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.

Welcome to Vancouver

A quick look at Vancouver

Perhaps you know the story behind Vancouver’s founding. How about the salty snack that ran for the mayor’s office? Or the only time that one of the city’s early hockey teams won the Stanley Cup? Read all about them and more in the Quick Facts of Vancouver.


Free! Eternal Summer English Cast Revealed

Frederick Linsmeyer • November 14, 2014 • Anime

Grab your towels and get ready to dive in the pool with English cast of Free! Eternal Summer. All this week, FUNimation has been releasing the names behinds the Iwatobi Swim Club and the rival Samezuka Swim Team.

  • Gou Matsuoka – Jamie Marchi (Panty – Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt, Narrator – Hetalia)
  • Sousuke Yamazaki – Ian Sinclair (Romano – Hetalia, Dandy – Space Dandy)
  • Nitori Aiichiro – Josh Grelle (Armin Arlert – Attack on Titan, Sadou Maou – The Devil is a Part-Timer)
  • Momotaro Mikoshiba – Jerry Jewell (Russia – Hetalia, Kyo Sohma – Fruits Basket)
  • Rin Matsuoka – Vic Mignogna (Edward Elric – Fullmetal Alchemist, Tamaki Suou – Ouran High School Host Club)
  • Haruka Nanase – Todd Haberkorn (Hikaru Hitachiin – Ouran High School Host Club, Natsu Dragneel – Fairy Tail)
  • Makoto Tachibana – Johnny Yong Bosch (Artemis – Sailor Moon, Yukio Okumura – Blue Exorcist)
  • Nagisa Hazuki – Greg Ayres (Kaoru Hitachiin – Ouran High School Host Club, Shion – No. 6)
  • Rei Ryugazaki – J. Michael Tatum (Kyoya Otori – Ouran High School Host Club, Sebastian Michaelis – Black Butler)

FUNimation still has two more names from the Samezuka team waiting to be announced over the weekend.

No formal announcement has been made on when the English dub of Free! Eternal Summer will be available. In the meantime, you can stream the series on FUNimation or Crunchyroll.

Editor’s Note
The names for Gou Matsuoka, Sousuke Yamazaki, Nitori Aiichiro, and Momotaro Mikoshiba have been added to the list.

Sources: FUNimation, Facebook [1, 2]

S.H.Figuarts Uzumaki Naruto

Frederick Linsmeyer • November 12, 2014 • The Otaku Culture
Naruto is enjoying the Vancouver skyline

Naruto is enjoying the Vancouver skyline

It’s hard to believe that Naruto has been around for 15 years now. Now that the series has ended, I decided to take my recently acquired Bandai Tamashii Nations S.H.Figuarts Uzumaki Naruto out for some photos around Vancouver.

I asked a friend of mine to purchase Naruto after he found it for sale at the Alamo City Comic Con in San Antonio, Texas, a few days before I was set to visit. The figure was about $44 USD, but you can find him online cheaper for about $34 CAD.

This 5.5 inch (140mm) tall figure is flexible and comes with many accessories to modify his appearance. Naruto comes with 13 different hand combinations, four facial expressions, two kunai, a rasengan, pouch and headband. The faces are easily swapped and show the ninja as happy, determined, angry and ready to kick some Akatsuki butt.

The hands are probably the most unique part of the figure since there are so many of them — six left hands and seven right. The seventh hand piece is used to hold the rasengan accessory, but in all honesty, I would need a second figure to make the attack believable. I found getting the kunai in the hands to be a little challenging, but once in they make Naruto threatening (No, really, those kunai are sharp).

I love how detailed Naruto is, right down to the little rivets on the headband, the ribbed collar on his jacket, and his eyes. It’s a really well made figure and very adjustable.

And yes, Bandai Tamashii Nations will have a Uchiha Sasuke figure to compliment the aspiring hokage. Sasuke is expected to be released in February 2015.

On a mission in the forest Determination RASENGAN!!

