The most down to earth celebrity EVER.

His name is Jackie Chan.  I read his blog whenever he has time to post and I am always amazed at how humble and caring he is.  It is one thing to be good at what you do, and then make a living out of it; it is another thing entirely to not let it get to your head.  If you read his blog you will see.  For the last month or two he has been in New Mexico filming for his next movie The Spy Next Door. While the movie itself looks like a combination between The Pacifier and Accidental Spy (another JC movie), I’m just amazed by Jackie Chan himself.  He posts pictures of the kids in the movie and all the fun he has been having living in the US for awhile.  Here is a picture of him:

Jackie fell in love - with Lowes!!

Jackie fell in love - with Lowe's!!

I love the fact that he is enjoying so many simple things about life instead of being out there buying name brands, driving fancy cars and cheating on his wife.  (Although there are rumors that he does, it is hard to believe.)  He also goes on to advocate recycling and tries to control the crew’s wasteful use (or lack there-of) of bottled water.  Jackie Chan remains one of my all-time favorite stars for things like this.

Japanese CD Review: Koda Kumi – Trick (2009)

3.5 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

I was really excited to find out that Koda Kumi had a new album releasing this month.  I have continuosly enjoyed her music throughout the years even through changes in style and sound.  I am happy to report that it is currently number 1 on the Oricon charts.  After last years controversy I was uncertain about her comeback.  At least the Japanese are a little more forgiving than the Chinese (ie: Edison Chen)

My ratings per song.

My ratings per song.

Overall, the album is pretty strong.  After a few listens though, “Black Cherry” is still Koda’s strongest album in my opinion. However, there are a few gems on this album.  My biggest surprise is that Taboo became my favorite song on the album.  I didn’t much care for it when the single released, it kind of blended into the background for me.  But, after a few turns on the ol’ WMP I think the album version of Taboo has a stronger composition.  I also like the representation the video gives to homosexuality.  It’s not a common theme in most Asian culture (aside for Yuri/Yaoi stuff.)  It’s nice to see a little bit of modern acceptance of it in any form.  My second favorite is Show Girl – a fun track that has a good beat.  The song Bling Bling Bling is just plain annoying as hell.  I can’t stand it at all. I listened to it once all the way through and now skip it along with That Ain’t Cool.  I never liked Kumi’s colaberation with Fergie.  Alone, I like them both perfectly fine, but this song grates at my nerves.  It doesn’t seem very well thought out, as if someone thought “Hey, let’s team Koda Kumi up with Fergie, who cares what they sing!”  The video is kind of pointless, lots of grinding around on eachother with a few nice-looking cars thrown in for affect.  Driving is a fun track, rock-ish in nature with a little Koda Kumi flare.  Just the Way You Are, Joyful, & Your Love all return Koda to her pop roots and are simple and sweet.

Overall, it is a good album – but that’s it.  Just good.  Not great, mindblowing or amazing.  Just pretty good.  I really hope that the songs I didn’t like weren’t the one’s that Koda herself worked on; because I know she had more input on this album.  I like the fact that the more time that passes, the more effort she is puting into the albums other than just singing.  Hopefully she will just get better and better.


Japanese Movie Review: Dororo (2007)

Last night I watched this:

A stylized dance number!

A stylized dance number!

Surpise! It’s not a Bollywood flick!  This is actually one of the first scene’s to Dororo, a fantasy movie based on the work of classic Japanese manga-ka Osamu Tezuka.  I usually balk at his stuff, because it’s usually a little to different for me.  I admit that he was a genious and very prolific.  I think that some of his work are just too over my head.  I read Phoenix, but I ended up confused most of the time, and never read it again.  I watched Metropolis, and wanted enchanted by it, but I didn’t love it.  So, it was a delightful surprise that Dororo has shoved it’s way into my top…well, it’s one of my favorites of the year.  On to the what and why.  There may or may not be spoilers ahead, so read on if you have seen it already.  I promise not to give away the ending!

Hyakkimaru (Satoshi Tsumabuki) is a man with a mission.  He is out to reclaim the 48 parts of his body that he was born without.  Read:

Aww! It's such a CUTE blob.

Aww! It's such a CUTE blob.

