Thursday, February 28, 2008

- the tai-tai, kiwi and anti-social: part 2 -

finally this post is complete.. i had 5 unpublished drafts at the dashboard, which 3 of the more recent ones were finished but couldn't be posted cuz THIS one wasn't done yet.... >.>


~ curry, museum and patisserie ~

since we failed to invade Ohno's exhibition on 23, we plotted our second attempt.

sadly it failed too. all because Johnny's Entertainment changed the entrance system for the event..
before: all visitors may collect their free entrance passes at 8am on the day they wish to visit Space-O.
after: only fan club members may apply for the entrance tickets online (only the day before their visiting date) and Johnny's will select the visitors RANDOMLY. also, one member will only be entitled 2 tickets at most.

of course we did try applying for the tickets, and the results were.. me: received an e-mail saying "Unfortunately you have NOT been chosen..."; Siti: a proper fan club member, but she didn't receive any notification whatsoever; Susan: ... nothing.

aww.. time to awe at the art book again. well i understand that Johnny's can't afford to have gazillions of Ohno-fans and Arashi-fans swarming in high-class districts such as Omotesando, which is different from crazy (crazier?) places like Harajuku or Shibuya, so they had to restrict the number of visitors per day.. but this definitely deprived many who solely wanted to appreciate his art works, not because he's the leader of Arashi.


enough said, we had to go for plan B.

so instead of going to an art exhibition, we went to a science museum - the National Museum of Nature and Science, at Ueno.

first we had lunch at a Thai restaurant COCA - which was soooooooooooo familiar i remember seeing it back home. at Subang, perhaps? the restaurant is located in Atre Ueno, the same building where the JR station is, and for lunch we could choose from 15 options at 950 yen - they're mainly rice/noodles with a side dish + salad and soup. i got the Thai curry and white chicken (which looked like the one from Hainanese chicken rice). the curry comes in choices of red, yellow and green, and i had the red one which was moderately hot but neutralised by the thick oily coconut milk. the chicken could have been better, but overall it was satisfying.


later we made our way to the museum through the park. while scanning the street map we came across this Spanish (?) family who were lost in the park. somehow we gave them some advice (in English) and headed for the museum. for once i felt lucky to be a member of Tokodai. apparently, students from universities or institutes that contributed to the museum may obtain a free entrance pass. yay~!! it's 600 yen per entrance for university students normally.

the museum has 2 sections - the nihon-kan (museum of Japan) and the chikyuu-kan (museum of the earth). we went to the latter since it has more floors to explore.

we started on B3F, the lowest floor, which mainly exhibits on the development of science and astronomy - the S.I. units and how they came about, short videos about the universe and the planets, modules of the cosmic ray (the guide came and explained to us using long complicated Japanese it was hard to absorb..), display of the solar system (lol Pluto's still there) and so on. not as interesting as it sounded like.

B2F is about evolution of species and we saw awesome fossils of extinct animals and plants. it started with arthropods and the earliest plants on earth.. and then their sizes varied as evolution took place.. 10-metre long dragon-like sea animal fossils hung from the ceiling looking down upon you with their eye-sockets, how cool is that? and there was this gargantuan sea turtle fossil it looked so heavy, as if it would fall off the ceiling in any minute. apart from sea animals there were mammal-like things too, one of them which looked very much like an antelope, 5 times the present size though.

and of course when it comes to fossils, you can't miss the dinosaurs. there they were at B1F. not much to say about good ol dino since everyone's familiar with that. it's the usual Land Before Time setting - Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky, Spike and company (weird i didn't see Petrie around.. maybe we didn't look upwards).

the 1st floor shows variations in species which came later, and the habitats like life in equatorial and temperate regions, mangrove forests, highlands, deserts etc...

there was a section about the evolution of mankind (i forgot which floor was it on..) and we saw 3 actual-sized primitive men - a very short primitive lady, a young Java man and a white primitive man. ignore the lady, but the person/people who made these figures had a stereotyped way of thinking. the Java man is dark (yeah understandable) and he's got very little hair, in fact no hair on his private part, and he's slender without any muscles. whereas the white man's awfully hairy - there was hair on every corner of his body, even his butt crack has golden hair - and he's big and muscular.

