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Sunday, May 31, 2009

2 weeks worth

Audrey and Ginny came to Tokyo, so 4 of us (Liyan and me) went out for dinner at some random 焼肉 place in 上野。After dinner, we headed for dessert at Hard Rock Cafe. Please don't ask me why Ueno is spelt "Uyeno". I have absolutely no idea. If anyone knows, please tell me. I have been wondering too. It is obviously on purpose, but I dunno for what.

Ginny and Liyan, the 2 that were wearing heels and clothes that seem good enough for partying. Me and Audrey decided to stick together coz we were wearing flats and super casual.

Apple crumble with ice cream.

Some chocolate brownie sundae. Huge!

Ok, both were super huge. 4 of us shared and I don't think we finished either of it. Then we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe shop selling merchandise to see. Love the T-shirts, but as usual no $$, so decided to control and WALK AWAY.

The next day me and Liyan went for a 野球 match.

I recieved 2 free tickets from one of our clients who asked me whether I like baseball, in which I answered, yea, if it is Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. So guess what? 2 weeks later, an email came saying that they got me 2 free tickets to a Fukuoka Softbank Hawks VS Tokyo Yakult game! 2 Star Seat tickets! It was held at the Jingu Stadium on a Monday evening. Game started at 6pm. But me, who was in Chiba for factory training, and Liyan who was in Ibaraki Prefecture working, were obviously not going to be on time. In the end, we reached and found our seats by like 8pm?! But how can I complain? The tickets were free. AND Star Seats!
My first time being so close to the game/players/field.

Yakult fans cheering with umbrellas. Don't ask me why...but it was quite comical/cute to see.

In action.

The spectators in the background, and all the way surrounding the stadium on the left were Softbank Hawks fans. After the scoreboard on the right, all the way to where I was sitting were the Tokyo Yakult fans. Heng I didn't bring my jersey nor clappers to cheer. I will be the lone Softbank Hawks fan among a sea of Tokyo Yakult fans. (I can imagine Joel thinking about his jersey now).

In action.

See that guy on the left on the field? He is standing infront of the Softbank Hawks players bench/dug out or whatever you call it. That was how close I was!

Reporters interviewing the Softbank Hawks players after the win.

Softbank Hawks players celebrating the win.

Softbank Hawks players leaving the field.

Coffee after the game
Then weekend came and Liyan, Pamela and me went to Toyosu Lalaport for the Rookies movie (the opening day) and to try the only Ya Kun in Japan! I must say, from the exterior, to the interior, to the food, it was really like back home.
The exterior of Ya Kun. Hello? Like who knows Lau Pa Sat over here?! But it was a nostalgic feeling.

They even have the teh-tarik/kopi tin flasks up on the shelves!

Pictures of the founder I am assuming, making the toasts and kopi and teh.


Even the plates, saucers, spoons, trays are exactly the same as back at home! I bet they imported them.

Oh, btw Rookies is GOOD! LOVED the drama. Cried like tons during the movie, and it didnt help with having eye infection. So, if it ever gets to Singapore, or if anyone of you can get a hand on it, WATCH IT! And yea, bought my sis the Rookies shirt too. I got one for myself too! Lol.


~ { 12:14 AM }
reflections @ 12:14 AM 8 comments


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BJ-League 2008-2009

Went to a basketball match last weekend with Liyan and her friends. It was the finals for the Japanese Basketball League. 3rd and 4th placing between Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix 浜松東三河フェニックス and Osaka Evessa 大阪エヴェッサ, and 1st and 2nd placing between Tokyo Apache 東京アパッチ and Ryukyuu Golden Kings (Okinawa) 琉球ゴールデンキングス(沖縄). The organisation managed to invite the US NBA cheerleaders to perform, which was how we got our tickets. Liyan's JET friend's sister is a NBA cheerleader and she came to dance, so we got the tickets through her.
It was my first time to a live basketball match, and I had a great time!
The court during warm-up
NBA cheerleaders with Japanese kids dancing

Osaka's cheerleading team

Osaka's cheerleading team

Osaka's cheerleading team

Osaka's cheerleading team when the players are introduced and they walk out onto the court

Hamamatsu's cheerleading team when the players are introduced and they walk out onto the court

大阪エヴェッサOsaka Evessa(左)浜松・東三河フェニックス Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix(右)
NBA cheerleaders

NBA cheerleaders

The Osaka fans trying to distract Pheonix's player from scoring during a free throw

