Monday, March 12, 2007

- miyako part 4 -

currently listening to - shingiru (LOVEHOLIC)
mood - bored

mid march. woke up in this cool morning, only to find that it's snowing. well you can't actually consider it to be proper snow.. more like frost or something. but it's definitely not rain, coz i'm sure that raindrops don't drift away in mid-air when blown by the wind.

it's our last lesson in gaidai (or rather, outside gaidai?). a study tour in kyoto. couldn't sleep well the previous night, and woke up in a rush around 8am (students were supposed to gather at the car park at 8.30 and the bus was scheduled to leave at 9). i thought i was one of the latecomers but apparently not. there were a few who didn't even turn up at the car park because they overslept (or simply didn't wanna come). including my Korean friend, who's officially turning into a hikikomori who watches dramas and movies day in and day out.


first we came to this okashi shop/restaurant. and we learnt how to make the yatsuhashi - a kind of triangular japanese mochi-like confectionery (famous kyoto sweets).

the yatsuhashi comes in different flavours - for its "skin", we used cocoa, cinnamon, maccha and strawberry; as for the inner bit, we added chocolate, bean paste, maccha and strawberry respectively. the original shape's triangle, but we were allowed to create our own unique-shaped yatsuhashi based on our imaginations. Ms. Kiss-Me was praised by 3 different people who passed by and saw her masterpiece. *grinnnn*

later, we had our buffet in the very same place. the food served consisted of a mixture of western and japanese styled dishes.. and some of them were really weird... the japanese-style gratin was fine for me. so were the fried fish (but it said "kaki" for the japanese description), mini curry rice, deep-fried bean curd, salad, fried eggplants, as well as the simmered vegetable stew thing.. the tofu was almost alright, but i thought it tasted a bit like solidified soybean milk. the deep-fried potatoes would've tasted better if only it was deep-fried POTATOES and not deep-fried potatoes-plus-some-other-unknown-substances. and the sushi with dry-yellow-noodle-like-thing toppings was totally..... new to me. i'm sorry i've not been studying the culture of kyoto properly.

anyway this is just personal preferences. personally, i would've liked a buffet of kyoto dishes instead of fusion dishes. i mean, this is a kyoto study tour. the main purpose is to experience the food and culture of kyoto, so i guess there's no need to consider about regional preferences. it's not prom night, you know. what's more, it's NIHON-JIJOU. not global-jijou or what....

but yeah.. then we came to Arashiyama, a tourist attraction in kyoto which is popular for sakura and kouyou. unfortunately we couldn't see any sakura nor kouyou (obviously) coz we're in a very confusing season, where you see ume flowers blooming over here, and frost coming down from the sky on the other side.. a few of us had a walk in the bamboo grove. back then, we were discussing nonchalantly about how the place looked like settings that we've seen in movies (when later at night, i was told that it's really used for filming of many famous movies, including... crouching tiger hidden dragon?).. a couple of us took the expensive rickshaw around Arashiyama (the cheapest one costs like.. 3,000 yen for 2).

and to my delight, i fell in front of the railroad crossing (not ON the crossing, thank goodness. i don't need no dramatic heart-stopping action scenes). got a few parts of my clothing torn. that was so skilled of me... a very nice "makeover" before graduation.


came back before 6pm, and the few of us who applied for tokyo tech dashed to the office to look for any notifications from the university... but NO. what "we will release the results on the 10th of march".. it's already 12th and what do we see? a long name list with all the students who have been accepted into their respective universities, except for us tokyo tech applicants. thank you very much.

it would be so exciting if we don't receive any news from the university at the end of march.


1) hikikomori - .... a reclusive/unsociable person who stays indoor all the time?
2) okashi - confectionery
3) kaki - oyster (not persimmon.. i know it's kaki too)
4) nihon-jijou - japan matters. the japanese name of our japanese culture lesson.
5) kouyou - autumn leaves..

Sunday, March 11, 2007

- big girls need love too -

currently listening to - possession (JYONGRI)
mood - "i can't sleep"...

song of the month: Kiss Me
phrase of the month: i'm effing drunk
item of the month: 1,000 yen notes (and cardboard boxes which can fit 20kg's worth of goods?)

the song and phrase are dedicated to a friend who comes from a country that starts with "bru" and ends with "nei".