In order to accomplish this task he must kill all of the demons that were given a piece when he was born.  Hyakkimaru does not know why he was born this way, or who is responsible, and along the way begins to unravel the mystery.  As a child he is taken care of an elderly oji-san who claims Hyakkimaru as his own child and through his awesome shaman-y powers manages to create body parts for him using the (ew!) remains of children who died in war (always recycle!) One day, while battling a demon in a bar:

Smile! You're on Yokai Camera!

Smile! You're on Yokai Camera!

Hyakkimaru runs into a theif that decides she is going to follow him, and tags along.  Relcutantly he tells his new friend that he has not one true name but that he has been called Hyakkimaru, Dororo, bakemono and a number of others.  She decides that Dororo (an actually mis-pronuciacion of dorobo=theif) suits her better and picks it for herself, leaving him to be Hyakkimaru.  She convinces him to treat her as a boy and routinely refers to him as Aniki (traditional term for a respected (slightly) older man, not generally used by women.)  So, Dororo (Kou Shibasaki) joins him in the fight against the majin (demon gods) that he must kill.

I'll get this tail for you...

I'll get this tail for you...

While there is a LOT more that happens in this film, I hate reading reviews or synopses that ruin the entire film and leave you with nothing new to learn when you actually do see it for yourself; so I’m starting the review.

I LOVED this movie.  It was fun, depressing and thought-provoking too. The beginning of the film was the most fun.  There is good comic relief throughout the movie, mostly provided by Dororo (oy0i-iiyoi!)

Eeh?

Eeh?

I give this movie credit for having the best yokai/demon/bakemono/majin I’ve ever seen too.  In most of the movies that I have seen, they seem comical or ridiculous.  Some of them in this one were a bit silly like the giant sakura tree, but I think they at least looked menacing versus just laughable.

Impressive Wing Span.

Impressive Wing Span.

This Godzilla-esque lizard was the most ridiculous one, and even then I still liked it because it was such a fun and entertaining fight.

Rawr!

Rawr!

The sakura monster was probably the one I was most surprised by and intrigued with.  I usually think that the sakura tree is a positive symbol of Japan and the fact that it was used as a monster came unexpected.  I’ve come across versions of the different demon’s in other movies and shows before so I wasn’t really super stunned by any of the others.

Too close for comfort.

Too close for comfort.

Run! The blossoms smell too good!

Run! The blossoms smell too good!

No, not even the weird conglomerate-baby spirit surpised me.  No, really…

What She Said!

Me: What She Said!

I was surprised by it at first, but it grew on me like it did with Dororo.  In a battle with a different majin I was reminded of The Matrix and Shaolin Soccer. I think I liked this movie better than those two.  I’m thinking of actually researching yokai/majin in a more serious form after this movie.  I also love GeGeGe no Kitarou and other movies with traditional Japanese monsters, so it would be a fun and interesting research topic.

Flying GONGFU!!!!!!

Flying GONGFU!!!!!!


I had a few kokoro♥ squishing moments too.  Like this one:


Squish!

Squish!

Dororo and Hyakkimaru help to free the spirits of these children and release them into the after life.  Immediately after-wards however, their families stone our heroes out of town because Hyakkimaru is a bakemono.  😦  Another example of people being ignorant and scared of what they don’t take the time to understand.

You can come to my village Hyakkimaru!

You can come to my village Hyakkimaru!

I really liked a few of his acquisitions too.  When he got back his voice the scene in the rain was very touching.  I bet they were tired of yelling and laying around in the rain though when filming ended that day.  In fact, I bet Satoshi-kun was REALLY tired of screaming in this movie, period.  I mean, he regained a lot of body parts and howled in agony after recieving each one.

I'm a real boy!

I'm a real boy!

After another battle, wherein he battles two demon dogs that strangely resembled the zombie-dogs from Resident Evil he gets two body parts back for the price of one (battle that is.)

What does Hyakkimaru see for the first time?

What does Hyakkimaru see for the first time?

Dororo, of course!

Dororo, of course!

It’s at about this time that the fun ends and they start to really get into the serious side of their reality. Dororo tells Hyakkimaru of her past, and why she instists on being treated as a man instead of a woman.  Dororo’s fate is a direct result of an evil shogun and the tyranny he pours onto his people.  Most of the real drama begins with the (surprise!) entrance of THIS GUY:

It's Eita!

It's Eita!

