Monday, April 25, 2016

waktu tuhan

When Erike introduced some Indonesian traditional music some time back, my Youtube random songlist led to some other worship music. Maybe the dondang/keroncong song she sent was actually a Christian song?

Ever since then I've been quite delighted to find some familiar songs (sometimes we used to sing Bahasa Malaysia worship songs in church), and some newer but catchy ones by up and coming artists.

I added these to one of my songlists, together with other worship songs in various languages. I didn't keep count but I think there is at least 7 languages in there already, I can't wait to add more if anyone has good ones to introduce :)

The flavour of the day has been Indonesian again, so I thought of putting it here because the theme was a good reminder :

Sunday, April 24, 2016

kit kats for travel

While I was wrapping up a line of Kit Kats I had indulged for the past year, I realised there were some that got left out.

This is also part of the "adult sweetness" range (I wish there was a better way to describe this collection!), orange peel. It's not the wafer kind, but little balls of crisp wafer coated in chocolate.

I had this while on the way to the airport to catch my flight to Sendai. It was late summer and for some reason traffic was so bad that it took almost twice the usual time to get there. I had never been late for flights before, and this was supposed to be my emergency stash. Since I was hungry, I had to eat this.

These 2 above are some unique ones I found at the airport, so I didn't really taste them. I bought them for Swedish colleagues when I was there for business trip last August. This is of sakura matcha and Hokkaido red bean flavour.

You'd be forgiven if you thought green tea and red bean are the only flavours available in Japanese dessert!

I found these 3 at the Kansai airport while I was going to Taiwan to meet up with my ex-housemates. It was quite a spontaneous trip (I think I only confirmed a few weeks before), so this purchase was also quite spontaneous and I wanted to bring them for Imm.

Imm - If you're reading this, you were supposed to get these : Japanese strawberry, sakura matcha, and Uji matcha flavoured Kit Kats. Too bad you were not feeling well, hope we get to meet again one day!

I wonder if I have the most comprehensive list of Kit Kats ever? I think I've read some others, but I think it's quite impossible to get everything since each prefecture might have its specialty and each season will have different modification to a favourite flavour too.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

kit kat galore, over the past year!

Even though I've lived here so many years, I can't believe there's still new Kit Kat flavours to be savoured.

I got this from Sute-chan during the summer of last year and I did open them up to try at first. Then I realised I was supposed to "bake" them for better enjoyment.

So I decided to keep it for a bit later when the weather got chilly, I was imagining some hot puffy pie coming out of the oven in a winter day would be something to look forward to.

It said I should place it in an oven, with a tray. What a cute illustration on the cover to teach me how to eat this Kit Kat.

It didn't get crispy brown like it was supposed to, it just melted and became a bit crunchy. But, still interesting enough this variety.

I got some more other new flavours from colleagues at work. The above one is quite a famous variety - Uji matcha flavour from Kyoto, while the bottom is the Kobe pudding flavour.

This series "オトナの甘さ", literally translated as "adult sweetness", I think is a less sweeter version of the usual Kit Kat. To be honest, I don't quite like sweet stuff too much, but happen to receive lots of candies and chocolates perhaps because people think grrls like such confectionery. There is another flavour under this, which is the dark/bitter chocolate.

I feel with its emphasis on the featured flavour and not so much of sugar, it highlights the actual taste. This one with seasonal raspberry had the right tinge of sour sweetness.

When the team I was working with left for Tokyo, they were given these special message Kit Kats. It seems you can personalise your own Kit Kats with photo and text, perhaps a nice gesture for special events. The flavour is the standard chocolate wafer in chocolate coating.

This following one is also similar to the above, where there is some special messages embossed into the wafers.

I think this was made as encouragement notes for those who were going to sit for their university entrance examinations.

There are about 15 different type of messages in these Kit Kats, and consumers are encouraged to find all of them as part of the fun. I didn't realise it until I almost finished the last pack! I managed to capture "強い気持ちで" and "自信を持って:)", which translated to "Strong will power" and "Have confidence".