2F has more familiar things - the history and development of science and technology. inventions of machines and engines, experiment settings and the sort.

lastly, if you can tell from how things go by floors, the highest floor 3F is about the present ecosystem. the birds (also the dodo birds :D), the fish, the mammals, and even the exhibition of cacing pita in the intestines. the actual-sized intestine of a whale was gross.. but i guess it's similar for us human?

it was only then we realised we didn't have enough time to walk through the museum of Japan slowly. fortunately (?) things over there were about the same, except that there were interesting crystals and ores. but not long after, we gave up and went to the museum shop for souvenirs.

saw this when we got out of the museum haha..


that wasn't the end of our outing for the day. in the evening we walked to Patissier Inamura Shozo and had cakes and cream puffs on a bench, out in the cold. bought a strawberry roll and a rum puff. we finished our desserts while checking out the boy who's guarding the entrance of the shop, acting like tai-tais by guessing his age and gossiping. then we asked him for directions to the train station. he was so polite and formal but we couldn't stop wondering why it's bothering us.. "soko wo migi ni magatte massugu susunde itadakimasu to hashi ga arimasu... blablabla.. midori no kaidan wo o-ori ni natte susunde ikimasu to, eki ga miemasu.." maybe he looked too young for those words hahaha..

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

- the tai-tai, kiwi and anti-social: part 1 -

~ a wild satoshi chase ~

on 22~29 february, Ohno Satoshi, leader of famous Japanese boy band Arashi, held his first personal art exhibition "FREESTYLE" at Omotesando Hills. Susan and i were invited by tai-tai a.k.a Sakurai's wife a.k.a super Arashi fan a.k.a Siti, to engage in the fun-filled excursion. we guessed that the exhibition hall would be most crowded on the first and last day of exhibition, and after checking our schedules we decided to go on the second day.

so, on a sunny 23 february saw the three of us gathering at Omotesando station at noon in search of a place for lunch. we ate at Hawaiian burger chain Kua 'Aina - i had a normal burger set, Susan had Avocado Burger, and Siti, Teri Chicken sandwiches. we chatted for a bit before we got off our butts to B3 of Omotesando Hills where the exhibition hall Space-O was.

surprisingly we didn't see any crazy fan-girl beelines around the exhibition hall.. and then, we noticed that the entrance was closed. so we put on our "confused gaijin" faces and questioned one of the facilitators.

"oh, you have to obtain an entrance pass in order to get in. distribution of the passes starts at 8 in the morning," smiled the kind facilitator.

that was such a nice thing to hear. having paid a few hundred yen just to come to Omotesando and find that you're one step away from your goal but all your efforts (?) were in vain. so close, yet so far.. to summarize everything - the exhibition is held on 22-29 february, 11am-9pm everyday. entrance fee - free, but you have to queue for your own passes (no such thing as representative for multiple visitors). AND, we were told that the fan-girls started queuing at 7.30am on the first day, and the passes were all gone by 10am.

weeeee~ mission failed. *shocked*

instead of awing at Ohno's sculptures, we spent our time at Benetton, with Susan and Siti annoying the sales attendants by trying on jackets of different sizes and colors and hesitating on which one to buy. then we walked to Shibuya, on the way thinking of what to do there.

in the end we settled down for dinner at Saizeriya, which was below the TGI Friday's we've always been. glared at Ohno's art book which Siti bought for herself. talked about interesting things that we learnt in our majors. gossiped about people (one ojisan stared at us when i accidentally said "eww, stinks like shit.." too loudly when he passed by). discussed about our holiday plans. took lots of drinks from the drink bar...

finally we left for home. it wasn't a bad day after all, apart from the fact that we were dumb enough for not knowing that we had to queue for entrance passes even though the exhibition was free. should've thought more about how free exhibitions work.. anyhow it was a relatively productive day for me, had i not joined the outing i would've indulged in otaku-related activities a.k.a watching anime (or just RO).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

- Attendre et espérer! -

gosh, someone's stomping up the stairs at 2 in the morning...


summary of what i've watched/been watching.


- movies -

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
musical - a remake of an old story, about a barber who kills his clients with his razor (and turn them into meat pies) while improving his "shaving" skills for his revenge.

felt the pain of all the meat-pie wannabes when Depp sliced their throats swiftly, though i didn't turn away from any of the killing scenes.. >.> it's not entirely gross, there's some humour too. enjoyed Johnny Depp's voice. sometimes i still recall it as a funny sight with Jack Sparrow, Bellatrix Lestrange, Severus Snape, Peter Pettigrew and Borat a.k.a Ali G singing on screen.. maybe i'm just not used to actors/actresses doing musicals.. anyhow i'm hooked on the soundtrack - even my sister who didn't watch the movie knows what to say when i sing, "TO SHAVE-A DA FACE~"

Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)
true story of Elle's editor who suffered the locked-in syndrome and became paralyzed, all he could do to communicate was to blink with his left eye.

