Thursday, March 3, 2016

Travel Tip: How to Organize Your Photos In 5 Steps

Have you lost some photos or videos with duplicate names thinking that they're the same file but come to find out that they're not after you deleted them? Have you taken thousands of photos and don't know where to begin organizing them? Are you really just not sure how to organize your photos? With all these devices that we have nowadays to take photos it can become quite tricky.

After staying an entire month in Japan, I'm sad to say that I have indeed lost some video files due to duplicate file names and thinking that they're the same file. I ended up deleting those files when I was in the process of uploading them to my computer and now they're gone forever. That said, I know how awful it feels when you've deleted a memory from your camera on accident. And if you travel a lot, then you know that your photos and videos are probably the best souvenirs you could bring back from your trip. So today, I'm gonna show you some tips on how to prevent this from happening so you don't lose those precious memories forever. 

Step #1: Stay On Top of Managing Your Photos/Videos:

After each day is over, empty all of your files from your memory card onto your computer. I find that it's best to get them all organized while it's still fresh in your mind. Yeah, I get that you'll probably be really tired after all that walking around and sight seeing, but believe me, it will be worth the little extra effort so you don't have to think later on where you were after the trip is over . 

I also recommend not cramming every single file into one folder. This is part of what lead to my despair of deleting memories that were not duplicate files. Instead, create a folder for each camera (if you're bringing more than one), then inside that folder, create another folder starting with Day One. If you want, you can also add the date to your folder. For example: Day One - 3.3.16. Also, if you want, you can add extra folders inside each day and label the location of where the photos/videos were taken. Remember to organize each location in order. I would recommend doing this same process for your video files as well.

By the end of your trip, it should look something like this:

If you really don't want to label the location, I would advise getting a GPS tracker for your camera that marks where your photo was taken. Even with the GPS tracker, I would still organize them in as much detail as you can.

Step #2: If you Have more than One Camera With You, Don't Keep Switching SD Cards For Your Cameras:

Doing this may lead to duplicate file names. Make sure each camera has their own card and don't switch them. Once they're in that camera, they should stay with that camera because when cameras take photos, they all have their own file names numbered in order. So when when you switch cards, the camera will think it's a new card and it will start numbering from the beginning or from where it last left off in that card. 

Step 3: Keep Original Files in Their Own Folder:

For example, I keep all the original files in the folder I copied them to, then I create a second folder inside the folder that the originals are placed and save the edited copies there. The reason I do this is because once I've edited a picture, the original time that the photo was taken will be modified. So I keep the original photo so I know when that photo was taken. Also, you never know when you want to go back and re-edit an original photo. 

Step #4: Delete any duplicates, blurry, over exposed, etc photos:

Deleting photos is something I normally dislike doing. However, if you simply can't make out what the photo is, just delete it. There's no point in keeping a photo you can't figure out what it is. It's just taking up space wherever it's being stored. Make sure to delete any photos that have no chance of fixing up in Photoshop, Lightroom, or whatever program you use to edit your pictures. 

Step #5: Back Up Your Photos:

After following Steps 1-2, it'd be wise to copy all of your photos to your main computer once you've arrived home from your trip. If you want to be extra sure that your photos will never be gone, upload them to an online service and/or to an external hard drive.

Google Drive is a great way to save your photos. It's free and you can upload as many photos as you want. 

Flickr is another way to back up your pictures. It's also free and people from around the world can share, favorite, and comment on your photos. Flickr also shows the date your photo was taken and what settings you used to take each photo. 

Smugmug is apparently what the pros use. You get unlimited uploads and you can display the photos on a website. The only drawback is that it's not free. It's $5 a month bill for a basic plan. It's not bad but why pay for a service when there are free ones available? Personally, I don't use Smugmug. I use Google Drive and Flickr to back up my pictures.

