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.





Public Service Announcement

26 03 2009

Save water. Don’t bathe unneccessarily.





Hi!

22 03 2009

Here’s a big thank you to everyone for your well-wishes/SMSes/emails/gifts and for taking the time to come and send me off at the airport 🙂





Packing is a bitch.

19 03 2009

I finally got down to packing -most- of my peripherals and gadgets into 2 bags, consisting mostly of chargers, camera accessories and other stuff.

I’ll probably be handcarrying them on the plane because I don’t want my portable HDDs to be shaken around too much, and laptops/netbooks can’t be checked in, if I’m not wrong.

This time, I’m trying to travel as light as I can, and buy what I need in Japan. Afterall, the clothes there are more suited to the weather, and not to mention, prettier as well 😀 Will probably bring a couple of sets of clothes which can be worn in school, one set of formal attire, and other clothes that look nice enough to go out in. I’m also trying to keep footwear to a bare minimum, but found that I needed 6 pairs – sneakers, heels, court shoes, sandals, slippers, dress shoes.

As for books, I’m bringing along a few maths drill books in Japanese, as well as Japanese novels, and around 5 non-fiction books in English to maintain my sanity.

Also, for some reason, my parents decided to bring a few bottles of sauces and seasonings in case these aren’t available in Japan. 

Sigh. I have tomorrow to try and fit most of my current life into a suitcase..





Something that crossed my mind a while ago

4 03 2009

While talking to a friend yesterday, it occurred to me that possibly, the natural dying out of the “spark” between couples who have been married for ages, is actually an evolutionary mechanism designed to enable people to better accept the eventual deaths of their spouses, and carry on with life more effectively? 

Well scientists have already discovered that true love exists , so there is no question that for some people, that spark never dies out. I wonder though, how these people survive. For once experiencing “true lifelong love” isn’t so enviable after all..





10 ways to salvage dry skin

4 03 2009

1. Oatmeal Mix finely-ground oatmeal with some water and/or yoghurt/honey etc, and use it as a face mask to calm irritated skin. Oatmeal paste also helps to moisten dry skin, and the mask doubles up as a gentle exfoliant when massaged gently.

2. Ponds Non-washable Cold Cream This is actually a makeup remover, but I found that it made my skin softer after use. Scoop up a dollop of the cream, spread it over face and rub gently to remove makeup. Then wipe off with a piece of tissue and lastly use a cloth soaked in very warm water to take off the last traces of this oily cream. 

3. Ponds Washable Cold Cream 

and

4. Nivea Soft moisturiser Can be used in place of daily face wash to keep skin soft and prevent the removal of natural oils by foaming face washes. Just use like a cream cleanser, then wash off with water.

5. Cotton wool dipped in toner 

and 

6. Cotton wool dipped in chamomile tea Work wonders on dry cheeks. I use a toner that contains hyaluronic acid (Hada Labo Gokujun), and soak a piece of cotton in it. Then split the piece of cotton into 2 layers, and use like a sheet mask (10-15 minutes is enough). Chamomile tea works the same way,  just that it helps with calming itchy skin and is better for sensitive skin. 

7. Almond/hazelnut paste scrub The natural oils from the nuts keep skin moist and soft, while the fine grains of the nut paste act as an exfoliator to smoothen skin by removing dead cells. I strongly recommend Lush’s Angels on Bare Skin, which is a heavenly-smelling face scrub made out of almond meal, white clay and essential oils. However, it is not available in Singapore and cannot be shipped either. 

8. Honey Honey is some godsend for zits 🙂 I used to use it until I discovered 3M’s Acne Dressing, which essentially works the same way as honey by sucking out the white stuff from zits, albeit less messily. Applying honey to the face and leaving it for 10-20 minutes before washing off also helps with dry skin, and feels quite good too. 

9. Glycerin-based moisturiser Till date I haven’t found a moisturiser which beats my relatively inexpensive tub of Yuskin which I buy from Japan every trip. It’s yellow with a camphor smell and texture like grease, but is absorbed surprisingly well. The best part is that only a bit is necessary each time, so one tub goes a long way. Added vitamin E also helps to heal scars, which is a bonus. It is worth noting that applying this moisturiser to my face never gave me any breakouts despite its very sticky texture.  How glycerin works is that, as a humectant, it draws water particles from the surrounding air to skin, thereby keeping the skin moist. However, using a glycerin-based moisturiser in climates where humidity levels are below 30% may result in moisture being drawn out of the skin instead as the atmosphere lacks moisture.

