Grief takes its time.

If you have visited my blog before, you will realise that it looks very different today. If this is the first time, no, my blog doesn’t normally have a monochrome theme. However, I am still feeling the need to change anything and everything into this black-and-white palette in hopes that it may ease some of the sorrow in my heart.

I am Thai. And if you have seen the news from the end of last week, you might have heard about the passing of our King.

His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej has passed on 13 October 2016, at 15.42 Thailand time.

The press conference was on just before 7pm GMT+7 and that was when the news was broken to the general public.

I heard that there would be a press conference about HM the King’s condition and I should have known the signs because I started crying, on and off, from the late afternoon onwards.

However, nothing, absolutely nothing would have prepared me for when the announcement was made.

Utterly devastated and numb were probably the closest words to describe what millions of us felt. Still feel till this day, 5 days after his death.

And you all may wonder, how could someone invoke such a response? How could someone be so loved? Are we all so brainwashed that we couldn’t look pass the title?

No. No we are not. Many of us are well educated from abroad. We have a very modern mindset. We are from the new generation. And yet we all loved our father deeply and fiercely. Perhaps more so because we know how fortunate, so so fortunate, we were to have someone so Great being our King.

If you do have an hour to spare and are curious about our beloved late King, please please please, I ask for only an hour of your time to watch this documentary.

If you don’t have the time or cannot watch YouTube, here are a list of things I would like you tell you about him.

HM the King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA on 5 December 1927. His father was studying Medicine there at the time and his mother was a commoner who met his father while she was in Nursing school.

He was the youngest of the 3 siblings.

The family moved back to Thailand when he was just one year old.

His father sadly died of a kidney illness when he was just 2. His mother wasn’t even 30 year old yet when she became a widow.

There was a political turmoil in Thailand during that time so that family moved to Switzerland where HM the King and his siblings had a chance to grow up like ordinary people.

His elder brother had to become king of Thailand when he was just 9 years old.

HM the King Bhumibol himself lost his brother and had to be king himself when he was just 18 years old. He had just started university in Switzerland. He changed his major from science to a law, politics and social science which he thought would be more suited for his role as king.

He lost his right eye in a car accident at the age of 20. He had an artificial eye therefore he did not have any of the binocular depth perception for the last 68 years of his life, most of which he had spent working tirelessly for the country.

The official coronation ceremony happened in 1950 where he had pledged the following (translated): “We shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people of Siam.” And reigned with righteousness he did for 70 long years.

He had visited far corners of Thailand while they were still barren and virtually inaccessible.

He had developed a method to create artificial rain under the right conditions to lessen the droughts in Thailand.

He had built dams to lessen the effects of floods in Thailand.

He had nurtured 10 fish that was given by then-Crown Prince of Japan (now the emperor). There were originally 50-100 fish given but only 10 had survived. He had taken his own pond in the palace to nurture those 10 fish, cultivate them until thousands of them could be given to Thai people in the rural area so they can raise the fish themselves to provide them with a source of protein. We can now export 220,000 tonnes of this species of fish.

He had also developed the low speed surface aerator or Chaipattana aerator to help re-oxygenated stagnant water.

He was also an artist, a painter and an accomplished musician. He had composed 48 songs in his life and was able to play various instruments, like the clarinet, piano and guitar. However, many Thais knew him best from playing a saxophone.

He was also a sportsman who loved sailing.

He was not ‘the richest monarch in the world’. Look at what he wore and the state of his shoes. He did not lived in luxury or excess. He led by example about sufficient economy.

Even his own palace was an experimental fish and dairy farm as well as experiment rice paddy fields to find the best variety to be grown by the people.

He had worked so hard, never stopped until he physically couldn’t go on any further, for the betterment of Thailand.

You ask us, why do we love the king unconditionally?

We ask you, have you every had someone so devoted, so dedicated, who had worked tirelessly and had given his life so that yours will be better in your life?

We did.

That is why we are mourning for his death.

This is why the tears have not stopped.

Because no matter how much we loved him, we are also selfish creatures that we would have given anything, anything at all, just so we could have him with us longer even though we know, deep down, that he is in a better place now.

And I’m using ‘we’ and ‘us’ because it is not just me who feels this way. The whole 67 million people nation is grieving because we have lost our father.

I am a bit scared for my country too. We have lost someone so great, who had been looking over our nation for so long.

But most of all, I’m in tears right now because we have lost one of the few constants in our lives. A Great king, a scientist, a loving son and brother. An inspiration. Our father.

