New Blog!

Hey there! I've decided to continue blogging at a different blog. The MEXT archives and some of my travel posts will remain here, but I'll be moving some stuff over. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

東京へ行ってきた! (To Tokyo and Back!): Another Pictorial Post

You may or may not have heard that I went to Tokyo during Kyudaisai. And yes, I skipped my own school festival to attend Gaigosai (TUFS's school festival) and Komabasai (one of Today's school festivals).

Kyudaisai sounded fun, but I really really wanted to meet my friends. And with a four day weekend, this was way too good a chance to pass up. So, off to Tokyo I flew.

And when I got to Tokyo, I was reminded of how inconvenient Narita is. It takes me less than half an hour to get to Fukuoka airport from my home, but about two hours and 3000 yen to get to Kichijyouji. I arrived there about midnight and with barely any power in my handphone (I had this fear that the phone would die on me and I'd become uncontactable).

But, it was all worth it. I got to (activities not listed in chronological order) see my Kendo club:

Meet my cousin and have lunch with her:


According to Nic, these pictures made her hungry. Even though
she had her dinner just before looking at them.

So gaze upon the deliciousness that is Cheese Nan!
Meet my friends from Church:

The kids are adorable!
Go for dinner and book-shopping with Simone:

What an interesting book you have there Simone(;
And of course, go to Gaigosai:

And even Komabasai:

So. Many. People. 
And since I was being exceptionally efficient, I've actually processed two of the photos I took and uploaded them to 500px. So the links lead back there (if you're wondering):

Road to Tobitakyu. Also found here

Mitaka Dorm. I quite like how this photo has
warm and cool colours. You can also see it here

And a bonus photo! Here's one that I took with my iPad when I came back to Muromi:

It was actually even cooler in person. And yes, you can
also find it here

My mom and my little brother are also in arriving in Fukuoka for one month, so let's see how I'll juggle schoolwork and more travelling for the month!

EDIT: When I was in Gaidai, Tani-sensei asked me to make a video introducing Kyudai. So here it is! (Video is in Japanese)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

NaNoWriMo Week 2.5

I'm halfway through Week 3 and I officially have 33,458 words, which means that I have a very tiny buffer of about 100 words. To be honest, I'm just grateful that I caught up, because I've been behind since Week 1 ended.

The only reason why I've managed to catch up is because I've been writing at least 2000 words a day this week. I do this by writing one chapter (my chapters are a little on the short side), and by elaborating on past chapters that I've written. Even if I think it's rambling, if I feel the urge to write it down, I'll write it down. Like everyone says, editing and such is for after November. It means I get a little less sleep, but I think not being able to wear contacts is worth it (it sounds strange, but when I don't get enough sleep, I can't open my eyes wide enough to insert my contacts).

But, I'll be leaving on a trip to Tokyo tomorrow, so that means that I'll be away from my computers (and the internet) for about four days. I'm really hoping that I can write on my evernote even without the Internet, so that I don't fall behind too much. On the bright side, my novel includes a trip to Tokyo, so I suppose I couldn't count this break as an inspiration break (;

So, here's an excerpt from these three days:

“Alright. See you around Yuu” They wink at him and walk on, giggling among themselves as they walk away.  
 As soon as they leave, Yuu turns to me and says “Try not to pick a fight. It’ll waste time we don’t have, and energy on those that can’t afford it.” It’s the same speech he gives me every time Ray or I get into a fight.

“Yeah. Although you did put them in their place” Ray tries to free himself from the bush. Yuu and I rush forward to help pull him out as well. “Anyway”, he continues nolchantly as Ray and I try to pull him out, “You know when you said that we need to go to my ‘home country’? Why don’t you just write us there? That way, I won’t have to pretend to be in love with the Princess.” 

“Nice try Ray. But I can’t just change the story so abruptly. It won’t make sense. It’ll take me a few chapters to introduce a reason for travelling and the reactions to it and stuff. And who knows how many times we’ll be pulled into this world while I’m writing it?” 

“It’s a good idea though”, Yuu says thoughtfully. “Although instead of us going there, you could have an envoy or a historian or something come here. Would that be easier to write?”

How's your NaNoWriMo going so far this week?

Monday, 18 November 2013

My New Yonanas Maker!

Even though it's been getting colder and colder, a few weeks back, I bought a Yonanas maker. Basically, it turns frozen fruits into ice-cream. This is how it works.

First, you buy your Yonanas Maker (I hear 'Duh's', but I had a picture I wanted to use):
Freeze your fruits:

Feed it into the Yonanas machine, and out comes ice-creamy goodness:

My friends were way excited, because they've always wanted to try it. Some of my friends hadn't heard of it, but after I explained it to them, they also wanted to try it!

And because my friends and I all think alike, last Saturday, we held a Yonanas party!

