Saturday, 30 April 2005

Thinking out loud

Well, I'm back in SG for a week now. It's time for me to script my overdue review. The past twenty odd days have seen enlightening moments of solitude as well as spirited open discussions with friends. The characters involved are, in order of appearance, mf the protagonist herself, strangers on the streets, Miki, more strangers, YX and SZ (don't be surprised!).

Um, pls bear with my disjoint paras, a manifest of my (sometimes?) disjoint thoughts..

The very first day unleashed a part of me that I didn't know existed. I went to Ikebukuro at 8pm, after Kitty land. Being Asian, I looked just like any other Japanese girl, albeit less fashionable. No one gave me a second look. Perhaps there wasn't anything really interesting to hold my attention but I found my thoughts beginning to stray to the strangers who were walking around me.

It was a rather cold night, I remember. Crowds of salary men in dark suits were passing me by. Groups of people were entering the eateries. Couples were huddling close in the biting wind. Physical vulnerability gives rise to emotional instabilty; suddenly, I felt a pang of loneliness.

The realisation rather surprised me. I didn't remember ever feeling lonely when I was alone. Bored, yes, but not lonely. For me, loneliness always happened in a group setting, when I felt there wasn't anyone to talk to even though I was surrounded by people I actually knew, people I called friends. I've always believed that being alone needs not equate loneliness and conversely, loneliness should not manifest itself only when I'm alone.

But that night, 1 Apr, between 8pm and 9pm, I was facing the undeniable doldrums of loneliness. And I was alone. I chose to embark on this solo trip and I felt lonely on the very first day?!

Then, I had a sudden thought, that how nice it would be if I had a hand to hold! I was reminded of that year in Oxford when I had ex's hand to warm myself as we walked down the wintry cobbled streets. Um, to make it clear, I was thinking of just anyone's hand in the cold, not him in particular.. Seemed that, for the first time in a while, I needed more than just myself. It scared me a little.

After so much of looking forward to Tokyo, arguably one of the most bustling cities on this side of the world, the excitement was all too quickly killed. That cold night at Ikebukuro had shown me the other side of the coin: a sole figure in a big city could be a lonely picture.

Suddenly, all the Jap dramas I watched came back to me. Sena in LV returned to his dark apartment shared with this woman he barely knew after a shitty day at his less-than-ideal job, grabbed a beer from the fridge and ended his day. Teppei (same actor) in Love Gen returned to his apartment from a shitty day at work and obligatory post-work drinks, grabbed a beer from the fridge and ended his day. I'm very sure I don't want that.

I imagine I stay at, say, where my ryokan is, at Chidoricho in southern Tokyo and I work in Shinjuku. Like the many I saw on my way to Hakone during Mon morning rush hours, I have to squeeze with 10,000 other molds of me in the private railway for 30min before changing to an equally crowded JR train to come out 15min later into a city of people moving as one, which (almost) systematically splits to move into their respective escalator or exit. Only, if I were one of them, I would be doing that every day. At this point, it becomes unimaginable.

Feeling tiny in Tokyo should not be strange, I guess. It is a big place afterall and the language is, while not exactly alien, it is not one I'm totally at ease with. That said, I wonder if language actually plays a part. What if I change the setting to.. HK? Then the Jap dramas are replaced by all the city novels by Amy Cheung, stories of urbanites who live alone with their aimless pursuits. I don't think I want that either.

Guess I have been naive..

It was little wonder how happy I was to be able to meet up with Miki on my return from Hakone. In the short four hours, we covered a fair bit of our lives since our last meeting years back. We talked about our friends, our respective relationships, our ideals. It's strange yet comforting to know that even though we have not been in close regular contact all this while, I always feel very at ease with her. Perhaps she's like the elder sister I never had, providing me with much guidance and a listening ear, yet never ever judging me, and willing to share herself with me too.

The days in Tokyo passed very quickly, especially the last two days when Na was there. We were too rushed and then too beaten to talk much about anything.

I was slightly under the weather by the time I reached SFO, where I spent my longest period of true R&R ever. The days of doing almost nothing apart from rare walks into campus and two visits to the city reminded me of the valuable days in between assignments and terms when slacking was totally permissible. But they were always interrupted by Bayesian or Euler. Those days allowed me to collect my thoughts, undisturbed.

Two particular late night chats with YX left me with things to ponder over. One was, as I've mentioned before, a general discussion on religious beliefs but I guess that's not the purpose of this entry. The other was all about ourselves, our problems and uncertainties.

What I've realised about myself is that, I don't know what I want - yet. There were times in the past when people asked me what exactly I wanted, my next birthday present, or if I was shopping, a particular top in whatever particular colour. My answer was usually that I didn't know what I wanted, but I knew what I didn't want and I would know what I wanted when I saw it. If you're still following this weird train of thoughts, may I continue that I now suspect that that forms the mould of my very (passive) being, that, be it a material thing or something more intangible/important, like my career, or in terms of relationship, I don't know what I want but I know what I don't want and I'll only know what I want when the thing I want falls right in front of me.

It was the morning before the day I left, I think, when I chatted with SZ via MSN. Realised that actually we were both in rather similar situations in sec school but being the way we were (are?), we never knew until almost ten years later. We were never close in sec school. In fact I myself wasn't all that close with my class at all. If we did not go to the same JC and ended up in the same class, I tolde her that we would probably nod and go our separate ways if we happened to bump on the streets today, if we didn't pretend not to recognise each other in the first place, as had happened with some other people.

It reinforced my rather recent belief in this thing called karma. I read about it at about the same time when Yan first shared with me on the same subject. I've since recognised its possible existence but I have yet to figure out for myself what form it takes for me. Reason is there are things that are caused by too many coincidences for them to be mere coincidences. Like, if I didn't hate being in my sec school (class; to be fair, I enjoyed my ECA, as they were then called), I wouldn't have gone to NJ while the majority went to another. Similarly for SZ, or we wouldn't have ended up in the same class. And Na had wanted to go another JC but there she was, a blue uniform of a different shade, else we would never have known her. And the so many people who could have gone anywhere but they made this choice, which led to the KLK of today. Karma pretty much sums up 天时,地利,人和!

The day before I left reminded me of the days leading to 26 Sep 2003, when Oxford officially became part of my memories. It was as if I was going to lose something, combined with the fact that I was returning to face the reality of working for survival. Really, that's what it is right? If I don't need to eat, I will not work; I'll travel and I'll dance and sing and perhaps learn how to paint or play the piano. But no, everyone needs to eat.

