Shimoda Action X30 Camera Bag: Initial Impression

Credits: Photo from Shimoda website

I’ve backed the kickstarter project from Shimoda for this Action X series backpack. When the project was successfully funded, founder of Shimoda, Ian Miller gave an update that due to overwhelming response, there could be delays in shipping the bags. Since then, there were quite a bit of hoo haa surrounding the delay and a whole lot of mess generated by some backers. I didn’t receive my pack in December 2019 as promised in the project timeline, but I was lucky enough to get one from the second batch which are delivered in January. Well, it is a kickstarter campaign anyway, therefore I have no issue or whatsoever.

There are already plenty of reviews and features rundown on this bag, so I’m not going to repeat those again. I’ll just be sharing what I like and dislike about this bag, and leave it to you to be the judge whether this is the right bag for you.

What I like:

  • Nice balance of size and volume for X30 (30-37 litres)
  • Nice durable materials are used, has a good balance of rigidity and softness
  • Camera access is on the right side (pun intended), I’m probably the few minorities who wants to access camera from the side panel on the right
  • Easily removable core unit and divider allowing bag to double as camera or travel bag
  • Just the right amount of pockets and compartments
  • Beefy and comfortable top and side handle
  • Tripod can be strapped on the side or rear
  • Core unit comes with cover, allowing me to use it separately as camera storage box
  • Not overly engineered with unnecessary features
  • Comfortable shoulder strap (need some times to break-in though)

What I don’t like:

  • Bag is a little heavy when empty
  • Don’t really like the look of the shoulder strap harness (but they are comfortable to wear)
  • There are a lot of zippers, and I wish some of the zipper pulls can be lock down in place for a tidier look on the bag
  • Not a big fan of the look of how the top loader is secured (but it is very functional, nevertheless)

I was contemplating between X30 and X50 during the campaign, worrying that X30 will be too small for my torso length. But X50 is much larger and would be risky to use as carry-on luggage during flight. Furthermore, I do not have that much of gears to pack anyway, so I decided to go with X30 in the end. With maximum torso fit, I’m glad that it fits okay.

This bag is designed for your adventure, for you to go out and explore, and to that extent it does seem to deliver. Of course this is just my initial impression of the bag after using it for my short trips, I still need to use it more often in order to give a full review. If you are interested, you can visit their website to find out more. Till then.

Best Read of 2019

I have read quite a lot of books this year, be it fiction, non-fiction, biography, self-help and so on. And here are my top 3 picks for the year, and I highly recommend everyone to read them too. Hope you will enjoy them as much as I do.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

Don’t be fooled by the title of this book. It certainly isn’t some fucking nonsense book that talks about nothing. The author discussed about why people felt entitled, how we can make a better decision to make our lives better, what we should be giving a fuck and not giving a fuck on, how we should embrace problems and difficulties for growth and so on.

To put it simply, this fucking book gives you some mind fuck and hopefully you will be able to unfuck yourself after reading it. To get a taste of what is being covered in this book, take a look at Mark’s website here.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling

This is another epic book that will surely gives you enough mind fuck. Facts are everywhere, readily available, literally been taught and stuffed into our head, but yet people can still get things so wrong, be so out of touch with reality, and keep believing in the falsehood that they believe in. I myself am guilty of this, and this book gave some guidance on how to be a little more mindful and factual in life, which hopefully lead to better decision making, less complaining and more optimistic.

Here’s a video of Hans in action:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

This is a memoir of Paul, a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with cancer. It’s about the story of him fighting his life between work, family, life and illness. It’s not just an ordinary fiction or Korean drama where the main character get sick and died just for the sake of making you cry. This book is much more than that. It makes you think about life, about choices, about death, and the meaning behind those. All in all, a very nice read that will make you think and re-think about everything.

为了这份爱…我们还能做些什么呢?

我在日本的第二天。没什么计划的一天,因为本来的计划就是让今天没计划…这么说会挨打吧?不过说实在的,今天就是那种“做什么都可以,只要是无所事事就好”的一天。话说来到东京旅行却抱着这样的想法,真的没问题吗?

毕竟并没有什么特别的计划,加上今天是星期天,感觉上去到哪里都会是人山人海的吧?想想来到东京,有什么地方我是没有去过的呢?想着,原来我倒还是没去过秋叶原,也就是传说中的宅男圣地!不过也算是动漫迷的朝圣之地啦。不过,对我而言,许许多多的动漫应该都已经变得非常陌生了吧?毕竟最近除了海贼王之外,几乎就没有看其他的动画了。

查看了一下地图与路线,嗯,没问题,离浅草蛮近的。于是,我搭上电车,来到了秋叶原。离开车站,一眼望去似乎到处都是宅男,不然就是游客,哈哈。喂,不可以以貌取人。我漫无目的的逛了几间商场,然后也在附近吃了顿午餐。不过说实在的,秋叶原真的是应有尽有,不该有的也有啊。那里有许多的二手店,贩卖着二手DVD,漫画,游戏光碟,二手动漫玩具等。我还看到有二手性感洋娃娃…那是用过的吗(>…<)?当然还有许多电子用品,动漫周边商品,还有就是女仆咖啡店和动漫主题咖啡店了。主题咖啡店在周末没有预约是绝对进不了的,所以我就找女仆去了…才没有啦,午餐是随便吃了碗乌龙面就解决了。真的,我有收据作证的!相信我!

