Summing It Up: April – July 2018

Hi there! It’s been a while since one of these posts, hasn’t it? I’ve been tied up with school and work, and on my days off I mainly spend them hanging out with friends or visiting bookstores. It doesn’t help that lately I’ve been more into manga than actual novels so I also haven’t had much content to write on for this blog. Perhaps, I’ll make another manga review when one of them is finished (a lot of the ones I’m reading are ongoing). Anyway, I’ll try to briefly recap each month under this paragraph! I imagine that this post will be pretty long… but skim/skip around as you wish!

April was probably the least eventful and most stressful with wrapping up the end of the spring semester. Like I expressed in previous months’ Summing It Up posts, I did have some classes I was concerned about but, ultimately, I did well after factoring final exam grades and bonus points.

In May I didn’t have any academic worries since it was my “chill” month. However, I still didn’t have much free time as I was working a lot to save up for my rotation in this month in June. (Yes, unfortunately, students pay tuition/housing while they’re on rotation.)

June went by real quick. This year’s rotation was my IPPE (Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience) at an institution; I was placed at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Prior to going, everything about the experience was daunting to me because I had never left home-let alone drive for 10 hours to somewhere I was not familiar with and didn’t know anyone. Plus, aside from the didactic curriculum of my school, I had little exposure to hospital pharmacy. Needless to say, my time here has been inspiring and will probably help my future studies/career. (Although, I did do more observing than hands-on work, which is understandable with St. Jude being a place that is highly specialized, working with pediatrics and oncology.)

While on rotation, I learned a lot more about myself and my learning style than I ever did before. I was given an opportunity to do a presentation, and I was extremely nervous. Since taking speech class in undergrad, I think my stage fright has worsened drastically. Anyway, I was given great constructive feedback, and I hope to make some steps to improve by becoming more involved with my school in ways that will push me to be more verbal or present in front of an audience more. Talking in front of a group of strangers is almost an irrational fear because in theory there’s no reason to be afraid but it’s still a very real one for me. And I think it’s about time for me to address it before I continue on in my studies and commit to a profession that does require one to do some form of leadership and presentation.

Anyway, with that mini spiel about fear and self-awareness, I had a good time while I was away at home in Tennessee in June.

Mid-July I was in Winder, Georgia, which is about an hour away from Atlanta, for Camp Breathe Easy, a camp for kids that have asthma. I was there assisting with the medication side of things but I had a ton of fun and memorable moments while I was there. I love kids so it was wonderful (although my 11 to 12 year old girls were so boy crazy, lol). I even got to ride a horse and paddle a canoe for the first time. The latter was intense since it was about a 2 mile journey but it was a great workout. I also participated in other activities with the kids including capture the flag, which totally reminded me of The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, haha.

But that’s been my summer so far! A lot of traveling, which is cool since I don’t do it often!

– What I Read –

Thanks to my friend Amy, who is very much into anime and manga, I’ve been reading more manga (and even some comics!) again.

ReLife | OrangeEmergency Contact | Queen of Shadows | The Wicked King |  QQ Sweeper

– April/May/June/July Blog Posts –

– Favorites –

The mango dragronfruit refresher with coconut milk has replaced my favorite pink drink (essentially the strawberry acai refresher with coconut milk). I’ve been good and haven’t had any frappes since I’ve given up on coffee now. Anyway, I first got the mango dragonfruit while I was in TN and since then I’ve been utterly hooked. If you haven’t tried it yet, you MUST! 😛

QQ Sweeper is written/illustrated by the same mangaka that did Dengeki Daisy, my absolute favorite manga of all time. I started reading the former this month in July and I’m already in love with it. QQ Sweeper only has 3 volumes, and its sequel series is Queen’s Quality, which I’m loving even more than I did QQ Sweeper if possible. 😀

I’ve been into enamel pins since about 2 years ago. However, I’m a slow collector so my collection is only now growing. However, I’m loving how my pin board looks! I have a few more that’s supposed to be coming my way; I can’t wait for them to arrive. 🙂

It’s probably been obvious through my Instagram story hauls that I’ve been buying a lot of manga. Between my working two jobs and not having to pay for rent (as I live with my dad), I’ve had extra money to spend it on these books, which used to be way too expensive for me to afford. I’ve been catching fantastic sales too though. Anyway, I’m really happy that I can support these mangakas (manga authors/illustrators) now. :’)

This past Sunday I did the great purge where I cleaned my room and rearranged the art on my walls. I’m really happy with the results. I’m hoping to find a blue rug for my desk area though. I might go hunt for one tomorrow, which is my day off.

