Monday, December 27, 2010

operation passport renewal

I just realised with an upcoming trip next year and 3 months left in my current passport, I'd better get it renewed.

Thinking that the Subang Immigration Dept was still at the old airport, I made my way there this morning, anticipating I would be back in time for lunch at home before I went out to catch up with IreneQ.

I had to make a few rounds before realising that it was tucked just before the refurbished SAAS airport. I was delighted to find that the parking lot was fairly empty, that must mean everyone's still on holidays.

My shortlived joy - the parking attendant informed me that the Immigration Dept had moved to Wisma Glomac at Kelana Jaya. And no, there was no sign announcing that, so good luck to those who didn't get to meet the attendant!

I had remembered seeing Glomac along the highway before, and at that point of time wished I had brought along my Garmin.

As with many of my road trips, I trusted my instincts to bring me to where I was supposed to go. I soon reached the block of Glomac buildings just before the turning out to Federal Highway - there, that was easy. Or so I thought.

It seemed rather odd that the place looked a bit deserted, with many shoplots unoccupied. Sensing something amiss, I decided to check with the guard on duty, and he said it was another block somewhere out there. Where, I asked. He pointed me to a yellow building which didn't look too far. I asked if I could walk, as I was quite tired of all the driving by then.

He was helpful with directions, and soon I was on my way walking along the edge of what seemed to be the Subang exit of the NKVE highway, passing what was potentially secondary forest, crossing some roads and a TNB substation and finally seeing the crowds of people found the place I had been looking for.

It was in a brand new building, but much smaller than the previous location at the Terminal 3. Apparently a lot of people were caught unawares, having gone through the same "mistake" as I had. A quick check revealed that the Immigration Dept had just moved in a few weeks ago, even the website still has the old address =.=

Being new and still having to serve prolly the same number of applicants, you could imagine the place was packed and a little chaotic, especially when there were no signs pointing to where the various counters/services were. I'm quite glad I had been back for a year+, so I had gained some patience for the Malaysian way of doing things.

Nevermind, it was a good thing I had brought along some blueberry muffins, for that filled me for the 1+ hour of waiting for my instant photo, and another 1+ hour of waiting for the passport to be ready after it was renewed via the kiosk.

But in between, I was sent off on a little adventure. It looked like renewing my passport was not going to be as straightforward as I had thought.

After taking into account the amount I would have to pay for parking (at another block of building!), the instant photos and to make copies of my IC, I realised I would be short of cash, so I enquired the officer if there were any ATMs nearby.

His slightly nonchalant look told me I'd best talk to the wall for answers. He gave some vague reply about trying the petrol stations, and smirked a little when I asked if the distance was walkable.

I hadn't come all the way through all these trouble to be put off by some lackadaisical attitude, so again wandered around trying to see how I could get some extra cash. This block was so new most of the lots were still empty, while some workers were seen putting up furniture and finishings to those occupied.

As I walked out to the main road, I realised I was nearing the Subang toll of the NKVE highway, and that's when I saw Petronas and Shell, side by side. Imagine my delight! I was fortunate that throughout all these, it was rather cloudy, and also not raining.

So finally went to the kiosk with the necessary documents and required $, the machine was quite efficient, but I still had to wait for 1 hour before I could get the new passport. I was glad to finally be able to sit down and do some reading before my name was called up. By then, it had already been almost 4 hours since I left home, my stomach was growling and all I wanted to do was go home for lunch.

But I decided since I was in the area, I might as well bring forward my appointment with IreneQ.

I'm quite glad for the exposure to walking from my years abroad. If I hadn't done backpacking and all those outdoorsy stuff, I think I'd think twice about walking along a busy (Malaysian) highway just to get to my destination. Of course, I couldn't help but miss the efficiency and conveniences of a certain developed country as well.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

resident mushroom

We knew there was something wrong with the walls when they started to bloat and have funny textures. Even the floor seemed to be rising up a little.

