Why I support Charlton Athletic

Charlton Athletic

I like to propose a toast with my glass of J2O to my team, Charlton Athletic Football Club, who were founded 110 years ago on this very day.

When it comes to answering questions you would think that my most asked question would revolve around my autism and how I cope, etc, etc. However, my most asked question, since I was young has actually been, “why do you support Charlton?”

People are often baffled by the fact that I support Charlton, as I live in the North of England and Charlton is a London based club.

As it’s one of my most asked questions I will take this opportunity to explain why I support them. =)

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I started off as a Manchester United supporter. My reason for supporting Man Utd is rather silly but true. Back then, my Dad had big curly hair, the exact replica of Bryan May. I thought wild bushy hair was masculine and cool. At that time I came across a player called Karel Poborsky, he’s a Czech Republican international who played for Manchester United. It was at that moment that I became a Man Utd supporter… all because of Karel Poborsky and his hair. XD

Inevitably, I stopped supporting the Red Devils as soon as Poborsky left them. Haha.

For a good while I never had an interest in any particular club but one name did stand out, “Charlton Athletic.” I first learned that name in my brother’s Subbuteo set. For some reason, I was really taken by that name. I remember seeing them on the Gillette Soccer Saturday updates when they lost to Ipswich and I was surprisingly disappointed. I didn’t know how but I memorised the badge, the name, and the kit colour.

The Play-Offs Semi-Finals were on and Charlton managed to win their match and progressed to the Play-Offs Final. I found myself beaming that they won their match, but it never really registered why. All of my strange feelings and affection towards Charlton came to fruition when they played against Sunderland in the Play-Offs Final 1998.

During that match I found myself cheering for Charlton all the way. I would cry and run upstairs to my room every time Sunderland scored and would run back down if Charlton equalised. I cheered for Charlton much louder than I ever did for Man Utd. They were genuine and honest cheers too. I cheered loudest when Sasa Ilic saved that Penalty from that Penalty Shoot-out.

It was at that moment that I realised that I was a Charlton supporter.

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I suppose I haven’t really answered my own question. Why do I support Charlton? I’m not sure why, I just do. However, when I had my epiphany and discovered the Charlton fan in myself I learned that my Mum supported Charlton, my Uncle supported Charlton and my Granddad supported Charlton. So, if I were to give an answer I would say that it’s in the family blood. =)

One of the best moments of my life did involve Charlton Athletic as I was actually their mascot in one of their away games. Their company as a whole is friendly and I can vouch for their greatness as I have been involved with their players and staff personally, if only for a brief spell. I was slightly gutted that I never got to meet Alan Curbishley and Clive Mendonca, but I was still pleased that I got to meet all the players and staff like Chrissy Powell, Keith Peacock and Mark Kinsella.

Being a Charlton mascot was definitely a supreme moment and it’s a moment that will never go away. =D

THANKS FOR READING

Super Clive Mendonca Day

There’s no doubt in my mind that I will still get asked this question time and time again, but I don’t mind as the answer is daft but humorous. =)

Thanks for reading.

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

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Dating

Issei and Asia

Winter Tidings.^^/

The Undateables is coming back on Channel 4 very soon. A few close peeps have mentioned in passing that it might be worth considering going on that show to meet up with someone. I appreciate their thoughts for me and considering my happiness. However, I have no plans to use these types of dating services.

My main reason is that it would just feel too forced and formal. I get anxious and nervous just meeting someone new at my brother’s and sister’s gatherings. I feel that meeting someone new by myself would put me under unnecessary pressure. Plus, the TV coverage wouldn’t really help ease my nerves. I make many mistakes in social situations and if I embarrass myself only a few people would see it. However, if I make mistakes and be quirky on TV then three million plus viewers would see it, not just a handful of people. Haha.

