Tuesday, September 8, 2009

my mega adventure from 2 month ago... (part 2 SUMO))

The adventure continued to the next day. We left toyota city at 9 into morning, because everyone had arranged to meet at the sumo stadium at 10:30. Almost everyone who was coming with us also went out last night.. So no one turned up on time.

From the train station to the stadium was about 15min walk. There were a few sumo wrestlers walking to and from the stadium. I really wanted to take a picture with one, so i got my courage up to finally asked a reasonably handsome looking one. Instead of a warm smile, i got a reply in japanese 'i'm busy.' I was so shocked and taken back by the blunt reply. Oh well, looks like their ego is as big as their ass..

Our other friends were certainly wise to come late. The hall was practically empty when we got there, with only an odd few laying down sleeping in the cool hall. The hall is arranged such that people all sat on the floor, with a japanese mat as a cushion. We had booked 3 ... How should i put it.. Corporate boxes? Except each sat 4 people.. Anyone who was slightly bigger than me would struggle to sit cross legged comfortably.

We sat watching the juniors compete. It really wasn't so interesting since each match would last only 2min or so. The big night from last night was catching up, and i can feel my eye lids slowly closing in.

I decided to go for a walk. I saw a line forming along the corridor, everyone seemed to be waiting for some sort of food outside a not yet manned store. The sigh said the opening time was at 1pm, i checked my watch and it said 11:30. I was curious to see whats so special about this store that ppl were queuing up an hour for it.

I later found out that they were selling a special sumo soup called 'junko'. This is the type of food that the sumo wrestler eat. Its made from 3 layered meat, with carrot and daikon mixed in. It was delicious. The only problem was that i had to drink this hot soup in the humid boiling weather outside. I was drinking and sweating. Imagine having hot hot soup inside a sauna room. That was how i felt. But the soup was definately yummmo....

The real fighting started around 4, and that was when the people started gathering the hall. The league of fighers that was among the strongest all came out in the very last group. They were all.. very.. big sized...

The two top wrestlers are all mongolians, so the Japanese people are not too happy about it right now. There hasnt been a Japanese top sumo for a while now.

Prior to some matches where the famous sumo wrestlers are performing, there are sponsors who give special prices to that particular match. So the more famous you are, the more sponsors you will get, and the more bonus you get if win the match.

Through out the whole day, there were announcements telling the guests not to throw their purple coloured cushions cause it was dangerous. My friend Aki kept telling me that, but I never really understood why you would want to throw it.

So when the last match came, the fighting was intense. Aki was concentrating filming, and I was watching with excitment. Then all of a sudden, Aki stopped filming, grabbed her purple cushion and threw it away to the front. Then the WHOLE stadium did the same thing. I got freaked out and curled up into a ball and sat down nicely. I turned around and everyone was laughing at me. Apparently, when the black horse in the game wins you are suppose to throw your purple cushion or (zabuton). So in this very last game, the black horse won (which is apparently very rare), so eveyrone threw their cushion. But, we didnt get any of it on film cuz our photographer/camera man was busy throwing her cushion away!

More pictures of the winners..

and some more of the fighting scene...

It was definately worth the experience as the tickets are not only expensive but very hard to come by... so if you get the chance to go .. definately go.. just dont go so early like we did... =)

my mega adventure from 2 month ago...

This was another adventure filled weekend. It started after work on saturday, i met up with a few friends in the city to get my boots for our Fuji climb. This was my 4th time there just to get them. And finally i actually got them. Here it is.. I better get some good use out of this cause it wasnt cheap!

The weather was terribly hot n humid, i felt like i just got out of the shower. My back was wet, and my shirt got completely soaked. The humidity was almost 90% then, it felt so much worse than malaysia.

Our dinner was booked at an 'all you can eat n drink' japanese bbq restaurant. It was located right next to my work so i had to walk all the from the station again. The weather really didn't help with the long walk to the restaurant.

The restaurant was located at the old Sapporro beer factory. Funny enough its right next to my school, and i had just found out one day earlier that its a lamb bbq restaurant. No wonder there are always taxis banked outside after my work every night.

The hall was huge, it must have been big enough to fit two three hundred people. There were heaps of people, many were already drunk.

I forgot to bring my camera so i couldn't take any pictures. Almost all the alcohol was free flow, so were the lamb and the beef and pork. The boys had beer after beer.. Then more beer.. They even had a drinking competition.. We were there until the waiter asked us to leave for the 10th time, and he even said it english just so we had no excuses of not understanding.

Knowing i had an early morning the next day, i was ready to start heading home. But everyone had more plans. Not wanting to spoil the atmosphere i followed. We ended up at a karaoke bar.

There, we drank n we sang. We drank and sang till the early hours of the morning. I was completely exhaused.

The last train had finished long ago, home was far far away... After a very expensive taxi ride we finally got home at 2:30. 3 years coming home at this time was unthought of, the party had just started. Now i finally realise.. We are getting old.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm still alive

Hey guys...

If you're reading this... i know you must be shaking your head.. i havent been updating this for a lil while.. and the last update was about even more while ago..

but i'm still here..
been extremmmmly busy with not sure what..

work hasnt been all that smooth.. but i shall think positive..

i miss you all heaps.. and heaps..

will update soon.. promise.. including a post about our place..

Monday, July 13, 2009

Shopping maniac..

Shopping maniac season has started in Japan. The summer sale season officially began on the 1st of july. Ofcourse i couldn't go on the very first day cause i was busy working, busy, busy making some yen so i can spend on these special occasions.

Our plan was to get up early on sunday and be outside the department store when they have just opened their doors. But due to the late night beforehand, we struggled to wake up in the morning. We arranged to meet up with some friends at 9:30, but by the time we met was already nearly 10. A quick breakfast at maccas, and we were on way into the city.