Everything is ready! 
 Of course, we had hot tea, to make sure we didn't get too cold!
This is the mixed-berry flavour, it's awesome! 
 And we managed to experiment with a lot of flavours:

This is pure mango goodness. 
As my friends said, "You can always eat ice-cream. If it's cold, turn on the heater." (yeah, we really really like snacks). So far, my little brother loves it too, even though it involves ice-cream. Although to be honest, he's only seen it work through skype. But I've already made a lot of cool things like:

This breakfast parfait:

I love my Disneyland Cup. Do you know you can play the Cup
Song with this? 
A Banana Ice cream Pie:

The crust was made with this awesome biscuit! 
And a Ice-cream cake:

Top layer is Persimmon (awesome), Middle-layer is
sweet potato (also awesome),  Bottom is pumpkin (very awesome)
I'm still thinking of what else I can make. If you have suggestions, tell me! I'll try them out and let you know if it works!

And if this sounds like an advertisement, don't worry, I paid for the machine (I wish I got it for free though). But I really do like it and wanted to share it with you. And also because I really, really wanted to share pictures of the desserts I made. If, however, you want to buy it online (and you're considering Amazon), I'd be super happy if you use the affiliate link at the bottom).

You can get your Yonanas Maker here!  (Note: This is an affiliate link. If you buy through here, Amazon gives me a very tiny amount of money. You don't have to pay extra, and Amazon now ships to Singapore free [if you're not in Singapore, please check about your country], so it's win-win)

Saturday, 16 November 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Week 2

Well, we're slightly more than halfway through and I'm really, really behind on NaNoWriMo. I was actually more or less on schedule until this Thursday. I've realised that Thursday is not a very good day for me to write (too many classes, too little time). Normally, I can write a bit more on Friday, but yesterday, my teacher told us that today's supplementary lesson would be a mid-term test. In the form of a speech.

You would think that having gone to ACS(I), I'd have learnt the art of bullshitting and didn't need to worry. But unfortunately, I needed to simplify my English (which means actually thinking of what words to use), and my teacher asked me to do a powerpoint presentation. Only I was asked.

So I skipped golf, rushed home and spent about three hours sourcing for photos and putting together this really nice keynote presentation. And after that, I had an online meeting (Google Hangouts!) until midnight, which is when I went to sleep because I had a test today.

And in proof that I do unecessary things sometimes, the projector refused to work, so I had to present without my slides. But, after all the hardwork I did, I'm determined that someone should see it, so here you go: (yes, I did narrate, but if my squeaky voice annoys you, you can totally turn it off)

So that long-winded story is the explanation for why I'm behind on the word count. But, at least I haven't gotten writer's block yet! The story is progressing pretty well, although I suspect I have too much filler. But that's for me to worry when I'm editing (if I decide I want to edit this) after NaNoWriMo.

This week's excerpt:

Yuu frowns. “Your highness, it is improper to talk so familiarly with the servants, especially one from this village. And you, I don’t know how you manage to get the Prince alone, but you will behave with decorem and respect towards him. 
Ray and I both stare at Yuu. “Geez Yuu”, I say at least, “There’s no one around. Why are you being so mean?” 
“Why are you being so familiar?” 
“Dude, why are you being rude to Mi? She’s like, your best friend. I mean, the three of us are like the three musketeers!” 
“Your highness, while I have been trained from boyhood to serve you, I haven’t met the girl before.” Yuu looks genuinely puzzled. Suddenly, it dawns on me. 
“Ray, this is either Yuu with his memories replaced or a Yuu like character that I don’t remember creating.” 
Ray just groans. “What other characters did you create?”

How are your NaNoWriMo's going on?

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Church Autumn Bazaar (Photos)

I don't know what the weather is like where you are (I hear Singapore was having a cold spell, but I always assume it's warm), but right now, it's beginning to get really cold! Which marks the Autumn and so, my Church's Autumn bazaar :D

Now, I was simply the waitress in this, but it was really fun. Plus, we had curry rice and 豚汁 (butajiru - pork soup) and it was delicious!) If you're ever in Fukuoka the next time there's a bazaar, be sure to come down!

And while this I'll be sharing my experience with photos, I won't be showing photos with faces in them out of privacy to my Church members.

All ready! 

One part of the old clothes section. There are actually some
pretty nice stuff. 

Main dining hall, where I was the waitress

A sample of the hand-made items. And only 50yen!

Preparing the goods. They're delicious and
you but them as you walk past the window. Somehow,
that really appeals to me. 

The 'goods in question'. All sorts of delicious food, ready for you to buy
and consume (or buy, bring home and consume, you pick)
I didn't actually get to browse through here.
But then again, I don't need so many bags :p
I believe this section also sold things like photo frames, dishes,
teapots, etc. 

And of course, knicknacks like this musical sheperdess

Persimons! Good for you and delicious!

Books for sale!

Food coupons that I received from a church member. 

Coffee and cookies corner. 

So cute :D 

More cuteness. This I bought XD

My lunch! Homemade curry rice!

And a huge bowl of butajiru! 
I hope to see some of you at the next bazaar if possible!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Week 1

It's two days after the end of the first week of NaNoWriMo 2013. As of today (the 9th), I'm at 14520 words, which is about 500 less than what I should be at. I suppose this is the one time where being below par is not a good thing.

But considering that I entered with absolutely no knowledge of what my WIP (Work in Progress) is going to be, I'm quite happy with myself. I started off with a few characters and from there, I've managed to have a brief semblance of a plot made and wrote the first few chapters.

