Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Purikura Picture Club

There are these great photo booths all over Tokyo. They're somewhat like old-timey photo booths with a contemporary Japanese twist -- you decorate the photos with colorful clip art galore. This is purikura:I'm a Shibuya girl in that one with big eyes! And here's one of Rie and me starting the process...

that ultimately resulted in this:
The purikura can be transmitted directly to your cell phone and also come in sheets that are a sticker, so you can decorate things. Here's Germano's and my sheet.

Yay, purikura!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Singapore = Food Galore

This weekend I visited Singapore and Darren, one of my best friends from college. Here we are with Singapore's famed Merlion.
After reading this article, I told Darren I wanted to try Singapore's food, and boy did he deliver! He was the greatest tour guide ever and could easily have shown good ol' Anthony Bourdain Singapore's culinary treasures.
(Tony, some chicken, and me at Maxwell)
On Saturday morning, we started off on Orchard Road. This is a pic of the newest mall: Ion Shopping Center.
There are Miu Miu, Hermes, Gucci, etc. stores galore. We also had breakfast of Kaya (coconut custard jam) toast. Yum! Then we headed to lunch at Maxwell Hawker Center.
The line for chicken rice was an hour long, so we snacked on oyster omelet, gyoza, and lime juice. For dessert, we had ice kachang. It's a shaved ice dish that consists of an array of things, like red bean, corn, jello, hearts of palm, and liquid sugar.
That night we went to opera in the Botanic Gardens and then to Night Safari. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! And bats and flying squirrels. Since the Night Safari pics didn't turn out, here's one of a lion in the train station and me. The lion is part of Singapore's politeness campaign; read his shirt.
And that was just Saturday!! Singapore was quite the time, and here's a 'best of' album.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sardine Train

Taking the train to Odaiba was an experience. I had to take a different line than usual. A line where people lined up to board a car that was already completely packed.And riders had to be shoved in by an attendant. Thankfully, this was only one morning for me....

Lady Liberty In Tokyo Bay

The Sales Conference was this week, so I went to Odaiba, which is a man-made island in the Tokyo Bay. And guess who was there...
A familiar face called Lady Liberty.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Parents' Visit & Our Long Weekend

My parents came to visit for a week, which was so nice. We took a long weekend to visit Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Miyajima, an island off the coast of Hirshima.

Here we are in front of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. We saw so many pretty temples and shrines.
My mother and I also went to an onsen (baths). So traditional with our yukata robes on tatami mats!Also, there are so many field trips in Kyoto.
We took the Shinkansen bullet train between destinations. It looks like a shark. So fast! On Miyajima, there are quite a few deer roaming. Here we all are at the huge torii (gate) on Miyajima. Fun times!

Not Sleeping For The Fishes

This morning I got up at 3:45 AM to go to Tsukiji Fish Market, the world's largest fish & seafood market. We got to see the tuna auction, which starts at 5 AM. As we walked through the market, tiny vehicles buzzed. It looked like the men were driving a flat-bed keg. Then we entered the space where tuna is auctioned. Huge frozen tuna with the tails chopped off were lined up in rows. Men used hooks to drag them into place on the ground.A number was painted on the tuna to identify them for seller & buyer during the auction. Buyers also checked out the tuna's color to see how good it is.Then came the auction, which consisted of shouting in Japanese and some code speak of sorts. Apparently, the buyers don't want other buyers to know what they pay for the fish.The tuna is then sold in the wholesale market just outside the auction space and shipped around the world. We also went for a sushi breakfast, where I had kappa maki.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Seoul So Fun

This weekend I headed to Seoul with my friend German. Seoul is pretty great -- has a lot of fun shopping and things to see and do. It's not as cosmopolitan as Tokyo, but hey, few places are.

German and I went to the DMZ - an interesting experience, especially because of the battleship situation. We went in the Third Tunnel, which is about 500 feet below ground, but we couldn't go to the outside observatory to see N. Korea because of safety.
We also shopped a lot - super fun stores and designer knock-offs. Seoul Tower is the background of this photo in Myeong-Dong.We checked out Seoul Tower's excellent view. It has nice little design touches too. Here's a view from the top observatory of Seoul Tower.
Oh, and somehow we ended up in "almost Business Class" on our flight. Check out the pod!
Here's a little 'Best of' album. Good times!