Cloudy Says…

Hi everyone! For those of you wondering why I’ve suddenly gone crazy and posted three different reviews in one day, it’s because I’ve recently arrived in Japan and I may be too busy for the next few days looking for things to review to actually POST my reviews so hopefully these little rants and photos keep you guys busy. I’m so excited to check out Akihabara, Odaiba and all the other cool little stores and restaurants.

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(I promise to catch up on all my Karneval recaps and newly released manga reviews as soon as I can! I know a lot of you guys are waiting for those too)

Thank you guys so much for reading, liking and following! New ideas are popping up in my head everyday for new posts! Stay tuned for more!

– Cloudy

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House of the Dancing Waters Review

DSC_0259Hey guys! I recently visited Macau and as promised, today I’m gonna share a really awesome experience with you all. To be honest Macau never really appealed to me even as its deemed the Las Vegas of the East. Macau is filled with casinos and fancy shows. One of which is the House of the Dancing Waters, an aquatic cirque that showcases acrobatics, contortionists, beautiful dance and diving. It’s probably even more popular than Cirque de Soleil which has been running for quite a few years now.

Rating: 5/5 happy clouds 5 Clouds Transparent

I usually enjoy live performances and this show was no exception. Though tickets are a tad pricey. The production as a whole is worth the little cringe in your wallet. Relatively new, having opened for only 2-4 years, its still catering to audiences of all ages. However, from where I sat, kids and toddlers were crying left and right.

Despite the minor interruptions at the beginning of the show due to overly-excited and chatty tourists, I soon found myself thrown into a world of grand flips, spectacular dives, brilliant story-telling and stunning special effects. The music, written by Benoit Jutras fuses western and eastern to reflect the opposing elements of the story that unfold in pairs. The main theme and first song, “Dancing Water” is probably my favourite because it takes you back to the moment the lights darken and the fisherman appears, carefully rowing along the river, fate’s little incident that throws a handful of strangers into one strange story.

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The stage direction is absolutely brilliant. The production utilizes all the elements of visual art- line, shape, colour, form, balance, movement and repetition to create a three dimensional experience numerous times more exciting, extraordinary and immediate than cinema, stage or even broadway. Showcased in a 360 round theatre, spectators from any seat is able to perceive the story from their own unique perspective.

Here are some photos my dad grabbed while I was WAY too distracted to take my own photos. As always, lighting is extremely difficult to gauge on stage…

The elements of water, light and fire are manipulated in conjunction with one another to create stunning effects that lend weight to the storytelling. The transitions are utterly seamless. And that’s what stage magic should be. Due to my background as a dancer and experience on stage, I can usually deduce the workings behind stage magic. This time, I’m really stumped. One minute we’re watching the fisherman dive into the lake, next he’s crawling onto shore. The set is immensely flexible, able to transform into multiple platforms, and act as a medium for water effects as well as acrobatics

If you get the chance, take a trip to Macau, even for just a day. Try the Portuguese styled egg tarts, porkchop buns and grab some yummy souvenir samples as you shop around. Be sure to catch the House of Dancing Waters and maybe try your luck at a casino. The City of Dreams awaits!

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– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Donguri Republic Store

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Hi everyone! Today I’m gonna share some photos I snapped while  I pushed my away through the masses of people to get into the first overseas Studio Ghibli at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui. There were some really crazy line ups and when I finally got in, it was a real treat to take photos with the giant Totoro on display as well as the step into the furry Catbus. If any of you guys live in Hong Kong or are planning a trip there, I strongly recommend this little store for Studio Ghibli (especially My Neighbour Totoro) fans! Since the store is located in Harbour City, it’s a great tourist mall to visit while you’re in Tsim Sha Tsui.

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– Cloudy

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Café Kool Review

IMG-20130623-00153Hi everyone! I am ecstatic to share with you guys and all-you-can-eat restaurant in a hotel where the food is absolutely delish. For the many all-you-can-eat places I’ve been to, the food gets worse and worse as I return to the restaurants every few months. Cafe Kool is one of, if not THE best all-you-can-eat restaurant I’ve ever been to.

Location: Tsim Sha Tsui, inside Shangri-La Hotel

Rating: 5/5 happy clouds 5 Clouds Transparent

First of all, there is a wide selection of food. Whether you feel like Japanese sushi, Indian curry, Chinese dim sum or Mexican quesadillas, there’s something for everyone.. Salad DIY bars are super fun and at Kool there’s a noodle bar, pasta bar and sushi bar.

The layout of the restaurant is wide and flat. All the main foods are located in the far inner areas while desserts are right at the front of the restaurant, easily visible when you walk in. The room is lit with mellow amber lights for golden ambiance but you might be too busy enjoying the food to notice LOL

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The dessert bar is my favourite. Since dessert is the last part of the meal, its usually what people remember the most (well, aside from the lobster). A lot of all-you-can-eat restaurants stuff you full with the main dishes and expect you to skip dessert (which means they’re dessert probably sucks). What I love the most about his dessert bar is that its a fusion style of both western treats and Chinese sweet soups and cakes. We should scream because there’s also ice cream that follows a Tim Horton’s Coldstone style. You first select a number of flavours or toppings. Then the chef behind the counter will mix and mash everything together to create your own unique tailored sundae. Don’t forget to choose your favourite syrup!

