Friday, April 13, 2012

Celebrating My 25th Birthday

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. 
It's the life in your years."
Abraham Lincoln


Turning a quarter of a century old is not as monumental as turning twenty-one. Nevertheless, my fifth birthday in Japan for the past six years (last year I got to celebrate my birthday in Taiping as I extended my spring holiday due to the 3/11 earthquake) was indeed a great day because of several reasons. Firstly, it was the first time in my life to have such a huge attendees to my birthday - there were almost one hundred people who came to Yoyogi Park last Saturday morning. 

But guess what, the reason they went was actually for the MSAJ-JAGONG Hanami gathering. I was only pandai-pandai syiok sendiri by self-declaring that the gathering was for my birthday haha wtf! However, since it falls on the same day as my birthday, I see no harm in having a combo celebration, right lol!

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First time to see so many Malaysians at a hanami gathering in Tokyo.

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Crystal Mama, Amy and Vincent.

JAGONG stands for "Japan Graduates of Nothing Good". It is an online kopitiam where all the "dropouts" who had relations with Japan gather and talk. Well, that was what the Chairman, Mr Chuah told us in his short speech. The Jagong Forum will strive to provide a flexible, user friendly platform to connect all types of Malaysian graduates from Japan over the last 50 years, current Malaysian students in Japan, as well as Malaysians with connections to Japan in one form or another (taken from JAGONG Facebook page).

Sticking to a practice that is fast becoming a must-do thing in MSAJ's events nowadays, there was a cake cutting ceremony. Although it was not for my birthday, but at least there was still not one, but two cakes there. Just let me syiok sendiri kao kao in this entry, alright? Haha!

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Mr Chuah Yeon Hang, the Chairman of JAGONG and Lai Chai Ei, the current President of MSAJ cutting the cakes at the upacara perasmian.

The hanami gathering was like in the previous years, but this time there were much more varieties of food, many thanks to the committee who went to get them from Chiba's very own pasar borong - Costco haha! There were snacks, muffins, soft drinks, fruit juices, and the best of all, Malaysian meal bento sets. Too bad they were limited to students only.

One interesting thing however was that our mats were placed under a pine tree. So, technically it wasn't a hanami (花見), but more to a happami (葉っぱ見) lol! Instead of picnicking under the cherry blossoms, we sat under the pine tree while watching its needle leaves lol!

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Therefore, I went to look for cherry blossoms after I was bored looking at the pine tree haha!

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Beautiful sakura from the tree bark
 
Just like two years ago, there was a photography competition with the theme "Spring". Kai Cung and I thought about trying our luck in the competition and hence, we went around the park to get our perfect shots for the competition. It was never an easy thing to capture the people and the atmosphere that has that "umph" feeling and knowing that just submitting photos of the cherry blossoms will only make our entry similar like the other, we went for something different.

Both our entries were kinda bidan terjun 'coz we finished our shooting at the last couple of minutes and submitted them just on time.

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My entry, which shows the three stages of cherry blossom.

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Kai Cung's submission, with the theme "Lets Spring".

So, came the result announcement. Up until the third prize, our names were not called and I thought probably I'll have have better luck next time. However, when they announced the prize for the second place, which was a Sony digital photo frame, I said I don't need that as I already have one unused one at home. And you guessed it correctly; the next thing to happen was to hear my name as the second-prize winner lol! 

Kai Cung won the first prize and it gave him the opportunity to taunt me, by boasting the fact that he beat me again in the photo competition =.=|| Judging from the two photos above, which one you think deserves to be the winner?


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Me with the digital photo frama and book coupon, Kai Cung with his camera bag, and Shei Pien with her earphone from the lucky draw.

His prize was a Lovepro photo sport camera sling bag, but since he already have one, we did a sistem barter and exchanged our prizes, although it wasn't Christmas haha! Ohh yea, by the way, did I mentioned there was a few lucky draw sessions and lady luck must be smiling at me as I won a 1,000 yen book coupon. 

So, it was not a bad day, as I got two huge "pressies" on my birthday at the hanami gathering. 

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With my juniors from Chiba University.

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Only three of us from my batch, plus Viona. They insisted me to stand straight lol!

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There is at least a two-decade age gap within this group. 

Later that evening, Crystal senpai had prepared a birthday dinner-cum-farewell for both Michael and me. This was indeed something that made me feel very special. Unlike the usual style of having party at her place, this time we had our dinner outside. While waiting for everyone to arrive, we went to Crystal senpai's place to chill out.