my first French movie (i think). was plagued by a headache for the first half of the movie because we saw the story from Bauby's (the paralyzed editor) point of view - it's blurry when he's without his glasses, could see nice balls when he was bathed in the hospital (also nice teats during *almost* sex scenes) but i guess that's what you call an "art movie", the screen gets blurry again when he cried, and the best of all, stubble and nostrils at their maximum. you know, when the doctors examined him, they kinda pushed their faces close to him.. and i felt the pain again, when the doctor sewed up his right eye, poking the needle through his eyelids as though they were linens.. never had any of my body parts sewn (ok i have, but i had anesthetic) but i guess it's really painful staring at what's happening to your own eye..

i have to admit he's been through a lot (not counting the part where he confessed to his lover and hurt his wife deeply), and i'm impressed of how a man's willpower is affected when he goes through hard times. ... ugh bad English. but yeah. an inspiring movie. although i can't say that by watching the movie i'm motivated in my studies, i was definitely inspired to finish watching Gankutsuou, hahaha.. because Bauby said he wanted to rewrite the Count of Monte Cristo..

other movies that i've watched recently - AvP (poor aliens, it's more like Alien versus Predator+Human), Memories of Matsuko 嫌われ松子の一生 (the heroine really had a colorful but sad life.. i don't wanna end up like her!!!!), Elizabeth (just to refresh my mind to prepare for the sequel), Vier Minuten (just thought i should watch another movie about pianists), Cat Woman (it was on TV... IN JAPANESE. lol at my dad: he first watched this movie because he wanted to see Sharon Stones), Bridge to Terabithia (a Disney movie with actually one of the kids dying)..


- anime -

Gankutsuou (巌窟王)
loosely based off Alexandre Dumas' the Count of Monte Cristo, the story of a self-acclaimed Count and his revenge on the Paris aristocrats, the Morcerf, Danglars and Villfort families.

every character has fancy collage for their hair and clothes - take Ayakashi or Mononoke, maybe? but they're not exactly the same either.. some people complain that this kind of technique is annoying, but i guess it's just another way of producing anime.. apparently the costumes for the last episode were designed by Anna Sui.

sad story, just like the original novel. but with a little bit of fantasy and mecha and BL-ish teasers. ooh and the scandals of the aristocrats, naughty married women tsk tsk tsk.. and the ending was so.. DRAMA. hahahahahahahaha.. i insist that it's a combination of the endings of Chrno Crusade (manga version) and Heroic Age. the wait-in-the-church-nostalgically-for-homecoming-of-her-loved-one scene, and the running-over-with-hope business when he/she senses the existence of his/her loved one.. couldn't think of a better example. anyway, i think it's the better ones of the Gonzo anime i've watched. nice and romantic songs, though a bit off-tune.

seiyuus to look out for - hmm. Fukuyama Jun? and.. Nakata Jouji (Hijikata in Peacemaker), Nakamura Chie (Sakura in Naruto), Nakahara Mai (Mai in Mai-Hime, Rena in Higurashi), Kosugi Juurouta (Kanou in Okane ga Nai, wkkk....), Seki Tomokazu (need i specify this? lol), Yajima Ayako (Diva in BLOOD+, Shin-chan in Crayon Shin-chan omfg..), Tobita Nobuo (Someya in Okane ga Nai, wkkkk........) ....... ok it's an all-star anime. and French in this anime is real. spoken by a Japanese, though.

Heroic Age
mecha. what more can i say? ok ok.. fine. it's a mecha anime which is loosely based off stories from the Greek mythology. just wikipedia it and you'll find out about the summary, if you bother to. =p

once again, DRAMA. maybe it's a typical mecha anime, i don't know, i haven't watched that many of this genre yet.. maybe i like cheesy anime with a lot of dramas, hah. it's good when you're bored, or when you need motivation to finish up the last bits of your assignments. i guess it's the same theory as reading trashy novels.

Shinreigari (神霊狩) - Ghost Hound -
NOT Ghost Hunt (=.=) .... yes it's another ghost anime, but NOT horror. and it's more on out-of-body experiences. actually the art reminds me of Jigoku Shoujo.

interesting Hakata dialect, some of which i couldn't comprehend without referring to the subtitles. it's obvious that the voice actors are having a hard time speaking in that dialect, though sometimes their conversations sound totally like standard Japanese. the series hasn't ended yet, and i'm trying to catch up through the Korean websites because they are faster in subtitling..

seiyuus to look out for - Hoshi Souichirou (yes Hosshii~), Fukuyama Jun (again), Yajima Ayako (again), Saiga Mitsuki (Makubex in GetBackers, Souji in Peacemaker, Yoite in Nabari no Ou!!!!!! *kyaaaaaaa* *ahem* wait.. i've always imagined him to have a guy's voice.. >.>) p/s: Komori Kenshou, he dubs the Japanese Harry Potter, hmm..


