Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kono Tsundere Neko!

Among the creeping ivy and straggly shrubs one blustery autumn's day....

Meet Ginjirou!!!

Oh wait, she doesn't want to meet you just yet, it seems! >_<

Opp! Now she's ready to turn around.....

But goodness, what a face!! xDD

However..... Soften her up a little....


Ahhh, that's much better! =^.^=

Who's this Ginjirou?

It's who I lost my lunch to, that's who!! xDDD

Oh no, she didn't steal my food or anything. Haha. Decided to make a detour to a lovely part of campus I haven't been to in a while as the sun and leaves were dancing a dance of dapples.

I hadn't taken two steps down the path when I caught sight of a couple of fluffy, frisky cats vying for the attention of a girl. I stopped to admire their fluffy glory, not without a bit of wistfulness. But they seemed rather occupied with their human of choice, so I carried on.

But at the next building, lo and behold!
There lay an even more luxuriantly fluffy and more than just slightly rotund feline!
With only a moment's pause to collect my captivated breath, I moved in for the kill.

And said fluffly, rotund feline responded by deigning to raise body from ground and make an approach to meet mid-point.

Years of training under two masters have molded me into a not too shabby at all cat stroker, and this particular kitty seemed to approve of and appreciate my honed skills. >w<

I decided to name her (I'm pretty sure she's a her!! Haha) 'Ginjirou' after the kitty from 'Suteneko no Carte' because she was suitably shaped and disposed. xDDD

This Ginjirou has the softest fur ever!!!! So incredibly fluffy, and an absolute joy to stroke.
Very clean too for a stray cat! My own pet cat should be ashamed of himself. Tsk.

Ginjirou, being a cat, displayed classic 'tsudere' behaviour. xDDD
She'd let me pet her, then suddenly turn her back on me.
She'd be lying there letting me run my hands over her back, then suddenly get up and walk away.

But she did escape to me when attacked by two girls who were trying to grab her and poking her and touching her all in the wrong way. That made me feel kind of smug and happy. >v<

Which brings me to the whole 'Cat Person' vs 'Dog Person' debate.
You know how they have all the theories about the character traits of Cat People VS Dog People.
The one I heard recently was Cat People like to chase after people, while Dog People like to be chased after.
The one my fellow cat owning friend and I formulated was Cat Owners are M while Dog Owners are S.
I think I'm more of an S than M, though, so that puts a big hole in our theory. Hahaha.

But yes, I think while there's truth in all these theories, I suppose you need to look a what kind of cat owner or cat lover the person is. Same goes for dogs I suppose.

Personally I feel like I'm like a cat.
Though I display the characteristic flutter of joy when a cat chooses me over others or decides to come to me for attention.

I also used to really enjoy doing silly things to my cat like twisting the fur around his face into little whirls, poking his toe, ruffling all his fur the wrong way, and so on, just to illicit a reaction, which was more likely than not one of long-suffering annoyance.
I also sulk back at my cats when they do the whole 'tsun tsun tsun' thing.

It's complicated.

And I don't know why I'm actually trying to dissect my personality now after failing for so many years. Haha.

Right, *cough* moving back to Ginjirou!

What adorably pudgy fluffy legs you have!!

Scratching post Nya~!

For anyone who's owned a cat, this is probably a familiar sight:

Tried to take a picture with her. ^.^

Aerial view. =^.^=

She showed me her belly!! I think she would've let me stroke it, but I didn't quite dare to quite do so. My first master was particularly sensitive about his belly, and the wariness has stuck. ^^;

Ahh, the back view again. ^^; Haha!

She did start to rub herself against me, though, so how could I leave her?
I stayed to the last possible moment before tearing myself away from her company to go for class, stomach empty, but all tanked up on kitty fuel. =^.^=

Ahhh, Ginjirou!! I'll go visit you again tomorrow after class! Wait for me, alright?? (///∇//)

Sorry for the long rambling ramble and pic spam!! ^^;

After tomorrow, the 10 day looong National Day holiday starts!! Whoop whoop!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Moon is a Balloon

This should've been posted last night, but I couldn't get onto blogger. >_<

It's the Mid-Autumn Festival today!
The day in the Lunar Calendar when the moon is at its fullest.

On this day, people eat mooncakes, drink tea, admire the round full moon, play with lanterns, guess riddles written on strips of paper attached to lanterns, and eat pomelos.

Some people call it the Mooncake Festival or the Lantern Festival.

There are two legends surrounding the Festival.
The first is of the Lady of the Moon, Chang'er. There are a few variations to the tale, but this is the one I knew best, and is probably the most pleasant one. I think it was in my textbook at school, which might explain why they chose the relatively happier version.

