Monday, March 31, 2008

Welcome Back

I left the rest guessing where I went for the past one week. This should give the exact answer.
DSC04316 copy
To be honest, my trip went quite accordingly to my itinerary until towards the end of the trip, when I decided to return to Nagaoka a day later than my initial plan. It was a change of plan at the eleventh hour to be fair. After thinking and considering over and over again before this whether I should set off for a trip, I think I have made the right decision as it was a great trip and it was worth every yen spent although the first day wasn't that interesting. Tiredness is one thing but on the other hand, getting the opportunity to visit the places which I have not been to before this was an exciting yet enjoyable experience. The trip didn't stop at just going to those places as there are a few of us from my batch who ended up having some sort of a gathering together with the senpais and new kohais who just arrived in Japan a few days earlier at Ueno Park in the proximity of Tokyo. I will not be blogging so soon on the places and the craziness which I have had for the past six days as the new semester is starting very soon and I expect it will be a busy week from now onwards.
Anyway in this entry, I will be writing another experience that I encountered in the middle of my trip. I was walking around Harajuku and I sort of lost my way to the train station because I exited from a different gate of Meiji shrine, just a stone's throw away from the station. It took me some time to wonder around and while I was walking, I sensed that someone was trailing behind me. In fact, I have noticed that that guy has been trailing behind me since I was walking out from the shrine. I just ignored him initially, thinking that he might be gheading to the same place as me. However the longer I was walking and looking for the station, he appeared to be following me, keeping a distance between himself and me about ten meters behind. As I realised that I was beginning to walk into some quiet alley and he was still trailing behind me, I began to have the feeling that this guy is really following me after all.
So, I increased my walking pace and I tried to play some game with him to see if he was really following me. It was very simple. I just made him walked one big round and when I turned to the initial point at a junction, he stopped going after me. I breathed a sigh of relief. I continued walking and it so happened that I came across a small police station and I went in to ask for the way to the nearest train station. Nothing happened after that as I managed to direct myself to the station without coming across with that guy along my way again. Honestly speaking, I do not think that I was being trailed that day but luckily no untoward incident happened. Although I feel much safer when I am in Japan, but I still believe we should not become too complacent about safety and take things for granted no matter where you are. I guess I have been talking negatively about Japanese in the past two entries without even realising it.
On another note, there was an entry before this where I was asking the rest to guess where I was heading for my holiday and there are some clever and cheeky responses from some. Nobody got the exact answer - Tokyo being the closest one but I did mention that I will be presenting a mystery bag to the person who got it correctly. Here are the places that I went for the past one week.
DSC04032 copy
A few guessed it was Tokyo. What should I do with the mystery bag? Divide it equally between those with correct guess?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Disturbing Scene

Ever wonder how safe Japan is?
The signs that my trip this time will be full of new encounters were already there even before I took the train from my place to destined place last Sunday night. I took a midnight train which made me waiting at the train station for almost three long-hours as I arrived at the station with the last bus from my college. Do not asked why I didn't walk all the way to the train station or take a cab and arrive just in time for my train; because the former will be an absolutely crazy idea bearing in mind that now is spring but it is still very cold in Nagaoka, while taking a cab to the train station is way too expensive. I was there together with my Vietnamese senpai who was leaving for Nagoya but his train left an hour earlier than mine, leaving me waiting alone there. So I went into the waiting room and a few minutes later, I witness something which left me wonder how safe Japan is after all.
A stout man with a thick moustache and unshaven face in his late fifties, wearing a suit while holding a briefcase came into the room and greeted the rest there. Instantly, I smelled something fishy was going to unfold. Japanese are known for their shy and unfriendly characteristics and it is very uncommon for them to greet strangers that simple. He slowly looked around and saw a young girl sitting just a row in front of me. He made his first few steps towards that girl, walking in such a way like some drunken old man and sat next to her. He tried to make himself to be as close as possible to that girl although there were still many empty seats available in the waiting room. He greeted her and later took out a laminated A4 sized card, slowly began to explain something to that girl, which I couldn't hear clearly as he was speaking in a relatively soft tone. I tried to make out what he was talking and I later found out that he was explaining some Japanese kanji characters to her, and telling her what are the meanings of those kanji.
A weird and silly idea, isn't it?
Who is even interested to pay any attention to such stuff when it was past midnight already? I couldn't recall all the characters he showed to her, but one of them was the kanji 雨 (ame) or rain. The girl initially gave some short responses to him and that made that old man to start his great grandmother stories. Despite so, she continued exchanging words with him, although from her replies and body expressions, I could tell that she didn't seem to have any interest on that old man's stories. Feeling that it could be an opening for him, he slowly tilted his body towards that poor girl, that I estimated his shoulder was tilted almost 30 degrees to that girl. He must be taking that girl as his girlfriend, watching a movie together while trying to show some intimacy. However, she remained composed on her seat without freaking out immediately and move to a new seat straight away. She must be one brave girl I thought.
The rest waiting in that room couldn't be bothered to look at what was happening but being a Malaysian, I couldn't help myself but to kepoh a bit and watched what was unfolding. That old man then took a small packet of some cheap snack and offered it to that girl. She rejected him and returned the snack. But he insisted for her to take it. Again, she rejected. It was something like, "Take lah"and "No, thanks" from the two of them repeatedly. This continued for so many times that I can bet that it was easily more than ten times. In the end, he gave up and kept the snack for himself. Pity him Served him just right. Lucky thing for that girl because soon enough, the train was arriving and that girl quickly made her move away from that guy.
But he didn't give up. He approached another girl but this time, before he could even get himself any closer to his second target, that girl quickly shoved him away. He looked dejected. That facial expression was priceless, I tell you. I was laughing inside for the way she asked that old guy to get lost and the way she quickly ran away from him; also because he failed to hit any targets that night. I was sure that old man was up for something else because after all of us were getting down to the platform to board the train, he remained lazing around alone helplessly.
I wonder if he is still around tonight trying to hit a target.
P/S: I have almost burned out although I am just midway through my trip this time.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Short Hiatus