And that's pretty much it! These steps can also be used for wherever you are in the world. Whether you're at home, at an activity in your home town, a friend's house, etc. After traveling and being a photographer for some time, I hope to apply these steps for my future travels and I hope you all will too. Hope this helps to whoever is reading this!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Japanese Manga For Beginners: Guide to Reading Real Japanese Part 1

I've been reading up quite a bit on this topic and I felt I should share my experience on reading manga in Japanese. Now, I'm nowhere near fluent but I do understand enough Japanese to get around Japan. You could probably say my level of Japanese is at Beginner Level II. Not quite intermediate yet but enough to understand some of the language and enough to get me around the country. I've been studying Japanese off and on since 2007. I began studying back in college for 2.5 years and from then on, I was on my own and it was great! I learned so much within those two years of hard work. I then went to Japan for two weeks and gained even more knowledge of the country's culture and language. Then about 6 years later, in March-April of 2015, I spent a whole month traveling in Tokyo. I dream of one day taking an 8 week summer course to study more Japanese in Tokyo. 

Since I don't have the money for that now, I'm doing my best to immerse myself in the language. It is said that immersing yourself as much as possible is a great way to learn and I agree. Manga is one of the many great tools for learning more vocabulary and slang words because it teaches you how to use it properly. You can use websites like to create digital flashcards to help you learn a new word. Anyway, without further adieu, here is my list of easiest manga to read that I have in my collection! 

Side-note: If you're interested in buying any of the manga series mentioned in this blog, they can be purchased at can ship any books, CDs, and DVDs outside of Japan to your country.

1. ドラゴンボールSD/ドラゴンボールサイヤ人編
    Dragon Ball SD/Dragon Ball Saiyajin-Hen

Ah yes, the famous
Dragon Ball. When I was in Tokyo, I decided to pick up the latest reprints of the series while I was shopping at Book 1st (A huge book/manga store in Tokyo). Dragon Ball SD is about the misadventures of Goku and friends from the original story. The series is supervised by Akira Toriyama (the creator of Dragon Ball). Both of these books are entirely in color and they both have furigana next to the kanji. Furigana is a helpful tool for learning to read Kanji. Most children's books and manga have Furigana so it's easier for younger readers to read Kanji. Dragon Ball Saiyajin-Hen is a color edited version of the original black and white series. Dragon Ball is a pretty wordy series. Lots of thinking will be involved in trying to comprehend this from Japanese to English. It may help to have an english version handy if you get stuck.

2. ふくふくふにゃーんNEW/ふくふくふにゃーん文庫版 
    FukuFuku Funyan NEW/FukuFuku Funyan (Bunkoban)

I remember discovering this series when I was at the Kyoto manga museum back in 2009. I loved that this series was super easy to read. It barely has any text involved at all. If I remember correctly, the Tankoban volumes of the original FukuFuku Funyan has furigana. However, it's super difficult to get a hold of those old volumes so the best rout to take is to buy the Bunkoban volumes. The Bunkoban volumes do not have furigana nor does FukuFuku Funyan NEW. However, if you have a denshi jisho of some sort, it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out the reading of the kanji (I'll write more about denshi jisho in a future post). Most of the kanji in this series are simple to read without furigana anyway. The stories are all very cute and the reading fast paced because it is so simple. If you like cat manga, definitely grab this series and give it a go.

3. チーズスイートホーム 
    Chi's Sweet Home

I think everyone who has read this series in Japanese can agree that this is perhaps one of the easiest manga out there to read in its original language. Much like Fukufuku Funyan, there isn't much reading to do. It's one of those series that you don't have to think too much about but at the same time is an enjoyable read. The series is entirely in color and the story follows a cat named Chi who gets separated from her mom while out on a walk. Chi finds a new human family to live with while she searches for her mother. Unlike Fukufuku Funyan, this series does have furigana. In case you couldn't guess, Chi's Sweet Home is by the creator of Fukufuku Funyan. I highly recommend this manga for any beginner wanting to read manga in Japanese. This series was in fact the very first manga I could understand fully without much help.

4. どらえもんカラー作品集
   Doraemon Color Works

The Doraemon Color Works is a 6 volume series featured in full color. These are the misadventures of Nobita, Doraemon and friends from the original Doraemon series. The text is fairly simple to understand. Furigana is included. Doraemon has been an extremely popular franchise for children since the late 60's and he is still going strong today. Be sure to also check out the original Doraemon series that was published in CoroCoro Comics Magazine. There are 45 volumes in total of the original series. I strongly recommend reading anything created by Fujiko F Fujio (creator of Doraemon) in general.

