Love at second sight.

In my last post, I ranted about how gross Mentaiko (明太子) was.

It's not you, it's me...

The way it looked, the way it tasted… Eating it with Natto was plain nasty, and I was sure it was all Mentaiko’s fault.

Coming home tonight, I did my usual brainstorming exercise on what to eat for dinner… and I saw the left over sac of Mentaiko. Damn, I thought, and it’s expiring today. I had a dilemma of whether to chuck it away or not. But it cost 250 yen! So 125 yen right here…. with this money, I can buy an item from 100 yen store with 20 yen surplus! OKAY, FINE. It’s like getting on a scary coaster, you just gotta do it.

Since I was trying to save money and had ONLY a piece of bread for lunch (130 yen! I hate counting how much I spend, it’s worse than counting calories…  ), my stomach told me I needed A LOT of meat, or carbs- which ever is available. I took out the only 2 packs of udon left in my fridge and gave Mentaiko a second chance..

Ingredients: One sac of Mentaiko, 2 packs of Udon, some Onion and Golden Needle Mushrooms

Cut up the stuff and fry the onions with golden needles...

Put the Udon in and squeeze out the Mentaiko (think milking a cow), don't waste a tiny bit! It's 125 yen!

Fry 'em! I have no butter, so I added some milk in... otherwise it would be too dry.

Voila! An easy 15 mins dinner... Mentaiko at its finest!

Thank god I had 2 packs of Udon… It was so savoury that I licked up the whole pan, just to not waste a single bit of fish roe! The udon and Mentaiko just complements each other! Since Mentaiko is already marinated and full of flavours, it’s not necessary to add any salt at all. I am in love with it now. Gonna buy more after I get paid and try to eat it in different ways. A few ideas I have now…

1. Eat with crackers/toast

2. Pan fry plain Mentaiko (inspired by the burnt bits on the rim of the pan, was sooooo good)

3. Mentaiko Tofu salad

After a good meal, gotta drink some plum wine, cheers 😀


Snow view from office.

WTF, I thought Spring was coming since it kind of warmed up last week. Yet it started snowing today!!! Not the flaky type too… Plus the strong wind, I almost froze to death this morning walking to the station… This must be a rare case because I saw many of my colleagues taking photos throughout the day. I hate snow, I just do.

A parking lot of bikes at a nearby apartment

Damn, I want a bike. The cheapest I see is 7000 yen...


Yesterday I went to check out a Foreigner Association close by the Yokosuka Chuo station. It was my lucky day! I was just gonna visit the office to ask about Japanese classes. I got there 5:45pm and there was a class starting at 6pm! Apparently there’s no registration involved… There were 3 students including me, and 4 teachers LOL And it cost only 1000yen for a term (3 months, weekly)!! So it’s pretty much private lesson and costs close to nothing. I checked out the schedules of other classes (different locations, but close by) and there are only night classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. IS THIS PERFECT OR WHAT? I am busy on Wed (badminton) and Thurs (Jap@ Yokohama) anyway…  So I will go to ALL classes on those three days from now on! I swear I’m gonna work to hard on Jap.. and watch only Jap dramas XD

So one of my ‘classmates’ – a girl of from Shanghai… apparently, her husband works at my company too! He was an intern before and became a fulltime last year. They live in a dorm a block away from mine! She’s been in Japan for a year, and she can converse in Japanese. She said her husband did it in just 3 months!


Some good news,

  • My credit card application got approved, so I can soon pay bills with my Jap card (no need to worry about 2% transaction fee using canadian cards)
  • I MAY get paid on March 9th, so if I can survive one more week, it’d be all good (plus my supervisor said he would lend me $$)
  • Since $ is “no longer” an issue, I will stick with my weekend travel plans (Roppongi 六本木 for an interactive design exhibition, and Meguro目黒 for two museums: Parasites and Gajoen(雅叙園).

How do I live?

How Do I Live 

How do I get through one month without you?
If I had to live without you
What kind of life would that be?

Oh, I, I need you in my bank account, need you to live
You’re my world, my life, my food and if you’re ever missed
Baby you would take away everything good in my life
And tell me now

How do I shop without you? I want to know
How do I eat without you if you ever go?
How do I ever, ever survive?
How do I, how do I, oh, how do I live?

Without you there’d be no fun on weekend
There would be no cash in my life
There’d be no food left for me

And I, baby, I don’t know what I would do
I’d be lost if I lost you, if you’re ever missed
Baby, you would take away everything real in my life
And tell me now

How do I pay without you? I want to know
How do I eat without you if you ever go?
How do I ever, ever survive?
How do I, how do I, oh, how do I live?

Please, tell me, baby
How do I go on if you ever leave?
Baby, you would take away everything, I need you with me
Baby, don’t you know that you’re everything good in my life?
And tell me now

How do I live without you? I want to know
How do I pay bills without you if you ever go
How do I ever, ever survive?
How do I, how do I, oh, how do I live?

How do I live without you?
How do I live without you, baby?
How do I live?


I think I’m cursed. I have no pay cheque, my internet is cut, and my bills are due in a few days. Worst of all, I only have 20000 yen left.

I thought I had brought enough cash to survive for one month. And I was right, I just didn’t expect by the time I set up my bank account, I would miss the pay day (20th). They said the worst case scenario would be I wouldn’t get paid until the next month 😥

Let’s do some math… I still have 20000 in my pocket.

