Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Halloween! 萬聖節!

I don't usually celebrate any festivals, let alone Halloween. But maybe because I'm starting to miss the English language, and feeling nostalgic for those festivals celebrated while I was studying in San Francisco, I bought a little basket of candies and cookies, swapping some with other variations from my inventory. This is a good time to clear stock and bring in the new snacks XD

我平時都不慶祝節日和生日的,不過可能我開始想念英文和在美國唸書的日子,所以買了一籃糖果和餅乾來小小慶祝一下。當然也偷換了一些。這是清理舊貨換新貨的好時機 XD

In US, you would put a Jack pumpkin outside of your house to indicate that it's okay for the kids to knock on your door to say "Trick or Treat". People would also dress up in costumes to party out with friends in the streets or at homes. Of course, in Asia, nobody practices the pumpkin thing, but cosplay is rather popular.

在美國,放一顆南瓜頭就表示小朋友們可以敲你的門來要糖果。很多人也會變裝和朋友在街上或家裡慶祝。當然在亞洲,放南瓜頭似乎不流行,倒是cosplay很受歡迎。

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nikuman and Anman buns 肉包子和紅豆包子

These buns, called either nikuman (meat buns) or anman (red bean buns), are popular during this season when the climate is getting cold. Basically you can heat them up by either using a microwave or steam them in a rice cooker. I'd tried both and found the traditional steaming method more preferable. However, unlike my Japanese teacher's comment that these buns were absolutely tasty, I found them rather okay. Maybe I should buy those authentic hot buns directly from the convenient stores.

Since typhoon no.14 is now in Tokyo, these hot buns had become both my breakfast and lunch. Today's dinner is probably something else steamed...

這些nikuman(肉包子)和anman(紅豆包子)在逐漸變冷的天氣中賣得特別好。加熱的方法很簡單,不是用微波爐就是用電飯鍋。我兩種方法都試了,結果還是傳統的蒸法比較好吃。雖然日語老師極力推薦此產品,但是我覺得味道還是馬馬乎乎...可能要去便利店買正統的熱包子才會比較好吃吧!?

既然台風14號正襲卷東京,這些包子成了我的早餐和午餐了。今晚的晚餐應該也是蒸點什麼來吃吧...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Defenses breached 4 (Praying mantis) 入侵4

I was shooing a spider out of my room to the veranda when I spotted this large cute looking praying mantis. If you remember, my place had a lot of insects like worms, cicadas and mosquitoes. However, this was my first time seeing a live praying mantis in such close proximity. It certainly looked clean and green like our Singapore courtesy frog. Its body was approximately 7-8cm and its head can turn backwards. I was crazily taking macro photos and video for about 10mins.
在趕一隻蜘蛛出去陽台時,發現了一隻又大又可愛的螳螂!假如讀者還記得的話,我的房間有很多昆蟲類,例如蟲子蚊子。不過,這是我第一次看到還活著的螳螂!!! :D 它的身體就像我們的新加坡綠化青蛙一樣綠油油的。身長約7-8cm,頭也能往後轉呢!我就這樣在那裡蹲了約10分鐘狂拍照片。

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Stinky dorm 髒寮

If you think that girls keep their places clean and tidy all the time, you are wrong! In fact in our international dormitory, kitchens and wash basins at the girls' floor are even more dirty than the guys'. Besides lacking in hygiene, some lack common sense as well. Eggs, curry, mushrooms, vegetables, rice, seeds, and even plastic wrappers are some typical recipe to our dirty sink mixed dish. Even the filter inside the kitchen sink was never emptied by the culprits themselves, causing the sink to be clogged all the time.

