Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'm On A Mission Today

I really can't understand how girls can shop for hours and hours. Today, I set myself out and see how long I could shop. Surprisingly, I was out for 6-long hours. I'm not very sure what should I put as the title of this entry. But basically, it's about how my day went today. Kinda long post than usual. You can continue reading if you want to.
After having a simple brunch, which was instant ramen, I set off. But I missed the bus at the nearest bus stop, by just merely few seconds! So, I walked to the next bus stop instead of waiting there to kill some time.
random pics while waiting for the bus
The weather was so kind to me today. I checked the weather forecast last night and it should be cloudy with some rain today. Thank god that the ever-so-reliable weather forecast got it wrong totally. This is some of the very rare cases to happen in Japan as their forecast is usually very chun one.
there's Jusco here, but without the 'Jaya' thing (maybe the Jusco here not berjaya enough)
I made a what-to-buy list and brought it along as I didn't want to happen to forget buying something. But it seemed that it didn't help me much as I just wonder around without setting on a particular mission. I left that for the later part of the day.
Then I came around some of the signboards. It wasn't my first time sighting those, but I don't know why only today I was so gatal to analyse the boards.
HimaRaya, AmeriKaya and Johshuya
I'm not sure if there's any bunga raya in Himaraya. This is the result when you don't have the letter 'L' in your language. They replaced it with an 'R' instead. The next one is not a bakery. You might read the name as AmeriKaya. Perhaps the owner of this shop, Mr Ameri likes to eat roti kaya and very kaya.
The final one is kinda weird, in terms of the spelling. How many times would you ever encounter someone with the name Johshuya? I think what they meant was Joshua.
I continued walking and came into this shoe store. Again, not my first time here. But I saw something new inside. Boots.
boots, boots everywhere
They come in all sizes, shapes, designs and colours. Even the famous cat without a mouth can be found on the boots. Yea, I mean Hello Kitty. Mickey Mouse was there as well. But I didn't spot any yellow boots like Phua Chu Kang always wear.
shoes also need make-ups these days
Later, I walked again until I came to this nursery. Since I brought my camera along, apa lagi, I went inside la. Not much interesting flowers I spotted there. Roses caught my eye. I'll upload those pics later on.
Then I saw hibiscus. Yes, bunga raya, bunga kebangsaan. I don't know why suddenly I felt so patriotic seeing a bunga raya. First time seeing a bunga raya in Japan. I'm kinda jakun but bunga raya is quite rare here, you know!
pink hibiscus
orange, yellow and light pink, but no red ones!
Just opposite of the nursery, it was a pet shop. I went in to check it out. These Japanese people, sometimes very kesihan one. They sometimes couldn't find a life partner until they ended up taking an animal as their life partner. Sad case, huh?
But of course, although they take animals as their partners, doesn't mean they have sex with the animals la. They might try in-vitro if they really desperate for a baby. I'm not sure what will come out. Perhaps a baby with pair of wings that goes 'miow, miow'.

There was a place inside the pet shop where you can see the dogs having bulu-cuts and being showered through glass screen. But no photo is is allowed as it might shock the animals. The dogs all sat down kuai-ly and let their bulu-stylist slowly cut their bulu.

Other animals are like parrots, rabbits, squirrel and chickens. They also sell fishes. Gold fish, silver fish, bronze fish. What also got. I might as well come here next time if anyone ask me to take them to zoo.

cute, cute, cute

these birds are not bad in posing

I found Nemo!

Along my outing today, I practically came across almost everyone from my college. I guess this suggests just how *ahem* small *ahem* Nagaoka is actually. Even I met my senpai from Nagaoka University.

Not met, actually. He called me first. Usually this is the case as people will spot me much easier than having me to spot them. You know what I'm talking about, don't you?

Walk, walk, walk, I came across many ramens shop.

even if they offer their ramens FOC also I won't be going in

But I'm not interested not even a bit. Why? Because I'm on a mission tonight. After wondering around those garden and zoo, I got serious. I got to get my stuff for tonight's dinner.

After getting all my stuff, I set back to my college. When I checked my watch in the bus, it was already almost 6pm. Heck! I must have broke my personal record time in shopping. I've shop for almost 6-long hours!

doing stewpid stuff in the bus
this is the hasil from today's shopping
Although I got a pair of top - one sleeveless Adidas sports wear and another stripe top, I guess I ended up buying more groceries! Don't ask me how much they cost. I'll tell you if you're footing the bill for me though.
When I got back, I straight headed to the kitchen. Here's what I'm cooking tonight.