The meal also comes with one free drink, ranging from HK styled lemon tea to English earl grey or coffee. There’s definitely something for everyone here, even the pickiest of eaters will be delighted at the different delicacies.

If you’re around Tsim Sha Tsui looking for a good meal or you need a place to plan a special dinner, go ahead and book a table at Cafe Kool. Word of warning if you’re thinking of making date night here, it gets pretty loud due to the flood of tourists staying at the hotel (and the number of screaming kids) especially in the summer months. It’s a great place for a big family dinner. Hope you guys enjoy the food here as much as I do! Cheers!

– Cloudy

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Teatime on Granville Road

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IMG-20130622-00112Hi guys! Today I’m reviewing an awesome tea shop called Gong Cha that I found on my walk down Granville Road. I tried the Lychee Oolong Tea with aloe and lychee jelly which was a real treat because Canadian chinese tea shops don’t usually give flavoured oolong as an option. Gong Cha is a great place to grab a refreshment after a heated walk down the street and it’s next to a really cool snack shop with curry fishballs, red sausages and the like. The name of the snack shop escapes me but they have my favourite chinese snack- waffle eggies- in original, chocolate and taro flavour.

IMG-20130622-00106For all you travellers searching for the noms, the streets of Hong Kong have the best snackies that really reflect the culture and taste of the town.

Hope you guys enjoy this review and thank you so much for reading. Happy snacking!

– Cloudy

Studio Ghibli Exhibition

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studioghibliHey guys! I have a super cool destination attraction to share with you guys today. For my Hong Kong readers and viewers or anyone who’s currently in Hong Kong, I strongly suggest you go to Harbour City (海港城) in Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀) and check out the Films of Studio Ghibli Exhibition. Studio Ghibli  has been the animation film studio that produced amazing anime moves such as  Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Howl’s Moving Castle, Arrietty and the list goes on! My favourite has to be My Neighbour Totoro… he’s just so darn cute!

The new Donguri Republic overseas store opened today and I can’t wait to check it out!

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Hope you guys enjoyed this quick little blurb and thank you so much for the overwhelming positive responses I got from my “Bathtub of the World” post. Thank you so much for all the support 🙂 I will try to post new travel rants and reviews every day. Stay tuned for a Macau-themed review!

– Cloudy

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Zhou Mi (周覓) @ APM

Hey guys! I’ve got a real treat for you Super Junior M fans today!

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Some of you might have read from some of my posts that I am currently in Hong Kong. Well… dropping by the APM Mall in Kwun Tong, I managed to catch some photos of Zhou Mi (周覓) from Super Junior M participating in the Thai Perfect Book Sign Event. We got to see the music video for Break Down on the big screen as well as hear Zhou Mi personally sing Distant Embrace(距離的擁抱) to us… Some of the photos are a little blurry as I only had my tiny little point and shoot with me but here are a few that turned out fairly well! Hope you guys enjoy!

– Cloudy

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Bathtub of the World

Hi guys! Today I’m introducing a new blog section called Cloudy Around the World where I look at cute little tourist attractions and hotspots for you guys to shed a little light on vacation fun. The first attraction we’re going to look at actually appears in more place than one… It’s THE DUCK!!

Created by mind of the brilliant Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, it’s the largest rubber duck in the world and it’s already hit a bunch of different locations. I was lucky enough to catch sight of the cute rubber duck on the last day of its stay in Hong Kong, which also happened to be my first day in Hong Kong. Soon, you’ll be able to see it in Pittsburgh, its first scheduled stop in the United States.

Wherever the big yellow duck goes next, it’s sure to spread joy and happiness to everyone around the world!

Hope you all enjoyed this new segment! I’m always looking for new and interesting stuff to share with you guys! Thank you so much for reading!

– Cloudy

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Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 1000% Episode 1 Recap & Review

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Hi everyone! Today we’re reviewing Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 1000% or Prince of Song. I’m very excited to share this anime with you guys because I love the original soundtracks that come with it. The music and the cover art is what initially drew me to this anime even before I’d read or heard about it. I thought this would be a great time to bring up this anime because the sequel Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 2000% just finished. What better time to power through both together at once?

“A light comes out of the darkness. A heart that makes a flower bloom in the wilderness journeys through the sky. Music changes the world.”

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Rating: 4.5/5 curiously excited clouds5 CuriousClouds Transparent

nanamiI love how the anime opens with screaming fans XD The opening song is just so darn catchy! This anime focuses on a boy band of six very good looking and colourful boys. The actual story begins with a girl who’s late for her entrance music exam at a boarding school called Saotome Academy. When she’s  refused by the guards due to her tardiness, a boy steps in and convinces the guards to let her in. another boy appears to plead her case. (They’re actually two of the boys from the opening boy band number). Shojo boys. So. Good. Looking. All of a sudden, one guard gets a call and allows her in on an exception…

friendShe later passes and is admitted as a student! YAY! The girl’s name is Nanami Haruka, a girl who dreams on becoming a composer. Her roomate’s name is Shibuya “Tomo-chan” Tomochika. They met in the examination hall.

