Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Can I Stay By Your Side? - Chapter 12

Fun Fact #4: Truthfully, I'd always thought I knew exactly how Tanaka Sana would look. Sana would look very similar to Sonokata Misuzu from "El Dlive". It's drawn by Reborn mangaka Amano Akira too!

Sana and Sonokata's eyes would be different, however. Sonokata's eyes are more... deadpan, if you catch my drift. I would imagine Sana's eyes more rounded, like Kyoko. Also, Sana's hair is dark brown, but the hairstyle would really be the same as Sonokata's.

Anyway, as I continued writing, I realised that Sana's personality was taking more form (obviously) and suddenly, I couldn't see Sana in Sonokata anymore. If you ask me now, I'm not very sure how Sana looks. Maybe someday I should attempt to draw the above with Kyoko's eyes and see if it all makes sense, haha.


Alright, chapter 12, here we go!

1. Who the heck is Sawada?
To those who have been wondering about that, shame on you because it is Tsuna!

Most of the characters call Tsuna as Tsuna but that’s because Tsuna gives people the feeling that they could call him that, I suppose. Sana is just being cautious and not overly friendly towards someone whom she is not close with. Even though almost everyone calls him Tsuna, but Sana would still call him Sawada.

This was a recent decision of mine, in light of wanting to be more realistic in my writing. But I know I completely botched my first few chapters on this so if you see Sana referring to Tsuna as Tsuna in the previous chapters, please be forgiving!

2. Not enough Gokudera in your fanfic
I agree.

Gokudera is a character that I have mixed feelings about. The character I fangirl about is obviously Yamamoto, but Gokudera is seriously handsome. However, I'm not a fan of his personality. The gap is not very pleasant in my opinion. So whenever I encounter Gokudera in the manga, I would think, "Gosh, he's so handsome" but not much else after that.

Amano Akira sensei is seriously good in her drawing. Why do I say that? Usually in manga, there would be a specific character, let's just say for example the main character, that has been set that he would be handsome. You see the other characters comment that it is so, etc etc. The author puts in so much build up to the character's looks that when he appears, I end up thinking to myself, "Yeah he's handsome, but all of the characters are not bad-looking too. It's just that the author puts in more effort in the main character so the brush strokes are more refined."

I would show you an example, but I'm lazy, hehe.

I feel that with "Katekyo Hitman Reborn", I actually get that "Wow, everyone is good looking but Gokudera is one level higher." (At least, it is for me. I know that the fanbase's favourites are Mukuro and Hibari. Ah well.)

I need THAT KIND of comparison, not the "let's-make-everyone-average-looking-so-that-this-handsome-character-stands-out-more". Amano sensei does not really slacken off with the other characters as well. EVERYONE is good-looking, dammit!

So unfortunately, even though I like Yamamoto Takeshi, my eyes always travel to Gokudera whenever there is a group photo of all of them. *shrugs*

3. Oka
At long last, Oka has a first name! His full name is Oka Itsuki. If you didn’t catch him before, he appeared once in Chapter 5. I’m starting to like him more and more. Initially, he was just meant to appear in Chapter 5, but I thought that it would be much nicer to show that Sana has friendships with people apart from Yamamoto!

Also, I like the gap in his character – rough and crude on the outside, but actually sensitive and mature beyond his age. It's probably cliche, I know. And it's weird that I say that I like this character gap but not the character gap portrayed by Gokudera. In fact, I would think that Oka would be the kind of person that Hana would like, if not for the fact that Oka really looks like the stereotypical middle-school monkey boy. Therefore, there is no way Hana would ever be attracted to him, haha. Poor guy.

Here are some more fun facts about Oka (which may never appear in the actual story) if you are still interested. As mentioned in Chapter 5, he is in the track and field team. He is mainly a marathon runner, but he can be quite fast too. During the Sports Meet in Chapter 5, Yamamoto was first and Oka was third. He has been rather sore about Yamamoto ever since, blaming it on his long legs.