I was actually ahead of the target for the first few days, but Thursday really pulled me down. I tried to catch up on Friday, but I was still a little behind, and since my friends came over for most of today, I didn't get much writing done either. But I have tomorrow and Monday free (after I finish my schoolwork, of course), so hopefully I catch up then!

Now about the WIP: I remember something that vaguely sounds like "write what you know" (and I think the follow up was "draw what you see"), so this year's WIP is quite influenced by my life. I mean that in the sense that the story is set in Kyushu and the protagonist is a Singaporean girl studying in Kyushu University. Character-wise though, I think she's different from me (particularly in terms of personality and family background). Plus, she gets pulled into this alternate universe every time she writes her NaNo so that's definitely somewhere we differ on.

This is what my synopsis is right now (it's probably not going to change much, since I've got the general direction of my story fixed)

"Stuck between her colonial hangover mom and her desire to be more Asian (whatever that is), Mi has to figure out who she is as she navigates the first year of university in Japan alone. As she starts NaNoWriMo, her migraines get worse and her dreams start mimicking her writing. If she doesn't figure out what's going on, figuring out who she is will be the least of her problems."
 And this is my excerpt (the book is written in first person):

"You're so selfish Mi!"  
"Stop talking bout yourself mom". I try to include the obligatory eyeroll but fail.  
"No back talk young lady."  
I had that dream again. The one where my entire personality is picked apart and criticised. Trust me, selfish is a word that appears often.  
When I chose to go to Japan to study. Selfish. 
When I got carried away telling my friends about our new car. Selfish.  
When I pretend to listen to Ray's latest achievements in the army but actually tune everything out (in my defense, he already told me on LINE). Selfish.  
Insisting that we go for karaoke instead of FujiQ highlands because I don't like crowds that much. Selfish.  
Ok, so maybe I am a little selfish. Which is why ever since I entered Kyushu University (affectionately called Kyudai), I've done my best to be kind and un-selfish and whatnot.
 If you want to add me on the NaNoWriMo website, you can find my profile here.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

I made a Hello Kitty hat!

Hey all, because I'm a little insane, I decided to take on a knitting project just before NaNoWriMo. Thankfully, I finished it in a week (actually, about four days of intense knitting) so now I can focus on my NaNoWriMo project. And what was this knitting project?

Take a guess
A hat!
The hat after about two days of knitting. 

But not just any hat,

That's right, it's a 
 Hello Kitty hay!

Actually, I was just aiming for kitty hat, but I happened to buy some red wool, so I decided to try and make a bow and stick it on (and it worked!)
I suppose this is called improvisation. 
 I used a free knitting pattern from Ravelry (you can click on the link to get to it), but adjusted the size of my hat to fit my head. And I didn't bother with the ear flaps because I didn't really want them (or understand the instructions). It's actually pretty simple to do, so if you want to make it, I totally encourage you to do so!

And to help you out a bit, here are two videos that helped immensely.

Now, the first mistake that I made was to buy circular needles that were way too long. But, I didn't have to buy another pair, because I found this video on how to do a magic loop, which solved my problems:

The other part I had problems with was when it called for a "Kitchener stitch". Turns out, it's just a way to sew the hat together so that it looks boxy, which translates to kitty ears when you put it on

Totally a box. 

 But, I found this youtube video, and I managed to finish it in about 40 minutes!

As you can see from the picture below, despite the fact that I started doing the stitch while the video, it turned out pretty ok.

 And my hat got a lot of compliments. One of my friends even asked me where I got it ;D

And best of all, it keeps my head warm! 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Tokyo Trip Part 2 (Finally!)

After so long, and after the entire summer break, I'm finally back with the second part of how my trip to Tokyo went! You can read the first part here.

The second part of the trip is really the reason why I went back - to attend Church camp. I haven't seen my friends since I moved to Fukuoka, so I really was psyched for the camp!

This year, the camp was in Okutama, where SSAJ had our momiji-gari last year (unfotunately, I can't attend this year's momiji-gari. There were also some campers that I hadn't met before, so I not only got to meet old friends, I got to make new ones!

For me, one highlight of the trip was the annual river-side barbecue.

This year, the river was much shallower (so no diving :/) and really rocky, with some strong currents. This means that I got really terrible scrapes/cuts when I tried to float down the river the first time.

And of course, my friends (the guys) freaked out. They wanted to ban girls from floating because "it's ok if boys get hurt but not girls". =.=

Anyway, most of us girls ended up floating down the river at least once. ^^

The other highlight of the trip was the worship sessions. While I do love hymns in their own way, I also miss singing the more modern worship sessions. So it was really great being able to sing and worship with everyone.

My extremely pretty and talented
friend on the guitar!

Sadly, in order to make my flight back to Fukuoka, I had to skip out on the last morning of activities. But still, even though it was short camp, it was really fun and really refreshing.

That reminds me, I haven't posted anything about my trip back to Singapore right? Since this is a blog about me living and studying in Japan it might be too much of a digression. What do you think?

And by the way, since it's November, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo. Expect to updates about my progress once a week on this blog!