Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Romantic Compatibility

When talking about Hayate or any romantic comedy with a harem for that matter, people always have this tendency to talk about compatibility. Basically, how compatible is X character with Y character?

Now personally, I feel this type of shipping talk is just fine… the problem is a lot of people take this type of argument much more seriously than they should. Taking Hayate as an example, many people dismiss Nagi and leave her out of the harem race completely because all they’re thinking about is that she and Hayate are not romantically compatible because Hayate has never shown any romantic feelings for her – at least not until the very end of the manga, and only through implication – a very strong and definite implication that has been confirmed and re-confirmed by the author time and time again, mind you – but yes, still an implication.

In any case, let’s talk about compatibility then.
Let’s start with Nagi. As far as Nagi is concerned, let’s not even bother with Ayumu’s brother, Kazuki, who was obviously a one-shot side character only meant to confirm Nagi’s strong feelings for Hayate.

I think everyone realizes it by now that Wataru Tachibana, Nagi’s fiancé for almost the entirety of the series is the only other guy who could have ended up with Nagi… and to tell the truth, they have very good compatibility with each other. Sure, at first they were shown to be often at odds with each other almost like cat and mouse and Wataru is introduced to be just as much of a spoiled brat as Nagi was, but in time, his character changed a lot. Unlike Nagi, 13 year-old Wataru is a struggling business owner who only had his 21-year old maid to support him (who was pretty naïve and let Wataru make all the business decisions).

Eventually, as Wataru’s business picks up, he also mans up – much more than Hayate ever did… but I’m not here to talk about Wataru’s path to maturity. Let’s just say that he was a real man before the end of the series and that his compatibility with Nagi grew because of this.

This is best illustrated in chapters 542-543 when Wataru and Nagi indulge in some Godzilla otaku talk. They share the same interests and are obviously quite comfortable with one another – being childhood friends and all. There is a strong sense of “chemistry” between them to the point that no one could doubt that they are romantically compatible – and this is actually mentioned directly by Saki, Wataru’s maid and at this point, his strongly implied love interest (yes, implications are what Hayate the Combat Butler is all about. If you do not want to recognize implications, then don’t ever read this manga because you’re just setting yourself up for a bitter disappointment.)

Saki is feeling insecure because she can’t indulge in the Godzilla otaku talk having understood nothing of the recent movie and she thinks that a girl like Nagi would be much better for Wataru (What a familiar line of thinking… does it ring a bell? Does it sound a bit like YOU, perhaps?) Of course, Wataru mans up and tells Saki via implication that even if you don’t fully understand something, what is important is wanting to understand more about that something because truly understanding  may take a lifetime and even until death… yes, you Gen-Z or Late-Born Millennial, this is actually an implied proposal from Wataru to Saki – and it is very important to understand this scene in the context of Hayate no Gotoku’s primary love story between Hayate and Nagi.

So having established the basic compatibility between Nagi and Wataru, let’s talk about Hayate and the other girls. Don’t worry, I’ll keep this one shorter since I’ll presume that most of you are already fully-aware of his relationships with the other girls at this point.

First off, Hayate and Ruka: Well of course they’re compatible. Ruka is a lot like Hayate with a similar past of being abandoned by her parents. She has a quirky and playful personality but is also a hard worker as far as her job as an idol is concerned.  Most of all, they have the same debt of around 150 million yen. Ruka is also super aggressive about her feelings towards Hayate and even steals a kiss and tries to get Hayate to Marry her as a prize if she wins in a doujin-writing competition against Nagi. Furthermore, she has a cute appearance that Hayate does not seem to dislike and takes her responsibilities  seriously, unlike Nagi. I doubt Hayate would feel incompatible with her.

Secondly, there’s Hayate and Athena: Well duh? They were childhood lovers and they still had strong feelings for each other when they met again as teenagers. Athena is the cool and smart type, but also has her naïve childish moments. Most importantly, while not being actually older than Hayate, she gives off those oneesama vibes with her wisdom and big-breasted appearance. After all, Hayate has declared once that older ladies are relationship material while younger girls are just cute. Obviously, he has no interest in much younger women (coz apparently, three years is a HUUGE age gap). Anyway, you probably agree, they’re compatible, right?

Third, there’s Hayate and Hinagiku: Well why not? Hina is cute, popular, smart, athletic, strong, and everything else in-between and her only weakness is that she’s too tsundere (she has a fear of heights, but that doesn’t count as a weakness to me. It’s more of a moe moe quirk of her personality) to confess to Hayate until the very end. In fact, perhaps if she had successfully confessed earlier at around the point when Hayate had finally paid off his debt, then perhaps things would have gone positively for her. Of course, she didn’t. Of course, as far as appearances go, Hata has mentioned that Nagi’s breasts will actually overtake hers in the future, so there’s that. This is assuming that Hayate likes girls with big breasts exclusively, but of course, that’s not true. After all, Hayate has once mentioned that it would be a dream come true for someone like Hina to confess to him. No question of compatibility here.

Finally, there’s Ayumu and Hayate. Yes, Hayate did reject her early and she has been naively struggling to gain Hayate’s attention in all the wrong ways – but the reality is that she is the type of “normal girl’ that Hayate would have definitely fallen for. She is also cute, not-too-smart, but has a heart of gold that often turns her into a doormat  (or a hamster in Nagi’s words), but which doesn’t make her in any way incompatible with Hayate. After all, in the shared dream sequence with Hayate in the Royal Garden, she and Hayate actually do almost end up together in a hypothetical scenario wherein Hayate had never met Nagi.
Oh and lastly, let’s talk about Hayate and Maria… actually, let’s not. This is incest territory. She is his half-sister after all. Sorry, shippers… but I’m really not sorry. Also, let’s not talk about Izumi since she’s too much of a side-character to be relevant.
So yes, Hayate was definitely compatible with any of the many girls who showed interest in him throughout the series and I’m pretty sure he would have been happy with any of them.

