First Thoughts – Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

I recall being so excited when I first read a synopsis of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage last year. I knew it from then that it is something I should get my hands on and will be included in one of my best Murakami books.

I did not have this particular reaction with 1Q84 though when I first heard about it. I don’t really know what is wrong with the story that somehow it doesn’t appeal to me, for now maybe. Maybe it’s just my taste or maybe something is wrong with me that I’m not all excited with what it is about.


Picture credits to

After finishing Claire Tomalin’s Invisible Woman yesterday, I started reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki earlier over a rice cake and hot chocolate.

I particularly love this passage on page 8.  A unique sense of harmony developed between them – each one needed the other four and, in turn, shared the sense that they too were needed. The whole convergence was like a lucky but entirely accidental chemical fusion, something that could only happen once.

At this early part of Tsukuru’s story, I identify with some qualities of his friend Shiro, whose family name means ‘white root.’ She’s slim and tall, with a model’s body, graceful features of a traditional Japanese doll, with silky lustrous long black hair, a skilled pianist, a serious person, dislikes drawing attention to herself, beautiful, and dreams of becoming a vet.

And while I don’t have a model’s body nor features of a Japanese doll, not even a long silky black hair, nor am I beautiful or a skilled pianist, and does not dream of becoming a vet; but as I picture her in my mind and the things we have in common, I think if she’s ever real I can really be good friends with her.

But still, I connect the most to Tsukuru who views himself having no special qualities or a striking personality, a weird kid, with incurable boredom, whose only real interest are train stations, and who thinks there is something about him that is not exactly normal.

15 MTR_Map

It is like getting to know someone who thinks the same way as I am. I don’t particularly have his profound adoration to train stations but I do love beautiful train stations like HongKong’s MTR – I adore it. I can literally spend all day hopping on and off at every station. One reason I also love the cover design of the book is the use of train station colors and stops. I could say I’m an average train station enthusiast compared to Tsukuru. However, we both have the same view of thinking that we are colorless.

A big thanks to my brother Jorge who bought the book for me.

photo credits

photo credits


More photos – Shinhwa flower stands at the concert and others

That cartoon image is Dydy from the March Seoul concert

Flower stands for Shinhwa Wings: Dongwan and Hyesung

Another Sungie flower stand

Shinhwa and Dydy flower stands

Flower stand from Hyesungie’s HK Fanclub

Flower stand for the one and only Crab Little Prince from HK-HS. I have a fanmade fan with the same photo on this from Roygen fansign last April 20.

I look bad here but at least I’m next to Crabbie. Hehe

Selca time with ate Flor and Monica

With ate Grace

The Shinhwa staff guy that everyone’s been crushing over


Wild Shinhwa banner. Me and Monica also took a photo with this but she still has to spare time to upload it.


Ate Flor and ate Grace with SHS and Andy fanboards


From L-R: Cam, the Shinhwa staff, ate Flor, ate Grace, Marthana. I’m sorry I don’t know the name of the two girls.


Ate Flor and Nads


Me and the SHS fanboard and Hyesung HK fan. I’m actually more proud of the fan than to show my face LOL


Monica with Eric fanboard


Monica and me with our biases fanboards


Ate Flor and Monica

IMG_20130608_110512 IMG_20130608_143149

All the fan stuff that I got from the concert including gifts from ate Flor.

The epic fanboards handmade by ate Flor. I’m specially proud of these JJ and Eric fanboards as they were captured while I was holding them up by photographers from Asia World Club. I got the HS plastic fanboard from ate Lai, it’s so cute as it’s back to back. The other side shows Hyesung in his Angel gun dance.

This is the shot I’m referring to. Though our faces ( ate Flor and me) are not seen here but we’re just too happy that the fanboards got captured. :)) Weeeee!!! We are proud Changjos!!! (Photo from Asia World Club)

On a June Saturday Shinhwa Made Super Special (Part I-A)

At the Clark International Airport

Nice to see you again HK

If my previous Shinhwa fangirling travel post was titled ‘On a Saturday Shinhwa Made Extraordinary,’ this time I made some changes. Instead of made extraordinary, now I made it super special which means something special has become a lot more special because of them.

It took me just today to finally be able to write about Shinhwa Grand Tour The Classic in HongKong. I couldn’t find time to sit down and do it when I arrived as I got busy with laundry and stuff. Add to that was because I was tired, I wanted sleep but didn’t manage to sleep after arriving. When I went to work, Thursday 13th June I was busy with deadline. Now that production is over for the month, there’s nothing else to do so this is the best time to do it.

