Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Intensity x 10

23 days after I got back to work, and there is so much to do already.


Strategic planning, business planning, team planning, KPIs, budget allocation, resignation, hiring and more conferences!


Gone were the days where I cut a slack in the first Q of the year.


My body is getting weaker from the lack of sleep and sudden work load. I swear my whites are showing on my scalp as I utilise more brain cells in thinking. My skin is getting drier, and my radiance seem to be slipping away. I'm also perpetually sick it seems.


Come April I'll know if all these are worthwhile. Don't bully Lao Niang.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Helpless Much

The things you do for love? Like turning down a huge paying job in the financial industry just because it doesn't get you to the end goal you want to achieve.



That's huge.




And I can't do anything about it.

I feel so helpless.



And if it were me, that's something I definitely can't do at the moment. I can't stomach it. I have no guts and balls to do it. Maybe I am at the stage where finances aren't stable - and external factors just disallow me to do that.



And he did that. I know why he did that. I appreciate and respect that. I am lost for words actually.



But I just can't help but feel even more helpless about it. Honestly I feel really bad. Sigh.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Wrong Choice, Right Place

Everyone is telling him that is a wrong choice to make; considering the big move and letting go of the commitments back home.

The familiar, the used-to, the support, the rapport, the career, the friends, the family, the regular shops he patrons, and even the air he breathes in.

Moving to the unknown, with probably the only one familiar thing - that girl.


When someone is willing to cross such big mountains and huge rivers, for him to get to the right place - that place; the place that he wants to be in, is probably the most beautiful and comfortable place he has ever been in.


It looks like it is right out of a fairy tale.


Such sacrifices - one should no longer doubt.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Insatiable Curiosity

I'm a highly inquisitive person. Sometimes maybe till the extend overbearing? Very bad habit. Gotta change.


Having that sort of nature, also spurs my interest in horoscope, astrology, fortune telling, fengshui, bazi and the sort. But the interesting thing is, I'm always taking on a very skeptical approach to these folks' analysis.


I don't know why. I guess the need to satisfy the need-to-know what you have to say is strong. Whether or not the statements are true, don't seem to matter. My curiosity is insatiable.


Back in Taiwan, we wandered around the 2nd floor of the night market centre in Tai Chung. Guess what we saw? Couple of tarot reading shops.

I've never done tarots before. Since we didn't have any agenda in mind, and lots of time to kill, I casually asked if they want to play tarots. I used the word 'play' - so obviously it was just plain entertainment in my opinion.


I didn't even need any buy in, and off we were sitting in front of the psychic. She was a petite, pretty and young lady. That raised my skepticism further.


So she said my love was feeling quite trapped, troubled and probably stressed. Finance was the core reason. There would be a cut in supply soon.  My straightforward demeanor, could very likely hurt him, indicating possible communication breakdowns. She added about insecurity too, because of the blossom flowers surrounding me.

Give him time, support and understanding.


That's what she said.


Tarot reading was supposed to foretell / interpret stuff that happened during the consultation period, and it maybe go all the way up to 6-8 months of what may happen in the future. That's what I observed during her consultations with Xue & Jia Jing.


I am starting to find Ms Pretty Psychic, a bit credible now, as things start to unfold themselves.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Stark Naked

She just realized something.

He's melting the icyness in her. It suddenly dawn on her that she's still pretty human with emotions.

The poor girl had not cried for a long time. In fact she couldn't recall when was the last time she did. All she could felt was just angst.


And boy, when tears came trickling down her face, a strong sense of relief swept through her soul. It felt so good to let go. To feel totally stark naked again.

It happened twice; within a week's span.


She believes it is a good thing. He's melting down the ice queen after all. The strong facade that she's been trying to put up to the world.

Appearing as though she's alright; no problem is a big problem for her.

In her dictionary she thinks that there's no such thing as love, being doted on, or being care for.

And when she receives these from him; it feels like a wilted flower getting all the right nutrients again - fertilizer, sunshine and water.


In here she re-blooms.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

No Fly List

I was scheduled to fly out at 6.50pm. 20 minutes later, I was still at HK airport.

According to the pilot, we all had to sit in the aircraft for another good 30 minutes because they had to offload a passenger and his luggage. Great.

Now let's all give that person a clap, holding up all of us.


I was seated by the window, and had a good chance to observe the ground crew opening up the cargo doors to retrieve the said luggage.