Well, there is no conclusion; it should suffice that I have found no major regret in my life thus far, only some cracks and road blocks along the way, and mostly beautiful scenery. I feel that I should be, and rightfully so, grateful for all that has happened to me, both the good and the bad. Because I like the mf you see now, the mf shaped by her past. May not be perfect but perfection can be a scary thing for flesh and blood..

And so the long bout of on-off moodswings since end of Jan (yes, it's been that long) has come to an end with my trip. What happens from this moment will further influence the mf of tomorrow. I'll continue, happily, with my existence until I figure out what's in store for me and take it from there. However a dull existence to the unknowing eye, it's still mine and man, am I going to have fun!

Wednesday, 27 April 2005

Cheered by a cute email

Oh dear, this is too adorable..
Source: Email from SX

So, am I cracked??

Anyway, what kind of animal is that?! Not that I care, it's so cute it doesn't matter if it's carnivorous :)

*Blink*

Actually.. If it's carnivorous, don't let it come near my sweet flesh!

Btw, Ker said I exude bimboism.. Well, can't deny that, but one day I WILL defend the 20% of me that's so totally like the rest of you :) I will, you just wait..

Tuesday, 26 April 2005

Rough thoughts, inspired by work

Was working, scribbling some thoughts for a discussion later (it's almost 6pm now) on, well, something. Then related thoughts squeezed themselves into my wee brain.

What is special about SG that will make people flock here for leisure, or to stick around for the rest of their lives (or at least for some decades before retiring cheaply elsewhere)?

*mf thinks a bit*

Nothing much, really.

I think, if I were a visitor from a developed country, I need not feel like a tourist in SG; most things that can be found back home can be found here. From LV to Zara, from Starbucks to KFC. We may not have Macy's or Cheesecake Factory (oh my god, that was yummy!) but we hit back with This Fashion (forget Takashimaya, it's not ours) and S11 kopitiams. Simply put, we are just like any other modern city, top and bottom ends, 21st century and older stuff, all available within easy access of each other.

But I felt so much like a tourist in Japan even though I could roughly blend in based on just my Asian appearance. The difference is in the clothes we wear, the hairstyle we sport, and perhaps even the way we handle our rubbish..?

There seems to be this subtle, nameless difference in the air or what, that makes places like Japan and London stand out uniquely. What have we, Orchard Rd? Just like another British high street. Chinatown? The Chinatowns in American cities fare way better.

Perhaps our food or spoken languages then. Ok, granted HBD flats with bamboo poles heavy with wet clothing hanging out may be quite a sight.. But are these sufficient for us to get enough immigrants to grow our population?? (Yes, pls recall
Budget Speech 2004 para 3.36) Any ideas, peeps?

Maybe more on this in future, if I feel like it, when my eyes are not popping out from a whole day of reading. I'm just feeling sian that SG seems so unexciting! *Grumbles grumbles*

Didn't manage to click on publish before discussion, it's now 730pm, time to say ciao!

Ok, last point: I think what we lack is vibrancy, not the kind of economic vibrancy brought about by new casinos but the kind of cultural vibes that may accompany the casino complex. Complexes.

Number game

Oh no, feeling sleepy, better take a fiver from work!

*Excuse to blog*

I did maths/stats so let's play with numbers. Guess how they are related to me:
1.68
80
5*
10-12
6.5-7
25
39-40
1.73-1.77
40-50
8-1
421
3/9

Some obvious, many obscure. If anyone can solve the full dozen, I'll buy you a drink, no matter who you are :)

Deadline: whenever I feel like revealing answers! Could be coming long weekend..?


Update
Eh, the * in 5* IS a number.. Aiya so obvious what 5* is now! :p

First attempt at financial control

I found a way to save hundreds of bucks: blow-dry my hair

Serious! For the longest time, I couldn't be bothered with the hair-dryer esp when I got back late. Mother also complained about the noise from my powerful dryer - couldn't hear TV, couldn't sleep.

But that night when I got back from trip, I decided to blow-dry my hair cos I didn't want her to nag at me on my first night back for sleeping with wet hair.. (See, I dry hair, she complains; I don't dry hair, she complains too! Kill me..)

Anyway, the result was that I woke with beautiful obedient hair the next morning, like it's newly rebonded! I've tested it for a few days now, so I'm very convinced :) My comb's exile will be infinitely extended..

So no more myths about blow-drying drying out precious hair - as long as you follow these rules:
1) keep a nice distance between hair and nozzle
2) 90% dry will do
3) end with a blast of cold air
4) some leave-on conditioner will help coarser hair

Now I can lengthen duration between salon trips, ie save money! :)

Sunday, 24 April 2005

Digression

Erm, I was supposed to write review of myself and trip but ended up roaming my lappy instead. Came across a number of (stupid) things:

1) My old personal webpages at geocities - created about four years ago and died 2-3 years later. It has six sections listed on the homepage:
i) Who is Gnoofyem? - an amazingly short intro of myself from birth to JC. Recalling my long posts, I thought the 2-page summary was awesome. What has happened to my summary skills??
ii) Music Haven - for my fave songs and their relevance to each phase of my life.
童年 - “记忆已模糊,只能凭这仅存的照片里找回些许当年的经过。”
少年 - “懵懂的岁月,有辛酸的,有快乐的,有悲伤的,也有甜蜜的。每一种感觉都有它保留的价值,因为没有它们,就没有今天的我…”
成年后 - “过去的20年,是否已肯定了将来要走的路?也许,现在才是生命的开始…”
iii) Events - empty page, think it was supposed to be like a blog.. Btw, I have no idea what a blog was back then!
iv) Gnoofyem Goes Places - largest section, dedicated to my travels
v) Maths & Stats - recreational la.. The Golden Ratio is the one and only feature.
vi) Links - my IE homepage on lappy, portal to various websites

Maybe I'll relaunch this thing one day with just (ii) and (v). One day..

2) Another personal webpage but anonymous. It's actually more like a blog but MANUAL! Well, told you I didn't know what a blog was.. Two pathetic paras centred on grumbles. Not pretty.

3) All the poems from the Dreams of the Red Chamber! I spent about a year and many mealtimes reading the whole novel while in Oxford. Was going to start on another Chinese classic but the language used in that was too horribly difficult so I decided to take it easy on my digestive system and watch VCDs instead.

4) Two Chinese compositions, apparently incomplete. Perhaps I should finish the job soon though the origin of one of them eludes me..