*translation: "Let's conquer Europe together."

no man, Chiaki. i'm not gonna conquer Europe with a person like you. i know you'd eliminate me once your dream's come true. i won't be tricked, you bastard.


wouldn't it be fun if he really meant like that? (the actual translation: "Let's go to Europe together," proposed the self-righteous/insolent/pompous conductor-wannabe Chiaki Shinichi to his hentai girlfriend) i mean.. he can totally plot to conquer the whole of Europe by defeating the musicians over there, with his conducting/piano/violin skills....

so i finished watching Nodame Cantabile. the drama. for your information, this is my first time finishing an entire drama, without giving up halfway. no kidding. don't ask me why.

next thing to conquer: Basilisk. i'm not talking about that legendary monster from Europe (which appeared in the Chamber of Secrets?) ... it's an anime/manga about the sad battle between 2 ninja clans, Kouga and Iga (and thus the title Kouga Ninpouchou Basilisk.. or something like that). the japanese ninja movie Shinobi's based on this story, i think.. first saw the manga when i was in Singapore. an almost-otaku friend of mine was reading it, and my first impression of it was, "man, i see lots of black ink. it's so hard to read... and the ninja's so fat and ugly (referring to Jousuke).."

but i guess i can handle the anime. and i thought i should know more about Kouga and Iga (though Basilisk is entirely fictional...), coz apparently these 2 clans are the most (?) famous shinobi-mono during the Warring State Period. i'm also reading another ninja-related manga called Nabari no Ou (the Togakushi clan's mentioned in the story, and that's my japanese-culture sensei's hometown~), but the publication of the manga's freakkking slow... and speaking of manga related to ninja, there's also Naruto, of course. whoever who comments that Nabari's storyline's similar to Naruto's... i won't say things like "I'll kill you", but trust me, i'm pretty sure all 3 stories are QUITE different.


a few more days, and we'll be having our graduation party. it's a little depressing that by now, everyone else has received his/her notification from the next university. God must be having fun playing with me, picking me a univeristy that announces around mid March.

and it's even more depressing when some people refuse to turn up in the graduation party, which the organizers spent time and effort to prepare. man, it's "prom night" all over again. i remember us debating with some of the classmates who didn't want to go to the prom. one of them said, "okay, give me reasons why should i go". hey, it's the last night that we'll be spending time together! it's true, i left Singapore 2 days after the prom. i'm sorry that to you, classmates don't worth making memories with. but to me, despite the expensive and mazui (personal comment) 7-course meal at Swissotel, i still paid 4,000 yen (approximation) and went to the prom. and even gave everyone free *amateur* performance of Evanescence and John Mayer!!

to make my *probably* last moments with the others more worthwhile.

no offence, that was just my personal opinions. everybody has their own issues and way of thinking. in fact the "me" 3 years ago would've refused to go because of my parents. so i have no right to persuade a person who's really reluctant to go to the party, just because now i feel the need to do so.

okay, back to less intellectual stuff. i sadly announce that i'm not allergic to alcohol anymore. the first time i had an alcoholic drink, i had swollen toes. but a few days ago i succeeded in drinking Vodka and Tequila (around one shot each?), which has 40% alcohol in each of them. if i ever drink again, i'd prefer Tequila, with it's interesting way of drinking (lick the salt, drink the alcohol, and bite the lemon). vodka's too bitter for me. hey, i'm a person who can't stand coffee and bitter chocolate (tea and milk chocolate all the way, yo) ...

however, i must admit that drinking makes me suffocate a little. not a good experience.


sorry for the random heading, folks. =p


1) hentai - a) perverted; b) abnormal. in this context the meaning's b).
2) shinobi-mono - lower-ranking warriors who use the art of ninja to spy on targets specified by their superiors. same kanji for "ninja".
3) mazui - unappetizing

Sunday, March 04, 2007

- allegro ma non troppo -

currently listening to - konna ni chikaku de... (crystal kay)
mood - relaxed


as mentioned in the previous post, the long-awaited end-of-term holidays have finally began. now i can finally do things that i've longed (?) to accomplish: read my fantasy novels. started on Brave Story last year but couldn't find time to even finish the 1st book (the version i bought has 3 books in total). then i have Kino no Tabi, which i stopped reading halfway due to the same reason. and also some other novels which haven't been flipped and are currently hiding under my bed.

just a while ago the 12 books of Juuni Kokki series have just joined my collection of fantasy novels. of course i didn't purchase the real books (desperately in need of saving money for new life starting in april).. downloaded through the almighty internet.

plus, i have loads of anime and manga beckoning to me. so i guess i have no problem spending my free (or not so free, coz we have to start packing) time in march..


to those who have studied the theory of music before, you might find the title of the post extremely familiar. "slightly fast but not too much", in italian. that's the phrase that i was made to memorise when learning piano. man, i couldn't bother differenciating the meanings between allegro, allegro ma non troppo, allegretto and etc etc.. come to think of it now, i could've learnt another language if i was more interested in piano theory.