Then, a million dollar question struck me. How do they sieve out that one luggage out from so many of ours?

I missed a flight before. All our bags were retrieved from the aircraft and were to be collected at arrival hall. How did they do it then?


Hmmm. Interesting.


Took off at 7.40pm. Great. No fly list passenger just burnt 50 minutes of my precious time.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Yokohama Highlights

Shinyokohama Raumen Museum

I wouldn't call this a museum to be honest. It was just a ramen gathering where you could find different types of ramen all over Japan.

 photo IMG_0708_zpsef0d906c.jpg


Very touristy place - and you need to pay 300¥ to get in; without any food coupons whatsoever.

 photo IMG_0704_zps6f8fee66.jpg

An adult is expected to have a bowl of ramen each. They made it easier for eaters whom wish to experience different types of ramen of Japan by introducing the mini versions.


To be honest, the mini ones were still too big for me. I thought it would be like palm size only. It cost 700 over yen for a mini!

 photo IMG_0722_zps6e45b30e.jpg

Which part is mini, you tell me?


After a bowl of mini ramen, we could no longer handle anymore (we had Michelin brunch earlier!) and left to procure souvenirs.

 photo IMG_0719_zps54b4bd6b.jpg


Oh we tried the one from Toride, okay only. I didn't like the beansprouts that came along with the noodles. Not that I dislike beansprouts per se; I just don't like them in my noodles. I still prefer the first one I had in Shinjuku! Will write about it!


Cupnoodles Museum

I like this more in comparison to the Raumen museum as this was more educational. Not only was Nissin telling us how the founder Mr Ando's persevering attitude in invention and creation; it also delivered inspiring messages to everyone.

It's never too late or too old to innovate.

 photo IMG_0664_zps45e779e9.jpg


A pity the tickets to the 'make your own cup noodles' floor was sold out. I couldn't bring back any unique souvenirs for the girls. I would love to make them someday. Maybe in the upcoming Osaka trip during the CNY festive.



Cosmoworld

A typical fun fair. It triggered the childlike behavior in me I would say. Housing the once world's tallest ferris wheel - Cosmo Clock 21; this theme park didn't have a lot of thrilling rides to be honest.

 photo IMG-20141230-WA0000_zps83dd5fa7.jpg


Sat on two spinning ones which I gave me the short thrill of flying in the skies for 360 degrees and that was it.


America-yama Park / Chinatown

There was a Sweet Memory event at this place. Scouted for it and eventually found it on a rooftop of Exit 6 of Chinatown subway exit. Very small park indeed. Everything seem man made. But lovely lights that seemed to be a setting from the Twilight movie.

 photo IMG_0741_zps2fd09d3f.jpg

The pentagon roof of a pavilion. So pretty.


 photo IMG_0749_zpscda09feb.jpg

Sneaky.

Had random 煎包 at Chinatown. Had random 台湾家乡菜 at Chinatown too. The streets in Chinatown was typical to a scene you would see in 'proper' China. Wet streets, rubbish everywhere - unlike Yokohama which was super neat and clean. Tokyo's cleanliness would come second in place in comparison.

That was his very random birthday dinner. Very simple and unplanned.


Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu

Six star hotel. Deep bathtubs, astonishing view of Yokohama - extending from the Cosmoworld to the Yokohama Bridge.

 photo IMG-20141229-WA0000_zpsc7eb9c5e.jpg

Me admiring the beauty of Yokohama.


Nice bath toiletries from Japan. They even included lotion, milk and cleansing lotion. Huge room with a deep corridor, bath and movable TV so you could have the sky scrappers as your backdrop while you enjoy your movies and for us - the news of the tragic air crash of Air Asia QZ8501.


Lots of lovely night views around the hotel. Lighted trees and the like.

 photo IMG-20141230-WA0003_zpse5ff0180.jpg


Two strangers welcomed another year of happiness at this beautiful place, sealing it with a kiss.

Friday, January 02, 2015

White New Year

"Oh my god! It's going to snow tomorrow!" I exclaimed. 



My eyes lighted up when I saw the New Year Day's weather forecast. A snowman icon was used beside the Tokyo prefecture on the map of Japan. 


People say they wish for a white Christmas. It didn't happen on me but I guess I might get lucky with a white New Year!


As we checked out Hotel Gracery Ginza, and was walking towards the JR line, he started to realise it was on the verge of snowing. He seemed more excited than I was, after pointing them out to me. 