Remembrance Day 2014 Ceremonies

Frederick Linsmeyer • November 10, 2014 • Local

A number of ceremonies and events will be held throughout Metro Vancouver on Tuesday, November 11th to honour the men and women who have and continue to serve in the Canadian Forces.

You can also find an ceremony through the Veterans Affairs Canada Calendar of Events web site.

  • Vancouver – Ceremony and Parade at Victory Square (West Hastings Street between Cambie and Hamilton streets). Starts at 9:45 am, followed by the parade at 11:30 am.
  • Vancouver – Lighting of the Olympic Cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza at 8:45 am.
  • Burnaby – Remembrance Day Ceremony at South Burnaby Cenotaph in Bonsor Park (Imperial Street and Nelson Avenue). Starts at 10:30 am.
    Burnaby – Remembrance Day Ceremony at North Burnaby Cenotaph in Confederation Park (Willingdon Avenue and Penzance Drive). Starts at 10:30 am.
  • New Westminster – Ceremony at Royal Westminster Regiment Armouries and Queens Avenue United Church (Queens Avenue and Sixth Street) with Parade to the Cenotaph at City Hall. Starts at 10:00 am.
  • Delta – Parade and Ceremony at Ladner Memorial Park. Parade starts at 10:15 am followed by the ceremony at 10:45 am.
  • Delta – Ceremony at North Delta Social Heart Plaza (11415 84 Avenue). Starts at 10:40 am.
  • Surrey – Ceremony at Cloverdale Cenotaph at the Surrey Museum and Surrey Archives (17710 – 56A Avenue). Starts at 9:30 am.
  • Richmond – Ceremony and Parade at Richmond City Hall. Parade leaves Minoru Park at 10:20 am followed by the ceremony at 10:40 am.

Majora’s Mask announced for Nintendo 3DS

Frederick Linsmeyer • November 5, 2014 • Gaming
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is being re-released for the Nintendo 3DS handheld console.

Get ready to save the world again as Nintendo has revealed a title many have been waiting for on the Nintendo 3DS. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3DS was announced during a Nintendo Direct video posted to the Internet Wednesday afternoon.

A remake of the original Nintendo 64 title, Majora’s Mask throws a young Link in the midst of a world in chaos — a descending moon threatens the land of Termina with destruction in three days.  Classic items and weapons join new tools to help Link overcome puzzles and tasks that are all intertwined into the lives of the residents.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3DS is expected to hit store shelves in spring 2015.

Source: Nintendo

Attack on Titan to invade world of Marvel

Frederick Linsmeyer • November 3, 2014 • Manga

Imagine two giant, grinning titans are chasing down Spider-Man. Sounds surreal, doesn’t it? But it’s true according to a message and image posted to Twitter earlier today revealing a unique project between Marvel and Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan manga series.

According to C.B. Cebulski, an editor for Marvel, announced that in two weeks time a crossover of Marvel and Attack on Titan will be released in Japan. Of course, Cebulski had to include that this upcoming collaboration is “not a joke”.

While Attack on Titan is set in a medieval-style world, the teaser shows two titans tearing through skyscrapers after Spider-Man (is Spidey fleeing their voracious appetite or luring them away from the public? We’ll have to wait and see).

Sources: Twitter, Comic Book Resources

Burrows suspended for three games

Frederick Linsmeyer • November 2, 2014 • Hockey
Alex Burrows during warm-up

Alex Burrows during warm-up

The National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety has handed a three game suspension to Alex Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks following an illegal hit on Alexei Emelin of the Montreal Canadiens during the game on Thursday, October 30th, 2014.

The illegal check to the head came at 8:23 in the second period of the game. Emelin was not in possession of the puck at the time of the hit, when Burrows’ shoulder made contact with Emelin’s head. A penalty was not called when the incident happened.

Burrows was assessed a fine of $72,580.65 in accordance with the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, which will be given to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Vancouver went on to beat Montreal 3-2 in overtime.

Sources: NHL, CBC

Spanish Governor’s Palace

Frederick Linsmeyer • October 20, 2014 • Travel
Main courtyard of the Spanish Governor's Palace.