This is my first time cooking spaghetti, but I still will teach you guys how it is done. Follow these instructions and I'm sure you'll thank me for my recipe.

But just a warning. Try this on your own risk. Don't blame me if it doesn't turn out well. It's not my recipe's fault. It's the skill of the person who cook it :P

First of all cut your broccoli, carrot and potato into small cubes. Do the same thing to the sausages. Then boil them in boiling water. Start with the sausages.

Then use a new pot of water for the vegetables. Start off with potato as it takes time to become soft. Carrot is next, followed by broccoli. Use a fork to poke it to test whether the potato is already soft enough.

Make sure you turn off the fire when you've put all the vegetables inside. It's just to avoid the vegetables, especially the broccoli being overcooked and turned yellow. When all have been taken out, put them on a plate and spring some slices of cheese and some pepper. Then leave them aside and proceed with your main menu.

Boil about 1 litre of water and add some salt into it. Then, take about 100gm of spaghetti and throw them into the boiling water. Leave it to boil for around 10 minutes and stir them in between to make sure it doesn't stick together.

After the spaghetti is soft enough, turn off the fire, pour it into a small bucket (I don't know what's the right word) and put it through running water a while. So, your spaghetti is ready. For this time, I just use an instant pasta sauce to save some time. I just boil it up for around 4 minutes and pour it onto the ready spaghetti.

If you follow correctly what I mentioned above, you should have this final result.

My own evaluation on my cooking? Err, I'm not bluffing you la, but it was really damn ho chiak. I was surprised with myself too, actually. The texture of the spaghetti was just perfect.

If there's any flaw made, that would be my vegetables. My potato was not soft enough when I took them out. Carrot was a bit hard as well. But they were still eatable.

Calvin's personal rating: 7/10

After more than half of the day spent shopping and cooking, I'm off to getting a well deserved rest. The hot weather nowadays didn't help much though.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Flowers From Yukyuzan Park

This entry should actually been posted much earlier. However, when I took these pictures, it was during my hostel festival last weekend and I gave the priority on entries about the festival first.
This park I went is called Yukyuzan Park. It’s just about 10 minutes walking distance from my kosen. This time, I went there in just 5 minutes, with my lao ah pek bicycle - antique and stylo!
The park is beautiful, with lakes, sakura trees and some Shinto temples. There’s even a mini zoo and a museum as well. All in one park. However, it’s still far from my very own Taiping Lake Garden.
For you who have read my earlier post, this is the place where we did our hanami in April when those sakura were in full bloom. In fact, we did the hanami twice there. The first time was with all the foreign students in Nagaoka Kosen, while the next one was among the Malaysians staying in Nagaoka. More than two months later, the transformation was quiet amazing.
This is what you get in seasonal countries. Some of you might know that when sakura blooms, there’s not a single leave on the tree. However come summer, it's totally the opposite.
The location I picked this time is 菖蒲園 (Ayame Garden). Ayame is actually iris in English but I have no idea what kind of flowers are they. But one thing for sure, they are just beautiful.
I will try minimise my words in this entry as I would rather have the pictures I took do all the talking. Enjoy.
After sifu Cl3m gave his comments, I've decided to upload some of the pictures in full size.
Thanks for reading. Any comments on the pictures I took, anyone?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Still Remember These Flowers?

Having photograpy as a hobby sometimes enable you to relate the pictures you took with something in your life. Take these four pictures for example. They were taken from around my college and also the surroundings here.

P/S: Only the pictures of Taraxacum japonicum were taken from the internet as I couldn't find any tanpopo at the moment.

Four species of flowers, one thing in common. Can you name what relates these four flowers? Leave you answer in the comment box (not shoutbox). Lets see how many will guess it right!

By the way, there is actually a reason why I put the sunflower as the first picture. It has a connection with myself. I guess that should provide you the clue to guess the relations between these flowers now, right? So, keep on guessing away. I'll not be replying to any comments yet to keep it interesting.

UPDATED: I'll be revealing the answers now. The one I was looking for is all these flowers are the names used for our classes in PPKTJ. I know that's almost impossible for you to get it right, unless you studied there before. Of course all the guesses you guys threw in was not wrong. It's just that they weren't they answers I was looking for. Anyway, thanks for trying your luck!

