Saturday, October 19, 2013

Different points of interest

*Returning keyboard to an occupied room*

”Did you see that girl? She’s cute.”

“What. No. Instead, did you see the two guys sitting on the floor? The one on the left is cuteeeeee”

“What. No. I'm not pink -.-”

"And you always seem to forget I am!"

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Variations on a theme by Paganini for two pianos

Made a recording of our practice session for the piece Variations on a theme by Paganini for two pianos.

So sad that after turning a page, i looked at the wrong bar and forgot where my notes were orz...

Anyway, I think we did better in the actual examination since there were page flippers assigned to us and that moment on stage just makes one play better ^^;

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Apps for your travelling needs (Japan)

Useful navigation apps for travelling in Japan (actually mostly for Tokyo). Take a look and see which of them suit your needs ^^

I updated (29th Sept 2013) with a few more apps I came across.
Sorry no windows phone apps because I am not on windows phone :p
Scroll right down for non-train related app.

Tokyo Metro Subway (free) (iphone)

This app is limited to subways (metro, toei) only. So JR densha and private (above ground type) lines are not included. The only(?) good thing is it's in English so you can find your route using romaji.

It tells you the estimate journey time but doesn't seem to list out alternative routes (if any) or the time. Only "Fastest Route" and "Fewest Changes".

It also gives you nearby stations according to your location, with a choice of train map and normal map (probably mapped over Apple's map).

Personally I won't use it coz it's limited to subways and doesn't tell you the timings. But it's the only decent English train app I've found for Tokyo.

Tokyo Rail Map+ Lite (free) (iphone)

There is another Tokyo Rail Map Lite (without the + sign) which has been discontinued. I tried both and this has got one extra function which is searching for route. Very nice free app that has blinking animation showing you the stations passing through as it brings you from your starting station to your ending station. Only one possible route shown though.

Good feature? It covers all(?) the lines in Tokyo. Subways, JRs, private. Bad thing? I found some missing stations in the monorail line (ok, maybe only this line that is incomplete). You can search stations by names (Japanese, English both ok), or through the lines they are on. Really not bad for a free app!

Manta (free) (iphone) (android)

An experimental app by Tokyo Metro scheduled to last until 2014 Jan, you have to be able to read Japanese to use this. Not a route app but it allows you to connect to the free station wifi when you create an account (English sign in page available).

Other features include railroad information system like timetables (good for last trains), exits, station maps (good when planning for meetups). One interesting feature is the train alarm that beeps you when you reach your station. Must set the timing yourself to match the boarding/alighting time though. Even works with JR and private lines (the website says). Haven't used before so I can't comment but I've seen people using it so it must be okay?

Timetables, exits and station map

Toei Navi (free) (iphone)(android)

The same as Manta, except this is the Toei subway version, with bus routes included. Personally I think this app is… shit. You can download and how bad it is. The only reason why i found it was because one day i tried the "Near Me" feature in the new iOS App Store. It said "popular near me" mah, so I downloaded it. Utterly horrible. The creator should be banished into the 18th level of hell.

Now the following, I've used them before and some of them I'm still using.

Japan Subway Route Map (Tokyo Osaka Nagoya) (paid) (iphone)

This app does not allow you to search for routes. But I like it coz sometimes i need to check what stations do the lines have. I want to be able to see the lines individually and not as a big mess of glomerulus. Plus the design is neat and very easy on the eye. So I tend to rely on it more.

It has english and also lists out all the intersecting lines/interchanges beside the stations of the line you're checking out. It even tells you which stations are skipped for those with express services passing through so you know whether you would miss your stop if you accidentally stepped into one.

It also has a very good compilation of the exits of each station with the nearby landmarks/roads included. Helps when you need to plan with friends and have to find out which gentry you should go out to meet at. Recommended if you're willing to pay.

Apparently you can also set the region to Tokyo, Osaka or Nagoya but it doesn't work for me now on iOS7.

Tokyo × Kanagawa Route Map (paid) (iphone)

It seems there are a few versions of this app. Now on 50% off. And this.

This is like the above app, showing you the different lines individually, but this one includes JR and private lines and lines to god knows where. Available in English too. I don't quite like the drawings (compared to the above) but it is still functionally good enough. Plus, the general train map has an option that lets you select whether to highlight the subways or the JRs. That makes it easier to see through the gigantic mess of lines. Recommended if you are exploring slightly further outside of central Tokyo  and willing to pay for an all-in-one map.

Tokyo Metro Map (free) (iphone)

This is the simplest, no fuss app. A digital edition of the piece of train map flyer that one gets from a station. But why is this called Tokyo Metro Map when it's actually filled with JR lines??? Good for rainy days when your paper map becomes soggy kimchi.

Yamanote-line Exit (free) (iphone)

This is also a very simple app, featuring just the yamanote circle line that every visitor most certainly will ride on at least once during his stay in Tokyo.

