Showing posts with label Diary in Singapore 新加坡日記. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diary in Singapore 新加坡日記. Show all posts

Monday, May 6, 2019

Book Launch and Signing at Kinokuniya, Takashimaya Singapore (4 May 2019)

It was great to be back at Kinokuniya again. They had been hosting all my book launches these past 5 years.

Initially I had a presentation showing some slides about the making of the book, but because I brought a no-brand adapter to try out with my iPad, it failed to work on that day. But nevertheless since I only planned to talk for max. 10min (it cannot be too long because there's still a demo, Q&A and book signing back to back with another artist), so I already prepared another version without the slides in case the adapter didn't work. But you bet I will be bringing my thumb drive and purchasing Apple-original adapters if it is a 30min long talk session!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Interview with editor of ONE PIECE, Mr. Kohei Onishi

I had a rare opportunity to interview Mr. Kohei Onishi 大西 恒平, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Shueisha Weekly Shonen Jump during the preview of the "Hello, ONE PIECE" exhibition. He is the 5th editor in charge of ONE PIECE since 2007 and has also worked as an editor before for various popular Shonen Jump titles like Gintama, Naruto, Death Note and Hikaru no Go.
(Photo from right: Mr. Onishi, my assistant, me)

The interview was originally conducted in Japanese with a translator.

Q1: Besides Malaysia and Singapore, will you be having the exhibition at other countries after this?
The exhibition will also be held in 6 cities in China, including Chengdu and Shenzhen.

Q2: What is the key to running a long series like One Piece?
Initially Oda-sensei was only planning to run the series for 10 years, but now it is already running for over 20 years. Shōnen Jump has a 20-page deadline every week so it is extremely tedious for the artist to keep up, especially for 20 years! Therefore to achieve such a long running series, Oda-sensei must work throughout the nights and that is only possible by having a strong passion of what he wants to draw.

(We are amazed! 😮💦)

Q3: Do the editors affect the storyline too? To what extent is the influence?
The major outline and the small details in the weekly stories are all written by Oda-sensei. The editor is more like an advisor, such as when Oda-sensei wants to introduce a new character, I will advise if that is a good time or not. There is a meeting with Oda-sensei every week to discuss about the story or new character and the longest conversation we ever had was 12 hours long! But usually it’s just 4 hours.

Q4: Do you also include discussion about the anime as well?
Yes, we will also discuss about the animation and movie contents. When Oda-sensei has opinions, he will let me know and I will relay them to the production companies.

Q5: For foreigners outside of Japan, what would it take to be able to get published in JUMP? Or become an assistant to your artists like Oda-sensei? 😬
JUMP has an award for the work submitted to the publisher and there is an increasing number of entries from foreigners. In fact, there is a Korean artist serialising with us now. As for becoming an assistant, of course he/she must come to Japan and reside in Japan first, as well as able to speak Japanese because he/she would have to work closely with the artist. Needless to say, the applicant must be very good at drawing pictures.

Q6: How do they apply as assistants, do they submit their work to the publisher first?
Yes, they have to apply to the publisher and Oda-sensei will check if the work is good enough. Then Oda-sensei will provide a sample and ask the applicant to draw this kind of picture as a test.

And that is all for the interview!

I hope my readers learnt more about the making of a successful manga series such as ONE PIECE and the important role of comic editors. Be sure to check out the exhibition and my previous blog entry about it!

"Hello, ONE PIECE"exhibition
The Maritime Experiential Museum (RWS)
Now till 1 Jan 2019
Ticket price: $15 (includes entry to museum)
To purchase online:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Hello, ONE PIECE exhibition at RWS till 1Jan 2019

I had the privilege to attend a preview of "Eiichiro Oda presents Hello, ONE PIECE Luffy is here!" exhibition at The Maritime Experiential Museum in Resorts World Sentosa. The exhibition runs from now till 1 Jan 2019 and costs $15, which also includes entry into the museum.

The exhibition is divided into 4 parts:

1. Hello, ONE PIECE!
The exhibition starts off with a greeting and overview of ONE PIECE to visitors. You can also spot an animated projection of Luffy, where the I is located (above my head), from time to time.