waaaiiit a second. Nabari no Ou's anime will be out in April?! man, it's gonna be a short series again.. i hope they don't ruin it like how they did to D.Gray-man.. foolish hope?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

- party time: part 3 -

16 february - class party @ izakaya Sou-Ya, near the university. unfortunately no pictures for this, otherwise i would've looked like a total idiot taking pictures of food with my mobile in front of 24 classmates - 20 Japanese, 2 foreigners, a PR and a Japanese-Korean half. i thought the party would be mainly a drinking and bonding session, so i half-filled my stomach with some tofu and meat before leaving for Oookayama.

but it turned out to be another 5-course (or was it 7?) meal party.


we toasted with beers and cocktails. the opening speech was given by a guy who claimed that he will remain as an ichinensei (first-year) next term. maybe he doesn't have enough credits to go to 2nd year, or maybe he's just dissatisfied with his current results (like another classmate of mine, who gave up promotion to year-2 because he thinks that he'll "only" get a 85% average for his overall results). anyhow, everyone laughed at him when he gave his speech, apart from a few who weren't that enthusiastic at that time, me being one of them since i'm not entirely sure if i can move on to the 2nd year. it all depends on the science subjects, yep.

the first plate was filled with sashimi - RAW. yeah baby, i love raw fish (and raw eggs).. correction: FRESH raw fish and eggs. although, i could only recognize sake (salmon), maguro (tuna), tako (octopus) and ebi (shrimp).. the raw smell of fish was properly removed, and they weren't that hard to chew. maybe i'm used to sashimi, i don't know.

next, fried stuff - crispy french fries, deep-fried oysters, and deep-fried minced pork. we were quietly eating when the other table (we were separated into 2 long-tables in a special room because there were too many of us) suddenly started the jikoshoukai game. it sounds kinda dumb to introduce yourself a year after studying in the same class, but the main purpose of the game was to make everyone (at their table) drink after the self-introduction. beer, of course.

"i want to major in the civil engineering department! this is the proof!" and he'd drink an entire glass of beer without stopping halfway. bfft.. well this is Japanese culture, some alcohol amateurs die of this, but they still do the ikkinomi thing. then it escalated from a glass to 2 glasses, and finally when it came to our PR classmate, he chugged an entire bottle of beer in one go. way to go, northeastern Chinese (he's from Beijing), they can drink a lot. in fact, he had more bottles but didn't get drunk at all. but girls were strong too - one of the nomikai-pro girls drank straight from a bottle as well, towards the end of the party.

later, we had kimchi nabe and porridge - pork, tofu and vegetables in boiling kimchi soup, and when it's almost finished, the waiter poured rice and beat eggs into the pot. we struggled to make space in our tummies for the porridge, while the other table just made a lot of noise.. usually it's fine to be boisterous in an izakaya especially if it's a party, but we were warned by the waiters because we exceeded the noise limit (quote a friend who's working as a waiter there, "chotto, urusaikedo..") - come to think of it, the neighbouring room was much quieter than ours, even though there were chatters and laughs.

that was awkwardly strange. would've pulled a "huh?" face at the waiters if we were all gaijins. i know we gaijins are equally loud even when we're not having parties. =p

2 hours passed very quickly. our class representative came 3 minutes before the party ended and he could only drink 2 bottles of beer. but he had to pay the full-course 3,260 yen too. poor thing.. and then, most of them made their way to another round of nomikai, but 5 of us retired. i claimed that i had to make it back for my curfew, but in my heart i didn't care about that actually - i just didn't want to have anymore beer. it suffocates me..

Saturday, February 16, 2008

- party time: part 2 -

15 february - strawberry buffet at Shinjuku Hilton Hotel. costs arouns 3,500 yen per person but it's a 2.30-6.00 pm buffet. those who went - me, susan, louise and siti. we didn't book in advance, but the wait wasn't that long after all. we were given a 6-person table - comfy sofa and leather chairs with pillows! if only the ceiling and the toilets looked (and smelled) more glamourous...

and the sweets hunt began!

we started off with the strawberry section - a variety of desserts with strawberries in them - strawberry jelly, strawberry yogurt pannacotta, strawberry tart, strawberry brule, strawberry shortcake, strawberry cheesecake, strawberry mousse, strawberry bavarois... most of them came in cute cubic containers (porcelain or glass).

then the chocolate section - 3 lovely chocolate fountains - milk, white and bitter chocolates. we made chocolate fondue with marshmallows, strawberries, melons and pineapples (i think, not sure for the last one). other than the fountains there were chocolate mousse and normal chocolate cakes, and many other kinds of cakes and sandwiches, and waffles and crepes - not only were there sweet stuff, there were chicken & onion sandwiches too. apart from the strawberry kueh with green things on top (it tasted weird) everything else was nice. especially the camembert cheese cake.