Osaka's cheerleading team

Osaka's cheerleading team

Osaka's cheerleading team

NBA cheerleaders

NBA cheerleaders
NBA cheerleaders

Tokyo cheerleaders
The Tokyo fans trying to distract King's player from scoring during a free throw

Tokyo's cheerleaders

Tokyo's cheerleaders

Tokyo's cheerleaders

Celebrating the victory!
The results:
1st Ryukyuu Golden Kings (Okinawa) 琉球ゴールデンキングス(沖縄)
2nd Tokyo Apache 東京アパッチ
3rd Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix 浜松東三河フェニックス
4th Osaka Evessa 大阪エヴェッサ
Hmm...I was rooting for Osaka during the 3rd and 4th placing match, and stayed neutral for the 1st and 2nd placing match. After looking through the photos that I took, I realised that I have almost none on the match/players itself! Well, I was too busy cheering and getting worked up. LOL.
The standard of the basketball here is of course no where near NBA. But it was fun to watch! Good experience!


~ { 10:03 PM }
reflections @ 10:03 PM 2 comments


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Stockings

I HATE stockings!! Ok, not hate...because they have their uses...but STILL...cant stockings be more DURABLE?! #$%&?!!

I dunno how many stockings I have bought...AND ruined...

I just bought a new one the other day and wore it yesterday for the first time. And bloody shit...it tore...coz one of my nail wasnt smooth....ok, not tore...but like half-tore? ARGH....and I was at work...
And it bloody costs 525yen..that is like SGD8.50?! And I only wore it once! And I like that material too... DAMN...

And those super cheap ones...3 or 5 for 1000yen or something, dont work either...firstly material is lousy...therefore dun look nice, secondly...just one wash will ruin it...so they are like disposable..

Now I have dunno how many ruined ones in my cupboard...i need to clear them and BUY new ones...and keep track of how many I have...at least enough for one per day...
SHITZ...

Thank God I can wear casual to work for the next 2 weeks...so no stockings needed. Going to be training at the factory in Chiba for 2 weeks.

~ { 11:06 PM }
reflections @ 11:06 PM 0 comments


Monday, May 11, 2009

Tired.

Tired, busy, but happy. Yupz, I think I am in lack of sleep...
After coming back from Ibaraki on Wednesday, I slept about 1.30am and went to work the next day. By the way, didnt get much sleep during the nights in Ibaraki too. Then Thursday, slept at 1.30am too. Friday finished work at 10pm, went for nomikai, and then slept at 3.30am. Saturday went back to work (wanted to go in earlier, but couldnt drag myself out of bed) at about 10.30am and worked till 5.30pm, went out for dinner and dessert/drinks. Ended up sleeping at 4.30am. FINALLY, on Sunday, I just slept and slept till 5.30pm in the afternoon! But shit...couldnt sleep at night...and then today, am tired again. Worked till 8.30pm. Yawnz...I should go to bed soon...

Busy at work FOR THE MOMENT. But not complaining. It is much much much x10 better than being free and bored at work. But I still want sleep...haha....

Okiez, gotta go now. Here's a picture of my latest new dish - Spaghetti Aglio Olio with tuna and leek.

~ { 10:30 PM }
reflections @ 10:30 PM 0 comments


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Golden Week - Ibaraki

Golden Week has come and gone. Being the first long holidays I have in Japan...of course I have to make use of it and tour somewhere out of Tokyo. So being 貧乏、I decided to save money and went to visit Liyan in Ibaraki Prefecture(茨城県). Pamela also came along for the 3 days 2 nights short trip!

Fujishiro in Ibaraki Prefecture, where Liyan stays.

Ibaraki Prefecture is 9 times the size of Singapore. Yes, 9 times. Singapore IS that SMALL. So touring it isn't easy. The attractions are all scattered around the prefecture, so there is no such thing as being able to finish seeing everything in a short trip. In fact, they are so far apart that we could only see 1 attraction per day.
On the first day, we wanted to see the Hobikisen, but were kinda lost and could not make it in time. So we changed plans, and decided to head to Mount Tsukuba (筑波山). Mt Tsukuba has 2 peaks, namely the Nyotai-san (Female) at 877 m and Nantai-san (Male) at 871 m. I was intending to hike up the mountain while planning for this trip, but since Pamela didnt have proper shoes, we called off the idea. So, Liyan drove, while I directed using the map, and we drove (about 1.5 hrs) till we could park to take the cable car up. Poor Liyan's car. It is not meant to be driven up a mountain. After finding a place to park, we had to walk a distance up, in order to take the cable car.

The cable car is somewhere in a shrine.



Steps, and more steps.

