And just like that, another year has flown by. Parts of it were an emotional roller coaster, while others were a more stable, peaceful passing of time. In no particular order:
Family & Home
As I talked about in this blog post, I purchased my first home this year and moved in. While I now have a mountain of debt to pay off to the bank, this journey wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my family, for which I am eternally grateful for. They tagged along with me to open houses, expressed their opinions on things, helped me move the boxes of clothes, figures and my big pieces of furniture when time came from my brother’s place to the new place I call home. I now have my own personal space to host small gatherings with friends and a much bigger bedroom than before.
A huge shutout for my brother for being there for me. I definitely miss hanging out with my brother on the daily, but having more space to customize and make my own, and being closer to transit will really make life a lot better. Heck, he still comes over sometimes to work, so it’s not too sad. 🙂 As well, among many other things, I had originally planned a trip to Japan with someone else. Since that plan fell through and I already booked a few things that were non refundable, we went together instead. We both had a great time roaming around the Tokyo area, eating, and enjoying new experiences that we didn’t get to enjoy when we first went back in 2019.
In addition to my family, I am grateful to my close friends: we’ve had our share of fun and reminiscence, as well as being there for me when I needed it the most. Going through a break up for a second time was definitely not as difficult this time around because of the time they gave to give me their thoughts on everything. I appreciated that emotional support a lot.
At work, I grew closer with several of my coworkers sitting nearby, who also became my friends (hi Ming and co). While we meme and don’t agree on certain things like Anime, I feel that we share the same general vibe and interests in tech that I feel comfortable talking with no filter and don’t really put up a facade, but then again, I have anime figures on my desk, so do I really have one? Debatable, I guess…now that I think about it.
I went on a few trips as well. The first one was to Edmonton for Animethon, which was a blast. While I might not be a huge fan of the downtown area of Edmonton, walking around the con with NekoDiv, Sayaka, and J was fun, and I got to try some good food around the area. This would be my second time travelling for an anime convention: the first one was back in 2019 for Sakura-con.
Aside from that, I also went to Vancouver Island with the squad of NekoDiv, Sayaka, Zuma, KamiCreed, Vestrel, and Jeff. I had fun just hanging out on a quieter part of the island, taking a break from the hustle of work, and being able to walk onto a beach and peacefully listen to the waves of waters coming and going.
I consider myself more of an “indoorsy” person, so I don’t really go out and do things every day. Instead, I like to hang out with friends at home. I’ve had lots of those this year with various groups, including squad, the Rengineer crew, and my elementary and high school friends. This is especially true, now that I’ve moved out of my brother’s and into my own place. While I don’t really cook at home, I do like to host and just have a place where we can be more laid back and not have to worry about spending lots of money at restaurants and have to worry about staying too long at a given place.
I’ve watched quite a number of new anime series this year. If I had to pick my top three for the year, then I would say Otonari no Tenshi-sama, THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS U149, and Kusuriya no Hitorigoto.
Otonari no Tenshi-sama was a nice romance anime to start off the year. The progression of both Fujimiya and Shiina gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling that I quite enjoyed in a high school romance anime. Even though I had second thoughts about it after going through my IRL stuff, I still thoroughly enjoyed it, and hope to find someone like Shiina.
U149 was my most anticipated anime. I started reading the manga when it was announced. While the anime adaptation doesn’t touch every part of the manga, the majority of the hand drawn animation was definitely nice to watch, and having episodes feature each idol definitely made each idol’s oshi happy (myself included). As a MiriaP, her episode was sooooo damn cute, and her ignorance of shitty stream viewer etiquette and taking it positively reminded me to apply the same to my work: view things in a more positive light.
Kusuriya no Hitorigoto was one that started airing this past season. While I haven’t read the original source material, I do enjoy the premise and mystery solving. It reminded me of other animes like GoSick and Kyokou Suiri. Overalll, a nice change of pace from the usual romcom/happy-go-lucky types of anime I like to watch.
My music tastes haven’t really waned since last year. I still enjoy listening to Anime and game OSTs, with Genshin being one I listened to the most, even though I haven’t been playing the game that much this year. IDOLM@STER and Love Live! songs were also in my daily list of songs, as well as yousa, who earned the second top spot in my Spotify Wrapped for 2023, behind Yu-Peng Chen, the face of most of the Genshin OSTs.
Going to my Last.FM stats for the year, my most played song was Koga Koharu’s solo song “I’m a Little Princess ~Ohoshi-sama ni Onegai~”, which first appeared in the IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS U149 anime that aired this past spring. I still remember myself vividly saving this episode to my phone on my last day in Japan and watching it on my 10 hour flight back to Canada. That part of the episode was like a musical, and I loved it. Here’s a clip of the short insert song from the anime:
Live Music Events
Aside from listening to music during work and exercise, I like live events too. This year, I virtually attended 4 concerts:
- THE IDOLM@STER M@STERS OF THE WORLD 2023.
- THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Kagayaki Yomatsuri
- THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS Shout out Live!!!
- IJIGEN FES THE IDOLM@STER★♥Love Live! Uta Gassen
I’ve enjoyed consuming media from both franchises over these last 10 years or so at this point, and being able to participate in more events has been great. I also went to a night club for the first time, and it wasn’t in Vancouver: it was at MOGRA in Akihabara, Japan. I will definitely go back the next time I’m in the Tokyo area.
This year’s figure collecting continued rolling along. I was thinking I would spend roughly the same amount last year, but I was wrong: this year ended up being around $4k. The large majority of them were bunny girl figures, but I had some nice iM@S additions, including the Jougasaki sisters from Phat! Company which came out years ago but I found them at an acceptable price in AmiAmi’s pre-owned section, and a few Elf Village figures from VERTEX.
If I had to pick a favourite figure for this year, it would have to be Ayaki’s x-10 combat bunny girl. Not sure if I’ll do a blog post for her in the future, but as an original character bunny girl, she stands out from the rest of the bunny girls I have in my collection. Though the typical bunny girl figure has a heavier emphasis on the erotic nature of things, x-10 doesn’t give that same vibe. Sure, she has FREEing’s signature fishnet socks, but her sword and general pose just looks so damn cool! I missed the original pre-order for her a few years back, so seeing FREEing do a re-release for her (when it’s rare to see re-releases from FREEing) was pretty nice!
I still have a couple of figures on pre-order that come out next year, so I will continue down this rabbit hole of figure collecting for another year 🙂 I’ll be a bit more conservative in my estimates for next year and budget a bit more: I anticipate spending the same amount as this year.
And just like that, 2023 comes to a close. For 2024, I look forward to many things, including:
- Some small home renovation projects.
- Expanding and “refactoring” my homelab set up.
- Going to Japan in three months with friends.
- Continuing to oversee SFU Anime Club’s bot development from like 10000 feet.
- Doing more physical exercises.
See you in the new year! よいお年を！