Sunday, July 26, 2015

Inked!

I've always, always wanted to get a tattoo. For the past few years I've been contemplating the same idea and somehow just didn't do anything about it hahahaha I guess I did have a few concerns back then before taking the plunge. These were some of my concern points:

  • Money
    Which poor student can afford to spend a few hundred on permanent skin deco? Plus after I got my first job, it still didn't really pay all that comfortably especially when I've just moved to KL and had other commitments to suck up my hard-earned cash hahahah

  • Timing
    You know, young and reckless youth and all, I don't want to be making permanent decisions at a phase where I am most impulsive. Plus nobody will take me seriously anyway so I think mid-twenties is a good sensible age to make such decisions. Especially when it comes to dealing with parents they're likely to go batshit crazy in response to your teenage rebellion actions but when you're a full fledged adults what can they say hehe

  • Career
    Which is another reason why I subconsciously waited till this point to actually get it done. Because some professions and companies don't tolerate tattoos. Luckily, my career choice makes this possible and I believe I'll be staying put in this industry. Plus I'm surrounded by people with tattoos every day, even in a Japanese company.

  • Onsen
    Don't laugh. Most public hot springs in Japan are inaccessible if you have a tattoo, even if it's a small tattoo of the cutest, harmless, happiest, most colorful, creature on earth, ink is ink. Thankfully the times have since changed a little and there are a few onsen places that can tolerate ink these day. A few. Like a smaaaall handful. Throughout Japan. But anyway, I got my onsen experience already last time in Fukushima, and I can just opt to book private onsen to enjoy next time hahahaha #lifestyleoftherichandfamous

Having addressed all those concerns a few months back, I decided to email the folks at Pink Tattoos for a quotation. I actually wanted to get two done, but in the end, decided for one first haha no money that time. In between emails, just as I was going to set an appointment for myself and Neh, I saw one of the artists posted on Instagram that she has an availability later that afternoon for small works. I texted Neh immediately and she's also keen to go for it. I contacted Fin and booked us in!


It didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would. I got two words done on my left wrist and it feels just like having your skin scratched by those relatively expensive metal rulers we used back in school.

You know how prior to executing a big decision you get a little worried if you're making right choice and if whatever happens next will rock your world and there's a chance that you may regret it further down the road? That was how I felt before the session. How I felt after the session? Nothing, really.

Yes I liked the work of course, but the experience wasn't like, life-changing. I thought to myself, "That's it? I've contemplated so many years, and that's it?" Where do I sign up for my next session hahahaha bring on all the inks, I'm going to execute all my plans in the next few years.

My parents didn't notice until a month later, by the way. They reacted surprisingly normal.

"What is that? Is that permanent? Why don't you get it done on your butt instead" wtf

Anyway that feeling of almost-disappointment gnawed on my subconscious for more than a month, until I decided I should step it up and get a bigger work done to appease the monster. Dropped an email to Fin at Pink Tattoos, and scheduled a consultation. I still had no idea what I wanted at that time but I know it had to be related to my favourite country, Japan. We discussed for quite a bit during the consultation but still came up blank, until she mentioned Totoro and I was like, OMG TOTORO YES WHY DID I NOT THINK OF IT. She showed me an artwork of Totoro in origami style that she did, and I was on to the idea. We agreed on that, and set a date for the session.

Which was about a month or more after the consultation lol timing all out of order, because I was going for a trip to Vietnam soon and after that, Japan, and it wasn't recommended to travel about and be exposed to hot sunshine so quickly after its done. Ok I wait, and sent a few photos from my previous trips because I want a little background of some flowers I loved in Japan. I also said I'd like it to be mostly in black / white / gray, with a little pop of color.

I didn't know how the design will look like until I walked in for my session. I couldn't imagine how it will look but when Fin brought out the design I fell in love with it right away! It was perfect, one of those moments in life where you felt that someone else knows you better than you know you. The creature was a little too big for my preference though so she kindly re-did it smaller with larger flowers.

Perfect! It's about the size of my palm and I had it done on my right calf.

Boy, did it hurt after the first hour. It started off ticklish!




Tadaa! Fresh from the inker hahahaha Fin really enjoyed it too, which makes me happy! It swelled a little, and it continued to hurt throughout the next few days especially when I stand up, the blood rushes down and it felt like those leg cramps you get in the middle of the night. It really did hurt haha and it leaked a bit too. But that's good, that's life-changing. I finally got what I wanted lol now I already have two ideas I want to execute.