5. どぶつの森 ホヒンダ村だより 
    Dobutsu no Mori Hohinda Mura Dayori

If you're a fan of the Dobutsu no Mori (Animal Crossing) franchise, picking up the manga is a great choice. It's a real shame that none of the Animal Crossing manga has been released outside of Japan. The franchise is so popular here that companies probably would make a ton of money off of the manga as well. Since there are no English translated volumes in America you'd have to fully rely on your knowledge of Japanese to get through it. Scanlations aren't even available online in English either. There are at least 5 other Animal Crossing manga series I own in my collection. This one was the first series I picked up back in 2009 on my first trip to Japan. I had no idea there was Animal Crossing manga available to read and I was happy to discover that the reading was fairly easy (and yes there is furigana). Especially if you're familiar with the franchise. 

6. よつばと!Yotsubato!

Like with Chi's Sweet Home, I think anyone who has read this series can agree that Yotsubato! is a great beginner manga to read in Japanese. To my surprise, it was pretty simple to read in its original language. This was the second manga series I was able to read without much help. The series is by the creator of the well known comedy anime series, Azumanga Daioh. If you loved that series, definitely make sure to add this series to your manga collection. PS: Furigana is provided.

7. サルゲッチュ Saru Gecchu

Also known as Ape Escape in English, this manga was published in CoroCoro Comics Magazine with a total of 9 volumes. I remember reading and liking the series in the magazine back in 2009 when I had a full year subscription to CoroCoro. The series can be quite humorous and has made me laugh a number of times. Sadly, there are no English translations available anywhere so you'll be on your own for translating it yourself. Since the series was published in CoroCoro, that means that it was intended for children and it does have furigana. 

8. 妖怪ウオッチ Youkai Watch

Youkai Watch is the latest popular children's series in Japan. I saw this series everywhere I looked when I went to Japan in 2015. I decided to purchase a couple volumes of the manga at New Days Conbini when I was grabbing myself some snacks for my next Shinkansen ride. I fell in love with the series and I could see why it was so popular. Reading is pretty simple with furigana available. The characters are fun and lovable which makes it a great read. Definitely recommend this series to anyone's collection. I recommend getting the English volumes as well if you find yourself getting stumped. Bit of warning with the English volumes, the names of some of the Youkai and Characters were unfortunately localized. 

9. まじかるタルるートくん Magical Taruruto-Kun

I remember discovering this manga at a Book Off I went to here in the US. I believe it was either in NYC or somewhere in LA. Can't remember which one but it was one of those two but anyway, the series is 16 volumes long. I fell in love with how simple it was to understand and bought the first volume without question. It's a JUMP Comics series which means it does have furigana. The majority of the time, there isn't a lot of text in each bubble which makes this manga simple to read. I love the humor in this manga and I ended up buying the entire series used on for a decent price. I definitely recommend this to any beginner!

10. ちよこれいと Chocoreito

Chokoreito is a shoujo manga series published in Nakayoshi Magazine. I've heard that shoujo manga is easier than shounen manga however, I believe that they're both about equal in reading levels. Some are difficult, some are moderate, some are easy. In my opinion, Chokoreito fits in the easy category. Not much text in the bubbles, furigana is of course available since it's a children's manga. The vocabulary is pretty easy to grasp. That said, this manga would be great for shoujo manga lovers and those who just want to feel happy knowing they can understand manga in Japanese. The story and art is cute and I honestly love anything by this author (Fukushima Haruka).

11. Chocotan

Chocotan is currently being published in Ribbon Magazine (a magazine similar to Nakayoshi). These magazines are filled with comics that are geared towards teenyboppers in Japan. All series published under Nakayoshi, Ribbon, and Caio magazines have furigana. I would say that Chocotan is more at a moderate Japanese reading level. It's a bit wordier than Chokoreito but still fairly easy to get what's going on. I would not recommend it for a total beginner but someone who is more at Beginner Level II. The series is about a girl who falls in love with a guy named Arima and she has a dog that has the ability to speak human. It's art and story are really cute. Sadly, only one chapter has been translated into English. No official volumes have been released in the United States as of yet. You will have to rely on your Japanese skills to get through this one after chapter 1.

12. コロコロコッミク CoroCoro Magazine

CoroCoro Magazine is a manga magazine geared towards boys. You can easily pick this up at any bookstore in Japan or any Japanese Bookstore in the US. What I like about this magazine is that it has beautiful color advertisements with tons of vocabulary to learn. It also introduces you to some great children's manga that are pretty simple to read. I would not have found out about Saru Gecchu if it weren't for this magazine. Every word in this magazine has furigana. I loved reading this magazine every month back when I had a subscription to it in 2009. It was something I looked forward to. 