This will be my last post.
No, I didn't mean that I will stop myself from blogging anymore after this. For the next one week at least, I will be handing my blog over to Michelle and make her the boss here. I hope I made the right choice and that she won't vandalise this blog and chase away all of my readers by the time I am back. She can however, surprise me by guest blogging here. It is not that I won't be able to online again after this, but I am just not too sure myself when and how often I will be getting the internet connection during this period. If you guys are wondering why is this so, then this would be the answer;
DSC05132 copy
Correct guess will be getting a mystery bag when I am back.
P/S: I will still be around until late evening today as I will only be leaving at night.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bunny Hunt

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
short talk
Have Malaysians gone blind? I know Malaysians had made a right choice in the last general election, but now the opposite is happening yet again. If you follow Malaysian Dream Girl, you should know by now that Alisson got eliminated in the first week. WTF, right?
Honestly, she has been one of my favourites and I had the feeling that she will go far in the competition before this. There are much undeserving girls (which I won't mention any names here) out there, who are more interested in bitching about other contestants and trying to gain sympathy votes with their tears, instead of working and improving themselves to be a decent model. However, they still remain in the competition just because they are popular among the viewers. This is pure nonsense. I hope if anyone staying in Malaysia and voting for the contestants, please vote wisely. We do not want another carbon copy of Daniel from Malaysian Idol in this competition.
Vote based on merit, not popularity lah!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It has been more than six months since I last paid a visit to the animal farm about 20 minutes walk from my college here. Not having much to do and instead of warming up my butt in front of my laptop all the time, I decided to revisit that farm a couple of days ago, although it was still relatively cold in my place. The area surrounding this farm has other facilities including stock farms, camping sites, tennis courts, playgrounds for children and also a ski resort.
DSC02571 copy
I saw only two animals displayed on the huge signboard welcoming the visitors to that place – a cow and a horse. Despite so, what I saw when I stepped my foot there was totally different and rather disappointing. There was not a single cow there. Not even cow dung.
DSC02566 copy
Never mind about those cows, I was more interested and looking forward to those cute little bunnies which are left running freely around an open area. Again, I was bitterly disappointed when I only see melting snows after climbing up the slope which was still covered with a thin layer of dirty snow.
DSC02565 copy
After making all the way there, I thought it would be a waste for me to return home without getting to see even some living animals. I looked around and finally, I saw chickens.
DSC02541 copy
The only thing I know about these chickens is that they are better known to us as ayam serama in Malaysia. You do not expect a future engineer like me to have any knowledge and give proper explanations on these species of chickens, because in my honest opinion, it would be a suicidal act. Let just leave this to the expert ones. There was this little girl who was occompanied by her parents when I was there and she tried communicating with those chickens by making sounds which chickens normally make. It was not like "kok kok kok", but instead, it sounded something like "koe kek kokkoo". Japanese chickens make weird sounds. But in truth, all their animals make weird sounds. Their cats don't purr like "meow meow", but they "nyak nyak"; their dogs go "wan wan", instead of barking out "woff woff".
Anyway, I was so excited that it took me some time before I calmed down and watched these chickens feeding on their grains.
DSC02549 copy
When someone got so excited just because he saw some chickens, that is a sad story, isn't it? If it is another version of chickens, then it would be more comprehensible. You are not thinking what I am thinking, are you?
At least they saved the best for the last. I was eventually greeted by no less than ten rabbits although they are in the cage this time. When I see these rabbits, it reminded me of my first experience of handling rabbits at the exact location several months ago. Then, I took so long before I eventually got a hand on one of the rabbits on my lap because they were running and hopping everywhere whenever I tried to chase over them. Suffice to say that I am not that comfortable with furry animals.
DSC02563 copy
A couple in the background wee starting to cuddle with each other. I wonder what happened after that.
Some of these rabbits are actually brave enough to come so near to the cage that they freaked the hell out of me when I was focusing on their friends. Out of a sudden, they appeared just right in front of me, with their pinkish tongue sticking out to lick on my camera.
DSC02553 copy
"Aiyah, so sad. Why am I eating alone here?"
Not all were brave, however.
DSC02555 copy
"Woi, got food didn't share share lar? So kiam siap lah you!"
Some chickened out immediately whenever I made any movements and adjusted my body postures. Their lightning reactions were in unison in a group, just like how fishes in an aquarium in the fish shop will response when you tap on the glass. Some were so afraid that they tried to hide behind the wooden cage.
DSC02558 copy
I didn't stay long at that animal farm as there was nothing much to see and it was rather boring to be fair. Although the spring season has started two days ago, it would be at least more than a week before sakura will start to bloom here. The sakura in my place will bloom much later than that as sakura usually blooms from the southern part of Japan, and slowly proceeds to the northern area like mine. However, I made an unexpected encounter, when I spotted a few sakura trees which have begun to bloom although they have much more tiny petals compared to the normal ones.
DSC02583 copy
It is not the best shot of sakura this year, but it would be the first of my many sakura shots you will be expecting from now on.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Random Shots