Rent is exactly 10000, half gone.

I just received my water and electricity bills…. around 5000 yen. So I still have 5000 left with all bills paid off. Darn, I have never been in any financial crisis in my life.

It is impossible to live in Japan with only 5000 yen for a month. IMPOSSIBLE!

Let’s put things into perspective, I add a 5000 yen charge to my PASMO card (transit smartcard) every week… This is because round trip to work costs roughly 800 yen a day=> 4000 yen five days. Plus I have Japanese class in Yokohama once a week. Oh god, either I send an SOS to get my parents wiring some $$$ to save my butt, or I cross my fingers+toes that I would receive some money pretty soon.

Meanwhile, I should start keeping a budget and eat only one meal a day…

I bought this MUCH food to stock up my fridge... of course that's before knowing I was in some major financial crisis. You think this can last me a month?

Let’s see what I have been cooking lately… Cooking really doesn’t save much, especially when fresh produce is so damn pricy. However, bento boxes are expensive and oily.


So.. that thing was a potato... I actually ate a whole bag of potatoes in one day, and nothing else

A piece of Japanese Donut a colleague gave me... I ate that for dinner instead.

Cheese Hotpot?! No... i wish... it's just Mochi in soup 😛

Curry Spagetti with a big piece of chicken breast and some carrots. This may look good, but you would never guess what happened to it before...

This is when I was cooking the spagetti... I later pour all the carrots and onions into the boiling pot too! You know how after cooking the pasta, the water needs to be spilled? What happened was.. I was using the pot cover to pour out the water, but accidentally spilled EVERYTHING into the sink instead! I startled for a moment, but decided to eat them still. At the end I put everything back into the pot, washed with some tap water... and cooked again with some curry sauce.

Left over spagetti with ketchup this time.... I also made TamagoYaki!!

Simple ingredients... 2 eggs, some salt, soy sauce and Dashi (Japanese fish stock)... You can add some sugar if you prefer sweet tamago.

After mixing the eggs, put 1/3 into the pan to form a thin layer... start rolling

Push the egg roll on one side of pan, add the rest of the mixture in.. and roll again until cooked! Finally, slice into pieces and enjoy!

Tonight's dinner... Fried udon in soy sauce and some veggies...

Also opened the Mentaiko (明太子)that I bought...

First time eating plain Mentaiko (usually have it in Onigiri...) It's really salty, and to be honest, kinda gross. I would imagine going well with rice though.

So I added it to my Natto instead... Please don't try, it got more disgusting.

Some super delicious pineapple for dessert ;D it's quite cheap too, 165 yen for the entire pineapple... With 165 yen, one can only buy 1.5 apples >.<""

Anyway, I woke up last Saturday and found internet on all my devices had stopped working…

Pocket-Wifi reads "No Service"...

I hurried to Kojima- an electric store literally NEXT to my place, and where I got my pocket wifi. The guy called E-Mobile (the carrier) for me and they explained they cut off my service because I did not taken action after receiving the “THANK YOU LETTER”. OK, what Thank You letter?? Turned out they got my address wrong… so it never got sent to the right place. And the Customer Support line was closed on the weekend. So I had to wait until Today… The Kojima guy gave me a call in the afternoon and told me to call their Customer Support number myself. OK, the number did not work! Because apparently Monday is a holiday for their English Service… WTF? OK, I will wait until tomorrow if I don’t get my internet back, I will complain (in English of course) until they give me some discount back!

So meanwhile, how do I go online and make this post? They say… One door closes, the other opens. This is so true… When I found out I couldn’t connect on Saturday… I was devastated, so I decided to try my luck to connect to near by wifi- but all had encryption. But guess what? I was lucky to guess the right “password” for one of them… and now I’m borrowing the person’s WIFI. It’s slow, but I am really thankful already.


This is a key chain made by O-san's wife, whom I met yesterday when I joined their family to visit Hakkeijima (八景島). Those charms are "candies" and she thought I like food decors since my wallet is "cheeseburger", coin pouch is "watermelon" and key chain is "donut" lol Little did she know my mirror is "chocolate" as well.

So last night I was really tired from the day trip, and went to sleep after dinner without taking off my contact lenses!!!

And this morning, I couldn’t open my eyes or see anything!!!

JK =) I was fine, they were slightly dry and good news is I am finally used to wearing contacts for long hours (24+ hrs seriously). But I still prefer glasses… Putting on and cleaning contact lenses are just too troublesome!

Feb 4/5th : Weekend in Yokohama

Outside Yokohama Station

A late post about my first weekend in Japan (Feb 4th and 5th), and I went to Yokohama (横浜), the “second largest city in Japan by population” according to Wikipedia. It’s the only city I frequently go to now since it’s close to Yokosuka (40mins) and I have my Jap lessons there.

I love diagonal crosswalks...

On the Saturday, it was just me exploring the city. I mostly just hanged around the station area, which had enough shops and restaurants to keep me busy.

Not too crowded... a nice thing compared to Tokyo

The area really has nothing to sightsee, but is ideal for shopping! There’s a huge department store (Takashimaya 高島屋) and several shopping malls right next to the station. My favorites are Lumine and Vivre, I bought quite a bit of stuff from those malls. There’s also a SOGO outside the West exit, but I was too exhausted to walk there after buying so many things.

I had Takoyaki for lunch (600yen /8pcs)...