All I could observe were some faint speckles of dust floating down to the grounds. 


He knew I wanted to see snow in this trip, but of course the probability was low. Tokyo snowing? Not very often. He had his countless experience with snow (I assumed). But for me, I didn't have the opportunity in my entire life.


I knew he was mentally ticking off the checklist he had for us when the snow got heavier in Shinjuku. I was so ecstatic as I saw falling snow for the first time! I was in awe, like a little girl all of a sudden.


No words could describe my feelings then. 


Let the video do some talking in depicting my awe, delight and childlike nature. Till the extend I didn't even hear him the first time when he asked if I was happy.



Despite the snow happened in a not so romantic train station setting, the sense of love and warmth grew stronger in the midst of the freezing environment.


The snow simply bonded two strangers further.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Mystery of the Missing 人形烧

We bought the 人形烧 from during our trip to Asakusa, Sensoji Temple. 浅草人形烧 - the locals call it. We didn't try the famous Kimura family version, but instead bought from this place 纪文.

 photo IMG_0779_zps80278d54.jpg


Minimum order of 5 pieces. Tsk, so unfriendly.

 photo IMG_0780_zpsdb58a3c1.jpg


The sweet pancake.

 photo IMG_0781_zpsabf710a3.jpg

人形烧 had red bean fillings which I like. But it wasn't super fantastic - not too sure was it because we didn't get the Kimura one.


So let's fast forward to the mystery. We bought the 5 pieces; shared a piece at the store, and brought 4 back to the hotel. I took another piece later that night.

Woke up late, and was late for our check out. No complimentary late checkout as they charge! Pffft. He passed the pancakes to me and said we could have them for breakfast while walking to the Japan Railway. We were regular medication takers then. I nodded absent-mindedly and tossed them into my luggage - which he saw.


While I was hastily putting on my makeup by the window, the next thing I knew was he came whispering into my ear and said "Hon, remind me to tell you about this room later".

That didn't raise my curiosity immediately as I was really rushing for time.


Eventually when we had a relaxing smoke; I asked "Oh what was it that you wanna tell me about the room?"

He said he saw a middle age guy in our room, tall, wearing a dark jumper, looking at my direction; whilst I was putting on my makeup.



HOLY SHIT. 



I didn't panic, neither did my goosebumps came up upon hearing this statement. My next reply was "Oh I didn't feel any weird sensation, so I guess it's pretty harmless".


Now the curious Claris was raining him with questions. Where was he standing? Was there colour in his face? What was his expression? Was he looking at me or generally at my direction? (I was standing by the window what! Mr Jumper guy could be admiring the scenery you see?)


I know he can see stuff. He sees them sometimes, but not from the direct gaze but more on his side views. So as he was walking towards me, his side view caught the image of Mr Jumper standing at the corner beside the TV console.

Below illustration for your easy visualisation.

 photo ScreenShot2015-01-06at13240am_zps2db4e1fd.png

Big X denotes Mr Jumper. Small x denotes Lao Niang applying makeup.


As we arrived back at Hilton's Shinjuku, it was time to unpack, or at least take out the 人形烧 that could be smashed in my luggage for breakfast.


I couldn't find it.




HOLY COW!!! 




I whispered back to him and said "Guess what? Mr Jumper must be hungry. My 人形烧 are missing."

His eyes got wide open. His eyes are already quite big; can you imagine them going any wider? Lol.

He was like, "Are you sure hon? Did you check your xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx?" Basically listing out all the possibilities 人形烧 could be in.


Well, I've checked. No 人形烧.



人形烧 - Last seen was at 1 Jan 2015, 10.45am, Hotel Gracery Ginza, Japan.




So, the hungry man took them. Creepy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Azamino Uzai-tei

The only place I had made a reservation 2 months in advance. I guess the hostess whom picked up my call were a little surprised as she had to repeat herself, December?

Well, not because they were crowded. To be honest, I don't know if they do get crowded. But because I wanted to make sure that we don't stand around and wait. It is not nice to do so on this special day you see.


Kinda overslept, and we opted out the 50 minute train ride. It was a 13km ride from Yokohama Bay Hotel, Tokyu. Thus I decided that we should just arrive in comfort even though cabs are crazily expensive in Japan. After all, 30 December marks a special day.


 photo IMG_0670_zps17c53bfa.jpg


As we arrived Azamino Uzai-tei; two chefs, one waitress and one suited gentleman were standing by the main gate. 

