Monthly Archives: August 2008

Dissidia (PSP) – SQUARE ENIXドキドキしちゃうYO vvv

Square Enix always makes my heart race~ vvv Cant wait for its release!

Square Enix always makes my heart race~ vvv Can't wait for its release!

キャー!!!!欲しいだぁ!!!気になる、気になる。

Dissidia website→http://www.square-enix.co.jp/dissidia/

SE has finally updated the Dissidia website! The music is awesome and the CGs are just so tantalising *drool*. Very typical of SE to play the emotive card which keeps fans chasing after the decade old FF series and hungering for more. The release date has not been fixed for Dissidia but just look at those CGs… Too bad it didn’t seem like there’s any FF7 characters in it. (T_T)

There’s alot of NDS games in the pipeline like Valkyrie Profile… shit…should I get an NDS too?

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Status: Life as an A11 (Level up) in Die Co

… feels like being in a labyrinth.

I’m feeling one of those situations where I’m wandering aimlessly and dying to do something or else go home and sleep.

Yup, it’s called wasting time that’s why I decided to do something constructive like writing his post.

I’m tasked to do some hardcore analytical review on everything. Ok, seems easy. The problem is, who can I speak to? Even the senior has no idea. (^w^)

The A10s are all fired up and had gotten down to work on design & implementation enquiries as I look on… thinking…’Jeez I’ve done D & I once in my life as an A10. Hohohoho…’.

Hmm…maybe I should start drafting my first ever BL manga…

Speaking of BL, I suspect the male manager is a seme. The victim? My male colleague who’s from China. It started when the manager started asking which managers’ group we belonged to. My senior replied that she and I were from the same group.

The manager nodded and he turned to my colleague and said “お前は俺の。” (You are mine.)

*silence*

I repeated what he said out loud “えぇ…お前は俺の?”.

The manager paused for a minute before he replied quickly “いや、お前は俺のグループに…”.(You are in my group)

Uh hoh! (゜∀゜)

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New hairdo … which cost me a bomb (死にたい…)

Gaaaa....!!! I cant think of any seme/uke characters with curly hair!!!

Gaaaa....!!! I can't think of any seme/uke characters with curly hair!!!

Bugged by split ends and tangles, I decided to head to the salon today to get a haircut by a professional stylist. I thought ‘hell yea, why not pay a bit more to get a nice haircut without the risk of getting my ears cut off? ‘

After much surfing around the web for the top recommendations of stylists trained in Japanese styles, I decided upon Kimage. I was dying to try out Hair Art Cinderella but it closed down after the Japanese stylist left for home…chikusho. And there were varied reviews on Shunji Matsuo so since Kimage got the top marks on customer reviews, why not? 

So with a $50 budget in mind, I made an appointment and the stylist was really quick at diagnosing my hair problems. He advised me to go for a digital perm and some highlights.

Well. Digital perm is way over my measly $50 budget… But I let the master do it anyway. He worked so fast and skilfully, he’s not called ‘master’ for nothing.

The price for the whole package? Just add one more zero to my $50 budget...

The price for the whole package? Just add one more zero to my $50 budget...

So there, a feminine version of me with permed hair… Very good camouflage for an otaku.

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Japan Trip – Back to Tokyo …for more fun and food! (ありがとうございました!すごく楽しかった。SP帰りたくない。)

3/08/2008 – 5/08/2008 (Last day)

Pumpkin Pudding from Hakodate. Heaven!!!

Pumpkin Pudding from Hakodate. Heaven!!!

JRs train to Onuma. Very traditional steam engine!

JR's classic train to Onuma in Hakodate station. Very traditional steam engine!

It travels between Hokkaido and Aomori (in the main island) of Japan through a 53 km undersea tunnel.

Super Hakucho(スーパー白鳥): It travels between Hokkaido and Aomori (in the main island of Japan) through a 53 km undersea tunnel.