5) My recipes! Including the brownie recipe that makes brownies like Betty Crocker, the Portuguese egg tarts, and the super rich French choc cake!

Before I forget, Sito wanted to see his name here so, events from dessert (I had one bite of apple pie) last night..

(roughly..)
mf: My eyes look so small in many photos and Mother jokingly suggested I "cut" them to make them bigger..
Sito: You don't need to make your eyes bigger; make them bigger! *Points to chest (mine)*
mf: .. What's wrong with these?!

There, Sito, happy? :p

All the best to CW who is starting work tomorrow!

Saturday, 23 April 2005

Back in SG

Back for two days now, still feeling pretty slack.. At least I haven't been sleeping all day! Guess I was lucky, cos both flights were rather empty and I had the whole row to myself so I could be more or less horizontal and drowsy when they dimmed the lights :)

Did this personality test, introduced by Na and SZ. Check out my results:


DisorderRating
Paranoid Disorder:Low
Schizoid Disorder:Low
Schizotypal Disorder:Moderate
Antisocial Disorder:Low
Borderline Disorder:Low
Histrionic Disorder:High
Narcissistic Disorder:Moderate
Avoidant Disorder:Moderate
Dependent Disorder:Low
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:High

-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! --

I'm not sure it's all accurate, eg I was rated low on paranoia. Hmmm.. Let me give you a counter example!

I was having kopi with Kel earlier and I was saying how I replied all my test messages at the airport when I arrived. Then I suddenly remembered that Tok hadn't replied me after two days, and he wasn't seen on msn for ages too while I was YX's. Oh no, is he ok? I thought.. I picked up my phone..

Turned out he forgot to reply and he wasn't online cos he was busy with studies and his bro was using comp.. Kel looked amused..

The last time I went paranoid like that was, well, rather recent. At YX's :p Na didn't reply to my email in which I asked her something. She was having a bad cough when we parted in Japan so I was like, oh dear, is she ok? Another email/sms to her. Turned out she was tired from work so didn't check email..

Well, I might as well come clean with the other incident. That was some months ago. I asked Hup about going to Union via sms. No reply for a couple of days. Thurs came and I went to Union. No sight of him. No sms reply. Mobile was off. And no one picked up landline! What happened?! Turned out either of his out-of-batt mobile or charger was in hostel and I got his landline wrong..

What a baka :p

You may come to your own conclusions about the other traits while baka no mf leaves to watch more Kenshin..

Wednesday, 20 April 2005

Last day in Stanford

We packed two suitcases last night, one for each of Erwin and me to bring back for YX. Then he started to clear out some stuff to dump. When he realised he had that much expired medicine, a bout of hysteric laughter ensued.. Honestly, I've never seen him laugh until like that! I thought he went bonkers :p

Slept at 3am after a few episodes of Kenshin and woke at 11am this morning to carry on watching.

mf is hooked!

Tore myself away to get some shortening from Cheryl so brownie is happily crisping in the oven now :) But the poor girl looked quite ill; will have to freeze a brownie for her to eat when she gets better, though she was munching on cookies - and feeding me a host of other tidbits - when I was there! Gaaar..

She was again saying I really should go walk around in such weather. So when I went out to meet YX for lunch, I made an effort to take in my surroundings..

It's really sunny and warm. Everything looks pretty, relaxed and peaceful. Cyclists on the streets reminded me of Oxford in good weather, a rarity really. But I realised that reality beckons 10,000 miles away..

One crepe later, it was off to the bookstore cafe. I grabbed a book on Michelangelo and sat there with my ice mocha while YX worked with his Apple. Quite surprised that the book totally gripped me; I'm not one to revel in non-fiction. But I guess it's a story too, of the period in his life when he was painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I bought it :)

Source: mf

Suddenly felt this sadness on the way back, the kind you feel when you're about to leave a nice place - 离愁.. So I slowed down and let my eyes wander around me. Very nice feeling but nothing much to see. So I took random shots of my happy relaxed self.

Check out the blue of the sky, lovely..
Source: mf

Really wonder when I can possibly do this again, sighs..

Tuesday, 19 April 2005

Latest too-much-time-on-hand thing mf did..

Erm, I have obsessively captioned all my trip photos in my photo archive on Yahoo.. So if anyone's interested, link's on the left..

Oh, Kel, I took this shot ESPECIALLY FOR YOU cos I was imagining you rolling down :p Sorry but your JC figure is still imprinted deep in my head!

Source: mf

Randoms - yes I'm very creative with titles

Ok, skirt returned, and the promised picture..
(That's really me, just feeling cranky..)
Source: mf, WonderBranding

Then I roamed VS for 1.5hour, not that it's a big store but I was really indecisive. Bought three triangles, a pair of pyjamas trousers (which I shall wear out) and a wrap thing that I found interesting. Would love to get my hands on a pretty bra but 1) very ex, and 2) I apparently wear a rare size in this shop @#$%^&*!!!

Would much prefer baking brownies now than blogging but there's no butter nor enough vege oil in the kitchen. So I'm slacking here again.. Like this morning when I was woken up by YX's alarm clock (which didn't wake him). I sat at this same spot with my hands in the same position and my eyes looking the same two directions - screen and keyboard.

This morning, YX and Cheryl were saying I should go around school at least. But I have! I've seen the Oval, the Rodin sculptures, Hoover Tower, Memorial Church.. I even alighted at Tresidder to grab a Jamba Juice on my way back from VS.. That, btw, was my only meal of the day, albeit liquid. Haven't been feeling particularly hungry since I arrived here; been eating for the sake of eating.. Bad hur?

Oh, apparently, I look interesting and/or pretty cutting meat. After I changed my Friendster primary photo (yes to the one where I was cutting meat) number of profile views went up like never before and compliments flew into inbox.

Off to Kenshin.. Blog overkill already :p
“オロッ?”
:)

Monday, 18 April 2005

I've got blood on my hands..

Back for the day! Morning we went out to fetch YX's friend Erwin from airport; he's here for some conference in San Jose. We drove straight to Taqueria Cancun in SF city for lunch, satisfying mexican food :) Then we started our adventure from Bay Bridge, after which we made a quick stop at Fisherman's Wharf - I was there on Thurs but Sun was horribly crowded! - before turning to Golden Gate Bridge.

