Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nomnoming in Singapore

Last month, my sister and I went to Singapore for a major break. We stayed at Hotel 1929 (a really nice hotel with really good service) where there are many cheap food places close by - we just walked to most of them.

The moment we arrived at the hotel, we decided to step out right away to look for something hot to eat. The weather was hot, but since we flew so early and have not eaten a proper breakfast, I said I wanted something "soothing." So we walked to a nearby food place where there were a number of office workers probably having an early lunch (it was around 11 am). We ordered Fish Ball Noodle Soup, and for the duration of the meal, neither of us was speaking XD All we knew was that our tummies were thanking us XD

Fish Ball Noodle Soup

After exploring a bit, we went back to the hotel to take a nap, and we woke up at some time in the late afternoon. We took a walk around the area again and found another eating place where most of the customers were really old people, and there was something comforting about them. Some were enjoying their rice or noodles, some were passing time drinking tea, and some were playing some board game. Since there were hardly any free tables, one of the customers stood up from his meal and cleared a nearby table for us so we could sit with our trays of chicken. I got myself a Roast Chicken Rice.

Roast Chicken Rice

On the way home (to the hotel), we passed by a fruit stand - which sells sliced fresh fruits on sticks, all ready to be eaten. My sister chose kiwi, dragonfruit, and honeydew. I got for myself some kiwi too, papaya, and dragonfruit.

Fruits on Sticks

The next day, we had our first 1929 breakfast. It's basically the same for all the other mornings, but it was all so good, we never got tired of it. Mine consists basically of four parts - some warm croissant with butter and jam, a small bowl of chocolate rice crispies with milk, a plate of scrambled eggs with beans, potatoes, sausage, and bacon, and a small cup of Meiji yogurt, which comes with huge chunks of strawberries inside. Of course, there is always my double cup of coffee (^___^)

My breakfast - everyday XD

That day was our Ikea day. Right after our full breakfast, we headed out to shop. We finished around 2 pm, so we decided to just have really late lunch someplace near the hotel, because we were also craving for some Chicken Rice.

Chicken Rice

After lunch, we wanted to check out the iced desserts place we saw the day before, so we went. I got myself Almond Ice while my sister picked Strawberry Ice. I absolutely loved my Almond Ice!

Almond Ice - an Ice Tower of Joy XD

For dinner, we went to another nearby place. We couldn't get enough of chicken rice! But we saw that they also offered Century Egg Chicken Porridge, so we decided to share both XD


Chicken Rice and Century Egg Chicken Porridge

On the way home, I bought some fruit again (^.^) This time it's watermelon and papaya (^^,)

After-dinner Fruits :3

The next day, we went to Takashiyama to shop. For lunch, we had Tori-Q! I chose the chicken of course, the unagi, the pork with asparagus, and another chicken stick with something.

Tori-Q Meal

After more shopping (we spent a pretty long time in Kinokuniya XD), we stopped by at Cedele to rest and have coffee and cake, and to buy some mints and jam for bringing back home.

Cake from Cedele

We went back to the same place where we had the congee for dinner. This time, though, we both had the chicken rice, plus an extra order of tofu. The young guys working there were quite nice in their own way XD

711 was one of our most frequented stores because we were checking out the chocolates and snacks and milk drinks and consumed them in the hotel room as we watched TV and got carried away by their TV ads that we ended up trying out the chocolates we saw on the screen. So that night, before bedtime, we drank our Meiji milk drinks (^^,) Perfect way to end a long and tiring day of shopping XD

Meiji Milks!