Really, being in a relationship has never really entered my mind. I did go on a date when I was 11 years old but that’s another story to tell in another blog. 😉 Really, what’s important is for me to meet new people and gain experience by meeting a variety of people. Of course, having a female partner would, I’m sure, be a valuable and wonderful experience. However, I’m in no rush. I never have been and I never will be. My priorities are my family and friends, meeting new people and making new friends through the art that is socialising. =)

I’m not worried about finding someone because I know I have a soul mate out there. It’s just that I haven’t met her yet, cue Michael Buble… I don’t know when, I don’t know how, and I don’t know where but I know that fate will assist me into finding that one special lady. Some of you may not believe in fate, but I’m a huge believer in fate and that two people are destined to be together. Some find each other through neighbours, some find each other through schools and some even find each other in pubs and train stations. Haha.

THANKS FOR READING

Non Non Biyori Wallpaper

It will happen for me it’s just all about living in the present and not worry about what the future holds.

Just right now, I just finished watching a film about Glenn Miller starring James Stewart, it was really cool. Mr Miller is quite the pioneer in his time and a very positive gentleman. I would have like to have met him.

I’m now going to read heaps of manga that I got over Christmas, but not before going out for a long walk. The sky is golden and beautiful where I am right now. =D

Thanks for reading.

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

London Trip Part Three: The Final Fantasy Concert

Distant Worlds logo

  1. Fun Fact

Believe it or not I actually had the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall many years ago. There is this talented group called WatchThisSpace, ages 14-21, and they do a lot experiment with dance movements. They were going to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in 2010 and they held auditions to be part of that group.

A friend at Uni suggested that I should audition since I’m quite dandy with my Ballroom. I declined, for many reasons. Why? That’s for another blog. 😉

  1. Distant Worlds music from Final Fantasy Mini Ramble

This was such a surreal experience.

I had a rough idea of what the Royal Albert Hall would be like, but I never appreciated how big it truly is until I went inside… it’s seriously massive. I actually think it’s bigger than my local arena. I was sitting on the top tier, right near the fire exit. It’s no secret that I get apprehensive in massive crowds, but I felt reassured that I was near the fire exit. If it got too much for me I would just dart off.

Before the start of the performance a kind looking gentleman took to the stage and bowed. The crowd literally erupted in a chorus of cheers. I thought to myself, “He must be important.” But then Mr Conductor, Arnie Roth, announced that that man was actually Nobuo Uematsu. He has composed 90% of the songs from the Final Fantasy games. And, apparently, it’s rare for him to make an appearance but being in the Royal Albert Hall was a must for him. Can’t say that I blame him, it is a beautiful building. =)

  1. Distant Worlds music from Final Fantasy Mini-Review

What I liked especially about this concert was how Mr Conductor rambled briefly about each song and shared with us the facts about his orchestra. This was their 98th tour and 3rd in the Royal Albert Hall. He was a friendly man. He was the sort of dude that commanded respect without even trying. I’d love to have a drink of J2O with him one day. =) I believe the 99th tour will be somewhere in Europe.

I liked the fact as well that the Royal Albert Hall has the second largest organ in Europe… I can see why. The building was tall, but the organ pipes were massive. They were even taller than the top tier seats. The building was big but the organ pipes literally vibrated the entire arena.

They premiered quite a few songs that night. Two of them were based on the Final Fantasy 9 game. I liked all the instrumental music that was played that evening but I think the most significant instrument was the organ. Mr French came on (I didn’t catch his name) and played the guitar. He was good. Then Mrs Kelly came on (I didn’t catch her name) and sang a beautiful ballad for the Final Fantasy 14 online music.

I can’t really say I had any particular standout favourites since they were all as equally as good, but, I did appreciate certain songs that I’m more familiar with. Like the theme songs from Final Fantasy 7 and 9, especially the Rose of May. The Chocobo song at the end was a nice touch. =)

It was good as well that they had a screen. Whilst listening to the music we could watch the video that was being played that went with it. FF6 looks like it’s a humorous game, judging by what I saw. However, I did get confused when that joker clown like character fought against the pretty brunette lady and won. It looked as though the villain beat the hero… I think? I think it’s on that PSP Vita. I still enjoyed watching the screen though. I think it’s good that the orchestra made that available for us, the audience. =)

The most significant moment, without a shadow of a doubt, is Nobuo. I read in the programme that the man himself hoped to perform live on stage at some point. And… he did just that. Apparently, Arnie suggested that idea to Nobuo and he said that he will play the keyboard if Arnie plays the violin. And Mr Conductor played the violin. Hoho.