48518507791_11ff50e655_c

另外,我还到了秋叶原附近的神田明神神社去参拜。这是一座简单的神社,但是却有着独特的特色,那就是适合秋叶原印象的动漫主题绘马和御守。很难想象神圣的事物会和玩闹的东西连接上来吧?这也是日本的特色之一,总是有这种出其不意的东西会让人会心一笑,也让人感到一丝暖意。参拜完毕,我到隔壁的文化交流馆去参观与买些纪念品。嗯、接下来该做什么呢?今天只想做些不吃力,不需要太多走动的活动呢……

于是,我延续着今天的动漫主题,来到了电影院。索性看一场电影吧!由于突然想起新海诚监督的新作《天気の子》正在上映中,于是我来到了电影院,打算抢鲜看一遍。在电影院前的我徘徊着,挣扎着。为什么呢?因为…没…有…字…幕…啊……字幕版的好像要等到月尾才会有。那看还是不看呢?想了许久,我还是买下了一张戏票。以我对新海诚监督的认识与了解而言,他不是那些会把太过复杂难懂的对白设计在电影内的人。大不了就像傻子一样坐在里面,别人笑你就跟着笑,别人哭你就跟着哭就好了!

话说戏票好贵啊…一张要1900円…看电影的过程其实和我脑海中熟悉的情况没多少落差。来到售票机前,选择介面语言,选择你要看的戏,选择你要的时间,你要的座位,然后就是付款和领取戏票。同样的有售卖爆米花和饮料的柜台,同样的得等到你的影院开放后才得以对号入座,同样的必须看上一大段的广告(不一样的是这里的英文戏都是配音的!狮子王的宣传影片中,动物们都在说日语!感觉就很…怪,哈哈!),最后电影终于发放,然后看完电影后大家把自己的垃圾带到外面去丢弃。

嗯,结果我还真的是哭了。《天気の子》这部电影讲述着离家出走的少年帆高,遇上了拥有能够让天空放晴的超能力少女阳菜。他们之间发生了许多的事情,直到有一天,阳菜因为使用能力过度而“蒸发”到另一个世界去。而帆高为了他们之间的爱,排除万难的把阳菜给救了回来。还是不要剧透太多好了,没看过的朋友就不妨去看一看这部电影吧。

电影有许多让人感动的场景,像是帆高不经意说出自己喜欢雨天而不小心伤了阳菜的心,还有就是他们如何在东京独自生活,为了爱,为了自己,也为了彼此而相依的情节,都让我不自禁的流下眼泪来。这些都是我们能够和故事产生联系的要素,也就是这些要素带动着我们的情绪,让我们投入电影的角色中,让我们的感情随着电影一起波动。有时候,这些不经意的画面勾起了我们那些尘封许久的回忆,让我们再次想起过往,想起一些最重要的小事。

看完电影后,不知道为什么我有着一种空虚的感觉,挥之不去。《天気の子》是一部好电影,那是不争的事实。但是,也许是因为它与上一部作品《君の名は》有着太多相似之处,所以让我有一点失望的感觉吧。两部电影都有着神明,传说,跨越时空等的相似桥段。但是,也许《君の名は》会让人更感动,更有共鸣也说不定,总觉得那段故事写得更有层次,更能让彼此勾起相似的记忆。这让我有些担心,新海诚监督的下一部作品到底会变得如何呢?是不是因为《君の名は》的门栏设得太高了,所以让我对《天気の子》的期待也过高了呢?

无论如何,还是得重申一遍,《天気の子》依然是一部不错的电影,大家还是可以去好好的看一遍的。也许你会认同我所说的,也许你会觉得这部电影更棒也说不定。不过,RADWIMPS的主题歌与电影配乐依然做得非常出色,而且这次的歌词也和电影非常贴切,这也让我格外的喜欢。在这里我就附上电影主题歌的歌词吧,希望你也会喜欢。

为了这份爱……我们还能做些什么?

两手空空来到这世界的我,还在时光的缝隙中痛苦的摸索着
那些已经放弃挣扎的以及那些聪明的人,都在这个胜者的时代里艰难的活着
无论是统治者还是神明大人都做出了一副漠不关心的表情,但他们明明是知道的啊
当勇气、希望、羁绊这些魔法失效时,他们却只是视而不见而已
尽管如此,从那天直到现在都是你在指引我前进的方向
就算我与世界背道而驰,你也一直陪伴在我的身旁

我还能为我们的爱做些什么?我还能为你做些什么?
你给予的这份勇气,我只想为了你而使用
这份与你一起找寻到的爱,如果不是你就毫无意义了
我还能为了我们的爱而做些什么?我还能为了你而做些什么?

