Back for a while

4 08 2009

I haven’t been blogging for a long time.  Maybe because I’ve been busy with things (cleaning, laundry, cooking etc), or maybe because I just haven’t felt like it.

Anyway, I’m back in Singapore for 2 weeks, which is almost the entire duration of my summer break.

It feels almost surreal. There’s so little time to buy/eat the things I’ve wanted to buy/eat, and even less time to meet up with people. Then again, having said that, Singapore doesn’t feel that much different from Tokyo.  The heat is as bad.

On the other hand, I don’t have to worry about money, or saving electricity here. Nor chores/laundry/cooking.  It’s not that bad. Right now I’m enjoying the aircon without thinking about the utility bills, savouring my new purchases that were paid for by the parents.

In the end though, it’s painful to come back and painful to leave. I won’t be seeing most people for at least a year, and so much can happen, though a year is a short time.  It’s hard to leave the comfort and privacy of my tiny dorm room in Tokyo, and the steadfast routines I’ve built for myself.

Maybe things will get better next year. I promise to blog more when I can.





Surprise party :O

9 03 2009

My relatives came over yesterday for a -surprise- farewell party for me before I leave Japan.

It’s worth mentioning that this is the most -surprising- surprise party I have ever had in my whole life, the others being less -surprising- due to organisers being too giggly etc.

And no, no one jumped out from behind the sofa shouting “supplies!” -.-. I would have liked that though…

Granted, my mother (main mastermind) is in general a bad liar, and her coverup story that my Godma was coming over for dinner, was a tad fishy. My Godma does not come over for a steamboat dinner at my house. That’s a fact of life. Compounded with the fact that we’re already going to have dinner with her sometime later, just made everything seem all the more suspicious. But I gamely went along, having some slight suspicion but not really expecting anything in particular.

At around 6pm yesterday, my dog started barking frantically, heralding the arrival of hitherto-unexpected visitors. I shuffled out of my comfy room to see a couple of cousins. At that point in time all I thought was “Oh, it’s just the both of them coming over for steamboat as usual.”

Though when my mother told me to move my Huge Foldable Table out from my room, I began to get alarmed. What sort of steamboat dinner would require such a big table? Puzzled, I asked how many people were actually coming over for dinner. I nearly flipped when they estimated more than 10. WTF.

The last time 27 people came over to my house, I spent the day hiding in my room. I’m not very good with crowds I’m afraid. It’s also some miracle of time and space that my house can hold 27 people.

Well, there wasn’t anything I could do when the Powers That Be have already set things in motion, and since I am a placid, reserved person I did not try to protest vehemently or hold a hunger strike.

So people started streaming in, and I began getting progressively hungrier. So hungry that I started to venture out of my room in search of food.

Steamboat!

There was food aplenty, and I was cajoled into sitting at the table where I could eat piece after piece of yummy cheese tofu and enoki mushrooms.

 

I must disclaim: I don’t dislike my relatives, but gargantuan groups of people (>5 according to my definition), do leave me feeling slightly overwhelmed and thus I should be forgiven for being less than social on such occasions.

Things started getting livelier though, when we started talking about old times and interesting things we could do if they came over to visit me in Japan etc. Also, they gave me a really cool cup, which appears to be black but is MORE THAN THAT. When filled with hot liquid, it morphs gradually from jet-black to this!

The words say it all 🙂

We took many, many photos.

Spot the missing number

This is just a small fraction of the many photos we took.

The older ones.

Well I hope everyone had fun, and from the looks of this, the food must have been quite good…..

Well...I don't think the food was -that- good....

 Now I feel all warm and fuzzy.





Reunion dinner, and how I spent the first day of CNY

26 01 2009

Reunion Dinner

As usual, reunion dinner was spent at my mother’s cousin’s house. The kids in the picture are my nephews and nieces. It was generally quite a boring, perfunctory affair for me (as can be seen from the number of pictures taken out of boredom), but I really appreciate that this year she specially reminded my mother to bring me, because it will probably be my last Chinese New Year in Singapore for the next 5 years or so. That’s assuming that the 日本入国管理局  is satisfied with RJC’s letter assuring them of my graduation in 2008.

And no, I did not partake of the shiny cans of beer….

As for the first day of the New Year, I spent it being a slave. To my mother’s 饺子, precisely. Basically what happened was that last week, I finally gave in to my innate desires to produce 饺子, so I mixed the meat and dough needed, and kept it in the fridge to use at a later date. For some inane reason, my mum got similarly inspired, and went to buy pork to make her own 饺子. However, instead of doing everything meticulously herself (like I did), she dumped everything to the maid to do. Then, because we were all sick and tired of cooking today, we decided to wrap the 饺子for lunch/dinner. I started first, wrapping all my chicken 饺子 and boiling a few for lunch. My mum’s pork filling was sitting on the table thawing all the while when I was wrapping my 饺子, and we all assumed that she would wrap it later. But NO.

Sometime around 5pm, my parents announced that they were going out somewhere, and cheerfully told me and my maid to finish wrapping the mountainload of pork 饺子, and thus I was enslaved.

HDR

Then, I got bored and went round my neighbourhood with my camera and tripod, taking pictures to process into HDR images.

Reunion Dinner1

This is how my house looks like for CNY this year. Since it’s the year of the Ox, somebody tied a nice happy red ribbon around my dad’s antique jade Ox.





CNY Gathering + My Birthday Party

25 01 2009

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Boredom and a lack of playing cards/mahjong at my house resulted in a rather exciting game of charades. How does one go about miming BANANA, PINEAPPLE TART and CUSHION…I guess I needn’t say more 😄

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My birthday cake was very kindly sponsored by my maid. It was a Sweet Pleasure cake from Bakerzin, and for gag purposes was decorated with marzipan emblazoned with the words “so delicious and moist.” Now where was that from…

We then promptly proceeded to wreck the shiny chocolate surface of the cake by stabbing it with 10 candles – 1 big 9 small before continuing with the typical birthday song-wish-cutting-eating.

I wonder what it means if I can’t blow out all the candles on my birthday cake in one go. It makes sense that there would be an inverse relationship between number of candles on cake and difficulty of blowing out all candles, excluding ages which are multiples of 10.

Difficulty of blowing out candles
image Age

Hence, as can be inferred from the above graph, the point of intersection of both lines is the age at which one’s stamina and lungs can no longer keep up with the merciless increase of candles to be blown out, i.e. number of breaths needed > number of candles, can be defined as OLD. I needed 2 breaths to extinguish 10 candles, so I’m still in the leftmost region of the graph. Phew.

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All the boys could talk about was army and the tremendous fun they had in camp. The second picture depicts the joy and satisfaction that boys derive from a relaxing 2-week stay in the Tekong Chalet.

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Further boredom drove me to dig out my mouldy Cluedo set for an engaging game of Whodunit.

I must say that it was great to see everyone (and their spanking new hairdos) again, including the 2 unexpected but much welcome people 🙂

The next time we meet will probably be the release of A level results…sigh.