Thursday, 26 May 2016

Now in Japan: Hatching Chickens without the Eggshell

This isn't what I normally blog about, but this is too cool NOT to share. First, take a look at a screenshot of a paper:

In plain English: they found a way to incubate baby chicks without the need of an eggshell. But what I thought was extremely cool was the fact that one of the teachers is from Oihama High School, not a university or research lab. (By the way, you can read the paper at this link)

And since it's from a high school, students have got to be involved... right?


This video shows the biology club fertilising and incubating the eggs, plus a video of a baby chick that made it all the way. The show (ガッテン; Gatten) was featuring an episode about eggs, but the relevant section is from the 26th minute. Hopefully I managed to share it properly:

Remember, the clip starts from the 26th minute!

And sadly, there are no English subtitles. But luckily, you don't really need them (I think). I mean, I watched it once without any audio :p

I find it really cool that high school students are doing this sort of stuff. Even if their teacher took the lead in the research, them participating is really cool. I hope it leads to some of them going into science XD

And that's all. I just wanted to share about eggs haha.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Chiffon Cake + Notes from Secret Witches Exhibition

Happy (or not so happy) Monday! I hope you had a good start to the week! Anyway, I went for my first baking class yesterday, and we made a grapefruit chiffon cake.

And with this lesson, I've confirmed (not that I needed to), that I have no arm strength. I got so tired whipping the cream by hand :p Oh, and did anyone know that for chiffon cake cream, you put some sour cream in as well? I totally didn't know that, but it tastes SO GOOD

And a closeup. 
And +Whitney Yee  here are my notes! They're really disjointed, but I hope there's an interesting fact or two in them :D

Secret Witches Exhibition Notes
- Mummy’s were used as medicine during the middle ages and were mixed into medicines/used as ointments (for more information:

- The Pentagram came from ancient Greece and could often be found in cradles and other household furniture because it was considered a protective charm against witches and demons

- Schergräber (amulet of forefoot of mole), believed to help eyesight. The mole’s teeth was supposed to be good for toothache.

(I hope I spelled the name right. Also, when I googled, it seems like the forefoot helped with Toothache too? So I may have mistranslated)

- The persecution of withes started in the 16th Century, when perception of witches changed drastically.

- Between the 14th to 19th Century, there was a “little ice age” where the even the summers weren’t very warm, and was devastating to the farming community.

- The Zacharias blessing was used against あらゆる災厄、ペストや魔術、悪天候 (all manner of misfortune, pestilence, magic, bad weather.)

- Exhibit included a double headed calf and cat

- Image/Characteristics of witches:
1. Contract with the devil
2. Serve the devil
3. Flies
4. Participates in Sabat
5. Uses black magic to do evil

- Witches were seen as an inversion of Christianity.

- Rebecca Lamp (1590), accused of being a witch. Letter to husband still remains. (Her account was translated as an exhibit)

- The use of torture charts with stings is disputed among historians

- Friedrich Spree opposed the witch trials

- Executioners wore iron masks to stay clean

- Countries which killed the most witches: Germany (by far)>France>Poland, Switzerland> Belgium/Luxembourg, Italy>England>Denmark>Hungary>Czech>Austria

- 平維茂戸隠山鬼女伊治之図(たいらのこれもちとがくしやまときじょいじのず)- this is some Edo period Ukiyo-e that was shown. Caught my attention because the exhibit is 99% focused on Europe, except for the last section.

(Last part)

- In Japan, witches don’t have such a negative background because they don’t have the Christian legacy.

- Fairy Tale’s mangaka drew a picture and gave a comment for this exhibition. There were other manga stills too

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Secret Witches Exhibition @ Fukuoka Museum

I went to the Secret Witches Exhibition, and it was really fascinating. I've been wanting to go since I heard about it because:

- lots of exhibits on loan from overseas
- more knowledge is never bad
- you never know when your next inspiration is coming from

So I coughed up the 900 yen fee for university students, declined the audio guide (which in retrospect probably wasn't the best idea, but I didn't want to spend an extra 500 yen) and went in.

My ticket's on the left!
And this was one of the strictest exhibition's that I've been too! Basically, not were we not allowed to take photos, we weren't even allowed to use our phone! I got stopped from messaging my cousin...

On the bright side, they did give me paper so I could take notes. And a pencil, because mechanical pencils are also banned.

The exhibition itself was very well-done. The room itself was decorated to fit the theme, and the exhibits seemed at home.

And all the staff were wearing witches' hats. I thought that was a cute touch.

But because it's Saturday, there was a ton of people there, so in the end, it felt like I was slowly shuffling in a queue. (Although I spent so much time taking notes I'm probably guilty of holding up the queue quite a few times as well)

At the last area, where we could finally take photos! But I went alone so I just took photos of the sets.


And the second. 

Oh, and this was at the ground floor:

You could wear a cape and pretend to ride a broom. They also had a Popup store to sell things, like books, merchandise, actual occult items, and oddly... Apple butter.

I'm not sure how the last one fits into the whole thing. Maybe because it's from overseas?

