Saturday, 31 October 2009

Mt Fuji finally!

No wonder people say that the best chances of seeing Mt Fuji is during the colder seasons. After 6 times in Japan, I finally saw the peak of Mt Fuji today. Though it was quite cloudy/hazy this evening, the mountain was still magnificent!

Mt Fuji's mysterious and misty look at dusk from Kawaguchiko.

Because of an error in logistics, I am staying far away from the better spots to see Mt Fuji from Lake Kawaguchi. Therefore, tomorrow morning, I will have to brave the cold at 5am to walk 1.5km for a sunrise view of the mountain. Wish me luck!

Osaka fast forward -->

Haven't been updating much about my trip. Most of the time I was too tired after a long day of walking to stay up all night to blog. Then, when I finally felt awake, I had no internet connection. Yesterday for example, I was staying at a temple in Mt Koya (near Osaka) where there were absolutely no activities after 7pm. Of course, neither was there www.

This is the first time I have come to Japan purely for touristic purposes. The other times that I was here were for businesses other than fun. I have very much enjoyed being a tourist in the last few days. See some photos from the trip so far.

This is at Nara, an hour away from Osaka by train. Lots of deers roaming the parks and streets. Visitors can feed them with special biscults on sale every where along the streets for Yen 150. This nice lady from the deer protection organisation is coaxing little Bambi to leave the biscults alone.

Ha another nice lady trying to feed the deers and ensuring each one gets its fair share.

Maple leaves turning red... a beautiful sight.

The great Todaiji Temple in Nara. Every part of it is made of wood. Rather impressive.

Wooden structure in Todaiji. More about that at a later time.

I also spent some time at the Osaka Aquarium panning stingrays and sardines. Before that, I deliberated whether to go there or not because of the forbidding entrance ticket which cost Yen 2,000 (tell the Japs Yen 2,000 is expensive they will all laugh at me). Now I have to say it is worth every penny.

"Flying" sea turtle.

A panning shot of stingray.

Jelly fish looks great under special lighting.

Not forgetting the landmarks of Osaka.

Glico man in Dotoburi.

Friends, cheers!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Glutton in Osaka

A major highlight of this trip is FOOD!

If you think you can find takoyaki everywhere in Osaka, yes you are right! One of the cheap eats in Osaka, though I am not sure if the locals are really crazy about them as I see mostly tourists buying and eating them.

So many shops selling takoyaki. This one particularly well decorated!

Different prices at different stalls. This one selling at Yen 400 for 6. The one above at Yen 480. I think taste is somewhat positively co-related with price.

Also, not to be missed in Osaka is "Omuraisu" or Omelette Rice. It is said that the dish originated from this part of Japan.

The shop which "created" omuraisu in the 1920s, Hokkyokusei (北极星). Let's just call it Polaris.

A dish inspired by a regular guest of Polaris in the 20s, who used to place order for "omelette to be served with rice". That's my dinner: omelette rice with fried shrimps. A set like this cost Yen 1,060, including miso soup.

Yummy... egg skin is soft and every grain of rice is well flavoured.

And of course... OKONOMIYAKI! I would blame myself if I didn't have one this time.

Okonomiyaki, Kansai (Osaka) style. Cabbage and meat combined with batter made of flour, grated yam, egg and topped with Japanese dark sauce, mayonnaise and loads of bonito flakes. They are very good!

Yakisoba... so delicious! The best I have ever had!

I can "smell" the salad and meal supplement waiting for me back home.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Osaka (Day 1)

Too tired, can't blog. But I made it to Osaka.


Monday, 26 October 2009

Viva la liberté!

In the name of freedom,
We sent young men to their graves;
We buried their souls if not their bodies,
Kept the names but not the memories.
What does it matter though?
When we have new to replace the old.

In the name of justice,
We let bullets and shells fly;
Murdered innocence settled beneath dust,
Blood flowed like an endless spring.
And then be awarded a prize for peace;
What was that Nobel had in mind?
Perhaps the smell of antiseptic was intoxicating.

May we all live on long enough to see,
A justification or the hollow truth of it.
Viva la liberté!

Sunday, 25 October 2009





Thursday, 15 October 2009


Relativity is a strange concept.

There is good and there is bad.

You can be happy and you can be sad.

But I feel small in front of the tallest building;

And I still feel small on top of the tallest building.

That can only mean, I am absolutely small.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

At the BBQ

The sky was overcast. There was light rain all morning and in the early afternoon. But that did not dampen my spirits. It was the day for the long awaited BBQ.

I knew it would be a busy Saturday but I gladly toiled and fussed over it. All my friends were coming; their kids too... a welcoming break from the peace and quiet which I usually prefer.

Fortunately, the weather held up. These days, the weather is irratic. But today, I was glad that the weather has temperaments of a woman.

The kids had fun at the pool. So did I.

Ethan attempting murder! He pushed Uncle Mike's head into the water.

Malcolm learning to count. How deep is the pool? 0.5m (counting his fingers).

Splish splash!

Pretty little girl (neighbour's kid) playing with bubbles.

Not out of focus. Auntie Ring just got distracted... I was bio-ing the hunks (on the deck chairs in the background)!

As Louise said it, 青梅竹马. Ashley and Ethan.

Sometimes, I admire my friends for the carefree ways they are bringing up their kids. The children were allowed to play on their own with minimal supervision. While the adults were busy preparing food or catching up with friends, the children were in a world of their own: running, chasing, bursting their balloons, hogging the playground slide, falling into swimming pool... But I think there is nothing wrong with this manner of upbringing. It cultivates free spirits in these children, which is essentially good because it makes them brave and prepares them for setbacks that they are bound to encounter later on in life.

The BBQ team worked hard for the night. Not forgetting to oblige to my requests to pose for photos for the blog!

Not an easy request. Pretending to be busy while keeping themselves stationery to accomodate the camera's slow shutter speed.

Food was carefully QC. Mr Heng smelling the sausage, as if he could figure out its "life story" through his nose.

Loads of food. There we have our favourite Johnny's secret recipe wings on the grill.

Food's delicious! Auntie Daphy would agree.

We also took this opportunity to celebrate 3 birthdays. However, Ethan insisted that he is only 4, not 5. There is nothing to be afraid of being 5; it's not like becoming 35!

The "Magic Mystical" birthday celebration.

Next time, I will remember to stock up Asahi dry for the alcoholics!

"Bring me a bottle of your best White". For the time being, it will be MILK for you Nevan.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Song (歌)

Lovely, lovely poem and beautifully translated by 徐志摩. I could weep everytime I read it.

by Christina Georgina Rossetti

When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree.
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on as if in pain.
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.




Or listen to it.

Saturday, 3 October 2009