The same is true for Nagi. She was definitely compatible with Wataru, and she probably wouldn’t have been too sad about having him as a romantic partner… BUT
And this is quite a thing, this BUT, thinking about Hayate the combat butlers romantic relationships in terms of compatibility would be completely missing the point of the romance in this series.

This is why I mentioned Wataru and Saki earlier. Wataru made the choice to be together with Saki. Now look at Hayate and Nagi. Nagi didn’t force Hayate to choose her. Not at all. In fact, she totally set him free in chapter 567. It took two years for him to come out in the open and finally make the choice to be with her – and this time, to be with her without any misunderstandings or ties of debt whether it’s a financial debt or a debt of gratitude.

Of course, in Nagi’s case. She had chosen Hayate from the very start. Her feelings were tested and she wavered quite a few times, especially in the finale, but her love had been nurtured throughout the series and matured as gracefully as the lady did herself.

So yes, in a nutshell, love in Hayate The Combat Butler is not about compatibility. It’s about making the choice to love someone and to forge a relationship with that someone towards the future… wouldn’t you say that’s a more ideal, and more beautiful conception of love? I certainly do.

With that said, see you next week for sure!

Fanart Corner

I usually get my inspirations for my fanart from looking at store window mannequins, posters of models, and similar stuff... this week's digital fanart is no exception.

Huggable Nagi~

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 5

Day 5 of the trip and the 4th day of training was a bit of a “taking it easy” day. Unfortunately, from all the excitement at Mag-Aso falls, my mother and I took it a little bit too easy and woke up a bit late. We went down for breakfast at about 7:30 and leisurely ordered the bacon, eggs, and rice… but we only got halfway through our meal when someone pointed our attention to the CPSU transport vehicle which had been waiting for us for awhile. Thus, breakfast was cut abruptly.

A Rough Start

Pretty awful way to start the day, but that was just about the only setback anyway. After the usual 30-minute ride, we got off at the Arts and Sciences building and by 8:00, the students came filing in. Again, things started off with a Zumba session per my mother’s request. After that, it was time for a lecture on communication processes from my mother. Fortunately, she can actually manage to keep a lecture interesting and keep the class actively participating even if it took the entire morning session.

Finishing Up Some Tasks

After lunch, Ms. C called in from her house and requested that the class be moved to her residence in Kabankalan City because they still needed to dub in the voices for the video. Thus, after asking for permission from the people in charge of the seminars, we were off to another trip to Ms. C’s house.

However, when we got there in the afternoon,  there were some technical difficulties and the video hadn’t been compiled by the videographer yet. We talked over how it could be done and Ms. C had quite a few ideas and I actually approved of them. I was just a bit wary since she planned to shoot more footage in the plaza afterwards and there were two days left before the final presentation. The video advocacy would not only form part of their finals grade, but it would also be the presentation of the Purposive Communication class for the culminating activity on Saturday. Having had some experience with working on a tight timetable, I knew that grandiose plans had ways of falling apart… with that said, I’d already made up my mind at this point to install VSDC on my laptop later in the afternoon.
Naturally, Nagi gets her Outfit of the Day shot.

Since recording couldn’t be done, my mother instructed everyone to use the idle time to finish up on their literary analyses – which was what the rest of the afternoon was spent on. I also helped everyone finish setting up their blogs on blogger. We dismissed earlier than usual at about 5:30 PM since the students wanted to do additional shoots and work on the video a bit more. We viewed the raw footage and they looked quite stunning, actually. The problem is that the speaking parts were muffled by the sound of the waterfall. Obviously, they had to be redubbed. Also, this was pure raw footage and the videos were shot in separate files/clips. They had to be compiled – which I really stressed upon everyone. Compiling the video should take priority with such a short amount of time left.
Anyway, Ms. C drove us back to our hotel after class was dismissed. Most of the students left behind had finally set up their blogs at this time, although they still needed to finish writing the 500-word blog post on the Mag-Aso falls trip. 

Some Time To Paint

Since we arrived earlier than usual at the hotel, we took the time to freshen up and take a nice shower before coming down for dinner at the restaurant. The Art Appreciation trainer was having dinner there as well, so we joined her and had a friendly chat. My mother recommended the Asian Salad, which she’d had the day before. 

Gansai Tambi Watercolors on Canson Watercolor Paper
Sakura Koi Colors on Berkeley Watercolor Pad

After a nice dinner, we went straight back to our hotel room wherein I finished up my work for the day (I was actually sneaking in some work here and there during the seminar) and then I installed VSDC into my laptop because I expected quite a bit of trouble having assessed the situation earlier. It was still only about 9:00 PM when I’d finished all the tasks for the day, so I had some time to re-paint one of my Sakura Koi paintings into a larger 9x12 watercolor pad using Gansai Tambi colors.  It also gave me a chance to make use of the new brushes I got at Expressions. I think the new image turned out pretty well. I’m not too sure I like the placement of the umbrella though.

In any case, that wraps up Day 5 of the trip. See you for day 6.

Monday, June 18, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 4

To Mag-Aso Falls

Day 4 of the trip was a bit less hectic than usual. The class agreed that this would be a field trip day, so we didn’t have to wake up so early. The class would meet us over at our hotel in Zaycoland and the CPSU transport vehicle would be taking us to Mag-Aso falls where the students would be recording their raw footage for their final project by Friday: an environmental advocacy video.
Also, we were informed that we would be transferring hotels because our booking for Zaycoland was made on the fly and there were guests who had booked our rooms for the next day. Fortunately, we had already packed up our luggage the night before and we just had to leave them at the hotel lobby and the CPSU transport team would pick them up for us and transfer them to our new hotel later. This meant that we could go straight to the new hotel after classes for the day were done.

Midterms Comes First

Of course, for the students, this wasn’t just a fun little field trip. After all, the midterms was also scheduled for this day and my mother planned to get it out of the way first. Midterm exams consisted of an impromptu speaking exercise wherein the students would individually answer different questions based on general interest topics such as current events, politics, and things related to the educational field (they were all teachers after all).

