Saturday, July 24, 2004

sunday sunday

it's an amazing sunday morning. the sun is out yet it's not too hot as there is a gentle breeze blowing.
i've been having a good weekend, startin on friday where f & i went to see Spiderman 2 at midnight at marina sq (which was a construction hellhole but at least the cinemas were still good).
we were talking about how differently the people here dress compared to those in Japan. Singaporeans are generally unstyled, casual, and just can't be bothered. at least that's what i've been noticing this past week. in general, the japanese dress much better, even if it's just a day out shopping they make the effort to dress up. but people here just wear shorts, t-shirts and slippers to go on a date to see a midnight movie. (but let me stress, not me. i was in jeans and a nice-ish top thank you very much)
the movie was fantastic btw, somehow managing to surpass the first one, which i think many thought was impossible cos that was a pretty good movie too. and somehow it was written to be inspiring i guess, the idea that spiderman is just a kid who delivers pizzas, gets shit from his bosses and has to wash his suit at the laundromat.
then yesterday we went to catch bertolucci's The Dreamers. i saw that little snippet of a film review in sunday life and it was hilarious (and prob the first time that i'm agreeing wholeheartedly with a life reviewer) - that bertolucci's just a big pervert. while some parts of the movie was interesting, it turned out to be quite a waste of time. there were flits and bits of philosophical talk which just turned out to be fillers before the nudity and sex came in.
i think the best thing about the movie was the moments where the old films were shown. and the three of them play a game where they act out the scene and the others have to guess which film it's from.
this movie was too pretentious. too scattered. it sounded promising in the beginning with the whole french new wave cinema bits but then bertolucci lets the sex and nudity and hedonism just take over too much of the  film. and then it's all over. and you go, "i dont really know what that was about."'
and i didn't, i still dont really get what he was trying to do. and i dont think he managed to achieve whatever that was.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

not putting on a happy face

i just found out that i have to go to sentosa tomorrow morning at 8am. friday morning. 8 am. what kind of idiots put a media thingy at 8am? that's only reserved for the civil service nuts who force media to get there 2 hours before the VVIPs do.

whatever the hell that job is, 8am is not gonna make me write a nice piece for them. do they not have any idea what time journos begin work? all i can say is there better be coffee. and it better not be super coffeemix. 

Monday, July 19, 2004

crazy or lucky?

two trips to Tokyo in two weeks - is that insane or what?
quite a few pp have said that it's a crazy thing to do but i like to travel. i dont mind the 6 1/2 hr flights, the bad inflight entertainment and the same boring food on UA. (ok maybe a little bit) because i wanted to go back to japan (and yet i also wanted to fly back to Sg instead of staying for another night, but that's my story and i'm not going to tell it to the world)
Anyway here's how it went =
on the bus back from Mt Fuji on the 12th of July, my phone rings and it's the sub asking if i'd wanna go to japan on a junkett to promote an all-male ballet performance. she didnt know i was already in japan and started laughing when i told her.
the details werent too clear and i was kinda tired after the long day on the mountain so i said probably not. but then i thought it over and i was like, hey why the hell not? so i whipped out my long-forgotten Singtel worldcard and dialed the office using my singtel-rented CDMA phone which cost me a bomb to rent but was definitely worth it just to receive that phone call from work!
and that was the beginnning.
and the end was that i got back from tokyo last night after 2 nights at the Tokyo Hilton (hilton whoo!!) near Shinjuku.
The first day was such a hectic one. arrived at narita at 3something, got onto the narita express and made it to the hotel at 5 something. checked in, hopped onto a taxi for Omiya Sonic City where the troupe would be performing (taxi fare cost a bomb - but luckily was paid for by the PR company) and then after watching the amazing performance, went back to Kabuki-cho for dinner (altho we inadvertently ate a korean restaurant - but that was some of the best korean food i've ever had!) and finally went back to crash.
and crash i did. i set my alarm at about 8 (we had an interview at 10), got up and then went back to sleep telling myself 30 more min. next thing i knew it was 930. i jumped into the shower, jumped into the cafe for breakfast and then rushed down to the lobby. 5 min late.
after the interviews, more travelling - this time to Fuchu where the troupe would give another performance. we got to ride on the bus with them and watched their warmups and rehearsal at the theatre where i experienced the second earthquake of my lifetime. this was a slightly more violent one than the first (in LA in the 1990s) and you could hear the light fixtures rumbling. the dancers leapt off the stage whereas the watching schoolkids just sat and giggled at their flightiness.
after catching the first bit of hte performance which we had missed the day before, we decided to head on out and caught a cab back to the hotel and then took the train out to Harajuku where unfortunately many of the shops had already closed by the time we finished our tempura don. but it was a nice pokearound. we also took another look around shinjuku, chancing upon the red-light district where the many many love hotels looked unlike our hotel 81s and instead more like classy, tho very discreetly done-up places.
on the last day, after breakfast we went our separate ways. i headed down to asakusa to buy some souvenirs for forgotten people. and then to shinjuku where i checked out two dept stores and then lost myself in the underground maze. cldnt figure out where to take the hilton bus from so i had to jump into a cab and head back for the hotel. grab my luggage, meet the pr person and head off to shinjuku station again to catch the narita express back to the airport. i love trains! and honestly the subways werent as bad as warned. altho initially the whole jr/subway thing did get me confused.
all in all, a fantastic trip, make that trips to japan.
cant wait to go again.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

