Dev Blog Update #3

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Let’s dig into this week’s Dev Blog entry!

Extras

I going to be introducing a new page labelled Spare Parts or Extras, that leads to  a special section of the site, where a whole bunch of neat behind the scenes stuff will be available for you to enjoy.

I am not going to say exactly what they are yet, though!

Fan art

A big thank you to everyone who has already contributed fan art to the site!

I am currently accepting all kinds of art, so if you have something you want to send, go right ahead!

Once I reach a few more images I will open up the page for everyone to see.

If I find some free time among my hectic schedule I will be sure to repay the favour and draw something of yours, too!

Social promotion & voting

Facebook currently has 70 likes and Google+ has over 90 followers.

Let’s get those numbers up!

If you use either Facebook or Google+ please check out the Crazy Sunshine pages, I would love to get all readers involved, but I need your help to do so!

Link exchange

I will be adding a small list of featured Webcomics I enjoy reading to the sidebar, underneath the gadgets. I have received permission from a few other artists already, who have already placed a link to Crazy Sunshine on their page.

If you would like to be on the exchange, please let me know and add a link back! This list will be limited, so get in there quick!

Thanks for reading!

JLPT N3: Aftermath

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Source: buna.yorku.ca

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is over for another year, and this time I am pretty confident that I did well.

The kanji and vocabulary sections were much easier than last time, mainly because I had a whole year to learn some new words.

A lot of sentences threw me off.

There were still a lot of lookalike kanji trick questions.

 

Man, Kanji is such a dick.

 

I cannot stress enough how much the Anki digital flashcard program helped for JLPT, though.

During the recess everyone would meet up outside and check their dictionaries.

I know for a fact I got words like 現在 messed up with 現存 and couldn’t figure out the meaning of 受け入れる.

however, there were also a lot of sections I just know I got right.

 

The next section, reading, is where I think I have barely scraped a pass.

You need to pass all 3 sections AND get a total score of 95/180 to pass the whole test, so if I have messed up reading, it’s over!

My problem this time around was the time limit.

I am a slow reader, and the reading section is a whopping 19 pages long.

Most of the passages follow a similar theme, and the last few questions are always super easy to do, but are riddled with tricks and traps that people easily fall into.

 

However, this year’s reading topics were so random:

How to sing anime songs at Karaoke.

How to take care of your teeth and chew food properly.

The story of an old Sakura tree.

People who like fish.

 

Sure, okay.

I can relate to most of those, yeah.

 

The final section, listening, was much easier compared to last year.

I guess being shouted at by hyperactive kids and perverse old men helped me pick up some colourful slang that just happened to appear on the test.

See, swearing is good!

 

Anyway, the results will come in February.

 

Thanks to everyone for your support!

Dev Blog Update #2

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It’s time for another Dev Blog update!

Here’s what’s been going on!

Website

    • Added a bit more detail to the site’s background image

Winter character designs

I am currently brainstorming some winter character designs for the cast of Crazy Sunshine.

Even the strongest of beasts and dumbest of angels need some extra layers during the cold, cruel, winter months.

Holiday comic schedule

There will be some special comic updates on Christmas and again at New Years, so make sure to check back after you sober up!

 

Thanks for reading!

11/11 Pocky Day

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Happy Pocky Day, everyone!

What, you don’t know what Pocky is?

Oh, man.

Source: glicousa.com

Pocky is a simple Japanese confectionery that comes in the form of many long, chocolate covered biscuits.

The milk chocolate and strawberry flavours are quite popular in the West, where they are known as Mikado.

Japan, however, seems to favour such flavors as green tea and adult chocolate.

 

Sexy.

 

Infact, Japan loves to label a bunch of stuff as 大人 (adult).

There was a question about it in a previous test I sat.

It’s actually quite hard to explain.

 

Labelling something as 大人 (adult) in Japan is similar to labelling something as for him or for her in the west.