Arrived at HongKong International Airport. Nice to see you again HK!

Before the HK stop was made official, I thought I’d be going Singapore again. If they went Singapore and not HK, it would have been my third time there. It was nice to go back to HK this time, as the first time I visited was during my first solo overseas trip on Dec. 2009. Well this time, I flew by myself again but I had some friends when I got there and during the concert, so things were quite different this time unlike last time that I was totally by myself.

What made this Shinhwa HK stop more fun than my first HK with SS501 concert and my first Shinhwa concert in Singapore was meeting new friends there, from Indonesia, Cebu and finally meeting ate Flor and ate Grace. I guess one big reason why I’m a lot happier this time was because I didn’t have to stay at my brother’s place in Singapore and have another argument with him that would tinge my good mood for that day. I didn’t have to think that I might disturb or worry other people for getting home so late because he’s not around to make a fuss about it.

The Classic in HK was the best way to celebrate Shinhwa’s 15th anniversary and my 1st anniversary as a Shinhwa Changjo ( Shinhwa’s official fanclub name). I actually considered going to Taipei but then the visa requirement is additional hassle. Plus it has a fee, though I would have more time to earn more pocket money. However, considering the recent issue between the Philippines and Taipei, I thought it wasn’t a good time to go there. But now, it seems the issue has totally went down and it’s okay to go. One problem, I don’t have time to source funds that fast when there’s only less than a month left when I arrived from the HK concert. It wasn’t quite possible to make it to Taipei.

I had to lie about the real reason of going to HK because knowing my mother, she would definitely comment and I didn’t want to hear it. No one and nothing was able to stop me. I’m going and when I say I’m going, I’m definitely going. I worked hard for it and I deserved it. I prayed hard for it and God gave it to me again so I’m very thankful.

And so I left Manila on an early Friday morning and took a bus at Trinoma Clark Airport Lounge. I only had 2 hours of sleep and got up to be on time for the 3:00am bus to Clark Airport. I was pretty early. I arrived at Clark at 4:30am and immediately went inside to immigration and paid the stupid taxes and fees. I had breakfast there had coffee and ate a sandwich that I brought. I think I waited for an hour before boarding time. There was so much time and I was so bored as I didn’t have my laptop with me. The airport is quite small but there weren’t a lot of people so everything was quite faster.

It was boarding time 15mins before 7:05am. I got in the plane but as usual can’t sleep. I don’t really get to sleep on a flight. I was seated next to a mother and daughter. The adult daughter gave me a Jollibee sandwich and she asked me if I work there. I told her no, I was just going to watch something. Then she said, she thought I’m a student. Haha! I’m always mistaken as a student. And so I arrived HK at 9:00am and called ate Flor but she wasn’t answering but ate Grace answered. I took the bus to Mongkok to drop my bag and take a shower at the hostel. However, it wasn’t easy finding the hostel. It took me probably an hour going back and forth Argyle St. but couldn’t see it. I was so tired and sweaty, my shoulders are in pain. Finally saw it when I asked a man in front of 7-eleven and pointed the building in front of me. It was freaking right there!!! But because the sign was so small, it was so hard to find. I took a shower and had change of clothes and that’s when I realized I forgot so many. I forgot slippers, towel, an extra pants and soap.

Eusha Eusha Cafe & Diner Shinhwa posters

I couldn’t resist the urge to take photos of the framed Shinhwa posters displayed all over the shop. Well I actually wanted to take photos of me with the posters but it will take much of my time so I just took photos of them individually.

Here are the awesome posters. Would have been nice if they could give away one. Hehe!

Shinhwa MBC Greatest Artist Collection and 2001 First Live Concert

Hyesungie’s Beginning, New Days album, Jinnie’s Love Doesn’t Come and Andy’s Propose

I went OMG when I saw this poster. It’s the most coveted Shinhwa Wild poster.

Shinhwa palms

Only One – 3rd jib

Shinhwa Vol. 9 on the right and Inspiration #1 Japanese album

Inspiration #1 and 10th Anniversary poster

State of the Art and Winter Story 2007

Music Video Collection and CF poster with Moon Geun-young

10th Anniv jib poster. The only time Hyesung is with a mustache. He looks good though.

State of the Art in Seoul poster

This is from the Turkey photobook. Forgot the title though

Brand New Vol. 7

I don’t like Minwoo’s hairstyle here. It’s too mature for him. Hyesung and Jinnie with quite long hair. Hyesungie is so pretty though.

Kim Dongwan is… album

I don’t where this poster is from. Probably Explore M.