I think one of the best parts of traveling was trying the local cuisine. Asian food is my favorite (no surprise, haha) so I tried all the Asian restaurants while I was in Memphis. Some were better than others. Pictured were probably the best of my foodie adventures though! 😛

– Video Favorites –

Along with “I Need U,” “Save me,” and “Serendipity,” this has to be one of my all time favorite BTS MVs and songs. I just loved the colors, choreo, and story. Like all BTS videos it’s visually so pleasing! The fact that they didn’t use CGI is also incredible. (I also want to mention Tae’s “Singularity” which is also brilliant!)

Are you even surprised? I mean Ten is my favorite member in NCT (well, it’s a tie between him and Taeyong if I’m being totally honest) and he absolutely killed this. So beautiful and enchanting! And the ending is the best part, LOL! (This dance practice of his that was recently also uploaded is impressive, too.)

CRIES. I am so proud of them. This is why I love 5HINee so much! T_T

Right behind NCT, Pentagon is one of my favorite new generation boy groups. They are self producing meaning they produce their songs, write their lyrics, and even choreograph their routines. They are SO underrated and I’m still mad they didn’t win any awards with this song. I’m glad they’re slowly gaining recognition (especially through international fans) though.

Oh my gosh, I am SO obsessed with this group. The group isn’t official since they’re just a bunch of solo artists signed under the same label, Planetarium. But I really, really like the sound of this song. It’s like a mix of hip hop and R&B but still unique.

Is it weird that I like dance practices over music videos sometimes? I felt that way with this one. I thought “Dally” was a too sexy for me even though I enjoyed the actual song, but I LOVE this choreo. The perfect balance of sensual and fun imo. I think Hyorin’s new label is doing a great job with producing  her concepts and songs; I like them way better than her solo work with Starship.

My chill song of the month! :’)

Aside from “Ooh Ahh” and “Likey,” I’m not into Twice. But I absolutely enjoyed this song when I first heard it. So summer-y! I approve.

I ship them so hard!! This is such a golden collab (even though I know it’s not the actual song they made together, I still love that Hwasa sang this song with Loco).

For some reason this song and dance reminds me of old school K-pop, like stuff from 2010 (which was when I first got into the genre). Anyway, I love it!

Mina Myoung and May J Lee were my favorite from 1 Million Dance Studio, but I think Yoojung Lee is my favorite now. Her musical preferences (judging from the songs she choreographs to)  is really similar to mine, and her style is so smooth. I also like that all her choreos seem very different and unique.

– What I’ve Been Watching – 

Warning: since this is for a span of months, it’s going to be very long! Sorry!

Anime/Animations

Kakuriyo: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits?/10 [Currently Watching]

I’ve been slowly watching this one for months now. Initially, I was expecting it’d be similar to Kamisama Hajimemashita, one of my favorite shoujo anime of all time, but it wasn’t. The romance is set on the backburner and the cooking part of the show is more dominant, which is totally okay. I started to really enjoy it past episode 7 because more characters are introduced and the main storyline is becoming clearer. The OST is also so fitting and beautiful. (I’m definitely going to have to download the instrumental once it becomes available.)

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku7/10 [Completed]

I was recommended this one by Amy. Although I like to watch anime and read manga, I wouldn’t consider myself to the extent of an otaku… but I can say some aspects of this show are relatable. I think I’d be classified with Kabakura’s kind of otaku if I was one though since he’s into girly manga like I am, haha. (Him particular bishoujo, while I like plain shoujo. XD) And the romance between Momose and Nifuji was way too cute; I’m glad their relationship worked out! I’ve started to buy the first few volumes of the manga and I can’t wait to catch up on the original series.

