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A Day In New York City – Books, Food and More!

Yesterday I went into the city with my mom for the day as she had found a Japanese book store and as I love Japan, the culture and am learning the language in university, we decided to go and check it out and tag on a bunch of other stuff too and it was absolutely an incredible day! It was a day filled with culture and books!

Muji in NYC

Our first stop was Muji(無地良品)which was a Japanese convenience store. It sold everything that someone would need in their house and it was absolutely fantastic! Almost all of the stuff in the store was made in Japan and it was honestly so organized and some of the products there were so useful. They had everything from clothing to bits of food to cooking wear to writing good and more. The store was really well set out, smelt soooo good and I felt like I had actually traveled to Japan while within the store. It had this detached feel about it because it was so calm compared to the hustle and bustle of NYC and it was refreshing and a fantastic experience. I know that I’ll definitely be going back. It’s located right within the New York Times Building.


 

The New York Times Building 620 8th Avenue (40th st.)
New York, NY 10018
Tel 212.382.2300
Store Hours
Mon – Sat 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Next, we headed to the New York main store of Kinokuniya Book Store which was the main reason of our visit and to say that I had a fantastic time would be an understatement. It was amazing!!!

It’s set on three levels, the level you walking in on being a regular book store with a Japanese edge, such as Japanese cook books, books pertaining to Japan and other bits and pieces, but a lot of the books were traditional books you’d find in a book store. But they also had some cool stands too. There were also little bits and pieces such as Japanese toys and little action figures.

One of the book stands

A really good phrase book

Neko Sushi

On the next floor was all the manga and it was actually really cool. I had never seen so much manga in one place except in anime’s and seeing all of this was kinda neat. すごい (awesome)!! I’m not into manga per se but I do appreciate seeing it all and having the experience and it was really awesome to see so many people looking at it and buying it. It did have a feel of being in Japan once again because of the types of people shopping there (a lot of Japanese people, and Asians in general as well) and also there was a small cafe in the corner selling traditional Japanese food like sushi and whatnot.

Lots and lots of manga!

Then when you went to the bottom floor, there were lots of gift things and writing utensils, such as calligraphy sets for writing in Japanese and magazines too on one half.

Good luck Japanese cats
Maneki-neko [招き猫] – Good luck cat
Then the second half of the bottom floor was Japanese books. They were books that were written in Japanese and dedicated just to people who could read Japanese and it was honestly so cool. I could only read a little bit of what were there but was able to get my English-Japanese/Japanese-English Dictionary (which I needed) and I found some fantastic books in the ‘learn Japanese’ section. They even had a teach yourself Japanese book that was manga style, so the book was accompanied by manga drawings. Definitely a fun way to learn the language!

Learn Japanese by Manga

A page from the manga book

 

I absolutely loved this book store and would go back for fun gifts as well as books later on and I do highly recommend checking it out as, while it does have books and is a book store, it is an amazing experience!


1073 Avenue of the America
(bet 40th & 41st St.)
New York, NY 10018
Tel 212.869.1700
Store Hours
Mon-Sat 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Sun 11:00AM – 7:30PM

After that, we were of course hungry, and so it was time to grab a bite to eat. We had previously decided that we were going to go and get ramen, try traditional ramen, and we had to find somewhere that did it. I had done some searching but I figured that we’d find somewhere once in the city as the area we were in had tons of Japanese food places. A lot of them were for sushi, but we found a small Japanese ramen place which had good reviews so we headed over. The place we found was called Tabata 2 (it is the smaller of the two restaurants which are only blocks apart). The outside was so basic that I was questioning whether to actually go in. It had a tiny entrance and it wasn’t that fancy.

Front of Tabata 2

Tabata 2

But we headed in and boy was I happy that we did. My mum and I both got ramen and it was fantastic. The food was incredible, the place was small, but it was so worth it. It had a lively atmosphere, the people who worked there were friendly, and the service was really good as well. My first bowl of traditional ramen was the best!

Tabata ramen!
My bowl of ramen
More ramen!
My mums ramen – the traditional Japanese one

557 8th Ave
New York, NY 10018
Tel 212.290.7691
Hours
11:30am – 11:00pm

After that we headed to the New York Public Library to have a look around. On the way they have something called Library Walk which is a bunch of plaques (if you are walking towards the direct front of the library from one block away) that have book quotes and just general quotes on them with incredible engravings. There are tons of them on both sides of the street and people stop to read them, pausing and taking a moment to reflect.

A plaque from Library WalkAnother plaque from Library Walk

Then, you get to the front of the library, which is extremely grand and beautiful!

New York Public Library

Inside, they had their Christmas tree still up and it was absolutely beautiful. It looked so real (I’m not sure if it was or not) but they had made it also look like it was covered in snow and it was gorgeous!

New York Public Library tree

The main room which we came to visit, the Rose Reading Room, was unfortunately closed for renovations but we walked around and were able to seem some of the incredible art work that makes up the ceilings.

