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ahhh!!!

I need to rant!!!! I'm so rusty with my interview skills and I've got phelm in my throat!!!! AGHHHHHHHHHHH Wonders how i did for my phone interview just now. I need more practice!!! *cough cough*

Happily jobless - Day 40

woo hoo!!! I have been jobless for 40 days!

Many people have been asking the age-old question, "So what have you been doing?" as I've been missing from MSN, gtalk, facebook. Not that I'm hiding away, I'm simply reverting to homey affairs of books, bed, tidying/cleaning house etc. Heh, I still check my mails and facebook, once/twice a week. I'm a geek who doesn't like to be bound by IT. I find that most of the time, it's the wannabe-geeks creative types who love high-end devices like iphones, BBs etc.. I like them, but i'm too lazy to use them. My itouch is mostly used for music and at times surfing net when i'm too lazy to switch on the net book.

Career-wise, it's the cross-roads when i decide to go deep into IT or to get out and either do consulting or totally different job all together. At least 2 colleagues/friends who have quit have went on to do (non-IT) consulting. Maybe I should do that? Hmm... However one goal still remains, I want to go work and live in Japan for at least half to one year, so what can get me there? I could try to get an English teaching job, or I could hone my skills further and try to get a similar post in Japan? Reason says that I should try both, concurrently..

Looking for holidays currently, heading to South Korea for 10 days in 10 days time. And looking for another holiday in Nov, I'm leaning towards Vietnam, checking out Philippines as well. But Vietnam should be cheaper, and Manila is flooded still...

Moving on, I have this idea to compile the coffee places in Singapore, seems like we are flooded with chains most of the time, lack the cutesy hole in the corner type of cafes? Or just that I am not well informed here. Hmm...

And the day flies by just like that, and yet people ask me what I do every day....

what

Whenever i wonder

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes3.asp
http://www.humanmetrics.com/vocation/JCI.asp?EI=22&SN=0.6&TF=-12&JP=0.6

The Guardian type known as the Provider (ESFJ) is sometimes known as the "Santa Claus" personality since they are generally well-liked and notice whenever situations become "naughty or nice." They provide for the welfare of many and usually show well-developed social skills. They are happiest in positions where they need to deal with people. It is not uncommon to find them in health care, as a physician, nurse, or respiratory therapist. They also can be attracted to the field of education, social service, or religion. In business they may be a retail owner, receptionist, real estate agent, or sales representative. The common theme is their service to others. Says Alice, "As a teen I did hospital volunteer work, but decided I preferred education so got my teaching degree. I've been teaching elementary school for 5 years. I love helping children to learn."

The Performer(ESFP), like the Promoter, can also be good in sales, sports, or entertainment. They usually spend a little more time with the customer than the Performer and enjoy the conversation so much that they sometimes have to be reminded to close the sale. They may find careers in the entertainment industry as a performer, promoter, or musician. In business they can be a PR specialist, a fund-raiser, or a labor relations mediator. Says Brigitta, an emergency room nurse, "Some people might find my job too stressful, but I like having to act fast. I'm good at calming people down while I'm dealing with their medical problems. Every day is different."

Of all the Idealists, the Teacher (ENFJ) is the most likely to seek leadership positions in the private or public sector. The Teacher is drawn to careers in education or social services, such as college professor, high school teacher, social worker, or non-profit director. In business they are often trainers, sales managers, recruiters, or executives. Since they are good at building relationships, they may be fund raisers or recruiters. They also are found in jobs such as a health advisor, clergy, facilitator, or counselor. Says Rene, "It's very important to me to really connect with my students. I need to feel that I am making a difference in their lives."

People naturally confide in the Champion (ENFP). That's why they make such good mediators, counselors, teachers, consultants, and reporters. Any position that outreaches to others can fit the Champion. They can be columnists, journalists, publicists, copy writers, advertising account executives. In the arts they can be character actors, cartoonists, art educators. If they choose jobs such as restaurateur, be sure that their business sites will be unique and designed for a particular type of customer. Don't be surprised to see them as an inventor. This type of personality wants to experience the whole of life and may change careers more often than many other types. Says Charles, "I've had a number of jobs and when there is nothing left to create, I move to something new. I want my life to be spiced with newness, love, and joy."

more - numerlogy this time

Your Hidden Passion Number is 5

You love travel, change, and new challenges. You are highly adaptable and versatile. You have a talent for languages, and are generally good with words. Writing, promotion, and public relations work suit you perfectly.