Not to mention cookies and... curry? How is curry related to any of this?
And on the way back, I saw tons of people digging for clams!!

This had absolutely nothing to do with the exhibition. I just wanted to put it up.

By the way, is anyone interested in reading my scribbled notes? I mean, I wrote stuff down cause it's interesting, but I just typed it out, and it's not coherent. Just a bunch of weird facts. But you know me, I aim to please, so...

(Anyway, just to assure you that I'm trying my best to post more regularly: I have a baking class tomorrow, so I'll post about that, and I may or may not post about my laziness. I haven't decided if it should go here or the other blog. Feel free to ignore my thinking out loud)

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Avispa Fukuoka vs Shonan Bellmare

Hey everyone! So on Saturday, I watched my first local football match ('soccer' for all of you who speak American English). And, I watched it from possibly the best seats that I will ever get: the VIP room!

By the way, before I post the photos, I just want to ask: has anyone gotten the "your Photos library is not yet available" message when you try to synch your iProduct? I've not been able to import any new photos because of it, and I have no idea what to do ><

Angle One
 There was even a free drink bar XD So I got lots of tea!

Angle Two
 We (me and my new friends) had to wait at the tables for a while, but that's ok, because they had snacks too! At least, I think it's alright to eat them...

Finally, we got to get to our seats and watch the game!

I wanted to take lots of cool pictures to show you all, but... a 200mm lens is not enough. This was the best I could do:

 On the other hand, we did have a really good bird's eye view of the place.

This was my first J1 match (J1 is the top league in Japan) and... WE WON! Although to be honest, it would have been pretty embarassing if we didn't win. I mean, we did have the home team advantage, and we were facing the second-weakest team in the J1 league (we're possibly the weakest, since we only qualified for J1 last year).

But after a LOT of close calls, we finally scored a goal in the 81st minute! That was really leaving things to the last minute :p

And this picture reminded me, the stadium is called Level 5 Stadium, and judging from the font used, I'm guessing that the game company sponsored it? Like how the Fukuoka dome is the Fukuoka Yahoo Dome.

And the post game interview:

My first "live" football match in Japan, and it was a great experience. I really enjoyed watching the game (more than the baseball match about two weeks ago, because I don't really understand the rules of baseball). And it was really all thanks to my finishing school principal, who über generously invited me to come watch the game with her, then invited me to dinner.

Does anyone have any ideas on what I could give her as a thank you present?

Friday, 13 May 2016

Singapore Sarong Kebaya and Style @ Fukuoka Art Museum

I was thinking of doing a random food post (which I probably will do... sometime next week), but as I was looking through my photos, I realised that I haven't blogged about this! The Singapore Sarong Kebaya and Style exhibit at the Fukuoka Art Museum! I actually saw the poster for it when I was walking around Ohori park with Hamham, so during Golden Week, I decided that I had to go see it. Luckily, Yuka was free, so I dragged her along XD

Oh, and for all the Malaysians wondering why it's "Singapore Sarong Kebaya", the exhibit is sponsored in part by the Singapore Tourism Board and the Asian Civilisations Museum. Or at least, I'm guessing that's why the special exhibit is titled this way.

The exhibit was only 200 yen (150 yen for students), which was really cheap. And the first thing we saw was:

SQ Girl! 
 Yay! And because this is what I wore to the entrance ceremony, Yuka was like "you have this, right?"

Another shot of Singapore Airlines, because it's my favourite carrier
Anyway, the exhibit itself wasn't very large - about two rooms. But I liked that it had comprehensive explanations in both English and Japanese, so the two of us could understand everything. And because we also took Bahasa Indonesia together, we were super hyper and kept going "OH I KNOW THAT WORD" as we reminisced about class.

I didn't take photos of everything, just my favourite few things. Like this kimono:

I was actually quite confused as to why there was a kimono in a sarong kebaya exhibit, but apparently, it's made of the same cloth as the sarong kebaya! That made me wonder if this still happens today - Kimonos made with the Sarong Kebaya material (can you imagine a kimono in the SQ sarong kebaya style?) and vice-versa. I think it might work as a yukata, right? But I'm not very familiar with kimono, so it's just me being random.

And, I saw two fairy-tale sarong kebaya skirts!! This one is Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (although for some reason, there are only five dwarves on this skirt, according to the card by the side):

And this one was Cinderella:

I did wish the Cinderella skirt was positioned a bit differently, because it was quite hard to see any of the characters. We were practically pressing ourselves against the glass to see around the skirt.

And this is the last picture that I took: a food-themed sarong kebaya.

I'm not sure if you can see it from the picture, but the top is of prawns, and the bottom has fishes and crabs on it. I don't know about you, but I would totally wear this, and express my love of seafood. I would also wear the fairytale skirts.

If you're in Fukuoka, I'd really encourage you to go visit this exhibit. True, it's a little small, but it doesn't cost much to get in, and the sarong kebaya's are really gorgeous. Makes me wish I owned a few.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Detective Conan: The Darkest Nightmare (Movie Review + the Singapore Connection)

After missing one movie, I finally went to see the latest Detective Conan movie. To be honest, I only went to see it because the Black Organisation was on the poster. Kinda like why I watched Dimensional Sniper two years ago.

