Tag Archives: Japan

New Carving Direction

3 Feb

It’s February already but I must say with the new year and new decade, I thought it’d be good if I embarked on new shapes to carve to expand my collection and ability.

Towards the end of last year, I was debating what I should carve next when my margarita partner sort of decided for me. She was in Japan (last year) and stumbled upon some cute figurines during her travel. And after several exchanges with me on WhatsApp, I decided on this cute little Yew wood piece from Takayama. It’s not cheap, let me tell you.

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My carving/whittling skills have improved tremendously from my first piece to what I am able to do now. But I want to push myself further to do more challenging pieces. So cute little bird will be my mould to try. So stay tuned for the progress on this!

One Cute Little Sad Egg

10 Nov

Recently I have taken a sudden liking to the cartoon character, Gudetama, a depressed little egg yolk with a butt crack and bought two little keychain plushies of this popular Japanese character.

It was M2 who introduced me to it when she showed me her Holika Holika Gudetama Edition Lazy & Joy Dessert hand cream, a gift from her friend. The character tickles me so much so that I have the sad little fella sitting like one fried egg on top of the dashboard in my car and one hanging behind the driver’s seat.

While I do have other favourite characters and collect them, I don’t put any of their plushies in my car. This time, I find myself having two Gudetama in the car! And my sheer driving pleasure increases every time I look at it whenever I have to stop at the traffic light. It’s certainly one appealing cute little sad egg.
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Trying Not To Cry

5 Jan

After three wonderful weeks with M1 home with us for her Christmas holidays, she left for the US this morning. Sniffle…

We had to wake up in the wee hours of the morning, and left for the airport by 4.20am for her 8.00am departure for Japan’s Narita International.

Heaviness filled my heart. No words can express the void a mother feels every time the child leaves home for the pursuit of education. No matter how grown up they have become, they still remain our baby. 

I shouldn’t cry or feel sad. After all, she starts the year as a Junior, midway towards her Food Science degree. Seemed like only yesterday when she left home to bravely travel by herself to start her Freshman year at university. But a Junior now and a seasoned traveler. How time flies.

I must say thank goodness for Skype and WhatsApp. With technology, we are able to get updates during the course of her journey when phones are allowed to be used. And with Skype, we talk frequently during school terms unlike the dinosaur era when I was in college. The only mode of contact was phone calls which were very short and expensive and of course, snail mail which Dad wrote me. A lot.

As always, I will be tracking her on flightaware.com and probably with anxiety as well. By the time this post is published, she would have flown almost two hours for the first leg. Hopefully, there’s no weather delay enroute to San Francisco thereafter.

Safe travels and pleasant flight while I try not to cry… Sniffle.

Eating Healthy

22 Dec

It was a year ago without M1 (as she was in Japan for a student exchange program), the three of us went out for dinner and doing the not-so-last-minute Christmas shopping. When the salad came along with some celery and carrot sticks, the hubby gleefully reached for it and conversationally asked M2 if she ever brought healthy food like carrots sticks to school.

Before I could confirm that query with a nod, M2 said, “Yes, I eat healthy. I bring mac and cheese!”

Home Sweet Home

16 Dec

We went to the airport last night to fetch M1. She was due to touchdown at 7.55pm. Ten days had gone by really fast. During that time, we only heard from her a handful of times as the host family that she was staying with does not have wifi, nor the places that she visited. Basically, contact was occasional but we were not worried.

Her last SMS to me that Sunday morning stated that she will see us in 9 hours. Methinks she can’t wait to come home. I tried to not to keep looking at the clock yesterday, keeping busy meeting some friends, even having lunch with my mother and later, doing some paperwork.

The airport is a place of only two emotions, hubby commented when we arrived at KLIA – one of happiness and the other of sadness. And most times, in opposites in the Departure Hall and Arrival Hall. We stood at the Arrival Hall observing returning travelers and it was interesting to note the many facial expressions and body language of mixed emotions.

Ah! There she is. A smile splits her face, a happy feeling surged in us and a sense of completeness enveloped me. My baby is finally home.

Tired from the long day, enriched from the exposure and experiences for the last ten days, maybe wiser and definitely happy, nothing beats the best feeling of knowing you’re finally home, and home sweet home awaits.

Welcome back M1!

Am I Counting?

12 Dec

It’s Thursday already and we have been going about our things. The first two days without M1 around, we felt incomplete. And when we went out for dinner, the hubby automatically asked for a table for four.

M1 emailed once on Sunday, saying wifi is sparse and her phone has charging problems. But she’s fine and having a wonderful time. So do we feel relief or wonder in darkness? Hmm.

Well, it’s past midway of her ten-days away from us and as long as we busy ourselves, we are doing okay. But still, I think we can’t help but count the days until she’s back.

Bundle Up!

9 Dec

Back in December 2010, we went on a family vacation to Korea and it was right smack during the winter time. And dang, it was cold! Seoul weather was in the low teens and sometimes in single digits even during the day. And when the wind kicked in, goodness gracious! Even the bones were not spared and chilled to no end.

It was the first time for M1 and M2 in such extreme weather conditions and I was worried for them. So I was constantly saying, “Bundle up!” to remind them to do so, every single time before leaving the comforts of the bus or the warmth of a restaurant into the cold blustering winds.

So much so, M2 started counting each time I said that phrase. The cheeky girl.

At the end of the eight day trip, M2 reported that I said that phrase 40 times! My goodness. Did I actually do that? I can be so predictable at times.

Then in November 2012, when we went on another family vacation, this time to the West Coast of the US, that familiar phrase was uttered again. However, as weather was not that extreme the whole time, it was mentioned only in cold places like Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon and San Francisco.

But the girls remembered! They would exchange knowing looks at each other and say out loud, “Yes we know… Bundle up!” Sometimes before I can even open my mouth, M2 especially, would beat me to it, “Mummy? Aren’t you gonna say ‘Bundle up!’?” Hrmph.

I cannot remember at the end of the three-week vacation, what my final tally was…

Now that M1 is in Japan during this cold season sans mummy, I made sure she has enough to bundle up without me having to constantly utter that now infamous phrase.

My Baby’s Sprouted Wings

6 Dec

My firstborn, M1, is 16 years old and all grown up. Several days ago, I was emailing a friend how I am staring at grey strands in the mirror. This evening she leaves the comfort of the home-albeit temporarily-for a 10-day student exchange program to Japan. It was with our blessings and encouragement that she is going on this trip.

I wonder if we will miss her? Hmm.

M2 feels more optimistic as she knows it’s just for a mere ten days. Before we know it, M1 will be back and things will be back to normal. M2 even declared that she will sleep alone at night in their room. Despite the declaration, she has already staked out a comfortable spot in our room for the last few nights! Innocently, I asked, “Are you saving energy?” “Uh-huh!” was the instant reply.

Well, M1 is a baby no more and eventually, her sprouted wings will bring her to new destinations and exciting things in her life. This is something we have to come to terms with.

Initially reluctant about the trip (to Japan), hubby and I pointed out that leaving home is an inevitable step and we should treat the coming 10 days of separation as practice of the eventuality when she’s college-bound.

Sprouting wings and going places are the dreams of most young adults. Even myself. I couldn’t wait to leave for college during my time in the dinosaur era. If I had felt that then, what more my children?

The only way to learn to let go is to nurture them, guide them and encourage the confidence in them.

I think I’m gonna cry…