I think Eric’s is from a CF. I wanted to move the box but they might scold me for doing so

Minwoo’s Girlfriend album poster. I love this it’s so big and beautiful

I love this too. Dongwan is so gorgeous. Love to put this on my front door.

Music Video Collection poster but this pic is also from State of the Art

Shinhwa Japan Tour 2005

I love this. I have the photobook of this from Vol. 9 10th Anniv album

2006 Asia Tour in Seoul

Dongwan and Eric. This was under the table so couldn’t capture it better

On a June Saturday Shinhwa Made Super Special (Part I-B)

Eusha Eusha Café & Diner

Eusha Eusha Cafe & Diner sign at Central. I really like the sign.

I was supposed to meet ate Grace but it was hard when the only way I could contact her was through payphone. She didn’t know what I was wearing and I didn’t know hers either. I couldn’t reach her from the first two payphone calls I made so I just ate lunch at a nearby Burger King because I was so hungry. So when she finally answered on my third call, we agreed to meet at Central Exit B but I heard wrongly and went to Exit D. Luckily she was there when I got to Central Exit D.

They were already at Eusha Eusha. Because I’m really thirsty, I ordered a ‘I Pray 4U’ shake which I think was some kind of apple shake and busied myself taking pictures of the framed posters displayed everywhere at the shop while everyone was chatting. Before we left, we took a group photo mimicking the oppas flower pose with the posters behind us. While busy taking photos, I noticed my pants got stained and because I didn’t have extra pants with me I had to buy. Luckily, there was a nearby tiyangge at Eusha so I bought two and slippers.

Eusha Eusha’s menu with names from Shinwha song. Adorable right?!

On a June Saturday Shinhwa Made Super Special (Part II-A)

Disappointment with the oppas

I went back to the hostel with ate Lai and we had dinner at Café de Coral. Food there is really good and affordable but the servings are really big. I wasn’t able to finish mine though but it was real good. Then we headed to the hostel to take some rest but after two hours, ate Lai knocked on my door and told me they were already at the airport to welcome the oppas arrival.

We couldn’t find the A21 bus stop going to the airport so I suggested we just take the MTR instead and take a bus at Tung Chung station to the airport. We were at Exit Hall A Terminal 1 at 9PM because we were expecting them to arrive at 10:30PM. And so the waiting game began.

There were a lot of fans already waiting outside Exit Hall A. I couldn’t find a good place to wait because everything with good views been occupied already. I just opted to stay at the walkway because I can easily see them there too. We waited and it was already past 10:30 but still no sight of the 6. Could the flight been delayed? But then we were seeing Korean flight attendants and Korean tourists coming out from a Korean Air flight. I thought that must be the flight they were in. Then all of a sudden, I heard screams and everyone was running toward the other side of the exit halls so I ran too. Imagine how big the airport is and running from one side to the other, I was really gasping when I reached the other side of exit halls. But then when I got there, some fans from Exit Hall A screamed again and everyone was running back to Exit Hall A.

Finally, we stayed at Exit Hall A and it was already 11PM but still no ShinOppas. I thought they already left and took the VIP exit because if they were really going through Exit Hall A, there should have been security already shoving us off but there was none. I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t show up at the airport as it’s their first time in HK. I was expecting to see them that’s why I took the early flight and so I could go to Eusha Eusha too. And so I left the airport quite disappointed and because I couldn’t find ate Lai, I left alone.

I had a cup of coffee at a nearby McDo and went to our room after and took a rest for a very tiring day. I should regain and gather all my strength for tomorrow’s concert.

On a June Saturday Shinhwa Made Super Special (Part II-B)

D-Day Shinhwa Grand Tour The Classic in HK

My Shinhwa concert ticket with ate Flor and ate Grace’ tickets

I told myself I’ll be at Expo by 7am but didn’t manage to bring myself up that early as I was so tired the previous day. Nads and her friend came at our room and asked me, I told her they can go ahead. I left the hostel at almost 11am and had lunch again at McDo at a mall in Tung Chung. If there’s one thing noticeable about how different McDo menu is in HK and PH, it’s not just the whole menu but the servings. It was a huge breakfast meal that was too much for me. I sent an sms to ate Flor that she had to be at Expo before 4PM but surprisingly she’s already there. So I took the bus to Expo after eating.

Inside Asia Expo on my way to find ate Flor

I arrived at almost 12noon and I remembered the first time I was at Expo on Dec 2009 when I watched SS501’s HK concert at their 1st Asia Tour. Theirs was at the hall on the 2nd floor. Shinhwa’s concert was at the ground level, the biggest hall at the Expo.