After a nicer breakfast (than ugh, continental breakfast consisting of  one entire loaf of bread cut into large slices and a banana), the students took the liberty of ordering lunch for us from the hotel restaurant in advance. We would be dining at Mag-Aso falls. It was actually starting to drizzle a bit, but it wasn’t raining too hard.

We left by around 9:00 and arrived at the place at about 9:30. There was a bit of a steep climb to get to the parking area, but the L300 transport vehicle seemed to have a pretty game engine. The security guard informed us that swimming was off-limits for now because there was no lifeguard on-duty… not that anyone planned to do any swimming anyway. (I can’t swim. I can float on my back, dog paddle, and survival swim, but I can’t breathe when doing a basic freestyle stroke – any tips?)

Mag-Aso Falls is quite a sight to behold.
The view from Mag-Aso falls was simply breathtaking. I like how ingenuous the architects were in constructing the man-made pool and the small structures like comfort rooms and rest areas that integrated seamlessly into the waterfalls. The pool itself was at the higher point of the falls and used water directly from the waterfalls. No chlorine used (it was easy to tell from just the smell) and the water from the falls was crystal clear – barring a few leaves from the trees and just a little bit of moss from all the lush vegetation that surrounded the place. Over-all, while the ground at Mag-Aso falls has a tendency to feel damp on the feet, the air feels fresh and clean and very cool.

Judging from the way their voices were trembling and their relieved faces afterwards, I would say that my mother’s midterms was probably quite a harrowing ordeal for the students – nevertheless, with that out of the way, they could now have fun touring the public areas of Mag-Aso falls while shooting video clips for their video advocacy project.

Personally, I just spent most of the day chillaxing and taking some very awesome pictures of Nagi.

In the afternoon, instead of taking the long trip back to CPSU, we got permission to host the rest of the class over at the residence of one of the students in Kabankalan City. It was pretty convenient for us because it was nearer to the hotel. Fortunately, the residence also doubled as a church, so it had ample seating capacity (for only less than 12 people) and a projector and large speakers for my laptop. 

Blogging 101

Part of the requirements for the finals was for everyone to create a blog and to blog about their experiences about Mag-Aso falls. Therefore, I gave a step-by-step lecture on how to create a blog using blogger. After that, I talked about my specific style of blogging and how I am able to write things down very quickly using a particular technique that I’ve developed. Do remind me to talk about it in more detail next time, but basically, the lecture consisted of having everyone pitch me ideas and helping me write one coherent blog post about Mag-Aso falls using their collective experiences. This is the blog and the actual post that I made during the lecture:

After that, it was time for another activity, literary analysis. The subjects were my own Hikari’s Ribbon Remake 2013 version and an anime, Episode 5 of Kino’s Journey : The Beautiful World 2017 (Country of Liars).

I was really quite happy when a few people came up to me and told me that they really preferred the story of Hikari’s Ribbon. Really, it’s not that I’m that starved for attention for my works, but it’s really very rare for random strangers to openly praise me without offering some high-handed advice on “how I can improve.”

Anyway, it was an emotional moment for me, for sure. The literary analysis would be a take-home written output, so at about 6:30, class was adjourned and we’d see each other the next day, hopefully, with the finalized version of the video. We reviewed the raw footage and they were definitely amazing. I was a bit concerned that there were so many long skits and people talking to the camera though. That would mean extensive redubbing and a bit of work in compiling the video. As far as I knew, no one in the class had any in-depth knowledge of video editing.

So we got to the hotel, Southland Inn early, but one piece of luggage got left behind at Zaycoland. Fortunately, the CPSU driver went back to get it for us and all was well… except my mother also took the keys to our Zaycoland room with her – as per a phone call to our hotel room. Of course, it wasn’t much of a hassle and after a short chat, she and the person on the other side of the phone both agreed that she’d just take the keys over to Zaycoland first thing in the morning.  One of the students drove us over. It was quite a nice place and most importantly, it had 4G internet connection and actual working wifi! It was also a building within the city and not a walled-in resort like Zaycoland. We decided to have dinner inside of the hotel’s restaurant – which closed at 8:00 PM as well. The food was really nice – especially the asian salad which consisted of some kind of crunchy, transparent noodles, tomatoes, cucumbers, pork chunks and some lettuce. I also had ribs for dinner, which was quite delicious as well.

Anyway, I was glad to settled down in the new hotel room after that. The room was a bit smaller, but it felt a lot more comfy with a larger TV set and nicer lighting. Also, finally! Real Wifi. Now I could work without worries.  We’d have an early start and free breakfast at the hotel again the next day, so as usual, I had to turn in earlier than I’m used to.

Stay tuned for Day 5 of the trip. We're getting closer to the end.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 3

Continental Breakfast

For day 3 of the trip, we had to get an earlier start than usual. Also, Zaycoland didn’t serve any real breakfast until 7 AM for some reason, so all they could serve us was their version of a “continental breakfast” which consisted of a large banana and a whole loaf of bread (I swear) cut into about 4-6 large-slices along with some butter and jam. Needless to say, I didn’t care much for the meal. Fortunately, we did have some yogurt which we’d bought at a 7-11 the day before. It’d have to do temporarily since we’d be leaving at 7.

After the 30-minute trip to CPSU, we got off at the Arts and Sciences building directly this time. My  mother used the entirety of the morning to give a lecture on the different communication processes. Also, as a picker-upper, she had her favorite Zumba session thanks to one of the students whom I’ll call “F” who brought her subscription-based LTE router along. Sometime during snack break, everyone wanted to see what kind of stuff I wrote so we streamed one of my works, Unpolished (I’ll put the video into this post).

