Saturday, April 24, 2010

Swagger With Swag!: Korean Beauty Products Giveaway from Lizz Buenaventura

* I don't claim to be a beauty product expert, I just share personal recommendations of products which work best for me. :P What works for me may not work for you, so please proceed with caution, thanks for understanding! ;3

While I understand that Korean beauty is ulzzang/best face style and notably different from gyaru, I have steadily realised that the styles share notable similarities, including the following:
  1. Prominent eye make-up - this is one of the biggest things they have in common, because fans of both styles often wear much eyeliner, mascara and eyelash extensions. They also practise face contouring, which aims to make the eyes look bigger. I'm not sure which style promotes the use of contact lenses more, but I am sure glad that eyeglasses have been incorporated into the gyaru wardrobe now! As many of you already know, while I like contact lenses for their high style quotient, I am loathe to use them because my eye area is extremely dry and sensitive, and I'm deathly afraid of going blind. 
  2. A certain way of hair styling and colouring - both styles promote coloured hair and the use of bangs, although they rotate between straight, curly and wavy styles in different times. 
  3. Face contouring - both styles aim to make the face look really good, with the nose looking less flat and the cheeks looking more prominent. However, gyaru goes for a more natural over-all face look since the eyes are already the star of the make-up style, and ulzzang goes for a polished face look with the works. 
  4. Focus on optimum face care - you cannot fake good skin, so every Japanese and Korean magazine I own have skin care product features and demos to ensure you look fresh and flawless every time. But because I have more Japanese magazines (granted, one is a Chinese edition, but still!) and only 2 from Korea, I am not sure which country/fashion style puts more steps into its beauty routine.
This is why I make use of Japanese and Korean (and Chinese - from Hongkong and Taiwain) make-up and beauty goods extensively in my daily (meaning 24/7) wardrobe. In fact, there are four(count 'em!) products which I cannot live without:

[AD] Neverwinter Nights!

Many people don't know this, but Mahal was once a die-hard player of Neverwinter Nights. I'm not sure which version it is, but it would most likely have been the AOL one, since he was talking about it when we first met, which was a few years after the AOL version closed and before the BioWare version opened. (Hahaha our age is showing! XD)

At the time I met him, there were no MMORPGs available online yet. Ragnarok Online wouldn't be available for another 3 years in the Philippines, and as everyone here knows it's the very first one we got. And to be honest, all I knew was pen-and-paper (or, in my case especially, keyboard-and-screen) RPG playing. I know my geek creds are gonna fly out the window when I admit this, but I still haven't quite mastered the art of hardcore pen-and-paper dice-rolling RPGs.

So I did my research online, and here's what I've learned about the game (thanks to Wikipedia :P):

Neverwinter Nights (NWN), produced by BioWare and published by Infogrames (now Atari), is a third-person perspective computer role-playing game that is based on third edition Dungeons & Dragons and Forgotten Realms rules. It was originally to be published by Interplay Entertainment, but the publisher's financial difficulties forced the change. Infogrames released Neverwinter Nights for Windows on June 18, 2002. BioWare released the freely downloadable Linux Client in June 2003 (purchase of game still required). MacSoft released a Mac OS X port in August 2003. Two expansion packs were released in mid and late 2003, and a third in 2005. On October 31, 2006, the sequel Neverwinter Nights 2 was released followed by its first expansion in late 2007 and its second one at the end of 2008. The game was based on the concept of building an internet-like model for a massively multiplayer game, allowing the end users to host the server. The belief was this model would create a potentially infinite massively multiplayer game framework. The game was named after the original Neverwinter Nights online game, the first graphical MMORPG, which ran from 1991 to 1997 on AOL.

More history here and here.

So apparently this was the very first graphical MMORPG in the history of EVER. It's also one of the very first multiserver MMORPGs. PLUS, apparently,

NWN game modules run as a variety of separate genres and themes, including persistent worlds (which are similar to MUDs), combat arenas (player versus player modules), whole servers dedicated to sexually oriented roleplay, and simple social gatherings similar to a chat room. The campaign included with the game can be played with friends, for example, or a team of builders can build a virtual world similar in scope and size to commercial MMORPGs. BioWare insists that these persistent worlds be free of charge, primarily for reasons of copyright law.
Because Neverwinter Nights lacks a global chat function aside from the supported Gamespy, players typically join "pickup" games through the game's multiplayer interface, or schedule games in advance with friends. Matchmaking sites, such as Neverwinter Connections, facilitate scheduling of games, and the experience is much like traditional Pen-and-Paper roleplaying games. Persistent worlds do this work for them by inviting players to visit their website and continue to roleplay there.
Neverwinter Nights ships with the Aurora toolset, which allows players to create custom modules for Neverwinter Nights. These modules may take the form of online multiplayer worlds, single player adventures, character trainers or technology demos. Additionally, several third party utilities have further expanded the community's ability to create custom content for the game. Custom content creators are known as builders in the Neverwinter Nights community.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a role-playing game based in the Star Wars universe, was also released by BioWare using a heavily modified version of the Aurora engine of Neverwinter Nights. The sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, also used this modified engine. Because of this, modders have been able to modify these games using some Neverwinter Nights modding tools.
BioWare used Neverwinter Nights and its toolset to develop prototypes and mock-ups of various areas and scenarios for Dragon Age: Origins.