When the paint started to peel off the wall in the adjoining toilet, it was a sign that perhaps the pipes were leaking and water was seeping through the concrete and had nowhere else to go.

Thanks to the moistened environment, the timber door panel was now fertile enough to grow a mushroom!
It looks almost like a marshmallow with its white soft surface, and delicate flakes of bright gold on the ovate cap. 

We could prolly start a mushroom farm right in the kitchen with this golden fungus, though whether it's edible is another matter altogether.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

puzzling is this box

So I received a most intriguing gift for Christmas this year. One of my colleagues had gone to the UK for work and got a puzzle box from the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.

I've been spending the whole Christmas trying to figure this thing out, because apparently the real gift was in the box, and I had to get it opened somehow!

It looks quite harmless, with a couple of hinges on each side, a circle for a knob and interlocking parts which can't be moved. Hope the gift doesn't have an expiry date; I may be playing with this thing until the next Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

tech allergy?

Though I'm considered to be one of the more tech-savvy amongst my various groups of friends, it's ironic that I try to stay away from the Internet as much as possible. I have accounts in all the top social networking sites and services, and yet the more I have, the lesser I want to be connected.

Having a desk-bound job means I have to stare at the monitor for a good part of the day. The last thing I want to do after office is to stare more at a monitor even if it's not for work.

Having an ancient phone means I can't catch up with my online networks like everyone else with the latest gadget(s). I have hundreds of unread emails in my various accounts, including FB and already I feel so bad for missing out on updates.

For example, a dear friend wanted to know where to visit in Tokyo because he was traveling with his family and this was his first time in Japan. Just because I haven't logged into FB for ages, I only managed to reply him the day he landed in Tokyo!

Sometimes I miss the days where people would just pick up the phone and talk for hours, when snail mail came with handwritten stories on perfumed paper, when time felt a little slower and you weren't pressured to check your email every single second.

That's exactly how I feel all these technology has become. Though it has made communication easier and faster, it somehow lacks the human touch. Sure, it's nice to get a hundred birthday wall posts and e-cards and I appreciate that people do drop by to wish you, but I miss birthday gifts and real presence.

In the meantime while I apologise to friends whom I've not had the luxury of replying in due time, I am scouting around for an upgrade to my trusty Nokia. It's not easy when there's so many choices out there!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

the hypermarket conspiracy

Have you noticed how the Big 3 of Malaysia's hypermarkets never fail to place full page full colour advertisements in major dailies almost every single week?

And that in each of these ads they will claim to have the lowest price compared to their competitors?

Of course if you were to look carefully, the items they promote may look similar, but are actually different so there's no way you can make a proper comparison unless you drive to each hypermarket and compare them yourself.

So maybe for this particular week for Hypermarket C, the chicken breast may be cheaper by RM1.99 per kg, that olive oil may be the cheapest at RM29.99, and the latest yoghurt drink going for a song for only RM0.99.

They who stand to gain will be those who actually are looking to buy the chicken breast, the bottle of olive oil and that tub of yoghurt drink this week.

If you were to look for say, a bunch of grapes this week at Hypermarket C and it wasn't advertised as having the cheapest price, you might be offsetting whatever savings you had from the chicken, oil and yoghurt all combined.

For all we know, Hypermarkets C, G and T may be conspiring to take turns to advertise their "cheapest items" of the week.

C : So this week, my pick will be the olive oil la. It's been some time since we had promotion for this imported product.

G : Go ahead, I need to clear my grapes this week. You both can promote your mandarin oranges and Fuji apples if you like.

T : Fine with me, we just ran out of Korean grapes - placing those models in Korean traditional costumes sure helped with the sales! I'm thinking these imported products could do quite well once in awhile...

G : Oh ya? I can't be using Korean models just after yours. Nevermind, I have extra slots for the cherries and wine. Christmas is coming, Santa Claus will do.

C : This sure is fun! I'm glad we had this agreement. We have to look like we're passing the savings to our customers.