This was taken at Crissy Field, a fantastic vista point for the bridge. Very nice right? (Bridge, mf with messy hair.. Oops, and YX of course..)
Source: mf

The next stop was supposed to the the Palace of Fine Arts but we made a wrong turn onto the highway leading to the Golden Gate Bridge, thanks to an indecisive VCom that was me =o After exiting the freeway, I thought we should head back instead, since YX was having three consecutive meetings this evening. So we drove back via another vista point where the pretty SF reservoir was visible. I've only been to MacRitchie in SG, which was, um, "incomparable".
More photos in my photo archive..

Now that I'm comfortably seated, let's recall happy and yes, bloody, events of yesterday, after I dumped my clothes in the dryer.


We drove out to Gombei for a yummy Japanese dinner. I know I've just been to Japan, but hey, I can never get enough of 日本料理 :) What followed was a heavenly treat..

White chocolate chunk macadamia nut cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory!!!

Source: mf

The smooth cheesecake and the generous filling of macadamia combined with the thickest whipped cream ever, made for a dessert worth killing for. And check out the Orea crust too.. But damn sinful.. Am already regretting my added blubber.. I must keep the following in mind: a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips! And tummy too..

We drove from University Avenue to Santana Row at San Jose. It was a rather upclass area with mansionettes above boutiques and restaurants. There was a pavilion with a huge chess set surrounded by a number of normal chess tables. Some people were just standing/seated there, enjoying a night of chess. But we passed them by and headed for a pub. Then, guess what, I didn't have a photo ID to prove I'm over 21 and I was refused entry!

=/

Decided to head back to get my passport and find a pub nearby instead. So we did. And we sat at an Irish pub on Castro St (I think). Oh, this bouncer didn't bother with ID, gaaar!

It was 130am or about when we left the place. YX decided we should drive up Skyline Boulevard again. Uh oh.. My first day here, we bought a pint of icecream and drove up that road to a vista point. I got carsick for it was one super winding mountain road ~.~

No!!!!

But this time, his turns were slower and smoother. Ok..

And what a view up there! Alright, so most photos turn out to be like below but to the non-digital eye, it was simply marvellous.. It was just a pity the clouds hid the stars.
Source: mf

We were lucky cos this lasted for maybe two minutes. It was cold and as we went back to the car to have a comfortable yet warm view, a fog swept in and suddenly, the whole expanse of city lights went out! So we talked. Another conversation to collate into another entry at the end of this trip..

Engine came to life once more when bladders demanded so; didn't wish to entertain thoughts of fog condensation on butt :p We went down the other way to take the freeway back instead of the winding road. But this other way was rather winding at the beginning too. Combined with the fog and water condensation, we should really be going slow but it was 430am and there was no other car, so..

The accident happened very fast. A cute furry thing was scurrying across the road. We jammed on the brakes but it was too late.. Poor skunk.. =( A little while later, we passed by some deer. I thought they were looking at us reprovingly.. =( We had repented by then and slowed down. But the smell of roadkill stayed in my nostrils for a long time..

Resolution: I will not drive where animals like to cross the road.

Sunday, 17 April 2005

Randoms, cos I'm waiting for laundry now

Been reading Na's blog, finally updated.. For the benefit of those who do not have access to her blog, she said something funny like, when we were at the ryokan bath, she would subconsciously avert her eyes from my bikini area and focus on my face instead.. Mmm, actually I don't care if you see my never-been-tanned whites, BUT NOT MY TUMMY PLS! :p

Had a very very nice wine party last night with YX and friends. The living room lights were put out but scented candles were lit, complete with nice jazz and some reds and a white. Oh and the brownies I made yesterday morning of course, heated up in the microwave.

At first felt a bit strange cos I didn't know some of them, and those I knew, not very well. So I was in his room chatting with Na and CW online for some time before I told myself I should not be anti-social and tore myself away from the comp. Turned out that I thoroughly enjoyed it actually, friendly people with nice ambience :) Daniel and Audrina also demo swing, looked fun!

Ended up sleeping only at 4am or around. And hey I was feeling sleeping! Meaning I should be getting adjusted to the time lag already. Just that I'll be heading back to SG in a few days' time.. Perhaps better not to adjust? Kenshin for me tonight then!

So we woke really late today. But still managed to get to two shops before they closed (actually we left the first one after they closed and the second one was already cleaning up by the time we arrived but they were waiting for someone who called, so..)

Shopping again? Yes but this was planned, ok.. Well, part of.. I had wanted to buy a pair of court shoes and a pair of open-toe sandals for standard and latin ballroom respectively, since SG stores generally do not stock large sizes for my big feet.

Flashback to sec school: remember how we learn the formulae for sin, cos and tan? TOA-CAH-SOH :p

Anyway, I bought a pair of pink Blochs instead, from the first shop for only USD79. Not an intended purchase, I know I know, but it's good for both salsa and Amore hip hop/jazz classes :) The second shop stocked more ballroom shoes but the colours were mostly flesh tones and honestly, those were not the nicest flesh tones I've seen. So I bought a shoe brush and left. Good thing is at least I now know my shoe size (freaking UK 7 for closed toe!) and can order straight from UK website, cheaper actually.

Oh the Blochs made me realise something: that I should return the expensive skirt. The price is one factor. The more important reason is that I now see nothing too special about it; felt happier holding the shoes than the skirt. Not to mention I can fall out of love just as easily, fickle mf :p There, settled.

Going out for dinner soon, think we're having Japanese then Cheesecake Factory for dessert :)

Saturday, 16 April 2005

mf's first lesson

The teacher
Source: mf

The student

Source: mf

Hee hee :)

YX rented a car for the weekend. We were already parked at his place after a trip to the shopping centre when we were talking about driving etc and we decided to go to a ulu carpark to let me try.

So I did!

Pretty nervous and anxious before I took to the wheel. But when I positioned myself in the driver seat, it felt much less unnerving for some unknown reason. It's just like breaking out in cold sweat just before the stage lights shine on me and immediately regaining composure when I start singing. Or being totally frozen with apprehension outside that interview room but appearing confident on the other side of the door. Yes, that kind of feeling.. But I digress.

So it was that I found the car a much less daunting toy than I thought it was/might be. Made 3,000 turns around the carpark, tried signalling, tried braking, tried accelerating. But I never went beyond 20mph :p At times when I steered too far left or right or made some mistake, I got gan cheong and that's when you would see me look a bit scared *.* Else, YX said I've been a pretty decent student :)

Been thinking about getting that licence lately but I wasn't sure if I actually dared to step on the accelerator at all. Now I feel rather tempted to sign up with SSDCL. Just wondering how many people will dare to sit in my car..? :p

Thursday, 14 April 2005

mf falls in (costly) love

Went shopping at the Stanford Shopping Centre. Bought a pair of blue flipflops/beach sandals, feet didn't look good in the pink one. Very cute, I can stick the soles together so it's easy to bring around on vacation etc. Ahhh, the promise of further vacations :)

Then I met The One..