Had to stand beside the store to eat... since it's not polite to eat when walking on the street.

First went to BICS Camera to buy earphones... and saw the Fujifilm X100 on display (finally)! There was no stock in Vancouver, unless putting an order. I played around with it a bit... I still like my Nex more, the controls are less complicated. What the X100 appeals to me is its cool factor anyway.

Next up- Tokyu Hands... This store has EVERYTHING a person needs. It's sort of a department store (8 floors) but sells anything from weird toys, food to appliances.

Climbing up the staircases was torturing.

I wanted to buy the bacon wallet, but I already have a watermelon coin pouch and a cheeseburger wallet.... and I gave up the thought.

Some Takoyaki golf balls, which my dad would love.

Taiyaki !!! It'd be so cute on little kids.

Yen origami paper, napkin... I realize only things related to food and money can capture my interests

A Ramen place on the travel guide book... and I had dinner there.

This is what I ate... Dip the noodles into the soup- but, the soup was barely hot and it was tooooooo salty. A bit disappointed.

Before heading home, I walked into More's Mall, next to the station...

And went inside this place for dessert...

This is what I had.... Green tea with mochi and red bean. OMG, the green tea was SO GOOD. The flavor was so rich. Cost 600 yen, well worth it.

What I bought... May not seem heavy, but carrying those bags almost killed me.

Unwrapping... most were bought from Vivire Mall... most stores were 70% off!!


Then the following day, I went to Yokohama again… this time with M-san, my colleague. She and her husband showed me around Yokohama. Since they drove, I could see much more other than shopping malls!! We first had lunch at a Jap restaurant in Queen’s Centre of Minato Mirai (港区未来)- the area in Yokohama where most landmarks are located.

View of Mirato Mirai... Must be soooo beautiful at night.

An amusement park, kinda small though

A building with somewhat futuristic look

Cupnoodle Museum... people can custom make their own cup noodle... but I didn't have a chance to see the exhibitions. I went into the gift shop though.

Red Brick Warehouse 横浜赤レンガ倉庫. I LOVE THIS PLACE!!! Inside was flea market styled, with a modern look. I heard there were some very nice restaurants too!

Was a cloudy day...

People crowding to watch a street performance

Had a whip cream mochi crepe. Why do I always eat mochi-related food? no idea.

Cute Crocs display... why advertise tea in a shoe store though?

A store that sells weird things.


I see these everywhere.... seem to be very popular here

Back to the station… an underground mall with shops and restaurants, where I usually eat after Jap lessons.

There are still many places I haven’t been to in Yokohama, such as the largest China Town in Japan… as well as Manyou Spa with many artificial hot springs (has a very nice night view).


Hmmm… where should I visit tmr?

The weirdest candy drops…

Some stickies craziness.. it's now a part of an "artwork" on display in one of the rooms

In my office, people use stickies a lot… to brainstorm, or even when chatting – someone would actually take out a pad of stickies and start writing on it. I personally just use them for doodling, since I hate messing up my notebook… plus you never know who’s gonna peek into it 😀

But today, I have found another use for these post-its…

I never touched these cans until today...

These cans of candy drops have always been piling up on a tray right at the bookshelf next to my desk. I never touched them, because I thought they were just empty, perhaps a collection of the desk owner (I am actually just borrowing her desk temporarily until she gets back from pregnancy leave). Not until today my colleagues asked me why hadn’t I tried any!!!

There are about 30 unique flavours, each was bought from a different city in Japan. There are a few normal ones, such as Mango, Apple, Sakura, beer… but that’s about it. The rest ranges from Okinawa flavors (Awamori, Goya) to Hokkaido’s (Lamb,  potato w/ butter) to fishy things like Mentaiko (明太子). Extreme, eh? According to my colleagues, only those classified as “normal” have tolerable tastes. Which is why- everytime someone tries a new flavour, they would rate the candy on a sticky note. BTW, most of them have pretty disgusting tastes, since like 70% are imitating salty food.

There’s really not much food that I dislike, back in Vancouver I’m usually the one to clean up all the expired food. So I asked for the nastiest flavour possible. They thought for a while and concluded that pretty much all those 70% are right on par with each other.

So at the end I picked an unopened can, something that looked like Unagi Don (鰻丼)… but they told me it’s a similar but different kind of fish.

Anyhow, the very second it landed in my mouth… I could smell a weird odor. Basically smelt like century old vomit… but the taste was about right, salty and fishy (not fresh sashimi, think dead fish). It brought back all the memories of eating Harry Potter jelly beans. I had an urge to spit it out, but I didn’t want to lose face in front of my colleagues… so I pretended and kept saying Oiiishiiiiiiiii!!! They were pretty surprised actually, and said I was lucky to taste a decent abnormal flavor on my first try. RIGHT.

Then I turned my back to grab a sticky note (meanwhile secretly spitting it into my cup of greentea), and ranked it as SUPER OISHII…

Throughout the day, two colleagues tried it after seeing my sticky 😀

OK, though I think it wouldn’t taste good either. I sort of want to try Takoyaki flavor, too bad my colleagues said they couldn’t find it at Osaka.

I think I will start collecting these drops from now on (a colleague reminds me they make perfect souvenirs for friends, great idea :P). Top of my most wanted list is Wasabi (of course disguised as Matcha flavor or something).

Now i wish they are real food… maybe the japanese should take the next step to put real nutrients in them.


