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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fukuoka and Farewell

I think this is going to be my longest post ever. Wanted to squeeze whatever that was left of my Japan trip to this post, thus it is so long.
This post is about all the other days in Japan. Of course, I could not include all, but most of them are here.

We went to Dazaifu one day after school. Dazaifu is a place where there is a shrine which is famous for praying for one's studies.

From left, Marisa, Gen, Clarence, Ashleigh and Rayne.

Me at the shrine.

I actually came to this shrine before last year end of June, when I went Fukuoka for homestay. At that time, the おみくじ were all dark blue. It was the World Cup season and many people were praying for Japan's victory. So, I guess the shrine wanted to suit the season and changed their papers to blue. This time when I went, it was aqua blue.

The place where you tie the おみくじ. You only tie the おみくじ when it predicts not good stuffs.

Sitting on some steps on the street leading up to the shrine.

One of the days, there was a small-scale 祭り near where I stayed.
Multi-culturalism at work. Or should I say cultural globalization?

The water balloon yoyos! You have to use a strip of paper tied to a hook to hook these water ballons out of a pool of water.

Strawberry かきごり。おいしい!

The goldfish game where you are supposed to catch the goldfish using a paper net.

Of course, during my stay in Fukuoka, I went to the karaoke about 5-6 times. Haha..really fun. This is one of the times where there was only 4 of us, but we got a room with a huge double decked sofa with pillows all around! Talk about singing in comfort!

This was another time after school where we first tried the 足湯。Yes! It is an ofuro for feet! Imagine sitting down soaking your feet in warm water and singing. There are even bath slippers for you to wear to walk around. And a clothes hanger!

Marisa, Gen, ゆうすけ, Me, Ashleigh, Cheryl and Pamela!

This was another day in the same room.  あゆみ、Gen, Marisa, さとK, Me, なぎさ、まさ

One of the weekends, the ATW tutors decided to plan a trip to the beach. I mean..since it's summer. They chose this beach that was really far from the city in the 田舎area. It took like 1 plus to 2 hrs to reach the place.

The train station. Doesn't it reminds you of 世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ drama where サクandアキ went to release his grandfather's ashes into the wind?

Really like in the dramas. This is the train station entrance.

Me, Marisa and Cheryl

ATW at the beach!

Since the beach was so far from the city and near to まさ's house, I stayed over her house that night.
Miu, まさ's cat. Miu is still a baby and really naughty! She ran out of the house a few times. But she's also very cute. Kinda miss her.

Although I didn't sign up for homestay, Jiahui's host mum invited me and クレto stay over. We ate a really good dinner of shabu shabu and sushi. Her host family has a really cute dog.

ピーちゃん!ピーちゃんis so hyper and loves to play. She's really cute. She stepped over all our beddings refusing to let us get on it. -_-'''

I told myself that when I'm in Japan, I must eat Charcoal grill. It is like so expensive in Singapore! So, one of the last nights, we went to a nearby restaurant for charcoal grill after karaoke.

The restaurant even supplied plastic aprons so that we won't get our clothes dirty and that smoky. The toilet even supplied toothbrush! Imagine that! It was すっごくおいしかった!

Yup, we spent National Day in Japan. Being away from your own country makes you patiotic somehow. We wanted to wear all red and white..but obviously most of us didn't have any. And Gen, being Gen, started to sing National Day songs and some of the rest followed. We even said the pledge! Like...hello? Haha... So we decided to commemorate the day with a picture of the Singaporeans.

Yes, Gen's dress is supposed to be the flag. Haha... I can't believe we took this photo!

One of the last days, we decided to eat all the food we can and me and クレheaded for a 焼き鳥restaurant. Definitely a must-try!

We were sitting by the counter while they cooked for us.

On the last day, it was really quite sad. I mean, after staying in Fukuoka for 6 weeks, I grew quite attached to the place and the people. After making so many friends and settling down into the lifestyle, etc.

My Japanese 5 class.

We had a farewell on our last day. It was really quite sad with everyone saying their byes and taking photos for rememberance.

Me and トモミ

Jordan, Ricky (Yakuza 2), Do Hoon (Yakuza 1) and Mirgim

ATW cake! The tutors made it! It was huge and yummy!

まさ and なぎさ also had a farewell dinner for me at なぎさ's apartment. We had kimchi hotpot. It was really yummy! We even played Wii. It was really fun! I recommend all gamers to buy Wii. Haha..can work your arms at the same time.

Kimchi hotpot

なぎさ loves Stitch. Her room is filled with Stitches all around! This is just one portion only!

Finally it was time to say goodbye at the airport. I was really touched coz a whole group of friends whom I met last year when I came to Fukuoka, and met only once or a few times this trip, came to send me off! And they each had a present for me. It was really touching!

Friends from last year's homestay.
Me and やなぎ

Jiahui's host family whom I stayed at their house for a night.


I really enjoyed myself this trip to Japan and really made alot of friends. Although some I may never see again, I really treasured the 6 weeks that we spent in Fukuoka. It was an experience that I willnever forget. I would say that this is the most enriching trip where I really got to experience the lifestyle in Japan and enjoyed their entertainment like karaoke and baseball. This trip really taught me alot of things and there is so much that I want to say to all those that I met, but yet words just can't express how I feel.


