Sep 30, 2009


Barely my 3rd day home and already my body is staging a mutiny..

Since yesterday morning, I've been having runny nose (I should call it "gushing" nose instead, looking at the speed it is running), watery eyes, aching body (especially my shoulders), and a mild cough.. with a head that is heavy and can't think.. oh, not to mention feeling emotional numb.. luckily, I still haven't lost my appetite yet.. I would really start worrying if I don't feel like eating..

Maybe all these are just ways that my body is trying to tell me something.. I don't know if all these are really adverse "allergy reaction" of me being back in my own country or just me being tired and weak from all the lugging of my baggage last Sunday..

Now, I have no mood whatsoever in doing anything productive.. Nothing seemed to interest nor excite me.. Maybe I am being too harsh on myself, since this is ONLY my 3rd day back home.. Yet, I can't help but feel useless and inadequate.. I don't even feel sad anymore, which makes me wonder if I am really that heartless.. or just my way of coping by locking that part away and not think about it..

I think I need to establish some daily routines or set some targets for myself, before wasting my life away like this.. if only my mind is cooperating..

Sep 29, 2009

What timing..

Just when I have decided to keep this blog going, I received this email today..
Telling me that their free photo service is not free at all, and since I didn't use any of their other PAID services for the past two years, my account will be deleted on 30 Sept..

Well, talk about timing.. Just when I am bidding farewell to the life I had (for 2.5 years) in Japan, this termination of photo service came.. as if it was reminding me to move on with Life and stop looking back.. And also, it just proved to me, yet again, that nothing IS forever, much less something that is free..

As I refused to pay the USD19.99 annual fee, those photos that I have uploaded so far onto that website shall be history in two days time.. Thinking of subscribing (aka pay $$$ ) to Flickr.. or maybe I just make use of the photo function in Facebook..

Mmmmm... another possible "project" that I can do while being jobless in Malaysia.. sorting, labeling and uploading my photos..

Sep 28, 2009

D-day (Departure day)

Here are some of the stuff I wrote yesterday.. along the way.. in the bus, on the plane and while waiting..

In another 3.5hrs, I will be on my way to the airport.. my final night in Japan.. I had it good the last 2.5yrs.. I don't regret coming to Japan.. I will always remember the good times and cherish those memories, while letting go of the bad ones..

The limo service bus just drove off from the hotel compound.. my tears just fell.. and when the bus drove past the bridge near the house, I couldn't hold back any longer.. Seriously I didn't expect to have people sending me off.. but Aishah, Christy and Chowlih came..
With the help of my nice landlord, I managed to lug 3 baggage into the limo bus..

Still on the bus.. Very sleepy..yet I refused to close my eyes.. I wanted to see and remember as much as I can of the sights and scenes of Tokyo.. The deserted streets, narrow alleys, bright and loud bill-boards, and even the monotonous expressways.. There were so many things that I didn't do, like going to an On-sen, go skiing, go pub or clubbing, go home-stay with Japanese family, etc.. Although I do feel that I should have done them, I didn't regret the way I spend my 2.5years here.. I did had fun and I did it my way.. :)

Darn! Can't check in all my baggage.. those 2 baggage were severely over the weight allowance.. they are 21kg and 25kg respectively.. the airline staff wanted to charge me ¥89,100 for excess baggage of 21kg!!! And to think that the plane ticket cost ONLY ¥25,000!!! :x And they even want me to lighten my carry-on luggage to under 10kg.. I had to take some of the stuff out to cut the extra 5kg.. :x :x never one who is comfortable at begging or asking for sympathy/favors, I decided to check in the one which is 21kg and use the post office courier service to send the 25kg one back home.. :x :x

Managed to get that 25kg baggage sent via EMS.. and it cost me ¥23,500 to do it.. Can only pray and hope that the baggage will reach me in good condition in a weeks' time.. And I also stuff back the things that I took out of the carry-on luggage.. :p
All these won't had happened, if the Monbusho had given me a student ticket which would allow me to carry 30kg, instead of the usual 20kg.. the cost-cutting and belt-tightening measures by the Japanese government is really becoming a bane among the scholarship holders.. but again, I need to thank them for the 2.5years of "paid holidays" that they had provided me.. ;)

Finally boarded the plane.. Was stopped for custom check earlier.. had to take out my portable HDDs and books from my carry-on luggage (again) and let them re-scan my luggage.. now that luggage is really in a mess as I didn't have the time to pack them back nice and could just stuff everything back when they are through scanning.. :x :x

Finally airborned.. Slept right through the take-off.. So, I finally left Japan... and I don't feel anything.. except tiredness.. lugging those luggage around.. imagine, 21kg, 25kg, 15kg and my backpack which should be around 10kg was no joke... Maybe after a nap, I might start feeling something other than lethargy...

Slept most of the time.. only woke up when they serve meals and drinks.. didn't even use the in-flight entertainment system at all.. Still feel tired and worrisome.. worried about the baggage I sent via EMS.. yet, nothing much I can do now except pray and hope that it will come back in good condition.. all my formal wears (suits, shirts and pants), jackets and jeans are there.. well, I will see in a week's time..

Trying to feel.. I should feel sad, but yet I don't feel a thing.. maybe I am already numb..

Delayed.. I should be on the flight to Penang right now.. yet the flight is delayed and the plane isn't even here yet.. touched down at KLIA around an hour ago.. felt surreal...

Finally the plane left KLIA.. in less than an hour I should be touching down at the Penang International Airport.. It was sunset.. and seated at the window, I managed to capture this..It does convey a sense of melancholy, doesn't it??

Home sweet homw.. went straight to have dinner at one of the cafe in Taiping town after driving back from Penang.. Thus I reached home after I left the house in Tokyo more than 16 hours ago..

And how long would I be staying in this house in Taiping? Only heaven knows...

Back... and not liking it..

