宇宙よりも遠い場所 / A Place Further than the Universe

Since I have been extremely bored and free after quitting my job, I finally had time to start chasing some dramas and anime that I previously had not have the time to watch.

One of the anime that I totally couldn't stop watching and ended up watching till 3am in the morning was
宇宙よりも遠い場所 / A Place Further than the Universe!!

I had seen clips of the anime on FB previously commending on how good the art were. One of the episodes was about the main characters visiting Singapore and the art were just beautiful. But from the clips, I had no idea what the storyline was but was happy to see an anime that actually introduces Singapore!

Anyway, the story is about 4 high school girls and their long journey to visit the Antarctica. I was kind of worried that the anime would be those girly otome or even romance story since the main characters were all girls and high school students. I was soooo wrong. The anime is really more of those slice of life, motivation and friendship type of story. If the 4 characters were guys, I think the story would have been a Shonen JUMP manga/anime with their typical spirit of Friendship, Effort and Victory (友情、努力、勝利!).

All 4 characters have their own stories and reason to want to visit the Antarctica. They started out as strangers who happened to come together, bonded over their struggle to reach the Antarctica and had to make difficult decisions such as chasing their own dreams versus supporting their friends.

It even reminded me a little of the first time I visited Japan on the ATW program so many years back, where I saw a different side of the world, met people who were on the same program for different reasons, and experienced so many different things while also building friendships that would last till today. I think what makes 宇宙よりも遠い場所 so heartwarming and beautiful is that even though the destination is different, many of us has actually been through the same journey, to a place where we felt it was further than the universe and then experienced so many things that change us somewhat.

And that is probably why I love traveling, despite being scared and paranoid every time I travel alone or travel to new places. But I guess that is also precisely what makes it so exciting. Anyways, I have only another 4-5 prefectures to go to complete all 47 prefectures of Japan, and with that, visiting all parts of China and Korea is looking more and more attractive. Maybe I should make a trip to China soon XD.

それを知るためにも 足を動かそう
知らない景色が見えるまで 足を動かし続けよう

Towards a healthier lifestyle

The Motivating Factor
Since coming back from Greece, I have been working hard on losing weight and dieting. The aim was basically to lead a healthier lifestyle because I had put on a lot of weight ever since joining the previous company (from eating all the meat the company handled) and I hadn't really been exercising since I stopped Yoga about 2 years ago.

Another push factor was also the medical check up that I did at the end of May. As sort of a farewell gift (plus my GM wanted to go for it as well), my GM arranged for the both of us to go for a medical screening at Health Connexion Medical Clinic. She had been there once and had liked the environment very much.

I had not taken any medical screening for years... not since before entering university and before flying to Japan, and even then, the screenings were simple blood pressure checks and a chest x-ray at most. In a way, I was actually kind of afraid of health screenings because I didn't want to pay to find out if I was sick or not. But since this health screening was paid by the company, I decided to just go for it.

The Health Screening
My GM arranged for the HealthTrack Regular, which is the cheapest option at S$350. It included blood tests, urinal tests, EGH and Chest X-rays. She suggested I add on PAP Smear at my own cost but I didn't see the need so I skipped it.

My appointment was scheduled early in the morning. As per what my GM had mentioned, the clinic was beautiful, serene and comfortable. The staff were friendly and there weren't many people at the clinic. The seats were all couches and there was a pantry with many types of free drinks. As the clinic was located on the 16th floor (top floor), there was also a beautiful roof-top garden with a great view of the surroundings.

I was one of the first scheduled for the health screening so the checks were fast and the staff were all very friendly and refreshed. Because of the blood test, I had to fast for 10 hours before the test and was getting hungry by the time I finished the blood test, urinal test, ECG tests and pre-consultation. Luckily, the staff helpfully provided snacks after I finished most of the tests.

Snacks were salad with vinegar dressing, a small sandwich and tea.

Overall, it was a very nice experience and I think if I have to go for a full health screening again, I would definitely consider to go back to HealthConnexion again.

Anyway, the medical screening results were out after 2 weeks. Basically I was healthy in terms of cholestrol, blood pressure, blood sugar and my heart and lungs are working all fine. But I was strongly advised to eat less red meat, drink less alchohol and to exercise more to lose weight so as to avoid complications in future when I'm older. And yes, after years of avoiding the weighing scale, I finally found out that I was 75kg at the time of weighing in May... which was WAAAAYY more than I was supposed to be.

