naples yellow deep

The first time I saw model turned actor, Hiroshi Abe was in that butt-kickin’ Thai martial arts movie, Chocolate (released in Japan as “Chocolate Fighter”) playing a role of Yakuza leader, Masashi. Then I saw him again in the Japanese movie, Aoi Tori as the mild-mannered teacher, Murauchi.  But I didn’t realize it then that they were the same actor until I researched about it.

That’s how Hiroshi Abe is.  Despite his tall frame and dark looks, he has a subtle, almost relaxing aura of gentleness about him. You fail to notice him at first but eventually that understated and elegant charm would quietly sneak up on you and before you know it you have become a fan for life.

I’ve seen him perform all kinds of roles – he can be dark and dangerous in one show and outright silly in another. Even in dramas where he has a minor role, his presence alone can make the shows worthwhile to watch. He does have a few shows with him as the major star (he needs more!), I’ve noticed that he chooses his projects well and that they haven’t disappointed me so far.

Among my favorites are: Kekkon Dekinai Otoko, At Home Dad, My Little Chef, Shiroi Haru, Change, Dragon Zakura, Tenchijin, and movies like Glorious Team Batista.

Here is my screen shot collection of Abe-chan’s roles, proving his versatility as an actor (the reason why he is such a dream catch for any casting director in Japan) and just like fine wine, he gets to look better and better every year:

In his most popular role as the paranormal skeptic, Jiro Ueda in the “Trick” TV and movie series (2000 – still ongoing).

As the gourmet restaurant owner with impeccable taste, Kensaku Tachibana (My Little Chef, 2002)

As advertising director, Kazuyuki Yamamura, forced to swallow his manly pride to take on the domestic role of an At Home Dad (2005).

Abe-chan as the eccentric, introverted architect, Shinsuke Kuwano in Kekkon Dekinai Otoko (2006).

The serious lawyer Kenji Sakuragi on a mission in Dragon Zakura (2006). Take note of the Boracay poster at the back.

With actress, Yuko Takeuchi, he plays Keisuke Shiratori in the medical drama/whodunnnit movie, Team Batista No Eiko (The Glorious Team Batista, 2008).

As the down-on-his-luck, former conman, Haruo Sakura in Shiroi Haru (2009), he is forced to take on odd jobs such as a traffic aide.

As Uesugi Kenshin, the powerful daimyo of 16th century Japan (Tenchijin, 2009-ongoing)

In the Thai action flick and international hit, Chocolate (2009) as a Yakuza gang boss, Masashi

This is his latest role as Akiyama Yoshifuru in the period drama, Saka no Ue no Kumo (Cloud on a Hill, 2009-ongoing) with “Departures” actor, Motoki Masahiro.

And finally, for his fans, feast your eyes on Abe Hiroshi as his glorious, 6’2″ self, clad from head to foot in Dolce & Gabbana on the March 2010 cover of Uomo (Japanese edition):

私は、阿部寛愛しています! Sigh! V (^_^=)


I stay away from cooking since I was a kid due to certain reasons: I think I don’t have a gift. I don’t have an acute sense of smell.  I distrust my taste buds (if I have any). I just like to eat.

But as Gusteau’s motto goes: “Anyone can cook!” does that include me? Hah! Wait, if a rat could do it…

Actually what inspired a non-cook like me to start learning was watching –whoa, no surprise here- Julie and Julia… AND! those addicting jdoramas

Amy Adams (left) as former blogger turned author, Julie Powell (pic source) from Julie and Julia.

What can I say? I love this movie as do countless of others. Especially for bloggers like us who could relate to Julie’s joys (and sufferings) when it comes to blogging.  Her hardships, personal tests, and triumphs seemed like ours, too. And it was great knowing that both of them -Julie and Julia-started out as non-cooks, as well…

…especially Julia Childs, as portrayed by Meryl Streep (at right; pic source) who started out late (she was in her late 30’s) with her culinary career but eventually became a legend.  Yes, there’s hope for the hopeless and hapless cook wanna-bes like me.

So with that, I have decided to come up with two food projects (Dalawa! – kinakareer talaga!). These are The Sunday Lunch Project (click here) and The FooDoRama Challenge (click here).

Let the cooking (and the eating) commence!

