What is a Japanese Light Novel?

You might have heard of a genre called light novel while watching anime, but how does it differ from novels and manga? Let’s examine this genre more closely.

Description of a Light Novel

The name light novel applies to any type of publication which targets teenagers and young adult readers. Like the manga, or Japanese comics, they also contain illustrations using the same art style in most manga, and the size of each volume is classified as a “bunkobon,” which has measurements of 105 mm x 148 mm. They also have the same qualities that will classify them as novellas, but most of them have less than 300 pages, not enough to classify them as full-length novels. So why is it called a light novel if it is a novella?

Translation of Light Novel

The name light novel is the closest English translation of the name “wasei-eigo.” The words wasei-eigo literally means Japanese-made English, a characteristic that describes the tendencies of most light novels to have words written in kanji, a syllabary used to spell borrowed foreign words. Others even refer to it as raito noberu, rainobe, and ranobe, which are all borrowed from the English words light novel. The light novel, therefore, means a Japanese novella. Some of these light novels are also in English instead of Japanese to appeal to a wider range or readers.

Light Novel and Novel

If that is the case then light novels are not like novels, because they are shorter and contain more illustrations than most novels produced by English writers. They might look like manga at first glance, but instead of panels and speech bubbles, the story is told with the use of both continuous texts and interspersed with illustrations in monochrome or colored pages. So why do they look like manga? The light novels are also closely tied up to pulp magazines in the 1970s, which practiced placing illustrations at the beginning of each story. The most popular serials (or the series of episodes with one overarching story or common character) were later printed into novels.

Light Novel and Manga

The spines of the light novel series will look like those of any manga series to make them easier to find on the shelves. They are also classified based on the age bracket of the target audience and themes. Light novels, however, are not like manga even if they share a lot of common features. Some light novels are even adapted into manga and some manga series have light novel counterparts and spinoffs. A few light novel titles are also adapted from live-action movies or TV series and anime.

Light Novels to Read

Here are some of the best light novels you should check out:

  1. Legendary Moonlight Sculptor
  2. Utsunomiko
  3. Tokyo Ravens
  4. Guin Saga
  5. Legend of the Galactic Heroes
  6. Majutsushi Orphen
  7. Record of Lodoss War
  8. Saiunkoku Monogatari
  9. Arslan Senki
  10. Kino no Tabi

Understanding Growth Charts for Children

There are different growth charts for children of different ages, but most of these charts are divided into two major age brackets; one for 0 to 2 years and another for 2 to 18 years. These growth charts, which can also be found in pediatric clinics and hospitals in Singapore, include the recommended height, weight, and head circumference for each age.

Separate growth charts for children with special needs are also available to help monitor the child’s health and development.

Ideal Body Weight

It is accepted among medical practitioners that the abnormalities in growth and development of a child is associated with chronic diseases and can even indicate a child’s chances of getting a certain disease when he/she becomes an adult. For example, adults who are obese were more likely to have had a different growth trajectory than adults who never had problems with their weight as children.

For the ideal body weight, the doctors use the body mass index (BMI) chart or what is also known as the weight-for-height computation. However, some medical practitioners disagree with the use of a BMI chart, because it does not take into account the changing body proportions in children. Instead, they use charts that include blood chemistry measures, fat versus lean mass, total body potassium, and dual energy measures.

Special Growth Charts

As already mentioned, there are separate growth charts for children with developmental disabilities from ages 0 to 36 months and 2 to 18 years. These guides, however, do not include comparisons for weight, height or length, BMI, and head circumference of children older than 2 years. The special growth charts are used alongside the standard charts to determine if the child has a tendency to become overweight or underweight.

There are also charts for the fetal measurements, but these should be compatible with the mother’s ethnic composition. The development is monitored by comparing it to growth percentiles through examinations of the fetus in different gestational ages. The result of the fetus’ weight divided by his/her length will determine if he/she is growing normally.

Poor Growth Identification

The existence of different growth charts for girls, boys, children with diseases or developmental disabilities, and children who were breastfed or not, led most hospitals around the world follow the growth charts set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to WHO, there are three indicators of poor growth for a child aged younger than 2 years; namely, length, weight, and weight relative to length. Some infants need more measurements such as weight-for-age, head circumference-for-age, length-for-age, and weight-for length. Children older than 2 years on the other hand, are monitored using either length and stature or length, BMI-for-age, and measure stature.

The Art of Drinking Vermouth

Vermouth is often used in various cocktails because of its aroma and flavor. It’s also a popular fortified wine because of the roots, herbs, flowers, and bark that are added to it, but what do you really know about vermouth and what it tastes like if drank on its own?