It's just a circle of stations. You tap on your boarding station and the estimate time needed to reach the next station for alighting will show. Tap on the alighting station and you will see the different exits, which number cars the exits are located near to and the transfer services available. I use this app when I want a quick reference of the direction (clockwise, anticlockwise) I want to go by, with respect to my destination. I so hate to absentmindedly take the "long end" of the circle >_<;;

Tetsuchizu 2011 (paid) (iphone)

This is like the mother of all train maps. It covers the whole of Japan. But methinks it's not very user friendly. Only for train otakus. Not very useful when you just want to search for "short" distance within the city.

Navitime (free) (iphone) (android)
Transfer Navitime (free) (iphone) (android)

These two apps are very similar. Actually i would think they are the same… Both are good. But you do need to know how to read Japanese. Or at least know how to read chinese characters to get around it.

The app allows you to set your map to Tokyo (metropolitan area), Tokyo (subway), Kansai region or Nagoya. Very useful like 3-in-1 map.

With portable wifi dongle+sim card so easily available nowadays, having internet connection is not a problem desho? So you can just tap on the nearest station name at your location to set your departing station and scroll through the map to find your next station and set it as your destination. No need to type anything. Hit search and a list of probable routes will appear with the timings, time needed, transfers (if any), prices nicely presented before you. Tap on the desired route and it will tell you the name of the line(s), the platforms you are to wait at. It also gives you the last train timing so you can party/shop/eat till late.

Definitely one of the best apps around to use. I use this a lot! If you have to get just one app, this is the one. ☆☆☆☆☆ 5 stars for it. Better than the ekitan or the Yahoo one, imo. 

Tokyo Musen (free) (iphone) (android)

Lastly, if you needed to rush to some place urgently, like OVERSLEPT MUST GO TO THE AIRPORT NOW OMG!! You can get a cab with this! It knows your current location and you can just zoom in on the map for your destination to tap it. Kantan desho? It can even give you an estimate of the cab fee which is like wow. (other extra charges, like night surcharge (10pm-5am), highway toll fee, 300 yen hailing service via the app are added separately)

I guess that's all for this blog post~ Hope they have been useful!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tokyo Disneyland revisit

At a perfume shop inside Disneyland yesterday, where chikako's friend is working at and along came in two tourists, looked around and started to ask her friend something in broken english (from whatever bits of words that floated into my ears, i couldn't understand them at all).

I assumed her friend could speak since she's working at disneyland. Must have at least some basic level of understanding for communication mah, right? (even though i also couldn't get them)

lol. as we were looking on, chikako asked me to help her friend. Stepped forward, took a glance and they looked chinese so i asked if they needed any help. They looked surprised and asked me why could I speak mandarin -_-;;;; Told them i'm Singaporean xD

Turned out they wanted to look for mens' perfume... And also they were looking for a phone booth that could make international calls. I felt like an interpreter, albeit a failed one coz when chikako's friend replied through me, I relaid to them in japanese and then realising my mistake, hastily corrected it back to mandarin :x

After a while they even looked around in the shop and asked me what the products were (since they couldn't read). Chikako reminded me to tell them that i was also a visitor there.... errr.

It was an interesting encounter. She said, oh you've made yourself useful ne! *laugh*

30th anniversary celebration. And also my second halloween at Disneyland!

The friend said there are hidden mickey(s) in here. Look for them!

Forgot who took this photo. Grainy is good hahaha.

It was very hot. But luckily less hot than in summer. That lens flare(?) makes for an interesting effect on the photo.

Here's a cute Eeyore which g said "dusty", meaning "no buy" Orz

Every time i go to Disneyland i must fight the urge to buy one of these dust-collectors or those memorabilia that are limited to the celebration period (like that vampire mickey or mickey-in-a-coffin-shaped-chocolate-tin-can)

Only bought these, as usual. I should have gotten more!!! I love rice crackers and anything to do with Alice in Wonderland.

Nowadays i make it a point not to buy those in metal cans. Nice but piling up at home :x And since I'm not like "on holiday" like many foreigner san who visit disneyland, I have lost the "MUST SWEEP THEM ALL INTO THE PURCHASE BASKET LIKE IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!!!!" compulsion. I guess this is a good thing?

I think i want to go again this december with g for christmas/new year. The last time we went for christmas was a few years ago. Maybe disneysea instead ^_^ (← secret thoughts)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An ice cream a day

Lazy evening watching Continuum, eating B&J ice cream which is not widely available in Japan.

Friday, June 28, 2013


Just found out through yotsumoto, a senior, that this other year four senior that I dislike (moya), has been targeting me romantically since i was year one omg. She will stalk me and "report" to yotsumoto every time she sees me, my every movement, who i'm with, and gets angry when i'm friendly with other girls etc. This is so creepy. Apparently moya even told yotsumoto that she will make me hers -_________-

Hahahaha. I see. You try lor.

I think i'll delete her off facebook and block her. Already blocked her LINE some time ago though :x Heard more horrible tales about moya and it's no wonder quite a number of people want to stay far far away from her.

P/s long story why i dislike moya and even longer story why yotsumoto san only told me now when i'm in year three. It involves many side characters and events leading up to the current concert preparation/rehearsals. Most probably boring and confusing to the uninitiated. 