I am back in Malaysia for less than 24 hours and already I am pretty uncomfortable (Ididn't want to use the word "hate".. at least not yet..).. with so many things.. super lousy service personnel (from the immigration, airline ground crews to the normal shop assistants), bloody idiotic/arrogant/hopeless drivers (even though I still can't drive yet), and freaking inconsiderate neighbors...

I am having a major headache now, cos a neighbor decided to "show-off" his superior stereo systems by blasting at full volume some poor taste Chinese techno songs.. the bass is making my brain throb.. Yet, what can I do? Complain to the police? Nah, they are too busy taking "bribes" or arresting protesters.. Complain to the neighbor? Nah, they are too thick to realize that their big house is just a testimony of their lack of grey material up there..

Really makes me wanna leave this bloody place ASAP...

Sep 27, 2009

End of this chapter

Very soon I shall bid farewell to Tokyo, Japan.. and thus closing another chapter in my life.. my flight is less than 5 hours away and I would need to be on my way to the airport very soon....

I started this blog to pen down my thoughts and experience in Japan.. and boy, did I write.. :) and I must admit that I didn't really write down EVERYTHING that had happened.. I wasn't a very disciplined blogger who really does blog about everything.. there are still plenty of stuff with regards to my 2.5years here to write about.. Thus, I shall not end this blog, at least not yet.. I might restart my old blog, "What is Imm doing?" some time in the future, but for now this blog will be updated..

So many things going inside my head and experiencing so many types of emotions too.. Like I had said earlier, I have learned a lot these last 30 months.. not so much on the academic side, although it did showed me a new career path that I am trying to embark on, but more on finding myself.. I've learned so many things about myself during those months as compared to the first thirty odd years that I've lived.. aspects that I had been ignoring for all these years, things that I didn't know I am capable of and the emotional roller-coaster that I've gone through.. thus I have grown tremendously as a person (I hope), which is so much more important (to me, at least) than a piece of paper qualification..

And how could I forget about all the friends that I have met and made during these 30 months?! Neither a friendly nor an out-going person, I am surprised at the few good and close friends that I managed to make.. Thanks for all the great memories that you all have given me.. It was really "Fate" that had brought us together in the foreign land.. Hopefully I was a good/close friend as you were to me.. Do keep in touch, via email or Facebook..

(End of Part I)

Sep 26, 2009

Last Saturday..

Today I went to the Ueno Zoo with Aishah and Maow..

Wanted to get there around 9am so that we could have breakfast.. took a bus near my house.. but since both of us had never taken that Bus No.69 before, we didn't really know where to get off.. in the end, we took a joyride and came back to Edogawabashi.. in the end we took the train.. yet that one hour on the train was not wasted as we managed to catch up.. :)

Met Maow around 11am.. and we went to the Ueno Zoo.. even though all of us had been in Japan for more than 2.5 years, none of us visited the Zoo.. thus all the three of us were very excited.. :)

However, the condition at the Zoo is very very very very VERY appalling!! Almost all the animals at the zoo are subjected to the same living condition as the average Japanese!!! Most of the cages are so freaking small that I really wanted to cry when I saw it.. Especially those for the big birds of prey like the hawks, falcon, vultures and eagles.. they could barely spread their wings, much less fly!!!!!!!!! These animals are NOT given adequate space to live!!!! I love to visit the Singapore Zoo because the animals are allowed to roam just as they were in the wild.. but in this zoo, these animals are subjected to house-arrest!!!! We even saw an eagle falling off the fake tree branches!!!!!! How sad can that be????!!!!! If the people from Green Peace or WWF wanna protest about Japanese's "treatment" of whales and dolphins, they should come and take a look at this Zoo.. Never a person who writes feedback form, yet this time I did.. I had to tell them how sad, frustrated and pissed I am at how they are treating these beautiful creatures of nature.. If they can't afford to give these animals the proper space and living conditions that they deserve, then don't keep them.. I don't think these animals deserved to be repressed and oppressed, just like the Japanese themselves!!!!

We came out of the Zoo around 3pm.. because personally, I didn't have the mood to really see all the animals.. everywhere I go I pity the animals.. I didn't enjoy the Zoo at all.. We went to Ameyoko to have lunch.. after going around the shops buying stuff (not me, Aishah and Maow), we went back around 4:30pm..

Did some final packing and tidying up of my room.. gave away all the stuff that I could bring back to Aishah and the two new housemates.. and now writing this blog... shall write a bit more later.. in the next entry..

Sep 25, 2009

Last Friday..

And it is T - 2 days to leaving Japan...

Today, I went to Ghibli Museum for the 10am session.. bought the ticket last Sunday, on my way back from my graduation.. There are 4 sessions, 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm.. Took the train to Kichijoji instead of Mitaka as I wanna do some deposit at Shinsei Bank.. Bought some sandwiches and had wanted to walk to the Museum.. yet, with just a rough idea of where the Museum is, I backtracked a couple of time, uncertain as to how I should proceed.. should I go back to the station and take the train one stop to Mitaka and follow the instructions printed on the ticket stub, or should I follow my instinct and head towards the direction that I think the Museum should be? I then decided to just follow my instinct and take a chance, something that was unthinkable a few years back.. In the end, I managed to find my way to the Museum in time.. :)

Frankly speaking, the Museum is not worth the entrance fee(¥1,000) that they are charging.. There are lots of things to look at - very nice drawings, rough sketches and all the things that the animators need to draw and produce those classic anime.. yet, as the visitors are not allowed to take photos, one could walk through all the exhibition rooms in less than 1 hour, as there weren't many descriptive or narrative explanation notes near the exhibits for the visitors to read..