I was also advised to take a blood test and urinal test again in 1 month's time but I have been procrastinating that bit. A surprising part was that I was told that I did not seem to have any Hep A vaccines in my body, which was very strange because I am pretty sure I took it years ago back in school. After I told my mom about this Hep A thing, she told me that apparently most people on her side of the family has similar results. Afaid's opinion was that maybe our body wash out the vaccines much faster than other people, so in any case I should just take the Dr's advice and go for Hep A vaccination... which again is something I have been procrastinating as well. Oh wells.

Exercising More
Anyways, I decided to start exercising more. I had been taking walks and trying to hit 10,000 steps a day at least once a week for the past year. Sometimes I increased the frequency to 3 times a week. But obviously, just walking was not sufficient. So, I finally decided to start jogging despite the fact that I really hated jogging because of my knee and heel pain (again, wearing heels with a heavy weight being one of the causes.)

Today's route and pace which is now much faster than I used to do.

I started to try to jog around my walking route. My walking route was bascially this 4km+ ring road starting from our house, around the neighbourhood and back. When I was walking only, I generally took an hour to complete the entire walk because I would be catching pokemon or killing zombies.

I started jogging and walking. For the first few weeks, I was walking much more than jogging, and my jogging speed was so slow someone brisk walking could easily overtake me. Then surprisingly, I found that I could jog a little more every timen and a little faster. I still can't jog the entire route and have to stop and walk in between several times, but at least I am getting better and shortening the time I take to complete the route. Still, on some days, I'm just not up to jogging so I just stick to walking the entire route.

Controling Diet
At the same time, I started to control my diet and to always choose fish and chicken over beef and pork. For dinner I started skipping rice completely... which is extremely difficult for me since I LOVE rice and carbohydrates (饭桶一枚). But after about 2 to 3 weeks, the craving went away and things got easier. I still spoil myself eating potato chips, but limit myself to once a week for now.

And well... after 2 months, glad to say I lose almost 2kg and am at 73kg now. It's not much, but it is something. Hopefully I would be able to continue losing more weight and hit a healthier range soon.


Welcoming Akatsuki!!
My pretty girl.

Name: Akatsuki
DOB: 16th September
Model: Standard Super Dollfie Saki

[Photos heavy (you have been warned)]
One wish on my bucket list has always been to own a BJD (ball-joint doll), but these dolls cost a bomb and are not easy to maintain. So I kept holding it off until 2 months ago. I was probably chatting with Sonia online then and I started thinking about how she has been doing BJD face-ups for so many years and making it a pretty decent hobby and job... so I wondered why couldn't I try taking care of a BJD as well with Sonia's advice?

During the trip to Japan for Fumie's wedding, I managed to visit Volks Store at Vivre Yokohama. Though I had see BJD before at past year AFA and STGCC events, it was my first time visiting a Volks Store and I was amazed by all the beautiful dolls. The shop staff was a friendly lady who quickly introduced us to their Volks Dolls. Upon hearing that I had never actually touched or gotten near a ball joint doll before, she carried one over and let miya and me touch and feel her. It was a wonderful experience. And then, the lady introduced us to Coco, Chiyo, & Saki, a set of Standard Super Dollfie models that were introduced in 2014.

I hadn't really taken notice of them until the lady had pointed them out to me. But once I had my eyes on Saki, I found her so pretty and adorable. She was just prettier than any other dolls that I saw. And even now, I still think she is prettier than any other dolls I've seen. XD

I didn't make the purchase on the spot as the doll was a freaking 60,000yen. But I kept thinking about Saki. A few days later, I visited the Volks Store at Akihabara and also visited Mandarake at Akihabara to look at second-hand BJDs. But still, Saki was on my mind. I left Japan and flew to HK to meet Sonia, and we talked about BJD and she encouraged me to try out the hobby.

And so it was on 16th September, that miyabi_kkg helped me to bring Saki back from the Volks Store at Vivre Yokohama. And on the 10th October, she helped me to bring Saki back home  from Japan to Singapore.

She came in a box nicely wrapped up in soft pillows to prevent any bumps or scratches on her.

I had to give her a name, upon miya's suggestion, we named her Akatsuki (暁 / あかつき).
Akatsuki means Dawn/Daybreak/Twilight in Japanese.

Before she arrived, I had already ordered a set of Japanese Kimono for her from taobao. Looking beautiful in the pink sakura kimono.

I also got her a dress from taobao so she had something more comfortable to wear.

Spending some time with Bobby, the older brother she had never met, at his little shrine.

Of course, I still miss Bobby so much...