This short and simple entry will be four pictures of four unrelated things taken from four different places.
random3 copy
Combo picture 1
A normal looking post box in front of a grocery shop. I was once told that some post boxes in Japan are green in colour, but I have yet to encounter any green ones so far. That person who told me must be bluffing on me. Meanwhile, the picture on the right is the Peace Pole in which to my surprise, was spotted in a garden of someone's house. The pole reminds me of the pole which are found in Taiping Lake Gardens, which looks exactly the same.

random4 copy

Combo picture 2
A signboard on an lamp pole telling the public, especially drivers to be aware of the children around that area. Like what we always see near school compounds, which reads "Awas, kanak-kanak melintas". However, translating that Japanese word on top of the signboard directly would make it "Kids will fly out" or should I say, "Kids will burst" which sounds wrong in some ways. Malaysian authorities should take note and come out with more signboards with cute drawings like this, instead of boring orang lidi drawings. Anyway, the next one is a vendor machine that I saw at a junction. The number of vendor machines here are as many as how often you come across rubbish on the road back home. What made this one unique was that it has a wooden roof on top of it, which I assume it was made by the shop owner.
P/S: Beve, you were telling me yesterday that pictures of Japan look cute. With these four pictures above, it just made a stronger claim that everything in Japan - be it in the consumer world or the natural word has to look kawaii, isn't it?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Gone Are Those Days

DSC02090 copy
Sometimes, the thick snowfall could turn something into another thing which serves other purpose in-turn. Take this two dustbin for example. It is a common thing to come across two dustbins at a same spot in Japan as one will be used for burnable trash, while the other will be for non-burnable trash. The thick layer of snow covered more than half of the height of the dustbins and the public could no longer use them to dump their trash into them. However, they could use them as benches. Despite so, who will be that crazy to spend their time sitting outside and go through the freezing condition, right? I reckon that only crazy people would do that though. Picture was taken during the Nagaoka Snow Festival in my place last month.
The snow has made a Houdini's act;
The sun has come out shining brightly to replace the snow;
Temperature is slowly rising;
Birds have come out from their hiding place and begun chirping happily away;
There is only one message from this change;
It marks another season change in the land of rising sun;
Sayonara winter, as we welcome the spring.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Surprise Gift

I did mention once that this pure and clean looking layout will stay for some time.
2 copy
A few days ago, a friend of my e-mailed me something which carried the four-letter words "this one give u" in the subject box. My curiousity and the name of the sender made me clicked on that mail first instead of the other mails, and what I saw was an attachment of a new blog's header. It came from no other than Kevin Tan Teck Meng (I don't know why but I just feel like writing out your full name here), which I am very sure that it was specially made for me.
Ada betul, sayang?
As far as my goldfish memory serves me correctly, I didn't threaten and force ask him to make me a header before. Neither did I lament about how I badly in need of someone who is willing to design a header for me free-of-charge to anyone, including him all this while. Yes, I admit I am bluffing on that. But I am a photoshop noob and it would just spell disaster for me to play with it to make a nice and proper header, wouldn't it? However, Kevin read my feelings so well that he went and stole my pictures from I-have-no-idea-where-was-it and came out with a header, which has super the huge face of mine that occupies almost half of the whole header. I know each and every one of you will be thinking now what the heck am I doing there by making a free publicity of putting up my bloody face up there, right?
1 copy
Love it or hate it, it is all up to your personal take and all credits shall be given to Kevin Tan Teck Meng. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Farewell Party 2008

