Sunday, January 31, 2010

mango pudding kit kats

Continuing on the Kit Kat craze, I had bought some of the Summer editions before returning to Malaysia. I had only thought about it on my last day after working at Leafcup.

The スポーツドリンク (sports drink) flavoured wafer was in aid of the JFA Dream Asia Project which supports the dreams of football-loving kids and supports coaches who are involved to help them have a better future.

This one tasted a bit like 100plus wrapped in white chocolate, but without the carbonated feel to it.  

Coming in a smaller version, the マンゴープリン (mango pudding) tasted rather sweet for my liking. It was like eating mango alright, but in a more creamy texture. Maybe that was why it was sold in mini sizes.

The only one I have yet to try is the 梅ソーダ仕立て, which is "prepared with plum soda". The back of the packaging described its filling as soda powder mixed with  シュワシュワパウダー cream and coated with plum flavoured chocolate. Interesting, can't wait to try this one out. These are perfect for the summer, meant to freshen and titillate the tastebuds.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

soy-sauce kit kats

It has been 2 years+ since I last wrote about funky Kit Kats in Japan. When Yuri visited me last month and brought me more Kit Kats I was so delighted! That also reminded I have some Kit Kats which I haven't written about yet.

When Leon visited me in spring 2008, he brought me Kit Kat from the airport. I was surprised because I thought he'd bring something Malaysian like nasi lemak, char kuey teow or putu mayam. I know, those wouldn't have gone through the customs but I was craving for something Malaysian then.

To his credit, he did bring me some Indomie maggi mee goreng. Which I think was initally for his own consumption in case he ran out of Japanese yen and had to survive on something cheaper. Since I managed to help him save $ by getting him a room in our house, he left his Indomie with me.

So anyways, I was rather surprised that he bought 醤油風味キットキャット (shouyu flavoured Kit Kat). I knew he had learnt basic Japanese back in uni, but I was pretty sure he didn't know this was actually soy-sauce Kit Kat!

I nibbled slowly to see if I could find traces of soy sauce, but the wafer itself was not as salty as I thought it'd be. So much so that I questioned my own Japanese if I had read the words wrongly.

Apparently this was a special "edition" because it was only sold at the Narita airport  (東京限定 means it's restricted to Tokyo only)

As the days get hotter, tastebuds change as well. The flavours that were introduced spring/summer 2009 reflected that, and the Japanese' penchant for novelty. The pink one is ローズ (rose), whereas the bottom one is レモンビネガー (lemon vinegar).

The rose flavoured Kit Kat was quite pleasant, even smelt quite lovely. I wanted to take a close-up shot to see if it looked any different from the regular ones, but this was the best shot I got. The lemon vinegar had tinges of salty bits which made it rather interesting.

Monday, January 25, 2010

musical journey around the world

Today was a special treat which I have been looking forward to since my PM emailed and asked if we would like tickets to the MPO.

The company I represent (not to be confused by the company I'm contracted under nor the company I'm contracted to :D) are subscribers to the MPO, and had an allocation of 50 for this season. Apparently only limited tickets were trickled down by the Partners, depending on who they think deserve or would appreciate them. Our Partner in Resourcing suggested giving some to the client.

Somehow, after a series of emails, it came to our team. The original 4 had no grabbers, and when the email came, I quickly said yes to it. My PM was nice enough to ask if I wanted to bring a friend along, so I managed to get 2!

I've always had my quota of visits to the MPO and other performing arts ever since they started blooming in Malaysia. This was when Actors Studio was still in its infancy back in BSC, when Malaysia first opened its doors to musicals at Istana Budaya and we didn't have to go across the causeway to catch broadway and theatrical performances.

The tickets don't cost that much, in fact I think MPO tickets are really reasonable given its reputation and repertoire.

This was my first time attending the Family Fun Day series where children are encouraged to attend and enjoy the interactive session while being treated to, well, fun orchestral music.

We got really nice seats; actually this could have been my first time sitting on the ground floor, with a splendid view of the hall. What a waste, as I refrained from knocking my head on the nearest wall, because I had not thought of bringing along my trusty camera. This was my first MPO of the year, free one at that, and I had not the tool to immortalise that experience.