That was the first ever time that Nobuo Uematsu has performed on stage, and I was there to see it. It truly was a memorable moment. 🙂

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It was good experience. I did cringe and clench my teeth a lot when the audience clapped, cheered, stood up and erupted. I was able to enjoy the orchestra just about enough since some of the instruments were soothing and they were playing the songs that I liked.

But, I didn’t like the huge noise from the crowd. It made my head swirl and chest feel unpleasant. On two occasions I had to go out to get away from the crowd, and when I thought rationally enough I went back in. I actually missed the start of the second half of the performance. I did feel worse after that. The duration of the performance was nearing three hours and near the end I actually wanted it to finish so I could go back to the hotel.

I did enjoy the orchestra. For some reason there seems to be a difference to listening to the music rather than listening to someone sing. In a way, this was the best way for me to debut a concert. Haha. It was good experience. In truth I would say that my brother appreciated the overall experience a lot more than me. He is a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series. =)

If I were to rate this, I would say…

Two Thumb’s-Up. (My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

  1. Overnight

I went back to the hotel asap with my brother, had a nice long shower and watched Match of the Day in my room. I put on BBC1 before I left for the concert. With assistance from my Brother I managed to work the TV. That way, when I came back I could watch the TV from the get go to be organised. I think that was quite wise on my part, if I do say so myself. =)

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I cut down on my football time since I tried to get some sleep…

I was tired but my body didn’t really want me to sleep. My body became aware that this wasn’t my room and I wasn’t sleeping on my bed. The cushions were comfy though. Since I couldn’t really sleep I decided to read some manga. I read Monster Musume, D-Frag and See Me After Class. I even listened to the Non Non Biyori soundtrack on my ipod.

I felt very relaxed. This was the only time I could relax on this trip. Being organised in London was certainly exhausting and then I had to try and force myself to sleep. After relaxing, I gradually fell asleep. I didn’t get much sleep though.

I woke up very early. We set contingency plans to ensure that me and my brother get up at 8. I woke up at 7 O’clock. Before getting ready I decided to have a bru. I put on the kettle… I suddenly remembered that the plug didn’t work so I went to press the button to stop when I actually burned my finger. XD It was morning and I had long forgotten that the kettle was not working properly. Haha. Wait, that’s not funny… anyway, I spent five minutes running my burned finger under the cold tap…

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We got the train, first class, and went home. I thought a couple kept on looking at me and they would often turn away if they caught my eye. I kept on building myself up to smile every single time we catch eye contact, alas… it never happened. Not to worry though.

I came home, and spent literally the entire day just chilling on the couch without saying a word. I didn’t want to talk. I was just extremely pleased that things were back to normal. It took a while for me to sink in the information though…

  1. Overall Experience

It was good. It was most definitely one of my most significant moments. Going and sleeping London felt so far way, yet, it was here and gone. It really is amazing how time flies, especially when you’re having fun. =)

Pre-anxiety always dominates my mind whenever I’m going into the unknown. Sometimes I will deal with my state of mind just fine, other times, it becomes hard to endure. I just have to go with my gut instinct.

London wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was quite the opposite, in fact. I felt constantly safe, a little iffy around the roads, but I was able to retire to my room for peace and quiet from time to time. And because I was constantly busy, I wasn’t as anxious. I distracted myself and times. It felt like I got used to my room quickly, and for a brief moment I thought I was playing the role of Alan Partridge. XD

A friend summed it up perfectly. “Focus on the parts you enjoyed about London, instead of remembering how you felt.” I knew this philosophy but he’s absolutely bob on with his words. =) And it’s the thing of, just because I feel sick, apprehensive, dizzy and so on, it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t take away the positives from this journey. Or anything really that is outside my comfort zone. I went to London to enjoy myself, not to pay attention to my nerves. =) It was a struggle at times but I coped and I was never in danger of losing my mind. Haha.

With that in mind, it actually made me appreciate my own life even more.

