Distant Worlds

It's been a while since I last wrote, and a lot has happened since then. It's a little unbelievable to think that a little over half of the year is already over. How did we get here so fast? I'm already a year older than the last time I wrote!

Journey Beyond the Sea

I set forth my adventures across the Pacific Ocean to Japan in April. It was my first time going there, and it definitely isn't going to be my last. I traveled with my roommate and some of my closest friends from work, and we explored as much as we could within two weeks. 

We arrived in Narita and took a train to our first destination, Shibuya. As we took our steps down the train station and into the metropolitan atmosphere, the first sight that engulfed my eyes was the famous Shibuya Crossing:

 
The Shibuya Crossing in Shibuya-ku, Japan

The Shibuya Crossing in Shibuya-ku, Japan

 

Long had I seen this in pictures, videogames, and anime. To arrive at night with the streets bustling with people, lights and videos flashing everywhere...it was truly a welcoming sight to behold.

One of the biggest concerns I had was trying to figure out where to go somewhere and how to get there. With a language barrier in front of me, I felt like it would be a challenge to try and get from one part of town to the other. However, it actually turned out pretty straightforward! Most modern mapping apps have bus and train schedules on them, and since the lines are color-coded, it's really simple to figure out which station and line you need to take. 

It was so interesting seeing how different Tokyo and Kyoto were. On one side, you saw how much western influence took over the bustling city of Tokyo. On the other side, you could see the traditional and authentic culture that defines the culture of Japan in Kyoto. 

 
Fushimi Inari-taisha torii gates in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto

Fushimi Inari-taisha torii gates in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto

 

I'll do a separate blog post on my entire experience in Japan, but I'll just say it was an incredibly memorable experience that I'll never forget.

Coffee & Code

 
Latte art of D.Va from Juan Pelota Cafe in Austin, Texas

Latte art of D.Va from Juan Pelota Cafe in Austin, Texas

 

As always, I've been parked at coffee shops working on some of my personal projects on the weekends. While I frequent Summermoon as my go-to destination (that caramel-blended Moon milk is just too good), I've been branching out to Flat Track, Stouthaus, Epoch, and Merit. Assuming I spend about three hours per weekend at coffee shops, I've occupied myself at coffee shops for at least a hundred hours this year!

There's something about the vibes at coffee shops that really catalyze my innovation and desire to make great applications. A change of scenery, a shot of caffeine, and the occasional fluffy pup make for a fun and pleasant environment.

Distant Worlds

 
Distant Worlds in Houston, Texas

Distant Worlds in Houston, Texas

 

If you know me, I'm a huge sucker for listening to soundtracks. Particularly, videogame soundtracks. I also have an extensive background in music, playing instruments nearly all my life.

Distant Worlds is a Final Fantasy orchestral concert that runs a tour across the world throughout the year. This year marked the second time I saw the concert, and it was even better than the last time I saw them in 2016! Getting to see them play again (and with Susan Calloway singing on several of the pieces) was an absolute delight. Anytime they play Zanarkand, you know the tears are gonna start falling.

 

“Zanarkand” played in Tokyo for the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy, in 2012.

 

Life

Life continues to progress. I've encountered several awesome experiences in 2018, and I hope to continue that streak throughout the rest of the year. I'm glad I still keep in touch with most of my friends from college band, whether it's through grabbing a bite to eat, or playing some videogames together.

I need to tell myself to blog more often. I always set myself up on a plan to write more every year, but then it all falls apart after the first post 😅I'll be more adamant on writing!

One of the amazing things about our generation is that there is an incredible amount of media to consume, whether it's TV shows, books, games, or music. There's so much content being published every day, it's honestly a little overwhelming to try and keep up with all of it. I've been so behind on so many shows, and my videogame queue just keeps getting bigger and bigger with all of these amazing games coming out. I get into a weird mood whenever I focus a lot of attention on consumable media though, since it makes me feel like I could be doing something better with my life than just sitting down and watching a show or reading a book. But then, I also tell myself, "this is a part of life, and engulfing myself into the arts is one way to enjoy the time we have, so I don't feel too bad"...but perhaps it's maybe because I don't feel super productive when I'm not doing something. 🤔

Speaking of games, I've been playing Octopath Traveler, and that game has been an incredible joy to play. I'm a huge nerd of the JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) genre, and it all started when I first laid my hands on a SNES controller while playing Super Mario RPG. I'll never forget the number of times I beat that game, always wanting more and more out of it. It's one of my favorite games, and it really paved the way for me in terms of enjoying turned-based combat and stories amongst characters. Octopath Traveler's soundtrack is incredible. I'll link a song that I like at the bottom, per tradition.

In the world of books, I've been continuing reading up on Sword Art Online (by Reki Kawahara) in hopes of being ahead whenever the series airs again next month. This latest arc has been riveting to read, and I'm really excited to see it get animated! It's a blend of the "locked in a virtual reality game" genre tied with Westworld. It's an incredibly interesting plot. I've been reading Reki Kawahara's novels, and it's really awesome to see how much better of a writer he's become since the first publication of Sword Art Online back in 2009. 

The trailer looks beautiful; hopefully the entire season looks as good as this.

 

Sword Art Online: Alicization Trailer

As promised, I'll leave you with a song from Octopath Traveler. This song is called Flamesgrace, Guiding Light, composed by Yasutomo Nishiki. I imagine being in a quaint, peaceful farm town with snow lightly falling from the sky. It's soothing to the ears.

Until next time,

Corey