The mochi pounding ceremony in this entry was held as one part of the farewell party for the fifth graders of the international students almost a month ago. It started with a short speech by one of the lecturers who is in charge of the welfare of the international students in my college, and later it proceeded with a few other short messages from the others. It was more to formal talkings which I don't think there is a need for me to go further into that.
Next was performances by those who volunteered to put up some shows to entertain those senpais who are leaving. First up was a pair of Japanese guy who rendered a few songs along with their guitar. Ironically, both of them are the fifth graders as well. But this party was held for the international students and they were the ones who were supposed to be treated. So, you could understand why is that so.
DSC02356 copy
It continued with a traditional musical performance by a group of homo. Homosapiens I meant, in which one of the member was the office girl in my college. A nice girl she was. I have to say this group is considered very integrated as it consists of group members from all races ages.
DSC02369 copy
Then came one girl, who treated us with a few Japanese traditional songs. One of the song sounded just like the parrot in Sado as she was singing at such a high pic which made my ears had some difficulties problem.
DSC02376 copy
When you are leaving a place, one thing to look forward to would be getting presents. Well, not exactly those huge and expensive presents. Just some tokens of appreciation from the Japanese students to the soon-to-be-leaving senpais.
DSC02361 copy
As for us, it was the next event which what made us got up so early in the morning - 11am (during the school break, that is considered quite early already), just to attend this party. What else, but makan time. To be honest, nothing much were served except for the pounded mochi, titbit, fruits, and soft drinks. I was thinking that food like sushi and sashimi would be served that day. A real disappointment.
DSC02385 copy
Anyway, we weren't there to merely whack the food, to be honest. This would be the our last gathering with the senpai and what better thing is there left for us to do, but to camwhore like crazy. First and foremost, joining the lecturer and take a proper group picture.
DSC02389 copy
Actually, there were a story behind this group picture. It started with me asking all the fifth graders to have a proper group shot among themselves, like the annual class photo we usually take in our schooling days. Unfortunately, the group suddenly attracted those tak tau malu ones and in the end, all of the people there end up gathering there, but the lecturers. So we thought why not if we just take a group picture straight away. A spontaneous shot was the initial intention, but I never thought it would turn out to be so formal.
Anyway, we finally got a shot WITHOUT the other buggers later afterwards.
DSC02412 copy
From then on, it was just free-style among us. From the Bolehlanders;
DSC02396 copy
The picture below doesn't really represent just we Malaysians as there is an Indonesian a Japanese getting themselves lost in no-man's land.
DSC02403 copy

Then I trekked up north to meet the China girl;
DSC02393 copy
There is someone who told me that this picture is controversial. Got arh?
And I met with a Chindonesian and also came face-to-face with a Bollywood star. I refer him as Chindonesian because he is a Chinese who hails from Jakarta. As for the latter, he comes from Bangladesh.
DSC02394 copy
My journey later made me being infected with a disease which is caused by some kind of bug. It makes some annoying sound, something like Kopkhumkopkap kap-kap-kap. I know I am such an evil person to make fun of a Vietnamese.
DSC02413 copy

Even though the party was to celebrate the senpais, there was one person who got more attention than the senpai.
DSC02398 copy
Everyone was registering their names in the waiting list to be the next one to get a hold on that baby, who was one of my lecturer's child.
DSC02390 copy
I quickly jumped queue and asked to be given the chance to hold the baby once I saw her face like this.
DSC02407 copy
Damn adorable and cute, right? And I spread my yet-to-be-tested fatherly love on her for a few moments.

DSC02326 copy

It didn't last long. The next thing I got was this face expression.
DSC02406 copy
I quickly returned her to the mummy before that kid gives me her freshly baked green cake.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Shall I Give Myself A Chance?

I was thinking over and over again whether I shall pen this post down.
It is not a common thing for me to post up a rant or emo post in my blog, but I just feel and hope that I will get better when I'm done with this post. I could not identify what had caused me to be emotionally down for almost the whole day yesterday. I slept early, hoping to feel a lot better this morning, but the uneasiness and misery still remained and still pretty much the same. The slight headache I am having at the moment didn't help much at all. There have been a lot of stuff that have kept me thinking, which I have no idea the need of doing that. That has cause countless of sleepless nights recently, something that I don't face before this. It is really frustrating in some ways for not being able to have a proper sleep. Yesterday afternoon, I was informed that all the students in my year will be given a double room, totally opposite from what we were told once. They promised us that we will be getting a single room from next semester onwards then. But now, they didn't deliver their promises and failed to walk the talk. I wouldn't deny that it spoilt my mood for the day 'coz I was so looking forward to hearing their announcement. But anyway, it has already being decided and I know I should not be complaining much.
DSC09167 copy
For the past couple of days, the internet connection in my hostel has gone haywire and it gets disconnected so frequent that it really test me patience. It is really hard to comprehend, especially when considering that the students are still away for their winter break and there are hardly more than ten students living in the hostel at the moment. I have no idea what is the problem, but it doesn't seem to get any better today. That is also one of the reason why the two of us aren't getting along well for the past few days. I mean, she is busy with her studies and by the time she gets back, it will get quite late and tiredness will get over her. We can't even have a proper half-an-hour chat without being disconnected and stuff. It really tests our relationship to the limits. Succumbing to this shortcoming is much more easy than facing the reality and working ourselves out to get out from the problems. It is not merely the fact that we could not talk much but there are other uncertainties as well. Are my askings and demands too much? Are we treating each other the way what couples should be doing? Or most importantly, did we make the right choice in the first place? Doubts and worries are beginning to make me ponder perhaps I should reconsider our relationship. I know this sounds silly for me to come out with such words out of a sudden, after what we have gone through so far but these are the things that has been going around my minds in these few days. Perhaps it is just because my headache. Perhaps it is because I'm just being over-sensitive. I don't have the exact answer. I wonder whether I should give myself, or more importantly ourselves, another chance.
Time will tell.
P/S: Thanks for your words last night and that entry this morning. Just give me some time.
P/S/S: Kevin, thanks for sending me that header.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Earthquake Paranoid