I have the luxury of a house, my own room, a space to play games, hang out with people, watch movies, write stories, watch anime, watch Thomas, read manga, and all sorts. I didn’t have that much freedom when I was away but I have the freedom at home. I already knew this, of course, but it still makes me appreciate my life even more, and I will continue to cherish it. =)

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The biggest question remains… will I do this again?

Well… I’m split. Before this trip I might have said “I will never 100% do this again.” But now I have experienced it… I can safely say that I will not rule out this kind of outing again. On the other hand though, I’m not in a rush to do this again. I mean, I’m in no rush to go to London any time soon. If the concert was to be played in the nearest area then I think there’s a strong possibility that I would go again. It all depends how I feel at that time though. =)

It’s just as I mentioned in the wedding blog many months ago. Just because I did something once, doesn’t mean I would find it easy to do it again. It just means that I’m more capable then I thought myself to be. It’s all about endurance and concentrating on the positives. So far, I’m doing myself proud.^^/

THANKS FOR READING

That’s it for my London blogs. I wonder what’s in store for me next.

Nearly one year ago, 16th November, I opened up a WordPress blog account. I plan to post a blog on that very day to summarise my year of blogging. I hope you will drop by and have a read. =)

See you all for now.

Namaste,^^/

Ryan.

London Trip Part Two: The London Experience

Royal Albert Hall

  1. Arriving at London Euston

At this point we have arrived in the heart of London, more specifically, London Euston Train Station. Strangely, I keep on pronouncing it as Houston, but that’s irrelevant!

Ahem-

I took a quick glance around. I didn’t feel strange at first, it felt like any other ordinary train station. I would say that it’s just about the same size as any other major city station. =) We were in a rush too so we had no time to enjoy the sights of the station.

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Next moment, we got into the black cab! That was the first ever time that I had been inside the black taxi cab. I’m a bit iffy with taxis nowadays due to my experience with taxis from when I attended College and University, that’s another story though! I was more excited than nervous. Perhaps it’s because the Black cabs are quite famous in London, and I was with my brother.

The gentleman driver knew where he was going but there was one moment where my heart skipped a beat. He pulled by the lights and from my point of view it looked as though we were going to crash besides this huge lorry! Turns out, he was just pulling up beside it. Me and my brother exchanged grimaces of relief!

We took another route because there was a vintage car real show in the park. =)

Through all those lovely detours we have finally arrived at the Queen’s Gate Hotel.^^/

  1. The Queen’s Gate Hotel

The first thing I thought, when I looked up is “wow, I gotta take a picture of this!” and so I did, and it was magical. =)

I felt really important when we went into the reception. I especially felt an important guest when we were given swipe cards. I was a little mean to my brother at this point… I made him take the stairs all the way up to the fourth floor. Haha. When we reached there we had a problem… how do we get in? We tried to swipe it horizontally, vertically and tried to place it as if there was a hole there… turns out, all I needed to do was place the card over this fancy switch and the door opened!

We got in. The room was small but cosy. We had problems working the kettle though. Then… well. I decided at that moment, after putting my card in the card holder, that I should take a picture of my door for Nan. So I walked out, closed the door and took a picture. When all was said and done, I put my phone away and tried to open the door… I was locked outside! My brother, Mum, my sister, everyone warned me that whatever I do, I should not leave my room without my card. I did that without even trying. Luckily my brother was in the room so all I had to do was knock on the door and my brother opened it. Haha. It wasn’t even his room. XD

My bed was ok and the shower and bathroom was in mint condition. As long as the shower was super hygienic then I am happy. =) I couldn’t really get all that comfortable on the bed, I wasn’t used to sleeping on someone else’s bed. I had a quick cup of tea before we left to go for a walk at the Kensington Gardens. There wasn’t much time to relax just yet as we wanted to have a quick stroll in the park.

  1. Kensington Gardens

Before we took a stroll in the park we decided to have a dummy run to the Royal Albert Hall.

