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

Sunday, October 03, 2010

borneo weekend getaway p3

Most would agree that a day trip would suffice for Brunei. I still learnt a fair bit about this neighbouring country even though both share the same language and religion. In fact, if you didn't realise it, you wouldn've have guessed that you crossed over to a new country.

The landscape may be quite similar, until you start noticing that instead of English, the signboards are in Malay and Jawi.

maybank in brunei

I'm told that for Chinese restaurants, they have to send the name for proper translation into its equivalent Arabic alphabets.

face shop & its arabic equivalent

So they also have a playground which is supposedly so big it's larger than Phase 1 of Disneyland HK. Jerudong Park is the largest and most expensive amusement park in South East Asia. A few years after its opening, Michael Jackson gave a free concert in celebration of the Sultan's birthday.

Jerudong Park Playground

It used to give free rides to all, but for some reason started charging admission fees, and that was when the number of visitors started to dwindle.

Jerudong Park Garden

When we were there, it was closed, so I didn't get to see what rides they had.

not for muslims

Since it's a rather conservative Muslim country, alcohol is prohibited, though some bottles can be brought in for personal consumption. We had kolo mee, which tasted very much like wan tan mee, a form of egg noodle served with crushed garlic & shallot, minced pork, white vinegar, vegetable oil, and sliced barbeque pork.

i had already started eating when the tofu came

This little shop was found tucked on the ground floor of a residential flat which looked like only the locals would know. Looking at the pictures make me salivate, wish I had the stomach to eat more that day!