In the end, I spent about 2 hours there, viewing the exhibition rooms twice and at a very slow pace.. The drawings and sketches in the Animators' room were really very very nice.. I would have bought quite a few of them if they were made into postcards or paintings... Shall post the photos of my visit later.. Bought a 2010 planner (whose leather cover can be reused) and a postcard, both from the "My neighbour Totoro" movie, which is still my favorite even though I can't really remember the story line.. I just love that fluffy cuddly and grinning Totoro.. :)

Then I met up with Chrissy for lunch near Waseda.. Before that I went to AU shop, as I wanna terminate my mobile phone line.. but it seemed that they can NOT do "scheduled" termination, only "immediate" termination.. which is very puzzling, considering Japan has the MOST advanced mobile and mobile-related technology.. well, what can I do about it, right?? so I would have to make another trip over there tomorrow evening to get my phone terminated.. :x :x

After lunch, I went to the Post Office and closed my POSBank account.. luckily, that went on without a hitch, since I am taking MY money out from the bank.. :P Came back to my room and did some packing.. and some final scanning.. My 2 luggage bags will DEFINITELY be MORE than 20kg combined.. If they really wanna charged me for the extra baggage, I had no choice but to pay them.. hope they don't.. pray hard hard.. :p

Went for dinner around 7.30pm with the landlord, the 2 new housemates, Aishah, Sasaki-san and Stephanie.. to a Italian/French restaurant.. where the food was pretty good.. it was a course dinner and escargot was on the menu.. so the meal should be quite expensive, but again, it was a treat by Watanabe-san.. Seriously, I can't find any other landlord as kind and generous as him.. Am really blessed..

There is so many thoughts and emotions going through my mind right now, it is difficult to pen them down.. maybe I could just write what I feel/think, but it won't be coherent.. I shall try to write something down tomorrow night.. my final night in Japan... :( :(

Sep 24, 2009

Last Thursday..

Had wanted to go to Tsukiji Fish Market.. but decided that I had better run all my errands first..

Then around 10am, chatted with my Senpai, Joe over msn.. and we just decided to have lunch around 12:30pm at Azabu-juban, where his office is.. Talk about last minute.. :)

Before that I had to finish packing the 3 boxes that I had wanted to send home.. managed to stuff the boxes with most of the things that I do not need immediately.. going to send 1 via EMS, and the other 2 via normal sea mail.. Watanabe-san was kind enough to fetch me to the post office to send the boxes... paid ¥17,500 for them.. :x

Then I went to meet Joe for lunch.. But not before calling my brother to confirm with him the dinner tonight.. Wanna cook him and his wife dinner.. Just don't feel right that I cook for all my friends and not my own brother.. :)

We went to a small western restaurant called Yoshi.. The food was not too bad.. We chatted.. He is one of the many friends that I am glad to have met and made.. We "clicked"... During our lab seminars, I was often his "spokesperson-cum-clarifier".. Whenever he has difficulties explaining or clarifying his opinions/thoughts, I would jumped in and helped him.. Frankly, his Chinese is far more superior than his English and he has problems expressing himself fully in English.. Sometimes when he gets excited or too eager, he tends to stammer or tongue-tied.. I always gets what he wanted to express and then expressed them for him in English.. :) Capricorn and Virgo are good working partners.. :) :)

Other than talking about the times in our seminars, we talked about other things too.. About life, our plans for the future, etc.. We shared some of our thoughts and feelings too.. It was good to have someone who understands and doesn't judge to talk to.. And thus there are three.. :) :) 老大,真的很高興認識你!謝謝你的了解及接受。。

After coming back, I went to the post office again to run some errands.. then I started my preparation for the dinner tonight.. going to cook prawn fritters (again, cos I bought extra prawns), lotus root soup with spare-ribs and stir-fry mixed vegetables with oyster sauce..

They came around 6:50pm.. had a simple and good dinner... talked about their recent trip to China.. The landlord joined us too.. Since they had to work the next day, they left around 8:30pm.. Then had a good chatting "session" with the two new housemates..

So another good day today.. :) :) :) :)

Sep 23, 2009

Last Wednesday.

What a good day today.. :)

Woke up pretty early, around 8am.. Checked on the marinated meat.. all turning out nicely.. :) Went grocery shopping again.. bought drinks and some ingredient for tomorrow.. Didn't do much packing today.. Had some toasted baguette for breakfast..

Stayed in the kitchen the whole day and made some good progress today.. Started preparing for dinner around 12pm.. as I worried that I might be overwhelmed later.. but on hindsight, I was too "Kiasu".. I had everything under control, actually.. Just need to be more confident about my own estimation next time..

First, the prawn fritters... Cut some carrots in thin strips and diced some onions, then I made the batter for the fritters using just flour, water and an egg.. Of course, some prawns too.. and here is the end product..
After finish frying the prawn fritters, I started cooking my stew pork too.. Had it on the burner for more than 4 hours..

Then around 2pm, Christy moved in.. with all her stuff.. helped her carried some of the stuff up her room and showed her all my empty cupboards around the house.. then it was back to my scanning.. and Face-booking.. :p

Chua and Jeff was on time.. was here 6:30pm sharp.. :) then Seow Hui arrived.. then Erick.. Nadia was held up.. but everyone just chat and joke while waiting for her.. at the same time I did my last dish, Mixed vegetables with Hoisin sauce.. had to cook rice twice, since I no longer have that big rice cooker.. and with the other two dishes (stew pork and steamed egg with minced meat) prepared earlier, not including my prawn fritters.. When Nadia arrived around 15min after 7pm, everyone just digged in.. luckily no one complained about the meal.... :) They ate up almost everything!

After the meal, I brought out the last quarter bottle of Ume-shu and Watanabe-san took out his home-made Ume-shu.. Then Watanabe-san gave us some expensive grapes for dessert.. They were sooo sweet... Then Christy came back and brought out some mooncakes.. again, everyone ate them all up, almost all... :p For once, no one actually want to eat the cake that Erick bought.. :p :p :p

Seow Hui had to leave around 9pm as she leaves about 2 hours away.. but the rest stayed back and chatted till almost 10:30pm.. As usual, we talked, joked and laughed.. Gonna miss these kind of sessions in future.. :(

Frankly, towards the end, I just kept quiet and try to savor this last gathering.. I did feel the sadness.. although I can't really put a finger as to the exact reason why I was sad.. I think the human factor out-weights the environment change factor.. Although I didn't hang out with them very often in the first 2 years, but ever since I came and stayed in this house, I hang-out more with them because of Aishah and Sarah.. I realised that I am not THAT old.. :p I can still "click" or "connect" with them, when they are between 4 to 10 years younger than me...