Once upon a time, the earth was plagued by the scorching heat of ten suns. The skilled archer, Houyi, shot down nine of the suns, thus freeing the earth and its inhabitants from the sweltering hell of excessive heat. As a reward, the Emperor bestowed him a pill that granted immortal life. Houyi, happily married to the beautiful Chang'er, had no need for it, and so stowed it away in his pillow. However, his evil apprentice got wind of the existence of the pill, and one day, while Houyi was out, broke into his room to get at the pill to god-dom. Chang'er, beautiful but not blessed with either brute force or kick-ass martial arts, could do nothing to fend off the evil apprentice, and so, all she could do was swallow the pill herself to prevent the birth of an evil god. Upon doing so, our lovely lady floated up into the sky, and to the moon, where she remains to this day.

I also just read that the jade rabbit on the moon was apparently commanded by Chang'er to pound herbs to make another immortality pill so that Houyi can join her on the moon (which would make her a little less gentle, would it? That's animal labour!)
In Japanese lore, the rabbit on the moon pounds mochi, doesn't it? Hmm. I should google to find out why.

The second legend surrounding the Mid-Autumn festival is a rather more nationalistic one. During the Yuan Dynasty, China was under Mongolian rule. In order to pass the message of a mass uprising against the foreign rulers, rebel leaders (somehow I thought of Star Wars when I typed that out. Haha) decided to hide and thus transmit the message in mooncakes. Wikipedia tells me that on Mid-Autumn's night in 1368, they actually succeeded in overthrowing the Yuan Dynasty and established the Ming Dynasty. Hmmm.
Yeah, this is a more nationalistic story than the other one, though that has more nationalistic versions too.

You can read more on wikipedia!

You can also read the Japanese legend associated with Mid-Autumn on wikipedia here. I'm feeling too lazy to type it out. Also, I don't think I ever properly read it before today. However, it does seem very, very familiar. I think I must have heard it before, on Kannou Mukashibanashi I think. Oops. >//<

But yes, reading and thinking and typing about these legends has lifted me a little out of my 'whine, boo hoo poor me, all alone on this festival, and I can't even see the bloody moon' mood.

I did manage to catch glimpses of the moon beneath fast-moving clouds last night, though. By right I should be able to see it tonight, as it's a rare clear day after the rains of the past few days. But I can't seem to see it from my window, and am too lazy to leave the building.

Also had some mooncake, which wasn't that fantastic, I have to say. Received a huge box of 12 mooncakes, but many of them were of new-fangled, dodgy flavours. Brought some to school and shared them with my classmates, but with the ulterior motive of preventing myself from succumbing to diabetes and/or cardiac arrest if I were to finish them by myself.
I want the 'snow' skin mooncakes we get back home, though. Ah well.

When Mid-Autumn comes around, I also think of the only piece of Chinese poetry that I can vaguely remember by heart. It's by one of the greatest Chinese poets of all time, Li Bai, of the Tang Dynasty (618-917).

《静夜思》 李白

It's about the glimmering moonlight in front of the well taking on the appearance of frost on the ground. The dude looks up and sees its the shining moon, and lowers his head again as he thinks of his hometown.

By the flow of this post, does it sound like I'm homesick?
Mm, I don't think I actually am. And I don't think I'm just being in denial about it. I think it's just that more than being simply homesick, I'm feeling nostalgic for my lost childhood and annoyed at myself for things in the present.

Today was a national holiday here, and I really was looking forward to flopping around the flat doing absolutely shit all, but as it turned out, I didn't get to feel too luxuriant in laziness.

I was going to write about some people I met, about astrology, and other random bits and blobs, but I think I'll leave that for another time or allow it all to get swallowed into the huge gaping and expanding black hole of Never-Blogged.

There's sushi for dinner tomorrow to look forward to.

P.S: Check out the Chang'er Google Doodle on !! ^~^

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Update! With Fluffly Animals!!

So much I want to blog about, so little time!!!!

I do actually spend quite a lot of time with my digits attached to my laptop, but more often than not get distracted from blogging by the gazillion billion gamillion things out there on the internet.

Anyway, I guess a whirlwind chronology would go something like that:

-Went to the zoo to take my mind off housing woes (more on this in a bit!!)

-Finally had my cheap cheap massage. 68RMB (roughly £8 I guess?) for 90 minutes. Mmm.

-Acrobatic shows depress me. I don't see the need for young kids to abuse their bodies to unnatural extents so they burn out before their 30 and are left with no other way of life. Just to make people go 'Oh my god!'