4. Sana is sporty
Even though Sana is rather short, she can jump very high. Truthfully, I’d forgotten about this trait of hers completely, until I was revisiting Chapter 5 to look through some scenes with Oka in it. I forgot that she did really well in high jump during Sports Meet, haha. It's strange that she would be able to jump so high because she was a baseball player. I guess I need to remember this part of Sana, sigh.

Anyway, now that I'm more committed to the details of the story, I'm enjoying writing this a lot more. Unlike previous stories like "I Want To Be A Turk!", I had a rather hard time with this fanfic and at one point in time, I was quite ready to end the fic quickly and move on. However, I'll talk about it when it's time. Right now, I'm quite pumped and to finish this story, even though there are many many chapters ahead of me! Gah!

Picture Credit:
Sonokata Misuzu:

Monday, March 4, 2019

Can I Stay By Your Side? - Chapter 11

Fun Fact #3: The idea of Musuke came because of Yamamoto's Rain Box Weapon, Jirou. It's super adorable that Yamamoto Takeshi was like this stereotypical Japanese image and even his weapon were typical Japanese references like an Akita or a katana.

Anyway, I thought that it would be fun if Yamamoto had always desired to own a dog. Then, it would make sense when his weapon materialises as a dog.

Let's try categorising my author's notes into subheadings for easier reading.

1. About the title...
The title of this chapter was supposed to be "A Heart Unspoken" but as the chapter grew longer, the title was reallocated to the next chapter and I had to think of a new title. Naturally, the references of "one step at a time" were added after I came up with the new title.

2. About the timeline...
Also, I've realised that the timeline of the manga chapters and anime episodes are very different. Thus, it's kinda wrong to say where my story is in terms of the anime. As such, I'll make references to the manga's timeline instead of the anime one.

Anyway, I'm sure you could figure it out but the events of Chapter 11 began just after Chapter 31 (New Year) of the manga, until after Chapter 33 (Parent Participation Day).

3. Kyoko and Hana
I want to expand more of Kyoko and Hana’s personalities. I like Katekyo Hitman Reborn but seriously, the author Amano could have done a lot more to this amazing series. However, that is not what I want to talk about today. I'll give my gripes about Amano next time. Anyway, a lot of the characters were underutilized in the manga, especially Kyoko and Hana. Even though Kyoko was introduced right from the beginning, she does not have a lot of depth in her character. So I'm excited to work on her and Hana's character through my fanfic.

4. Indoor shoes (uwabaki) and shoe lockers (getabako)
Next, if you have been wondering about the shoe lockers I seem to keep bringing up. I've mentioned it once in Chapter 6 and possibly a few times after that, so here is a picture for your reference.

Ah yes, there are lots of scenes that take place here, if you have read enough manga and anime. It's quite a significant venue, I suppose, since this is the place where you get to see students from all levels and classes.

I've also done some research and found out that indoor shoes are called uwabaki. The shoe lockers (also called getabako) where they leave their indoor shoes are specific for each student, which is why we commonly see students leave love letters or personal things in various anime/manga. Of course, in the case of Sana, her shoes are being sabotaged.

5. CapybaLand
CapybaLand is a place that I’ve shamelessly taken from the amazing “Noragami” series. In Noragami, they call it "CapypaLand".

It’s actually Capybara Land, but the last syllable of “capybara” and the first syllable of “land” is the same sound in Japanese so they mashed it up. If you have not read or watched “Noragami”, you must. The page where you can find out more about Noragami's Capypaland here.

Capybaras are adorable. Period.

6. Physical Education in Japan
I'm sure you know but I've always set a standard for myself when it comes to my writing. I want my story to be as realistic as possible, so even in a Reborn fanfic, I would like to stick to actual Japanese culture as far as possible, even if it means that I have to do research. I'm glad that I came across a journal article on physical education in Japanese schools to help me with understanding the curriculum.

I've been putting in a bit more effort in the author's notes in the last two chapters, it seems.

Geta bako:
Nakai. T., & Metzler. M. W. (2005) Standards and Practice in Asian Physical Education. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 76, 17-22. Retrieved from

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Only Exception - Chapter 21

Don't ask me what took me so long to upload this chapter. It was completed many days ago, but I kept putting it off because I keep having this impression that it wasn't good enough. However, my mental fatigue is urging me to just upload the chapter already, so I obeyed.