the drinks - apart from the tea and oolong-cha - they came in small shot-glasses. the chocolate drink was good - it's like concentrated cocoa, ohohoho.. sorry it's my first time drinking liquid chocolate, very ulu yes. the strawberry + carrot drink and mango + pineapple drink were nice too, but the kiwi + grape juice drink was too sour for sweets buffet. the soymilk with pistachio drink was not so nice, probably because it tasted like chinese bubble tea..

unlike SweePara, there weren't rice and pasta, but instead, lots of dumplings and bao. i know there's this big fuss going on about chinese gyoza, but i'm sure (i hope) those gyoza and siumai were made in Japan. everyone must have loved the siumai, because the whole tub was gone just a while after it's served. and it seemed that the steamed pork bao and peach-shaped bean bao were less popular.

lastly the ice-cream - 1 of 8 flavours, and our own choices of toppings. i got vanilla with chocolate chips and almonds, but i was too full to enjoy the ice-cream..

after the buffet, louise left for Harajuku, and the 3 of us remained in Shinjuku for a movie. we watched Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). an award winning french movie - you should've seen the movie's opening, it was like.. "nominated for this" "nominated for that", and next it says it won 38 awards and you'd see the list of 38 awards filling the cinema screen all at the same time.

it's a true story about Elle's editor, Bauby-Do, who suffered the Locked Syndrome and became paralyzed. he could only use his left eye freely, so the doctors let him communicate by blinking - 1 blink for "yes" and 2 for "no". that was how he managed to "write" a book about himself, through an assistant sitting next to him everyday, reading out alphabets and guessing what he wanted to say with him blinking. but he was an unfaithful husband - he loved his kids, but he had no feelings towards his wife anymore - he had a lover, who did not have the courage to see him after he became an almost-vegetable. but when she called him and told him how she loved him, he told her, with his own wife as the eye-movement translator, "i will wait for you, everyday".

man.. poor wife..

in the end he passed away, 10 days after his book was published. it's a sad movie. sad, french, art movie - with occasional flickers of teats and balls.

by the time it ended, it was 9 pm. and we actually had the appetite to have a late dinner... and not tiny take-away meals, it's curry. omelet curry and curry gratin. i think i gained a few more pounds because of these parties.. and probably gaining more for the coming class party. yep.

but for now, no more sweets please.

Friday, February 15, 2008

- party time: part 1 -

13 february - farewell party for a lady who works in the international student hub. she's retiring (or taking temporary leave?) in march, and we foreign students (10 of us: me, pea, koi, rushanti, yeo, jack, noppy, asri, angga, anish) who have been quite close to her, decided to hold a party at Jiyuugaoka.

firstly we went to an italian restaurant La Pausa for its 2-hour tabehoudai (or more like, a cheap full-course meal - it's 1,500 yen). the course consists of caesar salad, carpaccio, french fries, pasta, pizza, and lastly dessert-of-the-day.

the salad - fresh green romaine lettuces and red radicchio topped with croutons and mayonnaise -, and french fries - simply hot and appropriately salty - came in 2 huge plates. on the other hand, the carpaccio was not the usual beef or tuna, but thinly sliced octopus - raw, obviously, and slightly sour because of the olive oil + lemon juice dressing.

caesar salad leftover - not inviting anymore.

the amount of french fries (with asri right in front of it) - when half-eaten.

as for pasta and pizza, they were okawari-jiyuu - i.e. as long as we finish the plate, we could ask for a refill of any pasta/pizza of our choice until time-up. although spaghetti alla pescatora was the most popular pasta among us, i chose to stay with my all-time favourite carbonara. with a half-boiled egg, yummy... the lady from the hub ordered a plate of squid ink spaghetti, and she had black teeth...... for pizza we had lots and lots of them - margherita, italian salami, genovese, quadruple cheese, anchovy & garlic....

finally, dessert of the day - much to my disappointment because it was no ice-cream or cake - yukimi daifuku with strawberry topping. nevertheless it was good.

and then we headed for karaoke at the nearby Karaoke no Tetsujin. i remember going to this place last year during my class party and we gave up because it was too freaking expensive. yes, it still is. 1,000 yen for an hour and a half. but of course, with free flow of drinks.

