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Monday, November 26, 2007

日本クイズ

今日は日本クイズをした。難しい!!このクイズは日本のことについてのコンテストだ。一番いい成績を取るの三人は無料で日本に行くことができる。多分私は無理だ。本当に難しいよ。東京から神戸までの電車線の名前は何?どこは地下鉄がない?どこで漆器が有名か?日本とシンガポールの輸入と輸出はいくら?日本でビジネスをするとき、資本金はいくら?どこで一番長い海岸線があるか?全部は150個質問がある。もちろんしている質問もあるけど、ほとんどは推測した。無理かな~ 日本のことあまり知らないなぁ~

I went for a Japanese Quiz today. It was so bloody difficult. The top three people in the quiz will get to go on a Japan trip for free. There are also some consolation prizes I think. But it was really difficult.

What is the train line from Tokyo to Kobe called? Where in Japan is there no subway? Where in Japan is laquerware famous? What kind of country did Marco Polo call Japan? What is the imports and exports of Japan and Singapore? When you start up a business in Japan, how much capital must you have? Where is the longest coastline in Japan?

A total of 150 questions in an hour. Of course there were some easy ones and some that I have come across before. But I think most were a guessing game sia...
I think consolation prize also dun need to think le...=(

~ { 3:06 AM }
reflections @ 3:06 AM 0 comments


Thursday, November 22, 2007

ATW思い出

今日はマリサと一緒にスターバクスで勉強していた。今は試験期間だから。でも今学期、私は学校試験がないけど、12月2日日本語能力試験がある。それに、早稲田で発表したのテーマは論文を書かなければならない。今日は相変わらず、遅くなった。マリサ、ごめんね!いつものことだけど、いつも本当に遅くなりたくない。今朝5時寝たから、今日寝坊した。ごめんね!
晩ご飯を食べた時、いろいろなことを話した。もちろん九大のことも話した。話すると懐かしい感じがあった。ATWは本当に楽しかったから。皆どうだったとか、皆と遊びたいとか、とにかく福岡に戻りたい!話した間、そういう風にの会話があった。
私は「シンガポール組みの友達、皆と一緒に福岡に戻ることはできるかな?」と言ったけど、マリサは「多分無理だと思うよ。もし4人、5人ぐらいまだ大丈夫けど」と答えた。そうだね。無理ですよね。難しいですよね。マリサ、早く九大に留学してね!皆マリサの部屋で泊まりたいから。ふふふ・・・

~ { 12:09 AM }
reflections @ 12:09 AM 2 comments


Sunday, November 18, 2007

箱根

My trip did not end in the previous post. Haha... the next day which was a Monday, we went to 箱根 (Hakone), intending to have a view of 富士山(Mt. Fuji). Note the word, intending. Haha... it was too cloudy! Although it did not rain, the clouds hid 富士山 to our great disappointment (except for my sis though, since she had been there before). So we got up early...ok not so early...and headed to buy tickets for a so-called scenic route. First we hopped onto the Romance car at 新宿(Shinjuku) station, which brought us to 箱根湯本(Hakone-yumoto) in about one hour and a half.



The romance car.


After reaching 箱根湯本, we had to take a bus to 箱根町(Hakone-machi) which took about 20mins. There, we boarded a scenic cruise!



The cruise ship that we boarded and sailed through Lake Ashi.

It was freaking windy and cold, but the view was worth it.




See the tori gate? And I think that the colors of the trees are beautiful.


After reaching 桃源台(Togendai) which was where the ship brought us to, we took a cable car...which over there is called a ropeway.



That's part of the route we travelled.

And of course the view of the area...I really like autumn colors.


So after we got off the ropeway at 大涌谷 (Owakudani), we walked towards the sulfur volcano. It was so windy that we had to hide in souvenier shops at first. Then it was kind of a 'let's just get over it' thing and we just braved the wind... By the way, it stank. Haha...the sulfur smell was so strong!

See the smoke fumes?

The water is light grey in color. See the water bubbling? It's boiling!


So, apparently the highlight of the sulfur mountain was to eat this egg that is cooked in the sulfur water. Apparently, due to the nutrients from the sulfur, eating one egg can prolong your life for another 7 years... -_-'''


That's the sign! I'm not kidding.

They boil the eggs in those containers...see the cages of eggs?

