My Love of BTS

It’s time to address the elephant in the room: Hi, my name is ChibiChonk and I love BTS.

When I first told my son, he told me, “Whoa, Mom. Their fans are toxic. Are you sure you want to go down that path?”

And this statement made by my own flesh and blood is exactly why I dislike generalized opinions based on conjecture and not one’s own research. The world is not black and white. There is always a lot of gray area. I do my best to try to see all sides of the issue. That doesn’t mean I always do. It just means I try. The same went for BTS. I had also heard their fandom was “toxic”. I heard that any dissent regarding BTS would result in getting attacked. I had read articles about fans bullying other fans, tv anchors, commentators, and hosts. Even though I didn’t quite like my son’s generality, he wasn’t exactly misinformed. A quick Google search will bring you a ton of bad behavior by Army, but on the flipside, there is a lot of good, too. That being said, I never condemned Army or judged them. I was just very indifferent.

At what moment did you acknowledge BTS’ talent?

It happened on August 3, 2020.

I was browsing YouTube when one of the suggested videos was BTS Carpool Karaoke. At this point, I had never actually watched BTS. I couldn’t tell you their names or the titles of any of their songs. While I knew of BTS and the alleged toxicity of their fans, I had never actually cared enough to listen to them. I was not particularly interested in K-Pop and overall, I was indifferent to their existence. I have always enjoyed the Carpool Karaoke skits, so I thought, “What the hell. Let’s give these guys a shot.”

My first impression was: These guys make me smile. BTS opened with their song, Mic Drop. I found myself bobbing my head and thinking, “Wow. This isn’t really ‘boy-bandy’. This is catchy as hell.”

After their first “performance”, RM was explaining how he learned English. It is a well-known fact that RM learned to speak English by watching the show, Friends. That’s when Jin says in the background, “Well, I’ve watched Friends, too. But, I can’t speak English…”

That’s when I belly laughed. I was shocked that the smile that began at the beginning of the video had not dropped and, now, this adorable Korean man was making jokes. They all seemed genuinely happy to be there, and they all seemed like they were being themselves. A lot of times, you watch boy bands and it can be obvious they don’t want to be there, or having a bad day. I recall not really feeling that even though there was a language barrier. I was impressed with RM as well. I later found out RM has a genius IQ. No wonder he could learn English from Friends.

Then…Jimin happened.

As they sang the next song, I distinctly remember Jimin’s voice. The smile faded from my face. I remember being dumbfounded. Is that his real voice?! It was as if the angels swooped down from heaven and took my heart. It sounds stupid, but I was breathless. I was literally entranced by his voice. That’s when I noticed his face. Could a man be any more beautiful?! He sings like an angel and looks like one, too?! How unfair, life!

The next part of the skit was James Corden asking about their nicknames. The whole time, I smiled. My heart felt full. Who are these guys? Why do their smiles make me smile? Why do I want to give all of them a hug?

Their next song was ON and the musician in me was “Whoa.”

Is this the type of music they sing? It had that getting out of school, starting your beater car, rolling down the windows, hitting play on your portable CD player connected by that weird tape adapter, putting it on full-blast, peeling out of the gravel parking lot vibe. Not that I did that…much. I remember thinking, “Is THIS what I’ve been missing out on?”

It finally ended with a dance class and I was blown away. I’ve always known boy bands center around the entertainment aspect, but I could tell they were next level. Jimin gets up to teach part of their choreography and I remember I leaned back in my chair and said, “Whaaaat just happened?”

And, that’s where it started y’all. That’s where it started.

I probably spent a week learning everything I could about the group. I listened to all their music. Learned their names. Developed my biases (Jimin/Jin/Suga). It only took a week to consider myself a part of Army.

What do you most admire about BTS?

I admire their work ethic. Not their innate talent, or dance moves. Their work ethic. If you take the time to learn about BTS, it is hard to not acknowledge how hard they work. They set high standards for themselves always working to perfect whatever task is in front of them. You quickly learn they have dedicated their lives to this group. They work through exhaustion. They cry when they feel they let someone down. They acknowledge their weaknesses and do everything in their power to make up for their lack of dance experience, or singing experience. They will perform with injuries. Their professionalism is so high, you would never know that they were in intense pain if it weren’t for the eagle eyes of Army. I have a lot of respect for musicians that work hard and continue to work hard. They sing all of their performances live. Yes, they do it with tracks, but I dare you to pull up a performance and not be able to tell that they’re singing. I am always in awe of their stamina to do what they do.

