May 21st, 2006


Finished series: Paradise Kiss

We've finished watching Paradise Kiss. My first episode review is here.

Yukari has been living the life of a model student: going to school, going to cram school, doing homework, and then doing it all over again the next day. One day, when she is walking to cram school, she is accosted by a punk guy who wants to talk to her. Yukari, being who she is, wants nothing to do with a guy like that, so she runs off -- only to bump into one of the punk's comrades.
Yukari faints, and when she comes to, she is in the atelier of 'Paradise Kiss', the fashion label a few of the arts college students have set up. They aim to win the Grand Prize at the school festival with their dress -- but they will need a model. Yukari fits the bill, and so they ask her to model for them.

Yukari blows them off, but when she makes her escape, she loses her student handbook. This allows the lead designer of ParaKiss, the androgynous playboy George, to locate her. He takes her on a tour of the fashion college, and then asks her again to model for him/them.
Due to various circumstances, Yukari (nicknamed 'Caroline' by Miwako) accepts their invitation. This shakes her up from her usual life, and she gets to see a different side of life -- that of fashion and hardworking designers...

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The series is refreshingly mature, and shows Yukari basically growing up in a very short period of time. The designs are pretty nice (and faithful to the manga), but the animation is pretty basic -- which doesn't detract much from the series, because it's more about the interaction between the characters than the action.
The music is pretty nice (I especially like the opening theme, 'Lonely in Gorgeous' by Tommy February6) to boot.

Good points:
- Edgy, street-wise characters;
- Mature plot;
- Nice designs.
Bad points:
- Sub-plots are not given too much attention.

All in all, an 8.5.

CTO5K, first day

Yesterday, we went into the city center. My physical therapist friend had recommended a running store to me, and we went there to get some good running shoes for me.
I was helped out by an older guy, who had a lot of knowledge of feet and shoes and running in general. I had to do a few tricks ('Stand on one foot! Now the other!') which told him what kind of support and dampening I would need. He was very careful in selecting the shoes I had to try on. I had one shoe on of one pair, and then he took a look. "Oh no! That will never work, because it's too narrow here! Take it off, away with it!" he said. :)

I had to run a few times to and fro, so that he could see what my running style was and how the shoes reacted/corrected that. In the end, I went with the second pair I tried on (of about seven or eight), of a brand that I had never heard of before. They are incredibly comfortable -- my ankles (which are a weak point of my physique) get lots of support. I also bought a few running socks and a short running tight (I will refrain from posting pictures of that, to protect your sanity).

This morning, I did my first training day. I measured the circumference of the pond out back on the map, and it turned out to be roughly 1 km (and not the 500m I had estimated!). I decided to do 1500 meter (instead of the mile that is originally planned for the first week -- it's another 100 meter from the backdoor to the 'circuit'). Not having precise measurements meant that I had to guesstimate the distances, but a few meters more running or walking shouldn't matter much.

I can't believe how much out of shape I was. After 100 meters of running I sound like a steam engine, and I need the full 200 meters of walking to recover before setting off again. I can feel my ankles right now, but I did some stretching exercises, so I hope it'll be OK.
Fun thing that happened: I had just started out on the first part of walking, when I encountered a lady in a tracksuit running. She greeted me merrily -- I was a fellow runner who was trying to clock in his distance before the next rainshower (which thankfully never came).

It felt good to get off the couch and start doing something. All in all, it took me about an hour. That's certainly manageable. I'm not sure if I will run tomorrow as well (might be better to give my legs a day off to get used to the feeling), but on tuesday and wednesday, I'll be running again!