Eita Tahomaru is a bit of a key player to the rest of the movie, and I won’t spoil it any more than I may already have.  In short, I give this movie a high recommendation.  If, for no other reason than it was just plain fun. I can’t be the only one who thought it was good, considering that it has two sequels/continuations coming up.  The second one is due out this year.  Dororo might be a little over the heads of people not familiar with Japanese history or older fables.  Don’t let that stop you however, because you can catch on pretty quick and it explains itself really well.  The only thing that would have scared me off would be this:

Geh!

Geh!

I knew something fishy was up the moment Anna Tsuchiya these girls showed up.  Creepy.

Heroes & Heroines

Well, a bright idea turned into a longer project than expected for me tonight, and I just finished.  I am still a “newbie” when it comes to Bollywood and I was feeling ashamed about how I forgot some of the actors names.  So, I thought, I would find pictures of them and then add their names to a file or some such thing.  Then, the idea fell into my head that adding their names TO the pictures themselves would be even better.  Better yet, let’s crop them to the same size and make a wallpaper! Alas, no.  It became a tw0 hour project that FINALLY resulted in this:  BollywoodStars-by-KamalaChanI hope you enjoy!  I know it’s my new favorite thing.  It’s got all my favorites, and a few others that I admire and like to watch too.  (Plus some greats that are more famous than really one’s that I like, but are growing on me.)

Xi Nian Kuai Le!

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone!  Although I didn’t have the money to truly celebrate the holiday this year, I made sure to check my horoscope and wish everyone a happy new year.

(My Zodia = The Pig)

(My Zodiac = The Pig)

In Chinese culture, the lunar new year is much more prominent.  In fact, the calendar new year is hardly noted and only some people actually celebrate it.  During new years the elders hand out lai see (red envelopes) of money to the youngsters in their family. Traditionally they also light fireworks in order to scare of bad spirits, and to welcome in good luck.  There are numerous traditions and different symbols that are followed and observed in the biggest holiday of the year.  It’s bigger than Christmas is here.

laisee2

In Korean culture it is called Seollal (설날.)  One of the most time-honored traditions of lunar new year is dressing up in a hanbok and performing Sebae; a bow of respect to their elders.  It’s rather specific, and is sometimes hard to figure out if you aren’t used to it.


Here is a clip of Rain/Bi (비) trying it out. 🙂 Hooray for silly commercials. 🙂


The Japanese celebrate with the U.S. during the calendar New Year, and one big tradition for them is to dress up in kimono and visit the local temple to pray for luck in the new year and to draw their horoscopes for the new year.  Oshogatsu is a fun time, and I’ve spent a couple of them at Morikami feeding the fish, making mochi and eating yakisoba.

Hanetsuki

Hanetsuki at Morikami

I hope no matter where you are or what your beliefs are, you can enjoy the start of this new year – if you celebrate with the moon, or follow the calendar a bright new year is upon us.

Indian Movie Review: Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic

Ranbeer (Saif Ali Khan) is a powerful business man who, in his rush to take care of business neglects to watch the road properly one evening; in doing so, he broadsides another car.  In a post-crash stupor, Ranbeer watches as rescuers try and fail to save the couple driving the car he hit.  After a year-long legal battle the judge hands down a strange sentence: take care of the couple’s four children as if they were your own, until the youngest turns 18 years old.  Now a court-appointed father, Ranbeer struggles to connect with the children who would rather live on their own than with the man who killed their parents.  Ranbeer asks his girlfriend Malaika (Amisha Patel) to get them everything they want, and eventually, to help him find a nanny to care for them.  However, God is paying attention to the drama of this family and sends help in the form of Geeta, (Rani Mukerji) a troublesome angel who is always cheerful, boasting of her inability to cry.  She is dispatched to unite the family as one, using her charm and is told not to use her magic in front of others.  Breaking the rules, Geeta uses her power to stop the children in several plots against Ranbeer, and also uses it to push him closer to them.  Eventually, the two start to get close as they bond with the children and one another.  After realizing her feelings, Geeta must decide whether she can handle being in love with a human, or if she will return to Heaven and keep her angel status.

Hello?!