Thanks guys and gals for the wonderful memories.. Stay in touch via FB, ok?!?!

Po-imms IV

Suddenly I realized,
that I am unsatisfied,
with what I have so far prized,
even though I can't quite rationalized.

Suddenly I woke up,
that I didn't really live up,
to the standards that I've put up,
even though no one would blame me if I f**k up..

Suddenly I understood,
nothing is bad or good,
I am just being misunderstood,
for I refuse to accept any falsehood..

Suddenly I feel like such a fool,
not that I was ever "cool",
baring my heart and soul so plentiful,
yet none of it was ever meaningful..

Suddenly I feel old,
my soul in stranglehold,
many things remain untold,
and my heart is getting cold..

Written: Sept 06, 2009
Tired of being strong.
Why can't I be wrong?
And let things just run along,
as I've been crying all nightlong..

Tired of being rational.
Why can't I be emotional?
Not that I will turn criminal,
just wanna be more original..

Tired of being responsible,
Why can't I be a rebel?
Doing things that are controversial,
and not always lead by example..

Tired of being independent.
Why do I have to carry the burden?
Until my heart is so harden,
that my softer side is nonexistent..

Tired of being me..
Why can't I express freely?
All the while being so brassy,
sometimes I just wanna be puny...

Written: Sept 08, 2009

Sep 22, 2009

Last Tuesday

Woke around 9:30am again.. seemed like my "internal" alarm clock is set at that time.. :p

Again, the routine.. check email, go FB... but today, I did manage to pack 1.5 boxes and 1 big luggage.. All the clothes that I wouldn't be wearing for the next 5 days and those formal clothes went into that big luggage... felt a sense of accomplishment.. :) At least I am doing something productive..

Went to get groceries.. (again.. :p) this time I bought some broccoli, french beans, eggs, baguette, dried mushrooms and two cans of beers.. :p Came back and start my marination of the stew pork and also the minced meat for the steam eggs that I am going to cook tomorrow.. Cooked the following for my own lunch today.. around 3pm..
Chopped the french beans and fried it with egg.. and heat up left-over spicy tou-fu from Sunday, together with the deep fried fish.. kept a piece of the fish for my landlord.. :)

I then stayed in the kitchen to scan all the papers and whatever brochures/leaflets that I took during my many trips to Kansai.. Can't believe I took sooo many.. Made a reservation for the Airport Limousine Service to Narita Airport for the morning of Sept 27 too.. Luckily they spoken English.. :)

Didn't stop scanning till 11pm.. had some meatballs and egg with rice for dinner.. around 9pm..
Managed to get everything from Kansai scanned.. tomorrow, it will be stuff from my trip to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau..

Looking forward to tomorrow too.. will be having a few Malaysian friends over for a "final" cook-out session.. hope the food will turn out fine.. :)

Sep 21, 2009

Po-imms III

You and Me
You are such a tease,
even as the casualty increases,
many would still gladly say me please..

You are such a heart-breaker,
making everyone's legs weaker,
as you are such a good sweet talker..

You are such a player,
though not much of a partyer,
with love you definitely not a miser..

I'm such a sucker,
succumbing to my own desire,
hoping more could be transpired..

I'm such a loser,
only dare to be an admirer,
and didn't dare to get any closer.

I'm such a coward,
scared to move things forward,
afraid that things might get awkward..

Imagine You and Me...

Written: Sept 03, 2009
love. love?
what is love?
That I am told,
it is better than gold,
to get it one has to be bold..

what is love?
Does it has to be mutual?
Can it be one-sided or virtual?
Think it all depends on the individual...

what is love?
A question to ponder,
not a question of gender,
nor a matter of flowers or letters..

what is love?
I don't know,
sleeping alone with my pillow,
maybe I"ll find out tomorrow..

Written: Sept 05, 2009

Last Monday..

This is the last Monday that I will spend in Japan.. before flying back this Sunday... I know it is pretty boring to be recording all these mundane thing, but I think I will love to look back and see how I spent the "last" Monday a few years down the road.... ;)

Woke up around 9.30am.. and went straight to my laptop that I seldom shut-down.. Check emails and login to Facebook to do all the "daily chores" in some of the applications.. of course I tried to pack, somewhat.. :P and before I knew it, it was almost 12pm.. A quick bath later, I went out to get groceries.. at Marusho and Iida.. to get food for today and the makan session on Wednesday night.. bought some spices, fish, prawn, pork, minced meat, sausages, tou-fu, capsicum and some beer.. :P I had to keep stopping myself from buying too much stuff as I still need to finish up all the stuff that I have.. Ya, I just love grocery-shopping!! :p

After finishing up the leftover fried rice from yesterday and some yakitori, I started my "scanning project".. I am trying to digitalize all the brochures, maps, guides and whatever paper documents that I had accumulated from my visits to places all over Japan.. I didn't want to pay to ship all these stacks of papers back home..

Then around 3pm, Christy and Chowlih came.. they will be taking over my room and Aishah's room.. The landlord was around too.. after showing them around, we sat down and chit-chatted.. til almost 5:30pm.. after they left, I continued chatting with Watanabe-san.. Frankly, I am surprised at how talkative I had became.. at least with him... the amount of time that I had talked to him since I got back from Malaysia end of Aug (and minus the 2 weeks that I was in Western Japan) is definitely MORE than the last 6 months combined!!

For dinner, I cooked the ramen that I bought from the supermarket.. just need to cook the noodle for 5 min, then rinsed with cold water.. pour the soup paste into a bowl and add in some hot water, and then put in the cooked noodle.. of course, I add in sausages and tomato too.. :) simple and light enough..