New York Public Library ceiling

In the gift shop, they sold these amazingly cute necklaces (which I would buy as a gift for a book lover) and they were literally little books on a chain and were hand bound! I mean how cool, and creative, is that?!?!

Another view of book necklaces Book necklaces

Then, after that I was dying for a cup of tea because the ramen was kind of salty due to the soy sauce, and so we decided that it was time for tea, which is lots of fun. I found a small tea place around the back of the library, across from Bryant Park, called Maison Kayser. It was a Parisian little cafe and it was absolutely adorable and quaint and I loved it. The food was incredible, the atmosphere was great, and the place was beautiful. The best part is that everything is baked in-house and is all fresh! Which made it all the more yummier.

Maison Kayser in NYC
The bar where drinks were made
Tea!!!
Tea! I had English Breakfast, per usual
Small mousse cake from Maison Kayser
The wonderful and yummy dessert – chocolate of course
Walls in Maison Kayser
Wall decorations with lots of French words – very creative
Looking at entrance to Maison Kayser
Entrance way – so warm, cozy and inviting

8 West 40th Street (at Bryant Park)
New York, NY 10018
Tel 212.354.2300
Hours
Mon-Fri 6:30 am – 7:30 pm
Sat-Sun 8:00 am – 7:30 pm

To sum up, it was a fantastic day of many different cultures (from Japan to America (the library) to Paris as well), lots of yummy food, and of course, the best part, books! I do recommend checking all of these places out if you are in the NYC area any time soon because they are amazing and definitely worth a check out. It wasn’t terribly expensive but still the quality of everything was fantastic. And the best part is, is that it was all quite close to each other and easy to do.

NYC is definitely a place everyone needs to visit. I mean who doesn’t love a place with so many cultures and lots of book places too?!

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Amnesia (2013- )

Cover art of the Amnesia anime
Amnesia

Summary

“Young girl wakes up with no memory. She sees a floating sprite who tells her that her amnesia is his fault and that she just plays along and acts normally while he helps her gain her memory back. She tries, but it’s not easy.”

-From IMDB.com

Review

OKAY! I need to start off with a little rant. THIS HAD SUCH AN UNSATISFACTORY ENDING! Like it says that it may continue (since it has 2013 – and no end date) but like, I doubt it will continue since it’s drawing, slowly, to the end of 2015. And like I thought there would be closure and all this stuff, but not. It was so sad and I’m sitting here like….Q.Q WHUT? Y U DO THIS?!

But, now let me get to the review aspect. It was an interesting anime, definitely, but very confusing. Since it followed the main heroine  and her amnesia, there were many times were you were confused. You never truly knew where she saw, what world she was in, who was who, and what exactly was going on. And what world she was in, I mean by the fact that she would die and wake up on the same date, August 1st, with memories of the other worlds but no memories of anything that happened before August 1st and no idea what all of this was happening. Honestly, until about episode 8, out of 12 episodes, I was extremely confused and constantly was having to think and ask myself questions. The producers had a great idea behind the anime, but they didn’t deliver it very well in my opinion. They could have done so much more with it!

The graphics were typical animations, though I loved their costumes. There was a deck of cards theme kind of going on with some of the characters too. Apparently, per usual, it is a manga (I believe) and a game called Amnesia Later so I’m not sure if questions were answered or not. If you know the answer to this, please do let me know as I’m curious and don’t really have time to play games and enjoy myself at the moment.

Anime characters from Amnesia
Amnesia

I did really like the main theme song of the show though. That always does determine something for me – if it has a good theme song, I am more into watching it. An example of that was I started watching an anime called Samauri Champloo and while it was a good anime, and I may get hate for this, I really hated the theme song as it really wasn’t my taste, so I slowly stopped watching it. This anime had quite a good them song and I love listening to it.

This anime does fall under the category of reverse harem I believe. Harem being one guy and a bunch of girl characters, but this being one girl and a bunch of male characters (though there were only about 5). It was not a girly flick as far as I could tell (though since I’m a girl I’m partially biased) and was entertaining overall. Towards the end, there were a few questionable moments where one of the characters was kind of hinting at rape, or something along those lines (or that’s what I got from it) so I was a little like “hold up” but eventually it all sorted itself out.

It is a short anime, only 12 episodes, with each episode being only 20 minutes or so, so it won’t take long to watch and is definitely one to check out. The anime is an acquired taste as there isn’t a lot of action, though there is ‘romance’ in the sense that the heroine keeping finding out she’s dating a different guy in each world she wakes up in, which was strange, but an interesting ideas as well.

All in all, it was a decent anime but I’d classify it as a hit of miss due to the fact that it wasn’t one of the better ones out there. Though, if you have some time and are looking for something interesting to binge watch, give this one a shot and let me know what you think.

Anyone else kinda confused?

Happy watching!

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Noragami (2014-)

Summary

A minor god looks to gain recognition and uses the help of a girl while having conflicts with his Regalia.

