Sunday, January 29, 2006



It has always been the official colour of Chinese New Year, or what they call here in Japan '春節祭'.

I never thought that it would feel so festively CNY here too since it's not celebrated by the people here. There was once when the Chinese, Koreans and Japs celebrated new year on the same day, but not anymore. Following the changing of the calendar, the big day for the Japs has been changed to the universal new year - 1st January, since the Meiji Restoration.

Anyway, of course it wasn't a big thing here. The photos above was taken at the Chinatown near my place. But I guess it had been the same for Chinatowns all around the world. I remember my friend once commented that Chinese, instead of fitting themselves into the culture of foreign countries, they always build their own community, bringing in their own culture, and thus bringing the existence of Chinatowns all around the world.

I wonder whether its really becoz Chinese don't take in other ppl's culture or it's just merely becoz Chinese are natural business-minded people? Me as a Chinese myself, although Malaysian Chinese and not Chinese Chinese, I think I can still adapt very well to other people's culture, and of course at the same time, respecting the difference. Isn't it good sometimes to hold on to your own culture but in the mean time learn about others and respecting them? I always thought the respect part is very important, not only for cultures but for religions too.

Anyway anyway, before I drift off, hehe, it's a tradition for Chinese to sit together as a family and have what we call 'reunion dinner' together on new year's eve. So last night it was quite fun to be able to have some chinese food with the other Malaysians here in Osaka. Of course I guess everyone would have enjoyed it better if they were with their family back home, but well, when you are overseas, the only thing you can depend on are friends. And, they become your family.

Happy Chinese New Year. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006



This photo was taken in a train in Poprad, Slovakia a few years ago, probably by my brother when my parents was there visiting him.

Due to some reasons, I wasn't able to go back then. But, glad to say, I shall be visiting Europe this coming spring vacation with 2 of my travelling friends. :) Yup! I finally paid the ticket, and there's no turning back. Hopefully I shall be able to get decent hostels and cheap train tickets ready before I leave Japan.

Seriously, I've never thought that I would be travelling to Europe so early in my uni years. It was just another regular day, me chatting with my friend on msn, discussing about our spring vacations when we suddenly joked about going to

europe, and then surprisingly found this cheap ticket on the internet. And so here I am now, with my receipt from my payment this afternoon, with such mixed feelings.

Travelling to Europe has always been somewhat a dream to me since young, mainly because I had always been watching english movies with my dad since then. Therefore, of course, I'm really looking forward to the trip. But, I can't deny there is also a pinch of 'worry' and a pinch of 'anxiety' in there. I even had the idea of giving up the trip and go next year instead. But, instead of doing it later, why not do it now?
Who knows what will happen next year or the year after next, or the year after next after next?

I know it's going to be a really long month, spent on only travelling. And, it would have seemed better if I wasn't on such a tight budget. But, well, what to do? I'm just another poor student with no money and lots of time to spare. hehe :) At the moment, I hope for nothing more than things not being stolen and passport not lost. Those are the only 2 worst things I can think of now.

Anyway, what the heck. I know I am going to survive the month, and take loads of pictures, and have loads of fun. And, so shall I. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


(hisashiburi desu ne, hontou ni- it's really been a long time since)

It's been more than 10days since my last entry, and I really miss blogging. Today's one shall be another pictureless blog of mine, since choosing pictures can sometimes really take up a lot of time. Besides, today's entry shall be one where I sit down, calm down, and have a little space of my own to do a little bit of thinking.

I remember I once read in my brother's blog that blogging can be a somewhat good way to take hold of one's life. And, I really do agree. :) Most of the days you just go on and on with life that you don't spend some time thinking. Think about what? There's really a lot. For example, are you really living your life like how you want it to be?

For me, sad to say, but bye bye to my winter dream and hello to real uni life.

Not only do I have a lot to catch up with for studies, I was just appointed to some new posts in some foreign students associations here. And adding to that, I was called in to see whether I was interested in a part time job at a international school. And of course, I was! The place is just 5 minutes from my apartment, and they have really cute kids in there, most of them speaking very fluent English. BUT, my uni is not giving me the pass to work! sigh. They think we should concentrate more on studies since we have enough money from the scholarship. *blek* Now, I'm just hoping that the international school might give in and let me work without the pass. Oh. And my Europe trip, which is currently still under planning. I really hope it could work out so I wouldn't delay it year after year, but honestly, I'm still a little worried about the issue whether I AM really prepared or not?


Looking back now, life's really been moving too fast lately. Too fast that I just went with the flow. But anyway, I'm glad that most things are in correct places now. From now on, it would be just studies. (oh, and my europe trip :p) Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006



It's all because of you, I'm feeling sad and blue
You went away, now my life is just a rainy day
And I love you so, how much you'll never know
You've gone away and left me lonely...