If I may use a sentence from the documentary, I think it sums up everything very well.

We did not love King Bhumibol because he was king. The king was loved because he was King Bhumibol. 

May His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej rest in peace. It has been an absolute privileged to be born under your reign.

ขอน้อมส่งเสด็จพระองค์สู่สวรรคาลัย ด้วยเกล้าด้วยกระหม่อมขอเดชะ

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[June in Japan] Day 2 in USJ Part 2

(I had actually started this post weeks ago but never managed to get passed what has now become the first line of this entry… ^^” And the internet is driving me insane again. I wonder sometimes how on earth can I just live with this all… but then laziness always win over. orz dammit.)

In the last entry, we finished at what we had for lunch. After that, the rain started -3-

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We went to the outside part of the Three Broomstick where we can see the castle clearly for some photo taking session…

True, it does kind of look pretty like this but I would like to, just once, see the Hogwarts Castle with a clear blue sky backdrop ><

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One more with the (almost) full reflection of the Castle in the water.

We, then, slowly made our way out of Hogsmead area, visiting the shops we hadn’t yet.

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So here are some giant ice-cream cones(?) at the Honeydukes shop.

And right next to the Honeydukes, where you can literally walk across as the shops are interconnected, is the Zonko’s Joke Shop.

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The shop is tiny though since the majority of the area goes to Honeydukes…

I actually bought some sweets from Honeydukes this time around, got one chocolate frog (because how could I not?) and a dark chocolate wand. Because I’m a sucker for dark chocolate.

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I have a feeling this was from the wand shop. It might have been Ollivander but not the section where the wand can ‘pick’ you. I tried my best to capture as much of the stars map as I could but it covered the whole wall. And I was mainly interested in Draco. xD (I’m a bit surprised actually that I didn’t manage to capture Sirius as well… hmm…)

Lune and I managed to come out from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter by about 1pm-ish because we had our Hollywood Dreams -The Ride – Backdrop‘s time ticket at around that time.

The last time I was at USJ back in April 2015, I remember clearly hearing the screams from this ride and seeing how long the queue was right from the start all the way through to almost the closing time. And I was only able to try out the Hollywood Dreams – The Ride (because the queue was shorter then) and it was my favourite rides at USJ from that visit. So I was adamant that we tried out the Backdrop one this time around. This was also the reason why I wanted to the get this particular Express Pass.

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What makes Backdrop so special is that the roller coaster goes backwards. Me being a roller coaster fan couldn’t wait to try it.

Sadly, it wasn’t as good as I had hoped it to be… 😦 The ride actually made me slightly nauseous because my head kept being swung back and forth. I didn’t feel as dizzy when the roller coaster moves forward because you have the backrest to keep your head pretty much in place.

After that, we thought we should walk around to recover so went into shops to browse.

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Couldn’t help snapping pictures of this wands display.

 

(It was getting past my bedtime on Monday night so I left the entry here and have been fighting my internet connection to get back on it since then… -3- I’m not sure for how long I’ll have the connection tonight so we’ll see…)

We then took a stroll around the park and came across this.

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I believe it’s for the Attack On Titan. There was a special ‘ride’ on at the time.

Neither of us are fans of the manga/anime, we mostly just took pictures of this and moved on.

We were actually trying to find a Residential Evil ‘ride’ that Lune’s brother was adamant we tried. Turns out that the event has finished. I was a bit relieved because I am not a fan of those things….

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These seems to be hand prints of famous people, most if not all Japanese, who have ever visited the park.

After this, we decided that it was time to go on more rides/attractions since we’ve already got our Express Pass anyway. It would be a waste not to use it!

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Terminator 2: 3D was next on the list because it was the closest one to where we were then. This attraction was more theatrical than a ride. The lady who played a manager or some sort was really into her character, she was the highlight of the show.

We all gathered in front of the theater first and she was introducing herself and asked where some of us were from. Mind you, all of this was all in Japanese so this was what we gathered from our limited Japanese. She made fun that some of the patrons were from Osaka. One person behind us raised their hand and said that they were from Chiba.

And then someone else said that they were from Hawaii. That got a major reaction out of her because she was very impressed with how far they have come. She even turned around and said to the group from Osaka that that group was here all the way from Hawaii. It was all very entertaining.

Anyway, I don’t want to say much about the rest in case you don’t want to spoil yourself. What I would say is that it made me feel quite nostalgic for the Terminator 2 film (which, to me, is the best Terminator out there).