The next day, our 4th, we left our bags at the lobby and did some last minute shopping, then came back to be picked up by our cab which would bring us to the airport. Of course, we wouldn't leave Singapore without some Kopi Tiam XD

Traditional Set Kopi Tiam (^_^)


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Highlight: Hong Kong

So finally, I get to write about Hong Kong XD (Osoiiiiiiiiiiiiii ^^U)

Last March, some of us went to Hong Kong to take the dan exam and to compete; I did not compete though since there were only two of us girls and each team should ideally have three members. The Malaysian women’s team fought with only two girls, but they were Super Good, and they won several matches. In our case, even if we wanted to fight, I don’t feel I was prepared yet, especially when, during the weeks prior to the exam, I felt like I was in one of my worse phases.

The exam was on a Friday, and some of us flew as early as Thursday to avoid feeling too harassed on the day of the exam itself. I was feverish by the time we got to the hotel because of fatigue and hunger and pre-exam anxiety. So when we finally arrived at the hotel, my bed was the most inviting thing I had ever seen that day.
Bed, I love you.




Early Friday morning, I woke up and found Denise still asleep with some paper beside her (we were the only girls so we were roommates). I think she fell asleep composing her written exam for submission that day. I was still sleepy but the thought of the exam made me anxious, so I got out of bed and stood by the glass windows. I looked at all the buildings outside and thought about the families and children and salarymen inside them, some working, some preparing to leave, some still sleeping, and it magnified the fact that while they went about their usual daily routines, I was agitated sick because of possibly messing up my keiko or my kata.

Everyday Hong Kong


I looked down and found the train station which was right across our hotel, and a train had just arrived. I briefly thought about riding it to escape, but of course those were just my exaggerated, cartoon-like thoughts.


Train of Thoughts


After a while, Denise woke up and finished her written exam, while I went back to sleep. After another hour or so, I woke up, feeling more like myself, then I asked her if she wanted to eat eggs (we had boiled eggs in our room which we made into egg salad XD). So we had eggs and bread and she drank tea and I coffee. We sat by the window, partly sleepy, partly dazed. Well that was actually more of me because I was trying to keep my anxious self under control.


Coffee


Despite all the tension I was under, I was still able to think about rolling a big katamari though, when I saw the students from some nearby school, doing some outdoor physical activity. (Nanaaaa nanananananana the katamari damacy....)


Katamari Destination


Eventually, everyone came, and we all headed to the venue. I remember that we walked, but I was feeling floaty, and suspected that I was starting to sprout wings should the urge be strong enough for me to just fly and escape. I started feeling better though, as I got more used to the idea that I was actually there to take the exam. I just told myself to do my best and remember what our head sensei kept telling us before we left. So, during the exam itself, I just imagined I was in our own dojo back here at home, and saw the Xs on the floor as the same ones that the club president’s wife places on our dojo floor. So even if all the instructions given to me were in Chinese, I just nodded my head and followed what our head sensei was saying from inside my head.


Exam number


I was among the first few pairs in keiko since there were only a few of us girls who took the shoudan exam. I felt partly relieved I was done after that, but I was also still quite restless because I had no idea how I did. Later on, the numbers of those who passed the keiko were listed, and I found my number (^___^) All I needed to focus on at that time was to make sure I do not mess up my kata. Eventually, we had to line up for it, and my partner was this guy from Macau. I’ve never met him before, but somehow, our kata felt like we have been practicing together for weeks. It was like how we practiced our own kata matched, so I felt lucky that my partner was him. When the numbers were listed again, I saw that he also made it. (^^,) As for the people I was with, all four of us who took the shoudan exam made it (^___^)

Passed! (^_^)

That evening, we all went out for dinner, and I think it was the only time I felt I was actually hungry XD


After-dinner fruit


Back in our hotel room, Denise and I decided to keep Fish In An Aquarium.


"Fish" in "Aquarium"


A little past midnight, we also decided to play “billiards” using Meiji candies, our fingers, and our open mouths. We ended up eating candies from the floor.