So here we are. 21 chapters.


To be honest, I wasn't expecting this series to be so long. In fact, when this story was in its brainstorming stage, I'd naively thought that I'll make 4 chapters - one per character. Then, as I started writing Tifa's story, I realised that I was dumb to think that way so I made provisions to try and end each character's story in 3 to 4 chapters, that is, to end all four character's stories by Chapter 20, at most.

And now, Vincent's story itself has ten chapters and still counting! I could have made his story a story on its own. I don't know if I should be happy or not. I guess I should be glad that I was able to expand and work on what could have been a skimpy story. I also could say that I'm not good at being concise.

Well, let's just start on some of my author's notes:

If you remember, Vincent's story is based on the lyrics of "The Only Exception" by Paramore. Well, the whole series is based on that. The initial idea of writing a successful businessman who chose to distance himself from others because of a past hurt seemed good in the beginning. I learnt by this chapter what a hole I've dug for myself to jump into. I've spent a considerable amount of time wondering how I could reconcile his empty hole with just a mere conversation with a random girl that he met.

Hopefully, this chapter was satisfactory. I had a lot of trouble with this chapter because I was not sure how I could deliver the climax of his story the best way. I read the chapters many times, and could have read a lot more if I did not actually dread reading it. It's strange; I felt that this chapter was emotionally powerful for me. In the many times that I was writing and editing, I felt very moved by the story that Vincent carried and how vulnerable he was when facing his demons. Seems strange that the author would be affected by her own stories, but for this chapter, it really was the case.

Also, I apologise if my chapter has been really long. I realised that I should have done the entire Vincent’s story in the previous chapter and leave this whole exposition scene for this chapter alone, but that would mean that I would churn out the previous chapter a lot later than it is now. That’s because I really started writing and planning this chapter after uploading Chapter 20. Can’t believe it took me more than a month to write this whole thing out. It's going to be just as difficult to churn out the chapters from here, wish me luck.

One of the hardest things that I had to handle in this chapter was the topic of child-making, hehe. I mean, I didn't want to be so up front and talk about the more intimate matters of the heart. So I think I spent a good fifteen minutes thinking of a good way to describe child-making? I couldn't have avoided it anyway, not when Lucrecia was pregnant.

With the major portion of Vincent's story gone, I'm foreseeing his story to end in the next chapter. However, being aware of the trend, maybe the ending will be split into two chapters, yet again! *smack forehead in frustration*

Well, that's all, I think. Again, I have not finished Chapter 22. Not even 30 percent of it. So be prepared for a long wait again. Sorry guys :(

Friday, February 22, 2019

Poem: Powerless

So I saw this in my mail:

Well, unfortunately, I'm out of the age range so I cannot participate. I thought that I could write my entry here instead.

So here goes. It's a poem and not a short story, so already, I'm disqualified but ah, who cares?

Hands traverse.
Heart has stopped
but Time moves forward still.

There we go. Hope it's not too confusing to understand.

Of course, I considered starting my story with "Tick tock tick tock", but that would be quiteeeee cliche, wouldn't it?

Maybe I should find more writing challenges online, not because I need to keep my blog going, haha! I think it would be good to start writing things apart from fanfiction. If I want to be serious about my writing, that is.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Sorting the mail

I have over 300 unread mails in my inbox at the start of the year.

I know. Don't judge me.

I finally have the time to sort through my mail.

Well, it's not like I absolutely had noooo time at all to do all these things previously. Just that, I would rather use the minimal time I had to rest or do something fun, and administration is not fun in my books.

Anyway, I'm rather pleased to find out that more than a hundred of them were notifications from fanfiction about the readers' support to my stories. Again, I'm always bowled over by the love everyone gives :) The fact that you looked at my story and went, "Huh, guess I'll keep your story in view for the future" makes me all happy and warm inside.