I was really overwhelmed by the positive response. Everyone loved it despite it being a short, text-only piece. I think it helped out that my mother gave them a primer that this was a real-life story that I’d dramatized into fiction and that it was about my older sister’s actual experience. Anyway, many of them admitted to being nearly brought to tears by my piece – which made me misty-eyed as well.  Seriously, this was the first time in my life that one of my writings, one that I’d really put my heart and soul into, was praised so positively by so many people at once. The feeling of euphoria was overwhelming and because of this one single moment, Kabankalan and CPSU will always have a special place in my heart.

Lunch was served at Mt. Balio Hall as usual and we had them with the students and the other trainers and their respective classes.
In the afternoon, after another quick Zumba session with my mother (I never join those, but I can dance… I assure you.) It was time to do the near-impossible: cram one whole course’s worth of Oxford-Oregon Debate into one afternoon. 

Debate 101 -- In One Afternoon

So I went with a pretty dynamic approach. I used my laptop as a whiteboard and using notepad, I typed in some key points every now and then. I went over the basic flow of an Oxford-Oregeon Debate, which includes how to construct arguments for necessity, beneficiality, and practicability and what each side needs in order to win. Also, by the end of the lecture, we’d have a short, actual debate in the class by dividing them into two groups. I also went over the actual conditions needed for the negative and affirmative side to win – really, judges of oxford-oregon style debates should know these things, but in many cases as I’ve experienced myself, they usually don’t… but whatever!

Finally, to top off the lecture, I went over how to write a constructive speech, a rebuttal speech, and the secrets of winning the interpellation – which I won’t reveal here. I will say this though: It’s all about flowchart questioning.

So by around 4:00, everyone was more or less oriented on debate, but it was admittedly quite a bit of information overload. I acted as the moderator for the mock debate, which started at about 6:00 PM. I have to say, with a little bit of coaching from me and my mother in-between, everyone performed quite admirably and the last two speakers especially, actually had what I would consider a high-level exchange during interpellation. We didn’t have time for a rebuttal, but I was happy to see that everyone had really learned something in that one afternoon. I would say they were still a bit rough around the edges and could have used a bit more aggression, but it was actually the opposite of what I’d expected. Usually, when I coach people in Oxford-Oregon debate for the first time, they start losing control during an actual mock debate and go into panic mode just shouting out and being as aggressive as possible in an attempt not to let the opponent get a word in. Long story short: everyone’s performance exceeded my expectations.

After that, it was dismissal time and me and my mother had dinner at Mt. Balio Hall together with the other faculty. Truth be told, I didn’t like the food there… which didn’t matter much since the group was planning to once again take a trip to City Mall.

After the 30-minute ride back to Kabankalan City, we arrived at City Mall. We bought some more provisions in the form of some snacks from the grocery and some take-out food from Jollibee (our version of McDonald’s and yes, we also do have McDonald’s here) and Chowking. I also took the opportunity to buy one more set of artist brushes from Expressions.
Nagi's journey episode 3: A Land WIthout WiFI!

After that, it was back to Zaycoland, wherein I had to do some work downstairs at the lobby since as mentioned before, my 4G connection only works at the lobby area for some reason and getting a connection in Zaycoland’s faulty wifi system is like winning a lottery, they even give you several “raffle tickets” in the form of their vouchers to see if you can connect to a single one of them.
Anyway, with work done, I went ahead and formulated some questions for the impromptu speaking (we call it Extemporaneous locally for some reason. Extempo and Impromptu are interchangeable in the Philippine context. Basically, it means a speech wherein you are given a question and then given around 3 minutes to prepare your answer.)

Odds & Ends

After that, it was time to turn in for the day. I actually watched some old movie starring Van Damme on TV. The good news is that tomorrow would be the scheduled filed trip to Mag-Aso falls where the midterms would take place as well. This meant I wouldn’t have to turn in so early and could have a proper breakfast because yech, “continental breakfast :P”

Stay tuned for Day 4. I'll have it up by tomorrow because I've actually already written it down.
This cup of yogurt didn't come with a spoon, so I made my own spoon using the tinfoil cover.

My Philosophy of Art (Video)

Got inspired by Jimmie from My Art Life to make this video.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Doujin Review "名前呼んで”

I've been looking for some way to obtain this doujin online for quite some time now and thanks to Otaku Republic, I finally have it. Anyway, this doujin was short and sweet. Here's the synopsis (pardon any inaccuracies. I got the gist of the story, though. If you must have accuracy, go ask your lord and savior Japanese translator to do it for you and not some JLPT level nothing scrub like lordcloudx.):

Hayate and Nagi are walking together hand in hand
Nagi sees two of her male classmates (who seem to have a crush on her)
they greet Hayate and think he's her big bro
Hayate is about to say something
when Nagi stops them both and declares that Hayate is her boyfriend
Hayate grabs her by the hand.
Hayate: Excuse us for a minute.
Nagi: Hayate... what's wrong, are you mad?
Hayate: I'm not mad
Nagi: Then are you sulking?
Hayate: I'm not
Nagi: I see... I just thought our feelings were mutual this time. I guess I was wrong.
Hayate: You're not wrong! (hugs Nagi from out of nowhere)
Hayate: I'm sorry for not saying it sooner. I just wanted to make it look cool.
Nagi: Cool?
Hayate: Of course, in front of the girl I like
Nagi: You're really cute aren't you, Hayate! (Hugs Hayate happily)
Hayate: Will you listen to what I have to say?
Nagi: Sure, what cute thing do you want to talk about?
Hayate: It's a long story but...
Hayate suddenly kisses Nagi
Hayate: What is cute... is you!
Hayate: (I think that was cool)
Nagi: ... one more time...
Hayate: Well... she really is cute after all
Hayate: Can we do it one more time?
Nagi: (kinda embarrassed) go ahead
one more kiss
Nagi: Say... Hayate
Nagi: When are you going to stop talking in honorifics?
Nagi: Like you keep calling me "you"
Hayate: Well, the last time we met I was still calling you ojou-sama, it's a bit awkward
Nagi: Well then Hayate, what is my surname?
Hayate: Sanzenin?
Nagi: And... what is my name?
Hayate: Na.... Nagi?
Hayate: Ugh... I get embarrassed from just calling you by name.
Nagi: That's fine, isn't it?
Hayate: Nagi!
Nagi: Hayate! ??
Hayate: eventually, someday for sure... I will also become familiar with calling you by your name.