Ranbeer Vs. The Phone

Despite rather harsh criticism from other viewers, I loved this movie.  Although, I tend to love the light-hearted “fluff” type of movie’s more than more serious and dramatic endeavors anyway.  The obvious similarities of this movie to The Sound of Music, Nanny McPhee and Mary Poppins might be a put-off for some people, but the fact that I love those movies and that they are considered by many people to be classic family films should be a great asset to Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic.  It was very similar to great children’s movies in that it took the time to teach children that learning can be FUN!

Museums are FUN!

Museums are FUN!


You can even march with Ghandi!

You can even march with Ghandi!

While I spent the first part of the movie a little frustrated with Ranbeer, I was very entertained by Geeta, and her inability to listen to God.  She used her powers in full force in front of all the kids and never really explained it either.  I don’t think that the family ever had a discussion about what Geeta really was – which was a little off-putting actually. If you have a person living in your house who can do this:

Just rowing in my moon - what?! you don't have one?

Just rowing in my moon - what?! you don't have one?

You might want to question it a little.  Just a thought…  The scenes from Heaven reminded me of Bruce Almighty, where they picked a prominent actor (Rishi Kapoor) to play the Almighty and just kind of had fun with it. I like that, because I’m sure God (in any form) isn’t a complete stiff and actually has a good time every once in awhile.

Rani is stunning as usual!

Rani is stunning as usual!

The picturizations were fun too.  While not my favorite song, I was impressed by Lazy Lamhe.  It’s got to be hard enough to film these scenes without doing it UNDER WATER!

"Singing" under water AND looking attractive - amazing!

"Singing" under water AND looking attractive - amazing!

I was bemused by the scenes in LA.  I don’t see very many of our own film crews for Hollywood movies using popular places like Universal Studios and Rodeo Drive very often, so it was fun to see a few scenes from these places.

Universal Studios!  Fix that tie Vashisht!

Universal Studios! Fix that tie Vashisht!

Wow! What a stylish family!

Wow! What a stylish family!

I am curious, however, if they actually filmed in a random ally in the US or if they themselves added this interesting bit of graffitti that distracted me during this scene:

Really?

Really?

In the end, it was a touching movie about finding family, even if they aren’t related to you by blood.  I am a full believer that family is extended to whomever your heart is connected – not just what is proper or what society dictates.

Will Vashisht ever join the family?

Will Vashisht ever join the family?

So, this is a tear?  (Don't cry Saif!)

So, this is a tear? (Don't cry Saif!)

4.5 Stars

Japanese Drama Review: Anmitsu-Hime


Starring: Inoue Mao as Anmitsu Hime
Koide Keisuke as Sembe
Yuki Imai as Amagurino Suke “Am
aguri”
Masaki Kyomoto as Kitsubanu Ryu
Morisako Ei as Ohagi-chan

This manga-turned-drama-special is about a young princess in a made up land of Japan that laments her status and the necessity for an arranged marriage. She decides to “escape” out into the streets and explore live and find love. Along the way she meets a group of street kids who help her see the real world and to understand that life isn’t just black and white.

I adored this “special.” They only ran an hour and half “made for tv movie” of Anmitsu Hime, but it was a very fun and charming show. I have been a fan of Inoue Mao for a long time, so she was what really drew me into the show. Her acting is getting better and better and this role of a “tomboy princess” suited her just fine. I also liked Koide Keisuke in his role as Sembe. I saw him before in Nodame Cantabile and he was hilarious, it was nice to see him in a more serious role. In general this is a comedy and I had a lot of laughs watching it. The names of the characters alone (Anmitsu Hime means “Syrup covered bean jam princess”) were enough to send me into a fit of giggles. It’s hard to keep a straight face when the characters are named after different foods – kind of like Sorcerer Hunters where the main character is named Carrot. The silliest of shows can sometimes become my favorites. I think that Yuki Imai and Ei Morisato stole the show though. They were charming and amazing as their respective roles. I think that acting at such a young age is amazing and to do it well is quite a challenge. I guess I am a sucker for a pretty man as well because I loved Masaki Kyomoto’s character of the playboy “secret guardian.” I hope that you can find the time to watch this short gem that SARS-fansubs has distributed kindly. You can always find great things at their website.

How it all started. Part II.

