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Terrifying thirties

This is it, I’m experiencing the ubiquitous mid-life crisis. No career to speak of, no relationship to produce on social media and nothing to brag about except a home mortgage to pay.

My chest is burning with anxiety and ennui. The fear that I cannot afford to make costly mistakes is choking me slowly. Recklessness is so tempting right now. Just thinking about packing my bags to live in a foreign country is like a quick espresso shot that dissolves into fatigue and cold shivers of dread.

I don’t know how to choose the things I should focus with my life. Work is just a means to live for me, thanks to the grim reality that sacrificing mental energies and time  does not yield rewards. I am envious of 40-year-old otakus who pour so much passion on their 2 dimensional goddesses of fantasy. They are burning for something. I have lost the spark and kindling to nurture a decent hearth. 

I am afraid of regret. 

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I am back.

I am back.

It has been years since I’ve written for myself. I can’t recall when I stopped writing about moments in my life, the flow of thoughts dammed and diverted back into the secret depths of my mind. Swirling and sloshing but flowing nowhere except within the concrete confines of a brittle heart.

It could be the fear of hurting the rice paper thin sensitivities of a person just to avoid the emotional drama. Or possibly to suppress the unfathomable burst of rage that is cultivated by the stream of judgements passed over trivial matters every second of my waking life. Even the unbearably blushing excitement of romance has become a mythical moment from the past. I loved some people in that way but now, the leaden cynic has applied a checklist to screen potential candidates. Perhaps I took the suffocating stagnancy for cultivating spiritual stillness. Say nothing and nothing will arise. I want to say ‘I love you’ one more time but trust is such a precious commodity to bestow on a stranger at the expense of a fragile fearful heart. Safe but so suffocating. 

I enjoyed writing, word smithing as a friend called it when he was approaching the crossroads of his life. The wonderful sense of satisfaction that arises upon painting the white slate with an array of words, testing the writer’s vocabulary stock which dwindles as the brain succumbs to age and ennui. Indeed, when change pushes one into the crossroads and uncertainty plagues the mind with possibilities and impossibilities, the need to pour out the churning thoughts into a torrent of words is irresistible.

It is surprising to find that the words are still there, albeit lesser than in my younger days. I miss the cathartic flow of sentences and paragraphs that come from my precocious mind and reckless heart. Is the passion still there? Ironic that for someone who lives in the inner world for so long, I cannot tell with full confidence whether the broiling passions are still within me. 

I might have hidden it so well that I forgot where I left it. Just like how I hid my pocket money in my younger days. I completely forgot the secret hoard until I discover the hidden stash while spring cleaning years later. Then I hide it somewhere else and forget.

I want to come back to who I was and take the passions with me, so I can move on to the next version of my self.

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Welkom to Huis Ten Bosch (5th April 2013)

Welkom to Huis Ten Bosch (5th April 2013)

The mountains in the background gave it away…

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May 24, 2013 · 9:29 pm

The Most Promising Anime Song for a Wedding.(結婚式にぴったり!^^)

”My Dearest” by supercell which is also the OP for ‘Guilty Crown’ by the godly animation studio, I.G. Productions (土下座).

The animation is not short of godly with massive CG effects and I.G. Production quality animation…Haven’t gotten around watching the series though.

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✿London is so loverly✿(26 May 11 to 3 June 11)

The anglophile inside has revealed itself even before I arrived in the fair city of London. For starters, Malaysians do not need a tourist visa and an adapter for my chargers which saves a lot of pain. And oh, the many lessons I have learned in this dreadfully short one-week visit.

Iconic phone box of Britain

Lesson 0: Get a smartphone, sniff for wifi and switch off the cellular data function at all times. I got an iPhone4 for this trip and it became my laptop-cum-camera-cum-telephone box (you can’t carry a red telephone box with you for starters. Her Majesty’s bobbies would come after you with their truncheons). All the photos were taken with the iPhone4 and I could do so discreetly (very useful in museums, the tube, meal tables, hurhur) and beautifully ( brilliant colours and focus). Perfect in every way, except of course, I wish Steve Jobs could extend its short battery life. <全部アイフォンでとった。アップルすごい!>

Tower Bridge and cloudy skies at Tower Hill where it began to drizzle soon after.

 

Armour galore in the White Tower!こんなプラモがいいんですね!

The famous Greenwich Meridian Time line.↑GMT+-

Relaxing on the cool grass and feeding pigeons while enjoying the warbling waters of Princess Diana fountain in Kensington Gardens(^^)

The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square. Lovely weather and colour isn’t it? Thanks to iPhone (>w<)

National Portrait Gallery next door: Portrait of Sir Stamford Raffles, the colonial visionary who founded Singapore.

