Monday, May 26, 2014

Susan Ee Book signing at San Jose Marriot Hotel

Autographed with free tattoos

Last week on May 16, 2014, I went to my second book signing event and got the chance to meet one of my favorite YA (young adult) authors, Susan Ee, who is the best-selling author of the “Angelfall” series. There are 2 books in the series so far but good news to hear that book 3 is coming out this summer 2014! At the signing, she actually showed me the first page of the draft she wrote for book 3 which I’m really anticipating to read. The autograph session took place at the San Jose Marriot Hotel in Downtown, San Jose. It was really sweet of Susan to sign 2 of my books since some authors only prefer to sign 1 book. She also gave out free tattoos which were images taken from the covers of her books! I like how her novels’ settings take place in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is the place where I grew up and this familiarity makes it easier for me to picture the setting very well in my mind. At first, I thought Susan resides in Palo Alto but she actually lives in San Jose. How cool is that! This means that I can attend her next book tour since she lives in the same area as me and is very likely to hold a book signing here in San Jose.

A little description of Book 1 in my own words:

After angels descended from heaven to take over the world, Penryn, the human girl and protagonist of the story, must cooperate with one of the “good’ fallen angels, Raffe, to stop the “bad” ones from wiping out the human population. Penryn also needs to save her sister, Paige, who got kidnapped by the angels when she tried to prevent Raffe’s wings from being cut off by his evil counterparts.

Overall, her novels were a very good read that I remember when I started reading Book 1 of the “Angelfall” series, I was hooked to the point where I didn’t want to put the book down until I finish reading to the end. As a result, I ended up finishing this book an entire day, from morning to midnight without getting any eyestrain at all. The end of book 1 left me impatient and wanting to know what happens next in book 2. I have also finished reading book 2 and now waiting for the release of book 3.

Hollywood will also be making a movie for the Book 1, “Angelfall” which is currently in production. I’m very curious about who the cast will be. While I wait for book 3, I will also be on the lookout for this movie and updates about the cast.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Update on Piano Lessons

2 years of piano lessons really paid off. I’ve learned how to read almost all of the notes very well. In fact, I’ve learned how to play plenty of songs which includes classical music, Jay Chou’s music, and a Disney song, “Let It Go”, from the movie, “Frozen.” I would say that I have mastered playing “Let It Go” because I can play it by memory without looking at the piano sheet which is due to my efforts of practicing it every day. I have also become fond of the lyrics that whenever I’m playing the music, I would also sing along to it…. Let it go, let it go…. A few of the classical music I can play very well is Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” & “Moonlight Sonata,” Chopin’s “Nocturne,” and Pachelbel’s “Canon.” I can also play plenty of my idol, Jay’s music pretty well especially the ones from the “Secret” soundtrack. In fact, one of his music I memorized is “An Jing” (“Silence”). 

Here are a few videos of me playing some of the songs:

Beethoven's "Fur Elise"

Jay Chou's "Silence"

Demi Lovato's "Let It Go"

Chopin's "Nocturne"

Asian Heritage Festival: Met MC Jin

Me with MC Jin :D

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to take a picture with a celebrity for the very first time. His name is MC Jin, the only American-Born Chinese (ABC) rapper to become famous in Hong Kong due to his ability to rap in freestyle effectively in both Cantonese and English. Although he is illiterate in Chinese, he speaks Cantonese-- his native tongue-- very fluently. I would say that he is like the Justin Bieber of Hong Kong. It was a pleasure to see MC Jin for the first time at the Asian Heritage Festival in San Francisco, California on May 17th, 2014. I actually took the train with my sister to get to the festival since we haven’t took public transportation for a while and it was really fun. During MC Jin’s performance, he sang 2 of his renowned Cantonese songs, “ABC” & “It’s Hip-hop” which I both sang along to since I’m quite familiar with the lyrics. In addition, he also performed a few of his English songs such as “Brand New Me,” “Shoot for the Moon,” and “You Might Not Know Me.”

Autographed by Jin
 The thing I liked the most about the show was how he interacted with his fans very well, making everyone feel like family. The surprising moment was when he suddenly jumped off the stage and ran towards a random guy fan to bring him up to the front so that they can sing along together. I think it was really nice of him to do that since doing so can make his fan feel closer to him. He performed for a total of 30 minutes before he got off the stage to hold an autograph session where fans also got to take pictures with him. Other than photo ops and signing CDs, he was also selling his latest English albums as well as other merchandises which my sister bought. There were no lines formed for the autograph session so everyone had to try to squeeze through the crowd to get a picture with him. When it was my turn, I was a bit nervous and speechless when I approached him but he was very accommodating and acknowledged all of his fans by answering all questions and asking for our names. I didn’t know what to say besides “Hi, can you sign my CD?” and “Can I take a pic with you? Anyways, I was very glad that he signed my “ABC” CD, which I brought along with me; his ABC album was actually his first Cantonese album to be released in Hong Kong. This event was a dream come true for me since I have always wanted to take a picture with a celebrity. Thanks Jin for fulfilling my dream. J

