26 June 2015



It's a big day today, people! The Romance Writers of the Philippines (RWP) is holding its first-ever online multi-author bash on Facebook ;-) Come join us HERE A different author will be featured every hour and we'll be having tons of freebies and giveaways!

I'll be taking over the page at 6-7PM tonight. I have lovely prizes waiting for those who will comment on my posts during that hour. Three lucky people will receive an ebook copy of Be Careful What You Wish For and the swag below:

3 people will receive: (2) kawaii post-its + (1) eraser + (1) washi tape + (2) chiyogami peg fridge magnets + (1) pop-up postcard of traditional Japanese shop

Join us and discover your next favourite author!

Gaga over Ikemen

When I first came to Tokyo many years ago, my brand of handsome was blond, blue-eyed, and Hollywood-hunky. After all, those were the types of guys I grew up watching on TV and in the movies. My exposure to the Asian ikemen movement was nil. Sure, I loved animes like Ranma ½, Sailor Moon, and Dragon Ball, but I hadn’t seen any dramas.

But I guess when you find yourself immersed in a particular culture, you learn to appreciate their own set of aesthetics. So it's not surprising that I am now a certified ikemen-convert (Though I still love Piolo and Channing!).

I made a list of ikemen a couple of years ago, but there are so many new faces that I couldn't help but make a new one. Here are my top ten picks:

1.     Oguri Shun – I love this guy so much I practically stalked him online when I was preggers with Kid1. Having watched almost every single movie and drama that starred him, I can truly say that he is more than just a pretty face. Aside from being a skilled actor both on film and on stage, he’s also dabbled in directing. He’s my peg for Ken Nakamura in Be Careful What You Wish For :-)

2.     Osamu Mukai – There is something wholesomely hot about Osamu Mukai. Hihihi. I just used him as an LI peg for Ryohei Mori in my #SparkNA novella, Not Part Of The Plan.

3.     Yamada Takayuki – Rawr. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of Yamada Takayuki. First noticed him on Crows Zero, so I was floored when my hubby told me that he was the lead guy in the Densha Otoko movie. Hihihi. He even makes a cameo in the first episode of the Densha Otoko TV series.

4.     Kengo Kora – This guy is just beautiful *sigh*

5.     Mizushima Hiro – This former kamen-rider is married to Ayaka, one of my fave Japanese singers. These days, he’s not as active in front of the camera as I’d want him to be. In the past few years this Waseda-grad has been more involved in management and movie production. Oh! And he’s also a bestselling author!

6.     Hayami Mokomichi – Moko-chan is so pretty :-) Saw him first in Gokusen 2, but he captured my heart in Zettai Kareshi (Absolute Boyfriend). I've heard he's part Filipino, but not sure about it.

7.     Kaneshiro Takeshi – Sigh. Still my first love. Hihihi. He was my peg for the character Daniel Sato in my novel Be Careful What You Wish For.

8.     Yamashita Tomohisa (Yamapi) – Adorable as a kid, beautiful as a young man. Lordy, my age is showing. Hahaha!

9.     Ikuta Toma – Loved him as Nakatsu in Hana Kimi! He’s so hilarious, that even though I'm almost word-perfect, I still giggle every time I watch it. Among others, he did a cameo on the second season of Hana Yori Dango.

10.  Satou Takeru – Gosh, I've been in Japan long enough to watch Sato Takeru transform from a cute kid into the hunky actor he is nowadays. He recently starred as Rurouni Kenshin in the movie adaptation of Samurai X.

I super enjoyed writing this post! I think my kids were wondering if I had gone crazy or something because I kept giggling in kilig every few minutes.

What about you guys, who turns you on? :-)

24 June 2015


There was a time when I thought I was watching too many dramas (Disclaimer: I don't think you can ever watch too many dramas. Hahaha!). Alas, with two kids to care for, those days are long gone. But aside from reading books, watching dramas will always be one of the perfect ways to escape reality. Their absurd, over-the-top, out-of-this world plots force you to suspend reality and simply enjoy the moment.

Sharing with you my top ten all-time picks:

1.    Kami Sama Mou Sukoshi Dake
The drama that started it all (for me, at least). I think this was shown in the Philippines a few years back. I was in Davao for a friend’s wedding and bonded with her dad over the last two episodes. Interested in the story? Read my review here 

2.    Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers)
If you haven’t heard of this drama, you really need to make time and watch it. The drama was based on the shojo manga written by Kamio Tuko. Wasn't into this much at first, but after the first episode, I was totally hooked. Loved how Inoue Mao and Matsumoto Jun were perfect for the lead roles!

3.    Hanazakari no Kimitachi e (Hana Kimi)
A school full of ikemen? Count me in! Read my full review here 

4.    Seigi no Mikata
Literally, “An Ally of Justice,” this is a hilarious story of two sisters and how their relationship survives the challenges of everyday life. If you've a love-hate relationship with your sister, you'll be able to relate to this. O shimai!

5.    Zettai Kareshii (Absolute Boyfriend)
Watched this mainly because of Mokomichi Hayami. Hihihi! But the concept of having a robot to be one’s personal boyfriend? Absolute genius.

6.    Nodame Cantabile
You’ve got to have a strong sense of the ridiculous if you want to watch this. But after you get over the unreality of the whole thing, you lose yourself in the fun and in the music. Follow Chiaki and Nodame as they navigate through music school and strive to reach the pinnacle of their music careers. Loved it until the very end!

7.    Cat Street
This is a relatively short series and revolves around Aoyama Keito. Keito used to be a promising theater actress, but after a traumatizing event onstage, she closes herself off from society. This drama is all about coping with bullying and finding one’s place in society.

8.    GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka)
I hear this was remade in 2012, but I saw the 1998 version and I absolutely loved it! This is one of my fave tropes---a teacher who influences his students. In this case, Onizuka-sensei is an ex-gang member who has his own unique philosophy of life and learning. Oh and it also features a young Oguri Shun *swoon*

9.    Gokusen
Heehee. I told you I loved the teacher-influences-students trope :-) I’ve seen all the Gokusen dramas, but my ultimate fave is still Gokusen 1. Hel-lo! MatsuJun and Oguri Shun? *sigh* I remember watching this while I was in grad school. All my labmates thought it was hilarious when I accidentally slipped and used yakuza slang (which I picked up from the drama) in our conversations.

10. Densha Otoko
Loved this because I'm an otaku at heart too :-) Densha's character was so vulnerable, so sweet, that you'd have to be made of stone not to empathise with his predicament. Densha otoko (literally train man) is a geeky otaku who falls in love with Hermes (a girl he unwittingly saves from being harassed by drunken men on the train). When I watched this, I was amazed at the full-star cast and the number of cameos (Lahat na lang nag-cameo, I swear!). Densha's all-otaku support group, though virtual, was all-out in their love for him. And after a few episodes, you'll find yourself rooting for him. Go, Denshaaaaa! Loved that he got the ending everybody was hoping he'd get :-) *sigh*

BONUS: Nobunaga Concerto
This was shown only last year and I still haven’t seen it :-( But still, Oguri Shun + Yamada Takayuki + Osamu Mukai = something I’ll definitely enjoy. Also from a popular manga, Shun plays a high school student who travels back to the Edo period and discovers he's a dead-ringer for the samurai-daimyo Oda Nobunaga. I can't believe Shun's still playing high school roles, but hey, I'm not complaining.

What's your favorite drama escape? :-)