~ { 1:18 AM }
reflections @ 1:18 AM 1 comments

Monday, September 17, 2007


One of the things that I experienced in Japan which I can never experience in Singapore is fireworks. Yes, 花火! 花火が大好きです!Firstly, it is quite rare in Singapore to have fireworks. Like how many times do we have fireworks display per year? 3 times during National Day? And each lasting like 10mins or less? And of coz, there's no way of playing fireworks in Singapore. シンガポールで花火は珍しいだから、皆花火はとても好きだ。それに、大きいな花火を自分ですることは禁止のよ。So, obviously I could not miss out on the chance to go for a Fireworks Festival 花火大会 in Japan!

花火大会 happens in Japan every summer and each prefecture or sometimes smaller 区may have their own 花火大会。I went for the one in Fukuoka and it was an awesome experience. Following the Japanese tradition, almost all of us wore yukata and went for the 花火大会。I left mine in Singapore, so I had to borrow one when I was there. Sweet トモミ managed to borrow her friend's yukata to lend me.
So after wearing the yukata and walking with much difficulty, we finally managed to get to Ohori Koen where the 花火大会was going to be held. The place was packed with people! There were stalls selling food and drinks and games.

Marisa and me

Me, Ashleigh, sweet トモミ!

Me, Mirgim and Ashleigh

Me and Soonghe

Me, Clarence and Pamela!

The 5 girls, Marisa, Ashleigh, me, Gen and Pamela.

So obviously, the main event of the night was the 花火。Compared to Singapore's 花火, this is like super large scale. 10mins? No, 15mins? No, 20mins? No. It is a full hour and a half! Can you believe it? I mean...the tons of money that is spent, but also how lucky the Japanese are! In Singapore, we like go 2 hours beforehand to get a good spot and have to wait so bloody long just to catch a 10mins fireworks display?! 1 1/2hours to enjoy the 花火...bliss!





Video of 花火

It was a great night! And of course, what better way to experience 花火 than to play it yourself? We played 花火 on the last day before the girls went for homestay. We bought it at a department store near our dormitory and went with some dorm friends to a sea nearby (ok, not so near. We had to walk like half an hour), to play the 花火。At the departmental store, we didn't know which ones to buy. We didn't want those small fireworks (sparklers), but wanted those big ones that we couldn't play in Singapore. So we pored over the many 花火that was sold and picked out those that looked and seemed more grand. Haha...

Our loot.
Unfortunately, it was too dark at the place, so we couldn't get much photos and videos. The best 花火 that we played was the last 3 where it flew up 30m into the sky and bang! There was really fireworks. We were so awed and delighted! But, unfortunately, no video nor picture for that grandest fireworks.

Video of 花火(Most of the rest of the 花火 that we bought were these kind).

~ { 1:05 AM }
reflections @ 1:05 AM 3 comments

Thursday, September 13, 2007


This is my uhmz, 4th installment of my trip to 福岡!In this entry, I'm going to write all about something that I fell in love with when I was there. *drumroll* Yes, those that were there with me, should know, BASEBALL(野球)!!
I went for like 4 野球matches when I was in Fukuoka. Initially, I could make no head nor tail about the rules of the game. But the atmosphere was すっごい!Totally amazing la. And with my peer tutor explaining some of the rules, I managed to enjoy and understand the game. 野球is really big in 日本。It's like one of the most popular sport and watched sport in 日本。The other one is probably sumo and in recent years, soccer. So, not only did I fall in love with 野球、but I also fell in love with 福岡ソフトバンクホークス(Fukuoka Softbank Hawks)! Yes, the team... somehow after staying in 福岡for 6 weeks, I feel attached to that place. Hmm....いいことかな?

The Fukuoka Yahoo Dome where I watched the matches

The game.

This is during Lucky 7. There are 9 innings in a baseball game and for Fukuoka, the 7th inning is their lucky number.

Video of Lucky 7

Streamers during Lucky 7!

There are cheerleaders at many points of the dome.

This happens only during victory matches. White balloons symbolises that the team won.

This is the commentator for all the games that I went. His accent is weird! I mean, he speaks Japanese with a heavy American accent and it's really funny! No ill meaning intended.

The lights of the dome will be switched off when the team wins. It's to prepare for fireworks! 花火が大好き!

Video of the Victory video and Fireworks!

This is the top of the dome. This photo is taken before/during the game.
If the team wins, after the fireworks, the top of the dome will open. It costs 1million yen just to open this dome! Like...hello?

If the team wins, there will be a post celebration outside the dome. All the fans and supporters will gather and start cheering all the cheers again!

From left, Mirgim, Cheryl, アキラ, Marisa, Pam.

Me and my 2 dorm friends, 十夢and陽介


From left back, ゆうすけ、クレ、マリさ、Me, 十夢、陽介
From left back, Clarence, Gen, Marisa, Mirgim, マシ、Me, Ashleigh, Jiahui, Cheryl, トモミ、ゆうすけ、アキラ

The 4 of us, Maris, me, Ashleigh and Gen. Gen, where are you looking?!
Yupz, as I think everyone has gathered, I enjoyed myself tremendously watching these matches. And yes, I bought myself a clapper and the jersey! I seriously recommend anyone who goes Japan to at least watch a baseball game once. And bring someone who knows the rules along. You'll love it! We all got hooked, and just kept going!

Ok, I think that's enough proclaimation of my love for baseball. So till the next post! またね!

~ { 2:47 AM }
reflections @ 2:47 AM 3 comments