There is also a photo-taking spot to fulfil your temporary dream of becoming the King of Pirates!!! (Yes you are supposed to raise both hands like Luffy!😂)

2. Hello, Luffy!
Part 2 showcases the five keywords that defines Luffy through the manga pages.

Some original manuscripts can be seen too.

3. Hello, Colourful World!
Next is the coloured illustration section with high resolution reproductions of the originals, as well as a video showing how he coloured his artwork.

It also features a replica of his drawing desk. On the desk are his art materials, sketches, decorations, references, as well as his secret manuals that he uses to document all of his ONE PIECE characters and skills. It is like a guidebook for himself as the ONE PIECE world is very big.

4. Hello, Playful World!
This is a VR experience zone where you can get into the mind of Oda-sensei drawing using the SketchUp software. It costs an additional $8 and lasts for 3-5min.

And yes, fans can spot the hidden pandas at each booth too!

As fans of ONE PIECE, my assistant and I really enjoyed the exhibition and left the place in awe. We were not only impressed by the artwork, but also Oda-sensei's passion to create such a big universe and long-running series with new characters all the time.

Next, I will be featuring an exclusive interview with Mr. Kohei Onishi, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Shueisha Weekly Shonen Jump. He is the 5th editor in charge of ONE PIECE since 2007. If you are interested to know more about the making of this famous manga series, please come back to my blog again tomorrow! 😁

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Takashimaya Japan Food Matsuri in Singapore

Ok I'm back blogging again! Woho~ (Because I finished some projects and editing my new book) This time I visited the Japan Food Matsuri (matsuri means festival) at Takashimaya basement 2 hall to check out what they brought in from Japan 👊 The fair runs from 28 Sep to 14 Oct.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Recovering from Inguinal hernia open repair surgery

This blog post is to share my experience with people who have hernia and what to expect after surgery.

I felt a small lump that comes and goes on my right groin without any pain at the beginning of the year so I ignored it for several months. Moreover I was rushing my 4th book at that time and had no time to see a doctor. I was worried if it's something serious, I would have to take time off from the book and I would miss the deadline. But I continued to ignore the lump after I was done with the book because it comes and goes, and there was no pain.

However it became worse after a replacement yoga instructor took over a class that I regularly go to in June. She made us do a lot of hip opening, stretches and core work and I felt pain a few hours later. My right groin area was in small pain whenever I walked. I couldn't tell if it was the lump causing the problem or tendon/muscles got torn so I went to see both a masseur and a TCM (traditional chinese medicine) physician. The masseur suspected I just hurt the tendons but my physician suspected that I have hernia. She advised me to see a gynaecology doctor for a scan to make sure. Meanwhile the masseur fixed the pain I had while walking so I had a glimmer of hope it was just a simple muscle tear.

Unfortunately my gynae doctor had the same suspicion as my TCM physician because the lump disappeared when I laid down and became more prominent when standing. She ordered both an uterus and a pelvic ultrasound scan for me. A week later, the result was out, I had femoral hernia 😢. I was referred to a general surgeon to have it fixed. Because the lump was not obvious, I had another scan done at the hospital, but the result was the same, femoral hernia. Their advise was once there is a hole, it can only get bigger as you age and the only way to fix it is with a mesh repair done. The procedure is common, simple and safe and I won't need to worry about my intestines popping out and get strangulated (which will become life-threatening).

By then, I already felt no pain but just occasional discomfort as if my right groin had a liquid balloon. It was especially uncomfortable when my stomach was gassy. I couldn't do yoga, carry heavy things nor run as these could make the hernia worse. So I opted for surgery in hope that I can do all the things that I used to be able to do.

However I read online about the side effects and grew worried. Some people experience chronic pain and some had an infected mesh that requires a second surgery to remove it. So I asked my surgeon if I could do without a mesh but he still recommended to have it. He said that if there's no problem for the first 2 months, then it is unlikely to have infected mesh after that. So I hoped for the best.

