[June in Japan] Day 3 – To Tokyo we go!

Huh… I thought I wouldn’t be able to post this entry until I go back to Thailand. WordPress has been giving me a hard time uploading images even though I’m sitting right beside the router…

Glad they are now all up there!

So here we are, the 3rd day for our trip from last June (I know, I know, but better late than never right…? ^^”)

But first, links to my previous entries on this trip:

Day 1 in Kyoto

Day 2 in USJ Part 1

Day 2 in USJ Part 2

I don’t think it will be a long entry either because we didn’t do much that day apart from sitting in a train and ate xD

We booked an early-ish train back to Tokyo, the Nozomi shinkansen left Shin-Osaka station at 9.10 so we had to be at Shin-Osaka before 9am at least. We ended up checking out pretty early and took the subway to Shin-Osaka.

We had enough time, in fact, to have breakfast!

Cue picture:

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A classic Japanese breakfast with rice, grilled fish and miso soup.

We found a small convenient restaurant near our platform in the station itself which served Japanese styled breakfast pretty quickly so we ate there. I was happy because I wanted some Japanese styled breakfast at least once while I was in Japan.

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Also had my favourite milk tea with me! I had nearly a bottle everyday for the whole trip! I’ve tried other brands too but this one is my favourite. And it was tricky, because not every convenient stores sell them… I mostly had to hunt for Family Mart.

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Our train ticket

Lune and I talked about whether do we wanted to splurge a little bit more for the Nozomi train, which is the fastest from Osaka to Tokyo. The ones I’ve been on were Hikari ones which is the second fastest. The Nozomi trains are not included in the JR Rail Pass so never had the chance. We didn’t buy any Rail Pass this time since we only needed one trip into Tokyo so we thought, why not?

I planned on sleeping on the train, but somehow didn’t. No idea why… May be I was too excited to get to Tokyo…? ^^”

It was a smooth journey and we arrived at Shinagawa station before lunch time.

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This was the waiting area where I sat and waited for our Shinkansen during my first ever trip to Japan. That was back in April 2011 and we landed in Tokyo but took the shinkansen to the Kansai area before coming back to explore Tokyo. So seeing this scene again brought back fond memories 🙂

We then took the JR train to Takadanobaba where our AirBnB was!

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We passed by Harajuku on our way so I couldn’t help but to take a photo ;D

And look at what (or who, rather) I spotted on the train too!

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May I introduce you all to Sakurai Sho, my favourite Jpop idol ;DDD I’ve really been into Jpop for over a decade now and that pushed my interests (and shall I say, passion?) for Japan and its culture to the maximum level xD

Anyway, our room was pretty nice. We actually booked the one in Shinjuku, because I love that area and it’s been a while since I got to stay there. But there was a change in the law or something about AirBnB in Japan so the owner has to shut that one down and moved us to this one in Takadanobaba instead. Apparently it was bigger and there was a king size bed and a sofa bed. There was a small kitchen and a washing machine too so it was great for me since it was summer time and I didn’t want to save all of the laundry for 10 days…

The owners were really nice and were kind enough to let us ‘check-in’ to our room earlier than normal so we went in, dropped our luggage, freshened up a bit and headed out for lunch again!

We headed back to Harajuku because Lune and I are fangirls and I wanted ramen xD

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One of my favourite dishes to have in Japan at Jankara Ramen! This was recommended to me since my first trip but I didn’t plan on going to it. And then my family and I stumbled upon it by accident! lol It wasn’t until I sat down that I realised it was the same place as the one my friend recommended to me. And because the first time we went was in April 2011, we were the only patrons in the shop (granted it was around 2pm but the shop has never been that empty every since).

We can now request for the egg to be soft-boiled only too so it’s always heavenly to have this bowl of ramen.

IB grade: a strong 6

After a fulfilling lunch, we walked down Omotesando road to Kiddy Land. Where we proceeded to spend a few hours in, exploring each floor and Lune was shopping for a friend xD

However, the exhaustion finally caught up with me and I really needed a place to sit down so we walked back towards Harajuku JR station to Pablo cafe.

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I told you we went to Pablo more than once during this trip! xD We also tried out their classic cheese tart as well as this scrumptous cheese honey toast. I had a pot of tea to keep the exhaustion and headache at bay too…

The cheese tart was ok, we were too full to fully enjoy it but we dug out every single cheese pieces in there!

The cheese honey toast though… Om nom nom… The honey actually made the taste more conflicting so I would highly recommend you to just have the cheese toast on its own. So good.

By that time, the day was moving towards the evening so we made our way back to our room. I had an important appointment to keep too. You’ll see.

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There was a 7/11 convenient store on the way and because I’m a sucker for presenter/ads, I bought this energy drink.

Oh, it looked similar? Well, why don’t you scroll up towards the top and see.