As I began to admire the architecture and detailing that went into making Malaysia's only Philharmonic Hall, I was feeling proud that we have something that is quite world-class, and yet very affordable for the masses to enjoy beautiful music.

It must be noted that the conductor, Richard Kaufman is a Grammy-award winner whose tour in Malaysia made a difference in the quality of the performance. It really showed in his passion for music by the way he conducted the orchestra.

Kudos to the musicians of the MPO team who presented no less than 10 music from around the world, some very recognisable favourites, most at fast vivacity and still wonderfully delivered. All within an hour. The cherries of the performance must have been the children's choir that came from behind to sing "It's a small world", and the finale which brought us music from "out of this world".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

feet and flats

I'm happy to say that I'm now feeling much better. In fact the day after I took out the bandage and washed away the medicine, my foot had showed much improvement. In fact, that was the only improvement, other than the fact that the skin was slowly looking like normal instead of the brown wrinkly state it was.

I was talking to Ming & Geng and they said it's quite normal to still be a bit swollen, because I was quite concerned that my left foot seems a bit plump. I realised it when I was comparing it to my right and the veins did not appear as obvious as it usually would.

The upside is I get to wear flats at work, and sometimes sandals when commuting to work. It really helps when I don't get a seat in the train and I have to stand all the way to and from work.

Which brings me to my initial experience commuting to work.

My first few days were horrible because :
1) I was given a bulky laptop sling bag that I had to bring while traveling between my company and the client's, in addition to my own working bag.
2) I was wearing heels and skirt which are already a challenge when travelling by the train, on days when I have to stand all the way.
3) Balancing all these while commuting and walking from parking lot to station, then station to office puts unnecessary stress on the feet.

So I mailed my grrlfriends since they were more experienced in this laptop-toting than me. Even though none of them commute (actually I wouldn't have brought this up if I was driving to work), it still was helpful to hear their personal experiences.

Many suggested wearing something comfy while commuting, then changing to office shoes. Only problem, that would only add to the burden I was already carrying.

So in the end, combining their suggestions and improvising somewhat, I decided to leave the laptop at the office whenever possible, and bring spare shoes when I'm wearing heels to work. I'm really thankful that the security at the office is good, and we have our own desks and drawers so I can do all of the above.

So guess what I treated myself to on New Year's Day?

Yes, the hyped and much raved about Crocs. I was very reluctant to spend that much on a pair of flats this ordinary and plasticky looking. But if everyone has had good things to say about it, and since I've tried on Clarks and Hush Puppies, this seemed to be the better bet.

Ironically this was the very pair of shoes I was wearing on that fateful day. I say that because I've been asked if I was wearing heels when I fell =.="

Monday, January 11, 2010

post-dit da

The first thing I did when waking up today was to move my ankle. I drew circles in the air, swinged it from left to right, bend it from the toes down and just wiggled it around.

It did not have the uncomfortable pain like the day before. The medicine must have worked through the night, I told myself as I did some light stretches on the bed.

Sure enough, as I got out of bed, it felt a lot better. I didn't have to limp, nor be worried that I would put unnecessary stress on the left foot. Except for climbing up and down the stairs, walking on the ground felt rather normal if not for the presence of the bandage.

As instructed by the chiropractor, I was able to open up the bandage in the evening. I had not brought my camera to capture the treatment, so the post-treatment ones will do.

If I were a 3rd party looking at this, I would have cringed at the sight of it. Kinda looks like my ankle has been swallowed by a nasty tumour from the outside! @.@

After washing the medicine away, my ankle now looked very wrinkled and dark. I have to remember not to scratch it unconsciously tonight because it sure does feel itchy now!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

dit da

So I woke up and the ankle was a bit more swollen this morning. My mum called from work and asked if I needed to see the doctor.

I thought I'd better; late trains are enough, I don't need unnecessary MC's.

Since there was no one at home, she managed to get her church friends to fetch me to see the shinsei. Apparently this one in Taipan comes recommended.

The aromatic fragrance of Chinese ointment greeted us as we stepped into the 1st floor clinic. We wondered about the choice of location since it specialised in joints and bones; surely someone like me would have had to struggle the flight of stairs before being able to see the doctor.

