Monday, April 30, 2018

It's The Little Things....

This post is about the little things that people do for me that meant so much to me. I wanted to remember these things cause it gives me hope that maybe people are nice after all, or people actually do spend some time thinking of me :)

So first one, Godiva chocolates with the word "Thank You" on it. This was given by my user's department head on his last week of work in Singapore. I've always like him and think he is a nice person to work with. When I found out that he was leaving, I got him a souvenir pen with peranakan motif on it. He was one of the original member of our project, and it was sad to see everyone leaving one by one. But it was so nice to receive these chocolates from him. Even though we don't really talk much, I think both of us work towards the good of the project and both of us hate confrontation. So it was nice to be remembered by him when he was leaving. 

2nd one is these coffee bag I received in an enveloped from Taiwan! My friend Pei Shi was asking whether I received anything from her in the post box one week prior, causing me to check the mailbox on a daily basis. I was expecting a package, or postcard, or letter. But this beautiful coffee pack really caught me by surprise and I really really love it. It was nice knowing that she thought of me even when she was on vacation, and even remembered by address to send this! Such a small thing, such a big impact. Thank you so much!

3rd one is from my husband. Weird as it may sound, I got a pair of Puma ballet shoes from him 2 days ago! Why is this such a big deal? Well, cause this year was not a good year for me and my shoes. They keep spoiling on me. And the problem is, it's not like I don't want to buy shoes, its because I have an abnormally small shoe size and can't buy most of the shoes on sale. Plus I have an anal sense of fashion and only wear certain type or design of shoes. It didn't help that I had an important meeting the week before. But anyway, my husband ordered online a Puma ballet for me. I have wore two of these before in a different pattern and although they are expensive, I totally love them. I can wear them anywhere and they are so comfortable. So for the first time in my life, I got 3 pairs of ballet shoes. The middle one is spoiling soon, the one on the right is new and cheap just to ensure I made it presentation on my big meeting last week, and on the left is my Puma! Incidentally, I also got myself a Puma sport shoe recently and totally love it. Puma make the best shoes! So maybe Onitsuka Tiger would just have to wait a while..... 

So these are the small little things that lift my life up from time to time. Thank you all for remembering, caring, and taking some small action to make me feel love :)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

April 2018

As you can see, I've stopped my daily blogging again, mainly due to overwhelming of photos to sort and edit before I can publish any entries. But luckily, the commitment to post monthly due to my super cute schedule book keeps me posting at least once a month! 

The reason I've been so busy in April is because I have so many things on my real life that this is probably the first weekend I had to myself!  And I've done so may new things for the first time this month, and also in my life that I'm ok with me breaking my blogging commitment once a while. After all, I have to DO things before I can BLOG about it! 

So as a summary of the highlight of my April 2018, here are some interesting things I've done:

I've attended my very first Meditation Retreat ever in my life! I will blog in more details about it one day, but just wanted to leave a group photo here to remember it by. I registered on my own, and attended the two day retreat on my own as well! And it was a lot harder than I thought, probably because I have not been meditating for a long time now. But I am happy and proud and didn't quit on it like I did my Buddhist class. It was extremely enlightening for me, and also kinda depressing at the same time knowing that there are so much pain and suffering in the class judging from the question being ask.... but that's another story!

For the first time in my life, I've also attended a stand-up comedy session at this merry place call The Merry Lion. I wasn't expecting much, but the 2nd half of the session was really fun. Plus they have beer! And we went out for more beer after that. On a weekday too! Definitely fun, although I wish the jokes were much better, and well, the crowd more fun and sophisticated....

Apart from this, I also met up with my upcoming Korean trip's people, and hang out with the teacher and key organiser after the session having some Korean food. Although the group was kinda on the older side, I'm still looking forward to it cause Korea it's such a mystery for me. And although I would prefer to visit Japan any time, let's give Korea a try eh? Funny how every visit to Korea in my life has never been actually initiated by me. Yet this would be my 3rd time visiting the country....

There were a few other memorable event that happened in April, some too personal to blog about, but  maybe I'll just share a separate blog on that before continuing on my Hokkaido trip blogging.... 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sapporo Hairy Crab at Nijo Market

We actually went back to Nijo Market near the last week morning of our trip. Mainly because my husband wanted to eat crab before leaving Sapporo. So we found this corner shop at one end of Nijo Market, and decided to eat here. 

I wasn't very familiar with the procedure. I guess you tell them you want crab, and you get to pick the crab you want and maybe the weight it for you? My husband tried the hairy crab, and it's just steamed/boiled for you. I think it cost him around SGD50 or more for one hairy crab! 

I wasn't much of a crab person, so I probably just had another kaisendon. 