-Solved mystery of 'not so friendly anymore black cat'!! There're actually TWO of them!!! I think they're siblings. Friendly black cat was still as friendly as ever when I last saw it.

-First day of class and meeting my new classmates. They seem pretty cool so far. It seems like I'll actually have to put in effort for this course, though. Haha!

-FINALLY moved!!! \(^o^)/ I love my new place!

-Went to see a jazzed up Chopin piano recital by this Japanese jazz pianist, Ozone Makoto. (No, it's not a strange 'asian' sort of English name as in 'Ozone layer', but his actual surname in Japanese - 'oh-zoh-neh' Haha! I have to admit I rolled my eyes when I first saw his name, assuming it was the former)
Anyway, it was brilliant! So much fun! I was squeeing inside when he played his version of Polonaise in A 'Military'. Ahhh, bliss!
The National Centre for the Performing Art here has got to be one of the most fucking impressive buildings in the world.
My jaw dropped in awe when I entered the dome. The effect from the inside is just stunning!! Too bad they didn't allow cameras to be brought in. Not that it stopped people. I have a few pictures from my crappy phone camera.
But yes, most definitely probably the most impressive piece of architecture I've been in!!!

-OMGOMGOMGOMG!!1 Joe Hisaishi will be conducting in Beijing in November!!!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!!!! And I got front row tickets!!!!! AHHHHH!!!!
Yes yes, not the prime seat in the house, but I want to be as close to the god as possible! Hahahaha. Was so hyped up!! Couldn't get tickets the day I found out about the concert, as the box office had already closed, but I legged it back to the theatre the next day and secured my butt and ears a spot in the presence of a god.
He's the composer for pretty much all the Miyazaki Hayao Studio Ghibli film scores, and has done a lot of other film scoring work as well as his own compositions. I have to admit I'm not well-acquainted with most of his non-Ghibli work, but this is the man I've worshiped since the age of 14, so seeing him conducting in the flesh will definitely be a dream come true! I really hope he plays the piano tooooo!

About the zoo, I'll just dump there videos here:

These long-legged elegant beauties are called Maned wolves. Have never seen them before!! They loped around so gracefully! They seem more like deer than canines.
In this video, they're not being so elegant and are being rather intimidated by the common wolves in the neighbouring enclosure. One of the Maned wolves actually walked into a bush. Smooth.

Shocking case of animal abuse by a zoo. Those poor chickens!! Musn't be very pleasant for the foxes too, having temptation so close and yet out of reach.

And finally!! My beloved red foxes!!!! Spent ages staring at them the last time I went in December, and spent a long time staring again this time.
Ahhh, they're so incredibly lovely!!! <3333

The zoo was slightly depressing, though.
There was a lot of fist-whamming of glass, kicking of rails, chucking of sweets and other food into enclosures, poking and whacking (I kid you not) of animals when it proved possible, blinding flash photography, and general appalling behaviour from the creatures on this side of the glass.

And these acts were mostly committed by the adults. The kids didn't quite have enough brute strength to effectively slam the glass partitions with suitable force.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

'Friendly Black Cat'

Hello hello, it's Shan who isn't very successful at being a Responsible and Independent Grown-Up in the Real World.

Haha. Not being effective at looking for a permanent place to stay and being my usual wishy-washy self and sucking so terribly at making decisions.

I fell in love at first sight with this loft apartment!! Don't think any property I've viewed has ever taken my breath away like this. And and and!! It has a bay window too!! Ffffffff! Want!!!

However, the problem is that it requires me to transfer lines on the subway to get me to school, which still isn't toooo bad, but to be honest, the location isn't anything to shout about. On one side is the roaring traffic of the 4th Ring Road, and it is a little distance from the subway station, with not thaaat many facilities like eateries and shops in between.
Also, it's not a given that the landlord would want to rent the unit, especially since I'll only be taking it for less than half a year.

The other option that I viewed is more conveniently located, on the same line as my uni, and closer to town. It's near a student area, which means more shops etc, and even a big shopping centre with stuff like Sephora, UniQlo, Zara, and a rather nice-looking two story Starbucks.
However, it's just a normal studio apartment. And the development it's in is a strange mix of commercial premises, offices and residential units. The entrance to the residential block is round the back of the building, which is pretty dark at night.
But the landlord seems more likely to be amicable towards a contract which has me just paying for 4 months, plus half the agent's fee.

I know it's probably better to stay somewhere where supermarkets and stuff are within easy reach, and the commute won't be too tedious.
But, but! This is probably the only chance I have to stay in a loft apartment!!! >_<>m< src="" height="350">

And and AND!!!!

