Archive for April, 2010

Reality coughs

I know friends are expecting picture laden posts of Japan. Can’t blame them since I’ve been going on and on about the beautiful sakuras, the relaxing onsen baths, the glorious shopping and the food … melt in the mouth salmon belly, luscious kobe beef, ramen, springy ramen noodles with creamy eggs and rich, hearty broth.

But …

I’ve been too sick with cough to blog about anything let alone go through the photos (I’ve lost most of my photos too, sigh, I hope IT king aka HC can save them). You know, those huge racking cough spasms that seem to last for hours and leave your ribs sore and heart throbbing.

Back to work tomorrow, I hope I don’t get thrown out in two hours. Bah, me and my lousy immune system. When this is over I am going on a strict diet and exercise routine, I want to be fit and healthy!

So I’m afraid the Japan blog posts won’t be up for a while, but I’ll try to get well asap 🙂 I’m sick of being sick.

Sayonara Sakura days

It is the end of our Japan holiday. I don’t know whether it’s ironic or perfect that I am typing from the very same spot inside the Hongkong international airport where I blogged about embarking on our holiday.

Fast forward 2 weeks and it’s all over. I don’t even quite know how to use the normal keyboards after struggling over Japanese keyboards for the past 2 weeks, I’m pressing all the wrong buttons.

15 minutes ago we farewelled our parents as they had to go to another part of the airport for their connecting flight to Malaysia. Then we said goodbye to my sister and brother in law as they headed for their UK flight. We are scattered all over the world.

We all cried.

So it is bye bye to lovely Japan with the fabulous shopping, culture and food. And back to reality in Perth. (T____T). Perth isn’t so bad but home isn’t really home without your loved ones with you. I am heartbroken.

Arima Onsen

Hello from Kobe! I have probably mentioned this before but I really like Kobe, it is old, traditional, quaint and tranquil. We are now staying in one of the hot springs hotels at the Arima Onsen area .

Today I had my first hot springs bath, it was a great cultural experience, a little too hot for me but still really relaxing and fun. I also had my first kobe beef, it was fantastic, we had to grill it ourselves which made it easier perhaps because I could make sure that the beef was still rare and melt in the mouth.

Tomorrow it is bye bye Kyoto and hello Tokyo. What will Tokyo bring I wonder …

Goodbye Osaka

It is our last night in Osaka.

Tomorrow we will be heading to Arima for our one day onsen adventure. After days of walking and travelling by public transport everywhere, I am looking forward to resting my feet and body by soaking for long hours in the warm healing baths.

And then there’s our Kobe beef dinner … Even my parents who do not normally eat beef are willing to try Kobe beef for the first time. Us siblings joke that they only eat ‘high grade’ beef and refuse to settle for anything but the best.

Things I have learnt about Japan so far …

  1. Japanese food isn’t as expensive as I thought it would be, it’s even cheaper than Perth and so much yummier and better.
  2. Sashimi here is to-die-for.
  3. Japanese people smoke a lot! Everywhere and anywhere. Posh looking restaurants are constantly filled with smoke, I’ve probably inhaled more second hand smoke in these few days than my entire life.
  4. Vending machines are everywhere and so convenient.
  5. Combinis, the 24 hour mini marts in Japan are great, they sell everything and have a fantastic range of food available. I wish they had combinis in Perth.
  6. Japanese toilet seats are amazing, they really have music coming out of them, heated seats, fake flushing sounds and all.

Ok, that’s all for now, I’m not sure whether there will be any internet connection in Tokyo, so until then, sayonara from Osaka!

Words of wisdom from Andy

My brother in law is a really funny and witty person. For the past few days in Japan, he has been amusing us with his deadpan one liners.

Sister: (gazing at a souvenir) this is so pretty!!! should I buy it??

Andy: It is only pretty because you are on holidays.

Sister: (walks out of shop)

Hehehe, Japan is fun!And beautiful, sakuras sakuras and more sakuras everywhere, Jo is going crazy with the pink and white blooms and has resorted to buying all sakura products, I mean literally, sakura pudding, sakura flavoured ice cream, sakura hair pins, sakura scarf ….

She will come back to Perth a walking sakura.

First day in Japan

Actually that was yesterday and it’s now our second day in Osaka Japan.

I am completely in love with Japan, it’s more exciting than I remember, more beautiful and fun, there is something to do and see and eat at every corner, it’s so fun and gorgeous, I can’t believe it.

Yesterday we had 130 yen, around 1 something AUD conveyor belt sushi , it was fabulous, we had melt in the mouth salmon toro and I even tried the scary horsemeat, it was err.. interesting.

Ok ready to head out now, bye!!

I’m in Hongkong!

Jo and I are now in Hongkong! It was a smooth and fantastic flight because I slept all the way, haha.

