Saturday, August 31, 2013

September 2013 Desktop Wallpaper for Download

September 2013 Desktop Wallpaper
September's theme is "Tsukimi", literally meaning moon viewing. During mid-autumn (sometime in September), the moon would be its roundest and Japanese will eat dango (sweet rice dumpling) while admiring the moon. In the original Chinese culture, we would eat mooncakes instead. Taiwanese, on the other hand, prefer to barbecue.

With calendar: 320×480, 1024×768, 1280×800, 1280×1024, 1440×900, 1920×1080, 2560×1440
Without calendar: 320×480, 1024×768, 1280×800, 1280×1024, 1440×900, 1920×1080, 2560×1440

Edit: My wallpaper is featured with other great designs again at Smashing Magazine! Check them out here!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Karuizawa Summer Retreat

Waseda Karuizawa zemi house
I didn't know that Waseda University was so rich to purchase a property at Karuizawa, a popular summer retreat that is around 2.5 hours car drive away from Tokyo. Temperatures there were around 16-26 degrees whereas Tokyo was around 28-35 degrees.

The guys who came here last year complained about the dirty shower rooms so they had to go to spa every night. But luckily for us, they just opened two new buildings so everything was clean and new. This was so much better than staying in those youth houses that my scholarship organization had arranged...  The only complain that I had was the shower room's location, which was at the cafeteria building and not in our dorm building (duh?). The guys had 5 shower cubicles but girls only had 2 (duh duh???). My sensei joked that maybe Waseda has a lot of guys...that shower for a long time...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I don't need suggestions, just your likes and shares

People who read "Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps" will know that when a woman starts to whine about her problems, she doesn't need solutions. She just need someone to agree with her and support her (sorry guys, you won't understand).

After posting this comic on my Facebook page, I'd been flooded with so many suggestions from readers telling me what to do and many even assured me that if I do exactly what they said, I could soar to the skies! (if it's that easy I think there'll be no more poor artists in this world!!!)
Well let me look back into the instances when I did follow people's suggestions:

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Suggestion (2007): Why don't you open a blog at wretch.cc? (a famous blogging platform in Taiwan) There are many artists drawing about their lives there. Some got so popular that publishers signed contracts with them!!!

Action: Naively opened a Chinese comic blog and persevered for 3 years. Difficult to gain resonance with local Taiwanese and many are not interested in Singapore. For example, when there's a flood, everyone was blogging about it, except ME. So it is obvious that I cannot jump into any hot topics and couldn't comment much about it. Moreover I later realised that most of my so called "fans" visited my blog in hope of a reciprocal return visit to theirs (sounds like tumblr eh? It's a lot of work to visit everyone's blog to leave comments!!!). So after 3 years, I decided to draw comics in English and move to blogspot in hope of getting more Singaporean friends to read my comics. A few Taiwanese friends followed (now disappeared though) so that's why I included a Chinese version for them. FYI, I contacted a Taiwanese publisher but was rejected. I suspect that it was because I am a foreigner and not famous enough. *see Conclusion at bottom of the post on why not Singapore local publishers back then.

Lesson: Do not go into country-specific social media platforms.
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Suggestion (2011):  Why don't you start Weibo (China's copycat of Twitter)? You know, China market is huge and I will help you share to my followers. There are also many artists that got famous there because of Weibo!!! (sounds familiar eh?, too bad I didn't learn from my previous lesson because I was too enthusiastic about opening of a new option, you can read more about this behaviour here "Predictably Irrational")

Action: Opened a Weibo account and started to update there. However, my friend didn't have a lot of followers and she didn't share all the time (too busy). Like wretch.cc, it was difficult to gain resonance with locals because our Chinese usage was different and they were not interested in Singaporeans. I also had to rebuild a new network of Weibo friends there. So after a few months of pathetic slow growth, I stopped.

Lesson: Do not go into country-specific social media platforms (again) unless you get famous people to support you.
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Suggestions (2009-2013): Why don't you try these publishers? xxx xxx xxx Oh let me introduce my friend to you, he works at xxxxx!!!

Action: Met and emailed many of them. Some ended up as an insulting session and left me demoralised/angry even more.

Lesson: Not everybody like my work as much as you do. Thankful for the recommendations but I have phobia to meet your friends or acquaintances now unless they'd seen my work and are serious about signing a contract with me.
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Suggestion (2013): Why not forget about the Chinese version and do a Japanese version instead? Why aren't you targeting the Japanese market?