There are CATS!!!!!!!!!!

Not just cats, but there's a particularly friendly furry black cat!!!!!!!

He (?) has ridiculously long limbs!!! =^.^=

The first time we met, he did strange impressively flexible flips (I think I've become to used to my black blob's bulk). You know how cats sometimes choose humans? It was like that for my previous cat and current one. This felt a bit like that. ^^;

He's so lithe and slight! Mmmmmrrrph! >A< Here's another of the feline residents of this little neighbourhood.

Neither of the flats I'm considering seems to have anywhere for leisurely, peaceful strolls, which will be a shame. However, when the freezing cold of winter descends, do I still want to take leisurely strolls in the open? Maybe the answer to that is yes, as I did make a few crazy treks through the snow in March that I enjoyed. ^^;

Oh vell.

I suppose if I end up not having my loft apartment, I can take comfort in the facts of not having to climb down a flight of stairs to use the loo and being only two stops away from the zoo (lol).

I think I'll go for a cheap cheap massage to take my mind off housing woes. Trying not to think about what'll happen if I can't find a place to stay before this weekend, when the hotel I'm holed up in won't have any more vacancies. Yargh.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

♠Plastic Wonderland♣

I need to stop promising to blog about things, as I more often than not never get round to doing so!

Anyway, wanted to have this little consumeristic flail for quite a while now. This is stuff I bought when I first got home for summer, and now summer's over. That's how much of a while it's been. Haha!

Anyway. Pictured above are these adorable little tab stickers!!

They're a bit like post-it notes, but made with sturdier plastic, and come in adorable designs! I grabbed the Alice in Wonderland themed ones, as well as a Winnie the Pooh one. ^^; There're other non-character themed sets like safari animals, farm animals, flowers and so on. But since I've been herded like a sheep onto the Japanese love for Alice in Wonderland bandwagon, Alice it was for me★

The tagline for these adorable sets is something like 'Create Your Own Story!', which I did attempt to do in about half a minute, the result of which you can see more clearly with a light background:

Alice, of course, as well as the White Rabbit, some shrooms and grass. (Yes, the wording is deliberate. :p)

The book is J.M. Barrie's 'The Little White Bird', which is supposed to be the precursor of 'Peter Pan'.
I bought it from the book town Hay-on-Wye in Wales when I first arrived in Britain.
I must confess that I still haven't read the book yet, though, after all these years!! Whoops!

I remember being really quite taken up with 'Peter Pan' before going off to uni. I read the full original text and absolutely loved the flashes of the sinister that emerged from Peter.

Anyway, I also picked up these pretty pastel macaron post its on the same pilgrimage to the stationary section of the Japanese bookstore, Books Kinokuniya.

Speaking of Alice in Wonderland, I caved in to temptation and bought this from Paul & Joe.

Most definitely got it for the box and packaging! ^^; Whooops.

And when we mash up Alice and macarons, this is the result!!!

Ahh, I love my Cheshire Cat macaron! ♥♥

And so ends this display of consumerism! ^^;

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ramble Bramble

[This post was copied and pasted off my LJ]

Shuffling my V Kei songs on my new iPod nano on the bus. ^w^
'Togurou' is my favourite GazettE song!!

But anyway, to rewind a little, I'm back in Beijing.
The air is just as polluted as ever. But thank goodness the temperatures of 40 deg cel seem to have gone away. It's around 28-30 deg cel now, and it feels cooler than it was back in Singapore as there hasn't been any scorching sunlight (yet?) and there isn't that deathly humidity.

Anyway, just to chuck a few pictures out here.

The sunrise from my dining room back home. I practically never am up early enough to see the sun come out, but was seated rather dazedly clutching my cup of tea at a ridiculously early (for me) hour to leave for the airport.

I bought three macarons from the patisserie Canele the night before and got the air stewardess to bung it in the fridge for me.
My favourite Passion Fruit and Milk Chocolate, Coffee, and Violet. They actually managed to last about 24 hours in Beijing.

The Violet macaron is so pretty! ^^;

I thought Singapore changed rapidly enough when I went back after being away for 4 and a half months and found so many new shops and buildings that sprung out of no where.
It turns out this city is faaaar worse. Which isn't surprising.
In about a month and a half, there's been quite a lot of change!
Went to Zhong guan cun, an area with many office blocks and huge-ass malls. Found a Haagen-Daz and a branch of a Taiwanese restaurant that does the most amazing desserts, which made me happy.
One of the hulking developments had a lot of open public spaces, and people were skating, remote-controlled car racing, or just chilling. Was nice to see amongst all the concrete and steel and glass.

