July 28, 2005

Of Insurance, Age and Death

Somehow, my contact details fell into the shrewd hands of a ... *gasp* ... Prudential representative! After much coercion, I finally met up with a Prudential representative yesterday, to give her the opportunity to brief me with their latest financial plan. Know that I have tried to avoid meeting her, and even stood her up once! (I'm not proud of it, but I had no choice) In the end, I figured, hey, I'll meet with her and get it done and over with, once and for all.

We have never met; all communications were via the phone. I finally succumbed to her persuasion yesterday to meet after work. We exhanged pleasantries. I guess she got right down to business when she asked me the one question women dread.

"Erm, by the way ah, how old are you ah?"

I looked her, skeptical. I told her my age.

"Wah...you sounded so ...err... matured over the phone! If I hadn't met you, I swear you'd be older leh!"

I shall spare my readers the details of the meeting, but suffice to say, I was told to sound OLD, that I might DIE anytime, and that I need to spend lots of MONEY to be insured (my words). And to make matters worse ...

... I got duped into meeting her again next Wednesday!

Why me? :(

July 26, 2005

How Weird Am I?

Don't even answer that!!

You Are 60% Weird

You're so weird, you think you're *totally* normal. Right?
But you wig out even the biggest of circus freaks!

Call me Flower

In the light of things ...

Your Japanese Name Is...

Hana Shimizu

There's No Place Like Home

I'm home! Finally home!

I know this post's coming a wee bit too late, but what the heck? I'M HOME!

I really am glad to be home. Home to the hot, sticky weather (better than the sauna-like temperature of Japan; or worse, the typhoons), good, greasy and unhealthy food (no bland Japanese food for 2 months!), and overall cheap stuff. Oh, and family and friends too, of course *grin*.

My Japanese girlfriends came to Penang with me as well. We had a wonderful time shopping, eating and walking around Penang. Their take on Malaysian food? "Very spicy! Drinks very sweet!" FYI, coffee or tea served in Japan are without milk nor sugar; one adds these condiments as needed. In Malaysia, it's common to have two or more big tablespoonfuls of sweetened condensed milk or plentiful of sugar in the drinks. As for shopping, it was, no doubt, heaven for them *grin*.

Showing them around Penang has made me realised how much I missed home; the people, the food, the warmth (believe it or not, compared to Japan, chivalry is NOT dead in Malaysia!), etc. Being able to speak without having to construct my English to much simpler sentences is such a relief. Or, at least, it will be for the next two months, before I have to leave for Japan again.

Till then, there really is no place like home.

July 15, 2005

Going Home

Finally, after two months of toil (?) in Japan, I'm going home. I'm leaving for Malaysia tomorrow morning. So excited to be going home. It certainly would be a much-needed breather for me from the likes of Japan. Finally, I'd be able to speak at my usual rate and language once more. And let's not even get me started on the food!

Counting down the hours ... tick tock tick tock ...

July 14, 2005

Tanabata Summer Festival

Last weekend, I went to the Tanabata summer festival with my Japanese girlfriends at Maebashi. A little information on the Tanabata festival:

Tanabata (七夕) is the Japanese name for the originally Chinese star festival. Held on July 7 the festival celebrates the meeting of Orihime and Hikoboshi. The Milky Way, a river made from stars that crosses the sky, separated these two lovers, and they were allowed to meet only once a year. This special day is the 7th of July.

People in Japan celebrate this day by wearing yukata and decorating bamboo leaves. They write their wishes on tanzaku (small pieces of paper) and hang them on the leaves. It is said that the Orihime and Hikoboshi would make their dreams come true. Having been decorated, around midnight or on the next day, the bamboo tree is thrown into a river or burned.

And that was exactly what we did. We wore yukata to the festival. It was my first time in a yukata, and it took quite a long time to put it on (my friend helped me with it). It sure wasn't easy to breathe in that thing either! I have to take really small steps when walking, just like the Japanese :)

It was really crowded at the festival. There were a lot of hawkers selling their wares - food, toys, etc. A lot of ladies were in yukata, and men in jimbe. Wrote a wish on the tanzaku, and hung them on the bamboo leaves (I wrote mine in English, of course). The only damper of the event? It rained all day. But that did not stop us from having fun.

It certainly was an unforgettable experience.