After spending nearly 10,000 yen on foodstuffs in Hakodate and packing my bursting backpack, I headed back to Tokyo via Shinkansen. The temperature is worse than when I left for Sendai… I sweated as I lugged my bags to the hotel building but before a drop of perspiration could touch my shirt, it evaporated from the dry heat. (xAx)

After checking into a splendid business hotel in Ueno (my god, the room is immaculately designed with wood and parquet!), I left for Akihabara to go pen tablet hunting with chihaya san. When we met and headed out to the streets, the heat… was unbearable…We were just fanning hot air into our faces… But Akihabara is really an otaku’s heaven! There were manga/ anime shops all over selling 801 manga~~~where I began to burn some cash.

懐かしい (nostalgic)!!! Everyone including I who walked past this shop were exclaiming this word. One can guess which generation were from...

懐かしい (nostalgic)!!! Everyone including I who walked past this shop were exclaiming this word. One can guess which generation we're from...

 

2nd hand NDS software from Book Off... Cheeaaappp!!!!

One of the many 2nd hand NDS software from Book Off... Only 1,980 yen (abt SGD 21) Cheeaaappp!!!!

There’s also tons of electrical goods shops. chihaya san brought me to a 2nd hand book store called Book Off which sells mangas at 150 yen! Game software prices were also a bargain with some slashed to as low as 30% of the original retail price! Again, I burnt some more cash. Later chihaya san brought me to a cosy restaurant famous for their chicken dishes.

10,000 yen kaiseki chicken... (joking)

10,000 yen kaiseki chicken... (joking)

 

We were ushered into a softly lit enclave with a Japanese style table inside and a Japanese sliding door to ensure the privacy of its diners. It was fun talking with chihaya and somehow the topic moved from food to ghost stories… She told me of a beautiful spot in Hakone where people commit suicide by the waterfalls. Photographs taken of the spot sometimes reveal ghostly human forms wading in the waters…that really sent shivers down my spine. (><;)

We did not buy any pen tablets from Akihabara in the end because chihaya san told me we could get better deals at Yobodashi Camera in Ikebukuro (yay!).

The next morning, I met up with chihaya san and her husband, Nao san in Shinobazu exit of JR Ueno station. I was a little late after getting lost… again. We strolled down Ameyoko street well known for the old shops selling all sorts of provisions like dried fish, seaweed, fruits etc. The smells that wafted around us was as expected…

the catcher clasped around the box but went up without the box. Daylight robbery!!! Nao san pulled a few plastic carriers on the side of the machine as consolation prize. (which we later used to keep my intuous dry)

Taito catcher machine: the catcher clasped around the box but went up without the box. Daylight robbery!!! Nao san pulled a few plastic carriers on the side of the machine as consolation prize. (which we later used to keep my intuous dry)

Then we took the Tokyo Metro to Asakusa. We tapped our Suicas and passed thru the gantry and realised both tracks go on the same direction, away from Asakusa. The station attendant issued us a ticket with ‘Wrong boarding’ written on it in Japanese. Hmm, we haven’t even boarded the train yet… But it was really a surprise for chihaya san and her husband as they’ve never gotten a ticket like this before.

The Wrong boarding ticket which we had to use to re-enter the other gate.

The 'Wrong boarding' ticket which we had to use to re-enter the other gate.

Mikoshi at Asakusa station
Mikoshi at Asakusa Tokyo Metro station

I’ve been to Asakusa and the famous Kaminari gate about 8 years back (?) on a family tour package with Ying san. It was a cold evening during winter and I did not have much of an impression of it except the giant lantern that hangs over the gate and the shops in nakimise dori. In the day, nakimise dori is full of stuff to see! From yutakas to flying ultramen to ningyoo cakes, it’s a nice sensory experience (minus the heat). We strolled to the main shrine where tourists are fanning choking incense all over themselves. I remarked they could just try sticking their head into the incense urn to get the maximum blessing…hohoho

We went to the cleanse our hands at the stone water basin where ladles are used to scoop the water. chihaya san scooped some water for me to wash my hands with and after the refreshing ritual was performed on me, she scooped some water to purify her husband’s feet. (ie wet his shoes)(゜Д゜;)

 

At the Kaminari gate with the iconic red lantern ~

At the Kaminari gate with the iconic red lantern ~

重いー!!! Some gaijin power!
重いー!!! Gaijin power!

 

 

Enormous feet of the gate guardian...Check out the pulsing veins!