The open surgery
My surgery was scheduled in the afternoon 3.30pm so I could still eat and drink by 9.30am. It would be an open surgery under general anaesthesia because the doctor thought that I was young and can recover faster than the older folks... (so I have been having elderly problem at a young age 😑...) It was the first time I have a surgery done so I was a bit nervous when I was rolled into the surgical theatre. The anaesthesia doctor introduced herself and reconfirmed that I had no allergy before injection. The surgeon talked to me for a while and within a few minutes, my eyelids became heavy and I was knocked out.

The surgeon woke me up after the surgery, which was around 70-90 mins and asked how I felt. I replied ok and continued to close my eyes while I was being rolled back to my ward. It was as if I woke up from a good sleep. The doctor visited me later and told me that I had the more common inguinal hernia instead of femoral hernia and the wound was around 2". There was some swelling and my entire right lower tummy was aching. He said it's because of the pulling of the skin during surgery and it should get better after some days.

Day 1:
There was some pain on my wound after surgery that extended to my right tummy. I was given painkillers which helped. I was able to get down from bed and slowly make my way to the toilet but it was painful sitting down, getting up and moving around.The wound was swollen and of course I opted not to take a bath. I had a sore throat so I drank sips of water.

Day 2:
Getting down from bed and going to toilet was slightly better and there was no pain when I wasn't moving. The back of my heels were getting painful from lying down for too long. I can be discharged in the morning so I sat most of the time at my parent's home. But this made my back uncomfortable and my legs pretty stiff. My sore throat was gone, maybe thanks to the antibiotics too.

Day 3:
I was worried about constipation but luckily my breakfast coffee got me back into "motion". Groin was still swollen but significantly lesser pain when sitting down and getting up. I tried to walk more because I felt my legs swelling up due to lack of movement. I decreased painkillers by one dose as I was worried about its side effects.

Day 4:
There was an odd feeling that the wound was more swollen than yesterday and a bit numb but lesser pain when I sat down and got up. I stopped the painkillers completely as the pain was little and bearable. I tried to walk around the house more so blood can get flowing to my legs instead of just sitting down all the time. I even walked slowly around the block for 20min. The waterproof bandage seemed still intact. I had no sore throat but the occasional coughs made the wound burn in pain.

Day 5:
Groin is still swollen and the waterproof bandage seemed attached to my skin... (I guess it will be painful when it's time to remove). Somehow my right lower ab is a bit more painful than before when I get out of bed. Hope the pain disappears gradually. I walked a bit inside the house instead of outside.

Still swollen and painful whenever I cough. I guess the swelling and pain will take some time to disappear completely.

My right lower ab is no longer in pain. Not sure if the pain in stretching is due to the waterproof plaster or not. I was well enough to walk to nearby mall to eat and do groceries.

Day 8:
Went to see my surgeon to have the plaster removed. Wound is recovering well and clean but still swollen and numb. Doctor said it will take another 2-3 weeks for it to go down. I was given advise to only walk for 10min and not more than that for the next 2 weeks as the wound might ache if I push too much. After which, I could walk as much as I want but still no yoga for at least 2 months.

Day 9:
Not sure if it's because I went to my client's place yesterday to help with their wall murals so my lower tummy is in ache/pain whenever I stand up and walk around. It also hurts more when I was trying to get up from bed.

Day 10:
Tummy ache is gone but the wound still hurts when I move and the whole pelvic area is still swollen. The area around the wound is also still numb, though less numb than before. Maybe that's why I could feel more pain...

Day 11 and beyond:
Swelling and pain feels about the same everyday now. It's still painful whenever I cough or sneeze or use that part of the muscle to move, such as lying down or getting up. I can't toss around in bed like I used to because it would hurt... Hopefully it will get better next week!

The cause of my hernia?
The cause of my hernia could be born with naturally thinner muscle wall, or too much sitting to draw or yoga. I'm not exactly sure but I guess I wouldn't be doing deep forward bends or back bends for a long time...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Evacomics at AFA 2017 (C3AFA)

This year's Anime Festival Asia is quite different because the Creators Hub is tucked away at a corner. In the past, it's located at the back of the hall along with the commercial booths.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Evacomics at STGCC 2017

My latest book "Eva, Kopi and Matcha 2.0" (aka. EKM2.0) made it on time for STGCC (Singapore Toy Game and Comic Convention) this year so I rented a expensive booth table there. Because of that, I was also invited to be in a panel to talk about the local comics scene along with Dan Wong (A Good Citizen), Derrick Chew (DCWJ) and WaHa (CDS).