Since I grew up with traditional Chinese medicine, I have no doubts about its efficacy, though it's classified as alternative medicine in most parts of the world. The shinsei came to attend to me as I sat down at the chair and had my legs propped up on the small stool.

After being briefed about my situation, he proceeded to rub some whitish lotion mixed with oil onto my ankle. He then massaged on the swollen region, pressing deep on points which were particularly sore.

With much deft he did something I can't explain, but if you can imagine those masseuse who grabs your limbs or neck and twist them around, what this shinsei did was something close to that. I think I heard a sound when he did it, but I was closing my eyes when the pain came so I must have missed it.

Later he came back with some dark brown paste in a silver bowl, with which he slabbed all around my ankle. I had thought the massage was the end of it, but the treatment came with the traditional Chinese medicine known as dit da, which have been used for centuries by the Chinese to heal injuries.

The healing powers of the paste would supposedly be absorbed into the skin to do its magic. My feet was wrapped with surgical gauze over plastic film. So now I have something that looks like a cast from afar, but is too soft for any signatures.

I really hope this works, because I paid RM60 for that very short session.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

murphy's law?

Today felt like a very bad day for me. As much as I don't believe in luck as to call it an unlucky day, I even checked to see if today was Friday the 13th!

First the train came late. Everything went fine until the train in which I was supposed to take, encountered complications on its way to the Subang station. For about half an hour we waited there, most looked nonchalant since late trains are nothing new here.

Then the announcement came; apparently there have been some problems at the tracks and the trains were not able to make it. So they arranged for the next train to pick us up instead, on the opposite platform! In the end I was late for at least an hour, and had to call my boss up because I was supposed to have a morning meeting.

I felt really bad because this was not the first time this has happened, and I really cannot keep using it as an excuse, even though it's true.

As much as I have a really understanding boss, it will sound fishy if everytime there's a morning meeting I end up being late and the reason is because of the KTM trains.

Then as the day went by, I kept getting messages about the church arson cases in Klang Valley. It was disturbing because they were mostly from local blogs and overseas news agencies. At that time, very little was being reported on Malaysian newspapers; they only started publishing towards the evening.

It did not help that SMS' were being circulated about extremists smashing cars which bore Christian symbols in posh Bangsar area, and that some protests were being made in the compounds of several mosques in the Klang Valley.

The skies looked as if they empathised with the gloomy atmosphere down here.

Just when I was walking down the office to get to the station, it started to rain. For some reason, my feet gave way and I found myself tumbling down the stairs. Next thing I knew, I was sitting at one of the steps, trying to feel my feet amidst the pain.

As I was trying to figure out what had just happened, some grrls came to ask if I was okay. That was quite unexpected, seeing most just walked by as if nothing had happened.

One of them asked if I could walk. I didn't even know how to answer her question because I was trying to rub the pain away, much less access the usability of my limb. So she held out her hand and offered to get me up. Her 2 other colleagues were there too and looked concerned.

We managed to walk across the street safely, me limping of course. Since I didn't want to hold them up, I decided I would sit down at one of the benches in the station building while I try to rub my feet back to life.I apologised for their taking the trouble and even found out they worked in the same building.

After what seemed like a very long time, I gathered strength enough to walk down to the KTM station and get myself back home.

Now my feet is propped up on the table with a cold compress and I'm wondering if my mind was too occupied with the state of our country until I forgot to watch my steps.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

空港行き電車 airport-bound train

Most signboards in Malaysia are usually in the national language and the international language, whereas some are also in Chinese and Tamil, which are spoken by the 2 largest ethnic groups after the Malays.

Other than the 3 major races, we have another group which is collectively known as "Lain-lain", or Others, for want of a better word. This is usually referred to the indigenous groups in East Malaysia, the aborigines, the mixed-bloods, and perhaps immigrant groups too.

We all know that Malaysia is a melting pot, a colourful *cough* harmony *cough* of cultures and languages. What I didn't know was that the Japanese made up such a large part of it that its language appeared in signboards in KL Sentral. Or maybe they decided that those who take the public transportation consists only of those who can read English and Japanese.