Devils’ Line – ?/10 [Dropped]

The teenage Summer loved all things vampire because of Twilight (no shame!) so I wanted to see what this was about knowing it had vamps in it. The actual illustration and animation in this is subpar but the first episode ended with a burning cliffhanger which compelled me to search for and read the manga, which I ended up really liking a lot! The manga is still ongoing but I’m satisfied with where the story is heading. (Warning: the series is mature and dark!) I don’t think I’ll return to watching the anime because it isn’t visually satisfying, but you can bet I’ll continue the manga when more chapters are released.

Violet Evergarden9/10 [Completed]

WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN WITH THIS ONE? If you saw my Instagram story review of this, you know how much I loved it! Violet Evergarden is probably and will be the best anime I watch in 2018. It’s a short series (but I’m hoping for a second season since there’s more to the light novels, as I read translations of them online immediately after finishing the show) but I was crying nearly every episode. It’s an absolute emotional rollercoaster, like episode 8 and 9 completely wrecked me. (…I was sobbing at some point…) But I loved Violet and her journey to understand what love meant; it was wonderful to witness her gradual development as she met different people throughout the series. I’m also glad that the viewers learn of the side characters backgrounds as well. Unlike many short anime series, they’re more than just cameos. And the OST! So, so lovely! I bought the entire album through iTunes the day I completed the series. Anyway, I made everyone and their moms watch this because that’s how much I was moved by it.

Trailers for Violet Evergarden:

Fireworks2/10 [Completed]

This was an absolute letdown. I went to the theaters to see this with my friend Amy and we both agreed that it had the most pointless storyline in existence. Essentially, it’s about a boy that keeps reliving the day where he’s supposed to see fireworks with his friends and crush. There is no plot aside from the repetition of that day, and, what makes it worse, is that the romantic storyline doesn’t even make sense. Viewers never get the how and why the male lead even likes the girl he has a crush on. And there’s a weird scene where his crush busts into a broadway-like, theatrical song while they’re on the train. You know the movie is bad when the trailer makes more sense. (In other words, the movie didn’t make any sense.) Aside from the gorgeous animation, this movie was awful.  To quote a top reviewer on MAL, “I left the movie feeling like it made my life worse.

ReLife: Kanketsu-hen8/10 [Completed]

Knowing this exists saddens me a little because it means ReLife is never going to have a second season. There are some differences between this and the webtoon, but, overall, even though it felt rushed (since many chapters were recapped into four episodes), the most important details were included. I still wish we had a full 12 or 13 episode second season because I feel like ReLife deserved that much, but I’m still grateful there was follow up to season one!

Gakuen Babysitters8/10 [Completed]

I picked this one at whim when I saw a clip of a scene on Youtube and I ended up loving it a ton. I think it’s mainly because I love kids but I think even if you don’t like children you’d find the story to be sweet and heartwarming. There’s no real plot and the ending didn’t even feel like one, but I have a good feeling there might be more seasons to come due to its popularity and the lack of closure for the conclusion.

Paradise Kiss – 6/10 [Completed]

I didn’t know this existed until recently, but the show is based off of a manga written by the same mangaka that did Nana, which is one of my favorites from my early anime watching days in high school. (Nana changed the way I viewed at life; it was that good.) There’s a lot to praise about this one! I like that Ai Yazawa doesn’t strictly stick to the typical shoujo characters and storyline. Hers are always more darker but also realistic (e.g. sex, drugs, alcohol, etc). She also always creates the most unique and varied characters. (E.g. in episode one you learn that George, the male lead, is bi.) As much as I liked the atmosphere and characters in this, I hated the female lead (as I did Hachi in Nana). I won’t reveal why because of spoilers… Anyway, I wouldn’t consider this a priority series even though I enjoyed it, but it is worth a watch if you’re a fan of Ai Yazawa’s other work.

I also went to see this in theater and kind of wish I could go see it a second time now. It was so beautiful (in regards to characters, story, and animation). Essentially, it’s about a girl that comes from an immortal race that doesn’t age past their teenage years and she finds a human baby, which she nurtures and cares for until he grows to be an adult. It’s an emotional story about friendship, motherhood, and unconditional love. And it was executed so simply but wonderfully. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the theater by the end. If you have the chance to see this, do!!