Sweet "Billiards"


The next day was the women’s competition, and because we were not fighting, we just watched everyone practice and play. Fortunately though, there was time for free play after, and I got to play with one of the Japanese girls who won that day. (^^,) (In other news, this was also the day I got to play with my own version of Totoro for the second time. I met him and got to play with him on the first night of free keiko, during which he gave me That Totoro Smile. And though he wore a horrible sweater outside of kendo, I still somehow felt I wanted him to be My Totoro. Okashiiiiiiiiii. Almost.... gross. Like if I were non-gross, I would only be a few steps away from gross. But then again that is why I think it is all okashii.)


Watching


That night we all went to the Welcome Dinner Party where I had a Close Encounter with Red Trunks (worn by someone as part of his voluntary costume). (^^U) Then after most of us said our good-nights, Okashii number 1 (Totoro fixation) and Okashii number 2 (the Close Encounter which by the way has an odd ending handshake in 711) were topped off by Simply Okashi. Denise and I promised to come back the next day when it is open, so we could get our sweets supplies.


Okashi Land!! (^_^)


Back in our hotel, we added More Fish to our Aquarium.


More "Fish"


The next day, after being questioned if we were adults XD we went back to the venue to watch the men’s competition, and to support our own (^^,)


Lineup of participating countries


After the competition and the awarding, there was no more time for keiko and some of us had to go right away to the airport to catch our flight.

I was so tired after the whole trip, but most of it was really remarkable (^^,)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Seafood and Beef

Dinner with family at the Healthy Shabu-Shabu (^___^)

Seafood :3

Vegetables. Noodles.

Beef slices. We ALWAYS have beef with our seafood set. 

Dessert (^_^)

Homemade Berry Pie

My sister made me strawberry and blueberry pie for my birthday this year XD



Coffee Serving


I like the way they serve coffee at the French Baker - they bring you a small tray containing your cup of coffee, a tiny bit of brownie, packets of sugar, a small container of milk, and a small glass of iced water. It all looks so nice and well thought of (^^,)

Saturday Bloody Saturday

"Naoki"

There are men who just look Great in jackets with fur hoods, without looking androgynous or unreal and too anime-ish. They just still look like Men. And these men somehow perfectly pull off the costumes of Mage, or Priest, or Nordic Fighter (again, with all that fur outfit).

~

"Indifference"


Emotional roller coasters are never fun. When everything stops and you find yourself rid of any emotion, you realize how this dead state seems to free you from the roller coaster dips, that it is almost fun, though in a somewhat creepy way.


~

"Regret"


Oftentimes I feel "grown up enough" that I am "past" some things. But sometimes I surprise myself when a memory surfaces onto my mind, and I wince at something I did, or said. Sometimes it is so bad I have to shake my head and almost pretend it never happened. But being the "grown up" that I am, I stop shaking my head, remember that I am never "too grown up" to learn things and to realize how much I still don't know. Then, picking up from That Memory That Made Me Wince, I tell myself there are more chances to replace those memories with better ones, or to do better when a similar circumstance occurs.


~

"Change"

It is always a good feeling when, after a period of despair or anything that may eventually lead to it, you realize that you can always start anew. And there are a hundred ways to mark this new beginning. There are only a few things more refreshing in the morning than a freshly brewed cup of renewed hope and inspiration. Drink it all in. Then start your day.

Hanging on a Bookmark

Something I Put Together

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Caterpillar

I am not so familiar with butterflies and moths, so I am not sure if this is really the caterpillar of a tussock moth, which I think is the kind I see most often. Anyway, I found this one in our backyard XD

Don't Miss Out on Life

While there are words that inspire me in an unusual way, there are also those that speak to me just as they are. From the same book, these lines are a wonderful reminder for anyone (^___^)

"Most people miss their whole lives, you know. Listen, life isn't when you are standing on top of a mountain looking at the sunset. Life isn't waiting at the altar or the moment your child is born or that time you were swimming in deep water and a dolphin came up alongside you. These are fragments. Ten or twelve grains of sand spread throughout your entire existence. These are not life. Life is brushing your teeth or making a sandwich or watching the news or waiting for the bus. Or walking. Every day, thousands of tiny events happen and if you're not watching, if you're not careful, if you don't capture them and make them count, you could miss it.