They genuinely make me happy

When I am feeling run down, or in a bad mood, I can turn on YouTube and watch a video. They make me laugh so hard, it hurts. Just a few of my favorite clips:

Suga – Bullfrogs and Water Deer (I dare you to not immediately Google the sound of a water deer.)

All Members – Complaining about their choreography difficulty

Is Army toxic?

I think any fandom can be toxic. It is no lie that Army has its share of blemishes. But, you know what? I’ve also seen their generosity. When I ordered a keychain from Etsy, the seller also enclosed a second keychain, Jimin photocards, and a Jimin mini-button for free. In her note, she wrote that she made all of the items in hopes to see BTS in concert before the pandemic. Her plan was to hand it all out to fellow Army. How sweet is that? Since she couldn’t do that until after the pandemic, she was including it with all of her BTS handmade merchandise. That is the Army I want to focus on. I acknowledge there are fans that are over the top. Paying for billboard trucks to express your dissatisfaction on how the group is being managed is crazy. You are straight-up crazy. I can’t imagine anything more toxic and I can only imagine how it makes the group feel. People call themselves fans, but then partake in such selfish actions without consideration on how it makes the artist feel. Honestly, I would be embarrassed if my fans did things like that. Like, damn. Take a chill pill. It is crazy to spend money on the illusion that you have any control or influence on an artist. Like, find some reality.

If you’ve never given BTS a chance, I suggest their cover of Fix You by Coldplay. You don’t have to enjoy K-pop to appreciate their musicality.

Is Age Just a Number?

POTENTIAL SPOILERS: PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Age difference in relationships will always be a polarizing topic. One of my favorite anime from the spring 2021 season is Koikimo. This anime features a relationship with a ten-year gap in age.

Ryou is a successful salaryman with a womanizing reputation. He has gone through life using women for pleasure and then not even bothering to remember their names. On the outside, he is good-looking and sought after, but has little room in his heart for meaningful relationships.

After a night of pleasure, Ryou finds himself irritated that the woman he slept with kept him up all night. Tired and dizzy, he made his way to the station. While distracted, another person bumps into him just as he was at the top of the stairs. Realizing that he is about to be seriously injured and/or possibly die, all he can do is say, “Oh shit.”

Enter our female protagonist, high-schooler Ichika. Ichika saves Ryou from certain injury, perhaps, even death, by using the handle of her umbrella to grab his coat collar and pull him back. As he gathers himself, she apologizes for strangling him in her attempt to save him. She notices he is pale and asks if he had breakfast. Replying that he had not, she rummages in her bag to see if she had anything to offer him. Glancing at her watch, she realizes that she is about to be late for school. In a swift action, she shoves her lunch in his hands and takes off running wishing him health.

At first, Ryou is annoyed. Why would this stranger give him her lunch? He was about to throw it away when he suddenly had a change of heart and opened the lunch, presumably, to eat it.

The day has ended and Ryou heads to his family home. There, we meet his younger sister, Rio. She announces that she has a friend over. That’s when Ichika and Ryou make eye contact. He then enters playboy mode when his sister leaves the room to take a call. Under the guise of “properly thanking her” for saving his life, he first offers her shoes or clothes, then a kiss, and then offers to go even further.

Ichika, with a disgusted look on her face, replies, “You’re creepy. You’re offering up yourself as thanks for saving you? What are you thinking? That’s not why I saved you.”

Ryou is taken aback by her honesty.

Almost immediately, Ichika apologizes for expressing her thoughts.

And, this. This is the moment Ryou feels something stir in his heart for the first time. Moved by her sincere gesture of giving him her lunch to her honesty to his shallow offer, he gets down on one knee and tells her, “I’m moved…I’ve never felt this way before.”