If you are into english oldies, you'd probably know that it's the lyrics from the song 'sukiyaki', a song (like all other oldies that I like) that has been naturally 'programmed' into me since young. Like some people, I've never really knew what sukiyaki was till when I came here. And seriously, looking at the lyrics now, I really cannot figure out why the song is even named sukiyaki, except that the melody came from the actual Japanese song named sukiyaki スキヤキ. :p

Anyway, afraid of me feeling lonely spending New Year's away from home, my dear host family from Inami invited me to visit them during the 2nd day of New Year. And again, we had a very satisfying 4 hours of sukiyaki. :)

Sukiyaki is one of my favourites here. I don't really think it's the taste that makes it so great. But instead, it's the feeling when eating it. It's practically divided into 2 versions, kanto and kansai. I've never tried the kanto one before, but the kansai one is something like a drier version of steamboat. And when I say drier, I really mean drier. There's not much soup in it since we don't add any water at all when cooking. The 'soup' that you find in it is only from the veges and the sake and shouyu. The reason I said it was similiar to steamboat was because you sit around the table together, throw things in after stir-frying the beef a little together with some shouyu, sake and sugar, and then together everyone waits for it to boil. Like steamboat, you not only get to eat, but you get to talk and joke and enjoy and bond. And the good thing is, there's not much preparation needed. You just wash and cut, and dang dang dang, you've got one nice pot of sukiyaki!

Simple and yummy :)

Do give it a try if you can get your hands on some nice, tender beef! ;)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Japan's New Year - a visit to the shrine

the road leading to the shrine

takoyaki (octopus balls) stall

yaki ika (pan fried squid) stall

the shrine at midnight

litting the candles

getting blessings from the incense sticks' smoke


yup. those are practically what you will see during new year in Japan, if you happen to visit a popular shrine.

It was an eye opener for me, as you don't usually see so many people out on the streets at 12am in Japan, and in all places, a shrine. There were the old ones and the young ones, the funky ones and the family type ones, and some with pets! And I would never have expected it to be like any other festivals in Japan with stalls selling sweets and snacks and overpriced food.

It was quite fun doing what the Japanese was doing. (or at least what I think they were doing too :p) We threw our 5 yens, made a little prayer, and then moved on to the incense sticks area to put the smoke onto our faces for a year of blessing, and then did our mikujis.

My mikuji wasn't a bad one, nor was it a very good one. It says to stay in low profile, always be patient, always consult those on top, avoid competing with others, and good things would naturally happen to me. Would it really? well, I hope so! :p

It had been yet another tiring night, reaching home at 5 in the morning. Nevertheless, interesting! :) I vowed that it would have been my first and my last time visiting a shrine during new year. But, now, I guess not. :p

Conclusion from the past week:
Overall, it had been a great week! It had been a week full of first-times. My first christmas-dinner-kind-of-dinner, my first ski trip, my first time to a shrine in New Year. It had been mentally fulfilling, though physically half-dead. :p

Once again, Happy New Year! May the year ahead be filled with many surprises and of course, happiness! :)

Filling the gap

First of all, Happy New Year!! :)

it's only been a week since I wrote an entry, but a l
ot has happened. And, I've been dying to update my blog. Finally, now I have the time to sit down, think back, and write.

The Christmas Dinner

chefs of the day

bh dancing with the chic

yp's pumpkin soup - one of the hits of the day

roasted chicken

and the stuffing inside

It had been a great night (and day too!). We started roasting and baking and cooking since afternoon. Having fun trying out new recipes, gossiping, and playing with the chicken. hehe. It was my first try on preparing a roast chicken, and thus my first time stuffing one. Thank god, it turned out not too bad, though a little black on the upside. But, what the heck, everyone seemed to like it enough. :p

I had never really had a christmas-dinner-kind-of-dinner before, with pies and soups and salads and desserts. This was my first time. And I think all the food turned out great! (compliments to the chefs ;) )

We had a fine deal of mini champagne poppings where everyone had their own mini bottle of champagne, and then started off with crackers with cheese and salami, followed by mixed vege, coleslaw, steak, baked potatoes, hamburg steaks, roast chicken. And then the portugese fish pie and my modified shephard's pie, and finally desserts! Thanks to XM's cheese cake and yule log cake. yum yum!

Of course, it was not a night of only food. :p It had been warm and comfortable., having everyone together, laughing and talking away. And most of all, it was the together-ness. It felt like home away from home.

The Ski and Snowboard Trip

part of the gang, with the pinky brothers to the left hehe :p

Fun. That would be the word to describe the trip.

It was fun, more than painful, I would say. Although like most first-timers, I fell a lot, but the snow was soft, and falling wasn't really such a bad thing afterall. It felt great sometimes, to fall freely into the thick, soft snow. I named it 'bathing in snow'. And, honestly, how many times in one's life can you bath with snow if you weren't staying up on the mountains? hehe :p

Sounding stupid, but I would still like to give an applause to myself. :p for 'conquering' the intermediate slopes. hehe. It had been scary. really. But the satisfaction after reaching the foot of the hill, oh, it really feels good! much thanks to bh, koyi and keat for the encouragement. :)

Besides the ski part, it had been nice to meet up again with my gaidai friends, and have a little pillow fight before dozing off. :) It has been almost a year since we parted to continue on in different unversities. And I really missed all those late night talking and cooking and crazy-ing we did together during our gaidai year.

Oh. I really hope we could make this a yearly plan, so that we can meet and yet have fun. and of course so that I can learn how to make good turnings when going downhill with skis next year. :)