The Ramen place I went to in Yokohama after Japanese lesson. I love those order vending machines, that way I didn't have to order verbally

850 yen for Ramen, rice and Gyoza.

My ramen.. Salt (塩) flavor with hot sauce... The soup base was too thick to my liking, but I loved the noodles! they were fine like Angel Hair pasta.

My Gyoza and unlimited side dishes (bean sprouts, salted veggie). Ramen could be refilled too, I believe without charge.


Funny thing during Jap lesson… My teacher asked me where I would like to go during the Golden Week. I heard from some people that flying to Korea is actually cheaper since most Japanese prefer travelling within the country. I meant to tell her かんこく(韓国), which is “Korea” in Japanese… but I pronounced it as かんごく(監獄), which means JAIL. LMAO.

Anyway, I have a new goal to learn at least 3 new Japanese words each day… Here are what I’m taught today:

モテキ(?no kanji)- “mo-te-ki”, means a prime time period of a guy/gal’s life where he/she suddenly becomes so attractive (to the opposite sex I assume?)… N-san told me Japanese believe everyone experience 3 “motekis” in their life.

ハンコックき(反抗期)-  means puberty…

こうねんき(更年期)- means menopause….

けんけつ(献血)- means blood donation…

Last but not least….

My beloved Clearly Contacts "Free" glasses: Aug 2011- Feb 2012.

Well, the arm actually broke off a week before I came to Japan.. but I glued it back and it was fine until yesterday.

So I was playing badminton … and somehow when trying to make a save, I lost balance and fell toward the net… my glasses were knocked off and here they are now…

I will try reviving them with Krazy Glue tonight.

101 ways to eat Kiri-Mochi (切り餅)

I am officially sick of udon...

Seriously, I have been eating the same thing for dinner lately that I don’t even wanna post it – Udon+pumpkin+carrots+onion+egg+miso… yes, they’re all the ingredients I have ( I run out of meat), and I throw ’em all in.  Why don’t I eat something else? There’s really no room for variation when,

1. Your brain is too tired to think

2. You don’t really know how to cook

3. Your big lot of food is expiring VERY soon

4. You live alone and it’s either you who eat it or the garbage can

And I ate 3 bananas yesterday because they were turning bad. I still have 5 grapefruits left( which I thought were oranges when I bought them)….

Dear Mom: I finally understand how hard it is to cook dishes… I will try not to say “Why are we eating this again?” to you in the future.

I could buy Bento from the 24 hr supermart nearby, but- The food is costy and it tastes no better than what I cook (not trying to bloat here, it’s THAT disgusting)…


So tonight, I was thinking about what to eat (since I finally… K.O. all the udon) , and I remembered them lonely in the fridge…

The junk food I bought over the weekend...Darn, I realize I am consuming way too much carbohydrates... all my snacks are made of rice or sweet potatoes =P

Mochi!!! My Iron Chef's secret ingredient for tonight!

Since I bought them from a junk food place, I attempted to eat one straight after I bought them… Little did I know they had to be cooked!! I mean, they are just plain tasteless rice cake.

This morning I asked around the office for Kirimochi recipes, most people told me to bake them in oven (don’t have) and eat with soy sauce (no either)… they also suggested putting into soup (OMFG, please no miso soup again~~~) or making dessert. M-san later sent me this link… and I brightened up when I saw this Natto Mochi dish! It said it required radish, soysauce, natto, etc. Whatever, I only had Natto at home and would try it nonetheless.

After a few minutes, mochi merged into ONE PIECE. And I randomly added 2 pieces of sausages...

It's really just sticky rice... cripsy on the outside.

Then I saw 2 bananas + 1 egg left in the fridge.... might as well cook them as well. One of the bananas fell to the ground as I was peeling it because it was too ripe. WASTED!

Here's a full shot of my semi-gross dinner... See Natto in the background!

Since the pack of mochi that I bought had no flavor to them, I had to think of plain-less ways to eat them (without soy sauce, miso soup of course).

Feel free to skip the following: VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED!  But here are my 101 7 ways XD (Please try it at your own risk)…

1. American HOT DOG style~ Can anything taste bad with sausage and ketchup?

2. Banana-Mochi Maki Roll =) Despite its look, it's delicious. Trust me.

3. With Natto, need I say more?

4. Roll it into a rice ball, Onigiri style... what's inside?

Ume(sour plum)!! My favorite, found my replacement for Ume onigiri!!

5. With mustard.... Natto comes with a pack of mustard, and I usually don't add it in. Tastes like some chewy sushi with wasabi...

6. You probably can't see it, but sprinkle some salt on.

7. Eat it plain! haha.

8-101. Wrap some mochi around whatever you get your hands on =P

What about the egg? You ask. Geez, it’s sunny side up… of course you eat it with nothing else!

Dessert time ~


After I’m done playing with my food, gonna talk about random things of the day…

After lunch I went to the Tea Area for a drink… and I started talking to this colleague from another team (he was one of the guys who explained his research to me at the Forum).

He found out I used to play the classical guitar, and recommended me to listen to Kazuhito Yamashita(山下和仁), he said the guy could do tremelo with his pinky finger!! lol

He also told me to listen to Zin-Say! and told me my friends would hate me if I liked them? I have yet to find out why though haha.