But uhm maybe next year when I'm not so broke fml


Saturday, July 25, 2015

JSP'12: Tokyo - Fifth Day


Let the day begin with greetings from Matsujun! Haha




Oh yeah we were up by 6.30am almost every morning, if not earlier. 

On this day, it was another drive to Odaiba. 


Where we visited my favourite museum! 


The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation - Miraikan! 




I loved it so much I went back again on my personal trip in July 2012. I really enjoyed my time there because every high tech displays were so interactive, complete with English descriptions, and helpful staff to explain and guide you through the activities. It was so fascinating I could spend hours in there on my own. 

Plus, there's the Asimo robot meet 'n' greet! Highly recommended! I blogged in full details in Summer Holiday series - click on the image on the right to check out the full series hehe 

We did spent a few hours in the museum and next it was lunch time! 


We walked a little distance from the museum. 

The weather was absolutely beautiful that day.


 I remember it so clearly - chilly, crisp air, the sun so bright. 

We arrived at an open area and there were food all prepared.


The buildings around are living quarters of international students/professors from nearby university with their families, if I remember correctly. Yes, families! I was so surprised at that, and thought it was really nice that the families are welcomed to move here together. I think maybe it wasn't just for foreigners, maybe locals too who are not from within the prefecture. Fuzzy memory whoops hehe

Hungry youth.


AND! The most exciting highlight (for me) - mochitsuki!


Mochitsuki is the process of beating the sticky glutinous rice dough to pulp hahahaha quite literally. Basically the dough is pounded over and over again on the large wooden mortar. At the same time, water is also added in it by bit, and over continuous pounding the dough consistency will get stickier and stickier. Lots of energy needed for sure hahahaha bring on all the manpower! 


After some strenuous pounding, the mochi is ready. They prepped two batches.

 One batch was coated with azuki (red bean), another with kinako (soy powder). 


I had both, but I liked azuki the best. It was by far the best mochi I've ever had in my life! 

So soft, so chewy, so fresh. So perfect for the weather. I wish I had more haha! 

After lunch, it was a drive back into central Tokyo again. 






Morning was spent learning about science and technology, 
while the afternoon will be dedicated to arts, history, and culture.

Tokyo National Museum! 


Spacious pond and garden lead to the stately museum building. 


Beautifully illustrated ticket and guide pamphlet.


The tickets had other versions too, such a fun point for visitors!


The main museum gallery was large, it was all possible to get lost in it lol

There were impressive sculptures, beautiful art pieces, historical items, etc






I was wandering aimlessly until I saw a peek into the outside world.


To the promise of sights in the outdoors I will go! 

I considered myself incredibly, incredibly lucky to be able to get in to the garden. I got there a little under an hour before it closes, and apparently the garden is only open to public in spring and autumn. It was late winter that time so I've no idea how or why it was open. So lucky! The garden was beautiful, it's a definite must-go if you're ever at the Tokyo National Museum, within Ueno.


Outfit color scheme of the day. 


I really enjoyed the walk, it was so nice and quiet. 


The main sight would be this serene pond with a traditional teahouse at the back. 



According to the official website, the Tengo-an teahouse was built in Kyoto by the famous tea master Kobori Enshu a few hundred years ago. After its ownership passed through several hands through the years, this teahouse was finally donated to the Tokyo National Museum in 1963. 

A little pathway across the pond that leads of the teahouse.


This is the Shunsoro teahouse, also built several hundreds of years ago.


Also donated to the Tokyo National Museum back in 1948, after passing through a few prominent ownership. There are a small handful of teahouses in this garden. I also saw some elderly ladies dressed in full traditional kimono leaving a teahouse, that was a really nice sight on a quiet afternoon.

The five-stories bronze pagoda. 


Apparently there are quite a few cultural monuments around the grounds but I didn't find out about them until I had internet access a few years later (right now, tbh). Glad I managed to spot a few!

View of the main gallery building from the other side of the pond.


As the evening approaches, we headed for dinner. 