I say it’s a ‘semi’ obsession because it is not something I’m losing sleep over.  It’s more like a silly hobby really.

I think a lot of tweeps like me are also into this new silly hobby brought about by these ever-changing forms of technology.  I believe it is so novel that they haven’t had a name for it yet.  It’s about collecting replies from celebrities or what I call ‘celeb-retweets‘ (whether it be via twitter or from FaceBook)…

I already talked about it in my post about John Cusack. That one was something I was so excited about because it was the first one that came from someone I truly admire.  But I got other RTs from other celebs, too…

As I said, I know that this is just silly and fun! While others are wasting whiling away their time collecting stuff for virtual games like pet society or farmville (which I don’t do), collecting celeb-retweets is MY kind of ‘game.’ It requires a bit of strategy, wit, and luck, too.  You have to out-do your online opponents which happen to be other tweepers vying for these celebs’ attention as well.

But I don’t go around tweeting ALL the celebs just for the heck of it. I just choose those whom I like or respect the most.  Besides, not all of them tweet back. They don’t have to and you got to respect that. But how do I know if they’re the real thing, and not written by some secretary or their PAs? I guess if you read their tweets, you would know. It’s the tone that you ‘hear’ in their statements that tell you it’s them. Aside from that, if it’s a verified account, then there you go.

Here is (so far) my ‘collection’ of celeb-retweets. I show them off with the level of snooty enthusiasm that is akin to that of Sesame Street’s Bert when he showed off his shiny bottle-cap collection (Oh, Figgy Fizz! hehe):

1) Judah Friedlander: World’s “Greatest” Champ


June 19, 2009: I managed to eke out a birthday greeting from actor/stand-up comedian Judah Friedlander via FB.  Judah plays “Frank Rossitano,” the trucker-hat wearing writer of NBC’s 30 Rock.  He is swell guy who doesn’t let fame get into his head (unless when he’s boasting off his feats as the World Champ). If he had a chance to talk to his fans, he would – just like any regular guy (You could catch him online via FB and he would ‘hey’ back if you say ‘hi’).  Totally cool. Thanks, Judah. You are truly the World Champ!

2) Eoin Colfer:  Teacher to Teacher Talk


Aug. 24, 2009: Eoin Colfer is an Irish author; he was commissioned to write the 6th installment of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” but he is best known as the creator of the famous Artemis Fowl series.  Though he does not tweet as much as the other celebs, he was kind enough to take time to answer a question I posed (which he answered after the day I sent it).  I do agree with his advice. And I also admire teachers like him who became writers.  They give me hope that someday I can accomplish the same feat. Gracias, Mr. Colfer!

3) Amber Benson: An awesome Greeting from a Buffy Royalty


May 8, 2009: I already mentioned about my love for the Buffy TV series in my previous post. Even if the series was over, countless of BTVS fans like me are happy that some of its stars are on Twitter.  Amber Benson (who played Tara) was one of the first (if not, THE first) BTVS alumni who got into Twitter.  She DMed (‘direct messaged’) me as soon as I started following her with the tweet above.  Of course, I was starstruck! Imagine, Tara from Buffy? She tweeted ME, a die-hard Buffy Fan?  Not getting it? Believe me, in Buffy-verse this is something that reaches major levels of awesomeness… Thank you, Amber!

4) Julie Benz: Scoring a Scoop from a Dexter Star!


Sept. 4 2009:  Julie Benz (who played “Darla” in both Buffy and Angel; currently in the show Dexter as “Rita”) is a real sweetheart.  I like her. She’s polite and sensitive.  I was able to get a ‘scoop’ (ahem) for the upcoming Season 4 of Dexter (which will start on Sept. 27) wherein she revealed that she will be doing a bit of singing! (A week later, TV Guide magazine posted this article regarding it). But really, if you watched Angel, you would agree with me that this talented lady DOES have a pretty voice.  Frankly speaking, I don’t watch “Dexter” much but now… I will.  Danke, Julie!