When I asked him about places to visit in Japan, he told me to go to this museum about Parasites in Meguro! OK, as much as I hate worms and stuff, I think I’ll brave myself into this. I’d love to visit weird places in Japan (did I mention I wanted to go inside the Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama? Too bad it was very crowded that day)… Dammit, if I go out to Tokyo every weekend, I’m gonna be broke.

R&D Forum & After Work Party

My alarm clock somehow ended up like this on Friday morning. Thank god I didn't have to wake up at 6am like usual.

Friday was the last day of my internship company’s R&D Forum, which was a three day event to showcase their research and prototypes. Most of my colleagues attended all 3 days, since they had to station at our team’s booth to explain their research to the public. I went on Friday, and was free to walk around the exhibit to understand different research areas.

N-san and I left our dorm at 10am, and it took roughly 2 hours to get to Musashino (武蔵野), where the event was held…. It involved transferring for 3 trains and 1 bus.  o(>< )o

After the train rides, we went to a nearby restaurant for lunch.... we both ordered this: Omelette rice set with grapefruit juice (It's really sour, I miss my Tropicana Pink Grapefruit juice)..

The event was held in this building on the Musashino campus. Next to the building was a Museum about the company's technologies in the past, but I didn't have time to visit =(

N-san told me she had to come to the Musashino office quite often, for training purposes. お疲れ様です!

The resting area at the forum. I didn't think taking photos of the booths was a great idea..

I arrived there around 1:45pm and received my guest pass+package.

The event spanned three floors, but only the top and bottom floors had exhibitions. There were talks whichI did not attend since I couldn’t understand anything.

We first went to our team’s booth at the basement floor- half of the members were standing there, they were busy explaining/demo-ing. So after greeting them, I began setting off to visit other booths.

Booths at the basement area mostly belong to cyber solutions research- ranging from network security, cryptography to multi-media and data management…

The first booth I went to set up cameras around the exhibit area, those were 360 degree cameras with mirrors in them… the researcher held up his tablet (of course not iPad, but a Docomo device) and by tilting and moving the tablet, he could view different direction/area of the field. I thought it’d be a cool surveillance tool, but he said their goal was to apply to entertainment systems. He provided me with an example-

“Do you know AKB?” he asked.

“Yes.”  (in fact, when I was on the train that day, I saw their faces printed on those “hand holding plastic loops” thingies on the train, ya know what I mean…)

“So you know there are many members, right? If we use this technology, then people can open up a poster or something, and view each member by moving their tablets/phones!” He beamed.

“Why not just use fingers to pinch and zoom then?” I wondered.

“It’s less interactive, and less- interesting.”

“Oh,ha-haha, cool.” After thanking him, I walked away. 

Otaku (お宅) alert!!! Apparently, there are many Otakus at the company. Otaku has a really broad definition (besides Anime, Manga, AKB48 etc) … for example, a guy on my team is a “Train” Otaku, another is a “Gadgets” Otaku, one is an “Origami” Otaku!!!

I still remember when I first met this guy from another team, the first thing he asked me was “Otaku??”  >.<“” – did I look/dress like one ?


Anyway, I saw some interesting booths that day, those who aren’t interested can skip straight to the next part.

  • A tool to analyse a 2-D photo of a person and generate 3-D avatar from it- capable of simulating speech movement
  • A real-time translation system during phone call (too bad it’s a synthesized voice)
  • Multi-core optic fibre to speed up network speed
  • Satellite technology for disaster reporting (this is particularly useful for a country like Japan)
  • Quantum memory (difficult but interesting topic!)
  • Video analysis to determine emotions (actually done by the team next to mine!)
  • Video watermarking (like QR code but on TV)
  • Another video processing technology to analyse a video of a lecture on blackboard.. and break up the video by topics/chapters!
  • Education system with tablet (the guy was really enthusiastic, but too bad didn’t get a lot of govt support due to pressure from textbook publishing companies)
  • Using fluid motion patterns on a screen can trick your brain to neglect electronic hand writing latency (hard to explain, but cool demo!)
That day, I met quite a few people from other teams of the Yokosuka Office. Was surprised most of them knew I was the new intern student from Canada.

I did not get to visit every single booth (I didn’t even rest at all)… some were interesting but had no real/immediate application. But I guess this is what research is like- it takes years to develop a technology and put it into good use. Any of the research I saw that day could be a revolutionary product in the future.


Things I got from the day...

The event ended at 5pm, so I went to meet up with the team. After packing up, we filled out this survey and received a solar keychain torch in return!

 Our team’s after party was held at a Okinawa restaurant in Kichijoji (吉祥寺), a town that’s voted as the most desirable place to live in Tokyo.

The outside of the restaurant

There were 8 of us at the party, my supervisor couldn’t attend as he had a meeting at some university. It was still fun, nonetheless, and OMG, it’s Okinawa food!! Okinawa is the place that I want to visit the most in Japan!!

Like most bars, it's all you can drink- look at the drink menu! the dish at middle is some seaweed in vinegar.

Food to nibble on when drinking. Tofuyo (豆腐餻), pig ears (豚耳), tofu with salted fishes.

My colleagues were surprised that I have had Tofuyo before. Well, it’s similar to 腐乳 in Chinese food, also fermented in some sort of alcohol. Except in Okinawa, they use Awamori (泡盛) instead.

Our group leader was half hour late to the place, because she made the mistake of getting on the wrong train  (looks like japanese make that mistake too XD)

Umi Budou (海ぷどうSea grape) with tuna tataki salad- Umi Buto tastes just like Tobiko/caviar!! Loved it!!!