these italian, french and german terms haven't seemed interesting to me until i started watching Nodame. as you can tell, the story's related to music. and not just plain J-pop or J-rock, but classical music. the manga/anime/drama portrays a guy who wants to become an orchestra conductor and a girl who wants to become a kindergarten teacher (?) ... who has a talent in playing the piano. the girl's very bad at score-reading, so she remembers the tunes by listening with her ears. that's why songs that she plays are the improvised versions...

i like playing the piano. but ever since my sudachi 3 years ago, i've been deprived of the piano. well i did perform for piano accompaniment during singing competitions (like mandy moore's Only Hope...) and prom concert (evanescence's Bring Me To Life & john mayer's No Such Thing).. and that's it. i'm afraid my fingering has gone all rusty and i can't even play my favourite Alla Turca properly by now. i have even forgotten how close i had been with the piano until i started watching this series.

capriccioso cantabile - capriciously and singingly.

this is a phrase which the conductor guy used to describe the heroine Nodame when she plays the piano. i like the sound of it. maybe coz it's a language that i don't really understand - you know, some human-beings tend to marvel at things that they're not familiar with.

in any case, the fact that i almost locked away my memories with the piano is rather saddening. suddenly the words of the invigilator for tokodai's interview mean so much to me. "please continue playing the piano by joining our music clubs when you enter the university." well i'm not sure if i wanna join a club (coz it's so troublesome and i don't like schedules made by other people)... but i might need to get myself a portable electronic piano when i settle down in the new environment, to remind myself of my memories with classical music..


by the way, Konna ni Chikaku de (by crystal kay) is the ending theme of anime Nodame. released on 28th feb. i always thought that crystal kay's a half of American African and Japanese. the former's correct but apparently her mother's not Japanese but Korean (PR of Japan).


1) sudachi - (young birds) leaving the nest. = becoming independent.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

- samui -

currently listening to - heat island (rhymester feat. fire ball)
mood - confused

my advisor said i deserve some deduction in marks for the presentation test. coz i didn't print my speech out on time. yeah i understand it's my bad and i should have done everything faster, not on the very last day before the test. but you see, whether or not i have a script for myself, i doubt that it affects the entire presentation. you know i wrote the script by myself and i know exactly what i was supposed to say. if only there's no time limit (that i had to read word by word from the script so that i won' t miss my important points within that 10 minutes).

hai hai..


so my one-year japanese foundation course has finally come to an end. the finals have ended yesterday. and all we have to do before leaving, is to get the result slips from our advisors and attend the graduation ceremony on 15th march. not to mention we need to wait for tsuuchi from our next university as well.


interests recently: Ghost Hunt and Nodame Cantabile (both anime and drama).

i realised that i'm immune to horror movies/anime. especially when watching them in a group. i'm pretty sure that some of my friends assigned me the "guy" role - whenever spine-chilling scenes appear, i feel my arms grabbed (by people beside me, of course). there was once when one of my friends hid behind me.

so what happened to the "real" guys? apparently very few of them are "interested" in watching horror movies. .............. yeah in other words, they're scared.

got this anime called Ghost Hunt from my friend. needless to say, it's categorised as "that genre". the 1st volume (?) - episode 1~3 - has got nothing to do with ghosts or spirits (it's about supernatural powers, though). in later episodes there are more "interesting" scenes. for this particular anime, i watch it at night (usually after midnight) in my room. alone. coz it's more thrilling. it's not like the storylines are fantastically superb or what... just for entertainment, you know. and i decided to watch this series because i've watched another series from the same author ONO Fuyumi - the 12 Kingdoms (or Juuni Kokki).

there's this particular episode that's quite "enlightening" to me. once there was a boy who couldn't speak due to mental illness. his father left him at a church and promised to return next Christmas. and never returned.

the boy was very good in hide-and-seek. instead of saying "mou ii yo!", he always tapped with a stick to communicate with his friends who played the game (and hence his version of hide-and-seek is called "stick"). one tap when he's not ready, and multiple taps when he hid himself. later on, the priest gave him a whistle as Christmas present. since then he blew the whistle instead of tapping with a stick.

one day during winter, the kids were playing hide-and-seek around their new church (which was still under construction at that time). the boy joined the game and searched for his hiding place.

and he was never found.

later on in the episode, it was revealed that he missed his father so much that he wanted the father to spot him. so he climbed up to the highest part of the church. obviously the finders, who were young children, wouldn't search for high places like that. even the adults didn't think of searching for places far above the eye-level.

at the end of the episode, the main characters finally found him at the top of the church - or rather, it. the skeleton of a child. 30 years have passed after the disappearance of the boy.


i can never look at places higher than me the same way again. imagine spotting a skull on a rooftop..

also, i can never use the same tactic in hide-and-seek anymore (that's if i still dare to play the game as an adult..............). i loved hiding at high places...

[to be continued...]


1) tsuuchi - notification
2) mou ii yo - i'm ready