5) John Cusack: No. Thank YOU, Mr. Cusack…

2ndtwitexchangewithjohnAug. 23, 2009: Yes. Lightning DOES strike twice (And hopefully even more than twice).  In my second retweet from him, John Cusack thanked me… Again, let me reiterate this: He. John Cusack. Thanked. Me. For watching his HBO dramatic movie, Jack Bull.  And with three exclamation points to boot!  Sweet!  Haha!  I should be the one thanking him for coming up with Jack Bull. It’s really one of my favorites among all his movies (again, the key here is sincerity.  He knows if you’re bullsh#tting him so you better make it real if you want him to retweet back).  Too bad, Max and Get Outta the Boat are not readily available here, though.

Well, that’s my bottle-cap, I mean, celeb-retweet collection so far! Too bad, I can’t sell them on ebay. Hmm…

smallribbonIf John C. was the celebrity I had been worshipping since I was a tweener, Trent Reznor was the rock god I have adored since I was in my young twenties.  I remember when I was a DJ in a rock station, I would play his music using my own CD that I bought from the store.  Since the songs were unedited or unapproved by the programmer (meaning – not fit to play on air), I had to resort to bleeping those nasty four-letter words in the lyrics myself while they were playing on air (*sighs*—those were good times…) even at the risk of bringing on the ire of the ntc or my boss.  I did it because of my love for Trent and his music…  But as time passed, from a rocking dj, I moved on to a more conservative job and lifestyle.  Also, my taste in music changed and mellowed.  But my infatuation with Trent remained.   What sets him apart from other screaming rockers was his unique voice. His gut-wrenching screams and howls were heartfelt and real.  The belief and conviction in his lyninmanilarics and music were still there.  He wasn’t giving you b*llsh*t.  It wasn’t all flash and show.  He was real and sincere, and in that sense, he was deeply respected and admired by the old fans who remained loyal and by the newer generation as well.

NIN rockin in Manila (right)

So when I heard that NIИ would be having a concert in Araneta Coliseum on august 5, the rockgirl in me rose from its deep slumber. I immediately sprang into action and bought the necessary ticket.  I wasn’t going to hesitate to buy the seats close to the stage.  This was said to be the farewell concert tour, it has to be now or never.  It is not every day (or every year even!) that such a legendary act like NIИ comes to our humble shores – we are always being bypassed and ignored for other affluent Asian nations.

How was it? I’ll cut the story short.  The place wasn’t packed but it was ok. We had a blast6248_1180422103047_1002990736_30595476_5832540_n and worth every centavo! Trent sang a lot of new unfamiliar songs but the ‘classics’ were there – Downward Spiral, Hurt, Closer, Afraid of Americans, The Hand That Feeds, Head Like a Hole…  and even if a lot of songs were unfamiliar, we were absolutely thrilled.  Our mouths agape almost the whole time… couldn’t freaking believe that The Awesome Man in Black was finally here… in our midst… watching him sing! Water bottles were thrown plus mic stands, guitars… Trent even threw his tambourine to a lucky person in the audience (“Ay? Panu naman kami!”)!

The Awesome Man in Black (left): I was seated at the far right of the stage. Good view. Pero sensya na. I took countless of pix but only a few shots came out well.

The next day, my friends asked me how it was. I just couldn’t describe it well enough. I was still at a loss for words… then I guess the best way to 6248_1180421903042_1002990736_30595472_2182958_ndescribe it was (ahem! kids, cover your eyes first): “It was like great sex!” Basta, yun na yun… haha! It was full of high energy, dripping with dark sexy testosterone… Ibang klase talaga magrakrakan ang mga kano.

But then, I also watched the 1995 Manila concert of Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, and Sonic Youth — NIИ was never anything like that… which only meant – ibang klase talaga rumakrak si Treznor!

Treznor waves goodbye (right): No, don’t retire yet, Trent. We can’t live without you, man…

As I said, I do have pix but they’re not worth posting (only worth looking at by me) so I’ll just repost pix from nin’s website. These following pix were taken by NIИ’s art director, Rob Sheridan. Click on the pix and they will lead you to their website:


Hello, SEXY BEAST! Trent sings Heresy… He screams, yells, and sweats profusely…


“Help me… I broke apart my insides!”


Final encore song was HURT: this is the SOP concert moment wherein we hold up the customary lighters and lit up cellphones with matching swaying swaying…You can see my lit Nokia at the far left.  Ano ba. Of course I’m kiddin…

BTW, those 3 pix can also be found in nin’s wp blog.

