Watching Over the Moon

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“Over the Moon” Cedar Park, 2020

I was looking forward to watching Over the Moon, and when I saw my Twitter feed filled with news about it, I had to watch it immediately. I was kind of blown away by the animation and art style, especially Fei Fei’s hometown. It was beautiful! The scenes on the moon were pretty cool, but I preferred the Earth-bound visuals.

The story was fun, a bit silly, but there were a couple of sad scenes when my eyes teared up a bit, so I guess it was a pretty good movie. 😭

I know this film is kind of a big deal for Chinese Americans, and I felt a little bit of pride in my heritage, even though I am very far removed from it. Still, something stirs within me when I see Chinese, Japanese, or Hawaiian heritage represented like this. The English and Scottish part of me… not so much, but maybe some day.

El Arroyo Yard Sign

Photo info: motorola moto g(6), 3.95mm, f/1.8, 1/350 sec, ISO100
“Yard Sign” Cedar Park, 2020

El Arroyo is a Tex-Mex Restaurant here in Austin, and they are famous for the funny messages they put on their sign. It’s the first time I’ve seen one of their yard signs in action, though! Pretty cool, although I know who I’m voting for, and it’s not a refrigerator. 😄

I hope you had a nice day!

Cute Japanese Halloween Candy

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Japanese Halloween Goodies” Cedar Park, 2020

I just love the illustrations on these Japanese Halloween candies. So cute! 🎃👻

For some reason, I am enjoying the change of seasons from Summer to Autumn a lot this year. I’m guessing it has to do with the pandemic lock-down lifestyle, but not sure exactly… Anyways, I’ll enjoy the feeling, whatever the reasons.

Ainori Love Wagon

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO1600
“Ainori” Cedar Park, 2020

Over the past week, I binge-watched Ainori Love Wagon: Asian Journey Seasons 1 and 2, and African Journey Season 1. I loved them! If you don’t know about these shows, they are Japanese reality television shows, where several single people travel to different countries hoping to find a love partner within their group. It’s a lot of fun, and I since I love travel shows, I find each episode very interesting. The relationships are fun to watch develop, but I think if there was no travel element, it wouldn’t be nearly as good.

In my opinion, the African Journey is the best of the bunch because of the friendly group dynamic. I found the two Asian seasons had a bit too much tension (because of one particular traveler), and while some people love that kind of drama, I’m not a huge fan. I’m looking forward to Africa Season 2, but I’m disappointed because the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have put the series on hold… although they might have finished filming Season 2 before lock-down.

In the meantime, two of my favorite travelers, “Kou” and “Husky”, had an Instagram Live session today which was fun (from what I could understand). It’s neat joining Instagram Live streams since they often interact with the text chat. I remember Crystal Kay responded to a few things I commented on, and in today’s chat, Kou returned my “cheers” by raising her non-alcoholic beer and saying “Texas Chili! Cheers!” lol. 🤣

Anyways, if you like these kinds of shows, and have Netflix US, give it a try.

I hope you had a good day!

Eleanor & Park (2012) – Book Review

I finished reading (audiobook) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I was captivated by this YA novel from beginning to end. Set in Omaha, Nebraska, it’s about two high school students’ relationship. The year is 1986, which was the year I graduated, so the references to popular culture were familiar to me. I normally am put off by too many references in books, but I enjoyed the ones in Eleanor & Park. Some were pretty obscure, like the Prefab Sprout t-shirt towards the end of the book, which I really appreciated. I feel like only a certain 80s subculture, like the one my friends and I were part of, would recognize many of the references. But others, such as Totino’s Party Pizzas (we used to eat them all the time!) are common but add a lot of context to the times.

The love story is a simple one but the details and characters were very interesting. Eleanor is a misfit, Park is half-Asian, Eleanor has a large family with an abusive stepfather, while Park’s lives in a typical household. While it’s mainly a teen romance, subjects of bullying, domestic abuse, inter-racial relationships, and racism are also talked about, but not too deeply, which is kind of a shame and I think a little bit of a missed opportunity. However, the pace of the story moves along nicely and maybe it was just the right amount of lightly touching on those heavy subjects.

One thing to note is that some of the East-Asian stereotypes can be a bit “cringey” and reading them left me a little uncomfortable, but if I think about the setting of the story, it kind of makes sense. I don’t know if the author was intentionally describing Park like that to point out the stereotyped mindset of the time, but she could have been clearer. And I have never heard of “Park” as a first name (it is a common Korean surname).

I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that I thought it was excellent and I (unlike many other readers) was satisfied. That final chapter brought a big smile to my face and a little tear to my eye. 😊 Give it a read if you haven’t already!

Note: Book cover design by Olga Grlic and illustration by Harriet Russell

******** SPOILER ALERT *********

About the ending… it reminded me of the ending to Monsters Inc. It’s that same feeling.

By the way, I made a little sketch of Eleanor wearing Park’s Prefab Sprout t-shirt::