Yeap, the same one that Sho-kun was a presenter off xDDD Solely the only reason why I bought it in the first place. And then I tasted it and was hooked! The jelly was so grape-y!!! It felt like I was eating a really delicious grape jelly drink. I bought quite a few of these during my trip.

We also bought our light dinner at the convenient store too so we can eat in our room.

So what was the appointment that made me go back so early in the evening?

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VS Arashi is normally on every Thursday at 7pm on Fuji TV. One of my favourite shows of all time. It was soooo fun!! And even though I know little Japanese, I still enjoyed it massively. ;DDDDDDDDDDDD

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And here’s dinner, salad with peach yoghurt (because you got to have peaches during a Japanese summer). I told you it was light! XD

All in all, not a busy day. We just started early so a reason to go back to our room and rest early was a good thing.

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Just to show how much we walked that day.

We pretty much chilled around Tokyo for a couple of days before hitting Tokyo Disney Resort. It was still great fun to spend time with my wife in pretty much our favourite city 😉

And I think I’ll sign off here! I’m scheduling this post to go up tomorrow instead because I want to write something about my birthday over the weekend. But it’s 7pm already! Let’s hope that my internet is strong enough so I can do something on the bed instead of in the spare bedroom….

Hope you are all having a great week!

With love,

From GZ

PS – Flying home on Thursday! Whoop whoop!!

PPS – I actually finished this entry first before yesterday’s one about my birthday. But decided to postpone publishing this entry until today…

PPPS – 25 January is actually Sho-kun’s birthday so お誕生日おめでとうございます! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and a fantastic year ahead! <3<3

PPPPS – this entry was suppose to go up on the 25th of Jan but I just found out today (1 Feb) that it didn’t happen…. Why, WordPress? Why?

My fantastic birthday weekend

I wasn’t planning on writing a post about my birthday yet but I thought I really should make one first (it should be the first entry after my birthday) before going to my Japan trip. So here it is!

My birthday is on Sunday this year so the celebration started on Friday xD

One of my colleagues was the first to bring it up and also gave me my first gift this year.

from-d

Raisins from his home town. 

He also got kids to sing happy birthday to me too… I felt slightly awkward/embarrassed because it wasn’t my birthday yet but was also grateful too.

 

This next gift came from a couple friends of mine.

from-j-and-s

I love gherkins so this is just perfect! 😀

 

And then I kicked off my weekend of eating with a cup of hot chocolate and some macaroons!

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These were from a French cafe near our friends’ place. The macaroons were pretty good, especially the passion fruit with chocolate filling one. The hot chocolate wasn’t chocolate-y enough for me I’m afraid…

Macaroon grade: 5

Hot chocolate grade: 3 (because it was pricey… and it also filled me up so I couldn’t eat as much dinner as I’d wanted!)

 

We then took an Uber to Zhujiang New Tow for some Indian food at Little India!

indian-food

I actually can’t remember the name of some of these dishes but the bottom left was butter chicken and the middle picture on the top row was the lamb biryani. 

Oh the food was sooooo good!!! *0* Just looking at these pictures made me hungry all over again! The butter chicken was AMAZING and the lamb biryani, superb.

I had butter chicken because of my wife actually, she said to have it for her. Best decision ever.

IB Grade: 7

 

After dinner, we walked down to Social&Co for drinks and desserts.

social-and-co

A glass of ‘Cool Passion’ mocktail for me and a plate of chocolate brownies! Yum…. I was so full though that I couldn’t finish the brownies!! ><

Cool Passion grade: 5 (a tad bit too sweet…)

Brownies: 5 (partly because I can make them myself too… ^^”)

 

We also didn’t stay out too late either because everyone was tired so I managed to catch the metro back. Back in my apartment by 11ish and showered then bed around midnight! It was really my kind of night 😉

 

Saturday was a chill but productive day for me! Because I didn’t go to bed too late, I was up by around 8am. Had a lie in till about 9am then got up to do the laundry. I decided to do my diet on Saturday (because I don’t want to have to restrict anything on my birthday) so only had one cup of tea.

And then I started working. ^^” Had to take work home this weekend because I hadn’t been that productive last week. However, for some odd reason, I was productive and managed to get the work done! Or, well, I was motivated enough by the fact that I didn’t want to have to work on my birthday. And this work needed to be done before Monday.

I also had a voice call with my wife/bff and tried to plan our trip to Shanghai further. (It was a good thing we haven’t booked anything yet though because we scrap the plan yesterday after I realised that some high school students will be on holiday already. That was why the plane ticket from GZ to Shanghai is more expensive than my trip home. We don’t want to risk venturing into Shanghai Disneyland when the students are on holiday…)

Anyway, finished work around 1pm so I put Sausage Party on. ^^” Man, that film is really not for kids…

Washed my hair after finished the film then headed out to a colleague place for dinner at around 5pm.

homecooked

We had the tomato soup first (bottom left) with some rolls. It was really good. And then a some sort of warm salad with basmati rice, avocado, cherry tomatoes, carrots, corns, onions and chicken. So good. And so filling too!! Just perfect for the only savory food I had that day (had 2 bananas during the day and lots of water).