Right now, if you're wondering why I'm not off writing my fanfiction furiously, it's because I'm also side-watching season 2 of "I am a singer", this singing competition from China, inspired by the Korean version of the same thing. I can't really multi-task, and it's really late so I don't wanna work my brains anymore, hehe.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Can I Stay By Your Side? - Chapter 10

Fun Fact 2: I've read somewhere that the character profile of Yamamoto Takeshi was written out to be the typical Japanese stereotype. Firstly, "Yamamoto" and "Takeshi" were very common Japanese names. He wields a katana, likes sushi, father owns a sushi shop, likes to play baseball etc. He even named his Vongola Box Weapon, the Akita dog and the swallow, Jirou and Kojirou. "Jirou" is one of those common names of the old.

So in that line of thought, I made Tanaka Sana's name a stereotypical one. "Tanaka" is a common Japanese family name. The name "Sana" is quite common; however; not extremely common. I like names like "Yuki" or "Haruka" may be more common. I just couldn't place these names on my OC. Only "Sana" fit, in my opinion. Thus, Tanaka Sana was the name of my main character.


So, it's Chapter 10! It is probably my longest chapter so far at about 3900 words. I couldn't break the chapter into two parts. Then again, if you have read my other stories, you would know that 3900 words is not much. However, I wasn't expecting that length coming from a story as simple as "Can I Stay By Your Side?"

If you've read my previous author's notes, you would realise that I found "Can I Stay By Your Side?" a story without too much complication to the plot. Also, the nature of what it should be (a shoujo manga-esque book) makes some of the details lacking. The average chapter length for each chapter was estimated to be about 2500-3000 words, a far cry from the 3500-4500 word behemoth chapters that I usually write for the other fics. Well, I'll take it as a good thing because it means that I'm finally becoming more serious in this fic.

Yes, it's intentional that this chapter ties back to a couple of things, namely the first line in Chapter 1 and obviously, the title of the story. Doing things like that make me happy.

If I've not said it once, I'll say it again: It's really difficult to write a serious fic about a gag manga! The nature of the first half "Katekyo Hitman Reborn" is that it is a gag manga, so the events in the story are of course filled with sensational actions with oblivious characters coupled with the poor main character who is the knowing one in the midst of it all. It's actually difficult to write a normal fanfic about a gag manga without making the characters OOC.

Yet with that, I'm excited at the prospect of a challenge. Back when I was writing “I Want To Be A Turk!”, I had two goals:

1.) Write a story with minimal loopholes
2.) Insert OC into the canon storyline in a way that does not require me to retcon anything.

That was why whenever Meia is around during an event that happened in the actual Final Fantasy 7 game, she would be in a position where the average gamer wouldn't see her (thanks to fixed camera angles!), like in a corner or far away from the player’s point of view. As it turned out, it became easier to to write as I got used to the limitations that I had given myself.

I guess in this fic, the challenge that I should give myself is to write a serious fanfic from a gag manga! But yeah I know, halfway through the manga in the Kokuyo arc, things start to become real action-packed and less gag manga. But... by then, who knows where my story would take me?

Moving on, I'm shell-shocked by the number of people who still faved and followed me in the 3 years that I was away. And yes, the fanfiction site thought that I was spamming and eventually, I had to stop. I’ll slowly take my time to thank all who faved and followed me, even for the other titles. But you readers always make me feel that what I've done is not meaningless. You really push me to write more each day :)

Anyway, one of the reviewers said that she found Sana’s love troubles super relatable. It gives me much satisfaction that someone could relate to her. Sana’s feelings carried a lot of what I felt when I was her age. Umm, minus the shy and quiet parts - I'm as noisy as any crow on the street. However, a lot of the feelings and reactions Sana felt were a product of my own experience and exposure to shoujo manga.