She was just hanging there, pretty and sweet. Took it out into the light and.. I want her! But woah! It's $139 sans 8.25% tax! So I did what I would usually do: take the smallest size - if I go in, I'll likely take it!

Darn, smallest was 38, I could picture her in my wardrobe already as I walked to the fitting room..

*2min later*

That's mf in the mirror, wearing the sweetest skirt ever :)

Was thinking of when I could wear her..
(Sounds weird, use "it" from now :p)

But problem: what could I team it with?
1) That white spag I bought a year ago but never wore?
2) Sweet pink top from Tokyo?
3) Casualise it with my white racer back?
4) How about the green hand-painted T?

Gaar! I have the bag and shoes for it, top should not be a big problem..?

The smell of plastic burning..

Enough said.

Oh, I'll put up a picture here one day, with me in it :)

It was almost time to meet Huimin for dinner and I doubt I should spend anymore so I strolled to the bus stop with my conquests, only to see buses going both directions leaving their respective stops.. Ok I shall walk, should take, what, 30min?

I took 45min cos, yeh, hollanded again, urgh! Well, strictly speaking, I wasn't lost, I could still find myself on the map; just a case of wrong orientation :p

Went to this Korea House at Santa Clara for dinner. It was crazy, we ordered two dishes and they dumped supposedly standard FIFTEEN freaking sides dishes on the table!

Note: the two mains were not even there yet.. Nor was the rice!

Source: mf

So no cheesecake for dessert..

Spent some time talking with Huimin in her much-nicer-than-YX's room :p About life, work, JC, Oxford. Got back only an hour ago. Good to see her again, she's so cute (unlike my sister who is her age too, baaah!) Missed those last summer days at Temple Street when only so few of us were left.. Can't believe that was almost two years back already.. And we're all getting old; we could not remember what the exams in nought week were called! An msn exchange with her bf informed us that the word was "collections", ahhh...

PS: I realised it's possible that pictures may not show up here cos Geocities says I exceed transfer quota or something, how unfortunate but there's no problem with my links ok, my html not that jia lat..

The rape of Joyce's husband

I'm procrastinating to blog further on my trip - afterall, I'm still on the road! Yeh, excuses.. I guess it's often so, that before you take a long break from work, too many things happen in and out of work and you get so busy you have no time to do other things. Such as blogging :p So, the days preceding Tokyo!

Actually that Mon before I left for Japan, I was feeling rather dazed. Morning was spent clearing emails from the Good Fri weekend. Yes, it took the whole freaking morning but I was glad for it cos the replies mostly required "simple reactions", not much thinking required. Mind wasn't working too well.. I was even happier in the afternoon when Siok needed hands to help assemble the Ikea chairs for the new meeting room. Mechanical work relieved me of thinking. Joyce and Siok were the perfect company to dispel unhappy thoughts :)

Background: the chairs consisted of four metal pieces. It required two long screws and two shorter screws to connect three big pieces, and two tiny screws to connect the fourth piece to the other three. Then the plastic seat could be clicked onto the metal thing.

Mental picture set? Ok, here go some bites..

1) Three girls were screwing the metal parts and fixing some nuts on the screws. Flying comments about Jason who got the "Best Screwer" award when he fixed the (Ikea - have a thing for them, don't know why) stools in the pantry.

2) We soon found that it's easier to connect the three bigger pieces with the two long and two short screws before screwing on the tiny pieces.
mf: Let's do the four things first then we screw the others.
They looked at each other and laughed.. I really didn't mean that!!

3) We realised we were short of the long screws.
Joyce: Oh the better ones are no more! *Evil smile*
mf: We've been screwed; they've short-changed us! *Blink blink* (ok, fake blink blink)

The screwing session ~.~ was followed by a meeting that required "complex reactions". My grey matter responded minimally. When we ended at 630pm, I decided that I might go mad if I didn't go to the gym. So I went and worked out real hard. Endorphins didn't set in immediately. How unfortunate. I fell asleep on Eeyore later and dreamt that I went to KBox with Yan, CY, Ker and Yan's two friends who were a couple. The girl looked like some Chinese star and the guy's the splitting image of a MSc classmate Avinash! Weird that I had a stranger and someone I haven't seen in two years - not even in contact - in a dream on Eeyore..

Tues morning I was feeling somewhat better when I woke, having drafted a difficult sms the previous night before I slept. Then, morning events brought much needed cheer and relief, despite me getting a bit overwhelmed. Turned out I wouldn't need the sms anymore and things were starting to look bright.. No more moping!

Getting back to office, we were talking about christianing the new meeting room. Names had been tossed about and Siok et al were talking about the names mentioning "Kenny".

"What Kenny?"

Room's theme had been chosen to be orange and black. Isn't that Kenny from South Park? :)

Then they started to talk about the cartoon and Kenny was always killed at the end. Siok introduced them to the
Kill Kenny game and everyone was animated and talking about Kenny blah blah kill Kenny blah.. Then I had a problem with Lotus after IT did a patch on it and I turned around to see if the guy was still around.. And then I realised: he's called Kenny! And he was still in my office, yes. Man, it must be damn weird to have everyone saying they wanted to kill you..

Yet another day in the office pantry - yes yes, we're coming to the title of this entry, be patient - where we were chatting over/post lunch. FK, Siok, Joyce, LC and me, all girls. Somehow we were wondering if guys could have sex if they were very tired?? FK popped her head out to ask Jason who was seated just outside the pantry. Think he replied something like: don't disturb me from communicating with my God, you *whatever* (can't remember what this was) girls! So it's our own discussion with zero views from the other side.


Someone threw a question to LC, who just got married, if they did it after their wedding dinner, cos wedding dinner very tiring etc. Turned out hers was a wedding lunch so, heh heh.. Then, ok here goes, Joyce said she would rape her husband on their wedding night, tired also don't care, waited too long already!! Gaaar! Don't have to be so guai and wait until wedding night, right..? :p Was just telling Miki the other day that in one episode of S&TC, Samantha said that getting a husband is like getting a car - you need a test drive!

