Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday was not so busy...

After a tiring first two days, today was much more relaxed. I only had one more thing to complete for my pre-contract signing thing and I managed to complete it before lunch time. Yay!

I left the house early for two reasons. One, I didn't want to get caught in the rush hour. Two, I wanted to learn how to get to my building.

Having left the house before 630, I reached my destination - Tokyo Station - just after 7. The office is located near Otemachi Station but I wanted to know if I can walk over from Tokyo Station and save 100 yen or so. As I suspected, I can do that. Yay!

The neighbourhood is not new to me. I visited the area last year. The building is a stone's throw away from the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. There is an Issey Miyake, a Comme des Garcons, and Rose Bakery within walking distance. This got Mon and I-van extremely excited. Hehe!

It is definitely a swanky neighbourhood.

By 9, I walked to the other side of Tokyo Station and looked for the errand I wanted to complete today. I managed to complete it in less than an hour. That's Japanese efficiency for you. Hehe!

Initially, I thought of visiting my favourite places - Aoyama and Omotesando. However, I thought better and instead headed back home. I changed into something more comfortable and headed out again. My destination in the afternoon was to look for stuff for the room.

At first, I went to the malls at Kita Senju station but eventually decided to just go to IKEA. I was able to save on the stuff I bought even though the closest IKEA to my house is soooo far away! Haha!

When I got back from IKEA, I thought I'd check out the jogging path I saw when I was walking over to the train station. It is indeed a jogging path.

I went for a 5K run. It's my first run since I arrived in Tokyo and for some reason, I was able to complete 5K without any difficulty. Maybe because the weather was nice? Maybe because I was running along the path next to Arakawa River? Maybe because there was a nice view - the Tokyo Skytree can be seen. In any case, I'm sure the evening run won't be the last one.

Tomorrow, I was also thinking of doing tourist-y stuff but decided I should prepare for work. Hehe! I should be responsible. Also, all these train rides have cost me so much. It's ridiculous. The amount I spend for 2 weeks of train rides in Singapore was used up in 2 days in Tokyo. Haha!

I need to work, work, work to recover all these relocation expenses.

Anyway, with the panoramic view I saw during the run, I could only be grateful to be here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Busy busy Tuesday...

Tuesday was a lot busier.

The day started really early. There were several things on my list that needed to be done today. I managed to finish everything but one.

My day started by going to the Katsushika Ward office. I needed to register my Japan address, register for a social security number and the health insurance. As expected, it was quite fast and efficient.

Afterwards, I needed to get a Japanese number and open a bank account.

I was only able to do the former. For the latter, I was told that I might need a hanko. It's a seal used for official business documents. So, from the ward office, I headed to the hanko shop I researched about. However, it was closed. For what reason? I couldn't tell because I couldn't read the characters. Hehe!

Good thing I had a backup and I went to the other one. The man at the shop didn't speak English. Thankfully, there was a lady who helped translate for me! She is indeed an angel. May she be blessed. I didn't expect the hanko to be really expensive but sigh, what to do? I needed it.

By the time the hanko was done, I went to a mobile phone shop. I researched about a shop in Ikebukuro where there was an English service. The guy was able to explain things to me quite clear and I was able to get my sim fast.

I did not have enough time for the bank account as it was almost 4PM when I finished at the mobile phone shop.

The last agenda for the day was dinner with my friend Makoto and his two kids. I went over to his neighbourhood and we had dinner at one of the izakayas in the area.

Tomorrow morning, that's the first thing on my list. After that, I'm free for the rest of the day. I'm also free on the day after... That means two days of being a tourist.

Not really, because I've been attending to all these errands/documents, I haven't had time to fix the room I'm renting. I need to buy some stuff for the room as they're not provided. I kinda miss my old landlord. Haha!

Oh well, that's Tuesday.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Good first day...

It was a good first day in Tokyo.

The flight arrived ahead of schedule, immigration was smooth, I managed to get the pocket wifi and train ticket on time.

By 1002, I was on board the Keisei Skyliner heading to Otsuka. I booked a hotel for one night since I needed to move around this afternoon.

The whole afternoon was spent at the housing agent. He discussed the conditions of the share house etc etc and I had to sign a lot of papers. After that, we went to the share house.

The neighbourhood was very residential. There were several food places around. I didn't get to meet any of my housemates as they were all away. I just pray that they are all nice people.

By the time we ended, it was already past 5. I thanked the agent and then I headed back to the hotel for a much needed shower.

In the evening, I met up with Dean for dinner and coffee at Ueno. I need to go back to that area. There were some shops I saw that I want to visit. Hehe.

It was a really goood first day! Tomorrow, I need to go to the ward office and do more paperwork. I hope things will continue to be smooth.

There's a typhoon arriving but I hope all will be okay. Prayers prayers.

New week, new day, new city, new country.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wonderful Friday night surprise...

I just got home about an hour ago.

