don’t do this anymore, but I would be the kind of person who would watch a film and then re-watch with commentary from the director or the actors because I was fascinated with their viewpoint or thoughts on a scene. For fun, I would take photographs of buildings in strange angles or preferred to watch dance competitions as opposed to American Idol. Now that I think about it, maybe that was why I was so drawn to indie films. Although they are using traditional forms and processes of media, they present different and unique ways of doing them. They create visuals that are more interesting and memorable. They all kind of live for being imperfect in their way.

A few years ago, I experimented on color and light with a friend. I compiled edited footage of each experiment we did and made a short film.

And then I wondered, how many other videos are out there that have some really cool editing techniques? I used to spend so much time watching different music videos. Here are a few I thought were especially unique that used color or editing in interesting ways.


Kishi Bashi


In case you’re curious, here are some photographs from past color and light experiments. IMG_0987IMG_2981


Do you see the toilets?

oahu, hawaii


This trip is special to me personally, but also in a big picture way; it opened up my eyes to a whole new way of being. It’s been so long since I’ve been on an airplane and that in itself was a journey, a good journey. Despite some scary turbulence, sleep deprivation, undesirable options for food selection, I felt that I got a lot out of it. It was fun and actually refreshing. It kept me on my toes.

It’s hard to describe every little thing I felt, experienced and saw in this beautiful part of the state, but here it goes. I’ve been posting some poems and photographs recently here on this blog:

bánh mì & fried chicken & chinatown oahu, hawaii memories
Hawaiian love
the feelings

I also made a calm film:

Below are some highlights, tips and recommendations:



The beaches are so soul-fulfilling. My heart could drink up so much more of these early mornings of peace and tranquility. By the day it’ll be crowded, but that has its own energy in itself.


Tantalus Lookout at night. As suggested by a friendly local, this was such a view in person. There were a few of us here in the darkness trying to capture the beauty we saw. It just isn’t like the photograph, it’s better.


Can’t go wrong with the Honolulu Zoo since it’s so close to everything else. The animals living in there are so beautiful. The peacocks walk freely among the visitors.


Hiking at Diamond Head gives amazing views. There is a lot of walking for sure. I love it. There is one semi-scary part in which you have to walk up a ton of steps and then walk into a dark tunnel. Other than that, it was extraordinary! There is a “perfect” view at each level you walk up to.


Manoa Falls hike is, so far, my most favorite hike. The ultimate view that visitors come for is the waterfall. It isn’t the biggest, of course, but it is magical as all waterfalls are. Be aware, your shoes will get muddy!


Their flowers and plant life in general are exquisite! I couldn’t get enough of seeing all the colors in a natural setting and especially if you live in the city, it’ll be refreshing to see more green while driving/walking.

-Go early for hikes. The later in the day you wait, the more crowded it is to catch good views and more rushed you feel to move along as some people move at a faster pace.
-If you decide to rent a car, be careful when driving and aware of the cars ahead of you. I noticed that drivers tend to signal and make turns quickly, so be cautious.
-Time your outings because being stuck in traffic can be a bummer and some restaurants/attractions have special hours.
-Be mindful of parking and have some cash ready as some hiking/attraction areas will charge. They aren’t too expensive though.
-If you prefer a less crowded time at the beach, go in the early morning. You’ll still see some avid swimmers and surfers, but it’ll be really relaxing and quieter and the photography is amazing (but really, that’s true at any time of day.)

Food recommendations:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Poke at Foodlands is delicious with lots of variety.
Musubi (with a choice of chicken, spam or hot dog) at Foodlands and Musubi Cafe.
-Mango shave ice at Island Vintage
-Custard or plain malasadas at Leonard’s Bakery
-Of course, the traditional foods: poi, laulau, kalua pork, and haupia. One day, I hope to try the loco moco.

Has anyone gone to this island or the others? Do you have fun stories, advice or food/hiking suggestions? I’d love to learn more.

unlikely friends // a stop motion film

This film is composed of 33 individual photographs to create the stop motion effect. There are 2 additional ones at the end. This was a first attempt at stop motion film.

I’ve always wanted to try. I gathered these photographs earlier this week and finally had time and motivation to put it together last night. I would like to make more of these films, but I know it involves a lot of patience, balance and time.

It’s really short, too. I learned that it takes a lot of very small movements of photographs to create a smoother film. I hope you enjoy.