Trailer for Maquia:

Asian dramas

Untouchable Lovers4/10 [Skip Completed]

What a huge disappointment! Initially, this show grabbed my attention because visually it was stunning (e.g. the cast and production) but it became so boring and lackluster real fast. I was pretty much done after the amnesia trope… but I still watched a few episodes and I ended up skipping to the very last episode and I was vastly letdown by the conclusion as well. It didn’t resolve anything! The romance was unsatisfying and frustrating. Ultimately, I wish that I enjoyed this one way more. It had so much potential! The only good thing that came out of this was disocvering the male lead, Song Wei Long. He’s definitely on my radar now. /heart eyes/

King is Not Easy3/10 [Dropped]

My favorite part of this show was probably the first 20 minutes, which is saying a lot. It’s a Freaky Friday kind of story but there are tons of unexplained loopholes. I also find the male lead to look insanely young (and he is pretty young), and for that reason I had a hard time buying into his acting when he was playing romantic scenes. To my dismay, I also found the story to not really have much of a plot aside from the body swapping. But I did love the little modern day snippets at the end of each episode where the couple bickered over small things. Those scenes were too adorable!

Siege in Fog8/10 [Completed]

Thanks to several people suggesting that I had to watch this, I gave Siege in Fog a try (my first period drama set in the early 1900s) and loved it so, so much! The story isn’t without flaws but I enjoyed every minute of this show. There’s a lot of heartbreak and angst, but I thought it was well done. The sexual tension and chemistry between the two main leads were perfect; it’s hard to believe that they’re not together in real life (Sun Yi is already married with a baby!). The cinematography and costume designs were also so incredibly beautiful. And the cast themselves were gorgeous and fantastic actors. I’m definitely anticipating Elvis Han and Sun Yi’s next work! They played their roles so convincingly in this one. (I cried a lot at the end.)

Siege in Fog Trailer:

Cinderella Chef6/10 [Dropped]

I ended up having to give up on this one even though I didn’t think it was half bad. I just had better stuff to watch and this one wasn’t as unique as I was hoping.

Where the Lost Ones Go4.5/10 [Dropped]

This one gave me Love 020 vibes but, sadly, it was underwhelming. Both leads annoyed me for their actions and oft nonsensical thinking… and I couldn’t see why they were charming (despite everyone in the story being charmed by them). I did like the friendship dynamics between the girls and boys… but, aside from that, there wasn’t much going for the drama for me to continue.

Flower and the Beast2/10 [Dropped]

I dropped this one really early on because it was too cringey to continue. Insta-love at its worst.

Evergreen6.5/10 [Dropped]

Evergreen intrigued me because its fantasy storyline. And I was reallyenjoying this one but as I was waiting for more episodes to release my interest wane. So my dropping this was more “it’s me, not you” kind of deal. I do remember the romance being cute and cinematography/effects to be rather cool. I would recommend it if you’re interested!

The Great Seducer6.5/10 [Completed]

This one is nowhere near as bad as people and critics have been making it out to be. I think Joy’s performance improved compared to her previous dramas. The storyline with troubled and flawed characters was what made this drama so appealing for me. Bad analogy, but it’s like a trainwreck where you just can’t look away. The destruction that these characters laid for themselves was heartbreaking but incredibly fascinating. And the entire story greatly unpredictable. Although the ending isn’t very satisfying (like most K-dramas), I did like how it wrapped up surprisingly.

Because of Meeting You6.5/10 [Completed]

I marathoned this one real quick after having Siege in Fog withdrawals (and knowing Sun Yi was the female lead again in this) and liked it! It isn’t really special in that it has almost every single Asian trope imaginable (e.g. crazy in-laws, separation at birth, and poor girl is actually from a rich family)… but, yet, I still found the story satisfying. I was disappointed by the heroine at first because I was expecting more backbone from her but she does grow into a mature character later in the story, which I loved. I also adore childhood friends romances so you bet this one felt extra sweet for me. Happy sigh.