So, of course I had to try it. Seriously, it doesn't taste any different from a normal egg. I ate 2, does that mean I will live 14 years longer?

This was at one of the souvenier shops. かわいいでしょう?

Due to strong winds, they were announcing that they may stop the ropeway. So we hurriedly went to take it before it was stopped. After reaching 早雲山 (Sounzan) by ropeway, we took a tram, which over there is called a cablecar (confusing), to 強羅 (Gora). Then, we took the Hakone Tozan Railway back to 箱根湯本. And finally we took the Romance car back to 新宿。The whole trip is about experiencing the different types of transportation and enjoying the scenic view. All in all it was not bad, except the fact that the trip was about seeing 富士山 which we couldn't in the end.

So, we went back to 池袋 and was looking for a place to have dinner. Then we saw this sign that said お好み焼き (Okonomiyaki)、もんじゃ (Monja)。Since my mum hadn't eaten it before, we decided to have that. Lo and behold, after we stepped into the restaurant, we realised that it was a DIY restaurant. Shucks. All along I've eaten those that the 店員will cook it for you. Well, we were quite clueless although there was an instruction sheet. And after pouring it onto the pan, my sis panicked and the instruction sheet was forgotten. -_-''' But since it was our first time, I think we did a relatively decent job. Of course, that depends on what you mean by relative. Hee...
もんじゃ

お好み焼き
After our very "successful" attempts during dinner, we decided to treat ourselves to cakes at a cafe in the vicinity. Yum...

That's my macha latte with raspberry cake.
That's all for that day. The next day, we were flying back to Singapore. But before our flight, we had some time, so me and my sis decided to head out and walk around and do some last minute shopping. Then, my sis said she was hungry and we decided to buy cakes again! We went to TOBU department store to get the cakes. There are so many varieties and all look so yummy that we took a long time choosing.
All these are made from sweet potato.

苺ケーキ、おいしい!
Black sesame pudding.
Yummy...and as usual, service and packaging in Japan never fail to amaze us.
東京に行って、とても嬉しかった。前半は疲れて、大変だけど、フォーラムの後はとても楽しかった!今回日本に行って、多分卒業前の最後だ。ちょっと悲しい。卒業後、仕事が始めて、いつか日本に行くことができて、分からない。寂しいなぁ~日本にの友達も会いたいのに。でも、今まで私はとても幸運だと思う。大学のプログラムとか、始めて日本に行く時飛行機券を勝ち取りなど、とても幸運だと思う。今考えて、日本研究の専攻が選んで、良かった。もしこの専攻が選ばないなら、そんなに多い機会と経験は多分できなかった。日本は大好き!日本でできた友達は大好き!いつ日本に戻るかなぁ~

~ { 3:14 AM }
reflections @ 3:14 AM 0 comments


Saturday, November 17, 2007

鎌倉

Did you all think that my trip to 東京 ended there? NO! Haha... my mum and sis joined my after the symposium so we kinda toured/shopped around for about 5 days...ok actually it was about 3 days..coz the first and last day didn't really count.
So what did we do during that 3-5 days? Well...first day, my mum and sis arrived at the hotel at about 4pm...so we didn't really go anywhere except around the area. Oh ya, I switched hotels though...The one at 高田馬場 (Takadanobaba) is too expensive...and coz we had to find a room for 3. So I shifted to a hotel in 池袋 (Ikebukuro) instead. So, on the first day, we kinda just shopped for essential things that we knew we wanted to get...for example my favourite Fancl...haha... and then just went for dinner.

The next day was a Saturday and our initial plan was to go to 鎌倉 (Kamakura), with Maureen, my sis's friend and also my 先輩. But! As always...somehow I seriously have a problem with the luck of nature...a typhoon passed by. So, we had to change our plans...and stuck around 池袋again instead and shopped some more. And finally, I went to eat my favourite 牛角! Yup, there is one in CHJIMES in Singapore. Super expensive, but super delicious. There are plenty of 焼肉(yakiniku) shops around Japan and I went to a few of them before. But this is the first time that I went to eat at 牛角 coz my sis always ask me to compare it with the Singapore one. And I have to say, it beats the one at CHJIMES hands down...and it is so much cheaper. Talking about 焼肉, I have to recommend anyone who goes to eat, to try the 牛タン(cow's tongue). おいしい!!I'm drooling already, just thinking about it. Maureen prefered pig's tongue though. But me and my sis both agreed that 牛タンis still the best. Eat it with squeezed lemon and if at 牛角、their sauce is good too. Try both, and decide which is better. It's a personal taste.
Ok, enough about food. Continuing with my trip, we went to 鎌倉 the next day (Sunday) instead. 鎌倉is a place where is famous for temples. We visited 3 of the more famous temples as we didn't really have enough time.