But I have only one thing to say: 女はやっぱ恐ろしいものだ! So glad I bat for the other team phew.

Your personality makes you look like this to me.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The hidden face of your favourite drink

10 persons out of 10 in Mexico are expected to be overweight in 2020!!!

Luckily i don't even like to drink this nasty stuff!

originally taken from here Click to see bigger size.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kissing mouse

We were learning a song about a mouse and some stolen food in pedagogy class and there was a line that goes チューチューチュー (chuu chuu chuu = the squeak squeak squeak a mouse makes).

"chuu" also happens to be the slang for "kiss". Being bored by the whole thing, I said "chuu shite" (kiss me) to shou-kun seated beside me.

The girl in front turned back and looked at me in horror.

Never had I felt the need to explain myself until now.

"He's not my type!"

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Bloody Mess

Saw this very interesting thing about blood spatters :D

Bloody Mess

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

塚田農場 (Tsukada Nojo)

Headed down to 塚田農場 (Tsukada Noujou) for dinner after exam on 14th Feb.
I usually refrain from going to izakaya coz they don't usually have separated areas for non smokers. But this is one izakaya which i would be visiting again coz of the food. They have the usual izakaya fares, hot pots and girls in yukatas.

Before the meal, お通し (otooshi) is served. This is a side dish which is served without asking at a Japanese restaurant, regardless of your order. It's not free though. Somewhat like how Chinese restaurants put peanuts and wet tissues on your table and charge for it. But you can refuse it i suppose.

i love cucumbers with the spicy miso dip at the side of the table but koh san didn't like cucumbers so i had his. I even ordered another serving in the middle of the meal lol.

This was one the thing we came here for!!! The super tasty, juicy, chewy karaage made from their very own free range chickens raised in their own farm! Is this how real chicken taste like?

The other dish (no pic coz i forgot to take) was the sweet potato sticks. It was really good and fragrant and you must order these two if you ever come across this restaurant.

And then there was this toast-like thing, except it wasn't bread but eggplant. I found it bit salty but still, I just couldn't stop picking up stick by stick and shoving into my mouth. Oh the high blood -_-!

Felt like eating eggs that day so i ordered this. I didn't expect it to be so fluffy and good! I wonder whether they made this into a heart shape because it was valentine's day.

I feel incomplete without rice so i had to get this. Ochazuke, except that it wasn't tea that's being poured. The soup broth was milky, mixed with a small heap of yuzu koshou in the slices of fish. So warm and savory. Definitely good on a cold day like this.

Yakisoba, a 定番 (standard) dish in izakaya. How differently can you prepare yakisoba? The taste is so standard haha. But there's something in it that makes the taste so familiarly normal yet stands out among the rest of similar yakisoba. I didn't have much though, coz i was kinda full already...

But as they say, you have a separate stomach for dessert, so here we ordered two milk puddings. The top layer was slightly burnt, crusty and semi-hard and once you break it, the rest was a silky soft pudding which was so heavenly good i wanted to get another cup.

But at 450yen a cup... I stopped myself before the bill goes up even more.

And then probably as a valentine's special, they gave this to us to "freshen our mouths". Were they expecting us to kiss? LOL. The chocolate was ok, nothing special. But the bunny(?) pic was so cute! I think I would have enjoyed the whole thing if i were with g here hmmm.

Lastly, when we were out of the restaurant, as a "tsukada tradition", we were each given a small sample of the miso dip we had during the otooshi. Yay!!! Now i can have my veg sticks with the yummy dip xD

While i was googling for tsukada, i found out they opened a branch in Singapore last oct 2012. But it seems that it's more like a nabe place than an izakaya. But they don't even serve real tsukada chicken. Malaysian chicken!! Gonna try it the next time I go back to see how it is!

If you're interested in trying tsukada nojo in Tokyo, here are some of the branches at the touristy areas:

池袋西口店 Ikebukuro West
1 min walk from JR Ikebukuro West exit
〒171-0021 東京都豊島区西池袋1-10-8 サン・グロウビル2F

新宿歌舞伎町店 Shinjuku kabukicho
3 min walk from JR Shinjuku east exit
〒160-0021 東京都新宿区歌舞伎町1-16-1 今宮ビル4F

新宿東口駅前店 Shinjuku East
1 min walk from JR Shinjuku east exit
〒160-0022 東京都新宿区新宿3-23-2 B1

上野店 Ueno
3 min walk from JR Ueno station
〒110-0005 東京都台東区上野2-12-23 U-ONEビル4F

銀座八丁目店 Ginza
5 min walk from subway Ginza A2 exit
〒104-0061 東京都中央区銀座8-8-5 太陽ビル7F

渋谷本店(旧道玄坂下店)Shibuya main shop
1 min walk from JR Shibuya station
〒150-0043 東京都渋谷区道玄坂2-6-1 岩崎ビル3F

京王渋谷西口店 Shibuya West
1 min walk from JR Shibuya station
〒150-0043 東京都渋谷区道玄坂1-6-8 楠本第2ビル2F
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