The guys threw a surprise party for me last night. Later on, I found that it was my friend Jon who went through all the trouble to organise the gathering.

I seriously thought that the gathering was for the birthday celeb of @MkSurf8. When I reached the lobby of Amara, @RKGreg fetched me at the lobby so that I could go up to the room.

The sweetest surprise welcomed me as soon as the door opened - my closest friends in Singapore, the most important people in my SG life all gathered together.

It was really a memorable night.

I stayed the night with Jon, Lara and Migs and we had brunch at nearby Group Therapy cafe.

What a wonderful gathering. I was deeply moved by the whole gesture and thank you, thank you, THANK YOU a million times over to @astralcowboy for organising the whole thing.

Now, I'm ready...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Still a Mama's boy...

I brought my Mom to the airport earlier. I have to say I was somewhat emotional while I was waiting for her to get past immigration.

There is a somewhat hidden motive as to why I asked her to come over. I really needed her help with some things these past few days. Though I know I could've managed on my own, it was just a relief to have her here and help out with these things.

Moms really are the best.

Thank you, thank you, Mama! I'm already nearing my 40s but I'm proud to admit that I still need you.

Thursdate with RKGreg and MkSurf8....

Mom and I spent most of Wednesday out and about walking around familiar places.

More about that in another post.

Our day ended with dinner together with two of my good friends here in Singapore - @MkSurf8 and @RKGreg. The two guys invited me to dinner last week but it had to be postponed to this week.

It was a blessing that the dinner was postponed since my Mom also got to meet them.

We had dinner at Wine Connection, definitely one of my fave places (although I didn't spend as much time frequenting it).

It was an evening with good food, a glass of wine, yum dessert, nice chitchat, and terrific friends. Every evening should have endings like this.

Thank you again, @RKGreg and @MkSurf8, for the dinner treat and more importantly, for the kindness right from the start. I'll always be grateful.

And happppppyyyy birthday, MkSurf8!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tiring Tuesday...

Though it's my first day of not having to think about going to work, I still woke up at my usual time - 545.

My Mom was up even earlier. Lol! I prolly got the morning person genes from her.

We did have a lot of things to do, so it was good that we were out of bed early. After having breakkie, we set about to do the things I planned to do for the morning.

By noontime, we prepared to go out. My brother and Tey were both asking for this salted egg chips as pasalubong. However, I have no idea where to find it. Lol! It's as elusive as the chocolate balls that Tey also wants.

Mom and I did cover a lot of ground walking. We alighted at Orchard station, had a heavy late lunch and spent the next few hours just walking around. From Orchard, we took bus 14 to go to Ikea Alexandra.

She wanted to buy chocolates. To my surprise, only the dark chocolates are available. From a poster at the cashier, it seems that the other chocolates were recalled because of possible allergies caused by the pistachio or almonds in the chocolates. So Mom just had to settle for the dark chocolates.

Afterwards, I asked her if she still wanted to go to another mall but she said she just wanted to head back. It's fine by me.

Just now, I went to the library to drop off some books that I no longer read. As soon as I left, I saw an elderly man walk over to the book exchange shelf and browsed the titles that I left. Hope someone would pick up the books, read them, and then pass them on.

Tiring Tuesday. Few more days to go!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thank you, Wiley...

An exciting chapter in my professional life concluded today. The last 5 years at Wiley was filled with meaningful and memorable experiences! Many blessings came my way and my family's because I work with Wiley, because I am in Singapore. For the opportunity to work for a well-respected publishing house, for the amazing experience of working outside of the Philippines - THANK YOU, MARAMING SALAMAT PO!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Waiting for 5JXXX to arrive...

I'm at Changi Airport now.

Mom's flight was scheduled to arrive at 510PM. I just checked the flight info board now and it says the flight will arrive at 6PM. Ugh, it's an hour late.

Hmm, I suspect they boarded in Manila on time but it took forever before the plane managed to take off.

Sigh, it's a good thing I saw Ian and JB. They were in the airport to send off JB's friends who flew in for the weekend to surprise him for his birthday.

I tagged along with them and I managed to kill about an hour and a half with them. Now, I just have to kill another 90 minutes. It shouldn't be too difficult as I did bring things to being while waiting for Mom.

Before coming to the airport, I met up with David and Kok Kuan for lunch. They bought me lunch at a Peranakan place in Joo Chiat. I told Kok Kuan that I want Nonya cuisine and he was kind enough to give in. Hehe!

Our lunch finished early and that's why I'm early at the airport.

Okay, time to get some work done. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dinner at Desmond's Creation...

It's been a crazy week at work and I'm just glad it's already the weekend.

This week is possibly one of the most memorable weeks in my life here in Singapore since I moved in 2011.

To celebrate the end of the toxic work week and the arrival of a weekend, I had dinner with PG Boy, Mon, and Richie.

Err, wasn't sure whether MonRich would be able to join PG Boy and me, but I'm glad that they managed to move some appointments tonight to accommodate us.