The balance of the show spends the bulk of its time building the relationship between Ryou and Ichika. There are so many memorable scenes of Ryou acting like a love-sick puppy and Ichicka being disgusted by him. It’s well done, and actually quite funny. What starts as a one-sided love eventually blossoms to mutual feelings. But, there is a glaring issue. Ryou is ten-years older than Ichika. At one point, a pursuer of Ryou brings up this fact in a moment of jealousy. Can Ryou and Ichika be happy together? Can they make it work? Will the age gap bring Ichika misery instead of happiness?

I don’t believe that age is a sole determinant on whether a relationship will be successful. I have friends that have successful marriages with much older spouses, and friends that could not make it work. I, personally, believe that there are other factors that determine whether age will affect a relationship such as personality, maturity, and willingness.

For example, I’m pretty young at heart. I wear youthful clothing; I dye my hair funky colors; I like stuffed animals; I watch anime and Asian dramas; I used to stream video games; and, for the most part, I am interested in things that people my age “gave up” or “moved on from”. When I went to college orientation with my now 21-year old son a few years ago, the students thought I was his older sister and/or a student myself. One student was pretty shook and told me he didn’t think I was a day over 25. At the time, I was 38.

At my son’s college orientation

Unless the person is also the same, someone older than me would most likely be a deal breaker. On the flip side, I am confident that I could maintain a relationship with someone quite younger than me. As long as they’re responsible and mature, or have the willingness to hear me out when I might have a bit more wisdom on the situation, we’d be fine. Do you hear me, Park Jimin or Kim Seok-jin?? I’d make it work!

Is age just a number? For the most part, I think so. In this particular show, I believe whole-heartedly that these two can make it work. She’s mature for her age and he’s willing to do what it takes to make it work. If they date for a few years to allow her to grow a bit more, they’re going to be fine.

So, there you have it. Large age gaps don’t bother me unless the situation is illegal, of course. Obviously, I don’t support predators that target young men/women. I’m talking about normal, healthy, good-intentioned relationships. It doesn’t bother me one bit that this show highlights such a large age gap between the protagonists. While I may not understand marriages with 20, 30, 40 year gaps, I don’t disapprove of them. Everyone’s situation is unique and it really is none of my business or my place to judge who people fall in love with.

A Totally Unnecessary Purchase

Hey, everyone!

For my fellow Americans, I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and spent at least a silent moment thanking those that have sacrificed their lives for our nation.

This Memorial Day weekend, we spent a lot of time on the house. Currently, the house is still in a state of disarray. The supplies to our floors still have not arrived. Once the supplies arrive, we’ll schedule installation. We packed up all of our decorative items, pictures, DVDs, etc. that were on display so the installation crew doesn’t have to mess with anything but the furniture. My husband got a chance to move around the television and bookcases to get an idea of what our new configuration will look like when the floors and done and the new furniture arrives. So far, he’s pretty happy with the potential.

I painted our dining room walls. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to take “before” pictures, but be assured. The previous green was hideous and I hated it from the minute we moved in. I would have painted it years ago, but a combination of time, money, and sheer lack of will to do it had a hold of me. We chose a color that almost matches our new furniture. It’s a deep red and we love it. I think a splash of color is all you need to reinvent a room. Ignore the trim at the bottom. They’re replacing it so I didn’t bother taping it off.

Also, meet Snickerdoodle a/k/a Doodle a/k/a Snickerdoo a/k/a Dooweedle.

Almost as if our interior garage door felt change happening, the door knob broke. Well, let me back up. It had been going the way of dinosaurs for a while, but we were ignoring it. The husband comes in and says, “Yeah, that door knob needs to go.”

So, we started researching door knobs. As a joke, I showed him the smart lock configurations for your entryway door. We were making jokes and talking about how unnecessary they are, but somehow, we convinced ourselves that we needed a smart lock. Did our front door mechanism need to be replaced? YES. The outside door knob was absolutely disgusting. It was old school bronze and it had this gummy residue that we couldn’t quite wash off. Also, the mechanism was on the fritz as well. Did we need a smart lock? Absolutely not. It was, quite literally, an unnecessary purchase. We also discovered that our front door matches our dining room and new furniture. We totally didn’t plan that. In fact, we completely forgot our front door was red. How sad is that? We had a storm door, but the husband removed it. At some point, it broke and we were just ignoring that, too.