Seriously no idea where were we at that time lol


We had dinner at Pronto, a cafe bar chain that can be found almost anywhere in Tokyo hahahah it was the most unpleasant dinner yet throughout the program. I think the restaurant was not fully prepared for the ravenous crowd, there weren't enough tables and seats even after we took two whole floors to ourselves and the food took more than an hour to arrive but it was not enough for all. I guess big parties like this rarely happens huh haha so in the end some of us bought food from conbini! Egg ham sandwich and cold bacon egg pasta!


Fifth day done! The next few days will be quite exciting, wait for it! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

#TXCOOKS Bánh Mì

Unf I love Vietnamese food. So light, so refreshing, so delicious! We got back from Vietnam not too long ago when Masterchef Xhawu had a craving for bánh mì and made lots to share! This woman is legit cray cray, with the homemade tau foo fah, cronuts, onde-onde, bún bò huế , marshmallows, etc etc that's insane right? Nobody makes marshmallows at home right? RIGHT? Nobody but Xhawu.

So we went over her place one late afternoon for bánh mì thịt.



Vietnamese-style sandwich with pork slices and pâté.

Everything, except the bread, was made from scratch. FROM SCRATCH. 


Including this glorious jar of super addictive pickled carrots and daikon. So incredibly crunchy, refreshing, and tasty. I don't usually go gaga over pickled stuff but this is so damn good I'm not even kidding. We almost finished the entire jar. It was THAT addictive. I'm so making my own next time!

She assembled the first bánh mì for instagram purposes.


First goes the cucumber strips, next the pork slices, next the pate, next the picked carros and daikon, and finally a special sauce for it. Complete with translucent paper around it, tied with a rubber band! 

It looks exactly like the ones we had in Vietnam! 

We asked, "What's in the pâté? How did you make it?"
She said, "You don't want to know." Jeng jeng jeng.


Xhawu and Bob, team serius bizness.


Fresh and Neh, team craycray.

But nu, seriusli, luk at tht crahzy eyes intenseety.


Nobody takes a bite until all photos are properly taken in the perfect lighting from the perfect angle in the perfect composition. The first few minutes of the meal were probably spent in silence, as the photos go through the vscocam editing process for the perfect update-worthy filter and perfect lighting adjustments hahahaha oh I forgot to mention, Xhawu even made lime-onade just like in Vietnam!

This was my "perfect" shot hahahaha


It was reaaaally good, we were made to have two each! That's like, two subways okay! 

First round was with a harder baguette that apparently hurt everyone's lelangit except mine and thus to conversation proceeded to concerns in regards to lelangits and other types of food that hurts it and what's wrong with sueann why can't she feel the lelangit pain wtf while the second round was with a softer baguette that everyone preferred over the first one. All the time I couldn't stop munching and adding on the picked carrots and daikon with every few bites, really, I'm borderline obsessed with it. 

Dinner's done. We moved on to cider and fresh strawberries. 


Probably the second or third time in my life that I purchased strawberries ever hahahaha 

We were all lounging on the couches and wanted to watch some movies. Unfortunately, the dvd player couldn't connect and the internet was causing streaming sites to lag, we finally ended up watching tv. Dumb and Dumberer, to be exact, it was so ridiculous we were judging all the way.

As it got closer to midnight, I pulled out this box of DIY deco-treats from Japan! 


Only Xhawu and I were enthusiastic though hahahaha the other two were like wtf what time wor now let us go home in peace y'all. But it wasn't a choice. We shall assemble the miniature doughnuts! 

Kanak-kanah bersuka ria


It didn't go too well though. My over-enthusiasm ruined certain formulas hahahaha

Xhawu had to take over to ensure nothing else fucks up fml


Neh decorating with "chocolate sauce". It really smells like chocolate though!

We took turns icing and decorating, to get these lovely doughnuts. Tadaaaaaa


Looks pretty legit right? Due to my mistake the vanilla-flavoured batch were too watery and gooey, barely holding up its shape. Xhawu did the chocolate-flavoured batch so it's much hardier! Here comes to unpleasant part, tasting these creations. We were't too looking forward to it but decided to go for it anyway because that's life right? It's the experiences that matter lolol bullshit. We took a small bite each at the same time, and all grimaced at the same time hahahahaha it wasn't totally bad, but it wasn't exactly heaven in my mouth either. It just tasted weird. Only the chocolate has distinctive flavor, the rest were just grey area sort of flavor. Really strange. 


There, looks exactly like the example on the box. 

We should have our own cooking reality tv show.