I have been terribly remiss in writing posts on this blog in the past month or so. Because I have been too busy overdosing on a myriad of distractions.
Mangas. Animes. Korean dramas. Japanese dramas. Korean-boys-shipping! 本当に 嬉しいかったです。
I’ve been also been spending quite a bit of time everyday reading books, revising Japanese grammar, shopping for groceries, making home-cooked meals and playing chauffeur to Mr T.
One of my favourite things to cook these days is meesua soup. With lots of vegetables, an egg, shredded chicken meat topped with fried shallots and spring onions. I make the stock with water, chicken bones and sweet corn. After the stock has been cooked, I remove the kernels from the cob and snack on them. Corn, to me, is a comfort food.
I’ve always loved eating corn since I was young. Before I entered primary school, I was looked after by my maternal grandparents. My parents picked me up from my grandparents home after work everyday. Several times a week, my parents would stop at the hawker centre near our home for dessert. I would be allowed by my mother to eat a bowl of ice-kachang all by myself. It was such a treat that made me really happy.
My favourite ingredient in the ice-kachang was corn. But I would not eat it there and then. I picked out all the corn kernels, wrapped them in a tissue paper and bring the little package home. I would then pop a kernel into my mouth, savouring it slowly, while doing dreaded homework or after I had been punished by my mother for some wrongdoing. Which was pretty often.
So whenever I got a whacking, I looked to my secret stash of corn kernels for comfort.
One of the most satisfactory things to do in this world is biting into the bitter and creamy flesh of durian. I can’t even to describe the high I get from the taste of durian. How is it possible for anyone to hate durian…?
私は ドリアンが 大好きす。とても 美味しいです。毎日 ドリアンを 食べたいです。
I have abstained from eating durians for two years because my aging body have difficulty digesting durians. Those good old days when I could overdose on durians without feeling any discomfort. All gain and no pain!
Yesterday, I went and bought 8.5kg of Mao Shan Wang, gave two-thirds to family and devoured nearly the remaining one-third on my own. It was absolutely orgasmic! It’s payback time after 12 hours. I FEEL HORRIBLY SICK.
I blame it all on my Japanese teacher. As part of an oral exercise, she went around the class asking whether we liked durians. Then a friend posted a photo of his latest durian escapade on Facebook and all hell broke loose.
Like they say, abstinence from anything that makes one FEEL GOOD is bad for health in the long run. I figured that endorphins must go some way in balancing out any ill-effects of over-indulging right?
Okay. I must not abstain from durians. I must not abstain from alcohol. I must not abstain from ogling at Korean boys.
好きなのみものは mojitoです。Yeah, my favourite drink is the mojito.
Boy, am I glad that the Chedi Chiangmai mixes a really good mojito AND cocktails come “FOC” with my room between 6pm and 8pm every evening. No prizes for guessing what I have been downing every evening before dinner.
Me happy. This place is a piece of paradise on earth! :p
I have finally tried all the four chiffon cake recipes given in Keiko Ishida’s book – vanilla, black sesame, matcha and kinako (soybean). We (okay, more like TBH) really overdosed on chiffon cakes the last couple of weeks.
Of them, I like vanilla and black sesame the best. The matcha and kinako flavours were a little overwhelming for me. The matcha was a little too bitter and the colour of the cake turned out to be an odd shade of blackish-green (even though the photo in the book displayed a lovely emerald green cake). The kinako simply tasted weird.
For a long while, I have been meaning to take a photo of the one-storey house along Thomson Ridge where I grew up in. I had lived there with my maternal grandparents from the time I was brought home from the hospital till I started primary school at 7 years old which was when my mother became a SAHM and took me home with her.
I will never forget the house and the garden emcompassing it. I can still remember how it looked, the layout and the furniture as clearly as if I am still living in it. The garden was where my grandfather cultivated his plants – orchids, sunflowers, bougainvillea – and reared his goldfishes in huge fish-tanks. It was a place which witnessed the weddings of my aunt and uncle, the births of my cousins, my growing up years, birthday parties, BBQs, etc.
I went back some weeks ago with my Nikon, my mom and TBH. But I was too late. The owners had torn down the old house and is in the midst of constructing a 2-storey house, taking up most of the garden.
I felt sad at not being to preserve a memory of the old house on paper. I took a walk down Thomson Ridge, the road right in front of the old house. A road which I had walked on everyday for many years as a child. With my parents. With my grandparents. With my aunt and uncle. My mother wondered whether the old neighbours that she had known were still living along that road. Whether they were still alive. The immediate neighbour of our old house, a place where I used to hang out with their kids, is still living there. We chatted with them for a while before they had to go off for an appointment. My mother promised to keep in touch.
I saw the new MV of the song ‘Home’ playing in the cinema when I went to watch The King’s Speech. How is it possible to think of a place as home when the physical things that remind you of home are slowly being eradicated? I don’t know. With urban development, the old will make way for the new. Change is inevitable.
Maybe I should start a small collection of photos capturing places, landmarks, street scenes that have a place in my heart and my life before they all become nonentities.
After a long seach, I have finally found the Bingrae Banana Milk in Shine Supermarket at Burlington Square. I lugged a box of 24 cartons back home. I have been craving for this milk like junkies craving for a drug fix.
