Saturday, 31 December 2016

BLOG -- Recap of December

December was part-busy with hang outs and shopping for gifts, and part-trying to finish up as many remaining Resolutions I had (i.e. zooming home after work and "hibernating"). 

It was kinda rough partway through, so thank goodness I had really nice times wedged between.

Outings/Events in December:
- Attended the staff Christmas party. I won an e-reader from the raffle.

- Celebrated a friend's birthday x2 (two different friends, lol).

- Hung out with a friend x3 xD

- Had a game day with my sister, her husband, and a friend xD (Played Overcooked for PS4) 

- Attended a hockey game for the first time (Marlies vs. Little Devils -- Marlies won! [4-1]).

- Made a cake from scratch for the first time. Next time I will probably use a cake mix, lol.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn achievements / news: 
-I took advantage of the free 4-day login campaign to do the Holiday event.

- (Snack): Swiss Chalet-flavoured chips -- I'm not a big fan of the actual chalet sauce at Swiss Chalet, but I like this!

(Anime): Tattoon Master -- It was okay. Good animation and really nice music at times. 

- (Anime Movie): Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies -- It was okay. It rehashes a lot from the Dragon Ball series, though. 

- (Anime Movie): Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure -- Ditto for this movie.

- (Anime Movie): Dragon Ball: The Path to Power -- Ditto for this movie, too, though the animation here seems more updated.

- (Mobile): Dragon Quest II -- This was okay. I had to use an FAQ close to the end.

- (PSVita): Persona 4 Golden -- Hands down, one of the best games I've ever played. I spent about 150 hours into it and enjoyed every bit (supposedly the average playtime is much less... lol). I am so proud of myself for maxing all social links, reading all books, and maxing out my character's attributes on my first playthrough. I can play more relaxed whenever I go through it again. Naoto was my girlfriend on the first playthrough. I think I will go for Chie next, lol.

- (Book): Cassie and Tonk by GMB Chomichuk & Justin Currie -- This is a picture book that I bought from Fan Expo. The story is simple, sweet, and touching. The artwork is great as usual

Playing (not all at once):
- (PS4): Dragon Ball Xenoverse
- (PS4): J-Stars Victory Vs+
- (PS4): Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below
- (PS4): iDOLM@STER: Platinum Stars 
- (PS4): Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X
- (PS4): Akiba's Trip 
- (PS3): Borderlands 2
- (3DS): Story of Seasons
- (3DS): Fantasy Life
- (3DS): Shantae
- (GBA): The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition   
- (PSP): Persona
- (PSP): Patapon 
- (PSP): Corpse Party
- (PSVita): Persona 4: Dancing All Night
- (Wii): Fortune Street 
- (PS2): Atelier Iris 2 
- (PC): UnEpic  
- (PC): King's Bounty: The Legend
- (PC): Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
- (Mobile): Dragon Quest III

- (TV Show): The Walking Dead (Season 6)
- (TV Show): Orphan Black (Season 3)
- (TV Show): Criminal Minds (Season 10)
- (TV Show): Six Feet Under (Season 1 - Episode 3)
- (Anime): Yu Yu Hakusho (don't remember)
- (Anime): Log Horizon (episode 3)
- (Anime): K-On! Season 2 (episode 19)
- (Anime): Get Backers (episode 3)
- (Anime): The Highschool Life of a Fundashi (episode 7)
- (Anime): Persona 4: The Animation (episode 4)

- (Manga): Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori (Volume 11)

That's it for December. Here are some pics I took this month plus a YouTube video.

 A dish I had at Mariachi's for lunch. It was very yummy! 

One of the backgrounds from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. 
I see Luffy from One Piece! xD

All the ingredients I used to make the cake. Yes, I used some Coca-Cola, lol.

An amusing shot of Persona 4 Golden.

Me (with a grey box over my face) at the staff party.
I am wearing a Harry Potter-themed tie.
I was a bit tempted to show this without the grey box, but...

A "Let's Play" Youtube video of Overcooked from LetsPlay. I haven't watched 
the full video (about 30 minutes long), but the first few minutes does give 
an idea of our initial impressions of playing the game, lol.

Thanks for reading! As usual, if you have any questions / comments about anything, feel free. :)

Tomorrow will be another blog as I re-visit my Resolutions... and the year overall. Stay safe and Happy New Year! :)

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

BLOG -- My Trip to Ottawa

It's a bit overdue (though I know there are other blogs that are wayyy more overdue than this one -- they will come, I promise!)... but here's my blog on my trip to Ottawa. Speaking frankly, I never imagined that I would ever travel to Ottawa... for any reason! I don't really think of much when I think of Ottawa. So I surprised even myself when I hopped on a 5-hour bus ride there... just to attend a music concert! I mean... I don't really do stuff like this. I'm just a shy, withdrawn, awkward, weird girl. What happened?! 