Thoughts On The Doujin

The art is a bit subpar, especially the artwork, but the faces are well-done and aside from the cover art, the artwork does enough justice to both of the main characters (Hayate and Nagi).

I really love this story. I like how shy Hayate is being and those sweet, lovey-dovey moments between the two of them. The way they act all shy and awkward around each other while both acknowledging that they really do like each other a lot. The characterization is spot-on. They behave exactly like how I would expect Hayate and Nagi to behave as a couple based on the end of the series.

While many HayaNagi shippers would probably have preferred if this was the canon ending of the series, I am not one of them. In fact, I actually like the fact that 568 ended the way it did. That was the perfect time and the perfect way to end the story of Hayate and Nagi, in my opinion. 

Of course, that is only as far as canon is concerned.  What happens beyond the ending is left up to the imagination -- which is the raison d'etre for this doujin -- and many others to come just like it. This is why I think 568 was the perfect ending. It left a lot to the imagination, while at least confirming that Hayate and Nagi are now romantically interested in each other.

In any case, I liked seeing 16 year-old Nagi once again. She really is beautiful, even if this isn't official art of her (it is based on official art of her, though).

With that said, see you next week for sure. This is lordcloudx out.

Fanart Corner

Been on a watercolor painting binge lately. Also, I still need to upload some colored pencil sketches (kinda ecchi) of Nagi that I've been neglecting to capture.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 2

First of all, sorry for the delay in posting this. It turned out a bit longer than I expected, that's why... anyway, here we go~
I brought enough outfits for her to have a different one every single day, of course.

We had breakfast pretty early at around 7:00 AM at Zaycoland’s in-house restaurant. It was pretty standard hotel fare – although personally, I prefer the breakfast combos at fast food restaurants like Jollibee and Mcdonald’s. The Chorizo (a local type of sausage characterized by crunchy bits of meat on the outside with a texture pretty similar to a hash brown) with egg and rice was pretty filling, to say the least. CPSU’s transport vehicle came to pick us and the other trainers around for the trip (the majority of them were from my mother’s University with the exception of two and most of them were my former teachers in college.) to CPSU.

Getting Started

The ride was pretty uneventful and we arrived at CPSU at about 8:45. There was a short opening program wherein the different classes and their trainers were assigned to separate rooms within the campus. We got the Multimedia classroom inside of the 1st floor of the Arts and Sciences building, which was just about 3.5 blocks away from the main hall (Mt. Balio Hall was the name, I think). It seems that lunch and dinner would be served at that place. The 1st day of training would only be until 5:00 PM but the rest of the days would follow the 8:00AM-6:30PM schedule. This is because the training seminars were supposed to last for 17 days but they had to be compressed into 6 days for this particular event due to time constraints from the teaching staff to be trained as well as the trainers. Pretty sure there’s some underhanded politics going on somewhere over here as well, but let’s not talk about that.

Purposive Communication Proper

When we arrived inside the multimedia classroom, the “students” had already gathered around. The faculty member who guided us inside showed me how to set up the TV monitor for multimedia presentations and we were good to go. My mother took the liberty of reintroducing me to the purposive communication class as her son and resource person because the CHED representative who mentioned my presence in her speech seemed to have the wrong idea.

Also, the first thing that everyone learned is that "Purposive" as the same stress as "purpose," which is in the first syllable of the word. After all, my mother repeated it several times with her trademark exaggerated pronunciation. Of course, rather than making her look strict and unforgiving, I'm pretty sure it had the opposite effect and served to endear her to her new students rather quickly. My mother has an infectiously warm personality that seems to hypnotically attract the kindness of others to her -- and she's not even aware of it. I think a part of it is because even if she says otherwise and tries to put up a tough facade, she does genuinely care about everyone she meets -- and this authenticity is something that she just cannot hide.

Anyway, this was the first day so the activities were quite light. Everyone would be asked to introduce themselves and then there would be a short oral recitation activity where all the students would have to answer three questions:
(FYI, I constructed all of these questions.)

-What is your career path?
-What are your political views?
-What is your stand on atheism?

From this point on, I’ll be using single initials/codes instead of names to protect the privacy of the seminar-goers.
After the introductions were over, I learned that most of them were actually in their 30s to 40s, so actually around the same age-range as me (I’m 34) and the youngest attendee, J, was 27.

Everyone had some very interesting answers and of course, the Philippines being a mostly Catholic/Christian country, most of them didn’t look to kindly upon Atheism.  With that said, everyone was quite excited when they learned that there would be a short intro to blogging and that I’d be giving a lecture on debate (the debate lecture wasn’t actually part of the original plan but something that my mother shoehorned in  on this very day.) 

Three people’s answers struck me as memorable. First of all, there was J who actually gave some pretty competent answers, but whose point was lost in the trembling of his voice and his fingers – a clear sign of stage fright. Something which I sometimes have myself.  Secondly, there was G’s political stance, which I thought was pretty bold since she clearly didn’t like Duterte even though about three other people before her had admitted that they were solid Duterte supporters who believe in the change… that is scamming, I kid. Finally, there was C’s response which struck me as really unique and had me thinking, “oh, this person is a writer.” (I was right.)

Also, to my surprise, they were quite interested to know what kind of stories I wrote since my mother introduced me as a “writer.” It’s pretty amazing because these people are holders of Masters Degrees and PhDs and back at home in Iloilo, people who have achieved levels of education at this level (especially acquaintances of my mother) would hardly even take a quick glance at any of my stories… my heart swelled with pride – although I would have to wait until day 2 of the seminar to show them some of my VNs. The lecture on debate followed by an actual Oxford-Oregon type debate would take place in the afternoon. In my head,  I was already thinking about how I’d be able to compress an entire one-semester course into a single afternoon – well, I’m lordcloudx. I'll make it work!