The grand Aquarium and London Eye along the Thames (as my own eyes began to swell…(3A3))

Queen Boudicca、an example on why you shouldn’t fuck with women, more figurative than literal. Check out the thong <0><0>.

 

The eminent King’s College in Cambridge.

The architectural marvel at James Street in Covent Garden.

Twinings at the Strand, since 1706. The varieties of tea blends are astounding.

If you see Big Ben, you know you are in London.

The back entrance of Westminster Abbey where HRH Prince William and Catherine were wedded on 29 April 11.

Westminster Abbey holds a memorial service for the East Japan earthquake on 5 June. 六月五日ウェストミンスター寺院が東日本大地震追悼礼拝をする。

The grand British Musuem, where the history of the world is kept.

Inside the British museum. Isn’t the roof marvellous?

British museum: The Elgin marbles which was taken from the Parthenon… Greece is still pissed.

British museum: The amazingly dramatic depiction of the Royal lion hunt by the Assyrians.

British museum: One of the many well-preserved mummies around.

British museum: Japanese British tea house. 本田菊xアーサーカークランド www

Harrods: Oh my god, Hello Kitty x Harrods?!イギリスもキティに嵌まってる?

Harrods: The famous bears of Harrods.かわいいいいオマワリサンとソルジャー♥

To get to London, what better way than to fly in its national carrier, British Airways? Just 13 hours from Singapore.

Lesson 1: For solo travellers who’d like to have the opportunity to sit next to children or even babysit them, choose the front row seats where the cots are. On my flight to London, my fellow passenger was an Englishman with his toddler, Mr B. Mr B was an adorable little gent who strews die-cast cars and carrot-cucumber sticks around him, has an incredibly tough head and has a preference for inner seats. I was really impressed by the attentiveness of Mr B’s father and the air stewards who made sure that Mr B has a comfortable overnight flight. I’m privileged to babysit Mr B temporarily and watch his “butlers” attend to his needs. (/w\)

3 friends in the Tube. London is in the Oyster card (Suicaと同じ用のカード).

Faeries do exist in London and they take buses! 夜バスで妖精さんが乗った!

Lesson 2: Stand on the Right. Mind the Gap (and the cow!). Watch out for Station Closures. Carry a Map. While on escalators in  Singapore and Tokyo, keep to the left. In London, keep to the right.  The platform gap of London’s stations could be as abysmally wide as 15cm! Now that is what I call a gap worth minding. With the 2012 London Olympics looming, the city is preparing to expand key stations such as Tottenham Court with lots of construction work on weekends and throughout the week. We wouldn’t want the Londoner to risk getting his toes rolled over by the vicious wheels of the tourists’ Samsonite now do we? Another thing that surprised me while commuting on the Tube is the only time I heard the English language being spoken is when there is a public announcement being made. Tourists and immigrants have helped make the train ride a multi-cultural experience.  On my arrival to Earls Court, I feared the place would be similar to the labyrinth-like cities of Japan that even a map is useful as an accessory to show that you are a hopelessly lost tourist. In London, there are street signs clearly marking the direction and area. With a map in hand, I am confident to say that a friendly Londoner would approach a hapless tourist to offer help. After I was discharged from hospital(we’ll get to that in a while), I shuffled to Embankment station for bearings,  trying to find my way back to Leicester Square in the rain. I had a Lonely Planet guidebook in hand and was scrutinising the map on the information post when a kind Londoner approached me and asked where I need to go. He looked like he was on his way home with his bag of grocery. He walked me towards the direction of Leicester Square in the rain, he didn’t have an umbrella mind you.

Monster blister, the boil that started it all.

Warded:Tuna salad pasta and a jug of water.

Warded: ”NSAIDS” to notify staff what NOT to give me. The staff took good care of me, a tourist (3w3)キュン