A few days later, my PC refused to boot. Brought the CPU to the shop thanks to miya and her bf's help, and it was diagnosed with a dead harddisk. Fortunately, my PC had 2 harddisks, and the one with my files were not affected. Spent over S$200 to fix and buy a new harddisk and here is Akatsuki enjoying a ride on the repaired CPU before I moved it back to under my desk to connect the cables.

Being the pampering doll-mom, I ended up ordering shoes and accessories for Akatsuki from taobao. Here are her boots, slippers and shoes.

And then it was time to learn how to use the sewing machine from mom to make clothes for Akatsuki.

I had not touched a sewing machine since more than 15 years ago when I learnt it in school. It was a fun experience playing with the sewing machine and trying to figure out how to sew beautiful lines.

Surprisingly, my mom ended up being the one who was really excited to make clothes for Akatsuki. Here is Akatsuki wearing a dress that my mom hand-made for her. It's Akatsuki's first handmade dress!

Akatsuki is the second hand-made dress that mom made for her.

On Sunday, my mom took out her books of Sewing Patterns that she had kept from more than 40 years ago. My mom used to work as a seamstress and I was amazed by how much work it actually took to make a dress with beautiful cutting, seams and needlework. I would definitely still need a lot of time to practice before I can design and make a dress myself for Akatsuki, but am so glad to have my mom to teach me.

Sometimes, when I look at my mom working on clothes for Akatsuki late into night and early in the mornings, I think that my mom really does miss making clothes for Bobby. He was a really wonderful companion to my parents and provided so much love and entertainment. Akatsuki isn't much. No matter how pretty she is, she is still just a doll, but I hope she makes up even just a little bit for that loss we all feel with Bobby no longer around...

Chilling over the weekend


Had meant to chill at Lepark with Han and Angie yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, it was closed for an event when we went so we had to go to somewhere else.

Still, the location and design of Lepark was really interesting and I coulnd't help but take photos of it. Located at People Park Comples at Chinatown, Le Park is this Bar & Restaurant cum music/art 'alternative social space', whatever that means.

I had never been to Lepark, and had no idea what it was about. I was honestly surprised when Angie led me to the 5th floor of China town's People Park Complex to see a Chinese produce supermarket, before we climbed a dodgy looking stairs to reach a huge rooftop hangout were Lepark is located.

Entrance to Lepark.

The CBD area just across People Park Complex.

The amazing roof top of People Park Complex.

I would love to actually try Lepark, unfortunately it was closing at the end of the month, So that's it about going  there.

Since Lepark was closed, we ended up walking over to PUNCH at Clarke Quay.

We tried their Poached Eggs with Mushroom and Avocado. The mushrooms tasted really good and the poached eggs were perfect. The Earl grey pancakes also had a really strong earl grey taste that Han really enjoyed since she's a fan of Earl Grey. We tried their famous Banana Porridge as well, which was really caramelized bananas with oat in milk. It was interesting but probably not something I would eat regularly as it's a little too healthy.

Their latte wasn't really my cup of latte. But overall, Punch was a really good place to just chill and chat. We spent almost 4 hours just sitting there and catching up on each others' lives.

Hime introduced this Chinese game 叫我官老爷 during the Do as Infinity Concert and I ended up getting quite addicted to it.

Players start the game as a 九品芝麻官 and slowly climb their way up, while expanding their army, family (红颜后宫) and 门客. I've played it for 2 days and it has been pretty entertaining though I'm still not sure of some things. I might end up restarting the game to make the stats better in a few days... We'll see. XD

Olivia Lufkin - Winter Sleep

While watching Do as Infinity's concert, I was reminded of Nana.I wish there's a happy ending and closure to it. But I guess what makes Nana so beautiful is precisely that imperfectness of each character and the never-ending possibilities.

Do as Infinity ~兩千年之戀

I haven't been updating and checkng LJ as I was overseas in Japan and Hong Kong. It was a really great trip meeting my old friends and school mates.

Immediately after returning from my trip, I ended up working day and night, averaging 15 hours a day for our company's PJFM Project. Gratefully, the project's result finally launched off yesterday (with many hiccups but everything is still somewhat working out), and I gave myself a free weekend to recuperate and enjoy some much needed entertainment.

And finally, it's 'Do As Infinity' first live in Singapore today!!

For their 17th anniversary, the duo pop and rock band came to Singapore for their first time!!

Their concert was held at Capitol Theatre, one of the newest Theatres in Singapore. I had never been inside it but the exterior of the theatre itself was already very grand and classy. I was actually quite surprised as to why Do As Infinity chose this location as their concert hall as it's definitely not a cheap place. And most band concerts are held at other places as the image of pop and rock bands do not really match the red carpet Capitol Theatre. But I have to admit, Capitol Theatre has a really good sound system.