Now we’re going to head off and meet my parents in the airport before flying off to Osaka, thinking of takoyakis … sushi… and sakuras. Lots and lots of pretty pink and white flowers flying everywhere, let’s hope they haven’t all bloomed and dropped off by now. Never mind, I shall drown my sorrows in sake were that to happen.

Hahahahahaha.

Y(^__________^)Y I think that will be Jo and my signature photo pose throughout the trip, lots and lots of V signs. Ok, parents and eggtarts await, until then, sayonara!

Nippon

Mushi mushi,

Off to the land of sushi, sashimi and all things good for 2 weeks!

Will try to miss Perth but difficult with all the yummy things and cherry blossoms glory ahead. I’m excited.

Sayonara!!

Laksa Easter

Today it was back at work after a glorious long and lazy Easter break.

Easter started with candles, homecooked steak, cute bunnies (came with my Easter egg from Jo!) and creme caramel desserts.

There’s always room for more slow cooked soup, this time it was pork ribs soup with crunchy lotus roots, honey dates and red dates.

A sudden craving for Sarawak laksa meant foraging into my precious store of laksa paste packs brought all the way from Kuching.

Our favourite chicken butcher. There’s another photo of him holding up the cleaver with a maniacal grin, but I found it a litle bit too convincing and scary.

While he chopped and butchered, I helped out with the condiments such as the making of very important egg omelette strips.I like lots of egg in my laksa. Meanwhile, the prawn and chicken stock simmered away on the stove. I was sad to use up my treasured stock of prawn shells, I’m all out after this laksa spree, so friends reading this, please save up your prawn shells and heads for me!

Empty bowls of laksa condiments, the beehoon, egg strips, shredded chicken, beansprouts and prawns waiting to be drenched in yummy laksa stock.

All ready! Jo and HC get ready to tuck in to their Sarawak laksas.

Verdict? Not bad, enough to satisfy our craving for laksa but definitely room for improvement. We readjusted the leftover stock the next day and it was much better. Laksa for dinner and laksa for breakfast, such a Kuching Easter.

Having friends (i.e. Gerry) that work part time in Maccas has its perks. Best of all, lots and lots of burgers. To this day, I still think of the three layer fillet o fish that Gerry made for me 4 years ago during the World Cup final. Do you hear that Gerry? That was FOUR years ago!! Time for a repeat …. Being bored, I decided to have a battle of the cheeseburgers, Hungry Jacks v.s. Mcdonalds.

Hungry Jacks definitely beats Maccas when it comes to size and ingredients. But what it makes up with quantity it lacks in quality. The Mcdonalds cheeseburger was tastier, the bun softer, beef patty and onions all round nicer.

Rounding off the last of the Easter break with an evening walk around the neighbourhood. The last of the spring flowers were out in full bloom.Soon the trees and bushes will be stripped bare and it will be winter. I love winter.

Bougainvilleas remind me of my home in Kuching where we used to have bougainvilleas in the garden, mostly pink and orange though. These white ones were pretty too.

It was a lovely Easter break but short lived. Never mind, I have another holiday to look forward to, 5 days and counting, I can’t believe it. We’re finally going to Japan and the land of Chibi marukochan.

The end of March madness

I have a young female colleague who’s beautiful and vivacious. A couple of months ago, I noticed that she was losing weight pretty rapidly and put it down to her newly taken up martial arts practice. She also chopped off her very long locks and sported a short cute bob. Then she suddenly became quiet, her loud laughs weren’t so frequent and her smile didn’t reach her eyes anymore. I finally realised that she was suffering from a broken heart.

Why do we put ourselves through all this emotional turmoil to come out bruised and shattered I wonder? Does anyone survive this? Are there success stories and happily ever afters?

I’m really really glad that March is over.

I think March signaled the end of 2009, of holiday season and the start of the harsh realities of life in general. Summer is officially over and the cool autumn season is fingering its way through Perth. There were moments in March when time sped past and minutes, hours spun by gloriously. Then there were horrifying instances when time came to the standstill and I could feel the clock ticking in time with my throbbing heart beat. Being told by the hospital nurse to leave was one such moment.

One full month of conflicting emotions, extreme highs and lows, big decisions, rash ideas and hopeful baby steps. I’ve been thinking about leaving Perth. Maybe I’m just exhausted. The thought of our Japan holiday (next week!) hasn’t even sunk in yet even though I’ve finally changed my Aud to Yen. My actions are moving towards Japan but my heart and brain hasn’t followed yet. I am looking forward to basking in the warmth of family, the tranquility of temples and being able to just close my eyes and pray in silence.

I knew even before the end of 2009 that 2010 would be a very volatile year. But if March is a sign of things to come, well .. let’s just hope April will be better if not fantastic. Happy Easter guys :).


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