"Really? Just now?
Eeeee so cute"
Kevin Tan reacting,
when I told him I was hit with a quake.
I think there are many better adjectives to describe an earthquake, no?
I experienced two minor earthquakes in the short space of less than a week, and I have begun to have some kind of feeling that a big quake is beckoning. Some had said that a huge quake will hit the Tokyo metropolitan area once every hundred years. The last one - famously known as the Great Kanto Earthquake occurred in 1923 and many are predicting that the next one would be around 2010. Living in a small town hundreds of kilometers away from Tokyo doesn't make my uneasiness any lesser. Perhaps it is just my paranoiac delusions, but I am quite sure that it is just a matter of time before I will be hit with a big earthquake.
I was online-ing in my room as usual yesterday evening when without any ominous warnings, I felt my table with my laptop on it and the fan on the floor just next to the table shook out of a sudden. The first thought that entered my mind was "Another earthquake?!!" It was completely different to the time when I experienced my first quake middle of last year which happened to be a bigger one, as I didn't have a clear idea about what was going on then. But now, I know for a split second that it was a quake. A real earthquake. Leaving that aside, my first immediate act was getting out from my room but the corridor outside was so quiet that I could hear the ants were running and shouting for their lives. I returned to my room thinking that maybe it was just my two legs shaking against the table that caused that shakes. I tried moving my table, but it had me applying some force before my table made a few noticeable movements. To clear all my doubts, I went to the Japan Meteorological Agency site to check on the latest information about earthquakes in Japan that is recorded whenever there is a quake. The latest information showed that it was a minor one occurred in one of the smaller southern island of Shikoku. I waited for a few moment as the latest information is usually updated about five minutes after a particular quake. When I refreshed the site again, this is what I saw.
eq
I am staying just in the proximity of that red cross.
So, I could confirm that an earthquake really happened yesterday evening and I wasn't making that out. The epicenter of the magnitude 3.9 quake was almost identical to the one last July that coincidentally was also around Kashiwazaki, which is about 40 kilometers away from my place, Nagaoka. Just as a matter of fact, earthquakes happen every day in Japan but the majority of them are minor ones, i.e. could hardly being felt. However, after being on the receiving end of two moderate quakes in such a short period of time, I have begun to take some precaution measures. Nothing exaggerated though. I just gathered all my important stuffs, emergency items that I will be taking away first when there is a quake into a small bag. By the way, the quake yesterday didn't last long - only for two to three seconds but it made my heartbeat increased dramatically.
Thankfully, I am still alive today to write this crap post.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Would You Hire Me?

Last night, I received a SMS from my sister out of a sudden which prompted me to check the message immediately as the first line reads something like "Need ur advice and help...". The first thought that came into my mind was that I thought she was having some problems in her love relationship and need me to give my opinion from the guy's point of view. I was hoping and thought that I could help her out on that matter, not until I finished reading the whole message. Now, I guess I couldn't help her by myself 'coz her problem was too complicated.
Here is the message and I hope someone, whether boys or girls could assist me on the problem.

DSC02520

And this morning when I was checking my inbox, I received a resume from someone familiar. Here are the details.

Untitled-1 copy

Anyone interested?

Monday, March 10, 2008

The "Undilah Saya" Test

There was a time when I read about the snail experiment done by Pinkpau and I thought of doing the same thing over MSN. This time however, I utilised the election fever that can still be felt around the nation and randomly MSN-ed almost everyone in my MSN contact list, no matter what their status were. Here is how it worked. Basically, I MSN-ed them with a short message "Undilah saya" accompanied with a cheeky emoticon which has raised moving eyebrowns.
Here is the responses that I got.
1. Calvin says:
undilah saya
Calvinsanity says:
mati la u
take my address dunno do wat sial
some more wan me to undi u
* This happened because I had asked for his home address earlier that day and worried that I might send him a group of loan sharks.
2. Calvin says:
undilah saya
Wan Kok Hong says:
no
Calvin says:
saya tawar rm100
Wan Kok Hong says:
no thanks you
lol
Calvin says:
naik harga rm200
Wan Kok Hong says:
at least 200K la...
support me until i graduate,
plus ryokou dai (travel expenses)
Calvin says:
tamat rundingan
sekian terima kasih
Wan Kok Hong says:
sama sama
3. Calvin says:
undilah saya
Stan daHeim says:
mm?
4. Calvin says:
undilah saya
Jane says:
LOL
5.
Calvin says:
undilah saya
lasilasi says:
=.=
=.=
Calvin says:
saya tawar rm100
* She went offline for unknown reason.
6. Calvin says:
undilah saya
重杰cK says:
buat apa undi u??
Calvin says:
saya tawar rm100
重杰cK says:
tolong kirim cheque kepada saya
Calvin says:
DEAL!!
7.
Calvin says:
undilah saya

michelleg says through SKYPE:
why undilah saya?
8.
Calvin says:
undilah saya
Reena says:
?
Calvin says:
saya tawar rm100
Reena says:
nah
Calvin says:
naik harga rm200
Reena says:
no deal
rm 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 also no deal
Calvin says:
tamat rundingan
sekian terima kasih
Reena says:
england pls. or else i wont reply
9. Calvin says:
undilah saya
cl3m says:
lol
when u take part la
Calvin says:
saya tawar rm100

cl3m says:
haha
100 not enough la
Calvin says:
naik harga rm200
cl3m says:
hafta increase 0s
Calvin says:
tamat rundingan
sekian terima kasih
10. Calvin says:
undilah saya
kAwAisOOnAnO says:
hah!
Calvin says:
saya tawar rm100
kAwAisOOnAnO says:
lol...
ns kalah banyak lo..
Calvin says:
naik harga rm200
kAwAisOOnAnO says:
lol... rasuah~
do u like the election's result?
Calvin says:
tamat rundingan
sekian terima kasih
11. Calvin says:
undilah saya
banana says:
sure sure
lol... if u reli are a candidate i surely would
Calvin says:
DEAL!!