Thursday, June 29, 2017

11 Places to hike in Singapore to lose weight

I gained weight after quitting gym last year and that extra load of fats refused to shake off no matter what I did 😑. So after Chinese New Year, I made a resolution to shed that 4kg (so I can eat more later) by doing yoga almost everyday and hiking once a week. I also stopped eating cakes (my favorite, sob...) for 2 months and ate salad almost every day.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Social media and drawing workshop to student correspondents from local press

(Photo credit: 汉聪)
I was invited to conduct a workshop to a group of student correspondents from a local press on 29 October last year. The objective of the student correspondent program was to train them to become future journalists. So in order to let them get some hands-on experience, the press would occasionally invite people to talk about our trade and be interviewed by them.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Evacomics at EOY Cosplay Festival 2016

Because I thought I wasn't getting a booth at AFA, I applied for a booth at EOY. When I first came back from Japan, I was offered a table to sell my artwork so I was interested to know if it's going to be different after 3 years. (Blogged about it here)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My BPPV experience (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo)

Some of you were shocked to learn that I have stones in my ears but actually everybody has them. In normal circumstances, they stay inside a chamber with a membrane to keep them from going out. However when a person ages or suffer from a head trauma, these small stones may dislodge and float around in the ear fluid tubes that disturbs the body's balance system (aka vestibular system) and the mind perceives the room as spinning although it isn't, aka vertigo giddiness. The term BPPV means the vertigo is aggravated by certain head positions, comes suddenly and although it seems serious, it is actually not life threatening. However during a vertigo attack, it is very uncomfortable as the whole room seems spinning.

BPPV is common among elderly and people with head trauma. So the only thing I recalled doing out of the blue was an aerial yoga session 2 days before and an attempt on tripod headstand the day before. I only felt fatigue on that day and suddenly woke up to a spinning room the next day. Luckily, it only lasts a few seconds. I thought it would go away but when I laid down at night, the room spun again too so I decided to go to a polyclinic (subsidised government clinic) the next day fearing something serious.

The doctor said it could be an ear fluid imbalance problem so he referred me to Tan Tock Seng Hospital's ENT department. Sadly for me it was a month's wait (SGH is like 6 months). Meanwhile, I continued to do my yoga. But during the yoga session, my neck ached very badly and I wondered if it was actually neck injury causing my vertigo problem. Out of anxiety (and long wait to ENT), I went to visit a chiropractor and 2 TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) clinics. Frankly speaking the acupuncture was more effective in relieving the muscle ache than chiropractor's.

Thinking back I should have visited the ENT specialist earlier and pay the full rate instead of delaying treatment.

Treatment: Epley's Maneuver

Monday, June 6, 2016

Another Naiise retail shop for local artists and designers to showcase and sell our products

If you have been receiving all the posts from my FB and Instagram, you'll know that my book and cat cushions are now selling at all 6 Naiise outlets in Singapore. They opened a brand new flagship store at the Cathay's basement this month and they invited all suppliers to party!

Friday, May 13, 2016

New yoga studio opens in SAFRA Punggol!

Finally a yoga studio near home! I was enthusiastic and purchased Yoga Inc.'s special opening package of 5 classes to try out, sorry offer no more ^^;;

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflections on 2015

2015 has been a busy year for me, fulfilling some commission work (bulk orders like 8-15 comic strips) and giving talks from "Lessons Learnt from Self-Publishing" to "Visiting Tokyo". I was also kept busy trying to sell as many books and cushions as possible.

Significant achievement in 2015 is my signing with MPH (how it came to this will be explained in another post), becoming their author and no longer self-published. I also went to Jakarta for the first time and saw my first foreign published book "Eva The Explorer", which is actually the same book as "Eva, Kopi and Matcha" but different language. My work was stolen by a Vietnamese magazine but it was eventually resolved favourably, leading to the release of of a Vietnamese version next year.

