Japan (Final)

So I just realised that I’m leaving for Japan in 3 days, and I ‘m not done blogging about the previous Japan trip (over a year ago). PROCRASTINATION! -smack self- Well, we know what’s going to be on my New Year’s Resolution list this year… Pffft.

So here it goes. My love affair with Japan, and the heart that I am returning to soon.

Anyway, more about my adventures.

Artsy Bit

Yuki and Shoichi are partners in a company that reads books (with music) in various places. They took me to their job today – a children’s hospital. Or more specifically, a children’s hospital and a care centre for those with physical deformities and special needs.

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We spent the entire day, from morning to evening there, stopping for lunch at a lovely udon place. It was becoming autumn, and the momiji were starting to appear above the koi pond.

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As usual, the food was AMAZING. I had mochi udon for the first time! All chewy and stretchy ahahhaa.

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Anyway… why I love Japan so dearly. Watching them work. Watching them read a book from their hearts, with all the commitment and love, even if it was to just ONE person who may or may not be listening at all.

The work ethic poured out from them. I met the director of the hospital and he showed me around the building as well. All their facilities and staff and protocols were committed to making their patients feel as good as possible, even though they were unable to fully express themselves. This is why I love. Everything, born and done out of service.

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The next day, I was supposed to meet Shoichi for a Festival Tokyo (F/T’13) performance called “the long field trip”, but it was only in the evening, so I decided to head to Omotesando to do my nails. That was my virgin gelish experience. So cute right! Ehehe.

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The sun sets over Itabashi. This is where I lost my Suica (train pass) and panicked, because the station masters asked me ??? Shinjuku ?? my Japanese very bad didn’t understand. So I called Shoichi, who just told me to stay put at wait for him to save me.

Which he did.

I just had to pay the fare from Shinjuku to Itabashi. Heh heh. Don’t lose belongings people.

It was an amazing show by the theatre company called “SAMPLE”. The space itself, the Nishi-sugamo Arts Factory was an old school gym, and the performance started with a freaking pick-up truck driving on the stage. Yep. It also had subtitles. Woohoo! I’m going back this year to the arts factory to watch Ninagawa’s “Ravens, we shall load bullets”. Such excite!

Touristy Bit

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The next day was a Chikage bringing me to do touristy things day!

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Because what’s going to Tokyo without going to Meijijingu?

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Looking at the trees becoming flame red in the fantastic weather.

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Eating yakitori in Ginza!

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Going to the Kabukiza!

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Going to the Asakusa Temple! (I obviously crammed being a tourist all in one day, poor Chikage… Ahahah..)

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Chikage, and our dessert. Which was the exact same dessert Yagnya ordered when she went to Asakusa with Chikage. This is why she’s my perfect friend. I miss you woman.

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We went to the Tokyo Skytree at night, looking over Sumida River, and I was awestruck.

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Food in the Solomachi, the shopping mall within/next to the Tokyo Skytree. CALBEE. CHIPS. Fresh and hot with ICE CREAM. I’m going back there, if not for the Skytree, for the beautiful potato chips. Unggggghhh get in my belly!

Also, had sushi and sake with Chikage. My first uni (sea urchin) experience!

.______. creamy.

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The next day was my final day before I flew home! Bought a matcha soft serve (this was the smallest size) in Nakano, and ate it ALL. ^_^

Shoichi had helped me book a Butoh performance at night, so I had the day to kill.

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So relax, I did. I went back to the Skytree Solomachi and had a katsu-omurice. I love omurice. YUM YUM IN TUM TUM. Obviously hungry while writing this.

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This was the dance studio where we waited for the Butoh to start… I was falling asleep because it began with 15 minutes of music and multimedia. But when they danced. WHEN THEY DANCED! Goosebumps! I wanted to stand up in the theatre and gasp and… it was electrifying. Their bodies were so fit, moving with such fluidity and simplicity. No extra movement wasted.

Leaving

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My flight was in the late morning, so I left the hostel early to take the train to the airport.

I took the train to Shinjuku, and changed to the Narita Express to NRT International.

As I was leaving, I knew I left my heart there. I had come to Tokyo, alone, to see if I still loved it. To see why I loved it.

I found myself falling more.

An unexplainable pull. A place that always finds me.

And this is why I’m going back.

 

Queensland, June.

This is going to be a pretty long post about my trip to Queensland with my mom and family friends this summer. It’s September now, so it should be about three months ago. So, a little backstory on the people I went with. Irene Aunty and my mother have been friends since my mother was 19(or 17?) and she was 21. They have been friends ever since. My mom is 49 now. So I grew up with Marcus and Germaine.