It’s a very transparent method of trying to appeal to grown ups.

 

But that’s not all!

In the case of food, it usually has something to do with having a richer, fuller taste compared to the kind of food that younger people buy.

However in some cases, it’s actually a blander version of food, due to the difficulties of burning calories as you get older.

 

Wait, we’re not done yet.

Labelling something as ADULT (アダルト) in romaji letters means it is neither of the above, but instead 100% NSFW.

 

So, at the end of the day, you’ll either be coming home with some really rich chocolate, some really bland chocolate, or chocolate that is shaped like a dick.

 

Anyway, Pocky Day falls on November 11th (11/11) as the numbers resemble four Pocky sticks.

Japanese marketing is great.

Sonic Generations

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Source: sonic.wikia.com

Sonic Generations is out in just 1 hour and I haven’t been excited about a game like this in AGES.

Get it?

 

When I was but a wee bairn, everyone in my neighbourhood grew up with Sega.

Everyone who didn’t own a Mega Drive was mad jealous of those who did.

I mean, c’mon.

They had blast processing.

 

It wasn’t until the Sega Saturn came out that things started heating up between my friends.

I would get into fights at school with Playstation fanboys, clutching my copy of NiGHTS while trying to explain that just because it came with its own, unique controller doesn’t make it lame.

You just don’t understand, I would say.

Sonic R is supposed to be braindead easy so that everyone can enjoy it!

 

Ah, the console wars.

We all have our own beloved memories of that era.

But at one point, Sega stopped making home consoles.

The kids on the block who I grew up with, lamenting over their dust-covered Dreamcasts would occasionally ask me if I kept playing mine, or if I too would join them for a few rounds of Halo.

Yeah, I kept playing it.

Even to this day, nothing beats Sonic Adventure’s Chao Garden.

 

Now that I am in Japan, with new games being thrown in my face every second day, I often think about how much things have changed from when I first turned on my Mega Drive.

However, there is one thing that will always remain the same.

My love for that little, blue hedgehog.

Source: sonicscanf.org

It’s been an amazing 20 years, Sonic.

Keep on running, you magnificent bastard.

Dev Blog Update #1

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Crazy Sunshine is a whopping four months old and still hasn’t been eradicated from the face of the earth.

Champagne all around!

Welcome to the first of many Development Blog entries.

What’s a Dev Blog?

I want to use these entries as a transparent way of communicating with you, the reader, regarding topics such as:

  • The current situation of the comic and the site.
  • Current changes, developments and future directions I want to explore.
  • Current and future goals I want to achieve.
  • Various bug fixes or cross platform issues regarding the site based on your feedback.

Crazy Sunshine is my first webcomic and first ever attempt at trying to make anything worthwhile with my art.

In saying that, I can take critique pretty well and think it would be great if I could get some amazing feedback from everyone in the comment section of these entries.

Let’s start this first entry with a bunch of questions submitted through previous comic comment sections!

What is Crazy Sunshine?

Crazy Sunshine is both the name of this portfolio website and the title of a gag comic revolving around the lives of four unlikely friends who live under the same roof.

It’s also the title of a killer song by rock band The Pillows.

I wanted to begin the webcomic as a lighthearted series with little to no main plot.

After getting to know the characters a little, I wanted to make sure anyone could jump in and enjoy each self-contained strip.

There’s too many characters, I don’t know who is who!

While most gag strips usually consist of two people throwing mad bantz around until one of them eventually freak out, I felt throwing four or five different characters into the mix might add a bit more flavour, leaving the gate open to create multiple scenarios without jokes getting stale.

I intend to fully develop each character’s backstory, goals, and personality to the point where you should be able to tell them apart.

I might also look into changing their designs a bit, too.

it would be great if you stuck around to watch them grow up!

Your art is brilliant but your writing is poor and confuses me.

I admit, my writing sucks. Why do you think I decided to take up art instead?