Enormous feet of the gate guardian...Check out the pulsing veins!

 

Ceiling painting in the main shrine~

Ceiling painting in the main shrine~

 

The gate before the main shrine~

The gate before the main shrine~

Enormous sandals!Just use the kid below it as a scale guide.

Enormous sandals!Just use the kid below it as a scale guide.

Enormous sandals. Just use the kid below as a scale guide.

2 swords called Masamune(正宗) in a shop at Nakamise dori. Only one third the length of Sephiroth's beloved sword... (偽モンだ!)

After paying our respects to the Buddha residing in the shrine, we walked towards the Sumida river. The heat was unbearable and we decided to stop by a dango shop called Kaede for some shaved ice.

Kaede (Ying sans favourite word) with the most delicious dango!!!

Kaede (Ying san's favourite word) with the most delicious dango!!!

Dango at 100 yen for 5 balls and melon flavored shaved ice. Paradise~

Dango at 100 yen for 5 balls and melon flavored shaved ice. Paradise~

The freshly made dango was so delicious I couldn’t help getting excited. At 100 yen a stick for 5 balls, it was very cheap too! chihaya san ordered nori dango which is wrapped with a piece of nori. We sat on the bench slurping on our shaved ice before continuing our journey to the river.

On the way, we sought refuge in a department store. After 30 mins of strolling around, chihaya san’s husband led us to a popular Monja restaurant for lunch. We were famished and relieved to be sheltered in an airconditioned restaurant. Monja is a gooey version of okonomiyaki and it’s the customer who will be doing the cooking. chihaya and her husband wanted me to try cooking for them but I told them unless they want to die, then I would do so. (after so many previous failed attempts in basic food preparation) The only guy in the trio became the chief cook. 

It was fun watching Nao san keeping the highly viscuous cheese monja batter away from the soot at the side of the hot metal plate. The monja soon turned into a gooey mass which is eaten by scraping the goo with mini teppanyaki spatulas. The burnt, crispy parts are the most delicious which chihaya san scraped for me. It’s a fun and unique dining experience! Next was bacon okonomiyaki which is a pancake made of cabbage, batter and other ingredients. Chef Nao skilfully shaped the pancake and drizzled lots of magic sauce (sweet and tangy soy sauce) on it. The couple then requested I oekaki on the pancake… which I did with the mayonaise bottle. Bonito flakes were scattered onto the pancake and more mayonaise was spread over it and were done! It was so yummy!

10,000 yen cheese monja... (joking)

10,000 yen cheese monja... (joking)

Dump the ingredients in...

Bacon okonomiyaki: Dump the ingredients in...

... shape it into a circle...

... shape it into a circle...

 

...Slather on magic sauce and decorate with mayonaise...

...Slather on magic sauce and decorate with mayonaise...

 

...Sprinkle bonito flakes, nori powder and more mayonaise...

...Sprinkle bonito flakes, nori powder and more mayonaise...

... Pass spatulas to gaijin(怪人) and Itadakimasu!!!

... Pass spatulas to gaijin(怪人) and Itadakimasu!!!

Mushroom monja!

Mushroom monja!

We had mushroom monja and as I waited to let the food settle in my stomach, I took the chopstick and started to oekaki on the soot covered part of the metal plate by scraping the black soot off. Umeee~

10,000 yen kaiseki monja-okonomiyaki ... (joking)

10,000 yen kaiseki monja-okonomiyaki ... (joking)

 

Umee~

My oekaki : Umee~

Money!

chihaya san's oekaki : Money! NG!

 

It’s back to the scorching heat and we finally reached the edge of the river where I could see the famous golden flame of Asahi building. The heat was so forbidding, even the pigeons are scuttling really slowly under the shade of the trees. We decided to head for Ikebukuro (yay!) to shop for pen tablets.

Asahi building and Sumida river

Asahi building and Sumida river

As we walked about, we came across the latest Vocaloid software called Gacktpoid. (eh?) Yep, the user can compose music with the vocals of music celebrity Gackt.