We went back to Mt. Balio Hall for lunch at 12 and then resumed the seminar at 1:00 PM. After a short lecture from my mother that covered the basics of communication, it was time for another activity – group roleplaying. We prepared some scenarios beforehand, so after splitting everyone into three groups, we gave them some time to prepare.

While all the groups had their own unique takes on the scenarios, the funniest one was from the third group where a granddaughter from the provinces takes her grandmother to a high-end mall in Manila for the first-time. One group member portrayed multiple roles from the mall security guard to the clerks and shopkeepers of the various shops the pair visited. It was a hilarious blunder of errors from both the grandmother and granddaughter who had no idea how things worked inside a shopping mall.

This was the first day, so the class was dismissed after this activity, as it was just about 5:30 PM. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits because I would surmise they were expecting a more rigid curriculum and never expected their teacher (my mother) to be so animated nor that the seminar would actually be a kinda fun learning experience. Naturally, they would still needed to be graded based on their performance, but at least there’s not as much pressure when you actually find the class interesting.

Walking back to Mt. Balio hall, we discovered that dinner was being served there. The food was ok, really. I’m not that picky about food – except I absolutely cannot stand seafood… and if you’re going to play the semantics game, I’ll make it clear: I can’t stand seafood and that includes fish.

Odds and Ends

Anywayz, on the drive back to Zaycoland in Kabankalan City proper, we asked the driver to stop by CityMall first. I needed to buy an extension cord so I could work seamlessly from the lobby with my laptop later that night. I saw stationery shop called “Expressions” inside the mall and I was happy to find out that they were selling some really nice paintbrushes for only 70 PHP for one set of five. Naturally, I bought one. I also bought a small snack from a local fast food chain called Jollibee. We had dinner pretty early at around 6:30 and the hotel restaurant closed at 8:00 PM. This struck me as a bit odd since most hotel restaurants that I know of usually close at 11:00 PM at the earliest and some of them operate for 24-hours to accommodate the guests.

After CityMall, Zaycoland was just a short 5-10 minute drive away. Kabankalan City is pretty small, so there were no taxi services in operation at all. Tricycles/Pedicabs (basically a motorcycle with an attachment at the side to accommodate anywhere between 4-5 people or even 12 If you really push it) are the main form of public transport in this city. Not that we needed any public transport since the CPSU’s service vehicle (an 8-10 seater L300 Van) drove us around everywhere.

The first day of the seminar was a bit exhausting, but my mother and I still had some revisions to do for tomorrow’s schedule and of course, I still had my own online work to do. I turned in at around 11:40 PM. We’d need to have an earlier start at around 5:00 AM the next day. The problem is that the hotel didn’t serve breakfast until 7:00 AM. The woman behind the lobby made a compromise and said they’d serve us a continental breakfast. (Several large slices of bread, some jam and butter, and one big banana) Naturally, I was none too enthused at the prospect, but I’m not even an official part of this trip, so I wasn’t about to complain. Besides, my stomach seems to go into emergency mode whenever I travel. I find I have much less of an appetite and not as much of a need to eat.
I finished this painting sometime after dinner. Sakura Koi watercolors again. Didn’t have time to break out my Kuretake Gansai Tambi paints just yet.
This ends my day 2 entry. See you soon for day 3 this is lordcloudx out.

Pic is a bit grainy. I'll have to take another one next time. Hata did notice this one on twitter though.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

My 7-Day Trip To Kabankalan: Day 1

Just came back from a one-week trip to Kabankalan in Negros Island and it was an extremely fulfilling week for me. But first, let me tell you all about how this trip happened in the first place. Therefore, prepare for my disorganized ramblings as usual, because here we go~

Tagging Along

My mother was invited by a co-teacher to act as the trainer for the Purposive Communication portion of the new CHED (basically the Philippines’ tertiary/college level administrative governing board.) curriculum. The CPSU (Central Philippine State University) in Kabankalan needed to train their teachers for the new curriculum and get certification from the CHED otherwise, their faculty would be out of jobs by next semester being underqualified to teach almost all the relevant college-level subjects.

Anyway, long story short, my mother is certified to conduct training for Purposive Communication and she brought me along as a resource person to lecture about various fields that I actually am experienced with.

Moving on, to get to Kabankalan, you have to take a 45-minute to 1-hour boat ride from Iloilo City to Bacolod City and then this is followed by a 2-2.5-hour road trip to Kabankalan City where we would be staying while the CPSU campus was still a 30-minute ascent by car away – which is where the seminars were conducted daily from 8:00AM-6:30PM. It’s not as tiring as it seems because the road trip is mostly a long straight highway except for the 30-minute trip to CPSU – which as located at a higher elevation, so the road does wind quite a bit. Thankfully, the winding isn’t quite enough to trigger my motion sickness.

I brought my Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch set (watercolors) along as well as my bigger 36 palette Kuretake Gansai Tambi set. While waiting for the boat to arrive, I managed to finish this quick watercolor painting of some bird.

Dun ask what kind of bird this is. I have no idea. I just saw a pic of it on Facebook and felt like painting something that's not Nagi.


The trip to Kabankalan was mostly uneventful. We were taken straight to CPSU where we would initially be hosted inside of some kind of faculty quarters (with A/C) inside the campus, but I was dismayed to know that not only was there no WIFI, but I couldn’t even get a 4G connection from my phone. This could be quite costly for me because I work online.

