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!