Amazing friendship, my mom and Irene Aunty.

So we went to Queensland, Australia. We stayed in Gold Coast. For the first week we were at Surfer’s Paradise in the hotel, then we moved to an apartment in… I forgot where. Oops.

Irene Aunty, Germaine, Momma
Irene Aunty, Germaine, Momma

This was taken before we boarded Emirates at Changi Airport. It was a 7(ish) hour flight. It was ridiculously cold. We landed pretty late at night, so we had instant noodles for supper and went to sleep.

The next morning we went exploring around our hotel. Went to walk along the boulevard and the beach. It was really rainy at the time we were there. T_T But we got away from the haze!

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This was taken on the same day at the photo above, but the coat was WAY too thick for a sunny Australian winter day. So I borrowed my mom’s coat-thing.

P1050008This is surfer’s paradise at night. Behind us was the beach. TOO MANY SEAGULLSSSSSSS. SEAGULLS EVERYWHERE.

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The next day we went jet-boating. This is the wretched place where I dropped my camera’s lens cap. THANK GOD IT WAS THE LENS CAP. -sob- Anyway, it was fun but you get really nauseous after a while. T.T

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We went back to the beach. Where there were seagulls. Gulls are scary. But my hair was perfect and beach-waved. WHY ARE BIRDS EVIL?


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At some point we went to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

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Khaleesi and Owl

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Saw some koalas. They were all sleeping but THEY’RE SO CUTE.

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And this is where we saw a lot of birds. Yeah, I don’t know what I’m wearing. But you know, on holiday you get to wear a lot of fashion crisis things because you’re a a tourist and you can be weird, RIGHT?

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And fed the kangaroos. THEY’RE SO CUTE. Did you know kangaroos can’t move backwards? Fun fact hey.

We met some other people from church that were living/studying in Brisbane at that time, too.

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Honestly, the 2 weeks were TOO long in a place that gets dark at 4.30PM and I get sleepy at 9PM and I get up at 7AM. Also, the shops close at 5PM almost every day. It’s a really different, laidback way of life that I was totally unaccustomed to. Really.

So this was my June Australia trip.

Taiwan #04 – Day 4 and 5! (Last)

Picture heavy post ahead, where I’m finishing up the Taiwan Trip posts! So… here we go.

Day 4

We are rolling later and later out of bed. Had rice noodles and onigiri for breakfast, and got ready to hunt for a hair salon! I wanted to have ombre (hey, this was in MAY so ombre was still kind of in then!)

Good morning~

I tried on grey contact lenses I bought from Ximending for the first time – for only SGD$5!! The diameter was too small for my eyes and I walked around with blurry vision all day, though. My pupils are too big.

#ootd

Taken in the bathroom before dying my hair! Okay, this is actually what my hair color is NOW, but try to imagine with me that we are back in May, alright?

So we went around hunting for a legit place and I showed them a few photos.

And we found a place! It was massive and had two floors! It looked more like a mansion that a salon!

 

Chlo doing hair treatment!

It’s quite cool, they have televisions to entertain us.

Chinese Cartoon Network

The dyeing process took 5 hours. I bleached my hair three times. I also couldn’t really understand what they were going to do to me because my Mandarin is terrible. So I sat through the whole ordeal. X_X

Don’t believe the smile!

The above picture was probably the second bleaching round or something because I wasn’t smiling towards the end. FIVE HOURS OF SITTING AND DOING NOTHING.

So after dyeing, we decided to have Japanese curry for dinner! (Going to Taiwan for Japanese food. Sounds reasonable.)

House of Curry

Decided to try this curry place with a massive gorilla outside that we walk past everyday.

My Katsu (curry separate)~

It was quite good.

Chlo’s kare-omuraisu

After dinner we headed to Zhongxiao to look for this brand called “Knightsbridge” at Mingyao but all we saw was a massive Uniqlo.

We went back to SOGO instead and I finally bought a white shirt! Japanese brands why you so nice and expensive.

Headed back to the hotel after buying snacks.

I forgot why Chlo was sad.

We were dead exhausted.

Hair. It doesn’t look like that anymore.

Yeah, my hair was an ash-blonde-grey color at the ends.

With Chlo!

Look at our bloodshot eyes haha. Mine is mostly due to five dollar contact lenses which I took out.

Showered and watched TV, trying to get sleepy enough to fall asleep. Some talk show about Taiwan ghost stories came on while Chlo was showering. We got a bit too spooked and decided to switch to Disney instead.

Watched Halloweentown and was thoroughly amused seeing them speak Mandarin.

Some Lawyer show.

We did facial masks.