Ate Flor was at the ground floor when I saw her as I came down from the 2nd floor. She was with ate Grace and other Changjos. It was nice to finally meet ate Flor and ate Grace. So it’s selca time with other Changjos with the Shinhwa XV Forever necklace banner as our backdrop. Ate Flor brought some Japanese food but I couldn’t eat much as I just ate at McDo. Had I known she’d be bringing food, I wouldn’t have ate at McDo and would have save $39 from there. I saw staff arranging boxes of the necklace but I didn’t see any other merchandise. Ate Flor told me there’s no other merchandise but the necklace alone. I was sad because I was really expecting the merchs from Liveworks. I’m all giddy to buy them but there wasn’t any. Fuuuuu!!!

Me, ate Flor, ate Grace and a mother and daughter Changjos posing with the Shinhwa Silver Necklace banner

Me with the banner. LOL

A few minutes later, Chinese fans were bringing in flower stands from various foreign Shinhwa Changjos so it’s another round of photo ops with the beautiful flower stands. I had to take a photo of almost every flower stand with me or at least a solo pic. I am that crazy! Well this time, taking pictures wasn’t as hard as ate Flor and others were with me. When it was time to queue for the necklace, Monica and I immediately went to line up. And while we were at the queue, Chinese fans were going crazy over the huge Shinhwa Wild banner. Everyone was taking photos with it. I wanted to run there and take photo with it but I couldn’t because the selling hasn’t started. So after buying the necklace, I asked ate Flor where the banner is and this tall lady, it was Cam who answered me but I was looking for ate Flor as I didn’t know her.

Me with the Wild Shinhwa huge banner that ate Lai made and brought. The Chinese fans went wild seeing this.

We couldn’t stay put outside the hall. There was so much going on for us. Me and Monica went around to gather all Shinhwa fans we could get. Haha! We even had to chase these two HongKong fans just to get the fans but what I didn’t understand is why they had to run and had us chasing them. Ate Flor and ate Grace was all busy doing the rounds at the whole Expo too. We got a lot and I completed the original OTP fans and one solo Hyesung fan!!! Weeee!!! Oh and ate Flor brought some of her handmade Shinhwa fanboards. We took photos with it but somehow, ate Flor didn’t post my photos with the fanboards. I’ve been looking for it.

Me and a Jinnie banner from international fans

It was almost time to queue for the mosh pit tickets but Marge hasn’t arrived. She was needed as her ticket is still with ate Grace and I also needed her to take care of my stuff as she’s seated. It was about 6PM and I think Marge arrived a little later just in time before we were allowed inside the concert hall. I didn’t have time to eat before we went inside. I just managed to change my Shinhwa shirt to the fanmade orange Shinhwa in HK shirt made with the kindness of ate Lai and Meg.

Inside the hall. Seeing the Shinhwa Grand Tour The Classic in HongKong on the screen is love

And so we’re inside the hall now. The venue is bigger than I expected. It’s my first time at the mosh pit area. I just wanted to try it and see how it feels to be standing for more than 2 hours. I can say the right mosh pit is a very lucky side. As always, the concert starts with an opening VCR but mahn it was so great. Just like they said, it’s 3D!!! Holy amazing! Then the next thing, they were standing on top of the stairs with their cloak. That cloak, they used that at the 15th Anniversary in Seoul concert. Kyaaaa!!! And so everyone was screaming so hard already and my usual shy self was immediately tossed to a corner. I was so hyper, 100% of energy to be screaming, chanting, dancing, holding up the light stick and balloon and the fan boards once in a while and to top that taking few fancams in between.

It’s starting…

They took of the cloak and the first thing I saw was Hyesungie in sleeveless!!! OMG I was just so happy that his outfit wasn’t any different from the five this time and that he’s actually showing some skin like for real! His arms is love and he also had some chest exposure though not as big as the other members though. Haha! But I was just too happy seeing him with all these chest and arms exposure all throughout the concert. It’s not very often that I see him showing some skin or even his arms, he didn’t do that during the March Seoul concert. So HK is very lucky to have a sight of his sexy arms. I was expecting he got slimmer because when he was going to MuBank the week before, he was wearing this Saturday shirt though still very gorgeous I thought he lose some weight. But when I saw him at the concert, he didn’t look like he lost weight. Anyway, chest and arms exposure of Pil-gyo. I love you!

During the first VCR.