So why have I not been playing this??? DDDDDDDDDDD:

... Oh yeah, at least 2/3 of the MMORPG players in my country have not heard of this at all. XP This is a serious disadvantage when you're dependent on Japanese and Korean game developers, yes. I wanna make my own maps and not rely on one linear path to enjoy my game, dammit! (As much as I have loved Granado Espada, I've noticed that all the quests you can finish get you to a certain stage and a certain level in the game, and that if you don't do any of them you are guaranteed not to be able to enjoy any "advancement". That, to me, kinda takes the fun out of role-playing ... I'm the type who just goes along for the ride, and doesn't really care about having the best weapons/armour/characters in her stable. Well that, and I just really enjoy killing and looting monsters, tedious as that may be. XD)
Waaaaaah, I can actually be married to Mahal in NWN! I SHOULD be playing this!

Right now, I've finally found a great place to buy latest version from - GameTap! Not only does GameTap have the most current version of the game, their version also includes the expansion packs Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark! That's SO much more convenient than having to get both expansion packs separately. (It does make me sad though that GameTap no longer mentions the Kingmaker expansion pack, which was released in November 2004 and features three premium modules: the titular award-winning Kingmaker, plus Shadowguard and Witch's Wake. Does this mean there was no resolution with Atari, one of the original developers of NWN until very recently?) True to the custom content building tradition that made NWN so popular, there are also community-created expansion packs available, but again you apparently need to get them from BioWare NWN website.

It seems like NWN is closing too, which is a shame because right now I can finally, FINALLY afford it. T.T It must be all the legal problems as well as the terrible economy. But I still truly want to play, if only to get to know, through the game, my Mahal more...

Excuse me, I need to go get me a credit card now...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I wish I did this before you left...


Yes, still feeling a bit of separation anxiety. We're like the Weaver Princess and Cowherd personified ... and hey, the even worse part is, the analogy fits too.

I miss you so much Mahal.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Discuss: Tokyo youth fashion invades Paris! [Updated]

So I am currently online checking out articles for work today, when I stumbled upon this from The Philippine Star's website, PhilStar. I know that Japan has belatedly realised that its fashion is very marketable worldwide, and that its brands have trouble finding a larger, more lucrative (read: international) market especially in the face of the global recession (which, strangely, hasn't been felt within and around the Philippines... yet). With all these things happening at the same time, it's nice to see that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is trying helping its fashion designers gain a foothold abroad. Called Tokyoeye, this ambitious pilot project by METI toured the world, starting at Shanghai and finishing in Paris, just after Fashion Week no less. This endeavour follows other similar moves that aim to promote, quite aggressively, Japanese culture to the world, notably the establishment of the Kansei Value Creation Initiative and the opening of the Kansei Value Creation Museum in Kobe and the launch of “NIPPON MONO ICHI – Spirit of Creation” in cooperation with the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, Japan (SMRJ) which aims to help SMEs - fashion brands included (they still aren't as big as car companies, banks and electronics corporations, after all) - use consumer-oriented products as mediums for their messages they wish to send to consumers (spirit of creation), by guiding them through the planning and development, distribution and marketing phases.

To quote from the Tokyoeye article on PhilStar:
The closing event in Paris was the highlight of Tokyoeye. From February to March, young Japanese brands like Aula Aila, Valentine’s High, Galaxxxy in Hi-Fi, Sachio Kawasaki, DRESSCAMP, Liz Lisa, Phenomenon, Duck Digger displayed their works at Colette — a boutique known as a bastion of cool.

Also according to the article, the Tranoï Showroom on rue Saint-Honoré opened young designers to deals with fashion buyers and merchandisers. If the designers play their cards right, we can will see some of our favourites in Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdales and Club 21, among others.

I believe that this effort is also related to Tokyoeye:
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will set up a Japan Booth at "MICAM SHOEVENT", the world’s largest-scale international footwear exhibition, and help Japanese companies exhibit their products. The event, taking place in Milan, Italy, is expected to attract about 40,000 buyers.

While Liz Lisa and even Cocolulu (strangely not a part of this line-up ... maybe because it's not highbrow enough?) are already making in-roads in Asia (I really wish I'd been able to go to the Liz Lisa Taipei store while I was in Taiwan last year), I definitely agree that the other brands need more buzz. Outside of the few people I know who have an idea of

However, the more I learn about the METI's past and present efforts, I'm getting the impression that METI is creating and promoting Tokyoeye as a high-end affair. What would happen to the Japanese street fashion brands and the youth subcultures that they inspired then, like Liz Lisa and Galaxxxy in Hi-Fi? Would it be the end of fukubukuro (loot bags) from our favourite stores? Will this turn our beloved "raw" tribe followings into haute couture exhibitions?

UPDATE: Strangely, there seems to be little news about Tokyoeye available online. Hmm. Here are some of the links that I was able to find (I didn't include those already posted earlier):

Article on Modem Mag
Article on the Mainichi Shimbun's English-language website
Thailand-Japan fabric and textile collaboration article on FashionWindows