You are sensual and a bit impulsive. You love to satisfy your senses, which can get you into trouble. Overindulgence in food, drink, sex, and drugs are common among people with too many 5s -- six or more.

You are resourceful and original. You have a good sense of humor and a quick tongue.

Your desire for freedom is extremely strong and it will take effort and discipline to stick with whatever it is you started. There is a tendency to give up a project or situation prematurely.

You may be interested in too many things, which can make it hard for you to apply yourself to one area successfully.

You are very unconventional.

Commitment in relationships and your work is fundamental to your happiness. You may have a tendency to wander from person to person, job to job, making depth of relationship or deep expertise difficult.
Been unhappy at work and thinking a lot abt what I really want from my work. Here's a take from some website based on my birthday... Wonder if i'm in the wrong industry...


Chapter 6. Your Vocation, Profession, Success, Recognition.

Scorpio Midheaven

Your destiny will compel you to explore the unknown and to take many risks. You will excel in those fields where you will have to dive -- into the sea, into the human soul or into the sciences. You have an intrepid and adventurous spirit which will take your investigations to the bottom of the sea, into space, into grottos, volcanos, jungles etc., and though physically you may never be there, your mind will. You are very competitive in your profession and ready to argue with your boss and colleagues, and probably come out on top. You are attracted to the sea shore, lakes and rivers, and will probably make your home near water. You are very particular in your choice of profession and not likely to follow the advice or wishes of your family. Your most powerful professional weapon is your own intuition. You will have accurate hunches concerning what you have to do.

Your career choice could be one of the following professions: doctor, surgeon, endocrinologist, chemist, naval or electronic engineer, pilot, investigator, psychiatrist, detective, explorer, diver, geologist or any other profession which could put you in touch with the unknown.

Saturn in 10th house

Throughout your life you accept countless responsibilities, have many ambitions and excellent business ability. Also, you are well organized and persist in achieving your goals. If the relationship with your father was positive, you will have the capacity and authority to handle and lead others, otherwise, you could undervalue your own efforts, feel insecure with your choices and may not accomplish your professional goals. You could do well in laborious occupations that require wisdom and evaluation, in administrative fields or those related to land. Whatever you choose, you are likely to remain with it for a long time.

Ruler of 10th house ( Pluto ) in 9th House

Your professional success is related to your ideals, university degree, higher studies, religion and traveling. You may establish yourself professionally in a different place from that of your birth or your work could necessitate you to travel often. You always feel the need to expand your knowledge and to make the most of each day.

Jul. 16th, 2008

闷!

闷到发荒! starts tearing hair out.. I wanna go home watch tv or sleep!!!! urgh!!!!!

random ramblings in the morning

Just had a meeting with my career counselor yesterday, he's basically asking me to do a bunch of things again, similar to what he says during this part of the year every year.. it's almost 2yrs; I can't believe it.. wahahah.. 7 and a half yrs for him he said though.. It's like "wah... cant imagine man..." So it's the same old stuff, I've better start researching on certifications and trainings etc.. oh well, I'm so lazy... I should be proactive.. easier said than done though, I need to be really bored out of my mind to start working, or need a dead deadline with dire consequences.. wahahaha.. what's wrong with nuahing, so long I'm enjoying every single moment of it.. i need to relax, or else I will age very fast... wahahaha. It is just a job. Another job.

Was walking along the walkway on my way to the MRT this morning when I was thinking about how time spent walking is actually very good time to think of crappy and so called creative stuff. Especially when the brain is like half awake, I basically switch on half my brain to do my morning chores and only when I reach office do I turn fully awake (sometimes not even in the first hour after I reach office.. :P). If brain is half awake, basically less logic gets in the way of dreaming up weird ideas/stuff. but there's no convenient way of recording down all that stuff unless i invest in a voice recorder. I mean I'm not going to pause halfway to write down in a journal (unless I don't need to reach office on time, which means I don't have a job, which means I don't need to wake up so early, which means I won't be walking to the MRT though...).. I'm broke though, as am always..Maybe I should remember to plug in my headset and record in my handphone.. hmm... idea..