I should go out already, can't be this lazy on such a sunny day :)

PS: forgot to mention in previous post that you can check out my photos page (link on left) for all my photos from Japan :)

Wednesday, 13 April 2005

桜の夢

Ten days in Tokyo definitely mean one long essay, so I'll let pictures speak. Try la, I'll still blah though..

Day 1 - 初めて、東京!

I have to start with the flight, which itself was interesting. The big screens with the usual flight info were showing live feed from a camera outside the aircraft. We saw the runway from a totally different angle: the lights were white as the plane cruised along and turned to a whole new set of pink as the plane got ready for take-off. We both saw and felt ourselves soaring into the night skies!

By the time I reached Ryokan Kangetsu, it was already late morning. After a short rest, I set off for Shinjuku from where I would embark on a trip to see an old friend: Kitty-chan!

The entrance area was rather hazy and dark. It was only when I went further in to explore that I found that everything was simply delightfully dreamy and lovely! The shows were fantasy tales of love and friendship and the people at the park were almost as cute as Kitty herself :)

The main gate at night. No idea what "puro" stands for..
Source: mf

Highlights:
1) I love the tiny play with the blue flower fairy Florence who befriended Kitty and Daniel. The way Kitty sulked when her family trip was cancelled made me feel like hugging her :o
2) Being alone gave me the right to do stupid things. In fact being on the road already gave me the right to be silly! Eg, taking silly pictures..

Kitty loo.. Making faces.. More later..

Source: mf

3) There were a multitude of cute things in Kitty House that only Kitty and girls would use, including a kitty-face bathtub and an enviable princess bedroom. Oh, there was a study too - Kitty is a smart girl ok, there were Shakespearean leather bounds on the shelves, goodness..
4) She held my hand!

What a warm feeling.. I was so touched :)
Source: mf


5) The shop must be the largest I've seen. Spent an hour there just browsing and bought only three small items :p

Now to end day one, I have something to say to all the guys who went to Japan and told me that Japanese girls are better looking than SG girls, even though it might just be because they take greater effort to dress up etc: the same could be said for guys! Man, I saw no less than 150 men in dark suits on my very first day and most of them looked damn cool! Don't forget that I reached Tokyo city only past noon and spent four hours in Kitty land.. So moral of the story: 人靠衣装!

Day 2 - Tokyo Bay

I had a nice rest (read: woke up late) and leisurely made my way to Odaiba, which is at Tokyo bay. The Yurikamome train I took gave a fantastic view of
Rainbow Bridge.

Decks was this major shopping mall with one floor - 台場一丁目商店街 - dedicated to the Odaiba streets around Showa 30, about 1956. Very interesting shops and eateries abound! Then something really embarrassing happened: I had okonomiyaki, said gochisousamadeshita and walked off - without paying!! It was some ten steps before I remembered and rushed back, to be met halfway by the shop assistant ~.~

Note the last picture showing entrance to toilets. The curtain actually said something like “tidal hot water”?!

Source: mf

Highlights:
1) Mediage complex with a Sony showroom - cool! - and World of Coca Cola above its cineplex
2) Fuji TV! Took a pict with the mascot :)
3) Toyota Mega Web at Palette Town: I had a go at the Gran Turismo 4 simulator machine. Man! It was so difficult! Think I’ll stick to PS2 :p

I didn’t expect to spend so much time at Odaiba but I did. By the time I got to Daien-ji in Meguro, it was almost closed and after a few pictures, the keeper had to ask me to go so he could close the gates.

So I went to Shibuya.

Damn crowded! I took a few pictures outside the JR station and walked onto the streets for no more than half an hour, which included a gyudon dinner. Then I couldn’t take it and left the place! Oh, took a picture of
Shibuya 109, which, I heard from Na later, was a rather hip place with interesting characters. Hmmm, next trip!

I was changing trains from Yamanote line to Keihin-Tohoku line on the way back when I noticed that within the ticket gates of the interchange station, there were actually many food and souvenir stalls and even restaurants! If only SG MRT stations have such stations, then waiting for people would not be such a chore.. Bought some Japanese confectionery and headed for home.

Enjoying my late dessert: the fifth mochi was in my mouth. Maybe tummy..

Source: mf

Day 3 - long walks

First stop was Shinjuku. I was to repeat my visits at least two more times after this.

Following the walking tour in my guide book, I went first to the Shinjuku Centre Building in West Shinjuku. The sole purpose was to get to the observatory port on the 53rd floor. Nice la, but so is any other such outlooks :p

The next stop was the Shinjuku Mitsui building which contained a Pentax Forum where I had much fun playing with powerful cameras and lenses. Oh, don’t know why but though this wasn’t the best one on display, I had a lot of fun with it -
OptioX.

The Sumitomo building offered yet another observatory platform, didn’t bother with pictures this time. But the next one, the dual complex of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices, I took quite a number of pictures and spent a fair bit of time roaming the gallery, perhaps cos it’s the brightest gallery of all. Supposedly, you could see Mt Fuji from the west window on a clear day. It was, unfortunately, damn cloudy that day.. But I had a tiny surprise: a bit of pink far below.. Sakura!

I popped down asap and found two trees in full bloom, shadowing a group of people having BBQ on what I later found to be the typical blue canvas for hanami.

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring East Shinjuku, including the red light district of Kabikicho and a glimpse at the Kinokuniya building, a full eight storeys with lifts serviced by lift ladies, a rare sight now. I didn’t manage to go to the huge Isetan and Takashimaya cos it was getting late and I wished to get to Harujuku.

Source: mf

My camera was running low on batt at Meiji-Jingu at Harajuku. Bumped into a wedding; the ceremony had ended but the group was taking pictures outside.

The cos-play-zoku on the Meiji-Jingu bridge was nothing short of interesting but my camera battery decided to die there.. Managed only a photo with two girls and another with a girl passing by in a kimono, not a cos-play but many stopped her for a shot anyway.

The cos-play-zoku, so young!

Source: mf

And the passer-by clad in kimono
Source: mf

On the way down Omote-Sando, I was approached by two separate guys who started talking to me in Japanese - they were among the first of about 3,000 people who mistook me for a Japanese. What did they say? Couldn’t understand! But I don’t suppose it’s anything bad, perhaps some advertising.. Anyway the first guy was pretty friendly, started walking and chatting with me in part English, part Japanese when he realised I was not Japanese, and wished me a happy stay in Tokyo :)

That evening, I scalded my tongue with tempura soba, marking the beginning of a long bitter battle with ulcers, sighs..

Day 4 - 箱根行き!