Then finished off the night with a drink with a friend at a bar near my apartment. Back for a shower by about 11ish again and in bed around midnight!!!

(You can’t believe I’m not 30 yet right? xDDD)

 

And then, Sunday. The actual birthday. By this point, it didn’t really feel that different because I had been celebrating for over a day now xD But I sadly didn’t sleep too well the night before so still felt groggy when I got up at 9am.

Made myself another cup of tea and got half ready. Then sat down in front of my laptop and was late. Story of my life… ^^”

I got dressed up slightly to look and feel good on my weekend. Then went out to meet a friend at the metro station.

There, I was given 2 thoughtful gifts.

s

From S. 

I actually just saw the red stole in the back first and only realise there was a small bottle of perfume too when I got home. The stole is perfect and I love the maroon colour and the perfume has a classic scent that I really like. Can’t wait to put it on.

We then met another friend when we switch the train and so the journey passed by relatively smoothly and quickly to Taikoohui.

I decided for Element Fresh for our brunch/early lunch and I was not disappointed!

brunch

Top left: quesadilla. Bottom left: Korean BBQ chicken cob salad. Top right: Banana-Apple smoothie. Bottom right: Rose and mango tea. 

The quesadilla caught my eyes so I ordered that for a starter then went for the Korean BBQ chicken cob salad for my main.

The quesadilla was so good, cheesy and just right.

Grade: 6

 

The Korean BBQ chicken cob salad (bottom left) was as goo as when I had it the first time around a few months ago. Such a great variation of the classic cob.

Grade: 6

 

And I could never resist the banana-apple smoothie every time I visit Element Fresh for brunch. It’s basically breakfast in a cup, with yoghurt and muesli literally whiz together in a blender. So. Good.

Grade: 6

 

Another friend and her family joined us after as well (thank goodness or else I wouldn’t be able to finish the quesadilla by myself). So we chatted and ate and just relaxed.

Oh! A friend ordered a rose and mango tea too and it was pretty good from a few sips I’ve taken.

 

For dessert, we went down to the M floor (I think) to awfully chocolate. I remember going there in early December and was impressed with their chocolate. And of course, me being a chocoholic, must have some chocolate goodness for my birthday.

awfully-chocolate

Left: chocolate cupcake. Right: chocolate tart.

The cupcake was very good with the ganache on top and almost like a fudge/pudding texture at the bottom.

Grade: 6

 

The tart was very good as well though a tad bit too sweet for me this time around. I think I may need some sort of tea to counter it. The last time, I had lychee ice tea with desserts so may be that was why…

Grade: 5

 

My friends insisted on paying for dessert as a birthday gift to me too o^^o

 

I then came back to my apartment and decided to do some baking! xD There are quite a few people with birthdays in December and January so I decided to bake the cake for this celebration. Because as a small curse of being a baker is that a lot of the thing you eat, you find yourself thinking that you can make one better… ^^”

Before I show you picture of the cake I baked, just wanted to tell you how my Monday morning went.

My Y13s surprised me with a cake and a small notebook with hand-drawn pictures on the front of all of us and birthday wishes at the back.

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They know I don’t like Justin Bieber and yet still tries to push him to me. Yeah, we have that kind of relationship. 

They were going to pretend to all be late but then 2 forgot so turned up early. One of them (she’s like the mother of the group) came in with quite a murderous expression on her face. I knew right then that something was up. Still, I was surprised when the last one came in with the cake though!

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And apparently, this one rose came with the cake too. So me, being a science geek, use a measuring cylinder as my vase. ;D

 

from-yy

From YY

Here’s another gift from a friend that I will gladly take back home. Can’t wait to put it out for show .

 

And here is the two cake I made and took to work with me!

cake

Not bad for a first time of ‘piping’. I actually put the chocolate ganache in a plastic bag to take to work and just cut a corner off and piped it out! 

The cake was gone pretty quickly xD

 

So yes, that’s it really for my weekend birthday. Got so many wishes from the people around me and thoughtful gifts. It has been a another wonderful 89 28 birthday. 😉 I am thankful to be surrounded by so many lovely people. ❤

 

Oh wow, this entry is taking way longer than I thought it would! xD I should have known, it always takes longer than I thought to write and post a blog entry. I’m glad I get to document this birthday down with pictures though!!

So yes, I would like to sign off here, hope you are all having a good week!