Thank you, Trent for including us in your NIИ’s Wave Goodbye Asian Tour 2009.  We will surely won’t forget this… ever! It was superbly … asteeeg!

smallribbonI first saw John Cusack in Better Off Dead.  From that moment on, I was instantly smitten.  He was funny and had that goofy, likeable charm that easily translates to a dependable bestfriend-cute boyfriend material.  And he wasn’t a bad actor, taking his craft seriously—the fact that he survived the 80’s Brat Pack was let alone a big feat, for while the careers of his contemporaries stumbled and faltered – his saw smooth sailing with occasional minor bumps along the way.  He can play the Hollywood game but he can pretty much steer his own ship, too.  He valued his privacy—something that I find truly cool and which I unconsciously emulated —one’s private life is his own business and not yours. He is not the type who would kiss and tell (especially about his current paramours) which I find extremely classy and manly.  But we do know he is loyal to his family and friends – making sure to include them in his successes, happiness, and plans.  And johnqsackhe’s obviously smart, too.  He is very vocal and genuinely concerned about real issues – political and social.  He just doesn’t do the talk he does them, too.  And unlike other celebrities, he does them without so much fanfare.  Can you blame me for sticking by him – through thick and thin?  There’s this FB group (of which of course I am a member) whose name sums it all up– “All Men Pale in Comparison to John Cusack.”

Just like any other normal fan – I look him up from time to time on the web but only for the purpose of getting some updates (e.g. imdb) and ‘stalk’ him in the typical kind of way – not the freaky kind.  There’s not much info on him though – I mean compared to uberstars like Pitt and Clooney.  He does have his blog in Huffington Post and his myspace site but there was no possible chance of any sort of interaction that I was wishing for.  So his recent forte into the twitterverse was something I rejoiced about (Twitter, love na kita– srsly grabe!).

Thanks to actor/comedian, Rob Corddry whose account I was following before John’s. Rob C. outed John’s supposedly ‘secret’ twittername with the tweet, “This is proof Screwheads. Cusack is @shockozulu. Now can we talk about something else? (You see, during that time, Rob and John were wrapping up their latest movie, “Hot Tub Time Machine”— yes, no joke, that is the actual title– in Vancouver so I do know that it was all legit).  I immediately checked it out and much to my utter delight – he was twitting back to his followers!

His tweets were typically Cusack—quick, manic and cryptic most of the time; reflective, cool and savvy on some days.  And so what if he was a bad speller (which was a surprising new thing I found out about him – dysgraphia?), it didn’t bother him… which was cool by me. Right away, I sent him messages, hoping I could get one in return.  He could be generous one day and stingy the next with his retweets.  It was clear to me that this wasn’t going to be easy.

I learned that the best time to get a retweet was when you catch him on-line.  However, I couldn’t get an opening. A lot of his fans—including me– were all vying for his attention.  And not only that, I also couldn’t catch a break — either I’m the one who was busy working or sleeping every time he was twitting or he was the one asleep when it was my turn to tweet.  He preferred to reply to quotes or tweets about Hunter T., politics and social issues (or whatever catches his whim at that moment).  But I can’t pretend that I know anything about those. That would be so fake. I didn’t want to beg either.  Or act like an annoying troll (which some pathetic losers resort into doing) to force an angry retweet out of him (lesson learned, read Trent Reznor’s bitter twitter experience).  I just have to do what I can by being myself.

Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to give up. My motto became Operation Qsack: No Retweet, No Surrender!

Then, one sad day, three days after Cory died, I finally got a chance.  The timing was perfect.  We were both finally on-line at the same time. He was then twitting about presidents (US’ Bill C. and Mexico’s).  I tweeted about what I was feeling at that time. Seconds later, this was what I got:


Aug. 4, 2009: JC sends his condolences via twitter…

My eyes brimmed with tears reading his 6 words.  Even if it wasn’t much, even if he already shifted his attention elsewhere, and to another fan’s twit, it was enough for me.  It was consoling at a time of grief.  It made me feel better.  Like hitting a small jackpot lotto prize.  Yay!

Now that this was over, one short term goal has finally been ticked off.  And as I told my friend sreisaat, “I can now move on with my life.” Haha!