Pancakes made of squid ink! tasted like Korean's seafood pancakes.

On the left is stirfry with Spam, right side is some deep fried fish+veggie

There were 3 more dishes which I forgot to take photos of: Stone pot rice with meat+veggie (similar to Korean’s Bibimbap), Fat pork stew Okinawa style =), and Goya Chanpuru (Bitter melon stirfry) All food was delicious!!! Some of them I’ve never tried before, and I probably wouldn’t try by myself!

At the party, 6 were ladies and 2 were guys. All were strong drinkers (called “Nombe”  in Japanese), except me and the two guys lol

They all drank without showing any signs, when my cheeks were riingo red after my 2nd drink!

Since we were at a Okinawa restaurant, I tried some special drinks…

To start off, I had a regular beer.. then I had my favorite plum wine (Okinawa brown sugar flavor), the famous rice Awamori (it was too bitter for my taste), Shoju with Jasmine tea (weird mix, barely tasted the alcohol… but a nice cool down after the strong awamori).

My last drink was the best !! Shikuwasa (a citrus fruit in Okinawa) beer!!! What a refreshing and perfect drink to end the long day…

I finally understand why Japanese enjoy having after work parties so much- they are really stressed from long day of work, considering it’s normal for people to work 10+hours a day. And having a beer at the end of the day is just refreshing! Drinking and having convos is a good way to have fun with the entire team. At our table, our group leader and I were talking about Korean dramas … while the other table were singing some Anime songs and playing Okinawa comedy shows on smartphones XD

It was snowing when we stepped out of the restaurant.

We walked to the Kijichoji station and began our 2 hour ride home…  Transferred at the Tokyo station (the biggest station in Japan) and Yokohama was nothing compared to how crowded it was!! Mind you, it was almost 12 am at night!

If third time’s the charm… shouldn’t the sixth double my luck?

I am sitting at the Horinochi station, shivering typing this post and waiting for my train to come…. 15 more mins to go.

It’s the sixth time, I believe, that I miss my stop/get lost at a train station. Everytime I get on a train, I have to guess which station to transfer (there are only 2 possibilities in my case, but I usually get off at the wrong one =’/) I hate rapid trains, they are way faster than the local ones… however, they skip stops (including my station, since it’s not a major stop). Transferring is a complicated matter for me, it’s such a hassle that I prefer taking the local ones if I’m not in a hurry. Tonight as usual, I got on a local train… it was fine until it switched to rapid somehow sometime without me realizing it! Hence I’m waiting in the cold now, warming myself with the overheating macbook.

I can’t believe how shitty my luck is today. Since N-san (who I go to work with everyday) went to Tokyo for a forum, I slept in for half an hour this morning. I got on a train, transferred at the usual station… turned out wrong again because it was a different train from the one we always took! So I went all the way to Uraga. 20 mins later, I finally made my way to YRP Nobi station, where the bus station was. Just when I thought everything was good…

I was half way through the line up when snapping this...

it began to snow (???) and look at this LONG line up! There were actually multiple lineups, there were so long that I couldn’t see which one was the right one, so I just went with the one with most guys in suits.  Finally I was about to get on the bus. WTF? It’s the wrong one. It’s almost 9 when I arrived at the office… phew, thank god most of my team were away at Tokyo.

Lesson of the day: Always stick with the same train.

Two of my colleagues who didn’t attend the forum were finally free to introduce their themes to me. My discussion with T-san, who’s not fluent in English, involved using the dictionary/google translate almost every sentence. It was fun to chat with her though, plus I learnt many new Japanese words =)


Right after my Jap class ended at 8, I wandered around Lumine, a mall next to the Yokohama station.

I was disappointed since the winter sale seemed to be over... Many stores are displaying their spring catalog now.

After the mall closed at 9pm, I went dinner at the pork cutlet (豚カツ) place that I was craving last time.

Menu full of deep fried goodies. I want to try the oysters next time.

What I ordered... Pork w/ plum fillings and shrimp

It was SO DELICIOUS that nothing was left, not even the crumbs.

Egg with seafood... Strawberries as dessert, very sweet despite their small size.


This lady had finished her set dinner when I sat at my table. She kept asking for seconds (rice, lettuce, even miso soup are unlimited!) and was still there when I left.

I asked for more gohan and salad too, just barely finished it! This place would be perfect for my bro, no body would complain even if he ask for 5 bowls of rice!!


It’s 9:31 am now, and I didn’t hit publish again lol No ‘work’ today as we will go to the forum later at Musashino !

Bank Account

Today was the day to pick up my Gaijin card (foreigner’s ID), after waiting for more than 2 weeks.

Without the card, it’s impossible to get cell phone, bank account… and I went through leaps just to get my internet set up last week.

Empty bus... what do you expect? Nobody would leave this early!

So I left office at around 2pm, since the bank closed at 4pm… I had to set up an account immediately after getting my Gaijin card. I just don’t get why the bank has to close this early!? And they don’t open on weekends!! This got me really confused, I thought this was Japan, not Canada…..

Took a picture of the company building.

This dull looking building is one of the company’s laboratories. It’s huge, but I’ve only set my feet on 4 places: my office, restaurant, cafeteria and the lady’s washroom. I will perhaps go to the badminton court next week though.