One interesting idea I came up with this morning is essay compositions. Remember those days in primary school where we look at pictures and come up with some story to fit the picture? Maybe I should do it, moreover I'm no longer restricted to marking schemes and can write the most atrocious, crappy story I want.. Moreover it will work my right brain, which I suspect is quietly dying away as I'm turning geekier and geekier everyday with my technical work. hmm.. but I'm lazy to start today.. wahaha!! I'll think about it. :P

OK, time to get some real work done...

お久しぶりですね

せっかく仕事中に暇があったよね、ここに何か書いたらよいジャンと思って。。

昨夜graceが誘って行ったzoukのgigは面白かったね。。あのバンドはmonoという、悪くないね。。。音楽もよくできるし。。postrock soundと言われた。ちょっとinoran とsugizo の混ざってるものに似てる。。。そうと思ったけど。。。ファンにならないね、あたしの人生はLSのためだもの。。。わはっはは!!お金も足りないし。。でももし機械もう一度あれば、gigに行くつもりですけど。。その上t-shirtもサーインしてもらって。ファンじゃないですけど。。。あげるかあげないか。。。

shit, i just realised that i havent organised my thoughts abt the last trip in may to tokyo and Chicago... geez... by now i cant recall that much.. hmm.. sianz.. must go see if i have any material at home..

ok, tonight ktv with the gals!

Another few months since my last post

日本語を練習のため、ブログ復活なきゃ!わはははは!!!でも最初のエンテリは英語です。。。

One of those quizes, from facebook.. haha. the jobs again, totally not for me.. wahhaa.. I can do, i know, but i dont want to...

Your greatest STRENGTHS ...
Humorous, conscientious and principled.

Your greatest WEAKNESS ...
Being hesitant, they often lose great opportunities.

You are generous with people in need, sometimes to an extreme that people find you nosey. Your hidden courage and dedication often surprise others. Your imagination is extremely unique. Your Love, Your love life is on the smooth track because it grows from friendship. Although you may not make a sweet lover but your sincerity bring happiness to your couple.

Jobs you should pursue ...
Social work, counseling, agriculture, care and prevention of cruelty to animals.
Haha, so it's been so long since I last updated. Well, most friends should know that I went to Japan this Christmas and for new year as well. So anywhere, here's my update on JAPAN and of coz the LS concert! MUAHAHAHA!!!!

22-Dec Sat
Reached Tokyo in evening, took keisei skyliner to UENO. Eve (Aya's sis) mistakenly took someone's else's luggage and was delayed. So didn't manage to meet Yoshi (initially had planned for him to bring us arnd, but I also forgot to note down his new number, so took me a long while to contact him via email. sob..) ended up just going to eat in UENO a soba place.

23-Dec Sun
Took JR to Shibuya, took pictures (LS's and J's poster in front of HMV), bought DEG's new decade album. Walked all the way to Harajuku, saw Chage and Aska's concert trailer on the way. Harajuku was full of people.. Didnt really do much shopping, just walked along aimlessly, dint eat my crepes nor sweet potato.. sob... too many people, spoil mood. left for Ueno in the evening to meet Yoshi, had salmon don for dinner in some stall in the Ueno area and went to Ginza Mitsubishi building for coffee/dessert. Took some pics b4 heading back to Ueno's Hotel. Went to meet the gals at the departo there.

24-Dec Mon
Went to Ueno park, seems to be a bit different from what I remember.. Hell the JR was already different, newer it seems now. Miyabi bought some charms and stuff there in the temple.. I hung arnd, bought pizza for lunch with the gals and left to meet Aili in Harajuku. Pretty fun to hang arnd, less people than the evening before it seems, managed to do some shopping (I bought a coat and a cheap kimono.. still lack an obi..) We ate at a nice ramen place where I had white miso ramen (damm nice!!!) and then dessert at some famous place (darn nice too!!!). Rushed to 水道橋 aka Tokyo Dome for LUNA SEA's GOD BLESS U ~One Night Dejavu~ concert. Was worried that I would be late... Didnt manage to get any concert goods, sigh... But was just in time to meet the gals and line up..