The concert started at 7pm but the door were opened at 6pm. According to Keynes, there was already a short queue at 4pm as the hall was free standing. Nevertheless, Hime and I breezed in at 6pm and although we were more in the middle, we still somewhat had a decent view. (Except for the fact that I'm just too short to see over some people's heads!!)

This was my first time seeing Do as Infinity live and I was really amazed by how pretty the vocalist Tomiko is. She looks nowhere in her late 30s, but what was amazing was her voice. She sang almost non stop for over an hour and still, every key was on point and her voice was strong and beautiful.

Check out her beautiful strong voice in the below short video that I took during the concert.
I was really happy and excited when she sung 深い森 and 真実の詩 from Inuyasha, but what really made me tear up was when she sung Yesterday & Today.

Yesterday & Today was released in 2000, which is 17 years ago. Looking back now at when I was 15, I think I had never been able to imagine today. That 17 years later, I would have gone to Japan to study and back, to have traveled to so many places, met so many people, and am working in a some what wonderful Japanese company (which for all that I hate, is still a great job).

In a way, everything seems to go back how I just fell in love with all things Japan back then. I've been reading manga and reading anime since I was 12 (Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball), but I think it was when I was 15, in year 2000, that I was really drawn into the Jpop and Jrock world. It is amazing that 17 years later, there I was looking at Do as Infinity sing Yesterday & Today right before me.

I guess I will forever be that Japanese fangirl who loves Japan and its pop culture.


YAYOI KUSAMA: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow

I never really knew who Yayoi Kusama is until miyabi_kkg strongly recommended her art on one of her LJ entries. That was when I realised that the National Gallery is actually holding a Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow art exhibition for the month of August until today.

In fact, the exhibition was so popular the entry were timed and the slots were separated into 2-hourly slots starting from 10am to late night. I had wanted to get the slots for last Sunday morning but they were fully booked by the time I tried to book on Saturday night. So I ended up opting for yesterday's 10am slot to get into the exhibiton earlier.

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Lastly, check out this short video of YAYOI KUSAMA: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow at the National Gallery Singapore. It's a really short yet good summary of the entire exhibition.

Cat Cafe & Monjayaki & Wagyu Cube Steaks

Seiwaa Okonomiyaki

On Friday evening, I ended up meeting Nafaid for Okonomiya at Seiwaa Okonomiya.
It was both of our first time there and I was surprised by this little hidden gem that was located in the midst of cafes. backpacker hostel and boutique hotels.

Entrance of Seiwaa Okonomiya, where they actually offer free E-ma and crab shells for writing well-wishes.

Tonpeiyaki (とん平焼き), an egg omelette with sliced cabbage and pork wrapped within the omelette. It was my first time eating Tonpeiyaki and I was surprised by how good it is while wondering why I had never seen it before. It's more of an appetiser but can be considered a main dish as well.

Of course, we had to try their Monjayaki (もんじゃ焼き) as well as it's really rare to find Monja in Singapore. Some people can't stand eating  Monja because it sort of looks a little like puke, but it's really very good, especially when the bottom of the monja becomes sort of crispy and slightly burnt. Seiwaa's monjya was ok, I still prefer Nanjya Monjya's. But  for the price, Seiwaa offers a pretty good menu.

The Cat Cafe @ Bugis
We didn't have any plans after dinner and ended up walking to the nearby Cat Cafe.

It was my second time to a Cafe Cafe and probably because of the timing, the cats were much more active and fun to watch.

What's great about Cat Cafe is that, with a charge of $15 per person, you get a free soft drink and also unlimited time in the cafe. Most pet cafes charge by the hour, which makes it a rather rushed experience. With this unlimited time, I felt I could have sat there all the way till the cafe closed just to look at the cats.

When we entered, the cats were all having their dinners. Most of them went for short naps after dinner but woke up again after about 30 minutes or so.

I loved Missy, the half faced Siamese Crossed especially. She was probably feeling really sleepy that evening and kept hiding under our table to sleep.

Ginny, the orange Singapura cat was friendly and seemed to enjoy taking photos while other cats generally turned their heads away from our phones.

In all, really loved all the cats. Some times I wish I could open a cat cafe too and just laze with the cats everyday. (And also another dog cafe just beside)

Wagyu Cube Steak X Gyu-Don

Today's lunch where I finally cooked the Japanese Wagyu trimmings that I had brought from my office earlier last month. Managed to sort the beef in to Cube Steaks and trimmings and prepare them in 2 different ways. It's surprisingly how I used to hate cooking so much but am now enjoying it more...