the karaoke session turned out to be a sing-along session - for almost every song we sang (or shouted) altogether. for as far as i can remember we did Natsumatsuri (Whiteberry), Hitomi wo Tojite (Hirai Ken), Konayuki (Remioromen), Taiyou no Shita de (Remioromen), Sakuranbo (Otsuka Ai), Age Age Every Knight (DJ OZMA), Taiyou no Uta (Kaoru Amane), Soba ni Iru yo (Aoyama Thelma feat. SoulJa), First Love (Utada Hikaru), Flavor of Life (Utada Hikaru), Sorahune (TOKIO), Koko ni Shika Sakanai Hana (Kobukuro), Sakura (Kobukuro)......... and as a dedication to the hub lady we sang Nagoriyuki (Iruka) and Romantic ga Tomaranai (C-C-B). for solo sessions, jack did Sen no Kaze ni Natte (Akikawa Masafumi) whereas pea did Happiness (Arashi, of course).

i wish i knew how to upload and blog amr files because i recorded some of the songs we sang (some were hilarious), but currently i haven't figured out the best method.. tried youtube and photobucket but they couldn't recognize the format, and imeem is too public for these personal things. any ideas?

before we bid our last farewell, each of us received an A4-A3 compatible folder set from the hub lady. quote her: the presents either meant, "you have done a good job in your studies", or, "please work harder next time". LOL. i'm probably the latter, but she said it was up to our judgments. and then, we also received valentine chocolates and a mobile strap. i got a purple cat/rabbit-like figurine with the words 妄想族 (which means "delusion tribe" literally) written on it's tummy. hmmm...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

- winter not-so-wonderland -

since i no longer own a personal digicam, i've learnt to abuse the camera on my mobile ;)

i look out from the window, only to find everything in white! :o yep, it's winter. tokyo version.
aah.. the unwanted bicycles have little white hats.. winter, from my mom's living room. from the parking lot under my mom's room.
a little girl is playing all by herself, aww..
weee.. to Mt. Fuji! more Mt. Fuji, from the assistant seat.. hmm? what's that?? it's Fujikyuu!!! no obviously we didn't go to Fujikyuu.
got off along the freeway near Kawaguchi-ko to take photos of Mt. Fuji...
but it's blocked! dammit..
instead we found these.. ice hut! man-made ice garden.
i wonder what are these people trying to make..

expansion bridge, i see. would definitely look nicer during illumination at night.
but we couldn't stay there for long..
got on the car again.
one last snapshot of Mt. Fuji.
by the way, this is how Mt. Fuji look like from my university.
check out the tiny white triangle in the middle.

just so you know, we didn't go to Mt. Fuji either. we (as in, my family) went shopping at the Gotemba Premium Outlets. there was a big sale going on. Michel Klein, Elle, Vivienne Westwood, Gucci, Body Shop, Jimmy Choo, Skechers, Triumph (yeah and Wacoal too), Dolce & Gabbana, Hush Puppies, FCUK, 無印良品, Lego.... you name it. my sister got 2 pairs of shoes at Nike for her birthday (yep it was her b'day). and i got a jeans skirt for 1,900 (original price... i don't know) and a jacket for 1,000 (original price 13,000) at my favourite Gap and Benetton outlets (no not Gucci i can't afford that). my mom got herself 3 bags.. and my dad got himself into paying for the goods. LOL. well, indirectly. he gave us cash as birthday presents (dad you're the best), so indirectly he was paying for us, innit?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

- tests and reports -

lol inspired by najee.


i'm an engineering student. i proudly present my class timetable. notice how non-engineering my subjects are..

second semester of year 1 (oct 2007 ~ feb 2008):
creative writing, psychology, drawing of descriptive geometry.
physics B (electromagnetism), environment and risk management, theory of art language.
chinese language.
english (speaking and listening), health science, physics practice.
descriptive geometry and geometric design, introduction to world literature, 6-rui freshman seminar, sports (soft tennis).
drama workshop.

subjects with final exams (4):
physics B, environment and risk management, chinese, descriptive geometry and geometric design.

subjects with presentations (3):
english, 6-rui freshman seminar, drama workshop.

subjects with year-end reports (6):
creative writing, psychology, theory of art language, health science, introduction to world literature, ... sports.

subjects which are graded with assignments every lesson (5):
creative writing, drawing of descriptive geometry, health science, physics practice, descriptive geometry and geometric design, ...... sports.

subjects which attendance is NOT needed (1):


tests.. half-way through.

i've sat for environment and risk management, and chinese. physics B is a biatch cuz i was absent for the first small test and got only 10/100 for mid-term, EVEN THOUGH it's an open-book test. the final one is gonna be an open-book test too, and i see an apocalyptic future dawning upon me. as for descriptive geometry and geometric design, well.. if i don't score over 60 i'm doomed. it's a compulsory must-take must-pass subject required for students applying for the architecture department.


reports. 4 down, 2 to go.