Even fangirling needs multi-tasking especially if you’re at a concert. I only took three fancams because I especially don’t like to be distracting myself from them just because I’m focusing on my fancams. I did took a fancam of the second VCR while they were changing, the one where Hyesungie and Dongwan were teaching us the choreography of Stay and performance of Love Song from The Classic album. These are some of my favorite highlights of the concert especially them teaching us how to dance Stay. I was really dancing. I really didn’t care. Ate Flor and I were too full of ourselves to even mind. Love Song was also special as they keep going to our side during the performance and we went crazy there!

I also especially like that they’re all in such a good mood. Dongwan was extra hyper, he’s so naughty. He’s touching Dydy’s butt and chili while the other members were talking. Dongwan also prepared something in Chinese to say to Chinese fans and then Hyesungie borrowed the paper and said the same thing. LOL!!! It was actually the Chinese version to “ My thoughts, your thoughts are the same.” But the way they both said it in Chinese was totally adorable. There weren’t any RicSung moments though aside from the hand holding during encore stage but its okay.

And oh, I super love that they performed This Love and Venus back to back. I so love it!!! Although I expected they’d perform This Love at the extended stage because if that is so ShinButts would have been right in front of my face. LOL! I’d be seeing their backs but so I would see the back view of triangle crotch dance. Anyway, it was still amazing especially because it’s in HK that they performed This Love first and not in Seoul. They also performed for the first time in HK other songs from 11th jib that hasn’t been performed in Seoul such as New Me, Love Song, The Man That I Know and That’s Right. They sang about half of the 10 songs from 11th jib.

I won’t be detailing every part of the concert and every performance because that’s too many and I get all jumbled up with all the songs. But I remember TOP wasn’t the opening song. If I’m not wrong it was Sharing Forever from the 1st album. The first outfit, the sleeveless and chest revealing outfit, I think it was the first time they wore that one. I especially like it, it’s sexy!

Minwoo, Dongwan and Andy during encore

Eric, Jinnie, Minwoo and Dongwan. Look at kid Eric being his real kid self again with that orange balloon crown

Minwoo, Eric and Dongwan. Not so clear though. It’s hard to concentrate yah know. Haha!

Encore part is always special too; I love the splashing of water of the members to each other and to the fans. Minwoo was asking us fans from the right mosh pit if it’s okay to splash water to us and when he did, it went right to my face and shoulder. I almost swallowed Minwoo’s water. Imagine if I swallowed it, wahhh Minwoo feels. Eric came out wearing this orange balloon made crown with stars design. Hyesungie even did his trademark round house kick with a pororo stuff toy Minwoo placed on his head. I just love the encore outfit too. They were wearing the black Shinhwa landmark shirt and knee length white and black pants printed with “Boy.” Minwoo was the only one not wearing the black Shinhwa shirt; instead he was wearing this white tank top with Boy prints and placed the black shirt on top of it.

Dydy!!! He’s looking at us at the right mosh pit. He’s always so cute.

Dongwan, Dydy holding hands and that’s my Crabbie there on the left

But it saddened me a tiny bit when they didn’t perform First Love again and Wild Eyes. They made Wild Eyes part of the encore songs. Wild Eyes is simply one of my favorite songs and choreography and I just purely love watching it live. Nevertheless, being at Shinhwa concert for the second time is always a pure genius and it’s always been my source of happiness, motivation and my very own happy world.

Shinhwa bow of thank you to us the fans. Aww! :))

The concert ended at 10:30 so it was 2 hours and 30 minutes. It was a long concert but I just wanted more. However, I know I can’t ask them to be doing a concert for five hours long. I don’t want them to overwork themselves too and fans would get tired as well.

Hwang Bo outside the hall. She’s a good friend of Shinhwa oppas

Hangover and aftereffects

Monica and I planned to wait outside the concert hall because we think they’re still inside and then we saw Hwang Bo and Jinnie’s manager outside the hall exit. And then the guards started to shoo us away so we had no choice but to leave. I didn’t get a dinner but I only felt hungry after the concert. As we are on the way to go back to the hostel, the body pain and throat pain is already evident. My shoulder and my hands were aching and so are my legs and my throat. I was expecting I would have no voice the next day.

At the hostel, I couldn’t even manage to lie down despite my tiredness. I just found out the hostel has free internet use for tourists. I really wanted to go online as I’m excited to see my photos and fancams but I didn’t see my 3 fancams so I thought it’s just gone and so are my other pics. The thing is the camera has a problem. I was hungry but then it rained so I couldn’t get out to buy and I didn’t want my feet to get wet. I waited till the rain stopped so I just continued on Facebook. I went down and bought a big Nissin cup noodles and ate my late dinner at around past 3am. Finally I was able to sleep at 4am and to think that I’m already so tired from the concert which means I still have that much energy to stay up that late.