Gackt Vocaloid... ehh

Gackpoid : Gackt Vocaloid... ehh

I got an A6 intuos which is priced at 22,900 yen (abt SGD 240). That’s almost half the retail price in Singapore!!! Furthermore, chihaya san redeemed 2000 yen worth of discount points so all I paid was 20,900 yen!!! Arigatou!!!! (TwT)

After that, chihaya san asked me where I would like to go. The answer was Otome Road! We walked to Mandarake where the famous butler cafe Swallowtail was located. I felt really apologetic towards chihaya san’s husband because he told us he’ll be in the convenience store while we shop for BL doujins. Gomenasai… I can’t resist my fujoshi desire to purchase gay manga.

We probably shopped for nearly an hour in the doujin paradise. I saw delicious FF7 doujins by kiki priced from 630 yen to 2,500 yen. I bought the cheapest one and yum yum, it’s as erotic as promised on the item tag.

FF7 doujin by kiki which I purchased at 630 yen. Umai....!!!

'Naked': FF7 doujin by kiki which I purchased at 630 yen. Umai....!!!

I also saw a thin, B5-sized Blood+ Hagi anthology priced at 8,400 yen (abt SGD 86)!!! I bought a few FF7 doujins which are full of gag and we headed back up to find that it was raining outside.

We went to Tokyu Hands to check out the coolest and craziest accessories and hobby supplies.

Facial hair stickers with TV demo... oooh~ The answer to every cosplayers follicular needs

Facial hair stickers with TV demo... oooh~ The answer to every cosplayer's follicular needs

The Humping Dog USB… imagine hundreds of them humping away at the front display.

I was impressed by the food key chains, fake facial hair, coin banks with creepy moving faces, pets etc. We were particularly amused by the ‘Humping Dog’ USB which when it is plugged to the computer, the dog starts to hump against the computer. (-\\\-)

We continued on a drizzly journey to a popular ramen shop where we picked up investment brochures along the way to shield our heads from the rain (I picked up ‘Grand China’ while chihaya san took ‘Maharajah India’). After we reached the shop, it started to pour like there’s no tomorrow. It was such a relief for us~

The most delicious pork broth ramen Ive ever had!!! Umaiiiiiii!!!

The most delicious pork broth ramen I've ever had!!! Umaiiiiiii!!!

The ramen was fabulous-!!! The thick pork broth was divine and the char siew meat was so soft and juicy. Plus, it’s all for around 650 yen regardless of the serving size of the noodles. I ordered 1.5 serving of noodles. If a franchise were to open in Singapore, it could probably spoil the ramen market here. (>w<)  (I am confident to say that the ramen I had in Asahikawa was crap (can’t even hold a candle to Beppu Ramen in Singapore). )

And that was my last night in Tokyo.

I really didn’t want to leave so soon. Uchi koishikunai…(‘Koishi :’a verb learnt from chihaya san which means miss)

The train ride to Narita airport was full of grey clouds and rain began to fall over the city. (the news reported flooding in Shinjuku -eeks!)

18 kg (Another reason why I didnt want to return home. I dont have a trolley with me)

Total luggage weight: 18 kg (Another reason why I didn't want to return home. I don't have a trolley with me)

The sweet moments on the gloomy ride to narita airport. The Chiffon Lipton milk tea is so smooth and Shiroi Koibito white chocolate biscuits from Hakodate was wonderful.

The sweet moments on the gloomy ride to narita airport. The Chiffon Lipton milk tea is so smooth and Shiroi Koibito white chocolate biscuits from Hakodate was wonderful.

Deloitte Tomatsu banner advertisement in Narita airport ... I was planning to go to the Tokyo office to snap a picture. アホだ!

Deloitte Tomatsu banner advertisement in Narita airport ... I was planning to go to the Tokyo office to snap a picture. アホだ!

As the plane was about to depart, I thought of the 1st day I touched down in Tokyo and meeting chihaya san for dinner. Tears started to well up and I started to cry. (Oh my god! So embarrassing) My heart was full of mixed feelings. I was touched by the kindness of the people I’ve met along my trip and the many things I’ve experienced in these 17 days. And these tears are tears of gratitude to all who made this trip so beautiful and meaningful. And that includes my family and friends who are not on this trip with me. (the Japanese air stewardess said ‘thank you’ in Japanese when I left the plane. She probably thought I was Japanese leaving for Singapore for good. 恥ずかしいー!!!)

