Stanley Park Rose Garden Path

Stanley Park Rose Garden

Stroll along the paths and take in the aroma of dozens of blooming flowers in the Rose Garden in Stanley Park. While summer is nearly over, it’s not too late to enjoy the colour, depth and selection of the roses, whatever the time of year may be. A collection of photos over the years are available for viewing on Gallery.

Interurban car 1207

A look back at the interurbans

Even though the Downtown Historic Railway is out-of-service, you can still experience the heritage interurbans online. Browse through pictures and brush-up on the routes these versatile rail cars took on their journeys through the Lower Mainland.

Anime Conventions

What is an anime convention?

Curious about what goes on at an anime convention? Ever wondered why people wear costumes to these events? Where can I find one that’s nearest to me? It’s my first time, what do I need to bring? Answers to these questions and more can be found in the all about anime conventions and the convention checklist articles.


Yuri!!! On Ice

There’s plenty of sports related anime and manga out there — baseball, basketball, volleyball, swimming, and football. Now you can add ice skating to that list. Yuri!!! On Ice brings warmth and art to this cool, winter sport.

Yuri Katsuki, after whom the show is named for, is struggling with his life following a disastrous exit in the Grand Prix of ice skating. Returning home to the fictional city of Hasetsu in Kyushu, Yuri revisits his home rink. His friend, Yuko Nishigori, who works at the local rink, watches his flawless recital of a performance by Yuri’s hero, the legendary Russian skater, Victor Nikiforov. However, the video of Yuri is leaked onto the Internet and Victor is captivated by it. Travelling to Japan, Victor surprises Yuri with the proposal of becoming his coach to help him achieve his goals. And thus begins Yuri’s travel to the top.

The story of ice skating might seem benign at first, but there are mature themes within the series, touching on mental health and love. Yuri suffers from anxiety, tying in from the loss of his pet dog along with the fear of failure and turns to overeating. Victor, with his lack of experience, is unable to handle Yuri when he breaks down, but learns that his support is what Yuri is really looking for. Yuri Plisetski (affectionately dubbed Yurio to differentiate between the two) retains a bad boy image, as a punk, but deep down, he too has his own demons. As the series progresses, we learn more about the anguish in Yurio’s mind surrounding his quest to achieve greatness, and over the control of his anger, especially upon seeing the attention Victor pays Yuri. Even the lesser characters contribute with their own quirks and emotions.

Of course, there’s more than just the two Yuri’s and Victor. Skaters from all over the world interpolate themselves into the storyline, each bringing their own attitudes and uniqueness to the rink. Phichit Chulanont from Thailand, Guang-Hong Ji from China, Christophe Giacometti from Switzerland, Seung Gil Lee of South Korea and Canada’s own Jean-Jacques “JJ” Leroy. JJ is an interesting selection, he’s sponsored by Cast Wheels (a play on Canadian Tire, for obvious legal reason) and is the complete opposite of what you’d expect a Canadian ice skater to be: an arrogant jerk. But, he adds variety to the list.

I love the animation; the movements on the rink (and off) are so fluid and watching the jumps, twirls and dancing makes it seem so much more real. Even the costumes worn, are detailed. MAPPA, the animation studio, worked with sporting company Chacott in designing the characters and their outfits. There’s even blog posts delving into the creative process, showing just how much work and effort goes into making Yuri!!! On Ice. Just seeing the intricate designs and the way the lights reflect off of the material gives that added touch of realism. Yuri’s hometown of Hasetsu is based on the city of Karatsu in Kyushu, an island in south-western Japan. Crunchyroll even went as far to create a video with comparison photos between the show and real life. However, I did pick up on a couple of goofs in the animation, one of which is how “JAPAN” is spelled as “JARAN” on the back of Yuri’s jacket. Yuri’s last name is also misspelled as “Katuki” instead of “Katsuki” in one of the handheld signs held by his fans in the crowd at the Rostelecom Cup. These are small and doesn’t detract at all from the show, but it made me do a quick double take.

