Monthly Archives: December 2010


So this is what it feels like to have the flu. I have only
heard the term “it feels like you have been hit by a truck” but
never quite understood it, since I always think one should be dead
by then and mercifully unaware of all bodily sensations. Fevers,
body aches and chills. Not fun. Panadol has become my new best
friend. Also the virus is now making its merry way through my
family. My mum who takes pride in being the health conscious one
was utterly horrified when she got hit by the triad of symptoms
last night. My brother who for unknown reasons, is regarded as the
health barometer of the family, started to exhibit the first signs
of the illness. Only my dad remains smug because he is unscathed –
but for now he has been assigned the role of running errands
including getting our breakfast. Ha. I was thinking about the
source of all these problems and I know who I caught this from.
Before I left Japan, the American who was also living with the same
homestay family as us suddenly fell ill with fevers. I was pretty
surprised as fevers in young fit males are not very common plus the
downhill process was pretty dramatic for him. I was cautious
because I know there is a strong possibility I will catch it. And I
did. Great. When I flew into Japan earlier this month, all incoming
travelers were required to walk through a thermal scan. Those with
high temperatures were stopped – not sure what happened to them. Do
they get sent back with a refund? Anyway all these makes me nervous
about returning to the Workland although from memory they never had
thermal scanners. The other concerning thing was I recalled reading
in the Japanese papers that they found signs of avian flu in wild
birds (
Although it was a different prefecture to where I was and certainly
the Japanese government has it under control, it still feels too
uncomfortably close. And the homestay lady mentioned that she had
used free range chickens to prepare our Christmas eve dinner (it
was sumptuous I have to add); at the back of my mind I can’t help
but wonder where the chickens came from. Aha. Anyway I’m feeling
much better. Had been taken out the better of the first three days
since I have been back. I just have to be patient and ride this
out. I’m just mighty concern that I will not be 100% right when I
hop off the plane in the Workland to make the 10 hour return
journey to retrieve my dog. (And yes, I will not be boarding my dog
so far away from now on.)

-posted from my iPhone (hence the crappy layout)



Saw a store selling these really cute umbrellas, was very tempted to buy one but it was Day 2 of my Japan trip and i did not want to lug around an umbrella for the next 20 days. Plus i doubt it is strong enough to withstand the horrendous winds of the Workland. (I use a golf umbrella in the Workland if i have to.) The Japanese really pay a lot of attention to aesthetic value.

Cute umbrellas

I have also updated my travel journal – Days 7 and 8.


I have been back in the Homeland for three days now, and it has not been too good. I have not met up with any of my friends. I have not had a fever in the last decade, but since coming home, i have been feeling feverish and have been popping Panadol like candy, and i hate medicine. Sheesh.

Anyway, i was trying to coordinate my schedule to meet up with various childhood friends when i realized how incredibly short my stay in the Homeland is. When i was booking my trips, eight days sounded like a terribly long time. But now, when i look at my planner and note that i have to fly back to the Workland on Monday, i am utterly squeezed for time.

Also since i am feeling feverish,  i am just not sure how i can last through the busy days ahead – meeting friends, attending a family New Year’s Eve reunion party, a photo excursion with a good friend on Saturday, wakeboarding on Sunday, flight home on Monday, and a ten hour drive on Tuesday to pick up the dog (whom i sorely missed). (Everytime i see a dog in Japan, i would always smile to the owner and asked in broken Japanese if i could stroke their dog. Then i would whip out my handphone and show them a picture of my dog. It make for good conversation and good interaction. Then in my Homestay, i reckoned i spend more time talking to their cat, then to the Homestay people.)

Anyhow, despite me feeling so crappy, i am looking forward to hanging out with my high school friends. We only meet up once a year, it is a bit mad. Also i am slowly going through all the photos i have taken on my Japan trip. Will probably post the interesting ones up as i organize them.

Lastly, last night i bought $200 worth of Chinese martial arts dramas! I am so happy. There was a massive sale going on – dramas that usually go for $50 easy were cut to $13-$24. Clearly it was a bargain to hard to miss. I will be shipping stuff back to the Workland since i clearly will exceed my baggage limit. Oh, did i mention? I had to ship 8kg of Japanese books back to the Workland from Japan, because they would not fit into my bag. I bought so many books, i am so happy! Shipping stuff seems to be a routine thing for me now!


I went snowboarding yesterday, my first. P tried skiing. We were clearly ahead of ourselves – we thought we could do the basics in a day. We were obviously too optimistic. I extended my one-to-one lesson and basically spent the two hours crawling and skittering on my arse. Some of the other people in our lodge are staying at least one week.


I look like a kid! Argh, wrong angle.

Anyway, this morning, it is snowing massive snow flakes, everyone has headed up to the mountains in excitement. Probably easier and more fun to learn snowboarding today.

I am a little sad at the moment. I can’t join them on the mountains because we have to catch the bus into Tokyo. Really had a lot of fun with the instructors, especially when we were all around the same age and had a good chat after.

Really want to extend my ski stay for a bit but it will be a little unfair for P (who i think did not enjoy the experience as much as i did – she’s aching a lot today) and for the family in Tokyo whom we are staying with for a week.

Oh well, good things have to end. I should just remember the fun and look forward to more in the future.


More next year!

Am already starting to think and plan that perhaps i should get more lessons up in the mountains in Workland next year, and maybe come back to Japan in a few years’ time, this time snowboarding and not snow-butting!


Gosh, the Japanese eat loads of carbs, more than i thought possible.

Menu for a typical day:

Breakfast – rice, miso soup
Lunch – Bowl of rice with ingredients AND plate of cold soba
Dinner – Ramen


Loads of snacks including beef buns and red bean puffs.

OMG. I am losing all my defined contours and gaining loads of curves. No gyms in sight! Too cold to run. Too shy to attempt running on the streets because it ain’t in the culture here.


An illusion?

We witnessed one of the most breath-taking views we had ever seen. It was so beautiful that i initially thought it was some brilliant technology the Japanese had came up with to create an illusion. So beautiful that when we tried to take photos with ourselves in the composition, it looked photo-shopped. o_O

Chokei Ji, Toyama, Japan

The Japan Alps as a backdrop.

I have also updated Day 5 and Day 6 of my travel journal.


I am in Takayama at the moment and the beef in this region is apparently very famous. The only way i can tell the difference is try it in the steak form, so we visited the only steak restaurant in town – French cuisine.

The price was exorbitantly high – 7700yen for the highest grade steak (the Tobi steak) but i thought what the hell, might as well go for the full experience since i am already here in Japan. Nowhere else would i be able to have the same opportunity.


Tobi steak using the highest grade of Hida beef.

It was the fattiest steak i ever tasted – i was at my wits’ end. But it went really smoothly with the dab of mustard. When i finally reached the central portion, i understood what the fuss for Hida beef was all about. It was tender, succulent and strangely sweet. It was the best steak i ever had. So yes, there is truth behind the reputation of Hida Beef. But i think i am ruined for life now – ever steak i eat from this point on will forever be compared with the Hida beef steak i had in Takayama and i believe i will be in for a lot alot of disappointment!

A very satisfying meal.

I have also updated my Travel blog on Day 4 of my trip. Click here for more photos and a more in depth account of my trip so far.