Action: Contacted Japanese publishers, they are not interested because mine don't look like the type of manga or content that they can publish or serialise. Japanese jokes are also different. Anyway, I added my comics in Japanese but realised that it seems to be read by foreigners to practice their Japanese... Moreover, because everyone knows that I'm not a native, they started to pick on some words to ask if it was really correct. O-K...... so I need to spend time to double check and reply *sob* (sadly I have impulse to read and reply to every single comment)

Lesson: Need to focus on the English version and get a book out first. Confirmed that existing Japanese readers are reading my comics because of the English... Moreover, difficult to ask my professor to follow my deadlines and return the checked scripts on time. Even if I do get a Japanese publisher to publish in Japanese, the reading direction and speech balloon size would be so different that it is difficult to sell to the western market in the future.
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Suggestion (2010): Why don't you talk to MDA (Media Development Authority of Singapore)?

Action: Went down to their office to tell them I wanted to do comics. But was told about their budget cuts. No help offered. I was on my own. Read more on my blog post back then.

Lesson: Need to talk to the right people at the right time. It seems that they are pouring the money back now, 3 years later.
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Suggestion (2011): Why don't you talk to NAC (National Arts Council)?

Action: Emailed and was told that I need a completed prototype before applying.

Lesson: Eat shit while writing my book. Or find a job without overtime so I can do the book at night.
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Other common suggestions that I will now tell you now why it will not work:

Suggestion: Why don't you do Kickstarter?
Answer: It's only for US/UK residents.

Suggestion: Then what about Indiegogo (like kickstarter)?
Answer: I'd been selling on eBay actively during 2001-2002. I understand perfectly the immense amount of time required to email to clients, package for shipment, write the labels, deliver to post office, etc. Moreover, they also take a cut in the funding and some money will be lost somewhere in currency exchanges. And btw, where the hell am I gonna store 500-1000 copies!? I'll do ebook and on-demand-print.

Suggestion: Why not work as an assistant for a professional comic artist in Japan? I know xxxx who did that and came out with her own book later.
Answer: Let's see, assistants in Japan work long hours with very little pay, that's why they have to do other part-time jobs to sustain a living. Ok, I'm over 30, with a fine art bachelor degree, an MBA and teaching experience. Seriously, I do not need to sell my soul to become an assistant to learn the art of manga. Give me the chance 15 years ago and I might have done it.

Suggestion: Draw celebrities and get celebrity endorsement
Answer: I did once before and let's just say, I ended up with fans asking me for more (without paying) and asking me to join their fanclub. Their idol didn't share my work but left a comment at my blog post. Let's just say stars are very busy people, let me know if you want to help me pay for their endorsement :D

Suggestion: Why don't you read XXXX? It's about xxxxx, you should definitely read it.
Answer: So many titles had been suggested to me that I think I could just keep on reading all of them and not draw for the rest of my life...
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- Conclusion -

I'd spent years reading books on self-publishing, writing a good story, business, marketing, branding, ebook selling etc. And wrote my MBA thesis to recommend a business plan and marketing strategy for my comics. I have everything already researched and analysed. However, like everyone else, I get easily distracted and tempted by other options that seem promising. Sadly, they did not work, so I get very upset and emotional.

You may be wondering why I didn't find Singapore local publishers? Aha~ It was very difficult before I came to Japan because everyone knows that local work do not sell well and the last thing a publisher wants is inventory unsold. But now, with some government funding back to the publishing industry, it should be promising again to talk to them when I go home. The only concern is my frequent negative portrayal of Singaporean culture (that I hoped to bring attention to).

So from now on, I will concentrate on English version and aim to get a book out by my 33th birthday on May, 2014.

Your greatest gift to me is to LIKE and SHARE my damn comics to your friends. Many Thanks :)


Monday, August 19, 2013

Work culture in Japan

Based on friend's working experience in Japan, but exaggerated (he didn't play games in office :P ). While it's normal to work overtime till 7-8pm in Singapore, it's normal to work overtime till 11pm-1am in Tokyo...

日本語バージョン:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The quest for Singapore Chicken Rice in Tokyo

Singapore Chicken Rice in Tokyo
Photos of Singapore food flooded my Facebook wall last week because my school held a study trip to Singapore. So thanks to my friends, I developed a craving for our famous chicken rice so I decided to gather a few friends, who had studied in Singapore before, for a chicken rice lunch at Harajuku. But alas, we didn't know that even restaurants could close for the Obon Festival (around 15th Aug)!!! Japanese will go back to their hometown during Obon, something like hungry ghost festival of Singapore, where we go to our ancestor's grave to clean it up. Strange that all Japanese knows this but it's not on the calendar at all! (My university campus is closed for 1 week so I had to go somewhere unless I want to stay at home to meditate for a week).

Monday, August 5, 2013

Japanese Crows

 THEY ARE HUGE IN JAPAN!!! With that said, excuse me, I'm going to eat some snacks :P
日本語バージョン:

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