T : Of course! This is better than us competing heads-on with each other, trying to figure out which product to put up with the lowest price.

C : Look at it this way, it's win-Win-WIN for ALL of us!

T: Muahahahah!!!

G : *kicks T under the table* Remember, this conversation never took place... Shhhhh...!

More whisperings followed by rounds of laughter as each Hypermarket go their own way after their weekly meeting.

Friday, December 03, 2010

flits from flower

Looks like Butterfly's gonna be in a crossroad soon. She was expecting to have a fairly laidback December considering the R drive for the year was just about to be wrapped up.

If the Client had their way, Butterfly would be extended till June next year. This would make it the third time her stay would be renewed.

Each time her role would change, and so was the piece of work she would be working on. All have been fairly new to her and Butterfly relished the opportunity to learn along the way, sometimes trying to confidently look like she knew what she was doing!

So when the Client asked Butterfly to come up with a proposal for next year's R programme which included a different and extended strategy, she was initially quite reluctant to want to be part of it. She didn't even try to pretend she was interested, as at this stage, she was quite happy to be honest with the client.

You see, R has never really been her passion nor her forte, yet Butterfly seemed to have done considerably well to earn an extension as a result of the current project.

There goes her year-end plans to have a relaxing month, Butterfly thought as she stayed back last week and worked the weekend to come up with the strategy, timeline, resources and budget for the plan.

As she wondered how this would look in her CV and how her career path would meander out, Butterfly asked herself if this was what she really wanted to do. After all, there were many opportunities out there with other clients and her Mentor did suggest for her to come out and explore.

On the other hand, the Supervisor pointed out that it was quite rare for someone her level to be liaising directly with the regional CTO from the Client side, whatmore the country CTO whom she enjoys good rapport with. He trusted her enough to share confidential information only known by the top management.

Butterfly began to weigh the pro's and con's of each potential path, not quite sure if one would be better than the other.

As she talked it out with Carrotlips, her friend guided her with leading questions, one leading to another, one with even more questions than answers. But it was good to just verbalise her thoughts, as Butterfly felt she was going in circles with the same points in her head.

At least, her mullings would be more structured and (supposed to) have a higher purpose. Instead of fluttering around like a free spirit, Carrotlips felt it was time for Butterfly to fly in a strategically-guided direction.

Less of aimless flits from flower to flower, more of bold trust in the Creater that His control of the direction might just be the thing that she needed to soar high.

*Any resemblance to real-life characters is purely coincidental. Excerpts from this story may be reproduced by acknowledging the writer.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

to coif or to cook

As I stood there rinsing the rice, I can't help but think how lucky Japanese housewives are. They don't have to contend with all the nitty gritty of "cooking" like most of us, or at least those of us from this side of the world.

Cooking was such a pleasure, an activity which I learnt to enjoy and improve while in Japan. I'm not very good at many dishes, but I do have some trademark ones which I like to share with friends once in awhile. All thanks to the conveniences of clean and safe ingredients.

Saves so much time, just toss everything into the rice cooker

For example, this attempt of a nasi lemak which thrilled Masami, a half-Malaysian living in Japan with her American-born Japanese hubby. I have not even attempted the real nasi lemak after I came back, all because it's so much less hassle to just buy them off the streets.

May not be perfect, but this was the best I could do with whatever little ingredients I had

I don't remember having to rinse the rice, or wash poultry and fish before cooking. But I make sure I clean vege and fruits, because of wax and pesticides.

The anchovies had to be cleaned beforehand - they're from Malaysia!

I just scoop the amount of rice I need and fill it up with the necessary amount of water when I cook my meals. The same goes for meat; they are all cut to pieces, cleaned and packed neatly in the supermarket. I just need to unwrap them, marinade them with the flavouring/marinade and straight into the pot/pan/oven they go.