creative writing - wrote a short story about a foreign student and his life in a gaidai before entering a university in japan. comments received: "this can't be real. i doubt that it happens in real life." (hmm, actually i think so too..) "it's too mystery-fiction.. i don't like plots to be revealed only at the end.." (i'm sorry i might've been influenced by my mystery-fiction translator mom..) all in all my story was evaluated "good", so i have nothing more to say about it.

health science - "by using the keywords 個人 (personal), 国家 (country), 健康 (health) and 運動 (exercise), write a report about how are you going to make your lifestyle a healthier one, by referring to notes that you have taken during the lessons".... mind you, there were no printouts given. and we had to jot down almost every single slide from the teacher's power point presentation. each week. at the end of every lesson we had to answer 2 questions regarding the things he thought on that day, which could be anything from any slide.. i think i was most attentive in this class, among all the subjects which i was taking. as for the report, i believe 80% of my "proposal" was hypocrisy, 15% lies, and only the remaining 5%, truths.

introduction to world literature - one-page book report. cannot make it anymore obvious. i wrote about Lolita by Nabokov the last semester and got only 80 (this lecturer gave up to 120 marks in the past, because it exceeded the 100-mark limit, 20 marks were brought forward to the next term... *WHAT*). this time i wrote about The Metamorphosis by Kafka, wonder how will the result be.

sports - yes. we had to write a report about soft tennis. not just any reflection essay. "please evaluate your sports lessons based on the NINE questions below.." and there were things like, how did you find your progress, how did your team plan on training and how did it go, what was your goal and did you achieve it, how did you contribute to the team, what were the keywords of your team and did you put them to practice, how did your team-mates aid you in the matches, what you should and shouldn't have done during the lessons, how would you rate yourself, suggestions to make soft-tennis a more interesting class... in the end it was more than just 9 points to write about. that was the first sports class ever which required good command of writing in my life.

now the problem is, how to complete my psychology and theory of art language reports..

psychology, as i've mentioned before.. 2 reports and 1 assignment-paper. i've only chosen one topic for the reports, "analyze your autobiographical memory", and i don't know which one to write about for the second one. there're topics like phantom flashbulb memory, effects of EQ, analyzing emotions and expressions, psychological effects of literary expressions, competitiveness and cooperativeness of japanese, 2-person non-zero sum games, relationship between economics and psychology, analyzing the infectious disease issue, analyzing representative heuristics... some of them which i don't even know what are they, or how are they related to psychology.

then the assignment-paper - defining terms. sounds simple, but it actually takes a long time. the requirement/condition is to refer all the terms to examples brought up during the lessons. and most of the time in class, i hear no psychology and see no psychology - i've always been doing descriptive geometry.

theory of art language. umm... it's something to do with japanese poems. (what?)

"write a 3000~4000-word report about japanese modern poetry by 20~30 year-old poets, which are commented by Yoshimoto Takaaki as "nothingness" "lack of myths and natures". use one of the poems discussed during class as an example in your report."

why do i always torture myself by taking subjects like this when i know that i know nuts about modern poetry... ドM?


long post again.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

- this is how they should've sounded like -

.. judging by the movements of their lips.
gotta turn up the volume for a bit for clearer sound.

poor frodo he's moaning...... what're they trying to do to him?
lol they either turned retarded or emo.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

- pikachu, i choose you!! -

Friday, February 01, 2008

- it never rains but pours -

Quote Nanyang Online:
双层巴士翻覆2死41伤 休闲车再撞击2尸首几断成两截
丙名1男1女的死者都是巴士乘客,当时他们是坐在巴士上层,巴士翻覆后,尾部被一辆本田休闲车撞及,导致 他们惨死当场,尸首几乎断成两截。死者是20岁的李念宁(20岁)(译音)和22岁的莫哈末再纳尼,两人皆来自槟城... (26 Jan 2008) [
read more]

Quote The Star Online:
Family mourns loss of beautiful, intelligent go-getter
Nian Ning, 21, a Public Service Department (PSD) scholar at the University of New South Wales in Australia who was on her way to visit friends in Kuala Lumpur, was among three passengers who perished when the driver lost control of the bus and slammed into a divider.
"We learnt that the driver had 13 summonses against him. Why had the company not screened him and realized that he was not competent to drive that bus?"
"I wonder why the authorities still allowed such a monster to roam our streets?" asked Nian Ning's distraught father Lee Hock Chuan, 50, a company human resources director.
He also expressed disappointment over the bus company's reaction to the tragedy.
"They know who the victims are and yet, I have yet to receive a single call from them. There is not a single representative from the company here today to pay respects to my eldest daughter," he said... (28 Jan 2008) [
read more]