As a young woman, I fell victim to the most common anime-fan (otaku, if I may) cliche’s: Hello Kitty, Kerropi, and other Sanrio characters now adorned my school supplies and and I spent time searching for places to buy them. Indeed, I found a small store very close by that sold a variety of character goods and to my delight, they sold CD’s as well. A few anime soundtracks (it’s where I picked up my Cowboy Bebop complete collection CD set!) were always available, but also a section of cd’s with cute Asian boys and girls all smiling and dancing across the brightly colored covers. I experimented and bought a few that simply LOOKED good. I ended up buying Lee Jung-Hyun‘s Magic to Go To My Star, BoA‘s ID; Peace B, and Baby V.O.X.‘s Why. Thus, my true introduction to Asian pop music was launched. From there, I began to expand my fan base and buy other albums to experiment with and see if I liked the music and it’s grown to gigantic proportions today. I have so many artists that I listen on a regular basis it takes several hard drives to contain them. I remember buying the Lee Jung-Hyun album most, probably because of the distinct packaging। I was a little creeped out by the doll, and a bit taken aback by the sound of the album too. Her voice was so high, and I really don’t think I was expecting such a techno-heavy album after the bubblegum pop of BoA and Baby V.O.X. For the longest time I didn’t really know what she looked like, because none of her early albums didn’t have pictures, and I guess I didn’t think to look up Lee Jung-Hyun on the internet. There was no Google image search at that time, and it was just something I didn’t know how to do. I quietly enjoyed my Korean and Japanese pop. I also started to find some common Japanese artists too, Koda Kumi, Utada Hikaru, Maaya Sakamoto and others who were somehow related to the anime industry.
In order to get to where I am now, there was a step that I had to take and it came about the time I was leaving my first college to move to Florida. I was still quite obsessed with anime, but I was beginning to get my toes wet in the waters of Asian cinema. It was a good thing that ADV and other anime distributors were putting out a few Japanese and Korean movies here and there, because with out easy access I might not have discovered the whole new world I did. Princess Blade was one of the first live-action Japanese movies I remember actually sitting down and watching. Then came the miracle of Netflix. If you live far away from any really good Asian communities it is hard to find places to get or watch Asian movies. I joined Netflix in order to save money, up until that point I had been buying everything that I wanted to watch out of necessity. No one else I knew was really that into the same things as me, so it wasn’t possilbe to borrow anything. Netflix opened up a giant door for me and allowed me to easily expand my repertoire of movies. I started out renting The Returner, starring Takeshi Kaneshiro. It was a great action movie starring Anne Suzuki. I liked her
too, so I added the only other movie she was in to my queue: Moon Child. And to my Gackt-obsessed delight it was the only movie HE was in too. I won’t describe the process of each movie, it would be obnoxiously long and boring. But, this is how I tend to find new artists (musicians & actors.) I like someone, watch a lot of their work, and then find someone else in one of their movies that interests me and watch their work and the process repeats over and over again. The lucky thing for me is that I love music as much as I love movies. So, when I find a double or triple threat it’s very exciting and usually leads to a larger discovery. (Double threats are singers/actors and triple threats are singers/actors/dancers – not everyone can dance. ::cough::Gackt::cough::) I find it interesting however, that I will still be drawn to the same actor or actress without knowing it. I am currently watching a series called Room of King, starring a new favorite of mine; Mizushima Hiro. All I really knew about it while downloading the fan-sub was that he was in it. I watched the first episode and lo and behold, Anne Suzuki shows up. It’s not uncommon, but it still seems odd that I should gravitate towards the same people without knowing it.

A couple of years ago, I discovered IRC and that there were scanlators; people who scan Japanese, Korean and Chinese manga raws and then work tirelessly and for free to translate and create English language versions for fans. I have since left the IRC world, but it lead me in a new direction through a friend I met there. He suggested that I watch a movie called Bride and Prejudice. Bride and Prejudice is a culturally different take on Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, created by a Desi director from London. While not an actual Bollywood movie, it was my first introduction to Indian related cinema and my first time seeing the beautiful Aishwarya Rai. I immediately loved the colorful traditional outfits, the catchy and fun bangara music. Immediately following this I rented Monsoon Wedding and decidedly loved that movie too. ((It is odd that at this time my mp3 player picked the Punjabi Wedding Song from the B&P soundtrack to play out of over 7500 songs on it…))Sadly, at the time I was very caught up in a Chinese movie kick and left Bollywood hanging. I think that my introduction to Indian culture through Gurinder Chadha’s films Bride & Prejudice and Bend It Like Beckham was essential. If, perhaps I had chosen another path into Bollywood and just watched something random, I might not have liked it or understood anything. As it stands today, I’m sure that I don’t quite understand a lot of what is going on in the films, but that will take time. I have surely addapted to and learned about Korean, Japanese and Chinese culture by watching more and more of their movies and television shows, it is easy to assume that I will learn just as much about India and all it has to offer if I watch more of their entertainment too.