It has a fingerprint scanner, y’all. FINGERPRINT. SCANNER. Again, I forgot the “before” pictures, but rest assured. It was an ugly bronze and sticky residue green knob and an ugly deadbolt thingy. Just take my word for it. It was time.

Don’t worry. The garage door was also remedied. We got a much nicer handle for it and both my husband, and my son, are completely happy with it. I rarely go into the garage, but they’ve had to deal with that malfunctioning door knob for awhile.

We felt so badass…until we were walking our dogs and realized we are probably the last people in the neighborhood to have one, so there’s that.

So — that’s what we did all weekend. I haven’t had a chance to watch much anime, so I am quite behind. It may next season before I get back on track, so you’ll have to suffer with some real-life content for awhile.

I hope you’re doing well in your adventures and that your blogging/gaming/manga-ing/writing are all going well. ChibiChonk, out!

Patience is a Virtue

Patience is a virtue.

Or, so they say. Me and my husband were pretty hopeful that the release of vaccines would mean the world going back to a modicum of normalcy, and while that has slowly been the case, it has not been the case regarding international travel. Two days ago, the United States issued a level four travel advisory for Japan. Not that it mattered. Japan’s borders have been closed and I suspect they won’t open anytime soon.

This makes me sad, but I fully understand. It will probably be another 1-2 years before our trip happens.

I can still dream about my visit, though. We already changed up our original itinerary. Originally, we were going to stay a few days in Tokyo, then travel to Hakone, then onward to Kyoto. It was an itinerary that I solely put together without any substantive input from my husband. At first, he told me he only wanted to do two things: visit a maid café and go to Akihabara. With those two things in consideration, I quickly filled the itinerary with things I wanted to do.

Well, the thing with making plans so early is that they quickly change, and there is nothing wrong with that! Suddenly, he wanted to go to Super Nintendo World. At first, I was hesitant because why would you go to another country to spend a day at a theme park? But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it would be an opportunity wasted if we didn’t. I quickly re-planned our itinerary. We are now spending two days in Tokyo, then spending a day in Kyoto, and then two days in Osaka before traveling back to Tokyo for a night before returning to the States. Truth be told, I wanted to go to Osaka to visit the Cup O Noodles Museum, so I get to do one more thing.

Our plan will probably morph and change many times. I think my major hurdle is to not be discouraged by negativity. As I research, there are so many people that judge how other’s travel.

“Don’t go to X. Why spend money to go to X? You might as well have just stayed at home!”

“Don’t travel to another country just to do what you could have here!”

I know many of you have read comments or opinions like that. People feel like it is their job to judge how you want to spend your time and money in another country you’ve never been to.

I know there is a lot of truth to their opinions. Why would you spend thousands of dollars to stay in your comfort zone? Are you truly “experiencing” the country if you’re “comfortable”. I’ve pondered that quite a bit.

When planning the first iteration of our trip, I was heavily affected by the “you must do things out of your comfort zone to fully experience Japan” and you “must avoid all tourist traps” mentality. For some reason, I really cared about how someone else thought I should spend my trip. I was really hung up on the thought that I wasn’t experiencing Japan if I didn’t go to some super local izakaya and communed with the locals. I wasn’t experiencing Japan if I didn’t find some off-the-beaten path place to stay.

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

The pandemic has brought me to the two strongest warriors, Time and Patience. While waiting and contemplating my trip over the last few months, I realized that time has changed my view. Where I was once plagued by the burden of someone else’s ideals, I am now free of that burden.

The simple fact that I will be getting on a 15-hour flight to a country and culture I adore is enough.

I was originally against going to Universal Studios/Super Nintendo World because of this notion that someone else planted in my head. The only reason I didn’t want to go was because someone convinced me that you don’t go to another country to do something you can do in your own country. Reflecting on that statement, I realize how stupid it is. True, we can visit Universal Studios here in the States, but the experience won’t be the same. The merch won’t be the same. Trying to navigate and communicate won’t be the same. It will be its own, unique experience and that doesn’t make it lesser.

There is a lot of pressure to plan “the perfect trip”. After all, you invest so much time and money to making it happen that it is only natural. The pandemic has taught me that life has a way of throwing you curve balls. This trip is not going to be any different. I have to expect that things aren’t going to go smoothly. I’m going to have to practice patience and be able to roll with the punches.