 

With love,

From GZ

 

PS – I’m actually getting tired now so will blow dry my hair and try to go to bed early today…

 

Correcting a bit of a mistake

Well, it turns out that the day I signed up on WordPress was 14 January, not 17… ^^” The notification must have been there since the 14th but because I’d only logged in just yesterday, it looked like the 17th was the anniversary…

I went back to reread some of my blog posts afterwards and found it a bit inspiring. So here I am, hunch down on the desk by the router so I can update this short little post…

Sometimes, when things are a bit more difficult, you feel more motivated to do them just so you can say ‘Ha! You can’t beat me!’. Silly, I know, but hey, I have a competitive streak.

Anyway, a bit of a long day at work today. It was  good thing I got a lot of sleep last night. Slept at 8.30pm and didn’t wake up at all until the alarm went at 5.15am! Yay~ So happy with that. Took my time with breakfast and took the bus to school when it was still pitch black.

The morning then turned downhill from there… But I’m glad it’s over! Had to take a nap in the afternoon as well because the work had my head swimming. Urgh.

Then dinner with friends that lasted to 7pm! It was lovely. We just kept talking and talking and talking! And I am so full now…

Also, the RebelCaptain ship from Rogue One is back to haunting me xD Argh. Cassian and Jyn are so good together. My heart…. ❤

And I think I want to sign off here so I can click post and go lounge in bed. It’s nearly 9pm anyway! xD

Hope your week is going well! Not long till the weekend now!

With love,

From GZ

It’s been 1 year!

I planned on updating the blog because it’s my diet-quiet day (which is normally on a Wednesday but got moved to Tuesday this week). So imagine my surprise when I saw the notification from WordPress that it’s our ‘one year anniversary’!!

I can’t believe it’s been one year already. In some ways, that makes sense because I did started a blog last year but it also feels like I’ve been on WordPress for much longer…

Apparently I’ve written 34 blog posts in one whole year… I wonder if I should aim high and say I will update and post more than 34 blog posts for this new year xD

Well, like they say, shoot for the moon, aim for the stars.

Anyway, I came back to GZ last week to find that my laptop can’t quite connect to the internet unless it’s in the same room as the router =_= I think it’s my laptop (because I did drop my backpack twice at the airport before flying back to GZ… >.>).

I’ve already tried to change the router already but that didn’t really work… I think the signal is a bit stronger but nowhere near as good as before I left. My phone is fine though so I think the problem lies with my laptop. Urgh. A sign to get a new one then. Mind you, it’s approaching being 5 years old so I suppose it is time to get a new one…

Hmm… let’s see if there’s anything else…

Oh yes! Sherlock!! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

I have no words for all of my feelings.

I watched the first episode on 2nd January and squee-ed. A lot. Then I had to pause because I was buried in work when the second episode came out.

I have a copy as I came back to GZ but thought that I should wait until the final episode came out before I watch it. And boy, was I right.

I came home yesterday and did a quick calculation in my head to see if I have enough time to watch both episodes. And then I thought, ‘Oh, I can go to sleep a bit later for Sherlock.’

So I made a quick dinner (just a bowl of cereal xDDD) then sat down in front of the laptop and thought ‘I can start watching it while I eat, then pause when I finished so I can go shower and see the rest of it in bed.’

Boy, was I wrong.

What was I thinking? How would I be able to pause Sherlock??? So I ended up sitting on the cold floor, watching the 2nd episode.

I did manage to stop myself from watching the third episode, went and took a shower first, then came back and watched the final episode in bed.

Oh. My. Goodness.

All of the feelings! I just squee-ed and flailed at the end. And then went straight into fandom to see how other fans have coped with this.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

And I’ve noticed that many fans didn’t like Series 4 but I quite enjoyed it. It was definitely better than series 3 (which left me feeling like the writers were just trolling with us fans…).

And I felt surprisingly ok with the ending of Series 4. Though it got real dark and my heart broke for Sherlock (but hey, that’s nothing new).

So yeah… that’s it. Who knows if there will be another series… Though I think I can finally say that I’m happy with what we’ve got now.

(As I’ve typed this, leaning back against the headboard, my laptop can’t quite connect to the wifi. Apparently, this is too far away and the signal is too weak. TT^TT)

I’m afraid with this situation with the wifi, I’m being put off writing anything else. I would like to continue on with my trip to Japan with lune but I’m not sure I can do it without the internet. *frustrated* *resigned*

It is only 7pm but I’m contemplating sleep already. I wonder if it’s too ridiculously early but I seriously have nothing else to do. Might as well sleep early, wake up early and get on with work…

I hope you are all having a good week!

With love,

From GZ

PS – It’s been cold in GZ!! And rainy too, urgh. How British of it!

PPS – The internet was so bad that I have to reboot my laptop and put it next to the router to post this blog. T-T