banana says:
lol...
Calvin says:
u are the only one so far who accepted straight away my demand

banana says:
sure... frens ma
12.
Calvin says:
undilah saya
Chuan Wen says:
hehe
Calvin says:
saya tawar rm100

Chuan Wen says:
RM200
Calvin says:
naik harga rm200

Chuan Wen says:
RM350
Calvin says:
tamat rundingan
sekian terima kasih
Chuan Wen says:
Thank you RM350
sila bayar secara sms
dgn menghantar rm30 ke 38999
Calvin says:
last price rm200
take it or leave it
Chuan Wen says:
RM250
Calvin says:
no deal
ini bukan jalan petaling

Chuan Wen says:
sorry, ini petaling jaya
Calvin says:
rundingan tamat dengan rasminya

Chuan Wen says:
Tahniah! gandakan wang anda dgn RM500
13. Calvin says:
undilah saya

jaecywong says:
=-='' ei boy i kinda trustrated now..
i'll get back to u soon ya
14. Calvin says:
undilah saya

Ivan says:
haha
undi me better lar
Calvin says:
saya tawar rm100

Ivan says:
lol...
Calvin says:
naik harga rm200
* His status was busy and didn't got a reply after that.
15. Calvin says:
undilah saya

Szehuey says:
undi u for what?
Calvin says:
saya tawar rm100
Szehuey says:
apa ini?
Calvin says:
naik harga rm200
Szehuey says:
tak leh
=p
16. Calvin says:
undilah saya
Kevin says:
display picture izit?
aiyah havent load yet la
Calvin says:
tunggu sampai load, lepas tu undi saya
Kevin says:
izit a pic of u infront of CK?
* My laptop hanged and I have to restart my laptop after that.
Here is a recap of all the responses that I got:
  • Shi Han a.k.a calvinsanity gave me a death threat.
  • Kok Hong refused to accept my RM200 bribe, unless I give a better offer.
  • Stan got blurred.
  • Jane didn't know what to do and therefore laughed.
  • Lasilasi got tulan-ed with this expression =.=
  • Chong Keat will vote for me with a RM100 bribe.
  • Michelle answered me through Skype.
  • Reena refused to my offer no matter how much I were to offer her.
  • Clement will accept my offer if the amount is increased.
  • Ah Tuck sensed that I was trying to bribe him, but later changed the topic.
  • Li Xiang a.k.a banana will vote for me without any hesitation.
  • Chuan Wen will vote if I bribe him with RM250.
  • Jaecy was feeling unwell and didn't want to reply.
  • Ivan asked to vote for him instead.
  • Szehuey got blurred as well.
  • Kevin appeared to be voting for me, until my laptop gave me some problems.

In conclusion, of the 16 respondents:

  • Respondent(s) who will vote for me without bribery: 1
  • Respondent(s) who are against bribery: 1
  • Respondent(s) who are willing to condone bribery: 4
  • Respondent(s) who gave didn't bother to bargain and gave unrelated replies: 8
  • Respondent(s) who emo-ed: 1
  • Respondent(s) who replied me through other medium (Skype): 1

Apparently, money politics still work to some extend if you are running in an election.

P/S: To those who missed out on this, please do not feel small gas/heart, okay? You were e ither offline/away when I was looking at my MSN list. You may not appear here, but certainly not forgotten. I still love every single of you.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A New Beginning

"People should not be afraid of their government.
Governments should be afraid of their people."
V in V for Vendetta (2006)
080308.
That will be one of those dates that will enter the record book of our beloved Bolehland. Certainly our country is Boleh in whatever they do and yesterday, the rakyat just proved that we, the Bolehlanders memang boleh. Despite living thousand of miles away from home, I stayed up through the night to witness how the results unfolded. Yes, you can call me whatever you like. Crazy, sick, etc. She called me politic freak, which I beg to differ for a second, at least. The excitement on how did the ruling party and the opposition fared made me pulled myself from the bed early this morning. It will not hurt much for sacrificing my sleep for a few hours once in a while. The signs and indications were there and it was just waiting for the confirmation. Yesterday, the rakyat has sent a clear sign about what are their needs and what is unnecessary and merely bring benefits to certain individuals - nepotism being one of them. Surprisingly enough, but not unexpectedly, it was a complete whitewash to the ruling party in most of the northern states, including Perak.
It would not be the best idea for me to write much thing detailing about the outcome as I am pretty sure there are a lot of other sources out there, and also the fact that I reckon I would be the last best person to give my opinion on politics. I am not a political analyser, but just a little kid from one of the small town in the country. Nonetheless, the rakyat has proved for once how true the quote above is this time around. The national coalition may have lost out big this time, but they should take this as an opportunity to reflect and make amends. On the other hand, the opposition should not let themselves got carried away by their victory. It is time for both parties to deliver whatever promises and policies that they have given to the rakyat before this over the next few years. We all know very well that empty promises will not bring a long-term future for anyone. Time will tell what are the changes that they will bring to the nation, to ensure the rights and welfare of every single Malaysian, irregardless of race and religions is well-taken care to make our country a better place to live in.
I know this perhaps is one of the many post-election's reactions entry that you have read so far. This is merely my personal thoughts and I am just voicing out my opinions as a citizen of Malaysia. I expect there are people with opinions that contradict with mine, but one thing for sure, I am so looking forward to vote when the next general election comes around in five years time. Deep inside, I am sincerely hoping that from this day onwards, the wind of change will bring better things for the nation for the interest of all Malaysian, and more importantly our future generations.
I am still an anak Malaysia, afterall.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rice Cake Pounding