I think the last time I had an alcoholic Kit Kat was many years ago - the rum & raisin variety. I was quite delighted to find another one - Japanese sake (日本酒).

Everytime I get one of these special edition Kit Kats, I can't seem to get enough of it! This one even has a special packaging inside. The alcohol content is really low (only 0.8%), and it states to keep away from kids!

To be honest, it tasted a little like white chocolate, but with a slight sake flavour. Not my favourite drink, but I guess I gotta take a bit of liking while I'm here!

I think I have one more special one in the fridge... that will be a special treat :)

For other Kit Kat flavours found only in the land of the rising sun :
1) Plum soda, mango pudding, sports drink
2) Easter-themed bunny printed
3) Pineapple, orange, banana, fruit parfait
4) Halloween-themed pumpkin pudding
5) Roasted soy bean flour on rice ball, complete vege, ginger ale, English afternoon tea, cookie and roasted sweet potato
6) Wasabi, raspberry & passion fruit, thick soybean flour, strawberry cheese cake, strawberry, banana
7) Niigata special pear
8) White chocolate, vanilla ice-cream, sport-related, Japanese green tea

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

has it been a decade already?

4 April is both a memorable date and a reminder of His goodness. It was on this date 10 years ago that I arrived in Japan. Just a month before that, I received the Monbusho scholarship letter from the Japanese embassy, making it then the greatest birthday gift I ever had. (8 March is also very special because of that, but that will be another story!)

I thought I was going to be in Japan for my Masters then return to Malaysia to continue the rest of my life. Little did I know that I would experience some of the highest and lowest points in my life while here, living in different prefectures (Niigata, Tokyo and Kobe), experiencing new cultures (Japan may be Asia but it's so different from most things I know!) and did all sorts of things for the first time (tasting snow, enjoying hanami, dancing in a matsuri, cooking by myself, wearing a yukata, trying natto, learnt skiing, did snow-boarding, harvesting vege, onsen and enjoyed it thoroughly, etc), and meeting all sorts of people that I would never come across otherwise.

Throughout it all, I can only say that He has been a constant Friend and gracious Father.

It doesn't do justice to write a few paragraphs about a decade of living and working in Japan (minus a few while I was back in Malaysia), all the emotions I've had to go through while journeying on the mountains and valleys of life, and His abundant blessings that I sometimes took for granted.

I wish I could have the time to look through all the old posts and photos and make a collage to somehow to summarise that and make a little momento, but maybe the best for now is to thank Him for a journey that's beyond my wildest dreams so far...

Monday, April 04, 2016

what an easter this year

It's been quite a memorable Easter Sunday. I've been trying to get a hold of Masami-san since before my birthday, but found out that she was not in Japan then. She had just arrived few weeks ago and would only be around for 2 weeks before flying back to Singapore. 

I thought, if she couldn't make it for church, we could spend some time at my place. So I made some kurma chicken (I still have lots of the powder left!), hoping she would have missed some Malaysian food. Alas, in my haste I had forgotten to add one of the most important ingredient - fortunately it wasn't too late to add the salt even after it had been cooked :D 

Was glad that I was able to see her, since she was not permitted to visit Malaysia for awhile due to her accidental previous overstay. Cindy has left for Chicago, and I was a little worried she might still be depressed

It was very nice of her to bring many gifts - which she shouldn't have! I've always admired her for having such strength and vitality despite being a grandmother, able to go around starting Yosakoi groups and teaching traditional Japanese dance lessons. (Good reminder to take the stairs more often!)

She enjoyed the hula dance at the beginning of the church service, though I was amused to find her nodding during the sermon. Maybe the message was more for me, and I couldn't help but be reminded (just a little) about the "log in my eye". 

I was glad that Dora was able to join for dinner after that, at a chain restaurant that I used to frequent back in Tokyo. So it was quite nostalgic to be able to savour some healthy Japanese food while catching up with old friends.  

I came home to a lovely package of premium potato chips, an elegantly wrapped box of pineapple tarts, and the remainder of the freshest fruit cakes - how can I not be reminded that He would provide?