About Marina

http://marinasauce.wordpress.com Crazy bookworm, anime-addict, musician-wannabe, and foodie extraordinaire.

Kyoto & Osaka, Japan 2014

This late spring/early summer, my parents and I were invited to Kyoto, Japan, to stay with my exchange sister’s family for both her wedding and vacation. Megumi was our exchange student back when I was still in high school and lived with us for a year. We bonded during that short time, and kept in touch over the years–she visited us in Alaska multiple times, and once in Washington with me just last Christmas. It was our turn to cross the waters for the biggest event of her life, and I hope to visit many more times in the future.

The following sections are divided into temples/shrines (a bit huge, I apologize!), various other establishments like a bathhouse, aquarium, and zoo, restaurants, the wedding, and random final thoughts.

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Spring 2014 Season Wrap

Spring sped on by in a flurry, and the rains quickly passed over to summer before I was ready. My spring in particular was a tumultuous one: I helped my boyfriend choose and move into a new house, every weekend has been redecorating and settling in, and I spent the last couple of weeks of the season in Japan. If you’re still here, thanks for sticking around :) Please let me know what you watched this spring, and how your thoughts compare to mine!

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Velvet Foam and Latte Art in Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?

I consider myself a bit of a coffee snob. Coupling the facts that I have worked briefly as a barista and that I live in Seattle, the coffee capital of America, coffee has worked itself thoroughly into my bloodstream and way of life. Not a morning passes where I don’t grind and brew a pot of joe; my morning commute to the office always includes my trusty Thermos. When I order an espresso drink–usually a 16 oz. triple shot white mocha with no whip cream, but with a half inch of microfoam instead–I remember which baristas know how to properly texture and which baristas don’t and from whom I order an americano instead.

So when Cocoa watched Rize’s demonstration of latte art and succeeded in her first try, I wanted to cry foul! Call it pride if you will, but I doubt a girl who entered Rabbit Cafe for the rabbits alone instead of the coffee would know how to create her own designs when I wasted many a pitcher in my attempts on the art, despite knowing the theory. Even the simplest of designs, the heart, can be difficult to achieve, and the crux of the ability is in the steaming of the milk.

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Spring 2014 Set Menu

Spring is in full swing, the sakura have long since bloomed, and I’ve got a bustle of new shows to fill my spare time. Happy Spring, everyone! New shows include:

  • Baby Steps
  • Black Bullet
  • Blade & Soul
  • Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou
  • Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?
  • Haikyuu!!
  • Hitsugi no Chaika
  • Kamigami no Asobi
  • Kiniro no Corda: Blue Sky
  • Love Live! School Idol Project 2nd Season
  • Mushishi Zoku Shou
  • Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin
  • Selector Infected WIXOSS
  • Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii
  • Soul Eater NOT!

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Sakura-Con 2014

My first year to be an official registrant at the Seattle Sakura-Con, this is also the first convention I have attended with someone else by my side–while I do make a point to meet up with various blogger and Twitter friends at each convention, I have never traveled to and spent the majority of my time with one particular person. Thanks to KWoo for being my convention buddy!

As usual, I will be compiling all my thoughts and experiences into one massive blog post. Panel summaries will be arranged in order of attendance, with both questions and answers being paraphrased for conciseness. If you were present at any one of these panels and understood the questions or answers differently, please let me know. I’ve also placed the panels at the bottom due to their lengthiness.

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Winter 2014 Season Wrap

It’s becoming a mantra of mine to complain about how little time I have these days and how far behind I’ve fallen with each season’s anime, but it’s true! And the going got even tougher when there were so many shows from the winter that I couldn’t help but follow–and plenty more that ended up on my backlog. Now that the cold days are mostly behind us, time will likely get even tighter with the warmth outside beckoning. Thankfully, the winter anime did a glorious job of keeping the heart warm despite the chilly weather.

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Revisiting Hunter x Hunter

While I’m still keeping up with this fabulous series, I’ve also started re-watching it from the beginning with Kwoo in hopes of getting him caught up on the anime. HxH has always baffled me with its persistence in staying on my radar despite being everything I thought I disliked: 100+ episode count, source material still ongoing, a shounen battle-anime–the list goes on. All these factors aside, the show excels in areas that far outweigh my misgivings. From character development, to setting, to story and pacing, HxH succeeds time and time again in not only fulfilling my expectations, but also far exceeding and even surprising them. Re-watching from the start does not change the the amount of pleasure I take from this series. On the contrary, I find myself reveling in the craft.

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Log Horizon and the Lazy, Cowardly Princess

“No proper princess would come out looking for dragons,” Woraug objected.

“Well I’m not a proper princess then!” Cimorene snapped. “I make cherries jubillee and I volunteer for dragons, and I conjugate Latin verbs– or at least I would if anyone would let me. So there!”
―Patricia C. Wrede, Dealing with Dragons

Much of what I imagine about princesses stems from Disney movies and fairy tale stories: they’re young, beautiful, magical, loved, and live happily ever after.  While there are more instances of stories featuring headstrong princesses these days–favorites including books like Dealing with Dragons, movies like Brave, and TV series like Once Upon a Time–I still don’t automatically think of the modern woman when “princess” is uttered.

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Winter 2014 Set Menu

It’s been quite a while seen I’ve been able to prune down a season like I have this Winter, which speaks of both my overall feelings about the quality about this season, as well as of the little down time I have these days. We’re already about a quarter of the way through, with most shows having released around 3-4 episodes. If you think I’m missing out on anything good, be sure to let me know!

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Happy New Year!

Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America

Happy New Year, Anime B&Bers! I spent my first day of the year driving an hour out of town to visit for the first time the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America, located in Granite Falls, WA. It is the North American branch of the Mie prefecture Tsubaki O Kami Yashiro Shinto shrine, and sits in a delightful wooded glade next to the river. And despite its somewhat remote location, the car line leading up to the lot was long and attendees stood by directing people to open spots. The organization was surprising and efficient at making what could have felt like a long wait not too annoying. Continue reading