It was peak time when I took the train to Shinjuku, where I was supposed to take the Odakyu rail to Hakone. The morning trains were so packed with commuters I was totally squashed and balancing awkwardly. The Shinjuku station itself was worse, I’d never seen such crowds! They never seemed to cease and I had to inch my way to the ticket window.

My minshuku was Kappa Tengoku, 6660¥ pppn including dinner and breakfast. I left immediately after checking in to make the trip around the Hakone national park area. The first stop was the Hakone Open Air Museum. I heard it was good and it was! Spent 2-3hours there. Some notable exhibits below, including silly bits of course:

I like this: “Unidos”, a Spanish piece meaning embrace

Source: mf

Had to laugh when I saw the title: “Girl with cock”! Ok, mf is bad..

Source: mf

This evoked similar feelings I had at Auschwitz: “Rupture”

Source: mf

Tall tower.. Did lazy mf climb?

Source: mf

Yes she did! See the picture she took from up there:

Source: mf

Not enough proof? Here goes another..

Source: mf

It was a cold day, the foot bath looked very inviting even at 65°C!

Source: mf

I thought this was funny, can check out his balls on the other side :p

Source: mf

This is fun, use it to disguise embarrassing noises in the loo

Source: mf

A train ride brought me to Gora where I hopped on to a cable car, which was in fact what I would usually refer to as a train on a slope. That was an enlightening ride: met a Caucasian woman who was telling me she couldn’t get used to the tremors yet. I was like, what tremors? Apparently, the tremors the night before were strong enough to shake her hotel. Then I realised.. I felt them too! But I didn’t realize what the shaking was about as I was on the way to dreamland and it was raining that night so I had this image of being in Aunt Josephine’s (Lemony Snicket) house on a cliff and there was a storm that was rattling my house..! Eh..

Anyway, that led to Sounzan station where the ropeway began - this ropeway was in fact our idea of a cable car! The first stop was Owakudani station, where I brought these strange stuff cooked in the volcanic region, hence the colour..



Source: mf

A time-check told me I had only enough time to buy the eggs at Owakudani, else I couldn’t make it for dinner at the minshuku. So it’s a pity I didn’t get to walk to the ancient crater of Kamiyama though the sulphuric fumes were already getting to me.

A longer cable car ride (and three eggs!) later, I arrived at Togendai, one tip of Lake Ashi. I caught the boat to Hakone-Machi, saw a sign that led to somewhere where I could possibly catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji, before boarding the bus bound for Hakona-Yumoto, where my minshuku was.

The rush wasn’t a waste, really. Just look at the spread of food for dinner and breakfast the next day!

Source: mf

They prepared my futon while I was having dinner. I had a nice time relaxing in the in-house onsen before doing some stupid things in my room that night..

Happy from onsen

Source: mf

Oooh, stripping??

Source: mf

Nah, just took off the coat.. Still sweet :)

Source: mf

Um, and as crazy as ever! Gaaar!

Source: mf

Day 5 - Miki-chan!

Too lazy to go all the way to the crater but I had to revisit Hakone-Machi. A bus took me there in 40min via a different route from Mon so I took in a different scenery. But what awaited me was even better. Let’s take it a step at a time..

The first stop was to the Hakone Shrine. I didn’t find it particularly interesting but it looked good with its bright red against a general backdrop of green and brown pin trees. The dragon sprouts water for visitors to purify themselves before they enter the hall. The red gate is one of many but this one faces the lake and I went all the way down and well, took stupid photos..

Source: mf

Made my way back to pier along the lake and talked to various anglers; there were so many of them but this one was the friendliest. Practised my Japanese with him, quite proud of myself heh heh!



Source: mf

Next stop was Narukawa Art Museum. Didn’t want to go in cos I was quite broke by then but a guy told me Mt Fuji was visible that day and the gallery in the museum offered the only clear view! Ok, 1100¥, so be it! And ジャンジャン!

Source: mf

I returned to Tokyo station via the famed shinkansen - man, was it fast! I had a late bento lunch on it too, yummy :) The Imperial Palace was closed to the public and by the time I reached there, only one part of the open grounds remained open.

mf and the Nijubashi (bridge - bashi/hashi means bridge)

Source: mf

Trivial: a Spanish group greeted me as I walked out towards Tokyo station. One cute member shouted out to me: bueno! I took a look, returned with a bueno, and the group cheered! Haha!

Gave Miki a call at the station and turned out that her office was just a stone throw away so we met at 530pm to have tea. So nice to see her again! It must have been two or three years?! But she looked as lovely as ever and her presence lighted up my solo trip. At 10pm, we met again at Shinagawa to have a late dinner at this yakitori bar, a really nice place but my camera went flat, urgh!

Talked a lot with her that day, our outlooks towards life, friendships and relationships. Oh, we both agreed on who’s the best looking guy among our common friends, heh, I’m supposed to go tell him haha! Will be funny :p

We took the last train back to her office after that to retrieve her suitcase before she sent me back in a cab. Damn ex! It reached 8000¥ by the time we found Chidoricho. Must have been five digits when it got to her place.. Gomen ne!

Day 6 - Disney Sea

Need I say more? :)

Almost as lovely as Kitty-chan

Source: mf

Was that Chip or Dale??

Source: mf

Oh oh I like this! This is of “goofy and gnoofyem” :p

Source: mf

I always like him :) (Psst: check out his chest - like wearing bra!)

Source: mf

And a cute sign greeted me when I was waiting for the mini roller coaster ride at the Mermaid Lagoon

Source: mf

Spent a good 6-7hours enjoying the various rides and performances. And I think I’ve had enough simulator rides for the year! Worthy of mention was the StormRider simulator; there was rain spray when the ship made a crash landing and the whole experience felt rather real, thrilling!

The cute Disney line brought me back to the JR Maihama station, from where I went back into the city area of Hamamatsucho for the Tokyo Tower. I’ve heard it wasn’t particularly fantastic. In fact from daytime photos of the tower, I wasn’t too keen. But there’s a pretty nice shrine - Zozoji - on the way so..

Turned out no shrine was open at night, sadly.. But the route was lined with cherry blossoms! The tower looked just like Eiffel Tower at night, orange and bright. Nothing too interesting for me but I thought it looked nice with the yozakura. May I explain that badly taken photo with a burnt-out batt..?

Source: mf

Day 7 - the best sushi

For the past few days, I was always woken by daylight at 5 or 6 plus, way before my alarm clock woke me. On this Thurs morning, I actually jumped up at 5am and caught the 6am train for town. It’s fish market day!