Throwing away other people’s ideals, I asked myself what I really want from this trip.

Memories.

I want memories. I want to remember being happy. Will I get that trying so hard to be different? I don’t think so. Will I be happy doing touristy things and running into other gaijin? Absolutely.

Every experience will be new to us from entering a konbini to riding a bullet train (shinkansen).

Our trip will be packed with new experiences regardless of how hard we try to make it conform to someone else’s standard of what a trip should be. I, for one, am looking forward to the maid café. I’m totally looking forward to making my very own custom Cup O Noodles. I’m looking forward to buying a ridiculously expensive watch at Super Nintendo World to track my progress as we hit blocks. Yes, I want to see Sky Tree. Yes, I want to see Tokyo Tower. Yes, I want to cross Shibuya Crossing. I don’t care that they’re cliché or touristy. Simply being there is enough.

Now, I have to sit with Time and Patience for a little longer. I am sure our plans will change with time as we find new things we want to do and I am perfectly fine with that.

Life Finds a Way: Part Two

Hi, readers!!!

Thought I’d take a few minutes to update you on my unannounced hiatus.

I have been keeping up with this season’s anime. So far, it’s a solid season. I had plans to write about some more of the shows I picked up with the new season, but life found another way to interfere with that plan. Instead, I hope to wrap up the season with more content. At least, that is the plan.

I still haven’t decided on what kind of YouTube content I want to make, or whether I even want to pick back up where I left off with streaming. So, until I really have a direction, my YouTube and streaming content are on a indefinite hold.

Currently, my personal life is in a state of disarray. I can assure you it is nothing too negative. My husband and I have owned our home for eight years. With any home, there are going to be things you love and/or hate about your living space. For years, I have been wanting to get rid of the carpet downstairs. We have pets, and it is gross. No matter what I do, the floors just feel gross and look gross.

As for my dining area, I had, at one point, turned it into my quilting area. However, all that really did is create a visual mess that I regretted on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, the carpet and the dining room has been causing me a lot of anxiety. I would walk in after a long day’s work and just hate what I was looking at. I felt overwhelmed and out of control. I didn’t even want to be downstairs. I would immediately retreat upstairs where I felt living conditions were okay.

But, like many homeowners, finding the right time to do something can be tricky. In years past, we were heavily involved in my son’s high school extra curriculars, so it left no time to get the floors done. Then, there is always the financial aspect. Home renovations are not cheap. I finally hit a point of critical mass. I just absolutely could not take the carpet anymore. After weeks of hemming and hawing, we had an appointment this weekend where I picked out new flooring for our downstairs area. All of the gross carpet is being pulled up and replaced with luxury vinyl planks. Installation hasn’t been scheduled yet, but it should happen in the next 2-3 weeks.

Our living room furniture was also well past its life expectancy. We had a very large sectional couch that we have had for almost ten years. In fact, we are very pleased that we got ten years out of it. It was a great couch. However, my husband started getting aches in pains after sitting on the couch for too long which made watching movies a bit unbearable for him. We had considered selling the couch on the cheap as we thought it might have another few years, but after inspection, our cats had torn up the bottom and did some other damage. We decided, ultimately, we couldn’t, in good conscience, sell it. So, in addition to purchasing new floors this weekend, we also purchased new furniture.

Currently, our living/dining area looks like total chaos. We had a junk truck pick up our sectional, an old dining table, my old sewing table, and an old computer chair. I also packed up all of my fabric and listed it for sale.

During this whole process, we discovered that I have a tendency to want to hold onto things. I wouldn’t call it hoarding, per se, but definitely a hoarding state of mind. The thought of letting my sewing supplies go created a lot of anxiety. The reality is, I had shoulder surgery last year, and my ability to quilt is no longer an option. I had no more use for my supplies, however, I kept telling myself that I can use it. I had tubs of scraps that were unusable, but I had convinced myself they had use. After really asking myself if they had use, I realized that I was just hoarding it because I couldn’t stand the thought of waste. I grew up fairly poor, so I guess I understand that attachment. You’ll be happy to hear that not only was I able to part with the scraps, I was also able to sell my good fabric to someone who needed it. I got a little cash in the process, so I felt better at the end of the day.