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Taken while walking to our next ride. 

After Terminator 2: 3D, we went on to The Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man – The Ride 4K3D. (My goodness, another mouthful isn’t it? xD)

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I didn’t go on this the first time I was at USJ because I’m not a fan of 3D and not really a fan of Spider-Man. However, Express Pass this time! xD And lune actually liked this ride the most in USJ. So do check it out if you have the chance.

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Cute name right? To match it with the ride’s name at the back. 

I really contemplated getting the hot dog but it was so expensive! Almost double the price of the one I got at Tokyo DisneySEA. So I didn’t get one. ^^”

We were slowly making our way back to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when we came across this sign.

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I couldn’t help taking a picture of this because it reminds me of my two favourite Brooklyn boys! 

And beside this sign, we saw this:

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The Spider-Man circular sign is so cute. And can you spot Spider-Man himself? 

We ended up sitting by the ‘lake’ just to relax and rest a little. There had been a lot of walking that day xD

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And of course, I kept taking pictures… The tracks on the top picture are from The Flying Dinosaur I think. 

After about 20 minutes, we continued on our journey to go back to Hogsmead once more..

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The rain continued on hence all of the umbrellas… Lune has pointed out that the weather was like we were in Scotland where Hogswart is. Well, I suppose she is right but it would have been much cooler when it rains in Scotland…

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We spent a lot of time just taking photos. I wanted to document it all in my phone. We actually went by the Castle one more time to take more photos too xD

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What can I say? I love tea and cakes xD This was just a display though, the shop isn’t real. 

Lune quite wanted to try the butter beer ice-cream so we went inside The Three Broomsticks once more and the place is almost empty! I suppose that was to be expected since the park closing soon-ish.

I, of course, had to try the chocolate ice cream too.

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It was pricey, around 400JPY but hey, it was Florean Fortecue’s! xD The ice cream was quite good too. 🙂

We really didn’t want to leave but we had too because the park isn’t opened for the whole night. So we slowly made our way back out.

I almost forgot! We had to leave because we want to have enough time for one last ride. Hollywood Dream – The Ride. Again, with the Express Pass, it was almost no waiting time at all. And I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time I visited USJ. I think this would be my favourite ride of the day…

I then took Lune to see Universal Wonderland too and came across these cute Woodstocks!

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It was the second half of June so I was a bit surprised to still see the Easter display… ^^”

We then slowly made our way out to the Hollywood area, stopping to take a couple of photos of the lights as the sun was slowly setting.

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Beverly Hills? Beverly Hills! xD 

This was the first time that I left an amusement park while it was still light. xD However, the park was closing. We heard the announcement and I stayed behind to see the electrical night parade the last time I was there, it wasn’t worth staying for really.

(That was the reason why I thought the opening and closing time on the website wasn’t reliable. We stayed beyond the closing time on the internet that first time. The parade didn’t finished till nearly 8pm or something and I remembered seeing the closing time being 7.30pm on the web…)

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The famous Universal globe… 

We weren’t interested in taking a picture of/with this at all in the morning xD but in the evening as we were leaving, we had all the time in the world.

We took the same trains back to our hotel, and we happened to see a takoyaki shop right by the train station where we had to change from JR to the metro.

It wouldn’t be a proper visit to Osaka without eating takoyaki!

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So we bought this to share. Ended up eating them right there by the station because they wouldn’t have survived the metro to the hotel…

There was also a Family Mart convenient store right by our metro exit to the hotel, so I went into check if they still had oden or not and it turned out they still did!

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I got two daikon pieces and one egg roll! 

I love oden because it’s such a light but refreshing meal 😀

We made it back to the hotel not too late, which was great because we had another early morning the next day. Visiting USJ with Lune was definitely another highlight of my year this year. So happy I got to share this with her.

To finish this entry off, here are all of the things I’d spent my money on at USJ:

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:DDDDDDD

 

And here is how much we walked that day!

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Not bad, not bad at all 😉

And that’s it for this entry. I’m so happy it’s doneeeeee. So let’s post it before I can’t xD

Next stop, Tokyo~

 

With love,

From GZ

 

PS – It’s not 9pm yet but I’m so tired I will go to sleep after this. It’s also been really cool today! Cool enough that I don’t need the A/C and just has the fan on at the lowest and I’m under the duvet! xD

 

PPS – I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday. OTL So packed this week and I’ve been sleeping on time! But still feel tired. Urgh.