Continued scanning til almost 9:30pm.. and after taking a bath, I sat down to write this blog.. had wanted to go Tsukiji Fish Market tomorrow morning, but too bad it is closed for the long public holidays.. so most probably I will be doing the same things for tomorrow too.. :p Didn't realise that I had "hoarded" so many brochures, maps and guides... :p :p :p

Sep 20, 2009

My Graduation.. finally...

Before I proceed to describe my graduation, I must first say that the photos used below came with a high price.. US$69 to be exact.. :x :x Because my "new" SD Card (less than 1 year old) decided to die on me today (of all days), AFTER I had taken photos during/of my graduation.. I had taken photos with many of my professors and since these memories are PRICELESS, I decided to pay and get those photos back.. Aiy...

Okay, now let's talk about my graduation..

The graduation ceremony was at 3:30pm at Ono Memorial Hall, B2F..

First, we need to register ourselves and return our student ID card, which I had forgot to bring.. :p As I was "supposedly" the representative for the Masters graduates of Area 3, I was to sit in front, with other 3 representatives..

Then at 3:30pm sharp, the ceremony started.. First was the conferment of academic degrees by our school's Dean, Prof Kameyama.. First the rep for PhD graduates, then rep for Masters graduates for Area 1, 2 and 3 (which is me.. :) ).. And then the rest of the graduating students...
Ya, that's me..

There were less than 30 graduating students (Masters and PhD) this semester.. so the awarding of degree was over very fast.. after the conferment, it was the congratulatory address by our Dean.. Prof Kameyama.
After his speech in Japanese and then English, it was the turn for representatives to give their "thank you" speech.. Before 4:30pm, the whole commencement ended.. and it was photo-taking time.. :) :)

Then it was the graduation reception.. with food, drinks and plenty of chats with the Professors.. which lasted an hour..

And so the end of my Masters graduation... :) :)

Sep 19, 2009

Po-imms II

Must somehow..
I must admit I am lost,
unable to find my guidepost,
stuck in the depths of my nethermost,
tormented by fears of my previous ghosts.

Somehow I need a sign,
that everything will be fine,
yet unsure of what I will find,
if I follow my heart and be sanguine.

I must confess I am scared,
countless nights I've teared,
utterly powerless and unprepared,
for epic challenges that had appeared..

Somehow I need to share,
not just my soul to be bared,
and my heart that had been seared,
to know that someone will still be there.

I must profess I am uncertain,
if people still care and to listen,
about the things I felt dishearten,
and my fear of being totally forgotten.

Somehow I need to straighten,
the turmoils that has since heighten,
as I refuse to admit that I've been beaten,
by these inner demons that refuse to quieten..

Written:Sept 01, 2009
Me Again..
Used to have a career,
working as an IT engineer,
well-respected among my peers,
any over-time I am sure to volunteer..

Went back to study,
everything is under subsidy,
no need to worry much about money,
just need to work hard and be scholarly..

Then graduation came,
just like the end of a game,
I know I am no longer the same,
but what have I became?

Now I don't know anymore,
if I'm going back to Singapore,
because I wanna go on to explore,
as I know Life can give so much more..

So the question remain,
things I need to ascertain,
to go back to where I was again,
or strike out on my own in a new domain?

Written: Sept 01, 2009

Sep 17, 2009


Here are some stuff that I wrote.. late last month..

vibrating ever so loudly in the house,

suffocating the happiness of memories,

sipping into every corner of joy,

gnawing endlessly on my soul,

Written: Aug 24, 2009
Who cares..
Nothing matters..
Days, months or years hereafter..
Cos sooner or later,
Everything changes and alters..

Whether I grow old and bitter,
Or remains forever a youngster..
Still feeling sad in all these chatters,
Serious laughter or harmless banters..

Yet, even if Life is in tatters,
Or dreams shatter,
I won't be tempted to barter,
These memories that I'd muster...

In the end, nothing else really matters..

Written: Aug 28, 2009
What matters..
Do anyone care?
That this is not a dare,
nor some impulsive flare,
but a constant inner warfare..

Is anyone aware?
That I'm even there,
had left my soul bare,
under constant glare..

Can anyone prepare?
No matter how I fare,
in this Life's courseware,
I am still unable to share...

Written: Aug 29, 2009

Sep 16, 2009

Flight Confirmed...

Went to the University yesterday.. got the confirmation of my flight out of Tokyo..
So this leaves me with around 10 days to get all loose ends to be tied.. which includes packing, packing and more packing.. with some meet-ups with friends for final goodbye thrown in.. and a few last minute visiting of those "touristy" places.. :)

Sep 14, 2009

A nomad..

Fourteen days of touring Western Japan, visiting 7 different cities (Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Hiraoshima, Matsuyama, Okayama and Osaka) meant that I had slept in 7 different beds.. If I go back further and count from July where I had traveled to Italy and France (Rome, Siena, Florence, Milan, Nice, Lyon, Macon and Paris) and my short 2-weeks back in Malaysia (where I went to Genting and stayed over my uncle's place in Puchong, other than my own bed in Taiping), I had slept in 19 different beds in the last 80 days, not forgetting the bed in Tokyo.. a change of bed every 4 days!!

This seemed to reflect how my life have been in the last 34 years.. A nomad, kind of.. Even while I was in Singapore, I had to move on average every 3 years because of various reasons.. And I had lost count of the number of times I slept in a "new" room/bed every time I came back to Malaysia because my family continue to move around too..

Thus, I can say that I am able to adapt well to any new environment, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it nor does it mean that I look forward to it.. Again, that may have contributed to my sense of "rootlessness".. I don't feel that I belong to anywhere nor anyone.. Anywhere I go or everything I do, I can only depend on myself.. since everything else is so fluid and volatile..