I would do this one more time.

お世話になりました。わぁーい!!!来年またち!!(≧ワ≦)

My Japan trip was a success!!! お世話になりました。わぁーい!!!来年またね!!!(≧ワ≦)

Maybe autumn next year… for Comiket in late August!!! (^w^)

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Japan trip – Aomori neputa (濡れられた!)

2/08/2008

 

Sea Urchin and toro donburi ~

Breakfast at Hakodate: Sea Urchin and toro donburi ~

Cheese cream pudding from Mt Hakodate

Dessert : Cheese cream pudding from Mt Hakodate

Snaffles Fruit tart and Earl Grey tea

Tea time: Snaffles' Fruit tart and Earl Grey tea

Snaffles famous omelette cheese cake and fresh coffee flavoured milk.

Snack on train: Snaffles' famous (美味い!!!) omelette cheese cake and fresh coffee flavoured milk.

Arrived at JR Aomori station~ mini neputa float behind me

Arrived at JR Aomori station~ mini neputa float behind me

I headed to Aomori via JR’s limited express for the neputa festival which is the highlight of the Aomori prefecture. It is where giant lantern floats are paraded along the streets along with dancers yelling “Rasserah”. The giant floats are pushed and turned by pure human power.

The neputa floats were almost 2 storeys high!!! Wooo-----

The neputa floats were almost 2 storeys high!!! Wooo-----

The guys underneath are getting ready to push the neputa 360 degrees~ oof!

Rice characters... kawaii~

Rice mascots?... kawaii~

Monkeys and devils

Monkeys and demons? Weird combo...

Totoro !!!!!!!!!

Totoro !!!!!!!!!

Each neputa float is accompanied by a  percussion ensemble that plays the same rasserah rhythm throughout the parade!

Each neputa float is accompanied by a percussion ensemble that plays the same 'rasserah' rhythm throughout the parade! Rock it baby!

Miss Neputa... Very pretty!!!

Miss Neputa... Very pretty!!!

Neputa dancers who skip and dance while chanting Rasse, Rasse, Rasserah - 4,800 yen to rent an outfit. Naah, Id prefer a raincoat.

Neputa dancers who skip and dance while chanting 'Rasse, Rasse, Rasserah' - 4,800 yen to rent an outfit. Naah, I'd prefer a raincoat.

I got the front spot when it started to rain. Got my jeans soaked kneeling on the road but the view is worth it!

I got the front spot when it started to rain. Got my jeans soaked kneeling on the road but the view is worth it!

It was quite crowded when I reached 2 hours early and the worst thing was just as the parade began, it started to rain… (–|||) Everyone was soaked but the show had to go on. It’s pretty cool the organisers wrapped up the lanterns with giant sheets of plastic.

The whole parade was amazing especially when the people underneath the neputa floats went ‘Ngghhh!!!’ to summon strength to spin the heavy floats 360 degrees.

the neputa express

Special train service: the neputa express

Brazillian Chicken cup noodles. So delicious and the slices of chicken are huge!

Supper: Brazillian Chicken cup noodles. So delicious and the slices of chicken and potato are huge!

It ended at around 9pm and I headed back to the station to catch the Neputa Express back to Hakodate. I reached Hakodate in midnight and was so famished, I rushed to buy a BIG cup noodle from a nearby combini. I wish I could shake the hand of the person who invented the concept of 24 hour convenience stores.

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Japan trip – Hakodate, moe~ (燃え?)

1/8/2008

Streetcar of Hakodate

The tram-like Streetcar of Hakodate

After filling my tummy with sushi (please see pictures in previous entry), I headed to the JR station to purchase a one-day pass for unlimited streetcar rides around Hakodate. The main objective for me is to get to Goryokaku Tower to see the star-shaped fort and the bronze statues of Hijikata Toshizou (uh hoh!).

Moe! Especially when the statues of 2 bishonnen soldiers are viewed in this angle.