Main courtyard of the Spanish Governor’s Palace.

Tucked away behind San Antonio City Hall is the Spanish Governor’s Palace. While this single-storey white adobe building hardly invokes the idea of a palace, it may have felt that way when Texas was still part of the Spanish Empire.

Finding it, for me at least, was a little confusing as I thought the location was named the Presidio San Antonio de Bexar (the “palace” was part of the presidio, which was a much larger fort). After wandering around the San Fernando Cathedral, we were able to get directions to the actual site. Later on, I discovered that the Spanish Governor’s Palace is listed on the directional signs throughout the downtown.

The name Spanish Governor’s Palace is a misnomer as no-one who held the title of governor ever resided in the structure; instead housing the captains of the presidio. Famed Texan historian and preservationist Adina De Zavala came up with the name during her quest to save the house.

Plates and jars adorn the table in the late 1700's dining room.

Plates and jars adorn the table in the late 1700’s dining room.

Built in early 1700s, the Spanish Governor’s Palace is all that remains of the fort. Constructed of adobe bricks and timber, the building has expanded to ten rooms over the centuries as it changed ownership. Each room is furnished with replica and antique fixtures to emulate what life was like back in the 18th century. Behind the house is a massive enclosed courtyard filled with lush plants and trees to offer relief from the intense Texas heat. Over the course of time, the house has served as a residence, pawn shop, grocery store, school, saloon, tire store and clothing store before being purchased by the city for transformation into a museum.

When we visited, the palace was relatively quite and we took our time admiring the history, architecture and courtyard garden. It was neat going back in time and learning a bit about San Antonio’s Spanish colonial history. Photos of the Spanish Governor’s Palace from my tour can be viewed on Gallery.

The Spanish Governor’s Palace is located at 105 Plaza De Armas, San Antonio, Texas, west of City Hall on West Commerce Street. Admission to the museum is $5.00 USD.

Naruto manga series to end this year

Frederick Linsmeyer • October 12, 2014 • Manga

On October 6th, 2014, Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto has revealed that the manga series has five weeks to go before it concludes this November in the 50th issue of Weekly Shonen Jump.

Back in 2012, Kishimoto had announced that the manga was nearing its climax.

In anticipation of the end of the manga, the official Japanese Naruto web site has a clock counting down the days to November 10th, 2014.

Naruto was originally serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump back in 1999 and has 70 published tankobon (individual volumes) in Japan. The 71st and final is scheduled for November 4th, 2014.

Sources: Anime News Network, Crunchyroll, Shonen Jump

Apple Festival returns October 2014

Frederick Linsmeyer • September 24, 2014 • Food and Drink
Salish apples

Salish apples

Apple lovers, mark your calendars! The crisp fruit is the star of the Apple Festival which takes over the UBC Botanical Garden Saturday the weekend of October 18th – 19th, 2014.

Not only will you find classics, like Fuji, Grimes Golden and Granny Smith, but new names like Ambrosia and Salish. In addition to individual apples, tree cultivars will also be available for purchase so you can grow some at home. Of course, other apple related treats will be available for purchase — juices, ciders, pastries, and so much more. There will also be an Apple Tasting Tent to sample a variety of cultivars. It’s an apple-lover’s paradise!

The Apple Festival runs from 11:00 am PDT to 4:00 pm PDT on Saturday and Sunday, and admission is $4 (cash only) and free for children under 12. Parking is not available at the UBC Botanical Gardens, but further in the UBC campus with shuttle buses running between the gardens and parkades. For more information, visit the UBC Botanical Garden web site.

Blue Exorcist volume 12

Frederick Linsmeyer • September 14, 2014 • Manga
Blue Exorcist volume 12

Blue Exorcist volume 12

With the festival at the True Cross Academy in full swing, another party is about to start. Searching for Izumo Kamiki, Rin Okumura and his friends uncover a story of betrayal and tragedy about Izumo. This information pits the Knights of the True Cross against the Illuminati in an all out battle.

Volume 12 of the Blue Exorcist manga will be available for purchase on November 4th, 2014.

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