Our new furniture is red. After looking at our dining room, we realized that the current color scheme will not match. So, this weekend, we will paint the dining room to match the furniture. We think that will tie the two rooms together and put that pop of color we need. Then, I found more things I want to change. Currently, we don’t have draperies on our windows, and I think we will change that as well to match the furniture.

So, that’s where I am at. We’re focusing on cleaning up clutter and simplifying our downstairs living arrangement, and hopefully, I can get to a mental place where I feel like I can focus on creativity again.

I hope everyone is doing well. Stay healthy and happy!

Do You Even Disc Golf, Bro?

The whole theme of this blog is doing things casually. It’s a place to celebrate our casual natures whether that be because we work 60 hours a week, or we have the attention span of a goldfish. I’m the latter, by the way.

My husband and his BFF have been into disc golf for awhile. I was pretty indifferent to it because I had shoulder surgery a year ago. I still don’t have full range of motion back and I knew that I would just get frustrated with not being able to use good form…or at least something similar to good form. The husband had been inviting me to go and I finally caved in…and I had a pretty good time.

My shoulder was killing me, but in a good way. Playing disc golf moved and stretched my shoulder in ways that I wasn’t able to accomplish with my physical therapy stretches. I had noticed that my range of motion was improving. A year after surgery, I was still unable to pull my arm behind my back and rest the back of my hand on the small of my back. About a month after playing disc golf once a week, my flexibility to do that improved. It’s not fully fixed, but it IS definitely going in the right direction.

In the short month that I’ve “picked up the sport”, my husband has purchased me watermelon-themed gear worthy of ChibiChonk. I have a sweet watermelon disc bag. He even got me a matching golf towel that’s on its way. I bought myself a watermelon umbrella and a pink hat to shield my weak body from the sun. You may or may not know that I take a lot of medication for diabetes and other conditions. Many of those medications caution my sun exposure. The umbrella and hat should keep me well shaded during downtime.

We even bought a wagon. They have really cool disc golf carts, but four times the cost of a cheap Academy wagon. We went with the wagon. After all, we’re filthy casuals. Not pros.

We’re terrible. Simply awful.

Despite that, we’ve invited others out and had a good time. The great thing about the sport is all you need is a disc or two. There are courses all over the place and it is usually free. If you like being outdoors and don’t have the money to go “all-in” into another hobby, try disc golf. You can get started for probably less than $30.

We currently have plans to travel to Glen Rose, Texas to try out a new course at Dino Hills Disc Golf Course. They recently opened and it looks like a pretty fun course. The weather is not supposed to cooperate, so we might have to postpone, but for now, we’re planning on toughing it out. If we get to go, expect a follow-up post about our time out at the course. They have cows, guys. Cows.

Anime and gaming is great way to spend your time, but also make sure you’re finding time to get some sun. Disc golf is very COVID friendly. You’re usually in a park with social distancing and more than likely, you won’t run into any other golfers. It can be a fun way to reconnect with your family outdoors.

Have You Bought Your Tickets?!

One of my favorite anime of all time is hands-down, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. For me, it is the perfect blend of action, comedy, and drama. The story is compelling and the characters and their development is top tier.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train took Japan by storm. Last year, Mugen Train surpassed Spirited Away as the highest grossing film in Japan making a whopping $350 million. Mugen Train can also boast itself as the 15th highest-grossing non-English film in the world. That is a huge feat for an animated movie.

The fact that Mugen Train is Rated-R has me pretty hyped. I’m expecting some pretty intense fighting scenes and gore.

The movie picks up where season one left off. If you’re still holding out on watching Demon Slayer, I highly suggest watching this show. Not only is a violent, but also funny, and sweet. It’s sad and also happy. You will be taken on a ride of all the emotions in this show. Not to mention, the very awesome animation. I fell in love with this anime at first sight. Right from the intro, I fell in love with the music and the animation.

Beginning April 23, 2021, Mugen Train will be released in select US theaters. That being said, they have showings on April 22nd. We’ve already bought our tickets for the 22nd and will be watching the subbed version. They are offering dubbed showings as well, so both subbed and dubbed fans can enjoy.