Every time I feel a tiny sense of belonging or being part of a group, I had to leave, due to one reason or another.. It is very tiring making new friends over and over and over again.. and I am NOT the outgoing and friendly kind of person either.. The "stress" of making new friends and trying to fit in is enough to make me "anti-social" and "unfriendly".. Yet, there is no other way around it.. People move in and out of our lives, whether we like it or not.. I can only try to hold on to those whom I treasure and ALSO reciprocate my effort in maintaining our friendship.. why bother when he/she doesn't? I won't want to be an "unwelcome self-declared good friend"..

Let's see how many friends I will (manage to) retain.. from these past 2.5 years in Japan..

Sep 13, 2009

In two weeks..

If there is no hiccups, I should be back in Malaysia for good on the night of 27 Sept.. And in a week's time, I would be having my graduation ceremony.. So this Sunday, I am in Osaka, next Sunday in Tokyo and then the next next Sunday in Malaysia..

Don't know how or what I am feeling right now..

Sep 11, 2009


Wanted to write something.. yet nothing coherent came out.. Wanted to arrange my photos.. yet no mood to look through them.. :x :x Maybe I am beginning to feel the lethargy of traveling..

My senses are getting numb from all the sigh-seeing.. and my wallet is bleeding from all the spending.. It is about time to go home.. another 4 more days.. then this "graduation" tour of Japan will end.. then I will be back to face the reality, whether I am ready or not....

Sep 9, 2009

Western Japan 2009: Routines

Okay, even when I go traveling I like to have some kinds of routines or base rules.. I know.. I know.. I should be following my heart and do whatever I fancy, and do things on impulse.. but that is just too much to ask for.. :P But in order not to hide within my comfort zone and try new things, I set out several interesting "must-do" items...

1. Never eat anything that I have eaten before..
This will force me to try out new food.. Food in Japan doesn't really tempt me that much, plus I'm that particular about food.. So most of the time, I would just grab anything convenient so as not to "waste" time looking for food.. This time round, in order for me not to go eat rice ball, sandwiches, McD, Yoshinoya or any familiar fast food, I shall obey this rule... so far, I have.. :)

2. A beer a day keeps the fever away... (生ビルと発泡酒)
Yes, have been drinking a can (or two) almost every night.. :P on top of the "must-drink" orange juice.. Haven't had the chance to taste all the different types of beers in Japan, so this trip provides a great excuse to do just that.. So far, have yet to find any beer to my liking.. Another 8 days (= 8 more cans) to go.. :p

3. Specialty in every city (特産とお土産)
Been buying specialty food in every city.. although I can't bring it back to Tokyo, I will photograph them and eat them at the next city.. :p So far, nothing fantastic.. Maybe because I usually buy those that looked more filling than just looked nice..

4. Train food aka Eki-ben (駅弁)
Been buying and eating Eki-ben during the last two train trips.. Eki-ben, or Eki-Bento in full, are the bento boxes sold on each train stations to hungry travelers making their way to their destinations.. Nicely packed, they are really delicious, although kinda cold.. :) Slightly more expensive, but definitely worth the price..

5. Fortune at each city (おみこし)
Have scheduled to visit at least one temple or shrine at each city.. so I shall ask for my fortune ONCE in each city.. so far, I have been getting positive "responses" from 3 Kami-san (神様) in Kyushu.. :p Let's see what will the Kami-san in Chugoku and Shikoku say..

So here you have it, the 5 "ground-rules" that I will be adhering to for the rest of the trip, which all serve to ensure that I enjoy the trip 100%!!

Sep 8, 2009

Western Japan 2009: Peace

Am currently in Hiroshima and went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum earlier.. and after what I had heard and seen, I need to write my thoughts and feelings down when they are still raw and fresh..

Getting off at Genbaku Dome-mae (Street car) Station, I walked towards the A-Bomb Dome, a ghastly reminder of the devastation caused by the 1st Atomic Bomb.. As I was walking around the area, I saw a few Japanese with a sign that says "Free Guide".. And so I approached one of them, a gentleman.. Little did I know that I was to meet one of the youngest survivors of the Hiroshima A-Bomb, Mr MITO Kosei..

He started this free service 3 years ago as the sole tour guide, giving additional information and some first hand account of the catastrophe.. Now, he has 12 volunteer tour guides whom he calls "his students".. He showed me his Hibakusha Kenkou-techou (被爆者健康手帳 or A-Bomb Survivor's Health Book Certificates ), a small booklet that certified him as one of the 235,569 survivors..

There were 4 classifications: Class 1 - People who were in Hiroshima City when the bomb exploded (145,252 survivors), like Mr Mito's grandfather who were 600m from the hypocenter or commonly known as ground zero ; Class 2 - People who entered the area within two km and within two weeks (58,683 survivors), like his mother who went into Hiroshima 3 days after the blast; Class 3 - People who treated or cremated the victims (24,238 survivors), like his father, a school teacher who went back to his school to help the students; and Class 4 - People who were in-utero survivors (7,396 survivors) like Mr Mito himself, who was 4 months old in his mother's womb..

He then told me the horror of the blast.. dead bodies had to be piled up and burnt.. yet with no wood or material to help the burning and the unbelievably large amount of dead bodies, volunteers took almost 1 month to burn the bodies!! He then speculated that the Americans choose to drop the bomb on a Monday at 8:15am because they want to make sure the FULL effect is being felt where EVERYONE is out of their home, either working or in school.. He also lamented about the "friendliness" that the Japanese is showing the Americans.. He once posed this question to an American Harvard student who couldn't answer positively to this question,"If my country dropped the atomic bomb in your country twice and after all these years never once apologized about it, do you think I will be welcomed in your country as a tourist?"

Other than telling me about his family and how they survived (his father lived well into his 90s while his mother is a healthy 91year old..Mr Mito himself was a very sickly child who had to miss school almost a month every year during his elementary years), Mr Mito shared some trivial that the official tour guides failed to share or the official information missed out.. He was one of the museum tour guides, but he decided to quit because he thought that the officials are not portraying some of the things accurately..