Unfortunately, comics cannot be comics without good writing, and really want to improve.

A lot of strips so far are similar to Japanese 4koma gags, where words and speech are omitted and rely on character expressions to set up or deliver the punchline.

I draw a lot of inspirations from Keiichi Arawi’s Nichijou and Kiyohiko Azuma’s Azumanga Daioh series.

You should check them out!

 

Thanks for all your feedback so far! See you in the next Dev Blog entry!

Spiders

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Source: reddit.com

So, fuck spiders, right?

 

My earliest recollection of anything arachnid-related dates back to hearing the classic Eensie Weensie Spider song in kindergarten.

Haha, nah, not really.

There was, however, an incredibly creepy, wooden, spider-shaped slide for kids at my local shopping centre.

Who thought that was a good idea?

 

Let’s make a slide!

Ooh! What kind of slide?

Let’s make it a spider slide!

Genius.

 

Living in Britain meant the first spiders I came into contact with were money spiders.

You know, those tiny little red-legged fucks.

Tiny little red-legged fucks everywhere.

 

When I was in Primary School I would help my Dad with the odd weekend landscaping job.

We would go visit other people’s houses and turn their dilapidated gardens into a beautiful works of art.

During this time I discovered house spiders.

Those bastards were gigantic. Ever since then I’ve been terrified of anything with eight legs.

 

But why?

 

As a village bumpkin kid who loved exploring stuff like forests and sheds, spider webs were always so high up in the nooks and crannies, with glistening web’s eight-legged artist always glaring down at me.

Perhaps it was because they were always in the corner of my eye, but never had the guts to face me directly.

Perhaps it was the way they moved. Scurrying along floors and across windowsills, never giving me a chance to really see them, making them feel more alien than whatever was on the X-Files that evening.

Or perhaps it was the way they would dangle over my beloved swing set, as if saying:

Yeah, nah, fuck you kid, this is mine now. Everything the web touches is my kingdom.

 

As I got older, I would occasionally meet people who loved spiders.

No, yeah, spiders are great!

They would say.

They eat all the other shitty bugs!

True.

But to me, flies and mosquitoes are just annoying dicks.

Spiders are terrifying.

 

Present day, Japan.

I decided to put my Dad’s gardening techniques to use and clean up the area behind my dilapidated village house.

Some brainiac that lived here before me thought it would be neat to pile up a bunch of rocks in the middle of the patio for some reason.

I knocked over the pile and all of a sudden

 

Spiders.

Spiders, everywhere.

Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head.

Black ones, white ones, even those tiny little red-legged fucks from my childhood, scurrying around my feet and all over my arms.

 

I lost it.

 

Tears, sweat, three cans of poison and two vacuum bags later I had successfully committed spider genocide.

From that day onwards, I occasionally see the odd arachnid dangling from my computer cables, flitting between doorways or hiding behind my clock.

Sure, they still creep me out, but nowhere near as much as a before.

 

Still scream like a little girl when one crawls into bed with me though.

What’s in a name?

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I am always reluctant to give my current e-mail address to new people that I meet. When I created it all those years ago, I thought it was cool.

Now it’s just embarrassing.

 

When we create a username, we try to define or express ourselves in one or two words.

 

It could be that high school nickname that stuck with us all these years.

The name of our favourite videogame character.

The name of our favourite videogame character’s one-winged arch nemesis.

Or simply “HairyButt420”.

We all make a choice and stick by it until the bitter end.

 

So, what’s in my name?

 

When I first took the internet seriously…

 

Haha, I know, right?

 

Anyway, I was really into Sonic the Hedgehog.

Heck, I still am.

My first recollection of creating a username was for some really old chat sites such as AOL and Mplayer.com, where I went by Sonic_Fan_1986.

Just…

Just let that sink in for a second.

 

11 years ago I created my first ever website through Tripod.

Remember Tripod?