Since I couldn't make rendang, curry chicken was the closest substitute

But of course, you can opt to have those which are a bit more "raw", where you can remove the insides yourself; these will be cheaper than those pre-packed to go. The only time I've seen someone do it in Japan was when Imm bought those fish sold in containers of water, as opposed to that in styrofoam and clingwrap.

Humble attempt of our favourite Malaysian dish

No wonder I cook less back here. I have to clean and wash every single item that goes into the pot, not just once but at least two to three times!

Dessert of snow fungus & red dates to finish off the meal

No wonder too that Japanese housewives can look so immacutely coiffed all the time - they don't waste so much time in the kitchen slaving away, neither do they have to deal with the mess of cleaning up!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

looking from 66

Even though most of my time is spent at the client more than at my own company's, I had very little opportunity to experience working in one of the world's tallest buildings.

I didn't have my new toy then, and I had joined the company just before they relocated to Gardens.

Some of these caught my eye, so I decided to try to capture them because that was the last time I'd get this view.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I just remembered it's Thanksgiving tomorrow, and I thought I really should take stock of the year that has been for me thus far. It's quite appropriate timing though, especially now that I've worked for exactly a year already!

As much as I don't appreciate what's going on in the country and its resident clowns, I'm really grateful that I have a job that I enjoy doing, with fun colleagues & teammates in a working environment which is relatively high on work-life balance. I have my stress days (like currently, but that's another story) but I'm not being pressured to stay back all the time. So far the rapport with client has been almost excellent and though with their politics and imperfections, it's the best I have so far.

Although I haven't gotten the opportunity to go for a well-deserved break (weekend trips doesn't exactly count!), I've played host to many overseas friends. There were Japanese Yuri & American Geoff end of last year, with whom I was practicing being tour guide since I don't know KL as much as I know Tokyo! I feel quite bad that they visited me when I was feeling all down about coming back to Malaysia and was getting a hang of adapting back.

On the IUJ alumni side, Thai Rach was here on a company trip, the Laotian-Vietnamese couple of Bic-Minh whom I brought for street food at SS2, newly-wed Bangladeshi Tanvir and his wife who surprised me by choosing Malaysia as their honeymoon destination, Filipino Joy who couldn't stop gushing about how good it was to meet up again, and most recently the MBA duo of Swiss Andreas and Filipino Angel over the previous weekend.

There were other friends I've made in Japan whom I thought I'd never see again. You know how you always tell each other that you'd keep in touch, and deep down you wonder if realities of life will make it hard to keep that promise.

Indonesian Didi also came for his business trip, and even though it wasn't a proper meet up, we managed to catch up while walking around Gardens when everything started to close. Nath brought his family on transit from Australia; we were quickly catching up at KL Sentral because they had to rush for their flight back to Cambodia that afternoon.

So ya, even if I didn't get to see the world this year, the world came to me. At least I got to visit a new country, even if it's not exactly an eye-opening experience, and if all goes well, I hope to visit a new one, or maybe two, next year.

There are countless things that I could be grumbling about, but I kinda decided since I have no control over them, and neither am I verbose enough to vent those frustrations, I would rather focus my energies and time on things that matter more. At this point of time with what I have, I'm glad to be back home, with family, friends and many familiar things and for these I'm most thankful for.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

swimming... badminton.. and tennis?

They were right, I gotta admit. But I was adamant that nothing would replace my Tokyo "exercise regime" of walking to stations and cycling for groceries and Japanese classes.

They said I could still lead a healthy life but just differently. I wanted to show that life here was such a contrast I'd never be able to get back the same level of fitness that I had in Japan. I was upset that it's not safe to walk out on the roads, let alone cycle. I was slowly becoming unfit and unhealthy, and realised I had to do something.

I love team sports but it's not easy to find players just like that, courts too need to be booked. So I started on swimming, which I believe to be the best form of exercise because it builds up all muscle groups. Then I tried to jog a li'l around the neighbourhood on days when I was too lazy to go to the swimming pool.

But these were so rare that it wasn't really helping.

