Music: A Little Sweet

Are you having a bad day? In need of a little pick me up? Or just want to listen to something sweet? I randomly remembered 3 words of this song then found it on YouTube, and I’ve basically been listening to it on repeat this morning.

This song is soooo cute!!

It’s called “A Little Sweet” by Wang Sulong and it’s shot straight to the top of my Songs of the Month playlist. It’s just so cheerful and adorable, and so I really wanted to share it with you because no matter where we are we can all do with a little more joy in our lives.

Music has a way of affecting our moods dramatically, so while Taylor is still a treat to listen to, I’m a little over the summer blues and wistful nostalgia for now. My favourite Chinese artist, JJ Lin, also released some new songs recently so you’ll probably see more Chinese songs on the list this month!

Anyways, here are the lyrics in Simplified Chinese (you can find the Traditional lyrics in the video description as well as the video itself) and my translation. It’s in the format of a conversation between a couple so I’ve also added who’s singing, otherwise it won’t make as much sense:

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Music: My July Playlist

Image credit: Taylor Swift Folklore Album

You have probably heard: Taylor Swift suddenly dropped a new album this week and the world wasn’t ready for it. I was casually scrolling through Instagram on Thursday and saw her announcement and, well, forgot to breathe for a second for how excited I was haha.

She uploaded the entire album onto her YouTube page yesterday and I spent the day listening to it on repeat. And, thanks to Taylor, my site now has a “Songs of the Month” widget on the sidebar haha. That’s right, I created a “Songs of the Month” playlist in her honour and will be updating it semi-regularly with what I’m listening to these days. Feel free to play it as you’re reading my posts!

The link to the playlist is here, if you just want to check it out on YouTube (this will avoid the songs cutting out if you navigate to a different page on my site as well). You’ll notice that the majority of songs on the playlist are from the “folklore” album. In fact, currently it’s just the entire “folklore” album plus this video by Nomadic Ambience. It’s been a while since I’ve liked one of her albums this much, and it’s a refreshing change from her last two releases.

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Entertainment: What Dramas Am I Watching This Month?

Image credit: Google Images

It’s no secret that I am a huge drama fan. I’ve loved watching Chinese dramas (too many to count), British series (Sherlock), US sitcoms (The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother), Japanese anime-turned-dramas (HanaKimi) and, since about 10 years ago, I got into Korean Dramas too.

I am well aware that I have an addictive personality, meaning once I get into something, I immerse myself into it so fully that often it consumes too much of me. I like to watch things once they’re complete so I can binge everything in one go.

Subsequently, I go through phases of being really into dramas, and anime, and TV series, and Cpop, Jrock, Kpop etc. followed by phases where I completely don’t touch them for months or even years.

That’s one of the reasons I am a spoiler queen. Not to say I give out a bunch of spoilers, but I actively search out the entire plot line on Wiki or some other review site so I can ensure that what I’m getting into will be worth my binge-time (awful, I know), otherwise I just won’t watch it.

The other reason is because I have a very specific type of drama that I like to watch. I am basically a 12-yr-old chicken in a 30-yr-old body. I can’t handle blood or gore, I can’t watch thrillers, I definitely can’t watch horrors or even anything remotely scary (Hotel del Luna scared the CRAP out of me. Heck, Harry Potter scared me). I also don’t have the mental capacity to handle depressing themes either (I think I had enough of those during my days studying WW2 Germany at Uni).

As a result, I’ve found that it’s better for me to just read the drama recaps to get the plot instead of actually putting the time in to watch the drama. After all, it takes a lot less time to read through even a detailed rundown of each episode than to invest my 16-20hrs into actually watching.

I’m currently at a stage where I’m very happily not addicted to any drama, haven’t really been following Kpop for a while and I think I’m taking things more in moderation where I can. That said, I’m still curious about what’s out there, as well as interested in the hype of certain shows. Now with Netflix adding a bunch of international shows, they’re even more readily available. Plus I have a Viki subscription for the rest of this year.

Here’s a list of the dramas I’ve been watching/reading so far this year, in alphabetical order under each heading, as well as my thoughts on them. Most of them are Korean dramas, many of them will be read-only, in which case I’ll have read the recaps on Dramabeans.

I’m thinking of doing a monthly “What Am I Watching” post and add some recommendations for ones I’ve really enjoyed. If I ever find the desire to, I may write my own recaps for ones I really enjoy.

Without further ado, here are my Dramas of the Month (#dotm). Let me know if you’ve seen any of these and what your thoughts on them are!

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[Personal] I Am So Stressed

Image credit: Unsplash.com

Ugh. This happens every year, and every year it’s the same: Tax Day.