Moe! Especially when the statues of 2 bishonnen soldiers are viewed in this angle. The butt looks inviting。And the guy holding the baton looks like he's going to use it to ... ... (腐)

A 可愛い sculpture titled ’Look at your hands’

A 可愛い sculpture titled ’Look at your hands’

Another cute sculpture~

Another cute sculpture~

It’s a 5 min walk thru a street of restuarants and shops from the Goryokaku stop with public art to admire along the way.

On the right, Goryokaku Tower. One the left is the Hakodate Art Museum.

On the right, Goryokaku Tower. One the left is the Hakodate Art Museum.

Goryokaku Fortress viewed from the Goryokaku Tower.
Goryokaku Fortress viewed from the Goryokaku Tower.

 

Whoopee, I can see whats right under me!

Whoopee, I can see what's right under me!

I was quite excited to hop into the lift to get to the top of the tower. The pretty lift ladies would usher the visitors into the lifts and announce that the lift doors are closing. When the doors closed, the lift interior grew dark and the white walls started to glow in ultraviolet light. Then pictures of historical personages and words appeared on the walls and a star started to glow on the ceiling. Very nice touristy experience!

Melon Milk Mix ice cream~ yum

Melon Milk Mix ice cream~ yum

I get to stroke Hijikatas muscular thigh~ Uh-hoh!

I get to stroke Hijikata's muscular thigh~ Uh-hoh!

Hijikata pose!

Hijikata pose!

HIjikata Rider -! Cool T-shirt~

HIjikata Rider -! Cool, wished there were Harley Davidsons in his time.

Kawaii Hijikata~~~~

Kawaii Hijikata~~~~

Kawaii Shinsengumi with Hijikata in the middle - Inside the box are chocolate dangos (rice cakes)...

Kawaii Shinsengumi with Hijikata in the middle - Inside the box are chocolate dangos (rice cakes)...

Shinsengumi... ... erm... what is this?

Shinsengumi... ... erm... what is this?

When we reached the top, I was awed by the beauty of the star-shaped fort. It was Japan’s 1st Western style fortress constructed in the 19th century. But it seems the main attraction for me was Hijikata’s statue (sitting and standing versions). Uh hoh! I’m sure alot of fujoshis visited the tower because Hijikata’s knees and hands were very polished. (セクハラじゃん~?)

Boo exhibition - Pig art

Boo exhibition - Literally communist pigs... very politically sensitive piece of artwork... but I like it!!!

I also visited the nearby art museum which was featuring Pig art exhibition. Very cute but too bad it’s quite hard to snap a picture with the curators lurking in every corner.

Getting my feet poached at the Yunokawa onsen footbath- 気持ち良い~

Getting my feet poached at the Yunokawa onsen footbath- 気持ち良い~

I took the streetcar to Yunokawa Onsen to pamper my feet at the public onsen foot bath. A mother and her 2 kids joined in and the little girl was so adorable when she kicked the water and smiled sheepishly at me. Then she asked me why my heels were covered with plasters. Well, cos I’ve got big feet… (-w-)

I took the streetcar to the marina bay where the fireworks festival is held. Learning a lesson from the Yokohama trip, I went there 2 hrs early to reserve a nice spot. Meijikan was a nice shop with pretty glass objets d’art and orgel. The warehouses-turned-shops have many interesting souvenirs and foodstuffs to satisfy the tourists’ craving to burn some money.

 

1,000yen for 2 cakes and tea at Meijikan~ Divine!!!

1,000yen for 2 cakes and tea at Meijikan~ Divine!!!

Hakodates croquette (milk potato and pumpkin)

The best comfort food I've ever had: Hakodate's croquette ( I've ever had: Hakodate's croquette (milk potato and pumpkin)

Grilled pork and spring onion. Yakibuta?

Grilled pork and spring onion. Yakibuta?

Hakodate marina bay where I found a spot to watch the fireworks~

Hakodate marina bay where I found a spot to watch the fireworks~

Hanabi da!!!

Hanabi da!!!

I enjoyed the fireworks and the view by the bay although it was pretty cold. (had to wrap my hair around my neck before zipping up my jacket) But of course, nothing beat the one at Yokohama where chihaya san brought me on the 2nd day.

 

OMAKE

During the moments where I had to answer the call of nature, I encountered a few interesting notices in the toilet cubicles. The chinese translation is quite erm… despite the fact Hokkaido has many Chinese immigrants and tourists.