It’s not often that the opening theme of an anime is sung completely in English (unless it was dubbed by 4Kids…). Many opening credits are usually performed in Japanese with the occasional English thrown in here and there, considering these songs are not composed specifically for the show. Dean Fujioka’s History Maker is completely inline with the motif of the series and the abstract artwork of Yuri, Victor and Yurio skating to it gets you worked up for the actual show. And yes, you can purchase it legally through iTunes. Of course, there’s the music that each character dances to, specially chosen based on their theme. The song Yuri skates to is aptly titled Yuri on Ice, a wonderful piano arrangement, it’s one that sort of pulls at the heart; for Georgi Popovich and his theme of heartbreak is A Tales of Sleeping Prince which has an upbeat tune, which counters how depressing it sounds. The selection for Agape used for Yurio’s display is one of my favourites; it’s almost haunting with its vocals. A CD with the music used in the anime goes on sale December 21st, 2016, according to the official web site.

Yuri!!! On Ice aired in Japan on October 5th, 2016, and is streamed through Crunchyroll and FUNimation; with the latter offering an English dub. As of writing, eight episodes have broadcast, which is every Wednesday. So, if you don’t mind shedding a few tears or just love seeing sports anime, I recommend it.

Live-action Fullmetal Alchemist movie trailer released

A live-action adaptation of the popular anime and manga series Fullmetal Alchemist is coming next year. The official movie web site unveiled a short teaser of the film with a tentative release in 2017.

The teaser video gives a tantalizing look into a world based on alchemy — where items are transmuted into something new using arcane drawings on them or under them. Two brothers, struggling to find a way to heal each other from an alchemy experiment gone wrong, embark on an adventure to save not only themselves, but their friends and homeland. Edward Elric makes a couple of short appearances in the video, along with his armour clad brother, Alphonse. The country of Amestris appears to modelled on a rustic European landscape, complete with an impressive steam locomotive. Even a chimera makes a vicious attack on the state alchemist Edward.

Directed by Fumihiko Sori, and produced with Warner Bros. Pictures, the known cast for Fullmetal Alchemist includes:

  • Ryosuke Yamada as Edward Elric
  • Tsubasa Honda as Winry Rockbell
  • Dean Fujioka as Colonel Roy Mustang
  • Ryuta Sato as Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes
  • Misako Renbutsu as Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye
  • Natsuki Harada as Gracia Hughes
  • Yo Oizumi as Shou Tucker
  • Jun Kunimura as Dr. Marco
  • Kohinata Fumiyo as General Hakuro
  • Yasuko Matsuyuki as Lust
  • Kanata Hongo as Envy
  • Shinji Uchiyama as Gluttony
  • Kenjiro Ishimaru as Father Cornello

Sources: Natalie, Fullmetal Alchemist Official Web Site, YouTube

Evergreen Extension to open December 2, 2016

Evergreen ExtensionThe much awaited Evergreen Extension to the Millennium Line opens to passengers on Friday, December 2nd, 2016. This addition to the SkyTrain network links Coquitlam and Port Moody into the rest of the rapid transit system that serves Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey and Vancouver.

Service begins at 12:00 pm PST with festivities held at the Coquitlam Centre station. Updates to TransLink’s web site with transit routes and schedules go live on Monday, November 28th, 2016. Changes to bus service come into effect on Monday, December 19th, 2016. TransLink will also have added staff from Monday, November 21st through to Thursday, December 22nd, 2016 to help with questions on bus service, connections and schedules.

Source: The Buzzer Blog

Final Bleach manga cover unveiled

Bleach volume 74

Reported cover of the Bleach manga volume 74

After a long run, Tite Kubo’s manga series, Bleach, is over. Japan gets volume 74 on November 4th, 2016, but don’t expect it in North America anytime soon — volume 68 comes out in English November 1st, 2016.

Possibly one of the more contentious endings of a manga, the closing chapters of Bleach have riled fans in Japan, with some even going as far as destroying their collections of books and memorabilia.

Sources: Crunchyroll, Twitter

Nintendo Switch introduces new ways to play

The Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch

Some of the mystery surrounding Nintendo’s next console is gone, especially surrounding the design and name. This morning, the gaming company unveiled the Nintendo Switch, a console designed with both home and mobile entertainment in mind.