The first one was 鶴岡八幡宮 (Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine). This shrine is considered one of the most important shrine in 鎌倉. Founded by 源賴義 (Minamoto Yoriyoshi) in 1063, it was later enlarged and moved to its current location by 源頼朝 (Minamoto Yoritomo) in 1180, who was the founder and first shogun of the 鎌倉 shogunate (government). For those of you who know, yes 源頼朝 is the brother of 源義経 (Minamoto Yoshitsune), the famous warrior. And for those who are fans of 滝沢秀明 (Hideaki Takizawa), yes, he acted as 源義経 in the 大河ドラマ (Taiga drama which is a year long historical drama) on NHK in 2005.


Me, my mum and my sis infront of 鶴岡八幡宮.

A place where priests perform ceremonies, eg. weddings.




There was a wedding ceremony going on when I was there.



Those barrels of sake are to thank people/organizations that donated large sums of money to the temple, I think. This cyclist just stood right in the middle there dazing....


There was also some festival going on. I thought that it was the 七五三 (a traditional rite and festival day for three and seven year-old girls and three and five year-old boys). But it is supposed to be on November 15, so I am not sure. Nevertheless, the kids looked so cute dressed up that I was happily and sneekily snapping away.




かわいい!!



かわいい!The girls especially walk very slow because of the high traditional clogs that they have to wear.

The grave of 源頼朝 which is a short walk from the temple.


源頼朝 grave.Walking to another temple, we saw another wedding ceremony taking place at a hotel.


Next stop was 長谷寺 (Hase Temple), famous for its statue of 観音, the Goddess of Mercy.


Outside 長谷寺.

Rows of statues of 観音.

This is one of the statues at a height of about 2.8m. But the main highlight of the temple is the statue of 観音that is 9.18m tall. The large statue is actually carved from wood. Legend has it that in 721AD, a monk discovered a large camphor tree and ordered the carving of 2 statues of the eleven-headed 観音. One statue was enshrined in Hasedera near Nara, and the other (the larger of the 2), was thrown into the sea near Osaka with a prayer that it would reappear to save the people. 15 years later, this statue was washed ashore at Nagai Beach near 鎌倉. It was then brought to 鎌倉and長谷寺was built to honor it. But no photos allowed!


This is where people pray for harmony in the family.


Me and my sis.


Me, my sis and Maureen 先輩!


かわいいでしょう?

A cave where many statues of 弁財天 (Japanese Sea Goddess) are chiseled out of the rock walls.

Final stop for the day was 高徳院(Kōtoku-in Temple) to see the 大仏 (Great Buddha). It is 13.35m in height, and is the 2nd largest Buddha statue in Japan. This statue was cast in 1252 and was originally inside a large temple. However, the temple was washed away by a tsunami at the end of the 15th century and since then, the statue stands in open air.

As it was already about 5pm...the sun was setting (it is Autumn there), and it was difficult to take a good picture of the statue.

Another picture of the 大仏.

On the way back to the station, we passed by this 煎餅shop and went in to take a look. Yummy!

The 煎餅was huge!

Back in 池袋 after the long day at 鎌倉, we went to an 居酒屋for dinner. Another yummy dinner which filled my stomach...Hmm...satisfied.


~ { 1:05 AM }
reflections @ 1:05 AM 2 comments


Friday, November 9, 2007

早稲田

It's been so long since I last blogged! Been busy with lots of stuffs... Just came back from Tokyo last week. I went there to attend a symposium at Waseda University where I had to give a presentation with a Japanese student. It was some nerve-racking experience! This year is Waseda's 125th Anniversary. And the number 125 is a big thing coz the founder believed that if mind, body, and spirit were kept in proper balance, the ideal length of a human life should be 125 years. So due to this belief, some of the buildings in the Univeristy are built at 125 shaku (38m) or 250 shaku in height.

