Waiting… no more.

Haneda Airport.

As I am typing this, my mother is still not out. Her flight was delayed for several hours from 9:35pm to 12:15am!! This mean no more trains and we have to stay the night SOMEWHERE. Anyhow, will go to the Cathay Pacific counter to see if they are compensating us. What a great start to the GW. WIth the extra time, I could have gone to the after work party.. but gotta get rid of piles of things in my room, plus I should save the party $ for Kyushu. God knows how much I will spend, I already took out entire month’s salary =) Well, at least I got some time to clean my room (swept floor three times), cook, shower, watch some shows… a productive evening indeed.

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What happened to my report.

This is what you get when you fall asleep when typing up the conclusion of your report. Found out this morning- btw, my report was 15 pages long only. Lucky I did not overwrite the whole thing with rrrrrrrrrr (Google Doc autosaves too)... Anyway, at least it's finished now.

Because I did not finish my to-dos last night (report + clean room), I need to rush home to clean up, then go pick up Mom from airport…. so I can’t go to the afterwork party before GW T_T

2 more days till Golden Week!

To celebrate, I bought some cakes for tonight's dinner. The nan bread is from Mos Burger, pretty yum. (to be honest, I have no time to cook, so I buy =D )

Woot! Yeah, I am counting down… I am THAT excited, this is the longest holiday I have in Japan. I know it’ll be crowded, but I am heading to Kyushu, can’t be as bad as Tokyo right? I have been losing sleep every night, adjusting my Kyushu trip plan and browsing for hotels (I have booked them already, but I still want to look for cheaper/better ones). My wish is to stay at a resort with private hot spring in my room and Kaiseki-dinner/breakfast~ Haha, no, I’m just day dreaming.

Bad News – The overnight train that I wanted to take on the way back to Yokohama was already full. Apparently it is pretty popular amongst tourists and locals alike. And pretty impossible to get on unless you reserve well in advanced. Sigh, will I get to take it someday? Perhaps I will make a long weekend trip to Hokkaido sometime in July. 😀 Anyway, so for the last day of the trip, either we leave at 5 pm or stay an extra night in Hakata. Can’t decide, I wanted to stay longer for night view, shopping and Yatai… but an extra night means ~4000 yen / person.

Good News– Supervisor approves of my 2 “vacation” days… because this year’s GW, there are actually 2 work days in between. And I must take day offs in order to go to Kyushu… but apparently, the entire team will be off those 2 days, so haha, 2 extra holidays for me. Oh and I am not going to Beppu別府 (Not really interested in seeing hotsprings.. the colors are different, so what?), instead gonna go see 阿笨與阿占 live@ Cuddly Dominion.


OK, I should be starting on my coop report now.. I haven’t written a word yet, not even the title ;-P See what procrastination is? Oh, and I’m aiming to hand in to my supervisor tomorrow, meaning- an all nighter.. hopefully I won’t get distracted.

One More WeekTill Golden Week

Lalalalahhhh, next week is Golden Week!! It’s the longest holiday I get during my stay in Japan, so yeah, means- traveling lots and eating only bread for the next month. Travelling in Japan burns money real fast, especially when Golden Week is like the peak of the peak season in Japan… when most Japanese travelling in the country (some travel elsewhere, but it’s expensive).

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N-san Birthday Dinner and Kyoto trip final plan

N-san's bday dinner last night at an "Italian" restaurant

There were only 6 of us, since we sort of organized it last minute, and 2 guys were from another team (“Otaku” and “Party God” XD).

Anyhow, it was not all you can drink and my share came out to be 3000 yen O_O… I was only 50% full and only drank Anju-Ume-shu on rocks and Bloody Mary (I’ve heard cocktails in many restaurants of Japan sucked, it was true in this case… next time will stick with shoju/sake).

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Heart Warming Encounters: Kamakura, Part I

Sakura in Kamakura 鎌倉

This is my 3rd post of today, crazy eh? Before I go to Kyoto, I gotta finish writing this series about my trip to Kamakura on Sunday (April’s Fools Day). Because I had many interesting things happened to me that I absolutely have to document this unforgettable experience. Okay, maybe I’m too dramatic… but you get the point. Be ware- only read if you have time to spare, because I babble a lot…. as usual.

Although Kamakura has been on my To-go-list… I didn’t plan to visit until my supervisor suggested me going before my Kyoto trip. Why? Because it’s somwhat just a mini-Kyoto, except closer to Yokosuka (just 20 mins away). Also there are some good hiking trails, leading to several shrines… and along the way, there are some ancient tombs. If you wanna know more about Kamakura, just WIKI it. All I can say is, every couple blocks you walk, you are very likely to bump into a shrine or temple. It is also a popular tourist spot, so it’s best to go in early morning to avoid the crowds.

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Useful Mac Tips for Japanese Language Learning

OK, using these tools doesn’t guarantee success in Japanese learning… look at me for example.