Freaking cold that night man, we had to queue outside of the dome, but My NONAME? seats were pretty good, like 5-7 rows from the front, but at the corner, though there was a tiny left stage right in front of us so we could see the guys when they came over really close.. I think J saw us. wahhaha.. *blush blush* J spent quite a bit of time here, as if trying to remember all our faces... awwww... And I absolutely melted when Ino came over.. wahahaha!!! but darn this is INO's fan club corner but INO doesnt come over much!! urgh... Maybe should change to J's fan club nxt yr...
wahaha. from our angle we couldnt see J and ino that well on main stage due to pillars blocking, sob.. But in true fan sprits, we waved the LS banner that aya and eve made, to J and ryu (too paiseh to keep waving it, whahaa), the jap guy besides me was nice enuff to help me with it too.. :P forgot to get his name to thank him.. oh wells. oh yah, something i noticed, in my block where i was sitting (or rather, standing), we were surrounded by INO's MALE fans. wahhaha!!! The guy beside or mayb behind me was shouting "INORAN" right at the start of the concert, so hilarious, coz I never knew INO had male fans that fanatic. wahhahahahaa!!! But anyway the concert was great, the band performed GREAT, the audience (55,000 people) was fantastic, and even Sab agreed that it was a great concert. LUNA SEA did not let us down. :D Still so high when I think of it. No way we could have had such a great concert anywhere else but in JAPAN where the fans are most familiar with LUNA SEA. They started with LOVELESS followed by Dejavu and also did classics like SLAVE, IN SILENCE, WISH, BELIEVE. and white christmas coz the audience did "Silent Night" in classic xmas eve fashion during the 1st break. The whole concert started late at arnd 650pm and ended only 3 hrs later arnd 950pm. There were 3 encores. I was really touched that they hadnt changed a bit it seemed, the rapport between the band, the enthusiasm of the audience, quality of their playing, sooo touched. We could see that the band was glad to be there too, J, Ino, Shinya looked sooo happy. Ryu was too and Sugi's makeup was too thick to decipher... :P whahaha.. Ok lah, I truly believe ALL of them were glad to there as Ryu said "The ones who have been the most looking forward to this day are the 5 of us in actual fact." Now let's hope that they get back together soon, hell they are good together and it's so money making, don't waste it.. :P kidding.

SONG LIST:
1. Loveless
2. Dejavu
MC1
3. Jesus
4. SLAVE
5. End of Sorrow
6. True Blue
MC2
7. Face To Face
8. Gravity
9. Ra-Se-N
10. Providence
11. MOON
真矢's Drums Solo
J's Solo
12. FATE
MC3
13. BREATHE
MC4
14. STORM
15. DESIRE
16. TIME IS DEAD
17. ROSIER
18. TONIGHT
EN1
Fans sing Silent Night
19. I For You
MC5
20. [Cover Song] White Christmas
21. IN MY DREAM (WITH SHIVER)
22. BELIEVE
EN2
23. MOTHER
EN3
MC6 (Members Introduce)
24. PRECIOUS...
25. WISH
END OF NIGHT
LUNA SEA - Ryuichi, Sugizo, Inoran, J, 真矢 万歳!

After the concert, took some pics with Sab's frens in cosplay (must remember to grab them from aya) and we headed back to UENO for supper. Sab and her fren stayed over in our hotel till dawn so that they can grab the train back to ikebukuro where they stay. Supposed to be freaking cold that night but I was just too hyped up from the concert and hot to feel the cold much. Had been jumping up and down almost whole concert. Yeah, totally no more image but nvm, it was darn fun. haha.. we found a 居酒屋 and had good food there. Spent the Xmas moment there. Life is good with LUNA SEA concerts and frens and good food and drinks.. ahhh.. now if only I dont have to work.. wahhaha..