Anyway, my mother messaged the other group of teachers on a different vehicle about 30 minutes behind us and they all decided to stay at a hotel in Kabankalan City because they needed an internet connection as well.
Finally, we were driven back to the hotel where we would be staying for a portion of the trip (you’ll find out why later). It was a hotel/resort called Zaycoland. The place had some awesome landscaping, but there was a major issue… they gave us several of these vouchers in order to log into their wifi portal, but the problem is that they were all rejected as “voucher expired.” The woman from the front desk gave us several more and when none of my devices would connect, all she had to say was: “keep trying. That’s just the way our wifi works here.” Ok… this could be a problem. Anyway, I eventually found a place (at the lobby area where I could get a 4G connection with my phone.) I subscribed to a 5-day unlimited data connection so I could use my phone as a mobile hotspot.

Fortunately, with that out of the way, I could finally relax a bit. I’d have to stay in the lobby while working, but it was doable. The room that we were staying in was pretty nice, by the way. Except for the lack of WIFI, ZaycoLand is a very scenic spot – and this applies to the whole of Kabankalan in general. One thing I noticed along the way is that the drivers in Bacolod and Negros in general don’t honk their horns in anger and protest or general boorishness as much as the “horny” drivers of Iloilo City.

Initial Impressions

I slept soundly that night. We’d have an early start on Monday the next day to conduct the Seminar proper.  The seminar lasted for 6 days from 6/4 to 6/9. We arrived one day early to prepare and we’d leave the day after the 6/9 – which was a Sunday.

One thing that I’ve grown accustomed to doing when staying in a hotel is to turn on the TV and just leave it on the entire night as background noise. Not sure how much of an environmental impact that makes – but I’d surmise, not a lot. Not unless there were hundreds of other people like me. Fat chance of that in Kabankalan City. It’s a very rustic place, but also has two small shopping malls: City Mall and Gaisano Capital Grand.

Brought my PSP, PS Vita and 2DS along. For day one, I decided to turn on my PSP after like... 2-3 years? The thing still had charge (I charge it every now and then even if I don't play it). Managed to play about an hour of an old save of Fate/Extra before I needed to recharge. Also, I regret not choosing Saber of Red but I'm too far into the game to start a new one now.
Never forget to take your waifu with you~
No Waifu No Laifu Too

Also, I brought doll Nagi along together with a small amount of her ever-increasing stash of outfits. Can’t forget to do my 365 Nagi pics after all.
I’ve decided to blog each day in separate posts and as accurately as I can remember them, so if you like my travel blogging episodes, do stay tuned. For now, this concludes day one of the trip. This is lordcloudx out for now~

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Hayate Reflections: Painting Nagi's Smile

Kenjiro Hata has drawn many, many pictures of Nagi in his time -- which is of course only fitting since he is the author of the series in which she is the co-main heroine of. In any case, while there are many striking pin-up style and cover pictures of her. I find that her most beautiful images -- the ones that really stick out for me, are often found within some of the more nondescript panels of the manga. Those tiny moments wherein she shows an unusual expression that really highlights her character and makes her larger than life -- those are the images of her that I find most beautiful. 

In fact, the one pic that I really like isn't even a full-body pic of her nor is it very detailed. I'll put it up on the screen so you can see. Yup, for me, this is the most beautiful image of her that Hata has drawn so far. Of course, this is all pretty subjective  -- and quite frankly, there are quite a few other contenders, such as those mugshots of her in chapters 567 and 568. Also, we can't forget all those sexy pin-up shots of her that Hata likes to draw every once in a while.

Anyway, going back to this pic. It just felt really striking to me when I first saw this. I couldn't really say what I found so special about it. It's highly subjective to be honest. There's just something about her enigmatic almost-smiling or perhaps semi-anxious expression here that I really, really liked. I just wanted to reach out into the panels and give her a hug when I saw this. The way her side fringes are being blown by the wind, her eyes, her lips, the small shadows on her face. I just really, really love the way she looks here -- even though the panel probably takes up less than 1/6th of the entire page. Also, if we trace things back to how Hata drew this, it must have been pretty much just another panel for him. Still, it felt special to me.

Which is why... I decided to paint my own version of it. I've been on a watercolor (and sometimes acrylic) painting streak lately. Ever since I bought a portable Sakura Koi watercolor set, I just couldn't stop painting. The portability of the set just made me want to paint something new every day. 

In any case, this particular image was painted with much more care with more expensive Gansai Tambi watercolors and some Mission Gold Titanium white. I'm sure any watercolor enthusiasts out there would know what I'm talking about. Anyway, the first version of the painting came out with skintone that was a little bit too pink. That's a problem with Gansai Tambi watercolors, actually. The colors are so richly pigmented that it's sometimes hard to find the shade you want. What? Use a color swatch you say? Haha...hahaha... Have painted over a thousand pics of Nagi! Unknown to color swatches nor known to shame!

Anyway, here's the final version of the pic after some corrections. I didn't exactly copy it the way Hata-sensei drew her, but more like, I wanted to capture the essence of her expression as I imagined it. Thus, in my version she is clearly smiling a lot more -- although there is a hint of hesitance in that smile. THat's because I may not be Da Vinci, but this is my version of the enigmatic Mona Lisa smile.
Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors. The smoothness of the paint is quite distinct from Sakura Koi

With that said, let me know what you think in the comments -- and no, I'm not looking for art critique so keep that to yourself. I'm also including some other stuff I've painted recently at the end of this video. I plan to redo the "sharing an umbrella under the rain" thing in Gansai Tambi watercolors and correct some anatomy errors such as the placement of Nagi's other arm and the size of Hayate's hands relative to each other.

So anyway, thanks for listening. This has been Hayate reflections and this... oh wait, Just an announcement that I'll be away over for 7 days starting this Sunday so no Hayate Reflections next week. With that said, see you next, next week for sure. This is lordcloudx out.

Fanart Corner

Been experimenting with what can be done with Sakura Koi watercolors lately.