Then some months back, for some reason I got invited to 2 different groups for badminton. I was so gungho that I actually joined both on the same week, and that weekend night, I couldn't sleep. It was also on a wee Monday morning that I was tossing around wondering why if I was so tired after 2 games I was still not sleeping like a log.

I think the sudden adrenaline rush after a looong period of inactivity was the cause of it. BUT it felt good, even though I was quite dead tired.

Since then I've been joining my colleagues for weekly sessions, and very sometimes with the church group too. And just recently I've been taking up tennis lessons too. More of a refresher course since I did take up beginner classes when I was about 12 (thinking tennis was the coolest sports then).

Well, I must say I've never felt this healthy for a long time, and it's always motivation to have other people who are as into it too. Not to mention, very ironic since I always thought I could draw a line between work and personal..! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

charity with joshua sasaki

After our little contribution to the Cancerlink Foundation, I thought we wouldn't bump into our newfound Japanese friends after that.

So it was quite a pleasant surprise to hear from them again, this time we were invited to help out in an initiative organised by the Japan Chapel. The charitable event would be graced by a yakuza-turned-gospel singer, Joshua Sasaki.

Even with the little manpower they had, they managed to turn a mere idea to a successful dinner which was well enjoyed by many.

From what I heard, the initial stages of planning were so messy they kept changing their plans and the PICs for each task. Just a few days before the event, we got confirmation to help out at the reception since they would be expecting Japanese and non-Japanese alike to be there.

It was very encouraging to see underprivileged adults and children streaming in, some with their helpers, guardians and chaperones. They made up the majority of the audience that evening.

As a token of their appreciation, each group went up to perform and showed us that they have a part to play in society too. You could see they really put in effort to put on a good show, and didn't let their imperfections mar the performance.

The highlight of the night were songs sung by Sasaki-san, his pastor friend, and then accompanied by the visually-challenged group from Agape Services for the Blind. The lady sitting next to me was so enamored by Joshua Sasaki that I think her claps and cheers could've drown that of our table combined!

Even though I didn't do much, it was very humbling to be there to support the effort. They really showed us that despite their imperfections, these special guests are still able to lead an almost-normal life and contribute to society too.

Monday, November 08, 2010

klazz brothers & cuba percussion

It's the wee hours of Monday morning, I've just had a glass of warm milk and I'm still not in bed sleeping!

So I'm doing what I think should help me get back to bed - switch on the PC and hope my eyes would tire themselves after awhile.

I've been wanting to share some nice jazz pieces that I discovered while at a recent MPO outing. Klazz Brothers & Cuba Percussion is the highly acclaimed quintet who's brought much pizazz to jazz by infusing classical pieces with Caribbean beats. Their improvisation of beloved symphonies rejuvenates and gives new life to Beethoven and Bach.

I love how the original piece can still be heard amidst all the syncopation, whistles and hypnotic rhythms of Cuba. Take for example Mozart's Symphony No.40 :

Our original intention was to go for the "Jazz meets Cuba" show, but accidentally went for the "Classic meets Cuba" which was a day earlier. It was our first time sitting in the front row, mainly because we wanted to see the expressions on the face of the performers!

After all, if we were too tired from straining our necks looking up, we could always close our eyes and enjoy the music from where we were.

Boy, were we wrong; it turned out to be such an enjoyable 2-parter that I couldn't take my eyes off the musicians as they took turns to highlight the various instruments that created this unique fusion.

Kilian Forster the bassist who looked a bit like a mad professor with his disheveled hair kept the flow going from one piece to another with his humorous introductions.

You have to be there to hear his German accent when telling how Mozart went to the Caribbean, fell in love with Latin jazz and decided to compose the Mambozart. Or how the Hungarian Dance No. 5 came to be known as the Cuban Dance because it was rightfully so!

Those in the audience would agree with me that Alexis Herrera Estevez must be given credit for standing in for the drummer who unfortunately fell ill. We wouldn't have known otherwise that he had to double up in addition to his original role as the percussionist; the transition was so seamless.