Review

So, I totally watched this entire season in 1 day. And to say I want more is an understatement. This is not some deep show where you have to concentrate, but it is light, gives quite a few laughs, has decent animations and is just overall fun to watch! There are some interesting underlying ideas behind the issues which the main characters have such as popularity, not fitting in and similar concepts.

Most likely a lot of anime lovers wouldn’t love this show due to the fact that it’s not a huge one, like Bleach or One Piece (with so many episodes I can’t even keep track), but I like that it’s smaller. It follows a god by the name of Yato and he wants to gain attention. In the show the people of Japan would pray to the gods before big events and call upon the gods for help for various things from wishing someone was dead to just passing a test. Yato wants to be called upon more and get more money so that he could have a shrine. Having a shrine means that you truly are a god as you have a place to have people worship you. As of now he resorts to putting his phone number on walls or bathroom stalls.

Yato, along with his Regalia (which is a spirit which he can use as a weapon), and his girl companion fight these creatures called Phantoms which are essentially dark spirits and they can corrupt people. The gods job is to keep the Phantoms in check and kill them off using their Regalias.

There is quite a lot of comedy in the show and it had me laughing quite hard. The show definitely is for 16 and up because of some of the jokes but nothing was terribly inappropriate like some animes can definitely be.

I also did quite like the opening theme song.

Overall I really did enjoy it and was sad that there was only one season so far so I’m hoping that they’re going to bring it back this year. Just have to hope!

Oh, and please watch it in Japanese with English sub titles. It’s much more authentic and you lose a lot of the feelings when you watch it in English. Believe me. I’ve spent time watching the same episode in English and Japanese and it’s honestly not the same. It is sometimes hard to keep up with the subtitles, but you will learn how to do it in time. But it really does change the experience a whole lot when you watch it in English!

Happy watching!

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Uta No Prince-Sama: Maji Love 1000% ~ Uta No Prince-Sama: Maji Love 2000%

Uta No Prince-Sama: Maji Love 1000% ~ Season 1
Uta No Prince-Sama: Maji Love 2000% ~ Season 2

Characters

Haruka Nanini ~ Main Female
Otoya Ittoki ~ Red haired male
Tokiya Ichinose ~ Blue haired previously famous man and Harukas idol
Natsuki Shinomiya ~ Blonde male in glasses (Satsuki is his ‘evil’ counterpart once glasses are removed)
Masato Hijirikawa ~ Uptight blue haired male
Ren Jinguji ~ Blonde ladies man
Syo Kurusu ~ Blonde boy who is the smallest
Cecil Aijima ~ Black haired, olive skinned male and appears in Season 2
Tomochika Shibuya ~ Harukas best friend; usually called Tomo-chan

Summary

Season 1

“With dreams of becoming a composer and someday writing a song for her favorite idol, Haruka Nanami enters the Saotome Academy, a prestigious performing arts school. If successful there, she’ll be able to join the Shining Agency after graduation. However, it won’t be so easy when Haruka is already surrounded by potential idols and composers. On top of that, her homeroom teacher is a current idol, the headmaster was a record-breaking singer, and the academy itself is an eccentric place where anything could possibly happen.

In the end, right at the graduation, two students are to be teamed up by the choice, one will take the role of the idol and the other should be the composer. After being paired up, they will sing a song that was both composed, written and sung by them. If successful, they will join and take the spot as the new Shining Agency debut artists. In addition, romance is strictly prohibited at their school.”

-From Wikipedia.org for Season 1

Season 2

A continuation from Season 1 after they have all become professional and shows the continuance of their journey together as a group of friends and their work in the professional world, trying to become the best that they can be in their work.

Review

Okay, yes. I have officially fallen in love with Anime. I didn’t used to watch it ever, but I’ve just fallen in love with so many good shows and this one was silly, but still an enjoyable watch. If you are looking for a deep story, then this is definitely not the show that you are looking for, but it was still so cute either way and definitely gave me some good laughs.

The characters were funny and there was some development and there were some quite good songs. I have an obsession with the soundtrack as a lot of it was piano music and as a pianist I automatically have a love for that kind of stuff, so I just can’t stop listening to the soundtrack, even though I have NO idea what they are saying.

The animations were cute in it and the drawings were adorable, and yes, you can’t not help but fall in love with the cast. Maybe it’s just me, but I honestly think some anime characters are like…really..really..really good looking. Damn animes by setting standards too high xD

But yes, this was honestly a cute little thing to watch if you have some time to spare and just need a distraction. The episodes aren’t that long but I will tell you, by the end of Season 2, you will wish that they continued on, just because.

You can watch all 2 seasons on CrunchyRoll which is a website with many full seasons of anime shows. Make sure you scroll down and find the button for Season 1 as I started Season 2 before I realized I had skipped parts. Click here to go to the website.

And enjoy! Let me know what you think. ^^

Unfortunately there are no trailers, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one xD