25-Dec Tue
Felt too tired out to go to Odaiba as per my initial plans and regretted not buying J's and INO's gig's tickets at the end of the month.. sob.... Decided to stay in also since I was gonna leave for Kyoto that night via JR night bus. So we had brunch in UENO (some beef stew which is really good) and then headed to 7-11 to print LUNA SEA's photos. whahaha!! Had seen the advert in the flyer from the previous night that 7-11 was going to sell LS photos from this concert.. Printed (and paid) for quite a number wahhaha.. After that most gals left for Yokohama while me and beng went to do a little shopping in the departo in UENO.. ended up spending some time there before heading back to hotel, ie dint rest as much as I wanted.. wahhaha! watched some teenage j-drama in bed, ate some nice custard, rested an hr before having to leave for kyoto, by myself. Coz my tinerary is a little different from the gals, and we have different accommodation from this point forward.

The JR bus was quite cool, 2 storeys, 3 rows.. cost 8000+ Yen. So ex coz it was peak period and I booked only 1 week b4 in SG.. oh wells... I save a night in hotel so works out fine. but was pretty tiring and my bag was kinda full by now. With what i have no idea.. haha!

26-Dec Wed
Hit the Kyoto JR station by 7am. Darn cold in the morning and went to hide in the building. This station is celebrating its 10th anniversary apparently, looks darn metal and techy for Kyoto.. kinda weird for this area.. haha. Was too early so tot not to go to the temple (my accommodation yet). Ate breakfast while I tot of what to do.. Should I put my bag here in some locker and then go temples straight or should I go temple to announce I'm here 1st? Decided to go with the 2nd option. Turns out the monk there din't have my particulars but he was nice enuff to put me up anyway since I was gonna stay only 2 nights. Assigned me Room 301 with a window, but then very funny, he suddenly remembered got a Room 400 which was cheaper and asked if I wanted to save $$. of coz I said yes.. Anyway, so it was as per room number, on the 4th floor. ie I had to climb 4 storeys everytime. No bath room but the room was pretty big, though had 1 tiny window only (can consider windowless also lah). As it was on top and almost like an attic room, it was more or less perpetually cold, the warm area in the room was where the heater blows.. kaka.. decided I better not take any photos, dont wanna scare myself, just in case. waahahah!! :P Hmm, just to set the record straight, this was not exactly a temple. It was a hostel building inside the temple compound meant for buddist students to stay while they studied THE WAY, so to speak. The monk speaks some english as they do open up for foreigners like myself. Most temples in Kyoto have this shukubo service, but it's just that the period I was there wasnt a great period as it was too close to new year and most temples close this service to prepare for new year. I'd wanted to stay in another nicer temple in 嵐山 but couldn't get.. sob... oh wells.

Anyway after leaving my luggage there, I walked back to Kyoto station and bought a 500Yen bus Day ticket and headed to Eastern Kyoto, higashiyama 東山. It was already almost 11 when I reached there and climbed up all the way to 清水
Kiyomizu temple. Spent almost 2 hrs here, kinda regret now coz ended up I missed going to 2 other temples.. oh wells.. anyway this was a nice big temple and then I headed towards 高台寺 Koudaiji. Got a bit lost, wasted around 40mins down the hill where I found another small jinja which could be 安井金比羅宮 yasui konpira gu. Finally found the entrance to 高台寺 and climbed back up on track. As I saw it was getting late and that the entrance entails a 500 or 800 yen fee (cant recall liaoz), I skipped entering, though took a pic of the huge Guan Ying that peeked out from the gate.. Passed by 円山公園 Maruyama Garden and 八坂神社 yasaka jinja but didn't have time to linger as I wanted to find 知恩院 Chion-in. Was deeply disappointed by the scale, coz Lonely Planet made it sound soooo nice... The compounds was big alright, but many parts were under reconstruction.. Sob. Okay lah, the entrance looked good, had this horrid 100 steps flight of stairs to the top, disgruntled by its name (some male somthing as opposed to the gentle slope to its right side named something female something) I climbed up in one shot, mayb strained my knee unknowingly then... Lingered a while and then comtemplated if I should hit 1 more temple or return to my temple to do check in which is at 4pm.. Walked all the way to the entrance of 平安神宮 heian jingu and decided that it was too late and I should do check in.. So took bus back to central and another bus to 西本願寺 nishi honan ji where my temple was located next to. Decided to laze in my room and then only left to find food at around 7pm.. As it was darn cold and I was tired, walked nearby and found a fast food soba place to eat at.. Found Second House which was listed in Lonely Planet on my way there and decided to buy some dessert back to eat.. Only to realise when I got back that they did not give me a spoon for my tiramisu.. *sob*.. had a hard time eating my tiramisu with a paper cup.. LOL... Didn't seem to taste all that great given the hard time I had scooping the tiramisu out from the ceramic container.. sighhh... Went to bathe arnd 9+, the communal bath was nice.. though should be nicer in the day as it has french windows that show a small garden. and the bath is made of oak. True japanese style big bath. Too bad I showered only once in there.