I learnt a lot about freelancing practice in 2015. It is better NOT to do a one-year project for more than 8 comic strips because it is very difficult to plan time when Clients suddenly wants the comic. Government jobs were also NOT as easy as I thought because I always had to wait for the boss to reply to the middle-man officer liaising with me. Many things get lost in translation too. There is another thing I hate about Singapore business is the practice of asking 3 quotes from different vendors to select the best/cheapest price, which is not me. I also had a so-called multi-national company who made me go through x2 one-hour phone calls, a personal trip down to their far-away factory, only to have my proposal rejected a few weeks before their supposed training date. It was strange because they were initially begging me although I was unwilling to take on and later dumped me aside after I committed so much time. I know this happens regularly in business but time is precious to me so I no longer entertain anyone from HR.

Because I could sense that all these commission work are draining me and taking time away from my comics, I started my Patreon account in March to see if fans would support me to a point that eventually I could cut off all my commission work and concentrate on my comics and work on book 2, which I hope to be all-new content. Despite having over 90,000 likes, there are only 47 patrons as of now, a handful are my personal friends. As the bulk of my fans are from Asia, my hypothesis is that such an idea of supporting your favorite artist without getting tangible thing in return is still a very novel idea.

As for my book sales, I was led to believe my fans were not supportive when the initial report came in April from my distributor, 10 months after passing my books to them. There were only around 200+ copies sold and nearly 1,000 unsold inventory. Disappointed at the dismal sale, I asked for a return of partial stock, as I managed to sell 1,000 copies on my own through talks and events. However behold! I was told 2 months later that actually my books sold well and there was barely any stock left! The explanation from my then publisher (whom I paid money to publish) was that bookstores make payment based on invoices with multiple titles attached to it, so the distributor had to estimate the sale of each title and did not expect my book to be selling so well because I was a first-time author and bookstores allocated my books to poor shelf locations. This whole thing is also a long story that I will write in-depth another day. Finally on the very last day in 2015, I received my money from the distributor, which I will use to payback a 0% interest loan I received to self-publish.

On Christmas day, I caught a bad flu and was immediately ill on that night. If you had been reading my blog for a long time, you would know my history in Japan was dotted with illness. The changing seasons in Japan had weakened my health a lot. Once I catch any cold or flu, it will put me down for several days and can take up to a month to recover. That's why I often go to my Chinese medicine physician and started doing yoga (besides to relief neck and shoulder pain from drawing). Of course, being ill for so long made me recall unhappy thoughts like "fans" not buying my books and cushions, and not supporting me on Patreon. But as I become better, I become more positive again and focus on the real fans (much lesser than what FB displays), who showed up at my events, bought my stuff and encouraged me. I also remembered my fans at Patreon, many who did not ask anything in return except for me to continue drawing, I should not disappoint them.

For 2016, I look forward to working on my book 2, as I have cleared all my commission work. I will survive mainly on my past savings, a small 1hr/week teaching stint and support from my fans at Patreon, so I hope to deliver more exclusive content to them as well. I will also try to work on more LINE stickers despite low revenue from there.

I would like to thank all my fans who had bought my book and cushions. I remember the fan who bought my A3 print, the fan who dashed down to buy the cushions first thing next day, and those that loaded a car full of cats back home. I also sincerely thank my sponsor/creditor who believed in me and funded my work to be published despite rejected by the local publisher that I thought was my only hope to be published. Lastly I want to thank my fans at Patreon, without you I couldn't have raised my commission rate gradually and cut down the quantity. Wishing you all

Happy New Year!

P.S. There is a panda in the illustration, have fun!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC) 2015

Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention STGCC 2015
With nothing to sell this year, I went to Singapore Toy Game and Comics Convention, aka STGCC 2015 (12-13 Sep) as a media visitor to check out the exhibits, the artist alley and crowd.

One-day pass costs $19 and two-day pass costs $28, increased from $25 last year. Kids below 5 can enjoy free admission on Sat and kids below 12 can enjoy free admission on Sunday. Unfortunately this information was not well conveyed as many people I spoke to did not know about this.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


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