In fact, I am going to start a re-watch of the show today. I want to make sure that it is burned fresh into my mind before catching the movie.

If you haven’t grabbed your tickets, I suggest you do so. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this movie and I can’t wait to see it!

Adventures into Video Content

Hello fellow bloggers and readers!

Before really delving into this blog, I started as a content creator. I use that term loosely. My husband and I streamed on Twitch, then Mixer, and then Facebook. We never really gained any steam, but admittedly, it was a hobby and not a side hustle. We didn’t invest the kind of time and resources it would take to get partnered. At our most popular stage, we averaged 10 viewers and had roughly 30 followers.

I liked streaming, but I didn’t LOVE streaming. I think the aspect that I didn’t like was the expectation to stick to a specific type of content to grow your channel. I guess that is true with content creating as well, but I feel like content creation is a lot more forgiving. I also enjoyed content creation more because I could use more creativity.

The one aspect of content creation that was holding me back was equipment. Equipment is expensive. The camera that I owned was old and outdated. I had a Canon T3i that my husband bought me almost 10 years ago. Picture quality was low compared to most cell phone cameras. I had held off for a long time, but I finally picked up a Canon EOS M50. It’s an entry-level mirrorless camera. I previously blogged that I mainly picked this camera up for it’s smaller size and popularity as a vlogging camera. I didn’t want to invest too much into a hobby, because at the end of the day, this is just a hobby. If I get a few followers and a few people to watch whatever content I put out, I’ll be happy.

In addition to the M50, I bought a gimbal. I have never used a gimbal in my life. I spent the weekend toying around with it and feeling way out of my element. For those of you who don’t know what a gimbal is, it is a piece of filming equipment that stabilizes your camera. There are many different types of gimbals. I purchased a 3-axis gimbal that has motors that makes sure your camera gets as smooth as a shot as possible. It adds more cinematic effect to your shots as well as helps you create shots that you couldn’t get with just holding the camera. It’s an essential piece of gear if you’re seriously into photography/cinematography.

To be honest, I had no idea what or how to use the gimbal when I bought it. Actually, I was just looking for a selfie stick and fell down the YouTube rabbit hole of essential gear you MUST have as a M50 owner. And, they sold me. They sold me hard.

This is what I picked up: Zhiyun M2 Crane

My husband and I have an overnight tripped planned in the last weekend of April. We’re going to San Antonio where we are staying at a resort for our 11th anniversary. We both enjoy playing disc golf, so we found a nice course near our resort. We plan on hitting up the course early in the day before arriving at the resort. Once we arrive at the resort, I really want to hit up the adult pool and hot tub. It will be nice to soak in a few hours of sun. The resort has a water park, so I may go lounge in the lazy river for a bit. We’ll go have a nice dinner to celebrate, too. The next day, we’re going to hit up a mini-golf course that looked pretty fun. Then, we’ll come back home. My plan is to test the waters and try to make a short video on our stay. This will give me a chance to employ some of the gimbal techniques I learned from watching YouTube.

The plan is to eventually be able to use these techniques freely without really having to think about it by the time I get to travel to Japan. What I don’t want to do is get second-rate footage because I don’t know what I’m doing. I’d really like to put together a really nice video to share with you all and to have as a keepsake.

I hope you all bare with me as I take another trek into a realm unknown. I am hoping to also produce some short videos regarding the lead-up to Japan. My luggage comes in tomorrow, so I might share with you guys a short clip of the luggage and my first impressions. I think doing this will also help me get more natural feel in front of the camera and be able to improve my video skills as well.

Anyhow, I hope you are all doing well. Take care of yourselves!

Life…Uh…Finds a Way

Hello, fellow readers!

Well, I did it again. I managed to get behind on my posts. I thought I’d share with you what has been clogging the wheels of progress.

First, I signed up for two 8-week courses and that was a bit more ambitious than I thought it would be. I took a business principles class and a technical writing class. Both of these classes will apply to my bachelor’s degree.

If you don’t know my background, I got married and had my son at a very young age. 19, in fact. That means that I did not follow the typical road of school, marriage, family. In true ChibiChonk fashion, I did whatever I felt like with the attitude of, “It will get done when it gets done.”