When at home, the Switch fits comfortably in a dock allowing it to be played on the television. Removing the Switch from its dock allows the fun to continue without missing a beat while mobile. Emphasizing fun, Nintendo mentioned that in the presence of other Switch consoles, players can take advantage of multiplayer titles together.

Removable controllers mount to the side of the Switch for use in each hand or as individual units between two players. For that classic feel, Nintendo has a separately sold “pro controller” that looks more like a traditional game pad.

Details about the hardware specifications of the console and potential titles were not made available, however a list of participating partners and developers accompanied the release, giving and idea of who to expect future titles from.

Nintendo Switch Partners

A listing of developers and companies supporting content for the Nintendo Switch.

A launch date of March 2017 was mentioned in the press release from Nintendo.

Watch the video below to see the Nintendo Switch in action.

Source: Nintendo

Texas Sunset

Driving through Texas is something akin to a tedious chore, but rewarding at certain times. With the sun setting after a lengthy road trip across the Lone Star state, my friend lowered my window so I could take in the scenery and cooling temperatures (and ease up on the air conditioning).

Camera in hand, I snapped a couple of shots of the endless South Texas plains just at that perfect time where the sun melts into the horizon.

Texas Sunset

Service changes for the Expo and Millennium SkyTrain Lines on Oct 22

TransLink unveiled some significant changes with the way trains travel over the Expo and Millennium Lines. On Saturday, October 22nd, 2016, all Millennium Line trains will run between VCC-Clark and Lougheed Town Centre stations while Expo Line trains run Waterfront to King George and Waterfront to Production Way-University.

These changes relate to the upcoming introduction of the Evergreen Line linking Port Moody and Coquitlam up with the rest of the SkyTrain system, which is expected to open before year’s end. The Evergreen Line no longer becomes its own separate line, but extending the Millennium Line into the afore-mentioned communities.

This means that the Millennium Line no longer runs to or from Waterfront station in downtown Vancouver and that Columbia is not the last point of transfer between the two lines; these are now Production Way-University and Lougheed Town Centre.

So, to remember:

Expo Line

  • Waterfront (Vancouver) to King George (Surrey)
  • Waterfront (Vancouver) to Production Way-University (Burnaby)

Millennium Line

  • VCC-Clark (Vancouver) to Lougheed Town Centre (Burnaby)

A visualization of how the two lines will appear when service changes on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016. Omitted from the diagram are the Evergreen Extension and Canada Line.
Updated SkyTrain Service Map

These changes do not affect service on the Canada Line.

Source: TransLink

There’s a new Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue trailer from TGS 2016

Straight of the Tokyo Game Show is yet another teaser of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. And with the video is a change in the game’s release: it is no longer December 2016, but instead January 24th, 2017.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is a compilation of Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD a graphically redone adventure of the Nintendo 3DS title, a deeper dive into Aqua’s history in Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep–A Fragmentary Passage and a glimpse into the mysterious world of the Foretellers through Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is only available on the PlayStation 4.

Source: YouTube

Evergreen Line to open before end of 2016

The Burquitlam Evergreen Line station under construction.

The Burquitlam Evergreen Line station under construction.

Beset with delays over its planned opening, the Evergreen Line was to begin service the summer of 2016, then pushed into 2017. Today, the Ministry of Transportation made public a new date: service is to start before December 25, 2016. However, a specific day was not mentioned.

The new SkyTrain line links Port Moody and Coquitlam up to the existing Millennium Line through the Lougheed Town Centre station in Burnaby.

The ministry states that over 90 percent of the Evergreen Line is built.

Source: CBC

Fiesta Mexicana 2016 photos

You’d be forgiven if you thought the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood was actually Mexico today. Part of the month-long celebration of MexicoFest, the Fiesta Mexicana 2016 brings a part of the Latin American country up north without having to actually travel south of the border. The historic roundhouse hosted live music, entertaining lucha libre and of course, delicious fare!

Missed all the fun? You can view it all on Gallery.

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