Crystal Mama was busying at the kitchen when we arrived there. I later realised that she was in the middle of baking a cheese cake, specially for my birthday. It was only her second attempt at baking a cheese cake from scratch and it turned out to be not bad!

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Kai Cung playing Super Mario with Kevin.

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Crystal Mama at the kitchen, checking out if the cake is done.

We had our dinner at Volks, a restaurant that specialises in steak. It was the very first restaurant group in Japan that provides "salad bar" and today, it also offers "soup bar" and "bread bar". "Bar" basically means you can eat-all-you-want or in other words, buffet-style servings.

Most of the dishes are above 1,000 yen but considering the salad bar, bread bar and soup bar (depending on your order) that comes together with your meal, it was certainly a place worth trying. I especially love the variety of freshly baked breads, hot from the oven.

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 A great place to try some sizzling steaks.

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Colourful salad as appetizers.

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Grilled chicken tricolour sauce (green steak, red capsicum, nut curry).

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Super delicious breads. Fluffy like pillows haha!

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Desert after the main meal. The seedless grapes were just too sweet.

The dinner was not something grand. I've always had simple birthday celebrations. However, it was everyone's presence on my birthday that makes everything special.

Though this year has been a bit of whirlwind, encountering a few ups and emotional letdowns, I continue to be humbled by God's loving grace. I am bound to always give thanks to Him for all the wonderful and unspeakable gifts. The gift of life, that of my family and my friends are what that give the simplest of joys. I can sincerely feel the warmth of your love and friendship.

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Group photo at the dinner.

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Crystal Mama and Windell Papa.

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Kai Cung, my ex-housemate whom I've lived with for the past two years. Thanks for bearing to all my craps and sampat-ness until today haha!

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 Yew Keong, Amy and Michael, who has left for New York for his work training.

I truly appreciate the little things you guys, especially Crystal Mama and Windell Papa have thought of to make my birthday even more special. Crystal Mama, thanks for the wonderful cheese cake. Windell Papa, thanks for going around just to look for the lighter and candles. And also not forgetting, thanks for treating us to such a fantastic dinner. It was truly awesome!

And also not forgetting, all the greetings and well-wishes over my Facebook wall. One surprising thing is that I didn't get a single test message on my birthday. You guys forget my phone number already is it? Hahaha!

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  Five candles on my birthday day, 'coz there were only five candles in the packet lol! 

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Doesn't matter how old I am, having people to sing birthday song is always something exciting.

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 Super funny way to block the wind while I make my birthday wish, that is to have two girlfriends, three wives and four kids (according to Michael) lol wtf!

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 Cake cutting and makan session followed after making my super greedy wish haha!

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 My slice of the home-baked cheese cake on my birthday.

I Skyped with my Mom a day earlier and she revealed that they were actually planning to surprise me by sending me a birthday card from Malaysia. However, she cancelled her plan because she thought it was just to troublesome to send a card all the way to Tokyo. "Just a card only, so no need-lar hor?" =.=||

Damn potong stim, but at least she's being honest about it haha!

8 comments:

DT said...

Haha... Indeed ur fren kai cung entry is most creative and the contrast is definately there. Definately a memorable pic. Hehe.... Though the pic kinda reminds me of a chinese proverb "a stalk of rose stuck of a pile of s*** " which in this case is a stalk of sakura blossom stuck on kai cung's " kiam hu" ..... No offence :) I guess the striking contrast kinda emphasize the beauty of the sakura... :D

Chyesin said...

haha, starting to like your mom afte reading your recent posts. she is too cute. haha.

happy birthday(belated) XD.

FnF Simple Life said...

HEPI BELATED BEFDAY CALVIN

Tempus said...

oh you are finally a quarter century old!! *clap clap clap*

nvm la i will chase you up in no time. I'm going to be an "adult" in Cina context this august too XD

calvin said...

@ dt:
haha! i shall show him your comment, especially the kiam hu part xD

i will make sure i will beat him in the next competition haha!

calvin said...

@ chyesin:
really? she will be super syiok sendiri if she hears your comment lol!

thanks for the wish =D

p/s: got hadiah (from your kedai runcit) or not? =P

calvin said...

@ fnf simple life:
thanks a lot abang fadhil =D

calvin said...

@ tempus:
owhh, don't-lar use that term. makes me sound so tua-lar xD

hmmm, what's the age to be considered an "adult"?