Lesson 3: I am happy to pay the whopping 16% VAT because it contributes to the NHS (national health service). The medical services are priceless. The thought of getting a tax refund never crossed my mind after I admitted myself to St. Thomas’ hospital for an eye-popping allergic reaction. It all started after I took ibuprofen as recommended by a kind Englishman whom I met along the streets of St Pancras at midnight. After the horrific discovery of a monstrous blister on my left little toe and thanks to the uncaring, apathetic staff at the Generator hostel, I made my way to some hospital which I have no idea how far it would take. The pain took all caution out of my mind and I trotted the dark quiet streets alone, and cold, in search of a clinic or a hospital. I was fortunate to approach an Englishman (ティムさん) from Manchester who happened to be an army medic and he took a look at the monstrosity and advised me not to walk the streets in the area alone and recommended some anti-inflammatory painkillers and remedies. He and his Canadian friend chatted with me in the cold and it made me forget about the pain and piss. Despite the disappearance of the suit and bowler hat ensemble, the English Gentleman still exists in England! I took some ibuprofen the next morning and headed to Leicester square to purchase a ticket to see Les Miserables in the evening. As usual I rambled on aimlessly and found myself in the magnificent Trafalgar Square, trotted further along the Thames to see Big Ben. It was then my eyes started watering and my gut told me it could be a reaction to the ibuprofen I took. Lady Luck smiles on me again when I found St Thomas: hospital just opposite the bridge where Big Ben is. The medical staff directed me to the Accident and Emergency to take a queue number to be registered. By this time, my eyes have swollen to the point where my vision was only 70%. The black admin staff took my particulars down and I highlighted to him that I’m not a UK citizen. Contrary to the complaint of our mentor minister perhaps it’s just his luck that there were alot of patients on that night), it only took me 15 mins before I was taken to the consultation station where the doctor diagnosed my condition as an allergic reaction to NSAIDS. A nurse (Amy) led me to a room where I was given some antihistamines and steroids and I was put under observation for the next few hours to ensure that I did not get an asthmatic attack from the ibuprofen. Later, they put me into a ward where I was very impressed by the care and attention given to the patients by the nurses and doctors. I told the nurse that I would like to be discharged as soon as possible as I had a musical to catch. The kind nurse (Katy) brought me lunch that is available in the pantry and a jug of water. The doctor discharged me upon my request and advised me not to take NSAIDs (anything that ends with -fen). At the pharmacy, I collected the steroids and antihistamines and asked how much they were. The pharmacist told me I do not need to pay for anything and sent me off with a smile. From what I described, it seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? Excellent medical treatment, compassionate staff and it is all free, even for non-UK citizens. That made me fall in love with London even harder than before.

Lovely performance at the Vortex jazz bar. The bass player was cute. (♥w♥)

Blood Brothers:The only musical that made me cry.(;w;)

Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre. The best of the 5!

Inside the Victoria theatre where Billy Eliot was performed. Love the dances!

We Will Rock You where the script is badly written around the music of legendary Queen.

Lesson 4: Be Nice. Smile more. Speak proper English.You might get a good seat. In just 7 days, I managed to squeeze 5 musicals into my itinerary. I burnt almost 200 quid on the tickets but you can’t experience the grand old theaters and ice cream during intermission anywhere else (perhaps the States?). In chronological order, I watched Les Miserables, Billy Eliot, The Lion King, Blood Brothers and We Will Rock You. I tried those discounted ticket booths at Leicester Square and managed to get a seat for 18 quid but with 70% view. Then I tried purchasing from the box office itself in the morning when it opens at 10am. The tickets cost up to 50 quid and depending on the person at the counter, they could actually put you in very good seats for the same or lower price. The best deal I got was for Blood Brothers where the lady seemed quite terse at first but after making small talk with her while fumbling at the coins, she put me into the center seat, 4 rows from the stage with a really good view of the cast. A good thing too because the musical was one of the best I’ve ever watched. There was emotional gravity in the performance and when it came to the tragic scene, I started crying with the audience. (;w;)

The famous English breakfast to start the day right…

Enjoy some Afternoon Tea at one’s leisure…Mmm Lovely scones.

What better way to end the day (and trip) in London with a roast beef dinner?

Hearty soups, crisp sandwiches and free wifi at Pret a Manger.

A calorific takeaway lunch on board the train from Cambridge to London. Colossal Cornish pasty…(凄く大きいです;).

Light lunch of clam chowder soup and a scrumptious chocolate and orange muffin at the courtyard of Westminster Abbey.

JK Sheeky’s famous fish pie. The food and service is worth the 30 quid.♥>゜)))彡♥

Dining at JK Sheeky’s. Walls are covered with photos of celebrities.

Cheese and Bacon chips with a refreshing pint of Magner’s cider to wash it all down(including the bitter defeat of Man United to Barca).

…Fish and chips  with pie in Greenwich (まずい!><;). No wonder British cuisine gets such a bad rap.

One of the gourmet highlights of my trip in London- Salmon and Teriyaki chicken bento (ちくしょ!何でロンドンにこんな美味しいものがあるの?!はぁはぁ).