It is SO Japanese to pair things up and call them husband and wife - like these 2 trees. The rope binding them together means that they are 'husband' and 'wife'.



Finally, we managed to get to the cable car station, which actually means monorial in Japan. Ropeway means our version of cable car in Japan.

The cable car made a steep climb up the mountain.

The cable car.

Reaching as high up as we could go using transportation, we were greeted by a sight common during Golden Week. Even up on top of a mountain, there is a bloody long queue! The queue is to go down the mountain. -_-'''
The queue continues all the way to the steps at the back of the picture.
In order to get to the peaks of the mountain, we had to walk/hike up about 15mins (Female peak) and 20mins (Male peak) from the cable car station. As it was already 5 plus pm, there was no way we could get up to both peaks and down before the sky turned dark. So we only went up the male peak.

It started off deceptively simple. Just like a normal walk/hike with steps. Let me describe how we were dressed before we continue. Pamela was in a skirt and slight heels. I was in jeans and flats, but the shoes were definitely not the comfortable kind, nor something that you wear when you go hiking. Liyan was the most properly dressed for the occasion. Jeans and converse shoes.

The steps up the peak.
After walking up flights of steps for some time, we saw the sign and thought, "oh! we must be reaching soon!"


How wrong we were. The next sight that greeted us is below.

Rocks! Boulders! Basically we had to climb up. Looks simple? Oh no... Firstly, we were not properly dressed. Secondly, bad shoes. Thirdly, carrying handbags! Fourthly, slippery rocks/boulders. Fifth, you have to use your hands to help you up. So yes, climbing.

Then, we saw another sign! And we thought that we were reaching.

But NO, more rocks, more climbing, till we finally reach the shrine at the male peak.


but with a breathtaking view of course.



Oh, by the way, there were small kids and babies climbing too. And some parents had babies on their backs climbing the mountain too. Like hello?!!

But yes, I would love to hike up all the way from the bottom one day. Takes about 3 hrs up and 3 hrs down. Another mountain I would love to attempt is Mt Fuji. By the way, Liyan who has attempted to climb Mt Fuji, says that it is rocks all the way. And Mt Fuji takes like more than 10 hrs from halfway up the mountain (the furthest transportation can go).

But I enjoyed myself. Really. I think my sis would like this too.

The next day, we decided to try to see the Hobikisen again. Hobikisen is a sail-propelled fishing boat. This is at Lake Kasumigaura in Tsuchiura, which is about 2.5hrs drive from Fujishiro.
The dashboard of Liyan's car, which I took while she was driving.

The map on my lap, which I used to give directions. We were lost twice... oops!
We finally got there and it started drizzling. This place is totally 田舎。Really countryside, just plantations and the lake.

Kids fishing by the drain?

Lines casted into the lake by adults


The port, where we can take the motor boat to see the Hobikisen.

Preparing to get into the boat.

The small port.

The motor boat we sat. Ok, stood on.

Leaving the port on the motor boat.

Our captain!
And then, finally the Hobikisen.
The top of the sails have lines attached which are connected to the buoy in the lake.

Diagram of the mechanism of the Hobikisen.







It was freaking cold and wet due to the wind and the rain. But it was fun.
We headed back after the boat ride, as it takes 2.5hrs. Then we headed to Chateau Kamiya in Ushiku. Some of you may find it familiar. Yup, it is the 'school' in the Japanese drama, "Hanazakari no Kimitachi e ~Ikemen Paradise~". It was the first full-scale winery in Japan back in the 1900s, with fields spanning hectares. The chateau had a fermentation room, a preservation room, a warehouse and factory. Almost everything has disappeared now, but parts have been restored and turned into a museum. Apparently, the Chateau does not produce anymore wines, but while I was there, I saw a small vineyard. Maybe not for commercial purposes? Now, there are many restaurants in Kamiya Chateau, and even a little Chapel. We went there at night, thus most of the places were closed.






Finally on the last day, we did some shopping and then went to this nice little restaurant/cafe near one of the schools Liyan is teaching in.








Appetizer

Liyan's and Pamela's Main course. Fish.

My main course. The bread is free flow and home-baked, with different kinds.

Iced tea

Our desserts

My dessert after playing 'oya-beya-som'. Grapefruit moouse with ice-cream. Fabulous!
That is the end of my Ibaraki trip during Golden Week. I must say I like Ibaraki. Probably much better than Tokyo actually. There are too many buildings in Tokyo. And Ibaraki is a nice place to stay in. Not exciting, but relaxing.


~ { 12:34 AM }
reflections @ 12:34 AM 0 comments