As one of the side event for the recently held farewell party for the fifth formers who are leaving very soon last weekend, a rice cake pounding ceremony was organised. Traditionally, the ceremony is more commonly known as 餅つき (Mochitsuki) here in Japan. For those who are unclear what a mochi is, here is a simple explanation of this Japanese delicacy.
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. It is the traditional food for the Japanese New Year, while also eaten year-round and is commonly sold and eaten during that time. Mochi is similar to the Chinese rice cake nian gao; however, mochi is shaped from cooked glutinous rice right after it is pounded, whereas nian gao is steamed directly to its final form from a batter made of uncooked glutinous rice flour. In the Philippines, it is called palitao in Tagalog and is coated with sesame seeds and grated coconut.
DSC02303 copy
Each of us the international students who were interested to try a hand on pounding the rice cake were given an opportunity to do so on that day. However, the process of preparing the rice has started since the day before, where polished glutinous rice is soaked overnight. The next morning, it is steamed in a similar way rice are steamed.
When the rice is ready, it is transferred into a traditional mortar called usu.
DSC02329 copy
Two people will hold the white cloth supporting the cooked rice while the other person will move the rice into the mortar.
DSC02330 copy
Before they started pounding on the rice, we got to try a bite on the rice which taste soft and nice with some fragrance in it.
DSC02331 copy
The process will later proceed with pressing the rice to make it a dough-like mixture using a wooden mallet called kine. This is the only time I joined throughout the whole process of making the mochi and it was certainly not an easy task.
DSC02301 copy
After the rice is pressed for a certain period of time, the rice will be pounded by two people alternately, one pounding and the other turning and wetting the mochi. They must keep a steady rhythm or they may accidentally injure one another with the heavy kine. Indirectly, if you are pissed off with someone and you feel like taking a revenge, inviting that person to join you pounding the rice together is not a bad idea at all. But of course, you have to make sure you are the one pounding the rice, not the one turning and wetting the mochi.
Doing this, you can deliberately use the kine and hit whichever part of that person, only to apologise later and say that it was not intended. See, you can take revenge while getting to eat mochi at the same time. A good return for all the energy that you had put into pounding on the mochi.
DSC02353 copy
Putting that evil idea aside, it didn't keep some of us from posing while pounding on the mochi. Remember that Burung Besar that I went together with to Sado Island not very long ago? It made its appearance again this time, pounding on mochi while posing with his trademark peace sign.
DSC02321 copy
It doesn't matter whether you have a nice and chun small-sized figure to be able to try pounding mochi. As you can see, even my most kicik-sized senpai had a few pounds on the mochi.
DSC02340 copy
"See, I can do it also lah"
After pounding the mochi for around thirty minutes, the mochi is transferred into a large steel bowl filled with some water.
DSC02328 copy
The sticky mass is then formed into various shapes, usually a sphere or cube; and later dipped into various flavour, for instances, red bean paste, soy sauce, sweetened fine groundnuts, or walnut sauce.
DSC02337 copy
Various kinds of mochi coatings - brown groundnuts, dark brown soy sauce and reddish brown red bean paste.
Mochi is very sticky and somewhat tricky to eat. After each new year, it is reported in the Japanese media how many people die from choking on mochi. The victims are usually elderly. Because it is so sticky, it is difficult to dislodge via the Heimlich maneuver. In the Japanese comedy film Tampopo, a vacuum cleaner is used to suck it out. Think I am bluffing on this? There is a fact where some lifesaving experts say that a vacuum cleaner is actually efficient for stuck mochi.
See, told you already that I never bluff anyone on stucking mochi with a vacuum cleaner.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Kisah Seorang Jurubasikal Yang Terlampau