The hostess greeted me by my name, and it seemed they had been waiting for us. I looked at my phone, 12pm, we were on time. Wow. I couldn't imagine if we were late, would they all be waiting at the main gate till we arrive? I wouldn't be surprised if the Japs do that. They are the most courteous bunch of folks I have seen.


It felt like a VIP entrance in my opinion. And to be honest I was a little surprised at the formal hospitality.


As the hostess led us into the cottage; they offered to hang up our coats and got us settled in a waiting area. Soon after, we were ushered into the main dining area.

 photo IMG_0672_zpsd2e55008.jpg


The main dining area was grand and prestigious. Fresh ingredients were positioned neatly on baskets and boy everything was so neat! The waitress offered stools to place our bags, and it was the first time my dining experience was so quiet. I dare not make any noise.

 photo IMG_0671_zpsc6df2d7c.jpg


The chefs were cheerful and smiley, and the manager that attended to us spoke basic English which was to our delight. The chef whom made our mains spoke basic English too.

 photo IMG_0678_zps2f345930.jpg

And he's so cartoonishly cute.


King crab with vegetables

 photo IMG_0673_zps8e108c09.jpg


Cabbage wrapped in ukai beef, served in soup with bacon on side, and black truffle on top

 photo IMG_0674_zpse1befc9b.jpg

Mr Chef plating our food. I can never be able to do that - perfectly.


 photo IMG_0679_zps57f2f976.jpg


Meticulous is key.

 photo IMG_0680_zpsa846534f.jpg


Mussels, clams and pasta in creamy sauce.

 photo IMG_0681_zps41505780.jpg

He swapped my mussels out with his clams - even though I was okay to just eat them. I mean how bad can they go when the appetizer and soup had been so good. If there was lady's fingers in my plate, I would still eat it.

But he remembered I didn't particularly like mussels, when I made a casual remark saying 'nah...' to mussels over Winter Solstice dinner. Awww, that was so sweet and attentive of him.


Now, comes the star of the day.

 photo IMG_0682_zps9e1a4b8d.jpg


Chef hard at work.

  photo IMG_0684_zps81324055.jpg


Before;

  photo IMG_0682_zps9e1a4b8d.jpg


After;

 photo IMG_0685_zps5933abc0.jpg

Top quality Ukai tenderloin and sirloin; with Chinese broccoli and cheese gratin stuffed onion.


We were led upstairs to finish the full course lunch with desserts.

 photo IMG_0686_zps86593360.jpg

Desserts galore indeed. We could choose ALL of it; but of course tummies were too full for everything.


I chose the chestnut dessert (mont blanc), strawberry with milk ice cream and chocolate ice cream with brandy. Finally, some alcohol in this Japan trip after all the medication I was taking. He chided me of course. The waiter came to my rescue and said it was only a tinge of brandy. Hurray!


 photo IMG_0688_zps6a9d7a3e.jpg

View from the second floor.


A walk in the gardens to mark the celebration with picturesque photos.

 photo IMG_0693_zps3245bbdf.jpg

 photo IMG_0690_zps0074b4ce.jpg

 photo IMG_0691_zps6979a76f.jpg

Flowers, maple trees, fountains and a Victorian looking porch.


 photo IMG-20141230-WA0011_zpsf35d047a.jpg


 photo IMG-20141230-WA0017_zps2ed10029.jpg 

Here's me admiring the beauty of these pretties.


 photo IMG_0696_zps4c15c7c0.jpg

Here's him, hard at work, fiddling with his camera.


Overall I would say the service was impeccable. Food was excellent and I will definitely want to go there again if I'm back in Tokyo.


After blogging about my experience here, I just realised Azamino Uzai-tei are awarded in the Michelin Guide for 2013 and 2014. Now, that explains the phenomenal experience we received.


Address: 2-14-3 Azaminominami Aoba-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture 225-0012, Japan

Access: From Sakuragicho Station, take Blue Line towards Azamino. Alight Azamino. From the West Exit Bus Rotary at Azamino Station on the Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line, walk up the slope on the side of Mizuho Bank. 5-minute walk

Tel: 045-910-5252
Opening hours 11:30 - 23:00 (LO 21:00)
Closed on Wednesdays (open on public holidays)