Talking about the first picture, it's not sunflower as I thought earlier. After some people (thanks Tiger for the research) pointed out about it, I found out that it is called Rudbeckia. Sorry for mistake I made which might have confused you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How Long Is Japanese Banana?

There was a time when I was chatting with my friend in Malaysia and I was complaining to him that I've began to get sick of eating their food and how I miss the food back home. You guys who think that we who're studying in Japan get to eat sushi, sashimi, tonkatsu, all those stuff all the time better change your mindset. We do eat them, but not everyday, okay?
I told him that here, fruits like papaya, rambutan and manggis are so rare that they're listed under the endangered species by WFF (World Fruit Fund). At the same time I was eating my banana when I was chatting with him. So I told him the banana they have here is different from what you can get in Malaysia. Then he asked me this:
"So, Japanese banana is not the same like Malaysia's one meh?"
I think that basket need to kena hit with a penukul. I just told him Japanese bananas are different, and he's asking me back the same thing, different tone. Then his next question made me feel so weird which I really beh tahan, but to laugh out. It was something like this:
"Wei, tell la. Which one is longer? I think Japanese banana is longer. Really ar?"
I was like what the fcuk? I'm talking about the banana I'm enjoying and he's thinking something else. He thinks I'm so free to take a ruler and measure the Japanese bananas ar?
I later found out that he just wanted to know how long is the banana I'm eating and not the other 'banana' that I (and most of you who's reading this) was thinking. That's what he claimed.
But you think I believed him?
P/S: Girls, which banana do you prefer? Malaysian banana or Japanese banana? Guys, you can tell me your choice too, if you want to!
By the way, Japan actually doesn't grow banana due to the climate here. All bananas here are imported ones, mostly from the Phillipines. But I still refer them as Japanese banana, instead of the Phillipines banana though.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Nicknames You'll Get From Being Long

Do you ever being given a nickname? I know you do, right? Most of the time, the nicknames you get will be nasty ones. You don't get nicknames like Angle, Sweet Butterfly, such names, right? Instead, it will be ketot, gendut, kambing and kiam pia.

Not surprisingly being tall has also won me some nicknames. Panjang is the most common one. But I feel that 'something' just not right to be called panjang. You usually refer panjang to something else, right? Yes, you get it. We use panjang for things like long beans. These people just couldn't differentiate between panjang and tinggi, I guess. Same thing when you call someone short. Rendah should be the correct term, instead of pendek, no?

When I came to Japan, panjang changed to 高い (takai). Lucky me coz the Japanese didn't use the word sakai to refer the word tall. Even the Malaysians senpai is calling me takai. Not enough with takai, some says I'm 大きい (ooki). I think it's common for the Japanese to call someone tall like that. Okay, fine. I understand. But then, if you translate that into English or Bahasa Melayu, that will mean big or besar. Not something I would hope to be called in such way though.

Besides takai and ooki, there's another (infamous) nickname I got from my senpai from Bangladesh. I had second thoughts whether I should mention here the name he gave me. But I'll do it anyway. He created the nickname 壁様 (kabesama) for me. In Japanese, kabe means wall and sama is Mr. So, does that mean I'm Mr. Wall? But why? Is that because I block his way everytime he walks pass me? He'll call me like that happily everytime he sees me. Really sial fellow!
Another one would be Tiang or Lamp Post. These two names have been around for quite some time already. Some girls say that they can just play their netball anywhere even though there isn't any netpole at the place. Wei basket, you think I'm going to be holding the net for you guys meh?
The next few names is what I got from the gang where I hangout with in the chatbox of Kenny Sia and Christien New. To start it off, let me explain that there's 2 Calvins who used to chat there. So, to avoid any confusion, I used apostrophe for my nickname. Then came the name Cal*tut or Calvin Apostrophe.
That's no the only nickname I got as a result of having 2 Calvins there. They have even came out with JapJap a.k.a CalJap. They said that sounds nice. I can't see where's the nice part. Some of the others will be Calvin Ori and Carbon Copy a.k.a Ca Che'ng (CC). For those of you who doesn't know what Ca Che'ng means, well it means butt in Hokkien. I won't be proud to be called that though.
But the most bizarre name would be Caltex. If I own an oil company, I'll understand that. But then, even during exams, I also don't have enough oil to add already, how can you call me like this? Some went even further by calling me Kotex. Yes, that towel girls use once a month. -.-

I know most of the names they gave is because of there's 2 Calvin there. But then, there are also names given because of my height. The most popular are Fake Yao Ming and Fake Maksim. I'm not as tall as Yao Ming, okay?