"You could miss your whole life."

Addition-al Thoughts

I finished reading the book "Addition" about a couple of weeks back. (It was nice, though it's not something I would read again.)

As with most books I read, I find some lines that I really love, or lines that strike me and me realize some things, or make me stop and think about matters that I have either always brushed off or never really thought about - a pretty normal thing that happens when anyone reads a story, or any book. However, there are times when I read some lines that suddenly make me think of something else, something completely un-related to the story. Sometimes they make me Feel something that may seem very odd when associated to the lines I just read from a book. They create or inspire an image or a scenario in my mind that is totally different from what I just read, and that image inspires me to do something or feel a certain way. I find them odd myself every now and then. But it's good when the lines actually inspire me in an odd way. Like when I was re-reading "Abarat" last week and came across the lines which talked of Candy as a great star watcher. For some odd reason it triggered the desire to do three things: To go on a trip, to read PLENTY MORE books, and to Diet. (Err....)

The connection between being a great star watcher and doing those three things are not clear to me, but I would like to think of these occasional "triggers" as good things that manifest in an odd manner. Because when they do inspire me or make me realize something or make me stop to think about and decide on something, I am pushed forward to act right away. If it is not anything that requires action, they work like a magic pill and shift my mood and my views to brighter, better ones.

So, in "Addition," these were the lines:

"On Tuesday the rain dips to showers. 18 degrees. I clean between the keys of my computer with a cotton bud dipped in tea tree oil, then call Larry."

(Larry is the niece of Grace, the main character.)

Although it did not make me want to clean my keyboard, it made me want to clean my windows and buy new curtains. I suddenly saw in my mind, my room, warm and cozy, smelling of cranberry, small cranberry candles burning on nice candle dishes.

With that scenario in mind, I just felt so grown up all of a sudden, plus I wanted to get my hair done (I know). And then there was the desire for COFFEE.

Anyway, although the lines, and the scenario, and the feeling I got from it, are all hardly connected (actually they are, but the connection may not easily be identified), they still all gave birth to a general desire to Put Things In Order and Make Sure My Hair Looks Nice In The Process.

Since then, I have pretty much organized many of my things. I have taken away more things for selling or giving away, and have cleared most of the stuff in my "Miscellaneous" shelf (where I dump everything that I need to sort or fix or organize, but will have to wait). I have also finally put up the wall stickers I bought from Ikea last month. Many of my old files in the computer have been deleted or updated or regrouped. Hair-wise, I have not gone back to my Amazing Korean Hairdresser but my hair has been kind to me so far (^^,)

Putting Things In Order is an ongoing process of course, but since those Addition-al lines triggered something in me, the process has kind of fast-tracked. It's really greatly helpful when I get those occasional nudges, though they come in unusual ways.

They Watch

As my grandmother sleeps.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Medicine Turned Poison 8-|

One day I emptied our kitchen cabinets and cleaned them up. I took out rarely used items to be sold for the garage sale, and threw away some really old things. I also opened our medicine box to discover Many Expired Medicines.



Of course I threw them away after; I just liked looking at their colors and shapes and textures XD (I'm sure Ciotolina did too.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kaya Toast and Coffee

One weekend, as I and my friends discussed a group travel that we will be doing next year, we enjoyed Ya Kun Kaya Toast's coffee with condensed milk (^___^) I also got some kaya toast for everyone. Lovely (^___^)



Card Guards

The guardians of my credit cards, ATM cards, and other IDs XD


Yes, they are sushi (^___^)

Samurai Takoyaki

Samurai's takoyaki - a convenient, cheaper, and good enough alternative to the takoyaki from Little Tokyo when you are craving for some :3 


Cute Pen: Mom's Laundry Day

Wow. Somebody's cheery about laundry day XD




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