Thanks, John.  You don’t know how much this means to someone like me. Really. And I know it might be a one in a million chance… um, ok, come to think of it — with the help of tags… make that one in a hundred thousand chance for you to be reading this but hey, who knows, right? Dreams CAN come true!

BTW, did I mention that I sooo love you, Twitter? I did but I’ll say it again- I heart Twitter! Thank you so much for making this fangirl super-duper happy!

Up next: An awesome experience with Trent Reznor!


Well, what do you know? Weeks later I got a second retweet from JC… click here to read about it.  😀

PS. For personal reasons, there may be times my twitter account maybe on lockdown.  If it is,  sorry! I may change also my account in the near future… but I haven’t decided yet so.  Whatev. 🙂

I better post something that doesn’t have anything to do with jdoramas or else this personal blog will be mistaken for a themed blog.  (I AM kinda thinkin’ of setting up an extension themed blog for my jdorama posts though but with my limited time–naah! I don’t think that is feasible as of this moment…):


(For an update about what happened during NIN’s Aug. 5 concert, click here.)

I don’t listen to pop music nowadays and don’t have the slightest interest to see those international acts who came, sang and went (Rhianna, the 2 Davids-whatever-their-last-names-are, etc.).  So I’m absolutely THRILLED to hear that FINALLY one of my most admired artists is coming to the country before he retires from the face of this planet.

It’s Nine Inch Nails, man! As in, Trent Reznor is comin to town–Aug. 5, 2009 at the Araneta Coliseum! I can’t freakin believe it!  I’ve been following his tourdates and updates on Facebook and Twitter since last year and had been reading all those places around the world that he’d been touring in (it seemed like he’d been performing EVERYWHERE except here) and wishing all those times that he would at least drop by one of these days  (Kahit man lang magpa-gas para sa eroplano!!! langhya naman…) And now, thank God, this wish has been granted!

Ever since I was a dj in a rock radio station in the early 90’s which was the height of NIN and alternative music, I’ve been dreaming about this nin-trent-reznormoment.  Those rock bands have come and laid low but Trent–and Pearl Jam–have always been in my heart. And it’s so wonderful that these guys are still rockin up to now. We may have (ahem*coughs*) matured, softened and mellowed down a bit–but we can still rock the house. \m/

After all these years, you still rock my world, Trent Reznor: All Emo brats and poseurs should KISS his ass and pay their due respects to His Royal Gothliness (right).

This is obviously a once in a lifetime chance so there’s no way I’ll miss this.  Besides, his tour is called “Wave Goodbye” since Reznor plans to make NIN ‘disappear for awhile.’  Maybe to settle down and start a family?trent-reznor-mariqueen-maandig-engaged He had been twittin messages saying he’s so in-luuuuv and that he’s gettin’ married.

Who’s the lucky Pinay?: Trent and fiancee, Mariqueen Maandig (left) a model-babe, and vocalist of a rock band, West Indian Girl, and get this– she’s Filipino-American(!) (i mean, helleerr! pangalan pa lang– Mariqueen–Pinoy na pinoy na).  Hay naku, Trent. Pinay rin lang pala ang hanap mo,  e di sana.. dot dot. Haha.. nevermind!

Here are some more of Reznor’s latest twits for the past 2 days:

I have been sober for 8 years today (where I am). Thanks for letting me share that with you. Proud of that.

Easy: encountering real people in the real world mostly = love. Reading bullshit online from anonymous cowards = hate.

This “being madly in love” thing is weird. Feels bad being apart.

It’s true – I’ve gone soft. Sorry everyone.

Here’s my most fave song from NIN, Closer. Directed by Mark Romanek, one of the best mv directors around. PG ALERT! -> This controversial 1994 mv is disturbing, demonic, and dementedAhh, the good ole days, they don’t make them the way they used to, huh?… *sighs*

I can’t get to comment on my public art blog.  As its manager, I have to be unbiased and have to post examples of public art whether I like them or not–whether they’re deserving or not, I shouldn’t have a say about it.  The point of the blog is to feature both known and not so well-known artworks (and artists) in order to be fair for everyone.

But it doesn’t mean I can’t get to comment about some of them HERE in my personal blog.  Hehe.