I'm going to paint a new version of this pic in Gansai Tambi Watercolors. (I used Sakura Koi for this). I want to correct a few things too like Nagi's shoulder placement and Hayate's hands in relation to his body.
Limited Palette painting. Used only blue. (Sakura Koi Watercolors)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Hayate Reflections Special: Fanfic Reading of A Place of Beginnings

First of all, I want to start things off with a shoutout to Jimmie from MyArtLife and his amazingly informative art channel on youtube. Check out the channel especially if you're a Filipino and you want to learn more about the unique art supplies that you can buy from local places like National Bookstore. The videos are shot in high quality with clear, easy to follow narrations in English and sometimes in Tagalog as well. Jimmie also showcases his own art and talks us through his various techniques in mixed media on the channel. So yeah, go check it out and do like and subscribe to his videos -- he deserves it:

So we have something a bit different today. A fanfic reading of my old fanfic, "A Place of Beginnings."

Full credits are in the actual video page on youtube.

Fanart Corner
Got quite a few pieces today. I'm including a few non-hayate related fanart. I've been hooked on Sakura Koi watercolors lately. You just can't beat the portability of this watercolor set. It's not quite as nice-looking as the Gansai Tambi paints, but the field sketch set is so easy to use. Also, this is my first time using a waterbrush. I love it. My traditional art output was extremely high this week because of my Sakura Koi set. Except for the oil pastels drawing, all of these were done within this week.

Gotta love Kuro/Chloe Von Einzbern. Cute brown loli for the win.

Just shoot yourself already, Aya-chan.

This is the odd one out. This was actually rendered with oil pastels. The cheap kind sold by Pentel. Very vibrant colors though. Much more vibrant than my Prismacolor colored pencils.

When life puts you down... summon a spirit bomb!
Do I even need to explain this one?

Hata noticed this one. I included Tsukasa from Tonikaku Kawaii this time.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Hayate Reflections Postponed To Next Week

Just a quick heads up that Hayate Reflections is postponed to next week because I was away on a 2-day road trip and because I have something special lined up for next week and need a bit of time to prepare it.

Meanwhile... this week's fanart.

This is a fixed version of her birthday art from 2017. The face wasn't quite right... now it is.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Hayate Reflections: The Significance Of "I Loved You"

A lot of manga readers nowadays are quite blind to many of the subtle literary clues left behind by the author and of course, when they can’t detect it, it’s automatically “bad writing.” In fact, in terms of Hayate, some of these clues are figuratively staring at you in the face, yet very few people acknowledge them.  Oh, and before you go off on a tangent, if you will readback on my blog, I have actually acknowledged certain points wherein Hata might have left behind red herrings (as they have been proven to be now) for all the other ships, but as you all know, you’ve lost.

Ok,  so today, we’re going to discuss one blatant clue left behind in the manga which was confirmed and then re-confirmed twice.
What I’m talking about of course, is Hayate and Athena’s iconic mutual confession scene near the end of the Golden Week arc. We all know what they say to each other, right? Obviously, if you haven’t read the manga, then you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. Anyway, they both say “I loved you,” in the past tense. Now this is obviously significant because it signals the end of their relationship – which was never rekindled even though Athena shippers were hoping against all hopes and contrary to all evidence that it would be.
Of course, you could say that the “I loved you” thing was one-time only. In fact, you could even have handwaved it into obscurity and claim that the author never put much importance in it… except he did.

A few chapters later, we see that Wataru plans to confess to Isumi and yet, at the point when he does make the confession, he echoes the very same words that Athena shippers so dreaded to hear: “I loved you.” Of course, Isumi’s response was quite lukewarm and we all know who Wataru ended up with – even though he never claimed that he loved Saki at all, did he now? Nope, he just said something about building a future together with her, but that was enough for your nerd logic, wasn’t it? So why isn’t “My feelings of wanting to protect your future haven’t changed,” not enough for Hayate and Nagi? Right, think about that for a bit.
But wait, Wataru’s example wasn’t enough for you? You still think that twice is just a coincidence? Well, let’s fast forward to the finale then. Chapter 565, which I’ve actually covered. And… one of the most resilient and persistent girls vying for Hayate’s heart , Ayumu,says it herself, “I loved you,” and again, it has the same message, the end of a relationship – or in her case, the end of pursuing a possible romance with Hayate. Also, just as a reminder to Athena fans, Athena also definitively sunk her ship just a few chapters before this. It’s not relevant to this discussion, but I just thought I’d let you know.

So here’s the thing: if Hayate were happening in real life and we were to disregard that it was written by a living, breathing, imperfect human being, then yeah, all these coincidences would probably mean nothing. However, because Hayate is a manga that was written by an author named Kenjiro Hata and given the precise and specific use of the words “I loved you” in all these three different, separate scenarios, and all to convey the same meaning, I think it’s pretty easy to conclude that these words are indeed intended to do just what they did: to end a relationship.

Now let’s skip to the penultimate chapter 567. Again, we see Hayate in a tearful farewell scene with Nagi after everything that has happened so far. There is no more misunderstanding between them at this point, yet Hayate would have been willing to stay with Nagi as her butler. This time however, it is Nagi who lets him go, but wait… she doesn’t say the magic words: “I loved you.” How about Hayate? All he says is, “I am truly grateful.” This is because the author never intended for their parting to be permanent – which of course, is confirmed in the final chapter when they get back together, with no misunderstandings, with hands intertwined, in what is the “true ending” to the series, as proclaimed by Hata himself.

This is lorcloudx and this has been Hayate Reflections. See you next week~

Fanart Corner

For this week's fanart, here's a painting that I'm quite proud of. I used Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors on a piece of 9x12 Canson 200 GSM Watercolor Paper. Oh, and Hata replied to me again. That's nice... considering that he's probably pretty busy with the launch of Tonikaku Kawaii's first volume.
Amazing how different an image can look depending on the camera you're using. This was taken with a digital camera. An old Agfa Precisa 1430.

And this was taken using my cellphone's frontcam. I'm using a Cherry Mobile Flare S Play