After getting off the Yokosuka Chuo station, I began walking to the City Hall…

What the hell is Happy Science

Saw this building standing amongst apartments… “Happy Science”, I was wondering if it’s a museum or a branch of Scientology? XD

Saw some cute elementary kids.

Only first year elementary school students would wear yellow caps. They are really Kawaii, I mean the caps lol. Kids from other grades wear caps of other (blue?) colors. Seeing cliques of them walking home from school made me wonder where their parents/grandparents were? They seem very independent. Hong Kong kids their age either get picked up by school bus or maid or grandparents. I hadn’t commuted to school on my own until I was in Grade 7!

Soon I realized I was walking the total opposite direction from the City Hall…… I should have taken out my GPS sooner.

A tiny garden by the post office/bank.

Picking up the card was smooth sailing… Since I thought I had all the time in the world as it was just barely 3pm, I took a walk around a small park.

Kids at the playground.... geez, their moms shouldn't bring them out, it's freezing outside.

It's a small bank inside the city's post office.

There weren’t many people… I didn’t wait long before a guy approached me, who provided me an application form. I was asked if I wanted a cash card or credit card. Since there’s no fee for the credit card, the answer was pretty obvious. I have to pay my internet bills anyway, don’t wanna use my Canadian one since it charges 2% extra for exchange rate. Just when I’m about to be done with the forms, he asked me to fill in my phone number. But I have NO PHONE, I just got my Gaijin card… like 15 mins ago! He said he was sorry about I could only get a cash card today. I told him I could run to Yokosuka Chuo to get a cell contract, and returned to proceed with credit card. He glanced at the clock and said Sumimasen. Grrrr, damn, it’s 3:40pm and they were closing soon. But I didn’t want to return for a second time during office hour. So, I gave in… As they were getting my application ready, I had an idea. I used the office number instead and told them I would change it after getting a cell phone. 10 minutes later, I walked out of the bank with my new passbook. The card will arrive approx 3 weeks later, as a background check is to be done.

I had to walk back to my dorm since I deposited all my $ on me to the account. After grabbing some cash, I walked to Yokosuka Chuo again… this time to set up a pre-paid cell phone. I went to Softbank first, they told me their prepaid phones are sold out ORZ…. I went to AU next. And after lining up for half an hour… they told me they only sold sim cards and I had to buy a prepaid cell phone first! Unfortunately, they weren’t selling any! It drove me crazy and I almost gave up on getting a cell… I mean, it’s not like I need to call. All I need is the internet anyway.

I couldn’t go home empty handed, could I? And the night was still young, so I went grocery shopping (again) at 3 different supermarkets… Bought some pumpkin and fruits.

Saw another AU store on my way home, so I decided to try my luck again. Geez, no one in that branch could speak English. So I used my limited Japanese to communicate with the girl… she couldn’t understand a thing, even when i was writing her Kanji! We both gave up and decided to dial for a English translator. Anyway, they didn’t sell it either so I wasted like 30 mins on this. I’m glad I’m in Yokosuka, where some Japanese can speak English. I don’t know how I would survive elsewhere… ><”

— Now, after some research… I still can’t decide on a pre-paid phone or a contract plan…

A. Pre-paid

  • Need to purchase a prepaid phone (~5000yen)
  • Need to put in 1000yen/month, otherwise, number gets cancelled
  • Every 6 seconds cost 10 yen…. so 1000 yen=10 mins.

B. 2 year Contract

  • 980yen/month, 25 “free” minutes
  • Free phone
  • Cancellation fee of 9760 yen

* No matter which route I opt for, I plan to sell my phone after…


Dinner tonight: Beef, pumpkin, carrot, onion, egg in Miso soup...

I have been snacking alot these days. I finished off 4 packs of those snack noodles last night.

Jap class tmr at Yokohama, gotta do some review now. Ciao!

<3 ESCape Valentine’s <3

Happy Valentine's to everyone! Yes, to you too, who don't have a Valentine...

The above photo was taken during my short trip to Asakusa (浅草) over the past weekend… which I hopefully will write about soon. I know I’ve been tired lazy the past few days, without keeping up with the posts.. It feels like a snowball effect now, as I didn’t post ANYTHING about my doings during the past 2 weekends in Japan… You know how that feel? It’s like 2nd week of a new school term (I often get behind after the first week XD)

Back to the photo, shall we? It’s not an impressive one… but my POINT is… look at the old man! He looks like he’s in his 70s… now to the “old” lady. WTF?! She is in her 30s at MOST!!! I thought to myself. After snapping the pic, I speed walked ahead of her– just to catch a glimpse. NEVERMIND! she’s in her 50s with her makeup on… which means 50+20=70 years old at least. This reminds me of a famous composer(excuse me, those who aren’t Chinese, please skip this paragraph)=> 貝多芬 Beethoven. Why him? Cuz it sounds the same as “背多分” , which literally means “從背後看加多D分”. Now, I just wish my mother can be as chic as her… at least from the back! JK, mom.

Anyhow, I have been observing lately on trains,street, company, etc. About 98% of Japanese female sample population that I’ve observed wear makeup. The other 2% are either children, some school girls (who probably aren’t allowed to), or pets. I would have to say though, even pets are dressed nicer than me! At least they aren’t wearing washed out Tees or wrinkled pants. Maybe it’s cold outside, their owners put super cool jackets and bottoms on them. I wonder if I will run into pets wearing swimsuits in the summer. I was checking out the prices of Mascara the other day, even the cheapest ones (not counting 100 yen store) cost around 2000 yen. Of course, I’m too broke to buy them.