I did manage to get two associate’s degrees while raising my now 21-year old son. I have an associate’s degree in paralegal studies and I will be graduating with my general studies degree in May. I never walked at my first graduation, so I plan on doing that for my second. My goal is to finish my bachelor’s someday, but it isn’t something I want to rush through and get. My plan is to take a few classes here and there and I will eventually reach my goal. At the end of the journey, I plan to have a bachelor’s in liberal studies with a focus in fine arts, English, and business.

So, as it stands, I can blame school for now. I know some of you go to school full-time and manage to run your blogs perfectly and for that, I am truly jealous! I work full-time and taking two short classes really ate up any free time.

I am happy to report that one of the classes just finished, and I squeaked by with an A. I still have four weeks left of the technical writing class, but I have almost all of the assignments finished.

On top of school, I’ve taken up disc golf with my husband. It’s my husband’s hobby and I thought I would join in so it would be more fun for him. I enjoy it even though I am terrible at it. I had shoulder surgery a year ago and my arm is still not fully functional, so it’s rough. It doesn’t hurt, but it could take another year or two before I get full rotation back. If anything, disc golf is helping me to stretch things out.

I’ve also started planning our trip to Japan. I was originally planning to go to Japan this month, but COVID had other plans. I’m slowly trying to plan our trip for next year, but the fact that Japan hasn’t opened their borders is concerning. Regardless, flights don’t change very much and I can at least plan without purchasing. We still don’t have our passports. Again, delayed by COVID. We have a lot of little steps we need to take care of before we financially commit to the trip, but I hope Japan lifts its travel restrictions by next year. We’re both vaccinated as well so I hope that works in our favor, too.

So, things have been very busy in the land of ChibiChonk. I’m considering picking up a new mirrorless camera, so I might be playing with that this summer.

I’ll try my best to get back onto a more consistent posting schedule, even if it is just weekly. I will…uh. Find a way.

Bokksu: My Love of Japanese Snacks

At the end of the year, I often treat myself to something nice when I get my annual bonus. This year, I bought myself a three-month subscription to Bokksu.

I am a fan of subscription services. In fact, I would say that it is an addiction. Currently, I have a sticker subscription with Stickii and a makeup subscription with Ipsy. I would have SO MUCH more if they weren’t so expensive. With a discount code, my three-month subscription cost me roughly $130 USD.

I received my first Bokksu this week and I am totally impressed. It is one thing to watch your favorite YouTuber open their Bokksu. It is a whole other thing to get to open your own. My first impression: QUALITY.

Sometimes, you get a subscription box and it is obvious they found some leftover crap in a warehouse somewhere and threw it in a box. I used to get that a lot with Loot Crate. You might get one or two things that you liked, and the rest was just leftover fodder. That was not the feeling I got with Bokksu. Everything was carefully packaged and you even get a booklet about the snacks they chose. So impressive!

I did not feel like I was ripped off. I think that is the most important aspect for me. As I said, I’ve tried many subscription boxes before and often I was not completely happy with what I paid versus what I received. I feel I easily got what I paid for. I love that they doubled up on the snacks so that way you get a little more to share, or enjoy.

I do feel like this will be a hard subscription for me to turn away from. I love Japanese snacks! I adore mochi and mochi snacks. I’m also a big fan of anko.

Today, I tried the mocchan dango mochi made by Kyoushin Seika. Mochi is a rice dumpling/cake. This particular mochi is dusted in sugar. Maybe I am getting too old, but it was just a little too sweet. This would have been perfect without the extra sugar. Mochi is pretty sweet by itself. Many of these snacks are specifically made for Bokksu, so maybe they thought it needed the extra sweetness to appeal to our American palettes. Look how cute the packaging is! Japan is so great at making their products so kawaii. Would I recommend this snack? Heck yeah!

So far, I am pretty impressed with my Bokksu. Everything about it just screams quality and that makes me feel good about it.

**DISCLOSURE STATEMENT – This Bokksu was purchased with my own money. Opinions expressed are my own and not solicited by the makers/creators of Bokksu. I have not been compensated in any way for this review or this product.**