Looking back, it’s been a very kinetic experience, one thing leads to another and then to another snowballing into a giant ball of actors, singers, movies, and music that I adore and wouldn’t trade for anything. I am fortunate enough to have the drive and passion to follow all that I do and I just hope to share that passion with anyone who will listen (or read as the case may be here.) Today I am an international person, no longer simply “white,” as my friend says – I’m just as much Asian as she is. I think that if other people in the world could be half as open-minded as I am, then we would be a lot better of. If you got this far – thanks for reading! Feel free to leave comments or questions here or on any other posts!

How it all started. Part I.

I have been thinking about my interest in Asian culture a lot lately and thought I might take a few minutes to jot down the story of my growing and insatiable thirst for knowledge in all things Asian.
It all started in about 8th grade, when I discovered Pokemon. Ahhh…I remember scheduling my life around Pokemon. I would make sure that I made it home in time to catch the afternoon episodes and if I was going to miss it, I set the VCR to tape it. Some days I even paused the tapes and drew the characters while they were frozen on screen. I researched them on the Internet and eventually learned that my favorite show was called an “Anime.” I temporarily became obsessed. I still have drawings from those days tucked away in an old sketch book. This was my first taste of true Asian culture, even if it was watered down and Americanized.
Fast forward a few years and to my Junior year of high-school, while still struggling with teenage angst, establishing self-worth and figuring out what to do with my future I became mildly obsessed with anime and borrowed as much as possible from my friends and even friends of my older brother. The next thing I acutely remember about anime was going to visit my brother on his college campus and seeing posters and post-cards advertising the release of
Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime as I now refer to most of the time.) He told me that it was an anime and that it was one of the first to really be promoted in the United States. He said his friend Bryan was more into it butt he thought it was pretty cool himself. My first few experiences with anime also included series such as Martian Successor Nadesico, Dual!, Photon: Idiot Adventures, Trigun, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and my favorite even to this day: Cowboy Bebop. I was so into my new world, that I bought chopsticks, and sat down to many a piping bowl of Ramen noodles while staring at my small bedroom television watching Nadesico and the like. I started an anime journal. Where I would write the lyrics to songs, small reviews and episode summaries to my favorites. I loved the karaoke subtitles of the opening and closing credit songs. I started to try and find the songs online and would spend hours on end, into the early morning looking for them.

I continued this way into my first year of college, where I was lucky enough to go to Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Not only did they have an anime club, once a year they had a workshop called Schoolgirls and Mobilesuts where you could EARN CREDITS FOR WATCHING ANIME!!!! Oh man, was I excited. I think it was the highest grade I got while at that school actually. MCAD was able to get in contact with Disney that year and talked them into giving us a subtitled copy of Spirited Away for our own private screening just before it’s official release in theaters around the United States. I remember sitting in the Minneapolis Institute for Art theater wondering how I had arrived there, and just being thrilled to be a part of something so wonderful. I was also blessed to have been able to listen to Susan Napier speak as well. As author of Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke, Napier was able to give thought provoking insite into the literal and deeper side of anime that I hadn’t really opened up to before. (It is now a revised version taking the reader through the time in Hayao Miyazaki’s career up to How’s Moving Castle) I began to practically inhale manga at this time. I read everything I could get my hands on, from Sailor Moon to Battle Royale. I still have my old favorites and regularly read many new titles. I think the local book stores and comic shops ran out of manga because of me. I currently own over 1,000 graphic novels, although I’m liquidating my collection to less than half that (It’s hard to move them all!) On the outskirts of my vision there were starting to be other things other than just Japanese anime and manga. I realized that several of the titles I was reading had non-Japanese names and the style of art were slightly different as well. At the time, Demon Diary was one of my favorites and I was somewhat surprised to find out that it was actually a “mangwha;” Korean in origin, unlike the majority of my other books. So, another one of my great loves was finding it’s way into my life.