Cops: No warrant of arrest for ‘fatal crash’ bus driver
The driver of the bus that was involved in a crash which killed three passengers, including medical scholar Lee Nian Ning, near Slim River on Friday was never issued with a warrant of arrest for 13 traffic offences....
... The driver Ruslim Isa, 43, is being warded at Teluk Intan Hospital for a broken right leg.... (29 Jan 2008) [
read more]

Quote Utusan Malaysia Online:
Penumpang nampak pemandu bas main SMS
Pemandu bas dua tingkat yang terbabas dan terbalik hingga tiga penumpangnya maut di Kilometer 384 Lebuh Raya Utara- Selatan dekat Behrang dikatakan bermain khidmat pesanan ringkas (SMS) ketika memandu.
Salah seorang mangsa yang ditemui di Hospital Slim River di sini memberitahu, mereka dapat melihat pemandu bas berkenaan asyik bermain SMS sedangkan pada masa itu bas dipandu laju ketika hujan lebat... (26 Jan 2008) [
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Quote Jolene, my former classmate, who wrote to the newspapers:
Simply afraid to take the bus
... Like Lee, I am 21 years old, and I too have the whole world in front of me. I take the bus to go home to visit my family and friends. This was exactly the reason Lee boarded the bus...
... In my two-and-a-half years of taking long distance buses, I have accepted that buses can break down, can be switched without warning, and even take nearly a day to reach its destination.
It’s not fair for us to constantly live in fear every time we get on a bus, not knowing if we’ll reach our destination alive...
... Because of this accident, my friends and I now have a phobia of taking the bus. I don’t want to live in fear. I have a future, too. (29 Jan 2008) [
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Quote Rachel, another person who wrote to the newspapers:
What happened to crackdown on buses?
... Indeed, you can say accidents happen, tragedy happens. But let's not just let it happen when it definitely could have been avoided. How could a bus driver with 13 summonses to his name still be allowed on the road?
What happened to the crackdown after all those people died in that other bus accident just last year?
Where’s the implementation of all those new policies and rules?
Am I supposed to say a prayer and hope for the best each time I board a bus? It is inevitable that I will make one of these Penang-KL trips again. I do not feel so safe now knowing that I may be putting my life in the hands of a bus driver with a string of offences... (31 Jan 2008) [
read more]


at first the news appeared on my fellow ASEAN friend's blog. a few days later, my bosom friend told me her friend's friend passed away in a bus accident. when i next logged into facebook, i was invited to join the "In Loving Memory of Lee Nian Ning: 1987 - 2008" group.

then i found out. she used to live in the same dormitory as siti and i. and she's a friend and junior of many of my friends. and also, the girlfriend of my primary & secondary school friend. it's a small world after all, but i never had the chance to talk to her. ever.

i used to travel frequently by bus between Bukit Timah <-> KL when i was in Singapore. like, 3~4 times a year. never tried Konsortium, though. one thing's for sure - i never liked long-distance travels. be it by car, bus or airplane. too much have i heard about friends and relatives encountering accidents.

my primary school junior, lost his limbs because of a car crash. rumors say his father left the family, and the mother tried to bring him back by visiting a voodoo witch. and it happened, on the North-South Highway. he could never walk or play freely again, so were his sisters who were injured badly, although they were not robbed of their lives. i don't know him in person, but it was a big topic to be talked about in school at that time.

too many bad memories back in Malaysia. will i ever return to serve my country? well, not in the near future, if things remain the way they are. yes i do realize i am a citizen of Malaysia, and i do not deny the fact that i still love my country. but so long as i fear it's safety, i will not stay there for long. my worries as of now - my sister and father, who live so far away. robbery, theft, kidnapping, rape.... i'm not saying that they don't happen in Japan (in fact they're everywhere), but with no financial ability and support of other family members, how can an aging parent take care of a teenager by himself?

change of topic. well not really.... yesterday, i received an e-mail from my choir senior: our choir conductor Mr. Ootani Kenji, was hit by a car.
31日午前8時ごろ、埼玉県富士見市水谷東の市道交差点で、同県志木市上宗岡、音楽家、大谷研二さん(51)の原付きバイクと軽乗用車が出合い頭に衝突。大谷さんが頭を強く打つ重傷を負った。東入間署は同日、自動車運転過失傷害の現行犯で、軽乗用車を運転していた同県越谷市七左町、会社員、古郡一幸容疑者(37)を逮捕した。同署によると、現場は信号機や標識のない交差点。同署が事故原因を調べている... (31 Jan 2008, Sankei Online) [
read more]

a really, really bad start for 2008.

despite that Chinese New Year is just around the corner.