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.


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...



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.


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).

So here's my tips to save some money in Tokyo:

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.

2. Even better, just stand in the bookstore and finish your book. I saved money for 2 magazines this way!

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.

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".


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.


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.



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