Anyway, I LOVED this movie. It was what the poster (I didn't watch the trailer beforehand) and more.

The movie basically opens with a car chase of a Black Organisation member, Amuro and Akai. So... two of the three are characters that I like. That's definitely a good start. Anyway, the car chase ends with a bang, and the Black Organisation lady escapes. The only thing is... when Conan and friends go to Touto Aquarium the next day, they run across the woman. The thing is, she's lost all her memories.

Of course, Conan and Haibara don't know who she is, so they spent the first half of the movie trying to help her. The later half is what happens when the Black Organisation, the Japanese Police, the FBI and all the other characters that I love get involved.

Don't worry, I'll stop my summary here so that I won't give anymore spoilers. But let's just say that I absolutely adored the ending, even though it broke my heart at the same time. I was really hoping for a certain character to become a permanent part of the cast, but it wasn't to be.

Oh, and the last time I wrote about Conan, I mentioned that he has basically become a death-defying superhero. In this movie, everyone is a superhero. Short of being shot by a gun, people don't actually die (Ok, there was one non-gun death in the movie). The opening scene had a random car being thrown in the air, come crashing down onto a truck, yet the drivers and passengers managed to somehow leave the car in one piece. So if you're ever caught in the world of Detective Conan, you don't have to worry. Short of somehow being involved with the Black Organisation (or becoming part of the plot), the odds of you dying as a result of Conan and friends are very, very low.

Oh, and when I went into the theatre, I was handed this:

Since this is the 20th movie, they're giving out "thank you" cards that come with a code for one free movie (available for 48 hours). The code's valid until sometime in July.

All in all, this is a must watch for Conan fans. It's seriously fantastic.

Oh, and TJE SINGAPORE CONNECTION. Can you imagine my surprise when the end credits arrive and I see multiple shots of Gardens by the Bay, the Sky Trees, Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer? I immediately when to google this, and it seems like Touto aquarium is based on Odaiba and the Marina Bay Sands area of Singapore.

Looks like the Singapore Tourism Board got some more free advertising.

But seriously, good job, Little Red Dot. It was a pleasant surprise to see the pictures of home.

The trailer:

Sunday, 8 May 2016

御船山楽園 (Mifuneyama Rakuen)

Exactly one week ago, I headed to 御船山楽園 (Mifuneyama Rakuen) because it was Golden Week and I wanted to be able to say I went somewhere. And ok, because I saw this:

Image from the Official Site
So I figured, if I go a week before it's supposed to end, I should be fine, right?


But let me start from the beginning. The day started well, with me and my tickets:

One train ride, one bus ride, and one phone call from Huis ten Bosch later, I was finally at the entrance. Well, walking up to it, anyway.

This is the actual entrance to the park.

I guess my first clue that I missed the pretty flowers would be the fact that the entrance fee went down from 700 yen to 500 yen.

I love the painting on the ticket though! 
But despite the fact that everything was green, the place was still breathtaking:

Oh yeah, remember the first picture? The screenshot? This is what it looked like:

I can almost imagine it in the different colours. I bet it'd look beautiful. But sadly, the flowers bloomed early this year, so they fell early as well. Which means.... everything was green.  I did try to walk among the bushes, but I gave up because I couldn't really see a path. Instead, I decided to go and climb some steps, because I saw a sign pointing towards a flower-viewing platform.

And me being me, any time trees bend like this, I think of Enid Blyton and her characters living in nature. Not that I would like to do that, because I actually do like having toilets and running hot water, but I do get the urge to re-read her books.

Anyway, this is the view from the platform:

I actually really like the view of the valley, so I decided to try and zoom in and take another picture:

While I was leaving, I noticed a net all around the platform. I guess enough people have been dropping their things that this became necessary.

I also went to see some really old tree that was about 200 years old, but...

... it wasn't very impressive.

Unless I'm looking at the wrong tree? But this does have a sign in front of it and all that, so I'm inclined to think that it's the right tree. Hmm...

Oh, and apart from the already-green plants, the garden had some wisteria as well!

And the awesome thing was, one of the wisteria gardens was next to the rest station, so I got to eat a snack while admiring the flowers (and hoping the bees don't come closer)

My karaage mochi, which was SO GOOD. I wish I bought two. 

And the wisteria. 
Once I finished walking around, I decided to follow this path that looks a lot like a long long hopscotch:

Which led to a tea house, which was next to the exit. I did consider taking a second break here, but the view was just of the lake. I think it would be a lot more stunning in autumn, so I guess I shall have to wait until it's autumn and then come back again.

Getting here was a bit tricky, but it was well worth it. If you like parks and big green spaces (and you don't mind climbing up and down), this is a nice place to spend the day. But, there's only one restaurant, which is fairly pricy, and with a fairly limited menu, so unless you're willing to fill up on mochi and snacks from the different omiyage shops, you may want to buy some onigiri or bento in advance and bring them with you.