“The beating of a heart is the first source of music!”

headmasterThe headmaster is a rather eccentric performer as he welcomes new students into Saotome. He use to be idol Shiningg Saotome who sold twenty million CDs. Nanami then bumps into the first boy he helped her on the day of the entrance exam (aka Lifesaver A). His name is Ittoki Otoya. Insert a lot of comedy and hilarity as Nanami is introduced to her other classmates…  Shinomiya Natsuki, who tried to glomp Nanami because he thought she looked like his cute dog Elizabeth as well as Hijirikawa Masato. A fanfare sounds and Tsukimiya Ringo, another idol begins class. She so sounds like a man =.= and cue Nanami’s expression of astonishment. Saotome is actually a school dedicated to cultivating idols and their composers so I guess that’s why the instructors are all superstars… Sounds like a pretty fun school to attend.

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When Nanami trips in the cafeteria and drops her meal card, she meets Kurusu Shou and runs into her second lifesaver, Jinguji Ren. Since Nanami doesn’t have a television at home, she’s completely oblivious to the famous students and staff around her XD As Tomo-chan puts it, “the level of the males here is off the charts!”

childWe’re given some of Nanami’s back story as she retells some of her past to Tomo-chan regarding her transition to the city and the stress that came with it. When she was on the verge of a breakdown, she heard sees Hayato on a big screen TV on the street and his music moves her and inspires her to become a composer in hopes that she could compose for him one day.

What? Sudden flashback to the baddies?!? Random much? But of course, there has to be some hint of an antagonist in the series and it’s typical that there would be crazy drama and tension going on in the music world…
When a cat wanders into Nanami’s room and runs off with her hankerchief, she follows it out into the back gardens, where she meets Ichinose Tokiya whom she mistakes for Hayato. Though Nanami is sure that the boy is Hayato, he says, “Please don’t confuse me with that shallow dullard, Hayato.”

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I think the events are spaced out quite well even though they jump around quite randomly towards the end of the episode. We settle into school life as Nanami does, before we’re introduced to some opening threads of conflict that may potentially take place and unlike other animes, the ending credits might actually have preview scenes of subsequent episodes. I like the art style of the animation very much and at least our heroine possesses some depth.

I hope you guys like Uta no Prince-sama as much as I do! Thank you so much for reading and I will talk to you guys soon!

– Cloudy

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Manga Versus Anime FIGHTO! – Gundam Seed and GS Destiny

Everyone2Hi everyone! Welcome to the second Manga Versus Anime FIGHTO! Today’s battle is between the manga and anime of Gundam Seed and its sequel Gundam Seed Destiny. These two animes are quite a few years old, but classic. Gundam never goes out of style (Haha, see what I did there?) But in all seriousness, the legacy of the Gundam animes, manga series, light novels and figurines is a long lasting culture of its own that’s quite a distinct aspect of Japanese culture. My dad watched and loved the original Gundam series and years later, I’m also quite obsessed with Gundam.

Manga Rating: 3.5/5 happy clouds35 Clouds Transparent

Kira & Lacus (37)I love the GS and GSD series, however I was thoroughly surprised when I first picked up the manga because the art style in the manga was completely different from the anime. The storylines of both the manga and anime parallel except for the extra OVAS and special edition endings added to the anime. The manga is getting harder and harder to find these days, but it’s not impossible and you can read the story online.  I feel that the art is very shonen compared to the brushed up pretty boys of the anime adaptation and as an arts student, I feel that the proportions of quite a few of the characters and frames are out of perspective. Being distracted by the art makes it harder to enjoy the plot.

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Anime Rating: 5/5 happy clouds5 Clouds Transparent

This anime gets a full set of happy clouds because of the deep philosophical thought and pervasive themes of war, love and tragedy that are brought up by the struggles of power and resistance taking place in a world hanging precariously in peace. The anime paints a very three-dimensional landscape of the war and the events taking place because of the omniscient third perspective that it’s told in. Every character represents a different archetype in stories as well as personas you so often find in wars. The soldier, the general, the pacifist, the reluctant hero, the reckless fighter, the embodiment of hope… I picked up this series years ago and I’ve recently re-watched the re-mastered version that includes a few new scenes.

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Rereading or re-watching this anime is like coming home. And yes, you might bawl at the end depending on how much you empathize with the characters and how deeply you feel immersed in the plot. I highly recommend you watch these two series one after the other because GSD takes place two years after GS and a lot of recurring characters appear. For one thing, the main characters in GS play a much more prominent role in GSD which is great if you’re favourite characters are among the main cast.

Kira & Lacus (40)I feel like this is one of those series you either love or hate because I get a lot of mixed responses when I bring it up amidst otaku discussions with friends.  I found the story and its themes insightful and thought-provoking so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Thank you very much for reading! I will talk to you guys soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

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