10. Yoghurt I nicked some of my dad’s unsweetened Greek-style yoghurt, which comes in a tub and is creamier than normal yoghurt. Straight from the fridge, it makes a very refreshing facial mask and its high fat content instantly rejuvenates dry skin. The lactic acid in yoghurt supposedly also helps to remove dead skin cells, but I cannot yet attest to those claims.  However, this caused a couple of zits for me when I used it, so it may not be a cure-all for people with dry skin and a pimple problem. Less creamy yoghurts may work too.





If we could eat people…

4 03 2009

It occurred to me one day that interactions with people could be likened to types of food.

Comfort food
Food that is rather low-key, and may not be nutritious but somehow has a feel-good effect and triggers nostalgia.
Some people are like comfort food. They don’t taste particularly nice but you can eat them for days and days on end. Like warm, gloopy, but tasteless porridge. They may not add much value to your existence – porridge isn’t particularly known for its health benefits – but these people are the ones you can keep around you irregardless of occasion. Comfort food types include childhood friends, parents and the one friend you allow to see you in all your unglam glory.

Porridge doesnt taste wonderful but its nice on a cold day.

Porridge may not taste wonderful but it's nice on a cold day.

Snack
Food that exists to satisfy a random and temporary craving. May or may not have health benefits. Consumption of such food often occurs in between lessons, or late at night and frequently overlaps with the next group, Junk food.

Snack people are consumed in considerably smaller portions than comfort food people. Usually. They are the kind that you get the impulse to watch a movie with, maybe spend a whole day with, but nothing more. Too much just makes you thirst for something more filling. Just like how having snack food for every meal does not fill one up, associating solely with people who belong in the “snack” category tends to create emptiness of a sort. Places to encounter snack food people include school and the workplace. Entertaining but superficial associations.

Snacks arent meant to be eaten as meals. Not always anyways.

Snacks aren't meant to be eaten as meals. Not always anyways.

Junk food
Food that tastes oh-so-sinfully good…but is in reality really bad for you and will come back to bite you in the butt 10 years down the road in the form of high cholestrol/blood pressure/fat.

Junk food people are the type with whom prolonged association is either bad for you, or makes you feel bad. They may be interesting at first, and may even keep you coming back for more, but in the long run it ends up being a very draining association. No different from the feeling you’d get after consuming 2kg of MSG. The bottom line with junk food people is that consumption must be moderated, if not cut out completely.

These types can be found in jails etc. or right under your nose, in the guise of that good friend who is nice one day and guilt-trips you the next.

So tempting....but so sinful....

So tempting....but so sinful....

Healthy food
Food that is good for you. Your mother told you so. Healthy food contains all the essential minerals and nutrients needed for growth and normal bodily functions. However, the healthiest foods often taste little better than cardboard.

Nobody willingly approaches the healthy food figures in their lives; such dealings are usually necessary evils. Still, when you enter the realm of  “older and wiser” it is often then blatantly apparent that these people are the ones who have given the best advice and had the best intentions. Well life is half about regret anyway…

Healthy food types are most frequently encountered during the years in which there is nothing for others to gain by associating with you. Healthy food type people include nosey but well-meaning aunties and your Chinese teacher in JC.

Actually, I really like vegetables.

Actually, I really like vegetables.

(Good)Chocolate/wine
This may be self-explanatory to most people, but chocolate and wine are undeniably some of the little luxuries in life. Their complex flavours aren’t revealed in one bite/sip, but rather need to be savoured sloowwwwwly.

These people are the kind whom you’d want to spend a lifetime with discovering all the hidden sides to their multifaceted personalities. Unlike comfort food, every nibble brings out a new aroma, and that is what makes these people worth staying in contact with for a long, long time. They may be bitter at first taste (as compared to junk food) but that soon mellows to reveal a seductively enticing core. However, moderation must be exercised judiciously to avoid addiction/desensitisation.

Chocolates/wines are often manifested on anniversaries and Valentine’s Day, in pretty boxes.

Just kidding, these people can be found anywhere…if you bother to take time to let that truffle slowly melt instead of just chewing and swallowing it.

Chocolate is good for the soul.

Chocolate is good for the soul.