Towards the end during the encore, they invited people to come up to the stage to dance. An almost Latino (must be the music!) looking young man promptly went to the front and coolly did his salsa moves, much to the audience's delight.

Many were standing up clapping along, so much so that even 2 little Caucasian grrls also gamely went up, stood in between the musicians as they moved to the music.

Later Kilian even commented that they had never had such young obliging fans like these before!

While I was trying to see if I could get their CD through Amazon, I found many more works under their other albums, such as this version of the Blue Danube. It is now my favourite - the very familiar sounds of this famous Austrian waltz being gradually infused with elements of swing and complemented by the congas make it very catchy indeed!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

uniqlo lands in kuala lumpur!

When I heard that my favourite Japanese brand would be setting up stores in KL, I greeted the news with mixed feelings. I didn't know whether to rejoice or be despaired.

The official launch of Uniqlo was on 4th Nov, and the fan in me actually applied for half day leave thinking I would be able to do a sneak preview of their offerings then dash back to work. But of course, there were matters to attend to and I had to let go of the opportunity to gloat about being the first few in line :D

So yesterday noon I made my way to Bukit Bintang, hoping the line would have lessened somewhat. There was a queue snaking from the inside of Fahrenheit 88 out to the open with barricades and guards, but still manageable.

Still, Uniqlo was everywhere, even on this bus just outside the store!

Even those who didn't know what Uniqlo was lined up thinking it must be something big. The kiasu-ism spirit was alive and well and people certainly didn't want to be left out, nevermind that they have never heard of this brand before.

Uniqlo's like comfort food. Here was a brand that prided in affordable quality, not only having stamped its success back home in Japan but also slowly making its way across the globe.

I'm a big fan of Uniqlo having owned all sorts of pieces from all seasons during my stay in Japan. One of my first clothings when I was a student in Niigata was from Uniqlo, and I have continued to buy Uniqlo even while in Tokyo as a working salaryman.

True to their catchphrase "Made for All", their pieces cater to all ages, all purpose and now, all people out of Japan. So to see what I thought was something unique (btw, Uniqlo = unique clothing) being "shared" with everyone made me quite sad because now everyone in KL would own a piece of Uniqlo, making it less unique!

Some people say I have less reason to visit Japan since Uniqlo is here, but I say it gives me more reason to get non-KL pieces so that mine is still special :D 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

cancerlink foundation : victory ventures

When I was asked if I would like to help the Japanese out in their contribution to Cancerlink, I was a bit hesitant because I was not sure if my Japanese would be useful by then, and I've never been personally involved with cancer patients.

It was a colleague who introduced me to Aaron who was taking up Japanese lessons, and turned out he was teaching English at his church where his students were Japanese retirees who had decided to make Malaysia their 2nd home. I was interested because it has been some time since I did something like this.

So off we went to the west coast seaside town of Lumut, not really knowing what was going to happen and how we were going to get ourselves there. I had to be the navigator nevermind that I hadn't travelled on trunk roads in ages!

It took a bit longer than expected, but we finally arrived at the Marina Cove Resort in time to prepare the food for the evening. I would have loved to jump into the pool or take a walk at the beach but we were there to "work".

I was surprised to see so many eager senior people moving about bringing the ingredients from the carpark to the upstairs of the hall, preparing ingredients for dinner, setting themselves to the task and making sure everything was ready for their presentation.

It was very encouraging to see the participants interacting with the Japanese folks and trying the various booths that showcased Japanese traditional games.

Even though I've been in Japan for years, it was quite educational being there. I even got my hands dirty helping to make mochi with red bean paste and soybean flour. This must be the home-made style because I've never eaten mochi coated like this before!

Feeling the excitement in the air, I stood stunned for awhile looking at my surroundings because here were people who voluntarily sacrified their time and effort to make a difference to those who are suffering.