假如你認為女生都一定保持場所乾淨又整潔的話,你就大錯特錯了!特別是在我們的國際宿舍裡,女生的廚房和洗面所竟然比男生的髒!有些女生除了沒有清潔意識之外,還缺乏基本常識。倒入水盆裡的雜物包括煎蛋,咖哩,香菇,菜,飯,種子,甚至連塑膠包裝都不放過!水盆裡的過濾網也都完全沒清理,導致水盆常常堵塞。

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tips on saving money in Tokyo 在東京節省開銷

Well old friends and readers will know that I'd now "fallen from grace". From a rich lady with credit cards in hand, flashy branded handbags and always attending fashion shows, to a poor scholar living in a tiny dorm in Tokyo eating cup ramen (well, actually it's sushi).
讀過以前貴婦系列的讀者就知道我以前是一手拿信用卡,一手握名牌包,常去看時裝秀的貴婦啦。但是現在已經淪落到一名住在東京破宿舍,吃著杯拉麵的窮學生(其實我是吃壽司的)。

So here's my tips to save some money in Tokyo:
所以這是我在東京省錢的一些小祕方和大家分享:

1. If you need to buy books, either purchase used books from stores like Bookoff, or purchase a  Tosho card from a discounted tickets store. Use the discounted Tosho card to pay for all your books which are new, at those big bookstores.
假如需要買書,就去Bookoff買二手,或到折扣票店買折扣的圖書卡。買新書就用那張圖書卡買。

2. Even better, just stand in the bookstore and finish your book. I saved money for 2 magazines this way!
更好的方法:站在書店內看完書。我因此省下2份雜誌的錢!

3. For girls, if you want to satisfy your craving for shopping, you can buy those magazines with freebies. Many magazines feature designer cloth bags and cost just 630~1800yen each. Cheap and nice. Of course, buy them with your discounted Tosho card.
假如女生想要解決購物的慾望的話,不妨買附有贈品的雜誌。很多雜誌都有名牌設計的布包或其它產品,而且只賣630~1800yen。又便宜又好看。當然用折扣的圖書卡買。

Friday, October 8, 2010

Trapped in the BANK BOX 卡在銀行隔間裡

After sticking around for 6 months, aliens in Japan are allowed to open a bank account besides Japan Post Bank to access more banking services including online banking. However here's the catch, if you arrive as a group of 7 foreigners, the folks at Mitsubishi UFJ will try to split you up and have a few people apply for the account themselves at isolated "TV rooms".

過了6個月,在日居留的外國人可以申請任何銀行的戶頭來進行網上交易。可是當我們7個外國人到了三菱UFJ銀行時,工作人員竟然要我們幾個分開去“電視房”來自己申請戶頭。

I was persuaded to enter into a "TV room" which was an isolated cubicle with a computer kiosk which could perform webcam functions with a personnel stationed remotely. I talked with her using the attached phone receiver and she'd bow, stay bowed, until the webcam screen went off each time. This marvelous piece of high-tech equipment combined with first-class service was supposed to speed up the application and reduce workload for the bankers. However, they forgot that I am a bloody foreigner with limited Japanese ability, so I was trapped there for an hour while the rest spent only10mins each at the counter.

我被推薦進入一間“電視房”。小隔間裡只有一台可以和別處站崗的銀行人員進行網絡攝影的電腦儀器。每次網絡攝影下線之前她都會鞠躬直到畫面消失為止。這台高科技儀器再加上日本的一流服務應該會讓申請的時間縮短並減少員工的工作量。可是... ...他們竟然失算了!因為我是半桶日語的可惡外國人,所以本來每人在櫃台只需花10分鐘的過程,我竟然一個人在房間裡耗了一個鐘頭

Bravo to the latest banking technology in Japan! Be sure to use this whenever you don't feel like talking to the people over the counters as they'll be less than happy to help you.

為日本銀行的高科技萬歲吧!因為當你不想在櫃台和銀行員工對話時,他們也不想服務你時,使用這“電腦房”將會是一個很不錯的選擇。

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Japanese Magazine branded freebies 日本雜誌的付錄

One thing to enjoy in Japan besides food and scenery is shopping. Especially if you're on a tight budget like me, buying Japanese magazines with freebies will actually satisfy any shopaholic's craving. They usually cost cheap like 700-1500 yen, and come with branded freebies, usually a collaboration between the magazine and the design house. Because of this, the "freebies" are usually well-designed and don't look like those cheapos in Singapore.

在日本,除了享受美食和美景,就是逛街了。假如妳像我一樣沒什麼錢的話,購買附有贈品的雜誌(稱:付錄)將滿足任何購物狂的慾望。而且一本雜誌的售價約700-1500yen之間,相當便宜。因為贈品是雜誌和品牌公司一起合作的,所以設計方面都蠻好看,不像一般在新加坡找到的那種便宜貨。

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