I haven’t been able to post much or do too much else apart from run on semi-autopilot. I’ve been able to keep up with my health goals and have been updating my progress on this blog, but all the other posts I’ve wanted to do have just had to be put on the back burner because I am just so, so stressed.

I hate tax day so much. Due to my situation and being a British citizen, my taxes are slightly more complicated than the regular US taxpayer, and I am ashamed to admit I am a major procrastinator, so leaving it this late is also a major source of anxiety. But this post is not for me to whine, even though I want to. No, I have to remember and remind myself that God is in control. This post is to count my blessings, so here they are:

  1. I have an accountant and he is super helpful.
  2. I have Jacky this year – he has the best head on his shoulders, he is able to think logically and clearly. He does not fear these tax forms, he does not go cross-eyed from reading them, his brain does not fog up, his palms do not sweat and his heart rate remains steady when reviewing them, and he is able to help and advise me with them for my share too. He is able to hold me when I’m about to cry from stress and anxiety. He prays for and with me at all times. He is the best.
  3. I have Jesus. He is Lord of all; all things are in His hands. He has guided me and guarded me through all the years of my life, will He let go of me now? Is He not in control of tax forms too? Has He not answered all my prayers every year whenever I call upon Him about this issue? Finally — has He not already secured my salvation, my resting place in Heaven? I already know where I will end up. Why is my heart so weary and my mind so narrow when I can just think upon the eternity that is waiting for me with Him. In light of eternity, these things are nothing.

The thing is, I always get money back from tax returns and this year looks like it will be no different. It’s entirely in my mind… I don’t know why I fear them so much. I render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, I am typically good with my finances… so why is it that whenever I look upon these forms, I forget that I am His? Perhaps this illuminates a greater heart issue: that I am so good at relying on myself for everything else that I typically do not rely on God until things get hard.

I just finished reading Philippians yesterday, how timely a reminder it is:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

The Philippians and Paul were facing major persecution for Christ’s sake. Paul himself was even in prison at the time! What am I doing? Enjoying the comforts of my own home, gorging on food and drink that has made me fat… and so far removed from having the right mind of Christ that I am freaking out over some tax forms.

I will then finish with a prayer:

Lord, may You grant me the right perspective, that I may be — and remain — Kingdom minded, knowing that all these things will be added to me as long as I seek You and Your righteousness first. Indeed, having You alone is more than enough. May You be my first priority, first point of call, first in my heart. May You reign as rightful King of my heart. May it be so in Jesus’ name.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Manga Artwork – A Rant

Okay first thing’s first: I just finished reading the entire Cardcaptor Sakura manga (original) and despite the issues I have with the romantic relationships, I still loved it. Mostly, I loved the artwork. It is stunning. The lines are soft, and the eyes are always drawn with such gentle care showing vast emotion.

I cannot say the same for the Clear Card artwork.

It’s a shame because I feel like the artwork for the anime has improved greatly, so why is it that it’s like the manga artwork has taken three steps back? I can’t stand Sakura’s 3 giant lashes, and the gently layered lines from the OG series has been replaced with harsh, thick ink.

Actually that’s my overall complaint for their artwork. Everything is thicker, plainer… Like their art medium went from HB-2B pencils to a single 1.0 gel pen.

Where did all the detail go? The soft backgrounds, the realistic flowers, the gentle shading… Right now it’s putting me off so badly that I almost don’t want to keep reading, but I do love CCS so I will force myself to continue because I am curious to know what happens next.

The start of Clear Card is basically the same as the ending of the OG series, and if you just compare the two artwork side by side… whoever drew Sakura back in the day made her look older, more mature, but also with the same beautiful, delicate art style. The new one looks a bit… comical, and reminds me of the artwork of a different shoujo manga I forgot the name of but also did not like the art for (so I dropped it).

And how did Yukito end up looking even younger in the Clear Card arc than the original series? And Yue now looks like a 10yr old boy, nothing like his majestic self from before. He looks like a permanent chibi version of himself, and I do not mean that in an endearing way. Part of his greatest charm in the original was when he would break away from his pensive, cool expressions to show a more animated side of himself… but now he looks like a permanent caricature.

Speaking of chibi forms, you can barely tell their chibi and non-chibi forms apart because there’s just so little extra effort in the regular art anyway. In fact, you know what? Somehow everyone looks younger after “ageing” 2 years.

Seriously, CLAMP, what? I know they have gone through artist changes so… I dunno… I’m just disappointed.

Here, I’ll just show you (read right -> left):

Heads up: this is an ending spoiler for Cardcaptor Sakura, though it is also the start of the Clear Card series and was published 20yrs ago, so I’m not sure it can be considered much of a spoiler anymore. But here’s your warning anyway.

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