27-Dec Thurs
My day's itinerary was clear this time, I was gonna go to 嵯峨野 sagano and then 嵐山 arashiyama in 1 day so I had no time to lose. 1st stop was 金閣寺 kinkakuji where I chatted with 3 guys (1 new zealander, 2 americans).2nd was 龍安寺 ryoanji, which was nice but the stone garden was also a bit of a disappointment coz it's not that big and tons of tourists were sitting there. Went to change buses for arshiyama where my 1st stop would be 天竜寺 tennryuuji. So glad I came over here, coz the scenery is breathtaking. You see hills and trees and fog... The only thing lacking was SNOW!!! urgh.. wished it had snowed already (I think it may be snowing only now.. sob). Anyway I stayed in this place, arnd 1 hr coz it had a nice zen garden with a huge lake to boot.. very nice, my fav temple out of all I'd visited. It was almost 2 when I left the temple so it was kinda getting dark (it gets dark fast in winter in japan) so I didnt manage to get good shots of the bamboo forest right behind this temple. And since I was kinda running for time and I knew my ultimate destination was 大覚寺 daikakuji, I made my way there according to the instruction boards along the way and by asking people along the way to confirm I was on the right track. For those who may wish to follow my path next time, advise to prepare longer time to walk, coz the timings on those boards are meant for cyclists.. darn... it was darn far... but the scenery along the way was well worth it.. saw the residential part of arashiyama and crop fields, wild flowers etc etc. very nice area to live in actually. I couldnt really stop to visit the other small temples I encountered along the way coz didnt want to miss 大覚寺. When I finally hit it, they had a ticket for this temple and another one but the counter advised that I wasnt gonna be able to make it to the other one coz it was near to closing time.. sniff sniff.. anyway 大覚寺 was not bad, though pales in comparison to 天竜寺. Apparently it used to be a palace but the emperor later turned it into a temple. The lake by the side on the temple compound (without entrance fee) is huge, supposedly used by the emperor for boating before, though perhaps the timing was bad as it was dark already so dint seem all that impressive. I shall revisit this whole area next time earlier in the day... Yes this is prob the best part of Kyoto.

Headed back to central Kyoto, or rather, to Gion to meet the gals who had just arrived in Kyoto via shinkansen. I ate at some dingy looking shop in one of the back alleys, the sushi wasnt great.. sniff sniff.. but the fried fritters was great. Me and zain later went to some english pub in Gion with the new zealander and one of the americans. apparently they were doing a japan backpacking trip due to the holidays as they teach english in the outskirts of tokyo. I left early coz I had curfew at 10, I even had to take a cab, which cost like 1000yen coz the bus was gonna make me late.. Reached the temple at 1005.. the door wasnt locked yet luckily, think the monk left the key hanging there for me.. :P so paiseh.. Zain stayed till 2am she said. I didnt shower that night coz the shower facilities supposed to end at 1030 and I was quite embarrassed at being late in coming back.. dint wanna trouble the monk again.. plus it was cold anyway so nvm lah.. the french can dont shower for days.. wahhaha!

28-Dec Fri
Went for the morning prayer service at arnd 810 (I was late, starts at 8 actually) and walked arnd the temple compounds for the 1st time and then checked out the temple at 9. Met some chinese girls who were studying in japan, who were looking for 西本願寺 sO I brought them there, plus I hadnt had the chance to look at the insides of that too. It was drizzling so one of the girls offered me her brolly.. so nice. So roamed the temples a while and then left for JR Kyoto where I took a train all the way to hyougo where huishan stays. It was almost 12 when I reached there. Huishan picked me up and it was another 20mins walk to her place to put bags etc. We later ate at her fav ramen place, where I had tomato ramen (the shop's speciality). Kinda weird, haha, not bad but I think i still prefer salty miso ramen.. :P We walked along the kobe shopping street and then china town and then the harbor area, all names which I've forgotten.. haha.. need Huishan to fill in the blanks. And this day was the start of the rainy days to come. Luckily I'd covered Kyoto the previous 2 days coz I hadn't made any wet weather arrangements!! :P We had to take pictures in the rain, not to mention that the harbour was next to the sea, ie, super windy.. killed all our brollies.. whahaa.. so funny coz we were looking at the brollies and deciding which to buy (I din't buy any in the end though)