Anyway, the main subject of this post is the hairy crab, and after cooking it, it looked something like that. To me, it wasn't that appetising or delicious. Probably because I can't really smell it. I prefer bbq crab. But still, this deserved a mention. If you are in Sapporo, and you want nice seafood, head to the market for cheaper option. I've recommended you two different market in this blog. So please explore them!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sapporo Kaisendon at Curb Market

2nd morning in Sapporo and the weather begin to clear. We took a train to Nijuyonken Station in search of another seafood market. The place was called Sapporo Central Wholesale Market/Curb Market. It took around 10 mins to locate the market area, which was really just one road selling stuff.

Here's me walking towards the market. Look at all the snow around me!

When we finally locate it, it was one short road with lots of seafood, fresh or dried. At the end of it, you can see this beautiful show that is just a tourist magnet. But it looked so nice we had to just wondered inside and lose our cash there. But seriously though, it is cheaper to buy things elsewhere...

So you see what I meant when I say it is a tourist magnet, look at that giant lobster just outside their shop!

And not forgetting the giant crab! We did purchased some stuff there. I got a pack of kanimiso there, which was more expensive then anywhere else, and guess this, it tasted spoilt when I finally tried it back home! At first I thought I just didn't know how to appreciate it. But when I pass it to my Japanese friend, he told me that it wasn't suppose to taste like that. Ha! Beware!

Anyway, we did found a nice place for breakfast/lunch after walking up and down the road trying to figure out where to eat. Above is the shop we finally settled for. It was rather early, so we were kinda like the first few customer there. 

Price wise, it was gonna be another SGD30 per meal kinda place. Seriously, Japan is getting more expensive than France! But for the love of seafood, I will continue to visit this place!

So my rich husband ordered the recommended set, which was more expensive. Above is the full meal. It was actually quite filling. And his was just covered in ikura (Fish Roe), and uni (Sea Urchin). And I love the fact that although they charge you so much,  it was actually a complete meal with pickles and sides, and even dessert! 

Me, being the poorer of the two, ordered a cheaper set, which came with ikura, salmon, and scallop. The scallop was delicious! The best I ever had. You can really taste the sea in every bite! Highly recommended! You can plan your trip here as a stop-over if you are headed to Shiroi Kibitz park. 

Lastly, here's another photo illustrating the amount of snow here. Although it has stopped snowing, it was still very cold, and mountain of snow can be seen everywhere. They basically shove it aside to pile it up. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sapporo Kaisedon at Nijo Market

I remember this as the first morning in Sapporo. Our plan was to go have a nice Kaisedon at the nearest market. There are a few markets in Sapporo, and Nijo Market was the nearest one from where we stayed. We actually came back here again just before our trip end to have lunch. So what I'll do now is write three post on Kaisedon: One on Breakfast an Nijo, One on another breakfast/lunch at another market a few station away, and lastly, Lunch back at Nijo Market. But first, the sight of the first photo, isn't it beautiful? This was the road we had to cross from the famous shopping street to the market area. And it was covered in snow on our first morning there. 

In fact the market area was quite a sight! Everything was just buried in snow. We saw one scooter totally covered up in snow. And people were shoving the snow up in piles to make kinda like a snow wall path for people.

Above is what it looked like crossing the road. Even the traffic lights are half covered in snow. 

Nijo Market is actually a seafood market, and you can buy fresh or dried seafood here. But we came here mainly for Kaisendon. You can walk around the market, or venture deep inside and you may come across a few small restaurant serving this. Above is a menu of the one we visited. It was rather crowded, and the price was ok. The place wasn't as big as Tsukiji Market, but we're not people who like to frequent touristy area anyway. Small and unknown was fine for us. Besides, this was Sapporo, how non-touristy can it get.

Alcoholic drinks were also serve, morning or night, rain or shine. 

But in the end, we settle for the "Today's Special" at 2680Yen! That's like SGD30 for breakfast! Or was it lunch. But it was quite a good deal, considering how much uni that came with it!

We also ordered one serving of sake, and it was the first time we saw it serve in the sake box, overflowing and all. Very pretty. 

So here is what our full meal look like. Hot tea was served complimentary. But the rice, omg the rice. Look at the amount of ikura (fish roe), and uni (sea urchin) on that rice!!! Total worth it! 

I ordered a size of kanimiso (crab miso soup) as well, cause I felt like treating myself, and since we're in hokkaido! Above is what was served! Huge crab sitting inside! It was delicious! I think it cost around 250Yen, or around SGD5. Totally worth it!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Sapporo Winter Illumination

The photos in this post was taken across few nights in Sapporo. Sometime with crazy snow, sometimes with less crazy weather. On a good day, the weather was around -2 Degrees Celsius. Yes, on a good day. The above photo was taken on a good day where we managed to walk quite pleasantly, except for the slippery road, across a few shopping streets. 