I just want to write about my three favorite public works of art (click on the pix to link you to the art blog).  When i was making the features on them, I was thrilled about them and found them so fascinating.  These are prime examples of how art moves you…well, at least it moved me… even to the point of tears:

450px-alison_lapper1Alison Lapper Pregnant by Marc Quinn. I was aware of who Alison Lapper is, already in awe of her even before I saw this large, beautiful marble statue of her likeness (when she was pregnant in 1999).   She was one of the parents who were part of Child of Our Time, the ground-breaking BBC docu-series which I often watched on cable.  My heart went out to her as I watched her raise her son, Parys, (alone or with caregivers) especially during moments when he hugs her but of course, she cannot physically reciprocate, having no arms of her own.  The statue was considered controversial, being displayed in Trafalgar Square, not suited to the tastes of those who think that statues should only be about the ideal body–perfect, slender or muscular, and having four limbs.  I think it’s perfect already in itself.  They say statues displayed in Trafalgar Square should only be about heroes.  Well, Lapper, who survived abandonment, cruelty and abuse, and overcoming all odds despite her disability to become a renowned artist and fulfilled mother is definitely a hero and inspiration to me.  And it speaks of OUR time–a modern Venus de Milo with cropped hair, only it is not a goddess–it’s a real human being and she’s looks as equally as beautiful.  And it speaks of what lies beyond–for it shows a hint of the future of art (which should be continually changing–or else it will be so unexciting, dry and boring)–becoming more encompassing and truthful, and setting an example (again and again as shown in the history of art) of what was once rejected is now embraced and celebrated.

♥ ♦  ♥ ♦  ♥ ♦

Cloud Gate by Anish KapoorI just love this one! I don’t need to explain why–just look at it!  Well, ok, I’ll explain.  When i was small, our thermometer broke, and the liquid mercury poured out of it and onto the floor.  I was fascinated with the shiny silvery liquid metal–I remembered looking at it and yearning to pick it up (of course I couldn’t for i was warned that it was poisonous) to give it a closer look and to squish it with my bare fingers.   It was a weird feeling but it didn’t go away–realizing my fascination with such came back when I saw pix of Cloud Gate.  Amazing concept–and thanks to today’s technology–artworks like these are now possible for us to marvel at and enjoy.    If you go to the blog, there is a picture of Cloud Gate taken early morning with no people surrounding it.  It looks almost plain, lonely, and forlorn.  However, when surrounded by people, it changes–seemingly alive and vibrant.  It seems like it’s taking and absorbing energy from the people and the city.  For me, this is a great example of what public art should be especially if it is commissioned by a city–it should be for the people of the city it is meant for and a serves as a celebration of the city itself.  No wonder Chicagoans are proud of it–as they very well should be.

♥ ♦  ♥ ♦  ♥ ♦

Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial (aka The Nameless Library) by Rachel Whiteread. I’ve been a fan of Rachel Whiteread for a long time, so yes, I AM biased on this one.  There is something about her art that speaks to me–her signature art of negative casting allows me to see what is not there but yet I feel it and sense it–and even if she lets me see it, I am not sure whether I welcome it for it is hard to accept and the discomfort of seeing it unnerves me and yet I have to face it because it is real and it IS there… I am talking gibberish here but that’s how I felt everytime I see her art–ghostly, haunting, harsh, and honest.  Her other works especially the negative casting of the inside of a Victorian room (aptly named Ghost) were able to show what it was like–I mean really like, something that historians cannot possibly reveal to us in their books.  Her works allow me to contemplate on the space that we move in, making me realizing that negative space carries much of time that we spent and absorbs the feelings and energies that we give out.  The hollowness then becomes an entity to be reckoned with, and it is not pretty. That is why, just by looking at pictures of her Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial, I feel the same sense of this indescribable sadness (and yes this is the one that moves me to the point of tears)–not just due to the theme but everything about it.  As all controversial artworks–this too was not generally embraced and welcomed.  Maybe some refuse to understand and accept its abstractness or appalled by the simplicity of it.  For me, it is in the simple things that I see the the starkest images, hear the loudest voice, and feel the excruciating sensations.  And Whiteread’s Memorial is one example of those simple things. I am looking forward to more of her future works. And as any biased and unabashed fan would say,  I heart Whiteread!

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