Here are some of the things he told me..
A-bomb survivors are usually discriminate against, especially those who are single.. No counseling or psychological help were ever provided to any survivors, so it was not surprising for survivors to suffer from PTD (post-traumatic disorder) all their lives.. Many of them never spoke of the things they saw during the aftermath, like Mr Mito's father.. While some had to find courage and family support to tell their stories, like Mr Mito's mother, who was persuaded by Mr Mito to write the account of her father who finally succumbed to his injuries on Sept 3, a day after Japan surrender unconditionally. Her story can be read here, My Father's Sixth of August, 1945 in Hirishima, Japan.

Also, he mentioned that the antenna attached to the "Little Boy" Uranium bomb was made by a Japanese.. And that the ABCC (Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission) did more harm than help, with their inconsiderate actions like stripping students naked in the field to be photographed, regardless of gender and age.. Some of the girls were so traumatized by the humiliation (of forced public nudity) that they suffered from mental problems, on top of the injuries and PTD, ever since.. Yet ABCC was not dissolved until almost 30 years later!!

He then explained the resilience of the Japanese people, whereby 1 hour after the blast, the train services resumed, carrying the wounded for medical treatment; 1 day after, the bank opened for business and the mail delivery went on as normal; and ground zero was totally rebuilt within 2 years! Many companies took the initiatives to resume their services, even before the central government issued any directives..

He then showed me a small little graveyard not far from the A-Bomb Dome which held the tombstones of at least 100 deaths.. some even the entire family..

Lastly, he showed me the hypocenter, which was just 150m away from the A-Bomb Dome.. It was just in front of a hospital.. Hospital is still run by the same family.. I took a photo with Mr Mito but not before thanking him for his narrations..

My thoughts:
After seeing both Memorial Museums (in Nagasaki and Hiroshima), regardless of how cruel the Japanese were towards the Chinese or any of their occupied countries, no country deserved this.. in terms of atrocities and cruelties, the Nazis did things that were equally bad, if not worst to the Jews.. and frankly, if the Intelligence Unit of the Allied Forces did their job, they would know that Japan couldn't hold on any longer.. or maybe these bombs were dropped under the same pretext as the invasion of Iraq, the supposedly presence of WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction)..

I strongly feel that no one should ever have to suffer the horror of atomic explosion.. cos when wars are fought, it is the civilians (children especially) who will suffer the most, while those who had a hand in pushing the button stay safely thousand miles away in their fortified underground secret bunker..

If one believes in karma, like I do, it could be a way for them to pay for what they did overseas, although I would prefer a more humane way for them to pay their penance...

Sep 7, 2009

Western Japan 2009: Bored..

I know I will get it for saying this, but I am bored.. in Kumamoto..

Visited the Kumamoto Castle and Suizenji-Jojuen Garden.. even spent 1.5 hours at the shopping streets downtown.. but seriously, there is NOTHING to see in Kumamoto.. The castle was a reconstruction and the garden is too green (aka mono-color and no flowers)... so unless you have a car, then maybe you can go for day-trip outside of town to go hiking up some mountains... Can't remember why I choose to come here.. maybe just wanna make sure I don't leave any city out.. maybe I should have gone to Fukuoka instead.. :(

So here I am, back in my hotel room at 4pm.. in a way, it was good cos I have two translation jobs that I need to submit by end of this week.. so I am going to spend my day in my nice Toyoko-Inn room, enjoying the air-con (it is 34 degree outside!!!), drinking beer and making some money to cover this trip.. :p

Sep 5, 2009

Western Japan 2009: Burnt

Now on my 4th day... walked around an island, cycled around a volcano (island, sort of), took ferries to those islands, took Shinkansen between cities, took street car and city buses to travel around.... Might be taking a long-distance bus tomorrow, depending on whether I prefer comfort or budget... :p

Yet one thing is for sure, I am burnt.. not just tanned like in Europe, but burnt.. especially knowing how forgetful I am with sun-screen.. now I have so many different tanned/burnt lines on my arms.. :p

Going to my 3rd and last city in Kyushu tomorrow..

Sep 2, 2009

Western Japan 2009: Wrecked... almost

Okay, today was really an "exciting" day.. as if I didn't have enough excitement in my life so far.. Maybe that was also why I was so calm when the problem arise.. Let me tell you what happened...

Since I am traveling in Japan, I didn't want to bring huge amount of cash with me, plus the fact that it is very easy to withdraw money from the convenient stores that are everywhere... or so I thought.. Another thing is I brought ONLY my Shinsei Bank ATM card, thinking that POSBank is usually found in suburb and not in the city area, so it won't be as useful.. I am SO wrong.. :x

When I reached Kagoshima, I had enough cash to last me 2 days maximum.. but I still wanna see if I can draw money from the convenient stores in Kagoshima.. Then I realized that there isn't seems to be THAT many convenient stores in Kagoshima as in Tokyo or even Kyoto! I went into Lawson and tried my Shinsei Bank ATM card.. It refused to give me cash.. I went to the Tourist Information Counter at the Kagoshima Chuo Station and ask if there is any 7-11 around the area.. Imagine the shock I got when the lady manning the counter told me that there is NO 7-11 in Kagoshima!!!! She then suggest that I try using my card in the POSBank branch next to the station.. I tried and it didn't work either... I tried my Singapore credit card and it too can't get me cash...

At this time, I think most people would be panicking.. yet, I was unusually calm.. I gave my brother a call, asking him to check the website of Shinsei Bank if there is any branches around Kagoshima or Kyushu that I can get my OWN money out.. then I was going through all kinds of possible work-around.. "Once I check-in to the hotel, I can use Skype to call SG and ask them about my credit card..", "Maybe I can use Internet transfer to pay for my lodgings..", "Maybe I can fly back to Tokyo and come back again.. the most I would lose is ¥20,000 for the air tickets and I would still be able to enjoy the rest of my holiday..", "I can pay all the hotel and maybe even the Shinkansen tickets using my credit card, just have to watch my spending and save on food & drinks..", "Maybe I can get cash in Chugoku or Shikoku area... "..