Anywho... it happened and now I'll talk about it.

First pic I took while in Ottawa. This is Bank Street. 

For the longest time after buying the concert ticket, I held off on buying my bus ticket and booking a hotel. The concert was happening on a Friday and I was debating whether to get on a bus ride back to Toronto on Saturday or Sunday. I was also debating hopping on a bus back to Toronto on Friday night right after the concert. All that was going through my mind was: How much money did I want to spend on this trip? I am going there mainly for Marianas Trench after all... In the end, I decided to give myself one full free day and get back to Toronto Sunday afternoon. I was thinking, What are the chances I'd ever be back there?

After that I bought my bus ticket. This is something you do not want to leave to the last minute! I went with Greyhound and bus prices for it went up slightly since the last time I checked. 

Next thing was finding a place to stay. This stressed me out a bit since I didn't find any hotels close to the concert venue. I was really worried about getting back to the hotel safely after the concert. Just the thought of walking through unfamiliar streets all by myself in the middle of the night unnerved me.

After I chose my hotel, I looked up things to do in Ottawa... which I will cover later on.

This was my first time getting on a bus leaving Toronto... by myself. Ahh, so scary! The bus ride to Ottawa was uneventful. I played on my 3DS for most of the trip. 

The bus ride back to Toronto was horrible. There is a no-smoking policy on the bus and somebody smoked on the bus... twice. Considering that the weather that day was too cold to open the windows... and everybody on that bus was stuck there till we reached our destination... It was really terrible.

The hotel I stayed at was Capital Hill. Location-wise, it was really close to the downtown area. Other things-wise, well... I kinda think my hotel stays in Japan have spoiled me a bit. Like -- for once I actually had to use the mini toothbrush set I packed. I probably could have gotten one if I asked, but it would have been nice if it was already there. Also, there were no pajamas. I had to make do with whatever clothes I brought. What's up with that?! Lol.

I will give them points for their bed and blankets. That was really warm and comfy.

One thing to note is that on top of being charged for your nights' stay, you also get charged an extra $200 deposit -- just until you check out. Supposedly, the extra $200 is charged in case the hotel room gets messed up or ends up smelling like cigarettes. The hotel rooms are smoke-free.

Would I ever stay there again? Probably not. Unless the other hotels are much more pricier.

My hotel. This room is meant for one person, 
but the bed still has two pillows, lol. 


So below is an itinerary of my whole trip. This section is more for me for completeness' sake, so it may not be interesting to you. After the itinerary is a summary of my free day in Ottawa.


DAY 1: FRI. NOV. 18, 2016 (CLEAR SKIES)
5:30 AM -- Woke up
7:15 AM - 7:54 AM -- Subway to Dundas station (Greyhound bus boarding stop)
9 AM - 9:15 AM -- Got in line; boarded the bus
9:15 AM - 2:24 PM -- Travel to Ottawa!
2:24 PM - 3 PM -- Walked to the hotel (checked in)
3 PM - 3:30 PM -- Lounged around the hotel room
4 PM - 5 PM -- Dinner at New Generation Sushi
5:15 PM - 5:26 PM -- Waited for bus
5:26 PM - 5:36 PM -- Bus 7 to Lansdowne Park / TD Place
6 PM - 10:22 PM -- Everything Marianas Trench! ^__^ <3
10:22 PM - 10:46 PM -- Back to the hotel
12:32 AM -- CRASHED

DAY 2: SAT. NOV. 19, 2016 (WARM-ISH; 13-ish degrees Celsius)
6:30 AM -- Woke up
9 AM - 9:30 AM -- Wandered along Elgin Street to the Rideau Canal
9:30 AM - 10:47 AM -- Walked along Rideau Canal to Bank Street
10:47 AM - 11:40 AM -- Walked up Bank Street to Laurier Street
11:40 AM - 12 PM -- Winter parade along Laurier Street
12 PM - 12:30 PM -- Walked to Burger n' Fries Forever
12:40 PM - 1 PM -- Back to the hotel
1 PM - 3 PM -- Ate lunch while playing Style Savvy: Fashion Forward
3 PM - 5 PM -- Wandered around Parliament Hill, Sparks Street, Financial area
5 PM - 6 PM -- Dinner at Genji Japanese Restaurant
6 PM - 6:10 PM -- Bought a donut at Tim Hortons
6:10 - 6:15 PM -- Back to the hotel
7 PM - 11 PM -- Napped
12 AM -- Ate the donut
1:45 AM -- CRASHED

DAY 3: SUN. NOV. 20, 2016 (COLD WET SNOW; 2 degrees Celsius)
7:30 AM -- Woke up
9:15 AM -- Checked out of the hotel
9:15 AM - 9:40 AM -- Walked to Ottawa Central Station (Greyhound bus boarding area)
9:48 AM -- Boarded the bus
9:52 AM - 3:40 PM -- Travel to Toronto!