How Vermouth is Made

Vermouth is a type of Moscato wine in Italy that is flavored with tree bark, saffron, anise, cinnamon, chamomile, and even absinthe to make it sweet or semisweet. More accurately though, vermouth is a fortified aperitif wine, which means that its base is either mistelle (white grape juice or brandy and fermented white wine) or white wine. Unlike Moscato wine, however, vermouth contains more alcohol because it’s fortified. Using the base of white wine or mistelle, distilled alcohol is added, usually using brandy, to raise the proof.

This process is what makes up the fortification of vermouth. Next, the base is aromatized using substances made from plants. This could be a mixture of spices, herbs, roots, seeds, flowers, and others. The use of botanicals give vermouth its color and flavor. Most of the vermouth today contain wormwood, from which its name is derived, while the color caramel comes from the sugar.

The Benefits of Vermouth

Whether you prefer the pale, dry and bitter vermouth or the red and sweet vermouth, when consumed in moderation, it is good for you because it promotes food digestion and improves appetite. In some cases, 50 grams of vermouth can even help someone recover from food poisoning or gastroenteritis. Besides being a good antiseptic, too, the herbs and spices it contains can help you relax after a stressful day at work. Some people use a mixture of vermouth and 2 tablespoons of honey to relive cold and sore throat. It can also be mixed with aloe juice and honey to relieve stomach ulcer.

Vermouth Food Pairings

Because of the diverse flavors of vermouth, there are a lot of options for food pairings depending on its characteristic taste. Aromatic French vermouth are best paired with cheeses because they complement the vermouth’s nutty flavors. While dry vermouth like Italian varieties are best paired with smelly cheeses. However, most vermouth will go well with chicken, scallops, shrimp, mushrooms, beef steak, mussels, salmon, and pancetta.

The Best Vermouth Cocktails

Try these vermouth cocktails with your friends:

  • Negroni: 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce gin, and citrus essence
  • Black Dog: ½ ounce dry vermouth and 3 ounces rum
  • Vampire’s Kiss: ½ ounce dry vermouth, 2 ounces vodka, ½ ounce dry gin, 1 tablespoon tequila, 2 ounces tomato juice, and 1 pinch salt
  • Manhattan:1 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 ounces bourbon, 1 dash orange bitters, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, and brandied cherry for garnish
  • Rob Roy: 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 ounces blended scotch whiskey, 2 dashes angostura bitters, and lemon peel for garnish
  • Vermouth Cassis: 1 ½ ounce dry vermouth, ¾ ounce crème de cassis, and club soda
  • Carpano-Rita: ½ ounce sweet vermouth, 1 ½ ounces tequila, ¾ ounces lemon juice, and ¼ ounce agave syrup

Singapore’s Hainanese Chicken Rice

Trust me, one article is not enough to know about one of the most celebrated dish by not just the residents of Singapore but also tourists is the legendary mouth-watering all-Asian experience, the Hainanese Chicken Rice. I know what you are thinking, how is chicken and rice such an attractive dish? Well, for those of you who haven’t tasted Hainanese Chicken Rice, it is acceptable that you cannot fathom the taste of this amazingly tender dish. What better way to describe an Asian dish than with steamed chicken and rice right?

Although very well celebrated in Singapore, this dish does not actually come from Singapore itself. This dish originates all the way from Hong Kong and was brought to Singapore by the Chinese who slowly started to migrate. Chefs from all around the world can be found in Singapore as they have one of the most diverse cuisines around Asia. Although diverse, Singapore never fails to pay attention to the small details in the quality of their servings which makes it hard to say that the food you are eating does not taste authentic.

Finding this dish is no problem at all as almost every hawker center in Singapore has at least three stalls selling this type of dish. Now how about the price? Well, depending on your location and how near it is to the different malls, the price of this dish may vary but to play it safe, this dish may vary from three to twenty Singaporean dollars. The farther away you are from a mall or the smaller and more residential the neighborhood is, the lower the price of this dish may be.

Now, why is Hainanese Chicken Rice one of the best dishes you can find in Singapore? Because of the rice itself! The rice is not just any ordinary rice but is cooked with the broth used to steam the chicken and what makes the taste really sink in is not just the ingredients used but the time dedicated into cooking this meal. The chicken broth is made sure to be treated with utmost priority as it is the main ingredient in the rice. This dish is usually served with cut cucumbers which really give it a luscious and brighter flavor every time you eat the chicken with the rice.

Hainanese Chicken Rice is just one of the many different dishes to fall in love with. Never be too shy to try out something new.

Why Do I Have Falling Hair?