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Climbing Bukit Timah & 4 types of Cheesecakes

Bukit Timah Walk

It's Hari Raya Haji today and thus a public holiday. I would have loved to sleep in late, but ended up waking at 5.30 am to climb Bukit Timah with mom and her friends.

It has been probably around 8 years since I last climbed Bukit Timah. It's the one and only mountain hill in Singapore.

Back when when I was still in school, I used to think that Bukit Timah was really tall and difficult to climb, and thus I hated it and avoided visiting the place as much as I could. But today, I realised that it was actually really short at only 164m tall. I guess after climbing to the Hallasan's Witse Oreum Shelter (1700m) in Jeju earlier this year, Bukit Timah is considered a simple walk compared to my breathtaking climb at Hallasan. (So 'breath-taking' I was panting and cursing three-quarters way up and down)

I never knew that Bukit Timah had so many different trails and routes to choose from. I had only travelled the Easiest Route 1 in my past. For today, we went for the Moderate Route 2 with a detour to the destination of Route 3 on the way back. I also discovered that there are longer routes and also more difficult and rocky trials that I might consider trying out in future. (If I were to train for Mount Fuji)

We started the climb at around 7.15am and was nearing the summit by 8am.

Summit of Bukit Timah. Sadly, there isn't really a view from the top of Bukit Timah as the trees surrounding are blocking the view. The summit consists of a small field of grass, a hut for resting and a telecommunication tower.

On the way back, we detoured to the other telecommunication tower and from there, we could catch a really pretty view of
Hindhede Quarry. I would love to explore the surrounding of the Quarry the next time I visit.

We finished the hike before 9am easily. I couldn't help thinking back to Hallasan and the Igidae Coastal Walks, which were both really difficult hikes in Korea for me. But as much as I struggled to hike through those 2 journeys, they were very memorable because of the challenge. Maybe I should seriously start considering re-challenging Hallasan to its peak and also Mount Fuji.

Homecooked Laksa

For today's lunch, dad cooked Singapore style laksa! (Though I found the gravy a little thick).

Dad has been recovering pretty well and ended his final session of physiotherapy yesterday. It would of course, still be maybe years before he actually regain a regular person's walking/running abilities, but he has progressed so much since the days of sitting in a wheelchair, such that sometimes he walks faster than me. We are thinking of having some specialist access him and consider letting him drive again.

Anyway, for now letting dad prepare more home-cooked dishes is probably the best activity for him.

The battle of Cheesecakes
After getting off Bukit Timah, one of mom's friend introduced us to Ng Kim Lee Confectionary located just outside Beauty World MRT station. It's actually famous for their old school confectionaries, but we saw that they had many types of cheesecake in their display and got curious on how the cheesecakes were different. So we ended up buying 4 types of cheesecakes from their shop to compare.

From left to right:
1. Italian Cheesecake: Strong citrus taste and cheese taste, the cheese texture is on the heavy side.
2. Carrot Cheesecake: Mix of carrot and cheese, with the cheese texture sort of moderate as well, but the cinnamon covers all the taste.
3. American Cheesecake: Light cheese taste and the cheese texture is lighter. Closer to Japanese cheesecakes, but not as light as fluffy as Japanese cheesecakes
4. New York Cheesecake: Strong cheese taste and cheese texture is heavy. Its texture is actually similar to Italian Cheesecake, the difference is that the Italian Cheesecake has a strong citrus taste.

Conclusion was that I prefer the Amercian cheesecake... probably because in general I love lighter and fluffy Japanese cheesecakes. Maybe I should bake one this

不機嫌なモノノケ庵 (Mononokean) & Samsung Note 8

Finished watching Fukigen na Mononokean last night. Moja/Kedama is so adorable XD

Hoping that they will have a second season in the near future.

Samsung Note 8
I pre-ordered my Samsung Note 8 online~

I have been using my Samsung Note 4 since October 2014 and it has served me pretty well. At times I find it a little big for my small hands, but it's awesome when playing games and when watching dramas/movies.

I meant to get Samsung Note 7 when it was released last year... but it got too explosive and I kept waiting for the next Note until now.

Hopefully, the Note 8 will not disappoint. I had second thoughts for a few minutes before I placed the order because of its increased size. But I really want the stylus and the dual cameras. Oh well, we'll see when it arrives! Unforunately, I will be in Japan when the phone arrives but I guess I will have lots of time to explore it once I get home 3 days later~ XD