As I mentioned earlier, I'm just going to go in detail for my free day in Ottawa. Friday I already kinda covered in my Marianas Trench blog and Sunday all I did was check out of the hotel and make the 40-minute walk to the Greyhound bus area in the biting cold weather.


OVERALL THOUGHTS: Well... giving myself a free day at this time... was ill-timed. From my limited research, there were only three places I was thinking about checking out and they were all closed for either maintenance or for renovations... :/

So what did I do? I put on my sneakers, turned on PokemonGO on my phone, left the hotel, and just... walked, lol. I figured if I didn't see anything interesting along my walk then at least I would have progressed a bit with PokemonGO. 

You can see below my walking routes. Route 1 (purple route) I did before lunch. Route 2 (orange route) I did after lunch. I was planning on walking back to the hotel on Route 1, but as I was walking I ran into a Winter parade. It was an amusing surprise. 

The walks were okay, but they would have been nicer with some company.

My walking routes. Route 1 was about a 4-hour walk, hahaha...
Let's just say I caught a lot of pokemon on that particular walk.


"Bridge of Locks"

I'm not sure if this has an official name so I'm calling it "Bridge of Locks". I happened upon this bridge early on, and it was probably the most interesting sight from my walk.

At first I thought this was a bridge where you put on a lock to "lock away" a secret. But after inspecting the locks more closely, I realized the locks symbolized everlasting love -- the hope for it, at least. I wonder if anybody has ever put on more than one lock... ??

If I ever find myself upon this bridge again, I think I will put on a lock anyway -- and promise everlasting love to myself! Hahaha... >_>

The sight of Rideau Canal, overlooking this "bridge of locks".

Rideau Canal

About half of my walk was spent strolling along the Rideau Canal. I wouldn't say it's anything spectacular -- but it does have a nice, calming feel to it. I especially enjoyed seeing the ducks moving around in the water. It was also interesting to look across the canal and see all the different architecture.

One thing I should mention is that when I was neared Bank Street & Lansdowne Park / TD Place (Marianas Trench's concert venue), the traffic lights got kinda wonky. Something about it made crossing the lights not very intuitive... at least to me. Maybe I'm just weird?

Bank Street

So where I was in Ottawa, Bank Street was the street. It's pretty much where all the main shops are. I even saw a comic book shop and a video game shop on that street. Also buses seem to run quite frequently, to my benefit (when I needed to use it to get to the Marianas Trench concert and back to my hotel afterwards).

A chocolate bistro at Landsdowne Park. I kinda wished I tried it out.

A bench I saw while walking up Bank Street.
I think it's really sweet.
I think you can read the words if you click on the image.

The Comic Book Shoppe. I did not wander in... 
'cuz I had nothing to buy... lol.

Parliament Hill Area

So supposedly everybody checks this out when they visit Ottawa, so I did, too... for about a few minutes. The building looks nice... that's... it...

I think somebody needs to give me a history lesson so I might appreciate this building a bit more... ^-^''

Another building.

A nice sight.

Sparks Street

This was a neat street. The architecture was different and it gave a warm and romantic feel, at least to me. After walking through it once, I waited until evening so I could walk through it again with all the lights on.

Unfortunately, not all the lights turned on when evening came, so the magical-ish street turned all dark and seedy-looking. Until the lights are fixed, this street is best walked through during the day.

A random chair on Spark Street. I'm sure there is some 
meaning for it, but I don't know what it is.


Location: 150 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa (close to Elgin Street & Laurier Avenue West) Google Map
Contact: (613) 565-8998
Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): None that I know of
Price Range (for a main dish): Mid-High (Around $11-$20 for lunch sets; California Rolls: $6.50; Dynamite Rolls: $9; Salmon Sashimi [3 pieces]: $6)
Restaurant Size: Very small
Recommend? Standard

Brief Impression
This place was pleasant enough. I'll say right now -- it was the better of sushi places I hit in Ottawa, hahaha...

The server was pretty attentive and the place looks clean. Inside the atmosphere was a cross between modern and old. You can't see from my picture but behind the main counter was a flat screen showing various items on their menu. But then off to one side of the wall was a huge black board with the menu items written on. It made me think of a chalkboard.