are you big in japan?

no probably not but i'm now big on japan!

after spending about a week there (just arriving back in Sing last night at about midnight) i realised just how much i liked the country!

2 nights in yokohama, where we walked a whole lot around the Yamate, Minato Mirai 21, Sakuragi-cho, Isogo areas.
Took a side trip on the way up to Tokyo to the Shomyoji Temple at Kanazawa.

on the 10th went up to Tokyo

taking the train from Tokyo
and visited the Asakusa area (where there was some special religious day from the looks of the throngs of people there at the temple) and the Omotesando area (where all the rich pp shop!)

The shrine at Asakusa, where the smoke is supposed to heal ailments.

11/7 - Odaiba (where there's a HUGE toyota showroom), Shinjuku areas.

Shinjuku in the daytime
 and then to Ikebukuro for Okonomiyaki to celebrate my birthday!

12/7 - went to the Yatsuyo area to settle some necessaries and then spent the whole day at DisneySea!

13/7 - Got up bright and early (6am!) and took the subway to Shinjuku to catch the first bus up to Mt Fuji. Bus took us to the 5th station and we decided to do a little mountain climbing but without the proper gear, clothes and shoes (wearing sneakers!), we could only make it so far.

caught the last bus back and went over to Roppongi area for dinner. had a nice variety of dishes at an izawaya i think it's called. a more casual one than those we had passed by before.

14/7 - last day. woke p at 5!!! headed to the tsukiji fish market to check out the HUGE tunas being carted around. buzz of activity. but prob more interesting to gaijin who haven't been to a wet market before.

check out them tuna!
checked out the Imperial Palace and then to Ikebukuro to browse at Parco, Seibu and Tobu. before heading back to collect our bags, take a train to Narita airport and board the flight back to Singapore.

(this is merely a quick rundown of wat's happened. will add more in the future)

Saturday, July 03, 2004

quick update

thought i'd just update this thing really quick since it's a sunday afternoon altho i do have other things to do, i find myself stuck in front of the PC yet again... how terrible! it's a lovely sunday and i'm considering going swimming. but that's what i did yesterday and i got pissed off by the kids at one end of the pool as it got quite tricky to swim a proper length. so i only did 16 laps and went to lounge by the side of the pool with a book instead.

but barely 20 minutes later, the sky started getting overcast and i decided to hightail it out of there. not a moment to soon as the rain did start peltering down not long after.

but that was my exercise for yesterday. might go for a short run later.

i've been a bit stressed these few days. have a lot of stories to file before wednesday and then things have been running thru my head about this japan trip. i'm hoping all things go well on my travel companion's side since there is no way of contacting him, i can't tell.
but generally accommodation has been settled. we're having to stay in several places in tokyo cos it's incredibly difficult to get cheap places for 4 nights in a row. might be a good thing tho cos i've read someone's blog about one of the places we're going to be at - how it's in a busy (and of course noisy) location. so it's business hotel, a cheap youth hotel for two nights and then the tokyo international youth hostel for the last night.

airticket's settled (i thought it quite a good price at $760 taxes included for a direct flight with UA - altho i dont like UA much. non-direct flights by MAS and Thai cost about $640 or so without taxes so it adds up to about the same price, but with stopovers)

i've not been so involved in any of the trips this year. ok 2 of them were junkets so i didnt have to do any planning. but i honestly was hands-off canada and as for sydney, accommodation was all settled and well... altho sydney''s a city as well, it is definitely not tokyo. not so much planning needs to be involved in a trip down under.

alrighty. hopefully everything will go according to plan and i will be up bright and early on thursday morning for my 0720 flight.