Symbol of Waseda - Okuma Auditorium

I stayed in Sunroute Hotel at Takadanobaba for the week before the presentation. It was a good hotel, except that the room was freaking small! For the price, it really isn't really worth it. 狭過ぎ!

My hotel room. That small walkway is the only place I can walk.

During my stay, I actually went to watch Kabuki! I have always wanted to watch Kabuki live, at least once in my life. Yuri, the Waseda girl that I worked with for the presentation, knew that I am interested in Kabuki and managed to get tickets! So coincidentally, one of the plays that were showing was a play I studied about in this semester!



The 歌舞伎座that I went to watch the plays. Managed to sneak a shot when the curtain was down during one of the breaks!


Since it was Waseda's 125th Anniversary, the whole week was filled with activities and there were stalls everywhere in the school.

Waseda's mascot.

One of the stalls was promoting ceramic stuffs. Best thing was that they let people get first hand experience in pottery! After much persuading from Yuri, I decided to try it.

The guy that taught me is so good! After knowing that I am from Singapore, he started speaking English, Mandarin and Cantonese to me! I was like....wow!

My masterpiece! Not bad, huh? The guy said that I was a natural. HAHA...

For one of my dinners, Yuri brought me to this special restaurant. The restaurant is decorated with old posters and all that, with old music playing in the background. The food that they serve is all food that were eaten in the past. They even had like school packed lunch menu! It was very interesting trying out the different food that the Japanese ate in the past or when they were kids. Some of the stuffs, Yuri also didn't know! But one ironic thing was that two of the chefs cooking for Yakitori stuffs are Indian. Talk about foreign labour...

Menu showing what 小学生 ate.

During another dinner, I drank this cocktail called Cassis Grapefruit. I love it!

The pink liquid in the glass is the alcohol and then you have to squeeze out the grapefruit yourself.

Then pour it into the glass and mix! Yummy!

Since some of my friends are in Tokyo too, we met up for dinner. Carol 先輩 treated us all at an 居酒屋!

My first taste of 馬刺し(Horse sashimi). Too rubbery for my taste. Didn't really like it.

So, minus the day that I went for Kabuki, the rest of the time I was mostly in school preparing for the presentation. So no, it wasn't all play guys...it was hard work! I even stayed in school till 3 plus in the morning the night before the presentation!


(On the banner) Japan and Asia in the 21 Century [Asian Students Forum]

Only I wore white! And without a jacket! Shucks... From left, マイさん(Thailand), いくみさん(Japan)、ユミさん(Korea), べえさん(Japan)、Me(Singapore), ゆり(Japan)、テゥさん(Vietnam), 田中さん(Japan)、阿部さん(Japan)、王田さん(China)、Julius (Philippines), 牧岡さん(Japan).

A super blur picture of me and ゆり presenting our topic 「文化交流を通じた関係構築」

The discussion session where China, Korea and Singapore were grouped together to answer and ask questions.

It was seriously nerve-racking. I mean minus the fact that there are hundreds of people looking at you, I had to answer in Japanese. I think that was the killer! The auditorium was not full, so maybe about a hundred of less were watching. But in another auditorium, the symposium was screened live, and there were about 200 people watching in there. -_-''' With my broken Japanese, I seriously wonder whether they understood my answers...*sigh*

We all heaved a sigh of relief after the symposium.

So after the symposium, it was time to party!! We had a party with the Social Sciences Faculty students and lectures, then after that, we headed off to our own party. Haha...

Celebrating at an 居酒屋

Celebrating at an 居酒屋

The next day, we went karaoke!


Finally we had time to enjoy!

この一週間疲れた!でも本当にとてもいい経験だった。先生たちがこの機会にくれて、本当に感謝します。そんなに多い人の前で、日本語で発表して、質問を答えて、本当に難しくて、緊張した。でも、この機会のおかげで、とてもいい経験と思い出をできた。今の私は多分少し成長したかもしれない。それに、このフォーラムのおかげで、いろいろな人に会って、本当に良かった。皆いろいろな国から、日本のことを興味があって、日本語で話して、友達ができて、驚嘆なことじゃない?いつか、どこか、分からないけど、また会うのを楽しみにしています!

~ { 2:21 AM }
reflections @ 2:21 AM 1 comments