I probably wouldn't go back due to the slightly high price of their items, but food-wise, it was decent. I can actually eat it, lol...

What I Ate / Drank ...
Salmon Sashimi -- This was decent.
California Roll -- This too.
Teriyaki Roll -- I think I would have liked to eat this just as a dish instead of as a roll.

This is water. Yes, they serve water in a bottle.
Before I made any orders, the server placed this on my table 
and I had to double-check that it was water.
"No, it's vodka," he said jokingly.

 California Rolls, Salmon Sashimi, Teriyaki Rolls.


Location: 329 Bank Street, Ottawa (close to Bank Street & Gilmour Street) Google Map
Contact: (613) 230-3456
Type(s) of Cuisine: Burgers and fries
Specialty (if any): Burgers and fries
Price Range (for a main dish): Low-Mid (my poutine was $10.75 after tax)
Restaurant Size: Very small
Recommend? Yes

Brief Impression
I'd say it's your typical burger joint. So... a food place that offers a bunch of wacky burgers and fries. They also have a secret menu which you can access on their website. They also have a bunch of poutine on their menu.

The service was quick and friendly. I ordered a small bacon poutine from their secret menu. I ordered it to go and it was a good thing. That small bacon poutine turned out to be a 2-hour eating venture... and even by then I couldn't finish it... I was too full. "Small" my butt! Lol.

The poutine was very good. I'd recommend this place if you are in Ottawa and are craving a burger or fries. 

My bacon poutine. Don't let it fool you! It was like an endless abyss!


Location: 175 Lisgar Street, Ottawa (close to Elgin Street & Lisgar Street) Google Map
Contact: (613) 236-2880
Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): None that I know of
Price Range (for a main dish): Med-High for lunch; High for dinner (Around $12-$20 for lunch sets; California Rolls: $8.25; Spicy Dynamite Rolls: $13.95; Salmon Sashimi [3 pieces]: $11)
Restaurant Size: Medium
Recommend? NO

Brief Impression
Am I being too mean? I am judging this place based on one food item. I was too full from the bacon poutine so I was only able to order one thing from here, and I was so glad in the end that I didn't order more... hahaha...

Okay, I will give Genji props for atmosphere. It was very elegant inside. The server was also really nice and friendly.

This is where my positive impression flies out the window: the price and the food. I ordered the salmon sushi pizza. It was $12.25 before tax so I was anticipating something nice and yummy. Instead I get a dish where everything was deep fried... even the top part! It felt like I was consuming heavy grease and oils. I did not like it at all.

I'm looking at the online menu right now... and I see a little sun symbol next to the food item... but I don't see a legend for the icon. Aggg...

I may give this place one more chance if somebody treated me, but I can't imagine going there myself. Especially not with those dinner prices. Genji seems to have favourable reviews on Yelp so maybe I just tried the wrong item. If you've been there and feel differently, let me know! :)

The Salmon Sushi Pizza.
I felt like I was eating grease and oil... ughhh... 


Location: A couple minutes' walk from my hotel (not going into any more details here, lol)
Type(s) of Cuisine: Western
Specialty (if any): Donuts and coffee?
Price Range (for a main dish): Low
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Standard

Brief Impression
Tim Hortons is Tim Hortons. I went in here, 'cuz I saw a poster advertising a new donut flavour so I thought, 'Why not?'. I also liked that there was pretty much no line, not like how it would be if I was in Toronto.

Mint Fudge Brownie Donut. It was good! 

And that's my Ottawa trip! Lol... I know. Besides my attending the Marianas Trench concert on Friday, not much happened for the rest of the trip.

One thing I kinda like about Ottawa is that overall, it feels much more slower paced than Toronto. Hah -- unless you bring your own entertainment, not that much happens in Ottawa. While that could be seen as boring to some, it does give a chance to sit back and really think about things or a chance to really drink in the surroundings. Of course, maybe I feel that because I am just visiting and am not seeing such sights everyday.

All in all, I don't know if I would ever visit Ottawa again. I don't really have to check out the places that were closed for maintenance / renovations. Maybe if Marianas Trench did another concert there and I felt up for another 5-hour bus ride.

Here is a breakdown of my spending in Ottawa, excluding Marianas Trench expenses:
Hotel stays (2 nights): $291.54
Greyhound bus ticket (roundtrip): $99.44
Total foods (Fri. dinner, Sat. lunch, Sat. dinner, Sat. snack): $56.15

Total spending in Ottawa: $447.13.

Thanks for reading! If you read to the end you are amazing! :)

As always, feel free to comment on anything. I think I got maybe one or two blogs left before the new year.

Anywho, thanks again and have a good rest of the week :)