There was one time last night, when I was having a level-5 erotic MSN conversation with Kevin Tan when we were discussing about Kok Hong. Considering the latter uses a bicycle to his university every time he attends his lectures, I came out with the word jurubasikal. A new word to add up into the next edition of Kamus Dewan.
Talking about bicycle reminds me of some experiences I have had before this. When I was still a little kid, my parents got me a bicycle, which used to have two supportive extra wheels to balance me up. That was the most important asset as I would have paid countless visits to the doctor's house if my bicycle wasn't equipped with that extra wheels. Later when I grew up, I dumped that red bicycle aside and I turned into a bigger one, the one without the supportive wheels. Being someone who doesn't really have problems in balancing myself, I didn't find it an impossible task to ride on the bike on my first few attempts. However, that was possible after some failures, of course. One of the major one was when I was riding behind the lane of my house when, I lost my control and ended up in a drain. Luckily for me, the drain that day was dry unlike the usual days when all the chicken and fish water will be released into the drain by my irresponsible neighbours. The first accident I ever had in my life didn't inflicted me with any cuts or bruise on my body, but just a scolding from my mum. So sad, right?
Nonetheless, I reckon there will not be many stories that will beat the story of a friend of mine not very long ago. Having grown up without being exposed to riding on a bicycle, he insisted on riding on a bicycle and joining us one day. We told him not to do so until the day he could cycle properly, but he didn't want to take our advice. Not wanting to make him unhappy and crying at one corner of the classroom, we unwillingly let him cycle with us to the kiosk to get some snacks during our lunch break. We were worried and know it would be just a matter of time before he either cycle himself into the drain, or simply hit a tree trunk as our university has its fair share of greens in the surroundings. In the first few seconds, it turned out to be okay. So, the two of us overtook him and continued our ride, while he was tailing just behind us. Just when our worries for this friend had begun to ease down, we heard a big bang. Just like a car hitting onto a steel signboard.
My first thought is "OMFG, I hope it is a car hitting onto a steel signboard and not onto my friend".
We looked behind and it turned out to be otherwise. No cars were involved in the accident. The sound came from this friend who lost his balance totally and resorted to taking his own version of emergency break by riding himself onto a steel signboard. Both of us didn't rush to give him a helping hand. Instead, we were laughing at him. It was not because we failed our Pendidikan Moral but our pity friend, of all the things which were available there for him to choose to hit onto, chose to hit a signboard bearing a four-letter word, "AWAS".
What an ironic accident, isn't it?
P/S: I don’t think I have to mention who is the one I mentioned above, as I’m quite sure most of you would know who I was referring to, as well as to protect the privacy of this friend. However, that is a history by today as he can cycle as good and as fast as Lance Armstrong already these days.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hinamatsuri

It was the 3rd of March two days ago.

Untitled copy

While it would probably be just another day for most of us, it was something different for the Japanese. On the third day of the third month every year, 雛祭り (Hinamatsuri) or Doll Festival is celebrated here. This is a day families pray for happiness and prosperity of their young girls and to help ensure that they grow up healthy and beautiful. It is also called 桃の節句 (Momo-no sekku) or Peach Festival because of the peach blossom season on the old lunar calendar. May 5th is 子供の日 (Kodomo-no hi) or Children's Day, and it is also called Boy's Festival. Children's Day is a national holiday in Japan but on the other hand, Hinamatsuri is not.

So, it seems that sexism can be found in Japan too.

DSC02478 copy

Also known as Girls' Day, it is during this day that sets of ornamental dolls called 雛人形 (Hina-ningyou) representing the Emperor, Emperess, attendants and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period are displayed on platforms with a red carpet called 日毛氈 (hi-mousen). Most families take out this display of dolls around mid-February and put it away immediately after Hina Matsuri is over.

There is a superstition that says that families slow to put away the dolls will have trouble marrying off their daughters. Interesting.

DSC02477 copy

The custom of displaying dolls began during the Heian period. Formerly, people believed the dolls possessed the power to contain bad spirits. Hinamatsuri traces its origins to an ancient Japanese custom called 雛流し (hina-nagashi) or literally doll floating, in which straw hina dolls are set afloat on a boat and sent down a river to the sea, supposedly taking troubles or bad spirits with them. The Shimogamo Shrine (part of the Kamo Shrine complex) in Kyoto celebrates the 流し雛 (Nagashibina) by floating these dolls between the Takano and Kamo Rivers to pray for the safety of children.

Also people have stopped doing this now because of fishermen catching the dolls in their nets. They now send them out in to the sea, and when the spectators are gone they take the boats out of the water and bring them back to the temple and burn them.

DSC02479 copy

Those explained above are the some information about the festival, which I am assume and quite sure that nobody who bother to read it, yet alone make themselves understand it. Anyway, it so happened that I was out shopping two days ago and I dropped by the Nagaoka Civic Centre here. There was one section displaying all the dolls in conjunction with this festival and I took some time to have a look on them. One unique thing about all these dolls is the fact that they are hand-made using materials like cloth, papers and ribbons.

First up was the Emperor and the Emperess.

DSC02459 copy

Next are his super mega long mistresses.

DSC02466 copy

Ice-cream wrappers and ice-cream sticks were recycled to make these dolls.

And all his super extra low girlfriends.

DSC02464 copy

As you might notice it, every single doll above doesn't have the complete set of eyes, nose and ears or in other words, they are all impaired. However, I do come across normal dolls with all five senses. And they are really cute.

DSC02468 copy

Although some looks normal, others suggest otherwise. Take this Siamese-twins doll for example.

DSC02470 copy

Here are the rest of the dolls that I managed to capture and bring home.

DSC02476 copy

A couple in a nest.

DSC02463 copy

Oversized eggs who sit on a hard paper.

DSC02475 copy

A sumo wrestler with two candys as his bodyguards in the background.

DSC02469 copy

Twin bunnies with missing whiskers.

DSC02473 copy

These are seashells, not dolls.

I was lucky enough to be able to join in the doll making session that was opened for public on that day and guess what I came out with?

DSC02471 copy

I call my masterpiece, "Two sleeping cylinders".