29-Dec Sat
Left the house early as Huishan and fren had to catch a bus to takayama. Headed to Osaka via JR, took a while to familiarise myself with the train lines again, but it was so similar to tokyo, with the JR loop and other subways. Kyoto I used bus all the way.. According to Huishan, there are discounts where by you buy a number of train tickets (5/7 or 10) and get 1 free. Nice, if only SG also has some discounts on bulk purchases... I'm still confused by the difference b/w the hanshin and hankyuu lines though, shrug.. Mayb next time if i'm in kansai again will try to figure that out. Anyway hit the Osaka Ryokan arnd 10+ and met Kent, this american journalist who had been staying in tokyo for 20 years at the 玄関 (entrance) of the ryokan. He told me that he was gonna watch a japanese show and being the thick faced me, I asked if I could join him. After a phone call, he said okay and to meet at 1130 back in the ryokan so that he could bring me there as it was kinda out of the way. I did some shopping around tennoji (where I was staying. Bought a suit) and went back to meet him. This was another highlight of my trip man, coz i really enjoyed the show.. It's this bunraku thingy, and i was lucky to be in tennoji that ryokan that day coz the drama troupe performs only that one day/night for new year. It's a yearly thing and Kent goes for it every year (the troupe knows him and he gets to go backstage. I think he reports on them). Took a bunch of pictures and vids like a silly tourist, though there were many japanese doing the same with FLASH!!! They are like idols of the older generation, you see the obasans waving light sticks.. keke :P the troupe is darn good man, they sing a mix of oldies (enka) and opera and westernised pop sounding songs, lots of nice kimonos (the only time I saw that many kimonos, hahaha), and many funny stories which they acted out. Show started at 1, was around 2 hrs with 20mins toilet break. Oh, did i mention the number of SLRs cameras aimed at the stage? I think it was prob gonna be in some newspapers, though I didnt check. Supposedly this troop won some award in the area for best performers recently. When the show ended, Kent was occupied with the photo takings and stuff so I left to meet the gals in Osaka station where they stay. Had a forgettable dinner there coz i really dont recall what I ate.. hmm..

30-Dec Sun
Woke late, it was darn cold and I was doing laundry (from all these days.. wahhaah). Bided farewell to Kent who was returning to Tokyo, sniff... coz initially was thinking of asking him if he had more interesting places to recommend.. Zain and Beng went to the observatory in Shin Umeda ie Osaka station and arranged to meet me here in tennoji area. Initially I planned to go Kyoto the next day but on this day, I realised that my right knee was darn painful. Think I strained it the last couple of days, Kyoto, Kobe.. Was practically limping for the next 2-3 days. And in that cold weather, the pain is worse.. sigh.... Really wanted to go visit the temples I'd missed but what to do.. It was darn cold anyway... Stupid Osaka refused to snow despite the 2 degrees (not enuff moisture to make clouds...) Anyway when Beng and Zain arrived, it was almost 2. We found a nice soba (or was it ramen?) place in my area and had lunch there. and continued walking walking walking.. across the zoo, through shin seikai, and pass many many streets before we reached the destination, 四天王寺 shitenouji. Quite silly really coz I didn't know it was just right up the street where I lived.. wahhaa.. Subsequent trips back take only 15 mins walk.. wahahaha... oh wells, at least we saw the dingy streets of this area, reminds us of UENO.. :P I'm glad I found this ryokan, Kent also asked me how I found it coz he only came to this ryokan coz of a fren's recommendation. I found it via some japanese website, and I highly recommend it too, it's cheap for its quality, size of room and location (next to tennoji train station). This is the UENO of Osaka.. haha. Anyway the bad thing abt this time period is all museums, castles are closed for new year. Only shopping and temples are open.. sigh... Ie I dint see Osaka Jo castle at all.. sigh... So we went to Shinsaibashi and walked all the way to Namba. Had crab kaiseiki in dotombori which is a food street perpendicular to the shinsaibashi shopping street.

