As early as a very young age, I've always wanted to go to Japan. I was introduced to it obviously through watching a lot of anime, something I still do, but eventually I've come to appreciate the language and culture of the country as well. I'm not exactly a fanatic but when my brother invited me to come with him to visit Japan back late 2015, I did not hesitate and immediately accepted his invitation.

Needless to say it was probably the most amazing experience I've had in 18 years. Everything about the country was absolutely beautiful, from the clean urban city streets to the stunning rural areas we visited. Visiting the Hiroshima peace park and taking the tour in the museum was also an exhilarating, yet sad experience. But really, the whole trip was an absolute blast from going to festivals and trying out all the street food and basically experiencing japanese cuisine.

We didn't check in at hotels and only found places to stay with AirBnb as well as staying at a friend's place for one night. This also improved our experience as we used rooms with tatami mats and futons.

It was beautiful and I still can't get over it, but all this typing was just really trying to segue into shamelessly plugging my video in this post, which I never got around to editing until this week:

my 2015 Japan Trip Highlight Reel:

Beginning violin at the age of 18

Now I'm 18 years old, barely signed up for beginner violin lessons. Let's just say I got inspired by a certain anime (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso). This inspiration aligned with the enrollment dates of the College of Music Extension Program in UP, so I went ahead and signed myself up a couple days ago, even without possession of a violin.

I might be hopeless at music but I'm not too terribly inexperienced with it. I'm no band kid, but I've done a bit of piano (self-taught) and carry some sort of guitar skill set. Only recently have I learned how to read sheet music, and I've been continuously studying how to for the past few weeks now, but I wouldn't say I'm good at it yet. Also, I've done some violin lessons for one summer vacation before starting junior year, but as soon as school started I stopped practicing entirely. I still hold some muscle memory, as I surprisingly discovered when I bought a violin today, but I might as well claim that I have no experience when I actually start lessons on Tuesday (it's Sunday right now).

It's actually not mine, but the one I'm going to use for lessons and practice. My elder sister technically owns it and she's planning to just take lessons from me or something along those lines. The violin I own is currently in the States in deep storage somewhere where it's too much of a hassle to get out and send over here to the Philippines.

We've not named it yet, and we were intending to name it something stupid like "Xannoying" because my elder sister was getting annoyed at how we couldn't play the violin and yes, the X is silent.

The muscle memory I possessed from that one summer in 2014 surprised me as I picked it up at the shop and ahem "played." I then spent the night trying to remember the old simple pieces I learned back then as well as just mainly playing around with the instrument. Playing vibrato is about the most advanced skill I know so far, and uh, it's sorta satisfying but I really am just looking forward to being able to play Beethoven's Kreutzer or Saint Saens Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso. This is my first steps to violin and I do hope I get better and better. Wish me luck!

Flip Clap Clamshell Cellphones

Don't you want a flip phone? Imagine this: getting into an argument with somebody else on the phone, and then saying a glorious, ingenious, conversation-ending one-liner then slamming your phone shut with a loud, tactile, satisfying "CLAP" as you drop the call. How satisfyingly dramatic would that be?

Anyone can buy a cheap, extremely basic and low-end flip phone with minimal features such as calling and texting, with some probably not even supporting MMS. However, the problem with acquiring such archaic devices is that one will not be able to keep up with social media or applications. This may be fine for some people, but for the majority today, these online interactions are necessary. Some recent devices do support cellular data and you'll be able to browse the internet to substitute for some of these functions, albeit, with minimal support due to most of these phones running some ancient, low-power basic operating system that's minimally coded to get you your calls and texts. 

But wait, isn't there a free, open-source mobile operating system out there that could provide one with these needed support for modern applications and social media? Mhmm, it's Android, of course. Sadly, only very recently have manufacturers even considered putting Android into a flip phone form-factor and even fewer models are accessible outside the countries of Japan and Korea; seeing as mostly East-Asian countries have even a favorable market for flip phones. 

Inputting "android flip phone" into google (as of 23 January 2016) yields results of only Samsung and LG in the first page. (who goes past the first page anyways). An article from July 2015 brings news of LG and Samsung introducing new Android flip phones: Gentle and Galaxy Folder, respectively. Digging deeper through the web, you find that the LG Gentle is only named as such in Korea and everywhere else, it's called the LG Wine Smart. 

LG Wine Smart
Now I'm not going to list the full specifications, but looking at their GSMArena pages (LG Wine SmartGalaxy Folder), it's obvious that these are no flagship replacements and are merely low-end devices for those wanting a flip phone experience along with the android app support. 
Samsung Galaxy Folder

A more recent article states that Samsung is coming out with a dual-screen flip phone named W2016 that will have a screen on the cover and a screen inside. It's also packed with similar specs as the current Galaxy S6, so it'd be pretty powerful. Closed, it's a regular (although fat) smartphone with a 768p display, but open it up and you get the same display(yes it's touchscreen) with the T9 keyboard with the flippy floppy clap clamshell click clack goodness! but it's rumored to be CNY 9,999 or USD 1565 so....

Samsung W2016
Samsung also has other models of android flip phones but a good majority of these are only available in China so...

This is all I have energy for researching this right now, I'll come up with a follow up post if I hear or find anything new regarding android flip phones.

Obligatory introductory story

My extremely weird elder sister was eventually able to convince me to create a blog; I present to you: My Blog Has a Mole.
I argued that I'd forget about this within a week so let's see where this goes. Presently, I've been taking a gap year so I've not much activities to fill my hands with day to day, although my sister said that when I do do things, they're odd and quirky stuff that I should blog about. And so, this nascent blog was born on the 22nd of January, in the year of our Lord, 2016. In here you'll find my regular ordeals and interesting day to day life descriptions. Enjoy your stay!