In case I didn't say this already, all the series I have mentioned are for those who are at Beginner Level II. If you start out with a wordier series like Dragon Ball or Bakuman, you may find yourself feeling a bit discouraged and frustrated. I don't recommend starting out with wordy manga for a total beginner. If you're a total beginner, I would recommend starting out with Chi's Sweet Home and/or Yotsubato. Starting off easy and working your way towards more difficult levels is the best rout to take with any new thing you learn. 

Also, if it wasn't obvious already, you must know how to read hiragana and katakana to read any manga in Japan. Romaji is basically non-existent in any Japanese manga. Once you learn those two alphabets, you'll be able to read manga with furigana. Of course, as you get better, you won't always need furigana to help you read kanji. All it takes is a bit of practice and patience. And that's all! I hope you all found this post useful and I hope you will check out the manga mentioned in this post. Next time, I plan on writing about easy books to read in Japanese.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Japanese Manga Collection

Happy New Year all! Sorry it's been awhile since I lost wrote anything. Been busy. Anyway, Since I've been snowed in from the blizzard of 2016 with a grand total of 25" in my area, I decided to reorganize my bookshelves since I haven't had much else to do. I really liked how it all turned out. The spines of Japanese books and manga are so beautiful. It really gives my room a nice added touch to it. Anyway, here's how my collection currently stands...

This shelf here is what I call the shoujo manga shelve. It contains only shoujo manga. I have my video game collection down below temporarily just to fill some space until I get more volumes. Here's all my shoujo manga closer up...

On the top shelf here^, I have my entire collecton of Nakayoshi Comics.

Down below, I have my collection of Ribon,Ciao, and ChuChu Comics.

To the left of this shelf, I have my collection of shounen comics.

Starting from the top again, I have the entire series of Magical Taruruuto-kun. I plan on adding more shounen jump comics to the top part of the shelf.

Below my collection of Taruruuto-kun, I have more assorted Shounen jump comics, Tentou mushi, Corocoro, etc.

Here are my big tankoban manga that couldn't fit on my shelves. 

And that's basically it for my manga collection. Up next, I have my collection of Corocoro magazine from 2009 and I have my collection of Japanese reference books for studying purposes. 

Down below are some close ups of my Japanese reference books.

And that's it! My collection will be forever growing throughout the next following years. I love collecting Japanese books and manga. It's a fun language to learn.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Haul 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza this year! If you celebrate Christmas, hopefully Santa made a stop by your house this year. I know he dropped by mine. :) Usually, we always begin by opening our stockings first, so here's what I got in mine!

I got a couple of socks from Korea. Yokai Watch's Jibanyan and an adorable kitty sock. A new wallet from Japan. An avocado tool, a couple of gloves, some tasty Meiji chocolate from Japan and some lip balm. 

Now for the Christmas present haul! :)

- Powerpuff Girls complete series (I've been wanting this set for a couple of years now. Now I finally own it!)
- Pokemon: The Johto Journeys complete collection
- Dragon Ball Z Resurrection F Collectors Edition
- Toriko Collection One
- Kiki's Delivery Service (blu-ray)
- That Darn Cat 1997

- Moco Moco Friends 3DS

- Ash Ketchum Cosplay Jacket+Hat
- Orange Scarf
- White Shirt
- Lion King sock set from Hot Topic

- Yokai Watch DX First model (I remember I wanted this when I visited Japan earlier this year when I saw it at Don Quijote but didn't have enough room to pack it home.)
- Tamrac Camera Sling Bag
- Tobidase Osushi! (Search this up on youtube, it's pretty cool if you like making sushi!)
- Blutooth headset
- Meiji Apollo and Kinoko no Yama candy kits
- Auto Emergency Kit for my car
- An adorable pouch from Japan

And that's everything! I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful family and awesome friends to give me all this great stuff. Of course, I gave them a ton of stuff in return. :) What did you all get for Christmas? I hope your holiday was fun and drama free. To end this blog, I'll leave you with some close ups of everything I got. Happy Holidays everyone!