It’s normal to see a few hair strands everyday on your brush or comb, but how do you know if you’re losing too much hair and what’s causing the hair loss?

100 Strands a Day

Most individuals normally lose 100 hair strands each day regardless of how healthy the scalp is and the hairstyling practices. To understand why it’s okay to lose hair, you need to know what makes up the hair and the hair growth cycle. A person’s scalp density reduces as he/she grows, although the number of hair follicles will remain the same, because the scalp expands as well. Each strand is made up of two major features, the follicle and the shaft. Two sheaths surround the former, which protects and conditions the hair. The shaft on the other hand, is made up of a protein with three layers which give your hair its color. These will weaken as you age and cause hair fall.

Hair Growth Cycle

The shedding of your hair can be random, but it is based on the hair growth cycle, which is made up of three stages. Anagen is the formation of the hair and the time when your scalp is at its most active for a few years. The catagen phase is the transitional period when the growth stops and the formation of a club hair, when the outer root sheath will shrink and stick to the hair root. The telogen phase is the time when the follicle is at rest and you could lose up to 100 strands per day. If you’re losing more hair than usual, it could be an indication of a scalp or other medical condition.

Reasons for Hair Loss

The following are the causes for rapid hair loss or telogen effluvium:

  1. Excessive hairstyling
  2. Hereditary hair loss
  3. Alopecia areata (autoimmune hair loss)
  4. Physical stress or trauma (from an accident, surgery, or illness)
  5. Pregnancy or hormonal change and imbalance
  6. Scalp conditions (such as psoriasis, dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, fungal infections, and more)
  7. Too much vitamin A
  8. Vitamin B or B12 deficiency
  9. Protein deficiency
  10. Iron deficiency or anemia

  1. Aging
  2. Sudden weight loss or changes in the diet
  3. Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
  4. Lupus
  5. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  6. Chemotherapy
  7. Side effect of medications such as antidepressants, blood thinners, NSAIDs, birth control, and more

How to Reduce Hair Loss

Sometimes it’s possible to grow back lost hair once the underlying cause is treated and changes are made in the diet and hairstyling habits. Here are some of the things you can do.

  1. Consult a dermatologist to determine the cause of the problem
  2. Change your diet by getting more protein and complex carbohydrates
  3. Take vitamin supplements as recommended by the doctor
  4. Exercise regularly and drink lots of water
  5. Reduce hairstyling and minimize the use of hairstyling products and heating tools
  6. Use mild shampoo and conditioner

How to Start a Stationery Collection

Do you have a relative or a friend who loves to collect notebooks, writing sets, pens and pencils, envelopes, and even Post-its? That person could be a stationery collector. Even with the popularity of electronic gadgets, a lot of people still find collecting stationeries a therapeutic and rewarding activity.

Stationery is a catch-all name for writing, typing, and printing materials. The name probably comes from the name of the vendor, a stationer, who has a store, such as a book shop, in a fixed spot.

Here are the things you need to remember if you want to start your own collection.

Seven Basic Types. If you are overwhelmed with the choices in hobby shops and bookstores in Singapore, you can start by building up your collection using the seven basic types of stationeries. These are memo pads, flat cards, folded notes, stamps and embossers, labels, contact cards, and non-personalized notes and cards. This list, however, still lacks other stationeries, so don’t limit yourself to these.

Build Your Collection. Like any type of collection, the stationeries you will select will be based on your taste and style. There are no rules that say you should collect only certain types of items, but if you’re planning to use some of your stationeries, you should stock up on the basic pieces. These include personalized stationery, memo pads for lists, formal stationery for correspondences, and stationeries for special occasions, holidays, and celebrations.

Enjoy the Hunt. One of the most relaxing activities that stationery collectors will tell you is shopping for new items. What makes the hobby more addictive is the satisfaction of finding a rare-looking piece with a different scent, color scheme, shape, text or illustration, and other details. If the activity is relaxing or therapeutic to you, go ahead and enjoy it, because that’s what hobbies are for.

Don’t Feel Guilty. If you feel like you have too many unused notebooks and your desk is cluttered with colorful pens and pencils, you don’t need to feel guilty about it. Unlike most hobbies, collecting stationeries will not eat up most of your income, because paper and office supplies are usually cheap. They don’t take up a lot of space, too, unless your collection already consists of overflowing shelves.

They’re Useful. While most collectors would feel horrified at the idea of writing on their collection, they can be useful for special occasions, like sending cards or letters to people on special occasions. They are also useful for other art-related hobbies such as drawing, calligraphy, and painting. You can give them away to friends and family instead of buying pre-made cards.