My conclusion is: No wonder Japanese makeup companies, like Kao/Shiseido, will never go bankrupt. Getting a job at there will be like getting a gov’t job.


So, today’s Valentine’s. It’s all about love chocolates, here in Japan. Think of it like Halloween in Canada.

A few days ago when I was at Yokohama station, I saw many booths set up selling chocolates! Sometimes I just don’t get why girls buy chocolates, melt them and turn them into heart shapes. Too many steps! Why not use a knife to cut a heart out? or better yet, just leave the piece of chocolate the way it is… Should taste the same, if not better.

So today after lunch, the company restaurant gave out some cute chocolates, I had one. A while after we got back to our office, I heard my female colleagues were laughing and walking around the room. So I was like “What’s going on?”. My neighbour waved at me and handed me a box of chocolates- By natural reaction, of course I said “Arigato–” OOPS. “It’s not for you”, she said. It was for my supervisor and she told me to hand it to him! Oh well, what a let down lol. Apparently, all the girls got chocolates for every guy on the team. I didn’t know Japanese girls are so keen on giving out chocolates to guys on Valentine’s! My supervisor and I later chatted, we both agreed that Valentine’s Day should be renamed to “Meiji’s Day” or something, because it is like the day of crazy sales for chocolate companies like Meiji. “What about us girls, it’s so unfair…” I commented. He told me not to worry, as there’d be a White Valentine’s Day in March =) Double profits for Meiji!


Dinner of the night.

Yay, I cooked my first real dinner tonight (no more instant noodles). Beef udon in Miso soup, with onion and egg. It’s really just dumping everything in. Notice I’m also drinking veggies juice and consuming a fruit! Man, it feels so good to eat healthy again.  No more bento, at least for the week.

Some realizations:

1. I put too much water, I think I got full by drinking the miso soup

2. I cooked half of the beef I bought yesterday… but most of it shrank and disappeared after cooking.

3. A pack of miso is cheaper than a pack of salt… maybe I should season everything with Miso instead.

4. Yesterday, N-san told me that… japanese girls NEVER go eat at Beef Bowl places alone. WHAT, I did…. like at least 3 times. I asked her why, she said girls usually didn’t want people to think they were meat lovers? OK, I don’t care, I am declaring myself as a meat-getarian.

Forgot to mention, I spent 24USD yesterday to upgrade my Flickr to pro account… since I went over the photo uploading limit- my brother reminded me, I should have scaled down my photos. Too late now, maybe I should start enjoying all the pro features there XD

Super addicted to SuperMarts (Post of Feb 13th)

Look at the groceries I bought tonight... Udon, pasta, veggies, potatoes, snacks, miso, fruits, ketchtup, etc. Good for a week!

Got off work at 6pm tonight and headed straight to AVE, the supermarket 5 mins away from LIVIN. I actually didn’t know about it until I googled “Yokosuka supermarket” at work today. The place was huge, and was divided into 2 sections: Groceries and Housewares… It’s like Costco and Home Depot combined! It had a variety of fresh produce too, though I didn’t buy any from there due to the prices. After comparing prices, I got my fruits/veggies from LIVIN… I think the prices for fruits/veggies in Japan are just ridiculous! Onions cost like 300 yen? Come on, and I don’t care whether they are from Hokkaido or not… just gimme the cheapest of all. The only fruit that has an acceptable (barely) price tag is grapefruit…. No wonder why Japanese girls are so keen on the Grapefruit diet… maybe I should pick it up again. The only “cheap” food are bean related things, like Natto, Miso, Tofu.. That’s why I’m buying them A LOT!

The fruits section of AVE.... as you can see, 450 yen for 3 apples.

I’d have to say where I live is the perfect location in Yokosuka, with 2 supermarkets (one 24/7) nearby, bestbuy like electronic store 50 feet away, right across from an University (not that it matters to me), 2 mins away from the sea wall… Anyway, I bought what’s on sale (mainly some fresh veggies.. I can finally cook!) and quickly went to Daiso to buy some snacks.

Saw Denny's on my way to Daiso. It's NOT our Canadian Denny's just so you know. It's a coffe shop that sells ramen for dinner XD

My final stop of the day was LIVIN of course, hunting for my dinner tonight.

50% off sushi

The unknown(?) fish tasted so much better than last time! At least it didn’t stink.

BTW, the other side of LIVIN sells random things like bikes and THESE dolls...

From my (shallow) understanding of Japanese culture, these Ningyo (人形) figures are called Hina dolls for the Girl’s Festival (Hina-Matsuri ひな祭り) sometime in March.They were crazy expensive too, like I can buy 3 bikes with that price…

I sorta start seeing a pattern in my life @ Japan…

Weekdays are like this: wake up 6:50am> leave home at 7am > arrive work at 7:40am >work productively > lunch at 11:50am > work chill some more > leave work around 6pm > go to Chuo/supermarkets > eat dinner at 9pm > shower > watch stuff/browse net > sleep around 12-1 am.

Weekends go like this: laundry, cleaning, get the hell outa Yokosuka!


BTW, this night ended with me falling asleep while typing up this post… hence I’m posting it today instead on Valentine’s Day. =P