Even though the participants didn't look like they were in pain, they were clearly looking forward to what had been planned. They were game enough to try wearing the kimono and yukata and even did a little catwalk for us.

It certainly left an impression on me because I was kinda sick of all the petty bickering that has been highlighted in the news daily, and I wished more of such goodness could be shared instead.

Victory Ventures is a motivational support care programme for cancer patients/survivors and this is the 4th one running.

Previously they've invited the Germans, Americans and, if I'm not mistaken, French to their camps to give a little cultural insight as part of the programme. Apparently this one was the best ever because the participants warmed up to the Japanese so much they were actually mingling around with them.

These kids were going up asking for their names and contacts :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

khareyana spa p1

Imagine going to a spa in a bungalow surrounded by foliage where you have to walk on raised platforms on a koi pond to your own room for some pampering...

The last time I treated myself to a spa session was prolly my last birthday pre-Japan, thanks to the 7D4 charbohs :) This time we celebrated weimun's hen nite with a trip to Khareyana, quietly nestled in the residential area of the older part of PJ just a stone's throw from Assunta Hospital.

The body scrub, shower, steam, body massage, body mask, herbal bath finished off with body lotion and warm drink put us all in a relaxed mood for the grrlie fun that was to await us that evening.

Monday, October 25, 2010


My toy has gone unprotected for months now and I felt quite bad that it had to do its outing in a mere cotton drawstring bag.

The clumsy me had to remind myself that the camera was in the bag whenever I went travelling, because I have a tendency to rough it out. The drawstring bag was great for ease of use because I didn't have to unbuckle, unstrap and unzip everytime I needed to get a quick shot.

However, to give it proper care I have to get it a camera bag befitting its function.

Apparently the brand I was eyeing was selling like hot cakes, so I had to wait a bit before getting my hands on one.

When I was walking out with the bag after dinner with Leo & Terrence, I realised I was being stared by the grrls seated around us.

Thinking maybe there was some vege stuck between my teeth or my hair messed up from the day's seminar, I quickly made my way out of the restaurant with the bag.

Suddenly it hit me, why didn't I see that before? LV had just opened its doors in Gardens, and having such an obviously similar bag in monograms must've turned some eyes green with envy, them thinking I bagged (pun intended) myself 2 guys and a luxurious tote in hand.

Side note : I would've gotten the pink if I was still living in Japan.

Friday, October 22, 2010

simple in a bowl

Simple dish of topping (I think) macaroni with ABC soup, sprinkled with onion & garlic oil.

You might notice that I'm cooking & eating fairly healthy stuff these days. It's to counter all those oily spicy fatty elements that you usually get outside in a typical Malaysia meal :D

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I was meeting Eric at KL Sentral the other day and since he wanted something healthy yet filling, brought him to Chili Espresso, one of the better eating outlets at the area.

We had the Chorizo Sandwich and immediately loved the combination of tastes that made the dish. Since then, the memory of those flavours had not left me, and when I had the chance to drop by Jaya Grocer, found the same sausage to bring home with me.

The chorizo is a Spanish sausage made with herbs, pork meat and paprika, but the one we had was halal. I attempted to replicate (some of) the flavours with a healthy dose of mustard sauce burnt into the buttered sesame bread.

The tangy sauce coupled with spicy sausage was nicely balanced with the salad on the side and mushroom soup to make a nice late afternoon lunch. Hmm, maybe I should make another trip to experiment with another sausage...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

kit in braces

Little did we know, the half-broken front tooth was actually a blessing in disguise.

My brother whose mouth is quite small has been having crooked teeth for years. He was supposed to have done his braces a looong time ago, just like I did mine in my teens. But not being vain, he thought it was just a waste of money.

I had to convince him that it wasn't a matter of frivolous spending, and that it was necessary "beauty". Crooked teeth attracts dirt in between hard to reach spaces, and really, it's more of a health concern than anything else.