Went to register at the university. Then wandered around the campus. Which was monstrously huge.
My university in London was basically two buildings facing each other across a teeny square which is barely large enough for protests (haha) and another barren building that served as another 'campus' "a 17 minutes walk away" (according to a testy, just ever so slightly neurotic Swedish lecturer of mine).
University in Tokyo had more buildings (whee) but being smack in the middle of the city meant no rambling grounds either.

So. This is quite a change.

I walked around the South West section, which seemed to be a succession of secret garden after secret garden in various states of abandonment.
Then I started getting hungry and my legs started to hurt. I seem to have developed varicose veins or something. >_< Probably from walking waaaaay too much too fast. Eek.

Anyway, I did finally extricate myself from the tangled vegetation and buildings eventually. Last night I took the bus here for the 2nd time in my life. Haha. I usually rely on the subway, my legs, or taxis for moving around. The subway is the best, but requires a lot of cooperation from the legs and transfers between lines are ridiculously far apart, and things are often pretty far from existing stations.
The first time I took the bus was rather traumatising. Was going to one of the hills in the outskirts for a walk and picnic with friends on a Saturday in early summer, and the bus was absolutely packed and of course the roads jammed as well. Stood pretty much the whole way packed in like an unhappily dead fish in a can.

Last night the bus was empty-ish, but traffic wasn't that smooth for the really short distance that I use to walk in about 20-30 minutes.

I really like 176BIZ, but sadly only discovered them after they disbanded.
Love their sound. I like how it has quite a lot of groovy bass, and I like their vocalist's voice too.

Aaand, lastly, my silly kitty cat! (^ω^) Looking silly in my room. (^人^)

I took some videos of him with my iPod nano, which I will probably put up when I finally transfer them to the laptop. Along with the alpacas I mentioned in an earlier post! Haha!

Boo, I want my silly black blob!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Much About Munch

Soo, I'm back in the capital of Tweetless land, as I like to call it. Haha. I'm also doing it here as I've become just ever so slightly paranoid after spending about 4 months here and hearing stories of censorship and the like.

Anyway. Just to ramble somewhat incoherently about being back here.

I have to admit I wasn't entirely thrilled about the prospect of coming back. There were many many other places in the world I'd rather have been jetting off to.

That said, it's not like I despise this city and wish to stick voodoo pins into everything about it.

It's just that there are a number of things about living here that just really got me down.

One of the most fundamental 'Boooo'-inducing things about life here for me is the food. Perhaps it's a sign of age, or the seeping influence of the mother, but it bothers me a lot when I'm unable to procure proper food.

A lot of the food here makes my stomach turn when I think about it, and sometimes, I'd really just go without eating rather than put that stuff into my body. Even if it tastes good, I think it's probably not doing your health any wonders, what with the oozing oil and artificial tastes and textures. I swear some of the fruit actually taste chemical.
Horror stories that really seem true about how 10% of cooking oil in this country is recycled from sewage really do nothing to bolster my confidence in eating here.

I didn't have a proper kitchen last semester, and only owned a saucepan (which I set on fire one evening. Haha) so after a while I gave up on preparing my own meals and relied on eating out and take out food.

The good thing was that I lived in 'Little Korea', and so there was this wonderful little Korean diner that dished out yummy Korean food that received the stamp of approval from the Koreans too. I ate waaaay more Korean food in those few months than I did in my whole life up to that point!!

Took the bus to my old neighbourhood last night to be reunited with my old haunt. :p
Where I got off, the 'fish man' was there!!!
No, I'm not referring to those peddlers with carts of tanks crammed full of goldfish and poor bunnies in horrifically tiny cages and other inhumanely housed pets.

It's this fish!!

A lovely snack that here, is sold with a milk chocolate or white chocolate filling. I believe they originate from Japan where they're usually filled with red bean paste.
The 'fish guy' got his equipment from Korea, which is this round implement with many molds and a gas fire.

Yesterday's fish was nice and crispy. ^-^
I tried not to think about how the oil he coats the molds with is probably the dreaded sewage oil.

Maybe I'm just over-paranoid. Or maybe the problem isn't so much with the food in Tweetless land but lies with me instead. Hmm.

Anyway, for dinner I had a wonderful bowl of pollack soup, which was bean paste based and spicy (surprise surprise. Haha) Good stuff!

Right. Time to put an end to my whining about food here.

PS: Typing 'Tweetless land" is probably useless, given my tags. Dorh.