It was during this time that I realized that nothing is going to spoil this trip for me!! not even the lack of money!! I will just take things as they come.. I did want to kick myself for bringing this ATM card instead of the POSBank one.. but I spent less than 20% of the time feeling bad/stupid while the rest of the time I spend cracking my head trying to find work-around.. I didn't blame myself as much as I thought I would, maybe because I am the ONLY ONE suffering for my mistake.. :p

Once I check-in to the hotel and got online, I verified that Shinsei ATM can be used in ALL POSBank ATM.. I went to the POSBank Branch again, and this time I asked a staff who was there.. She showed me the CORRECT button to push to get the money using a non-POSBank ATM card.. You have no idea how relieved I was.... :)

And so, that is the story about me ALMOST had to survive 14-days with less than ¥40,000 cash.. :p

Sep 1, 2009

Western Japan 2009: Prologue

This shall be my final trip as a student.. :)

Will be flying off to Kagoshima in less than 10 hours.. Gonna spend about 14 days exploring the west side of Japan.. Didn't manage to include Okinawa, cos it is too far out and much too expensive.. Plus I didn't wanna rush through the cities.. Gonna spend "quality" time in each of them.. Had wanted to visit Hokkaido too, but in Sept nothing special is there to be seen.. yet it is still freaking expensive.. Thus, I have decided to save Okinawa and Hokkaido for future visits... :)

Here is my itinerary for the next fortnight:
Sept 02 & 03 - Kagoshima (Kyushu)
Sept 04 & 05 - Nagasaki (Kyushu)
Sept 06 & 07 - Kumamoto (Kyushu)
Sept 08 & 09 - Hiroshima (Chugoku)
Sept 10 & 11 - Matsuyama (Shikoku)
Sept 12 - Okayama (Kansai)
Sept 13 & 14 - Osaka (Kansai) - Going to Kobe and Himeji

Didn't have much time to thoroughly plan out all the itinerary. And I have learn from so many previous trips that one can only plan so much, as plans ALWAYS change.. for someone who needs to know every single step of the way, I think this is a major change for me.. I have learn to go with the flow and do things spontaneously.. Learned to NOT get frustrated if the plan isn't being followed.. or unexpected things happened.. improvise and move on.. :)

So what I have done so far is to book all the accommodations in those cities and just my flight from Tokyo (Haneda Airport) to Kagoshima. The rest of the traveling between the cities will be done via train, and I shall buy the tickets when I get there.. I have also listed down all the places that I wanna visit and things that I wanna do in each cities too.. I have allocated enough time for most of them.. else I shall pick those MUST-DO items and just do them..

With so many things weighting on my mind these past weeks, I need to get away.. And I owe it to myself to really enjoy this final tour of Japan.. Hopefully, I shall discover more sides of myself in this final solo trip...

How/What/Which are you? (Part IV)

Still more quiz results...

What kind of mask do you wear?

Your mask is purity. You are always trying to be true to yourself. You don't care what others think is right or wrong, you always use your own judgment to decide.... You often ignore the millions of rules people are trying to place on the way you should live your life, because you know they are meaningless and that you are a good person. Your intentions are usually pure, whether it's wanting to do something nice for someone, or just take some time for yourself. You understand that pure isn't perfect. You get angry, jealous, mean, sometimes stubborn, but you are who you are, and your mask isn't trying to hide it; it's just helping you get by the life you love and enjoy. . [Mmm.. 80% true... I don't hide behind a mask.. WYSIWYG... I just don't tell.. :p ]

What is your best trait?

You are a genuine person who does what you say and who stands by your word. What you see is what you get. You can be trusted because of your honesty, and this makes you an ideal friend. It is the single most important quality to have in any relationship, and people are drawn to you because of this. Even when the truth hurts, you value it above lies because you know in the end-- the truth will prevail and it is what sets people free. Some might think of you as blunt at times, but at the end of the day they appreciate your authenticity. You are a breath of fresh air to the world.. [ 85%.. I know that I am a bad liar.. so I don't lie, or at least I try very hard not to get into situations that I have to.... ;) ]

What do your eyes say about you?

When people look into your eyes, they see mysteries galore. You're a deep and intellectual person, and others can see that through your sparkling eyes. You're quiet and shy, but once you get to know someone, you become comfortable around them. Your eyes often spark curiousity in others, and it bothers people how they can never tell what you're really thinking. You're hard to read and often hide your true emotions. [almost 99%... people might not know my emotions, but they will know my opinion.. ;) ]

Your Water Personality Type
You are an Ocean

You are impressive and fascinating. People are drawn to your glory.
You are a profound and passionate person. You are boundless in your power.
You have a philosophical and poetic soul. You take a lot of time to reflect.
You are mysterious and captivating. You are too deep for anyone to figure out.
[95% accurate.. no one has figured me out yet.. :p ]

What does your mind look like?
A Mountain

Your mind is like a Mountain. You are always there, looking out for your loved ones. You have a great sense of justice and are a fighter for peace. You have much respect and people trust you. You don't daydream, you make adventures happen. [80% accurate... Mmm.. first ocean, now mountain.. what's next?? space?? :p ]

Which Color is your Aura?

Greens are balanced, harmonious, and peaceful personalities. They need harmony in their life and prefer to live in a natural environment. They are the most balanced people in the color spectrum. They also have a powerful connection with nature. Living in the country, next to a forest or park or close to a lake or ocean is important for these friendly and heartfelt personalities. Greens are open, extroverted, expressive, friendly, communicative and heartfelt. Greens perceive life through their heart. Their primary motivations are contentment and harmony. They judge their successes by how close they are to their friends or nature. Greens are content personalities. If they are in power and have found their place they need very little to be happy or feel needed. Their inner happiness and satisfaction is important to them and is fulfilled without much expectation. [Me? Balanced? Don't think I am extroverted nor friendly.. but my "inner happiness and satisfaction" IS important.... 50% accuracy.. :x ]

Any comments on these results?