Unlike the ubiquitous jar-shaped packaging found practically everywhere in Korea, the ones exported overseas are the UHT versions and taste slightly different from the fresh milk sold in Motherland.
I mentioned in my last Changi Village post about meeting an interesting man a few days ago who had cycled from AMK to Changi Village on his foldable bicycle and how we chatted about his overseas cycling trips.
As it turns out, he is my school-mate’s FATHER. ともだちのおとうさんいます！
We have known each other since we were 13 years old but I have never met her dad. She is now living in London with her husband and kids.
How did I find out? Via good old Facebook. My friend had tagged her dad in a photo of her kids and I just happened to click his name and saw his profile photo. “Hey! It’s the foldable bike cyclist from Changi Village!”.
What a small world. This is one of life’s random coincidences. 🙂
One of the things that I appreciate most about this sabbatical is having all the time in the world to read, read and read. I have been devouring books at a rate unseen since I was about 12 years old and enjoying every moment of it. When I was at that age, I would tuck myself in bed with numerous pillows and cups of tea, reading every spare moment that I had. My reading appetite gradually decreased and shrunk to almost nothing when I started working.
I used to read mostly Western authors, but recently, I have started dipping into the works of authors of other nationalities, such as Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a young up-and-coming Nigerian writer, Yukio Mishima and Yasunari Kawabata, both prominent Japanese authors. I have also finally read (and enjoyed every bit of) Anna Karenina – a book that has been sitting on my to-read-pile since 10 years ago – from start to end.
I get all my reading recommendations from the various book blogs that I have been following. Whenever I come across a book recommendation that sounds promising, I go to the NLB website and reserve the book immediately. For $1.55, the book gets delivered to the library nearest my home where I can easily pick it up. Love our public libraries.
A couple of the best reads that I’ve come across during this period of time is the Inspector Singh series, by Malaysian writer Shamini Flint and the Vish Puri private detective series set in India authored by Tarquin Hall. I’ve always been a sucker for mystery-type books. They are such fun and light reads, but with good content and delightful plot-driven characters. I am always in need of such books after a heavy going one and I find myself hungering for more light, fluffy reading.
I have been digressing. What I wanted to jot down here is my progress in my Murakami reading project. I’ve read 10 of his books (those that have been translated into English) so far and have just one or two more to go before I wrap this up. It has been really satisfying reading experience.
I’m now ploughing through Orhan Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence and wondering why the heck is he going on and on for a godzillion pages about the protaganist’s lovesickness over being abandoned by his younger (and illicit) lover after his engagement party (with someone else).
Japanese sentences have been popping up in the posts because I want to practise constructing very simple Japanese sentences regarding my daily activities. I take ages to respond to the teacher’s simple questions in class because I just can’t remember how to express myself in Japanese.
まいにち べんきょうしている。 でも、むずかしい。
This is what I did today: きょう オーチャードロードへ かいものに いったんです。 きのくにやで ほんを ふさつ かった。Espirit で ワンピースを かった。よじに かえったんです。てんきは すごくあついでした。
I have no idea if the sentences are grammatically correct.
While waiting for my favourite Ipoh horfun stall at the Changi Village Food Centre to open, I went for a walk along the ferry terminal and the park across the terminal and watched the fishermen haul seafood from the boats to the lorries.
Along the way, I met a 60 year old man asked me to snap a photo of him on his foldable bike using his iPhone. He had spent 3 hours cycling from AMK to Changi Village on his little foldable bike and wanted a photo to show his cycling buddies. We started chatting and he told me about the cycling holidays that he had taken with his cycling buddies to various countries. They take their foldable bicycles along in a suitcase on their trips. Interesting fella.
What will I be doing when I am 60 years old…? At that age, all I wish for is good health to do the things that I enjoy. Like my 70 year old father-in-law (and doesn’t look a day older than 60 years old) who plays basketball regularly and participates in competitions overseas.
Changi Villageできれなねこをみたんです。The cat had lovely blue eyes.
I have temporarily suspended my love affair with Korean dramas eversince the end of Secret Garden because I can’t seem to find any other production that interests me.
In the meantime, I have been watching Japanese animes online and reading the mangas online too.
After Itazura Na Kiss, I watched bits and pieces of Hana Yori Dango, then I went on to watch Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO) and Gokusen from start to end.
I loved the Japanese drama adaptations of GTO and Gokusen, especially the former. Both have a school setting, centred around maverick teachers trying to tame the most notorious class in the respective schools, with plenty of comic, touching AND sexist moments. 🙂 The perverted male teacher in GTO, Onizuka, was formerly a biking gang member while the geeky female teacher in Gokusen, Yankumi, is the heir apparent in a prominent Yakuza family.
Really really good stories with themes revolving traditional values such as honesty, loyalty, respect for the individual, etc.
Now, I’m reading the English-translated Gokuzen manga online. There is quite alot of stuff in the manga that was not shown in the anime or drama adaptation. If the Koreans decide to adapt this manga into a drama, I can totally see pretty bad boy types like Kim Jae Wook or Jang Geun Seuk as yummilicious Sawada Shin. With Gong Hyo Jin as Yankumi. Ooh-ooh-ooh.
That reminds me, I have to pick up City Hunter from where I left off.