Toilet in JR station

Toilet in JR station *请雇用背后,不要流动?*

  

Toilet in Goryokaku Tower.

Toilet in Goryokaku Tower.*便器扔掉?

Toilet in Goryokaku tower II.

Toilet in Goryokaku tower II.*厕所塞满?*

 

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Japan trip- Hakodate…I like. ^^

Where Furano and Asahikawa was a disappointment, Hakodate came as a relief to me. Hokkaido is still worth the visit after all.

Chocolate sponge with nama chocolate and fresh cream inside!

Stuff I ate while on the train to Hakodate: Chocolate sponge with nama chocolate and fresh cream inside!

 

I miss veggies hence I got this bento which costs 500 yen (abt SGD 6).

Stuff I ate while on the train to Hakodate: I miss veggies hence I got this bento which costs 500 yen (abt SGD 6).

Weather in Hakodate was cool and the air blowing from the marina was refreshing. I’d arrived at about 5pm and checked in at New Ohte Hotel which had rooms available for 3 nights. One thing that made me happy was there’s wireless broadband in the hotel rooms even though the hotel looks a bit old. At least it’s better than the hotel in Asahikawa which sucks big time. Not only was there no internet access, the concierge are not as spontaneously friendly as the ones I’ve come across in Tokyo, Nikko, Sendai and Hakodate.

Since it was already evening, I decided to take a bus up to Mt Hakodate to view the glittering city. It was a pretty nervous ride for me. The roads were narrow and there are many tight, tortuous curves. I’m impressed the bus driver could manoevre the big, fat vehicle of a bus through sharp S-curves up the mountain. I’d like to see a pro-driver drift his car up and down Mt Hakodate… more likely send the car flying off the edge of the road.

Sunset at Mt Hakodate~ Brrr... the wind is chilly!

Sunset at Mt Hakodate~ Brrr... the wind is chilly!

 

Hakodate city from above~

Hakodate city from above~

 

It was cold and a little foggy when we reached the top of the mountain at about 7pm. I waited until it grew a little darker and for the fog to clear and… … the view is beautiful. Hakodate city was a glittering jewel. The transient sight was worth the cold and the wait.

At 350 yen a cup, I cannot waste even a drop of the milk!

At 350 yen a cup, I cannot waste even a drop of the milk!

However, the fog grew worse at around 8pm and I decided to warm myself up with a cup of hot milk (abt SGD 5…monopolistic pricing) before heading to the bus stop for my ride back to JR Hakodate station.

As I waited for the bus, I wanted to laugh when I saw all the tour buses coming in. The fog had gotten so bad I could hardly see what’s in front of me 5 meters away. It’s a relief that I didn’t sign up on a tour package. One can’t have much of a freedom to choose the time to visit a place, to choose the stuff one wants to eat, nor the chance to interact with the locals.

When I reached Hakodate station, I was a little famished. There’s no restaurant in sight except a pricey looking one near the hotel I’m staying. Heeding the cries of my hungry stomach, I ordered Hokke teishoku (Grilled hokke set meal; abt SGD 17).

 

Before - Hokke Itadakimasu!

Before - Hokke Itadakimasu!

 
 

After - Hokke Gochisousama deshita!

After - Hokke Gochisousama deshita!

Oh my god. It’s so big and delicious I did not even stop to take a sip of water. I just kept shovelling the fish and rice into my mouth. The fish is as long as my forearm and the thick meat is bursting with sweetness and fish oils. The skin was grilled to a thin crisp. The okra side dish was refreshingly tasty too. The miso soup… oh man, is probably THE perfect miso soup I’ve ever had in my life. Umai da!!!

The next morning was even more umai!!!

I went to the nearby morning market where live squids were swimming in tanks and fresh fish laid on ice. Right next to the market is a street lined with restaurants specialising in seafood donburi, sushi and sashimi. I decided to have order a sushi set for breakfast!

Sushi set for 2100 yen (abt SGD 23)

Sushi set for 2100 yen (abt SGD 23)

 

The scallop is huge!*drool* Fresh from the morning sea!

The scallop is huge!*drool* Fresh from the morning sea!

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