Lesson 5: Hardcore Vegan, Blood-thirsty Carnivore, Finicky Gourmet, Belt-tightening Budget, Anything Asian … London has everything to satisfy the Global Appetite. When one thinks of British food, one hardly connotes it with the word “gourmet”, thanks to a French official’s stark comment on the gastronomic value of the much maligned (maybe not) cuisine. The famous full English Breakfast, a plate piled with fried eggs, thick juicy sausages, artery-clogging-sodium-saturated bacon strips,  juicy grilled tomato (probably the only healthy item on the plate) drowned in thick brown gravy sauce and partnered with crisp slices of toast covered in butter and jam, a hearty bowl of oats porridge, some fruit or yogurt and washed all these down with a revitalizing cup of English Breakfast tea. Then there is the oil-soaked newspaper which cradles crispy batter-fried fish in a bed of salt-sprinkled chips (thick fingers of deep-fried potato. The New World reshaped it into a dainty stick which they call French Freedom Fries.). Despite the health-threatening high-cholesterol offerings the British menu has, who could resist the classic English tradition of Afternoon tea where one enjoys a lovely cup of tea with boulders of scones covered in cold clotted cream and ruby red strawberry jam,  the assortment of sandwiches and cakes to complement the leisurely experience? Thank god and the immigration policy-makers, newcomers from all corners of the earth brought along with them their uniquely tantalising cuisines to make the global traveller feel right at home on the dinner table. The Teriyaki chicken and salmon bento by a native Japanese chef in Leicester Square was possibly the best I ever had in my travels. Huge hunks of fried chicken and a massive slice of salmon bathed in sweet, savoury teriyaki sauce is neatly placed next to a bed of fresh crisp salad and 2 tuna maki. Fish and chips in Greenwich was a real disappointment, it could hardly match the ones I have in Singapore. The saving grace was the heavenly fish pie from JK Sheeky’s at St Martins in the Fields  where I unknowingly find myself in a respectable restaurant served by waiters and surrounded by well-dressed people. The luscious cream cheese potage with fresh hunks of salmon and cod swimming under the crisp fluffy potato crust was to die for. 30 quid for the experience and satisfaction was worth it. And on days where one needs a quick bite, I usually find the ubiquitous Pret a Manger outlet for some freshly made sandwiches and thick wholesome soups, AND (more importantly) free wifi. The perfect meal to conclude the trip was roast beef with brown gravy, mushrooms, potato and carrots for dinner on my flight back home. Absolutely wonderful! (^p^)


I’m not done with London yet. Just you wait, you’ll find me crossing over to Albion’s shores once more.

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JLPT N3 is Over!!! (^3^) (日本語能力試験N3レベルが終わった!orz)

It was only 5 months ago when I made the decision to dump $55 onto the reception counter to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level N3.
I had a ready pool of JLPT2 notes and textbooks to swim in before the test however… life is always full of distractions.
Let me count the ways:Japan vacation, BL manga, BL novel, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, 801 etc
Today is the day of reckoning and I reckon the folks who set the papers are a bunch to be reckoned with. The main grouse we all had, N2 and N1 examinees included, was the load of unfamilliar grammar and vocabulary that ambushed us at every turn of the page. I cannot recall whether I was actually taught the words ‘区切って’、 ‘なだらか’ or ‘暗記’ nor actually seen them.
I can only hope for a borderline pass after spending half of the time playing dice with my eraser with the hope for a divine answer to each question. Other than shading random circles on the optical answer sheets, I took the liberty to decorate the question paper with sketches of the Anarchy sisters.(ちゃんまいさんのおかげで、集中できない)
おわった。おわった。もうおわった☆
Was the cramming in the past weeks all in vain then?
Perhaps not.
I was able to comprehend 60% of the Kichiku Megane novel that I am currently reading now without turning to the electronic dictionary for help and getting hooked on sexy underwear.

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Finally, the Long-awaited Package Arrived…

It has finally arrived! The highly-anticipated FriWOL anthology which Sardine san promised as a reward for my half-baked labours (Labour? What labour?) has finally found its way into my HDB postbox.

I was intrigued by the contents of the package. It felt like there was more stuff than a book in the envelope. So I just stuck my paw in and pulled something out.

Voila! It’s … It’s a handtowel with Nara’s controversial mascot emblazoned on it. Followed by phone accessories and an awesome memo pad. The most precious of all would be the weighty FriWOL anthology, complete with an ‘obi’ and a glossy cover. It looks good enough for display in Kinokuniya.
The stories inside are beyond entertaining. It’s hilarious! Well, makes up for the lack of hardcore -beeep- which I usually enjoy www

My heartfelt thanks to Sardine san and the contributors for their amazing works and efforts. I feel quite bad for wasting pages with my crappy work though… ごめんなさいorz

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