31-Dec Mon
went back to to Namba to see the area in daylight, ate konomiyaki, did some window shopping along ebisubashi and shinsaibashi. This whole area is the harjuku of Osaka, and well, Osaka food is sooo much better than tokyo. wahhaha!! Tokyo is for shopping and people are always polite, Osaka is more for food and people are noisier and less artifical, and there are lots of bengs and lians around. wahhaha! The school bullys depicted in j-dramas must be from kansai. wahha!! Eve and Ayako left to get their pouch back which they forgot in the lunch konomiyaki place and zain, beng and me continued shopping. After which beng went back to hotel to watch 紅白 while zain went back to my ryokan to prepare to go 四天王寺 for new year. We ate instant ramen for dinner, just for fun. wahhaa... This trip has been pretty good, at least I didnt eat any instant ramen till now. Zain suggested I buy a pair of stocklings to keep my feet warm which seem to help my poor knee (either that or my painkillers or maybe both). There were quite a number of people in 四天王寺, we arrived around 1110. I read in some booklet that 1130 is when the bells start to ring. So there were queues of people waiting to hit the bells, me and zain joined the queue.. Only to realise what the hell, whahaa.. and left the queue to go to the main building. This is the only time any temple is lit at this time of the night and it was beautiful, with the lights and stuff. Took pictures like the silly tourist I am.. waited for the monk to announce the new year, and here we go! It was a mad rush to throw coins into the silly donation box, zain compared it to a mosh pit. whahaha.. and we were right in the middle of it. wahaha.. pretty proud of ourselves.. :P At least this isn't one of the supppper popular kyoto temples where u have thousands.. I think the turnout here was in hundreds probably. We lingered a bit and went back to my street for a sake to warm our bodies up. It was a nice little 居酒屋 with a sushi bar. We only ordered hot sake though, the obaasan was very nice. Zain went back to her hotel afterwards and me to my ryokan.

1-Jan Tues
The gals were due to take shinkansen back to Tokyo so I was alone again, went back to 四天王寺 to check out the kimonos which people ARE SUPPOSED TO WEAR but didnt see many... :( Osaka people are not that concerned with such customaries perhaps? dropped by 一心寺 isshinji but didn't like it, though there were tons of people for such a small place. It's this metal modern looking temple... kinda odd...saw a skinny dog in a kimono, lots of people were pointing at it. wahaha..Would have taken a photo if this was Tokyo but being Osaka, you may just get beaten up. wahhaa.. I'm exaggerating. :P I went back to hide in my ryokan as it was cold and I was tired by now.. Slept in the shokudo for 1 or 2 hrs as I've already checked out. Later figured I could go hide in the library (they have a small manga library) and I read Monster in japanese for the next 2 hrs. Thank god for the table heater.. else my feet would have frozen... Bus was at 840pm so I left at 8. So sad to leave the ryokan, sniff sniff. The lady boss sent me out, wave wave.. I have to rememeber to send foodstuff to them in gratitude man... Anyway bus.. Lucky for me, the bus captain realised that the person who was supposed to sit besides me on the bus was a guy and he arranged for the guy to take another seat, ie I had 2 seats to myself.. :P wahahha! heng coz I had my big haversack and couple of shopping bags.. Oh, I'd sent some stuff back to SG via air mail the previous day.. 5000 yen.. sniff sniff..

2-Jan Wed
8hrs of bus from osaka to tokyo station, 1 hr of train to airport, 7hrs of flight, back to back... hit sg arnd 5. Relieved that I'm back coz I was starting to get real tired (mayb due to the cold weather, people tend to hibernate in their houses with heater on). But I also miss japan.. sigh..

Been on leave ever since, Friday went for team lunch at carnivore in vivo, initially had planned to go back to office after that but then in the end no need, so went for massage and facial.. ended up getting talked into upgrading my silly package.. sob.. so now I have 5k of installments for the stupid spa thing... urgh!!! NO MORE!!!! *bish myself*