The site I built and raised like my very own child was known as Angel Island Zone, and surprise surprise, it was a Sonic the Hedgehog fan site, filled with delusional fanfics and incoherent ramblings from yours truly.

 

The best part is it still exists!

 

14 years old and raking in those incredible 3 unique visitors per day.

That level of intense internet fame just wasn’t enough for me.

I wanted more.

 

I needed to change my image. I needed to be cooler.

With the release of Sega’s Dreamcast in 2000, nothing was cooler than the new baddie from Sonic Adventure, or so I thought.

Source: sonic.wikia.com

I know, I’ll make my own, original gigantic, emerald devouring water monster and name him after me!

And so, Chaoz Jamez was born, and stuck with me for a decade and a half.

 

Yep.

I pioneered the ORIGINAL CHARACTER DO NOT STEAL movement before it became a thing!

 

To this day I still use Chaoz Jamez as my default mail address.

It’s just so endearing!

 

14 year old me was such a little idiot.

 

As for my pen name Jkun, a bunch of friends at a local anime club simply shortened “James” to “Jay” then stuck “kun” on the end.

I mean, that’s what they do in anime so why not do it in real life?

 

Much like Chaoz Jamez, Jkun also seemed to stick with me until present day, and ended up being the name of my Final Fantasy XI character.

Now that I am living in Japan, people call me Jkun unironically.

 

All-in-all, my nicknames could have been worse.

 

Yours truly,

xXxSephiroth85xXx Jkun

Gyouza Girl

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Source: japan-guide.com

So the weirdest thing happened last night at my town’s summer festival.

I got a mail from a stranger, wanting to meet up for the annual summer festival as it’s been a while, apparently.

Great! No problems there.

If only I could remember who it was.

I quickly agree to meet up, followed by radio silence for the rest of the day.

Oh well.

 

Maybe it was a wrong number.

Or a murderer.

 

For the whole afternoon I was wracking my brains trying to figure out who this person was and where or even if I had met them before.

After all, it’s only been a year since I came to Japan.

Was it during a drunken pub crawl during my first few days here?

A girl that I flirted with at a bar?

A boy who I thought was a girl that I flirted with at a bar?

An old lady I met in the supermarket?

All of the above?

Source: gaijinpot.com
Anyway, fast forward to festival day. We finally meet up and, well, it’s a girl. But which girl?!

From where?!

We talked in a mixture of English and Japanese before grabbing something to eat. After securing some takoyaki, she spurts “Gross! Not as delicious at that time we made gyouza, right?”

 

Oh!

Ohhhh!

I remember you!

You’re gyouza girl! I blurted out, trying hard not to spit my tiny balls of fried octopus all over her.

 

Gyouza girl was one of the many people I met while taking part in a Chinese culture festival last year.

She really likes gyouza.

Like, a lot.

We chatted some more and turns out she won’t be staying here for another year.

 

I hope it wasn’t because of the nickname I gave her.

Trolled by Coke

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After the gym today I decided to hit up the usual vending machine.

I was really in the mood for a Coke.

 

After slamming in my 150 yen and carrying my cool, sweet beverage back to the car, nothing really struck me as odd.

Feels cold, yep.

Feels heavy, like usual.

Oh man, I can’t wait to down this in one go!

 

I popped the car into first gear and drove up to the first set of traffic lights.

I wonder why this Coke can says Happy Kan on the side? Whatever, Japan is just weird like that.

 

As I hit the second set of traffic lights, I reached for the can and something felt off.

Well, technically not off, but on.

Welded on, in fact.

 

After further inspection before the lights turned green, I noticed the ring pull was simply engraved onto the top of the can.

 

Third set of lights. I managed to find another little opening near the top, so I twist the lid and to my utter amazement this comes out:

A pair of cheap headphones and, hold on, are those weights?

Yeah! They totally are!

Giant, red, plastic weights.

Alright then!

Anyone got a spare 150 yen before I die of thirst?