If you are wondering, I'm always playing the unrequited love role, so I was hardly the protagonist female who gets her feelings reciprocated. In fact, I once had the idea of writing out a whole compilation of love stories that end in unrequited feelings! That was many years ago and once in a while, I still think about that plot bunny! Also, I started writing fanfiction when I was just a little older than Sana. If I had such a fantastic and successful relationship rate like that of my friends, I doubt I'll ever come across fanfiction, much less write one, but that is a story for another time. :)

Okay, so I thought I was quite bad at describing that place where Sana and Yamamoto had their conversation. I realised that there wasn't quite a good description for the place that I had in mind, except for outdoor amphitheatre. However, the park that they were in is a small one and, calling that an outdoor amphitheatre is quite ambitious.

So I’ve found a picture online to better illustrate myself. Just imagine it without the grass and that railing. The place is full-on concrete - exactly the kind of place that you would play recklessly and get a fracture from a bad fall. Hope it is clearer now! Also, if you actually know what this kind of design is called, do let me know!


Finally, to those who are not sure how Yamamoto managed to get hot drinks in the middle of nowhere, there are tons of vending machines littered everywhere in Japan. Almost all of them sell hot and cold canned drinks. Many visitors (like me) would enjoy choosing a different drink each time, but honestly, using the can as a hand-warmer is a splendid reason to buy the hot canned drink, I'm not even gonna pretend.

Once again, thank you for reading my fic and to those who actually made their way here to read my long long long author notes, thank you very much!

Pictures taken from:
Washington Park Amphitheatre: (Photo Credit: Timothy Grundvig)

It's been a while, so I shall quote verbatim from another page of my blog on the usage of pictures: Pictures are taken through Google Search and will be credited to the website accordingly. Usage of deviantart pictures will not be used unless permission has been granted.

Friday, February 8, 2019

What on earth are you doing now? (200th post!)

Almost everyone is asking that of me, in varying sentence structures.

Since becoming jobless, I've been living the dream!

Not really.

I did post a chapter each on two of my fanfiction.

Then... I kinda jumped onto the bandwagon that is called Marie Kondo. Yeah, thank you Netflix. Now the whole of Singapore is going on a decluttering spree. So far, I've only cleared out my clothes and my personal books. I've got a ton more to declutter. But on a side note, it has been doing good to my soul. On another side note, I'm doing this decluttering REALLY slowly.

Also, I went on a Netflix binge. I finally finished "Avatar: The Last Airbender" in a matter of days and I'm currently on "Sousei no Omyouji (Twin Star Exorcists)". More on Avatar another time.

Then, a friend of mine is decluttering his house (for a completely different reason from mine) and shoved me a ton of herbs, chocolate chips and essential oils that potentially might last me 5 years. So I've been doing a lot of baking, recipe researching and essential oil blending "lessons" online.

Well, it does sound like I'm living the dream. Alas, when you are my age, the pressures of society will creep up onto you. Already someone is asking me, "So... how long do you intend to be like this?"

And it hasn't even been a month! I've seen people go jobless for longer than that! Sigh. But I don't blame these people for asking. Singapore is really fast-paced and I cannot expect to live my life as a *cue zen voice* "free-spirited soul" when finances are going to become tighter. So yeah, I'll live my life carefree... but at a faster pace, heheh.

Nevertheless, my mind never stopped thinking about writing from time to time.

If my brain is not thinking about fanfiction, it is about my original.

Yep, over the course of two years, whenever I had time, I would ponder about a particular plot bunny. Not fanfiction, original. It's strange to even write that down. I've had a number of original plot bunnies, but this one has been in my mind for a long time. It's more like, two plot bunnies which I've combined, so I'm also afraid that I'm doing too much for one story. Then, there're obstacles that I'm facing, such as doubt in myself, and doubt in whether the story would actually pan out to be good. There are still a number of details that I cannot decide, and without those decisions, I cannot begin writing.

Gah, maybe I'll follow Samantha Sheffield once again and just "DO IT". I mean, I've already visited the library to do some research. I'm sure it's just a step in the right direction.

But yeah, that's pretty much what I've been doing the whole month. :)

P.S: Also, happy lunar new year to all who celebrate it. It's the third day of the lunar calendar and everyone, including myself, must go through the ritual of falling sick due to a lack of control at the sight of snacks and food. But, that's just the veeeerrry picture of prosperity, huh?

P.P.S: My 200th post, whoopee!