I for one, have always been grateful for my dad who used to be government servant, because I got mine done for close to no cost at all. I'm a living testimony of the wonders of orthodontics, and it's the sole reason for my best (and prolly one and only) asset :)

When my brother paid a visit to the dentist after the incident, the dentist was alarmed at the condition of his teeth. I myself have been surprised that despite not really taking care of his teeth for years, they are still intact. Whereas, even in my best effort to brush, floss and do regular scaling, I have relatively sensitive teeth. It's not surprising because he had breast milk as a baby.

So after much encouragement from the family, he's decided to go ahead with the procedure. It's a big step for him, knowing how simple a guy he is, with little wants and all. I guess he's concerned that not many adults do braces, and he would have to forgo his favourite steak dishes for abit.

To show how much we really wanted him to take better care of his health, my dad and I have told him we'd sponsor his RM10k dental treatment. It was all in good timing, because today is his birthday, and I'd want nothing better than to see my brother with a better healthy smile.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

that half tooth

When his friend reversed into him while playing futsal, my brother didn't have enough time to react because the ball was coming too fast. He hit backwards into my brother who was also eyeing at the ball, and they crashed into each other.

His friend shouted in pain. Almost a head taller, my brother apologised, thinking his friend had knocked into my brother's glasses.

Then came the grimace and more pain. My brother was surprised to see his friend on the floor, hands on the head, aching. Blood was flowing out. Surely a brush with the spectacles couldn't have produced that kind of injury.

Amongst the black hair and red oozing out, he saw something stuck on his friend's head. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that my brother's front tooth got lodged to the scalp and was the source of the pain!

Apparently half of his front incisor got chipped off in that seemingly innocent clash. So I'm wondering, either my brother's tooth is weak enough that it got broken in half, or strong enough to sink itself into someone's head causing him to have a 1-stitch minor surgery!

Who would have thought you could get hurt by half a tooth??

Friday, October 08, 2010

grilled at sumika

I'm kinda tired of telling people that I will only eat Japanese food in Malaysia only if it comes recommended.

But I'm also tired of being "conned" into eating Japanese food which looks good on the menu, is popular because there's always a line outside the store, and paying for sub-standard food that only ruins my gastronomic experience. The worst experience that represents all of the above goes by a 2-word name where the 2nd is the opposite of Queen.

While I understand that the many people do not mind such food because they have not tasted the original, I'm not here to gloat that just because I've been to Japan I know what's authentically Japanese. I'm just saying we deserve better :)

Sumika at SS15/4, Subang Jaya

I was pleasantly delighted to find a good yakiniku restaurant in Subang when we treated Papa for Father's Day.

I'm surprised my brother recommended this place, but I think he has pretty good taste in food too!

open-kitchen concept to see cooking in action

The Japanese owner is also the one grilling the food in an open-kitchen concept where patrons can also sit around the bar-top and enjoy the live cooking. The rest can opt to sit at proper tables and watch from afar.

I found the menu to be similar to an izakaya where you get to choose from a variety of meat and vegetable to be grilled over the open bbq area. For those who want something more filling, there are rice dishes and the obligatory miso soup & edamame.

green soybeans lightly salted

L : miso soup & chilled tofu sprinkled with bonito flakes
R : grilled fish with a grated radish

The menu given offers standard Japanese-bbq fare, but if you're game for something more different (and can read Japanese!), spot the handwritten menu next to the open kitchen area and place your order with the waiter. They're pretty friendly, and speak reasonably good Japanese compared to other restaurants.

grilled meat - beef, beef's tongue, chicken, chicken parts

I can remember the taste of the juicy grilled beef even as I type this!

one of the specials - grilled enoki in butter - very yummy!

Just when you enter into the restaurant, you will notice on the side wall rows of sake bottles labelled with names, mostly Japanese.

prices are similar to Tokyo's

That must mean that they have regular customers who keep their alcohol for return visits, which told me this place is good enough for Japanese then it must be authentic enough for me!

Food : 8.5/10
Service : 8.5/10
Ambience : 8.5/10