Anyway, one of the things that I love about Macintosh computers is the dictionary feature. You can look up definitions of words easily, via the application Dictionary (duh) or Spotlight search. But what if you are lazy like me and end up neglecting the application? Shortcuts!

What if you can mouse hover on words and with a simple shortcut , a pop up instantly shows up with definitions, pronunciations ? This is perfect! No more launching Dictionary and typing the word yourself.

Well, Google is always so nice and often translates the entire webpage to Japanese for you. But this way you won’t learn because all you see is basically grammatically incorrect English.

1. Look up definitions

No more BS and let’s see how to set it up… ( I learnt about this from my colleague today)

In the Terminal, paste in the command provided below.

defaults write com.apple.symbolichotkeys AppleSymbolicHotKeys -dict-add 70 “<dict><key>enabled</key><true/><key>value</key><dict><key>parameters</key><array><integer>100</integer><integer>2</integer><integer>1310720</integer></array><key>type</key><string>standard</string></dict></dict>”

In System Preferences, go to "Keyboard" > "Services". Check the item "Look up in Dictionary" and click on the right end to customize your own shortcut. Mine is "Cmd-Ctrl-D".

You may need to restart your computer before this step (I didn't). Next, launch Dictionary... Go to "Preferences" and make sure "Japanese-English" dictionary is at the very top. If not, simply drag it up.

Now you're done. Just go to anywhere (websites, email, doc, etc) with Japanese words... You can hover on the target text (no need to select), hold down your preset shortcut. and the pop up will show up instantaneously!

2. Listen to it!

I’m sure many have known and used this Speech feature. I like this feature and use it quite frequently.

Open "System Preferences"> go to "Speech" > In the "System Voice" dropdown, make sure "Kyoko" (the female voice for Japanese) is selected. Also check the item "Speak selected text... key is pressed" below. You are free to modify your shortcut key.

If you don't have Kyoko installed, you can select "customize" from the dropdown menu and install the voice package. It around 300MB, I think... After everything is set up, you simply select Japanese text and hold down your shortcut. Kyoko would read it out with her gentle voice!

Another useful application is to let Kyoko (or any other voice) teach you how to read lyrics of a foreign song. For example, I have used “Yuna” to read out some Korean pop songs. If it happens to be a rap song, just adjust the “Speaking Rate” to “fast”. 😛

Oh, and try to use “Kyoto” to read English text… see what happens. I thought it’d just be English with Japanese accent, but…

–Again, the above tools can be applied to any languages that the Mac supports, as long as you’ve install the corresponding dictionary/voice pack. Happy learning!

I <3 storms.

It may not look it, but wind is blowing fiercely outside my dorm window right now.

Here I am writing this, and eating my unusually early dinner at 5pm. Our company made several announcements since 2pm about a storm coming soon, and advised us to leave office ASAP. So everyone in the office left the building by 3PM… The ironic thing is, that’s earlier than when we were striking! When we got down to the bus stop, the lineup was growing… so we had to wait for the next bus, thankfully the weather was still relatively calm, with light showers.

I received this email earlier on:

Dear Canadian citizen,

As you may have heard on the news already, a low pressure system is developing quickly over the sea of Japan.  Winds and rain will increase all over Japan and are likely to turn into storms.  Strong typhoon like winds are also predicted.  In the Tokyo region, the winds are expected to peak during the evening rush hour.  The coast will be turbulent.  There will be thunder and heavy rain on the Pacific coast, and heavy rain is predicted for all areas of the country.  Please be aware of land slides, overflowing rivers, flooding in low lying areas and tornadoes from April 3 to April 4.

Also, please be certain to follow any safety instructions issued by your local municipalities in the various regions of Japan. Transportation might be disrupted and some schools will be closing this afternoon.

For additional information please refer to the Japan Meteorological Agency website: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/typh/

Stay safe,

Consular Section

Embassy of Canada, Tokyo, Japan.

Yay, a short work day for me! This feels like the typhoon days in HK again. Sad thing is, Sakura won’t last as long.


Since I’m leaving for Kyoto on Friday night, and I won’t have homecook dinner tomorrow or thursday… which means I gotta wipe out my fridge tonight!

My typical Udon dinner, this time with all the food in my fridge: Asparagus (man, they are real cheap this season), tofu (i love japanese tofu), meat balls, golden needles, lettuce, onions, etc.

Oh, and I still have a whole carton of milk, two more packs of Natto. Along with my strawberries, would make great snacks before sleep.

Received some fruits from N-san. These are from her hometown Kumamoto. I haven't had oranges since I came to Japan... can't believe it. The oranges are of different kinds btw.

Was planning to purchase tickets for museums in May.. but someone reminded me that June will be the rainy/stormy season in Japan. So I’d enjoy the (hopefully) nice weather in May for outdoor things/sightseeings, and leave the museum/shopping in June. Sounds like the perfect plan!