Stuffed our faces

 

Day 5 – Homebound

Sleepily rolling out of bed around 9 to pack because we had to check out by 12.

We managed to stuff everything in the luggage!!!!!

Proof.

Oh yes, we showered and had breakfast and all that as well.

Yey.
Bad selca aiming.

We had two hours to kill before taking the bus to the airport. So we left our luggage at the reception.

Bye room!
Happy Chlo is happy.

It was a rainy afternoon. We walked around Ximending and got harassed by people with funny English who wanted to sell us stuff. Ahaha.

Ah Zhong Mee Sua

I think this is the famous mee sua, but I don’t like mee sua.

Bikes

Have some Taiwan street view. There were actually bikes everywhere and in long rows everywhere we went!

Headed back to the hotel to grab our luggage and wait for the shuttle bus.

Reception.

The receptionists, who were pretty awesome. And their uniform is so cute! They even have matching glasses!

We went to wait for the bus, which was late, so Chlo and I panicked. Us waiting in the rain also helped to our panicked misery.

The bus was to ferry us to a larger coach that would take us to the airport. The smaller bus was really cramped and my luggage kept rolling around. T_T

When we got to the larger coach where everything was stored snugly under the bus, I promptly fell asleep until we got to the airport.

Declared duty-free goods, checked in, walked around the duty-free shops. I bought Reader’s Digest to accompany me on the plane.

Before Boarding #successkid.jpg

We’re alive!

And back to Singapore.

Where we got lost at the arrival hall and couldn’t find our way out. Yes, getting lost in our own country. Well done.

AND THIS CONCLUDES TAIWAN!

Taiwan with Chlo – #03

Day 3 with Chlo!

Late post is late and I should feel bad yes. NAG AWAY.

Chlo woke up at 7am and stared at me while I was sleeping. Eventually rolled out of bed at 9, really sleepy.

We had 7-11 onigiri for breakfast and headed to Red House Theatre, which was nearby.

Opening

We went on a weekday, so no shows were going on during our visit. Meh. 😦 All their shows were weekend only. But we did take a look at artifacts  from the war on display.

Said Artifacts – All in Mandarin

It was ridiculously quiet.

But we were listening to the audio guides. The English guide was really funny, I think I prefer to fumble my way through listening to Chinese..

We sat down in the museum trying to plan our way of going to the Taipei Main Station underground mall. Then two darlings came along.

Gong Xi and Fa Cai

No kidding – their names were Gong Xi and Fa Cai. Gong Xi Fa Cai. Or Happy Chinese New Year if you’re not Chinese. Bahaha.

Exterior
Chlo from afar – Theater is on the right

Then there will be a period where there are no pictures because we are busy shopping.

But here’s Chlo’s OOTD (outfit of the day)

#ootd #wiwt #ufod

Chlo and I wore the same shoes and walked around the entire day in them. MOST COMFORTABLE WEDGES EVER!!! Should have bought like 20 of those or something.

 

Anyway, we walked to Taipei Main Station and found the underground mall – WHICH WAS MASSIVE. Like seriously. Massive. Bought touristy pineapple cakes and some other crap.

Then took a train to SOGO with our passports to get our tax rebate. THEN went back to the hotel to put our stuff down.

Crowd. Feels like home. Lol.
Cute displays in the station. Huh.

 

Then I took a quick shower.

And we got dressed to head off to Shilin! Yay!!!!!!

We walked from Shilin Station to the Night Market. It was nothing like what we remembered from our trip 5 years ago! It probably went through renovation and we were too stubborn to accept it.

We also tried to locate the awesome fried ice cream we had 5 years ago but we couldn’t find it. Chlo had to go around asking people, “Where is Shilin Night Market?” (in Chinese of course) and they would be like “Isn’t this Shilin?” It was very tempting to run around asking “WHAT YEAR IS THIS?!??!!” after that.

Chlo buying some potato… thing

We were really hungry so we settled for random food.

FRIED CHICKEN

Because what’s Taiwan without XXL Chicken, right?

This Stall

I also had bubble tea. Because what’s Taiwan without bubble tea and xxl chicken?

I didn’t have mee sua.

We went shopping around Shilin and I bought a top from a dodgy store that looked REALLY dodgy. Like drug selling. Dopey.

Back at Ximending

Went back to the hotel after buying breakfast from 7-11. We were poor and lazy to venture out so early to look for breakfast.

Arizona!

I keep seeing this on tumblr but I never got to try it cos Singapore doesn’t have it! It’s pretty awesome!

And Singapore’s 7-11 should do a major upgrade with the food and drink section. And sell onigiri. And a larger variety of instant food!

Got back to the hotel, watched TV, crashed!

Until next time….