By the way, studying in Japan has also earned me another nickname. Not jitpunkia, but Calkia. I know that sounds like Kaukia (puppy). So I guess that's not too bad for a nickname.

Besides adding the word '-san' behind people's names, the Japanese use '-khun' as well. So came the name Calvin Khun, which was nothing unusual. But I'm just afraid that some grandma will hear it as Lor Khun (doctor) and ask me to give them treatment. Sorry la ah ma sekalian, we engineers only deal with machinery stuff. We don't do business with knife and medicine.

I guess that pretty sums up everything. I'm still not sure which one I should use. Maybe by doing a general election will help. Or perhaps you guys still have any new nicknames to add to the list?

But make sure that your suggestions have some connections with myself. Otherwise, be prepared to get fried!

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Surprise E-Mail

Yesterday, I got an unexpected email from someone - my Japanese sensei back in KL. She taught me for a year when I was still in PPKTJ. Here goes the email.
カルヴィンさん

不思議なメール、というかメンバー加入の誘いかな?
・・・が、来ました。
カルヴィンさんの名前でした。文字がなかったのですが、カルヴィンさんのですか?

ところで、
私たち教師は、最近セランゴールへ蛍を見に行きました。
そのときの写真見てください。

元気でね。

木村かおり
I guess the first paragraph is about the forward message I send to all my contacts. So, put that aside. That is not what I'm talking about.
Instead, it's about the two pictures which was attached along with this email. They were taken during their trip to Kuala Selangor to watch fireflies. Me myself haven't been there before but I heard that it's a nice place. Anyone who have been there before could share some thoughts here. Here's the two pictures sent to me.
Kimura sensei with her husband

from left: Kimura sensei's husband, Ito sensei (Physic lecturer) and Kojo sensei (Maths lecturer)

Don't you notice that the 'ohh-so-blow' Kojo sensei looks just like Mr Bean? Hehe, evil me.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Final Day Of Hostel Festival

It has been the third day running I posted my entries on the hostel festival in my kosen. This posting will be the final sequel of the the festival. After last night's tiger show, for a change, they have drama this afternoon.
There was actually three teams putting up the drama today. But I just went to watch the final two team's drama. The second team put up a drama which touches on family relationships.
For most part of the drama, I didn't really get what they were talking about to be honest.

But of course, there were some scenes which were funny which I understands and I laughed. For those parts which was also funny but I didn't get the joke, I see them laughed.

So I followed suit. Not because of the humour, but I laughed because I don't know what they are laughing about.

In the end, only I found out that the storyline is just like the all-time-favourites way of a storyline. Remember when you write an essay last time on any story where you tend to end it up something like this.

"The monster chased me and I had nowhere else to run. Suddenly, I felt off my bed and hit the floor. Only I realised that was just a DREAM".

Sounds familiar, no? Yes, they have this ending for their drama. Only that time I understood why the scenes changed from classroms to some junkyard suddenly. Rupa-rupanya it was just a dream.

For the third and the last team to perform, they chose the theme love. Yes, the storyline was kinda predictable. There were this two angles who will always be around the guy and the girl, giving advices to both of them.

But the guy was shy to express his feeling and he is some sort of a guy who doesn't have taste in fashion. So off he went to make a make-over on his appearance.

From there on, came some robbers out of nowhere and began shooting at everyone. That's the part where I started to get lost on the storyline.

There was also one ah kua (again) came out in this team's drama. The way he/she (I'm not sure) acted will make you really feel geli.

In the end, I guess it was a happy ending as both the guy and the girl were still alive and hugging each other. Why for once, they can't have a sad ending?

I guess that is to get more rating and usually sad ending will be avoided. But don't you think that having sour ending sounds more chi kek?

Although I can't said it was outstanding (partly because I don't really understand the storyline), but overall, it was okay. They have really put an effort on this drama. The lighting, sound systems and stage management was just perfect. That even beats my school drama team.

They have the results at the night session plus some prize giving ceremony. Nothing much. So there is how my hostel festival this year. It's my first time for this hostel festival, so I can't comment much on it. But it was not bad overall. They have put a lot of effort to make it a success.