Monday, January 13, 2014

My First Cantonese Concert: Eason Chan

On December 1, 2013, I went to my first Cantonese concert--Eason Chan's LIFE Show-at the Event Center at San Jose State University. One word I would use to describe this concert is AMAZING. One thing I liked about Eason is how he is able to appeal to so many Mandarin-speaking fans since he was originally from Hong Kong and most of his songs were sang in Cantonese. I guess it was because he has released a number of Mandarin albums in the past. Also, I did not expect that the major audience would be youths (people around my age) since Eason has been a singer for many years ever since 1997; thus, i expected that most of his fans would be people in their 30s' or so. Another thing that surprised me is how famous Eason is in America to have 2 nights of his concert to be sold out quickly like pancakes. I thought he was famous only in Asia--Hong Kong. Who knew that he would gain fame all around the world as well? There was originally only one show at San Jose State University but due to popular demand and the first show being sold out, a second night was added in to accomodate the people who did not get the chance to buy their tickets, including me. Therefore, I was glad I was able to get decent seats for the second show.
English lyrics on the screen
The concert lasted for a total of 2 and a half hours, including 8 minutes of encore; most of his songs he sang were in Cantonese and a few were in Mandarin which were all very easy to sing along to. In my opinion, I think his voice sounds better live than listening to it on the CD. For the benefit of the non-Cantonese speaking audience, Eason spoked in 3 different languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. I liked how he encouraged the Mandarin-speaking fans to learn Cantonese if possible so that they can be able to understand and appreciate his Cantonese songs. In fact, I'm glad I'm Cantonese and can also speak Mandarin and English very well despite being born in the United States. He also cracked alot of jokes which made the audience very high. A surprising moment was when a guy fan sitting on the front row suddenly jumped up on stage to give Eason a hug which was not allowed but Eason still gave it to him, making everyone full of envy. It must have been a dream come true for him to have the lucky opportunity to hug his idol. If I got the chance to hug my idol, Jay Chou, then my life would be complete and I will never wash my clothes that I was wearing during that moment. It was also really funny when Eason said he wished the person who hugged him was a girl instead of a guy; this kind of proved that he has more guy fans or the girls were just too shy. Near the end of the concert, I seized the opportunity to get up from my seat to run up near the front of the stage to have the chance to get a glimpse of him up close. By doing so, I was satisfied because this opportunity have fulfilled my money's worth.
My close up shot of him near the stage

Some of my favorite songs he performed during the concert was "Eliminated", Time is Like a Song", "Tomrrow of Next Year", and "Backpack". The first song I have ever heard from him was "Time is Like a Song" (Sui Yuet Yu Gor), the theme song from the TVB drama, "Triumph in the Skies", which I have watched during my middle school years. "Eliminated" was his first mandarin song I have heard from Eason and was composed by Jay Chou who was my original source for this song.

Overall, I really enjoyed this concert and would likely give it another go if he comes back. :D

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Piano Shoes Designed By Alicia Keys

Side view

Back View

   I first found out about these awesome piano shoes when my sister told me that she saw them on display in front of the Reebok store at the mall a few months ago. At first impression, I thought the front part looked a bit awkward but the back part with an image of the piano keyboard looked really unique and trendy. When I tried them on, I realized that the front part did not look that awkward after all. It's hard to tell if anything looks good unless you try them on; as a result, I have tried them on and it does fit and look good on me. The store did not have my size but I was able to find the correct size online at I actually got them on sale for $29.99 on Amazon compared to the ones at the Reebok store which cost $39.99. These shoes are definitely a must-buy if you are a piano lover like me. :)

My first trophy

Victory!!! <3
I have never felt so victorious in my life before until a week ago when I won my first trophy from taking part in a table tennis tournament at my school. Thanks to my schoolmate--who invited me to be his partner for the Mixed Doubles--for giving me this opportunity. We ended up winning a third place trophy but I thought we could've done better if we had practiced beforehand but my partner canceled our practice appointment at the last minute so we did not have any time to prepare for the game. Despite that, we still did pretty well. Most importantly, I had a lot of fun because I got to play with people of different levels and also with my tennis table teacher who remembered me really well. :)  By the time I got my hands on the trophy, it felt like I had won the lottery. Therefore, I have to give myself a pat on the back for setting such a great milestone. This is a good way to end the school year with since I will be graduating in one month. The thing I'm going to miss the most from school is my table tennis class and the people I have met in that class. I actually did not realize how much I missed playing table tennis at school until the end of the tournament when I did not feel like leaving. *cries* I wonder if I will have the opportunity to come back after graduation to take part in future tournaments again. If so, then I will come back next time prepared with my goal of winning first or second place.    

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pianists I came to admire

Ever since I started learning the piano, I began to learn about the world's most renowned pianists. The first pianist I came to admire is Lang Lang, a pianist from mainland China who is also popular in other countries. He is the fastest piano player I have ever seen. I admire the classical music he plays especially his "Nocturne" covers. The first time I saw him was on the Mnet awards.. He had also cooperated with Jay Chou by appearing in his music video, "Dreams Start".

Look at those piano fingers!!

Another renowned pianist from mainland China is Li Yundi. I liked how he plays the piano with a lot of emotions which can be seen on the expressions on his face during his performances. Like Lang Lang, Li Yundi had also cooperated with Jay Chou on the same stage in the past and I think they make a really good partner. Hope to see them cooperating again soon!

Li Yundi

The PianoGuys is a American music group which consists of several musicians but mostly, they only have two people---one playing the piano (Jon Schmidt) and the other playing a cello (Steven Sharp Nelson) ---in their music videos. The first music video I saw from them is their cover of One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" which shows 5 guys hitting, rubbing, and banging on various parts of the piano to accompany the piano guy, Jon Schmidt. This is pretty cool because it's the first time I have ever seen something like that. Their other music videos are done very beautifully and filmed at interesting locations with unique elements and background. 

Yiruma, a renowned pianist from South Korea, is another pianist who I also became fond of. His music, "River Flows In You" and "Kiss the Rain" are both really popular that they have been used in a lot of Chinese dramas. I have heard "Kiss the Rain" for the first time a few years back when I was watching a TVB drama so every time I hear it, memories of watching TVB dramas would come up in my mind. "River Flows in You" is a really beautiful and melancholy music which I want to learn how to play later on.