Actually I never liked to go to the wet market with Mother when I was young cos I was very afraid I might slip and fall in the fish area. But this time, I’ve heard pretty good reviews of the market walk..

Happily, I reached the Tsukiji market early enough at 715am. It looked busy enough, and the people showed no mercy as they plied through the narrow market streets with their motor carts; one guy pushed me a bit on my back when I didn’t back away enough for his cart to pass.

But generally the people were very nice to this nosey tourist (actually I prefer the term “traveller”) who kept asking what fish this and that were, if it was considered small or big, if it was alive, etc. In somewhat broken Japanese but surprisingly, they understood me! One ah peh asked me where I was from and an hour later, when he passed by me on my way to breakfast, he called out to me cheerily: Singapore!

The cut portion at the bottom (right picture) was from a tuna like the one in the left picture. That was considered small. A big one would have a similar cut the size of the one at the top!

Source: mf

My fave (dead) fish, yummy..

Source: mf

I spent a happy hour roaming the central fish market before making my way to the external market where the famed Daiwa Sushi was. It was tough finding the way but the guard at the gate was very kind, he asked me to wait for him to finish a chore before bringing me to find the restaurant.

The central market; check out the unprocessed fish roe! The unagi sushi at Daiwa was the best I’ve ever, ever had - not in picture cos I was too busy devouring it :p

Source: mf

It was still very early when I got to Ginza, nothing was open yet so I roamed about aimlessly until 11am. I actually didn’t find Ginza particularly interesting.. But hey, check out the ubiquitous vending machines:

Source: mf

Oh, one thing about Japan/Tokyo that I like: they are very environmentally friendly. There are different bins for different rubbish. And although it can be difficult to find a bin on the streets, there is little litter cos people generally bring their rubbish home with them! This is civic consciousness. I’m afraid we still have a long way to go..

I was quite sian by the time I got to Kabukiza so I decided I should watch a single act. Turned out to be a costly mistake. I didn’t understand a word! Yes there were English guides for hire but I didn’t bother wasting money. Though I must say it was interesting just watching for the first 15min or so; the costumes, the singing, the instruments, incomprehensible phrases the audience were shouting. Only thing was that the act lasted for some 1.5hr. Well, at least I managed to rest my feet a little.

Returned to the ryokan early that day to have dessert from Arte Ebisu - yes, something to cheer me up cos by then the ulcer pain was getting to me. Took the chance to check out the ryokan, took some photos and used their facilities which included free massage chair and foot massage! Oooh…

The entrance, the 露天風呂, the shower area and the changing area of the bath. The indoor bath was warmer but not as pretty so no photos.

Source: mf

Day 8 - shopping

I think I’ve had enough sightseeing of Tokyo - it’s time for shopping, in heels :p Remembered passing by Daimaru at Tokyo station on Tues and it looked fantastic. So I headed there, but not before I stopped en route at Tokyu Kamata where I bought a nice top. Spent a lot of time roaming food halls of Daimaru, drooling as I walked along. The kimono halls were very nice, showcasing lovely kimono and accessories but they were all way ex.. Wish I could have one of those.. Tried some clothes but didn’t buy any more. And stopped trying after a while cos I was too lazy to take off my shoes to go into the fitting room!

My heels were killing me so again I returned to the ryokan early, this time with a salad from Daimaru. Massage chair again :p Also went around the immediate neighbourhood. Found a small park with kids playing the Japanese national game of baseball, under a sakura tree in full bloom, lovely..



Source: mf

Oh, my rojak dinner that evening, yakisoba and gyoza from the bento shop near the station. That must be my second or third beer in Tokyo but hey it’s diet :p

Source: mf

Day 9 - Na-chan!

Flight info from Narita website said Na’s flight arrived at 7am. Oops, I might be late in meeting her at the Keisei Ueno station so I rushed a bit, bringing along the sakura mochi and sake I bought the day before, for hanami :) Damn ex dessert at 210¥ per mochi but they looked lovely!

At Ueno park, ほら!

Source: mf

More sakura! With mf! And check out the sides where companies and families chopped the place with their butts or a placard bearing the company name..

Source: mf

Ok ok, just flowers now, no more mf..


Source: mf

There was a boulevard of food stalls. We bought a okonomiyaki to share. There was a fallen blossom on the table (no we didn’t pluck any!) so..

Source: mf

We next headed for Sensoji via Kaminarimon. There were tons of things to see, to buy, and to eat along the street between Kaminarimon and Sensoji. We bought some purses and ti kum!



Source: mf

The shop just outside Sensoji, but I have my Kitty charm from CW, Hup and Sito already

Source: mf

The shrine was littered with sakura trees

Source: mf

I asked for my fortune, but I forgot to wish for anything as I was shaking the thing.. Not sure if it’s still accurate..

Source: mf

Ok got mf’s face again but it’s with Na: we liked this tree!

Source: mf

And then we flew to Shinjuku for a while, where I took this photo of a banner outside some (sleazy?) shop :p

Source: mf

Harajuku was next on the list, Meiji-Jingu bridge was still bustling with performers though the cos-play-zoku were gone by then. Then, it was dinner at a tiny udon eatery in Hamamastucho, followed by drinks and yakitori at where Miki brought me to a few nights ago. Photos with Na cos my camera died again! May update this again..

Back to the ryokan at 11plus. We started with a shower at the indoor bath to warm up before going to the outdoor bath which was less warm. Very funny to see a friend butt naked; we haven’t been through NS, haha!

Day 10 - last day

We bought dango from the supermarket and went to a small park for breakfast and more hanami before leaving for Ueno to meet Miki for lunch. After I dumped my suitcase in a locker, Miki’s friend Masaki-san greeted us and told us that Miki would arrive soon. Then all four of us went to a cozy soba shop. After scalding my tongue on hot tempura soba, I decided to have cold soba instead, complete with, get this: soba icecream! A totally yummy meal! Miki had been too nice, spoiling us :)

We said bye-bye at Keisei Ueno station, knowing that soon we’ll meet again in SG when she comes for a friend’s wedding. Promised to bring her to Union :)

On the train to Narita, I realised I forgot to take a picture with Miki, ahhh! =(

After a mad last-minute DFS shopping, Na left for SG while I left Tokyo at 5pm Sun to reach SF 10am the same day. That would explain the jetlag I still feel right now!!! Thank goodness YX was there to fetch me.. If I still can’t sleep tonight, I’ll carry on with the less factual stuff of the trip..
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