Above shot was taken on a more snowy night. This is a 6:41pm in the evening, and everything was light-up even though there wasn't much people around. Every year around Christmas time, there is this Illumination Event in Sapporo. You can also find the same thing in Tokyo. I was there with some friends like in 2014 and saw similar kind of Illumination all over Tokyo, minus the crazy snow. We did however experience some light flurries while we were there. 

Above was taken outside JR Sapporo area, where all the malls are situated. This one kinda reminds me of Wheelock Place in Singapore. 

Near the Christmas Village they also have some artistic looking Christmas Trees like this one. 

And I really like these minty green light decorations on the streets. This is one of the shopping streets along the Sapporo underground. This was taken on a good evening where we decided to come out from the underground and take a look outside :)

So yes, it was a beautiful sight, and memorable experience. I don't plan to go in winter again cause I'm really not a winter person. Maybe once is enough. I prefer autumn, or maybe early spring.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Sapporo Christmas Village

I can't remember whether we visited the Christmas Village on our first night or second night in Sapporo. It was snowing so heavily that it was kinda hard to enjoy the village! First of all, we had to find the village, which was just on top at the open area. It sounds simple enough, but when you're underground, covered and warm, it kinda is a drag to go out into the cold cold night. Doesn't help that it was snowing non-stop! But we had to go, cause I've never been in a Christmas Village in winter before. And Christmas was fast approaching and the village would be over if I don't visit it soon. 

The village was mainly just stall selling Christmas stuff. Nothing really interesting. I guess its kinda like an "atas" pasar madam, or night market. It was hard to browse the items on sale with the snow all over your face, so we just did a quick round and that's it.

Here's a photo of me in the crazy snow.

Before we left, we did got some snacks to eat. We got a sausage platter which cost like damn expensive. And a cup of warm apple cider. There was a covered tent nearby where you can go in and eat in peace away from the howling snow. The sausage got cold really fast, and so did the ale/cider. The tent was also crowded, and water everywhere! Ugh! But Christmas Village checked! There were also illumination lights everywhere in the town of Sapporo. Yeah, maybe I'll post that next.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Sapporo Beer Garden

I have actually visited the Sapporo Beer Museum before on my 2nd trip to Japan in 2004 probably. But I was on a backpacking trip then and just started working, so I didn't have money to splurge on expensive Genghis Khan BBQ dinner! But it's totally different now. So I wasn't going to miss the opportunity.  Especially on such a cold winter night! Bring on the beer! Bring on the meat!

We were kinda early, and didn't made any reservation. But since it was just the two of us, we got a table almost immediately. The outside carpet of the museum looked the same as per when I last visit, of a Hokkaido Beer with Sapporo Beer. I actually still have and uses the souvenir coaster I got from this place!

They actually give you a bib to wear while eating, so that you don't dirty your clothes. How thoughtful! We actually wear ours too! You can see me in the last photo on this page wearing it. 

We ordered some vegetable, and some meat plate. Mainly mutton. It was rather expensive, so .... What you do is, cook it yourself like a yakiniku. But you put all the onions in, and the meat in the middle. After that we use more vegetable to soak up the oil. The dipping sauce that came with it was delicious too! And now I am feeling hungry just blogging about it. And to think I am suppose to go less meat and vegan this month! Ugh!

Again, we ordered Sapporo Classic, cause you really can't get drunk on these things!

I think they serve Yebisu too. But we didn't ordered any.

Lastly, here's a happy me with my happy dinner!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Sapporo Beer Museum - Snowing in the Night

Remember a few post back I showed you photos of white winter christmas trees? Well, we did spend half a day or so at the Sapporo Beer Museum area, and there was actually a big mall just behind it. You can spend half a day just walking inside the mall. There is a Aeon there where you can browse or buy all your Japanese souvenirs, snacks and mainly food stuff. There are also bookstores inside, and cloth and handy craft shops. I actually couldn't help myself and got a  StarWars cloth there! But that is another topic..... Above is what it looked like when we finally came out of the mall and headed back to the museum to have dinner at the Beer Garden! A real Christmas Tree in real Winter Snow and decorated all so pretty too!

There are even light decoration outside the mall, and above is a decoration of a baby polar bear!

Here above we have a scene of the beer museum famous tower, and the bridge that leads back to the museum. For some reason, it looked rather classical and iconic, like from some old fashion movie or something from the war time....

And here is me, walking in the snow back to the Beer Garden for a Genghis Khan bbq dinner! Behind me on the right side of the photo is where the Aeon Mall is. As you can see, it's just a short walk away, but you legs will be buried in snow walking in these condition! I was carrying my gym bag which is water prove, and it just accumulate mountains of snow whenever I walk unsheltered outside!  But it was an awesome experience! I highly recommend visiting Hokkaido in winter at least once in your life! Maybe not just Hokkaido, but any place with super high volume of snow! It's like a whole new different world out there!