My Brother Loves Me Too Much2/10 [Dropped]

I should have known from the title that this was going to be ultra cringey… It isn’t incest since the characters aren’t blood siblings but I still found the execution of the romance to be way too cheesy for taste.

Pretty Proofreader6/10 [Dropped]

I really enjoyed Satomi Ishihara in From 5 to 9 so I had this one bookmarked for the longest. And I immediately fell in love with her character in this as well. In this Ishihara is an eclectically dress writer that ends up in the proofreading department instead of fashion editing, but she is genuine and hardworking despite not working in her ideal field. Each episode was heartwarming as she met different people and started to love her position as a proofreader. However, as much this one was good, I didn’t enjoy it enough to continue after several episodes. I might return to watching it someday (when I’m in the mood) though!

Oh My Emperor7/10 [Completed]

I was on the weird side of Youtube one day and this popped up as a recommendation (without English subtitles, to my dismay) but I watched a few minutes of it raw and thought it was hilarious. And I also instantly noticed the female lead in this, as I’m used to her playing the “bad/mean girl” role in other dramas (like Untouchable Lovers) so it was good to know she wasn’t typecasted. Anyway, if you’re looking for a refreshingly funny web drama, I’d recommend giving this a go!

Moonshine and Valentine – 4/10 [Skip Completed]

You’re My Pet6.5/10 [Completed]

I typically never like the older woman, younger man relationships, but I was completely invested in this one and I think it was because it was presented so uniquely. Of course, this would probably never happen in real life since you don’t “adopt” strangers on the side of the road no matter how cute they are… yet there was some realism about the romance. I feel like the heroine’s suffer and loneliness to be very real even if her way of coping wasn’t. I also love the character development in this one. For both characters, their growth were gradual and natural.

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?/10 [Currently Watching]

I am currently LOVING this so much. I have a great feeling that this may be one of my new K-drama favorites for me. I only have a few episodes left since it has already finished airing but it’s safe to say I’m going to rate this at least 7 stars, which is good for me. There’s more than just a swoonworthy romance, there’s mystery and intrigue and so much more. Gah, I definitely recommend if you’re searching for a light, worthwhile K-drama!

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim Trailer:

Legend of Fuyao?/10 [Currently Watching]

I haven’t gotten far with this one but I definitely plan to pick it up back up soon. I love that Yang Mi’s character is tough and strong willed. And the romance with Ethan Ruan’s character is too dreamy. I have high hopes for this one, being one of my most antiquated dramas of 2018!


As you can tell I was trying to squeeze this in before July ended… but I wasn’t quite successful since it was such a rush! Anyway, I hope you guys have been keeping well! Thank you for reading (or skimming; I’m not judging), as always. And happy birthday, Harry! 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Summing It Up: April – July 2018

  1. Carolyn (Howl) says:

    I loved reading all this! Sounds like you had amazing experiences this June and July and I’m definitely visiting my nearby Starbucks for that yummy sounding drink!

    Like

  2. Marie says:

    Hi Summer ❤
    I am so happy to hear you had such a fulfilling experience while on rotation – talking in front of people is always a bit stressful and anxiety-inducing for me, just as well, but I’m so happy to hear that you got great feedback and that it inspired you, that’s so great ❤
    That mango dragronfruit refresher looks and sounds amazing and ahhhh I so, so want to drink that right now haha, hopefully I will get to try it someday 😀
    I hope you will have a fantastic August, Summer, sending you all the love ❤

    Like

  3. Lois says:

    I’m still baffled by the fact you’ve given up coffee. At the moment I’m surviving on my coffee and tea breaks haha.
    I am also super proud of you for doing that presentation. Trust me, I completely understand how daunting presentations can be, especially when you’re in the spotlight among peers in your profession. Any experience is a learning experience and everything you’ve done this summer sounded like great opportunities to develop your skills. Also, love that you went canoeing. It sounds like so much fun.
    Now, let’s keep gushing about Violet Evergarden! It’s such a beautiful anime and I’m still convinced that maybe Major Gilbert isn’t really dead. I think there’s more to this story.
    Hope August is kind to you. ❤

    Like

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