难道命运只是摇骰子得出来的东西,还是说得全看神明的心情?
它是被强加的枷锁,还是我们自身绝不动摇的意志?
虽然有些实现不了的愿望与再会,还有那些解不开的误会与仇恨
但也有那些互相谅解的声音以及彼此紧握的双手
这颗星球今天也依旧闪耀着

我还能为我们的爱做些什么?我还能为你做些什么?
你给予的这份勇气,我只想为了你而使用
这份与你一起培育的爱,如果不是你就毫无意义了
我还能为了我们的爱而做些什么?我还能为了你而做些什么?

为何要让一无所有的我们看见梦想呢?
为何要在有限的人生里让我们看到希望呢?
为何总要赐给我们一些抓不住的东西呢?
但仍想紧紧抓着它的我们,看起来是否很丑陋?还是说很美呢?
神明啊,回答我吧!

情歌早已被唱完了,那些情话也早已在电影里被说尽了
就算是出生在这片荒野中的你和我,果然也……

还是有我能够为爱而付出的事
还是有我想要为了你而做的事

A Brand Story

Recently I have read a couple of books on some of the famous brands in the world, about the story behind their creation and success, about the vision, mission and values that formed a part of their identity. There were two books which I found to be particularly enjoyable and insightful to read:

“The Starbucks Story, How the brand changed the world” by John Simmons

The story of Starbucks has always been a fascinating one. A company that was founded by a few gentlemen who were obsessed over high quality coffee beans, which was then bought over by Howard Schultz, a man who was obsessed with the coffee culture and experience which he immersed in Italy. The whole brand was then transformed, from selling beans and brewing equipment to serving coffees and pastries, creating “The Third Place” that everyone will go besides office and home.

“Shoe Dog, a memoir by the creator of Nike” by Phil Knight

This is actually the first time I got to know the Nike brand in detail. I was surprised that the whole story was started off with Phil importing Onitsuka Tiger’s shoes, how it all went south in the end and ultimately led to the creation of their own shoe brand: Nike. The struggles of Phil and his fellowships was so real and raw, and it made me continued to read and read in order to find out what they did to get over all the hurdles. The story brought up the spirits behind Nike, on hindsight, you can really see where those spirits and rebellion came from.

Both books offered insight and behind-the-scene of how a brand was created, how their identity was defined. For Starbucks it’s always about customer experiences, for Nike it’s all about winning. Both books were easy to read and digest, and I learnt a couple of things about business management along the way as well. Even if you are not a business person, these books were entertaining enough for you to read and get to know the brand better, that is if you are a fan of these brands.

《书店不死》石桥毅史

在台湾旅行,逛着书店时,我发现了这本书。日文名字“本屋”虽然翻译上来是“书店”没错,但是其实作者比较想探讨的是独立书店的未来。在日本旅行时,不难发现商店街中偶尔会穿插着几间书店,有些小得只能挤入两三人,有些卖着新书,有些卖着二手书。在这大型连锁书店施虐的年代,这些独立书店是否还有存在的价值呢?它们存在的意义又是什么呢?那些成功生存的,它们的秘诀又会是什么呢?

书店是怎样的一个存在,书中提到的一个结论是心意与诚意的传达。书店老板和顾客交流,从中介绍他们一本书或一名作者;然后这份心意与诚意,这份温暖,从书店老板的手中传递给顾客,让他们也能够感受到那份温热。

另外,书店对店员与老板来说,就像是画家的画纸一样。这个角落应该摆放什么种类的书,这种类的书中又应该卖哪一本,该怎么摆放,该怎么让顾客注意到某本书,该怎么让顾客知道这是一本好书等等。这些都是一门学问。

透过观察一间书店,你就可以知道老板的细心程度,老板是否用心的想把那份“温暖”给传递下去。在新加坡,独立书店实在不多,但隐约记得我曾经光顾过一件挺有意思的(虽然现在已经没了),也许那时候我所感觉到的“有意思”,就是老板想传达的那份温暖吧?

这本书还讨论了整个从出版到销售的过程,也针对书店和书本的未来而进行了研究。电子书确实能够让阅读更普及化,简化出版过程与成本,但是它能够传承那份“温暖”吗?大型连锁书店只是跟着总部的指示摆卖书本,这能让顾客发现非主流的好书吗?书店会沦落成为一个枯燥乏味,单单只是贩卖书本的卖场吗?将来是否连这些枯燥乏味的连锁书店也会被淘汰?

我觉得不会,我也希望不会。我还想继续享受着在书店的架子间游走,那仿佛在寻觅宝藏的感觉。我还想闻到那书香,感受那手指翻阅着每一页章的感觉。希望无论是独立书店也好,连锁书店也好,也能够继续坚持营运下去。而我能够做的,也就是继续买书,继续阅读,然后透过这样的文章和大家分享,让那份温暖得以延续。