All 4 of us yawned our way into Sakae in Nagoya, so a pit stop at starbucks was a must. Japanese people almost never eat and walk or drink and walk, and i always have trouble finishing drinks off quickly... So the guys had to wait for me to finish off my drink slowly.

We finally started our shopping frenzy at 11. The boys went to check out guitars and we girls were free to check out whatever we wanted.

Every department store had mega sales ranging from 30 to 70% off. The sale stocks are genuinely from the season that just past, unlike melbourne where some sale stock are so old that i dont know which season they are from.

There were rows n rows of shoes, i so regret buying anything earlier cause everything was on sale. All the woman were busy selecting.. Trying.. And buying.

Time flies when you are shopping. Me n Aki has not even finished 1 department store when we had to leave as dinner reservation was booked at 6 and it will take us atleast one hour to get there.

Me and aki went back but still didn't manage to finish the stores. I didn't actually get anything.. Maybe this coming sunday?

First Yen Pay...

Today (30th June 2009) i got my first foreign pay slip. Now i have never felt more worthy of my hard earned work.

My first job was working at a call centre. There i sat on my butt n talked all day. Then all the part time jobs that followed were pretty cruisey. Even working at our port melbourne shop i didn't feel this way. Maybe because i had family around me to keep insane.

Here.. I only have one person by my side. This is the first time where my working hours are until 9, and the first time i have to work more that 9 hours on saturdays.

i now feel how mum n dad felt.. And they worked more hours than me... I understand why on some days they are grumpy... Why on some days they get so .. Touchy.. They were working from 7 in the morning till 10 at night. Now which sane person wouldn't go insane after that. *sigh* thinking back at my little tantrums.. I really feel ashamed...

Now.. I will work hard... Not whine all the time... Will try my best not to throw silly little tantrums at mum n dad n nick... I miss them... Will make sure my first japan cheque reaches its full potential when they come to visit.


Unfortunately I still whine.. =P

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Being an alcoholic...

Drinking must be one of the most famous Japanese culture.. They drink after work, they drink on weekends. Alcohol is sold in convenience stores, supermarkets and almost all of the restaurant.

Not being a big wine drinker myself, i never drank much back in melbourne except on special occasions. But with the vast variety of sweet flavoured alcoholic drinks here, i find myself drinking 2, 3 nights a week.

Ever since i discovered a drink called 'cashisu ', i have been addicted to it. And i refused to try anything new. But at dinner last friday, i tried a traditional japanese drink: green apricot wine'. Its sweet, and it has a fresh fruity smell.. Reminding me of spring... I drank an empty stomach, didn't know it was so strong i suddenly felt my whole body weaken.

The chef cooking behind the counter saw my reaction and started laughing. He said the apricot wine is actually 35% alcohol! No wonder my sudden reaction. He then told us that its very common for japanese families to make their own umeshu (apricot wine) at home in spring. The ingredients are all easily available at the supermarket, and the process is also very simple.

That got me all fired up.. I wanted to make my own umeshu!

When meeting up with friends for movies on sunday, i told them my idea. I asked my good friend aki to accompany me to the supermarket cause her japanese is super duper! She and Shannon has been the sweetest friends to me since i got here. They both me taught me so much... Thats for another blog i think.

So on monday when the guys went to work, me n aki went to the supermarket to get our ingredients.

To make umeshu you need the following ingredients:

1kg of green ume (unripe japanese apricot)

1kg of rock sugar

1.8litres of white liquor (vodka like alcohol)

1 large glass jar to store the wine

All of the ingredients were close together at the supermarket so it was hard to miss.

everything we bought here.

step 1: sanitise the glass jar with boiling hot water. This is to prevent any bacteria growing.

step 2: wash the ume and take out the branch on top. The black dot at the end.

step 3: dry the ume thoroughly (although i think we only roughly did it so I really hope it doesn't get mouldy.)

step 4: fill the bottom of the jar with one layer of apricot, enough so you don't see the glass bottom anymore.

step 5: fill the next layer with the same thickness of rock sugar.

step 6: fill with one more layer of ume, then rock sugar, the ume... And so on until you have finish all the ume and sugar.

step 7: pour in all of the white liquor.

step 8: cap the top and make sure its sealed tightly so no bacteria can get in.

and now we wait patiently for atleast 2 months before we can enjoy our very own umeshu!


Before i arrived in Japan, i told myself that i will not eat any international junk food while i am here. I thought, why eat something that you can get at any part of the world, instead i can eat local food with better quality and variety.

But after numerous persuasive comments from Mr. chin, i gave in to the constant ' try... Its different ...i'm serious.' and there i was sitting inside a maccas in Japan.

The menu looks more or less the same with all you big macs, mc chicken and cheese burger. But what we dont have bac home is whats called 'McEbi'. Anyone guessed what it is yet? For the ones who understand japanese, you are right, it a shrimp burger.

The size of the ebi burger is similar to that of the fillet-o-fish, so its not that terribly big. And its definitely not big enough the aussie blokes. But the size was just right for me.

And heres a picture of the half eaten burger.......

The filling of the burger tastes a lil like the prawn toast topping. Or the prawn dumping you get at yum cha, but less firm. And the taste is not bad at all.

I was told the big macs tastes much better here too, because the pattie is much fatter
and 100% less healthier. But i haven't yet tried.

My first ebi burger experience is almost one month ago now. Since then, i have been back numerous time. Its cause the chicken pieces are so cheap there. Its only 100 yen! I usually only need 2 and a salad for lunch.

So now, my no international junk mission have complete failed....