I did this whilst watching out for the busy roads. I’m especially nervous around roads. Pre-university I’d often go into my own little world and not really pay attention to my surroundings. I used to be very embarrassed to admit this so I never explained why I lacked concentration when walking along the roads. Nowadays, I’m very aware of my sense of self. So, I can control my own thoughts, especially around busy roads. I’m still not as confident though, I will only cross roads when I feel secure over the fact that the roads are absolutely clear. I don’t care even if I have to wait ten minutes, it’s better to be a bit late and stay safe. ^^/

The Royal Albert Hall is literally a five minute walk from where the hotel was, perhaps even shorter. It was simply a majestic sight to behold. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s hard to put it into words. Opposite this building is the Royal College of Music. That was a nice building too. You could literally hear the pianos playing from where we were. On the other side of the Royal Albert Hall was the Royal College of Art, another nice building. =)

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On the way to the park we got ourselves Ice Cream. Since this was a monumental occasion I chose to get a triple whippy into a double whippy comb… It was extremely delicious, but, I kept on dripping it on the floor. 😦 I said that it was worth every penny, until my brother reminded me of the fact that it was actually him who treated us both to the ice cream… so, it was worth all the pennies he spent on it. 😉

However, I dropped bits of ice cream onto my shirt. I wouldn’t mind if it was any ordinary shirt, but, I bought this shirt specifically to debut in London. And, I somewhat made a mess of it. Haha!

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Walking in that park was simply lovely. There were loads of people though, and as more people came near me, I kept on taking shots of the sceneries. I got a few nice shots too, especially of the sky and water. =)

Strangely though, what I liked more about the park were the colourful people that were in it. It made me feel like that it was a waste of time feeling anxious around other people. I saw all sorts of eccentric activities the people were doing, I saw one or two doing yoga. I was happy because everyone was doing all sort of eccentric stuff, but, no one was judging anyone. They were just getting on with their own stuff. It made me feel like I could blend in and be myself with ease, without feeling judged.

My philosophy is ‘eccentric is the new normality’ haha. =D

  1. Realisation

Something occurred to me whilst I was snapping photos. I do genuinely love taking photos, but yet, I always find that I’m taking more then I need to. Why is that? I think I found my answer after I got back to the hotel. I take photos to distract myself from the situation.

To me, this makes a lot of sense. I’m always nervous when I’m out and about, especially when I’m venturing into the unknown. Sometimes to escape my nerves and socialising with new people I would often pick things out that I think would make a nice photo, and take a few pictures of it. It was exactly like that when I went to my sister’s wedding. I told myself to restrain myself from photo taking… that did not happen at all. Partly, it was because I enjoyed taking pictures of the scenery and people, but it was also to distract myself from feeling anxious.

How I felt when taking photos in London was no different from when I was taking photos at my sister’s wedding.

I wouldn’t say that taking photos is necessarily a bad thing but I at least understand why I’m taking more than necessary. Am I going to resolve this? Do I need to resolve this? I’m not sure, but what I am sure is that I’ve learnt a lot about myself in this trip, and this is one of the platforms that I have learnt. =)

  1. Pre-Concert Preparations

I was apprehensive when I got off the station, into the hotel, and walking through the park. But… I felt incredibly ill as soon as I went back to my room.

I don’t know what suddenly came to me. I propose that since I was constantly busy I was somewhat distracted by my anxiety. However, since I was back at the hotel, I had some peace and quiet. That was then when I started to feel ill. I became aware that I was in London, and that everything was out of routine. At that time I opted to listen to the Non Non Biyori soundtrack. Then, it was time to go and grab some tea lunch at the Royal Albert Hall…

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Whilst feeling nauseous, apprehensive and a little jaded, I went and had a Panini and hot chocolate.

To my surprise, me and my brother saw a lot of people dress in cosplay from characters from the Final Fantasy series! I was led to believe that we had to dress smart casual. Who would have thought? I was happy that everyone was in a good, positive mood but, it was getting a little bit too much for me. It was a small room just inside the Royal Albert Hall, so, I needed to go out into the open space to avoid the huge crowd. Believe me, it was super tight. I felt more ill after that.

I bought the concert programme and took it back to the hotel before the start of the concert…

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In Part Three I’m going to talk about the concert, my night in the hotel and my journey home.

Thanks for Reading,

Stay tuned.^^/

Ryan.