Or maybe PG Boy and I just didn't want to decide where to eat... or maybe I was just being too clingy.

We decided to eat Desmond's Creation. It turned out to be a good decision as I was craving for the superb food at the simple place.

After about two hours of dinner and chitchat, we decided to call it a night. MonRich had to meet with their real estate agent as they were moving houses. PG Boy headed back, I also headed back because I need to do my laundry. The weekend is going to be packed because Mom is arriving on Sunday.

Relaxing Friday night!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Busy, busy...

This week has been extremely busy.

A lot of things have been happening, a lot of things are going to happen.

There's a lot to write but I just really have to find the time to sit down and compose my thoughts.

I'll prolly do that later or over the weekend.

In the meantime, I have to head to the first of three meetings for today! TGIF! :)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Afternoon with things that glitter and sparkle...

It was a packed day today.

I'm a bit tired so I'll just post first about what I did in the afternoon. Today is the last day of the The Art & Science of Gems exhibit at the ArtScience Museum. The exhibit featured pieces from the French jewellery house Van Cleef & Arpels as well as some pieces from the French National Museum of Natural History.

It's the last day of the exhibit today and I do know that Mon would be interested to see the exhibit as he loves jewellery. Haha! Unfortunately, Rich couldn't join us as he's still in Manila. Ian is also overseas. Jon had work. Meanwhile, JB was also keen to go.

The three of us met at the entrance to the ArtScience Museum at 420ish and spent the next 2 hours at the exhibit.

It was a wonderful exhibit. Of course, seeing all the precious gems and stones was awesome. However, what I really admired was the craftsmanship of the men and women behind the jewels. Amazing, just amazing. One can really see the passion and the dedication to create beautiful things in the works.

One of the highlights of the exhibit was a section showcasing the jewellery owned by some of the world's most stylish women includng Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace of Monaco, and the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson. What I loved the most were the gorgeous vanity cases! I want one! Haha!

I read an article about the exhibit and I simply loved this quote from the president of the French National Museum of Natural History, “There is a difference between the value and the price. It has big value, but I don’t know the price because we do not intend to sell it. It has big historical value and mineralogical value. It is something completely exceptional.”

I couldn't agree more!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Train to Busan...

I watched Train to Busan last night with JB and Jon.

It was gooood!

Uhm, I don't really watch horror flicks because I have an active imagination. You can't make me watch The Conjuring, Insidious, or anything similar. I just can't.

They are too real for me.

Meanwhile, I can stand zombie films and apocalyptic films. Haha! Is that weird?

Anyway, I absolutely enjoyed Train to Busan. I kept hearing good revs about it and now I understand why. Glad I chose to watch it over Suicide Squad. Hehe!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Happy 51st birthday, Singapore...

Today, I only want to say...

Happy birthday, Singapore!


The First Monday in May...

Last night, I finally got to watch the documentary The First Monday in May.

I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary.

If there's one reason why I would really want to visit the United States, it's because I want to visit the Met museum. (The other reason I would really want to go visit is Broadway. Haha!)

For a couple of years now, I've been following the Met Ball. It's held every first Monday of May (hence, the title of the documentary).

More than the parade of celebrities in their couture dresses and so on, I really want to know what the theme of the exhibit will be.

This documentary allowed me not just to have a glimpse into the most recent exhibit, it allowed me to see all the work that goes into putting up the exhibit.

Amazing, just amazing!

I would defo want to see this docu again!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Por Kee dinner with the guys...

Zi char - one of the things I have grown to love when it comes to eating in Singapore.

Maybe because it reminds me of how meals are done in my home in Manila (or in almost every Filipino home, I guess). Maybe because any zi char meal is a great opportunity to hang out with family or friends and have a great time.

I can't remember the first zi char place I went to in Singapore but I do remember some of the goods ones I've been to.

Last night, I invited the guys to dinner at Por Kee Eating House in Tiong Bahru. It's one of my favourite zi char places in the island. They have really good coffee pork ribs but I believe the one dish everyone must try is the homemade beancurd.

It is super!

I'm glad that most of the guys haven't been to Por Kee. It was only Sarge who had a memory of the restau. I'm guessing we ate at the place a loong time ago, possibly during PG Boy days.

When I arrived at the place at 730PM, it was already busy. No, it was extremely busy. It was a good thing that I called a week ago to make reservations. Otherwise, it would've been a disaster for us. Hehe!

The guys enjoyed the food. I enjoyed the food and their company. Too bad Chris and Jin weren't able to join us as they are on holiday in Surabaya.

After dinner, we bought some desserts at Tiong Bahru bakery and took the bus to JB's and Ian's new place at Redhill for dessert, drinks, and more chitchat.

Last night was a gooood Saturday night!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Snail mail!!!

I think I'm one of the last few people who still send postcards (haha!) and I'm glad that I'm getting some friends to do the same. Yay!

These are the most recent postcards I received from friends.

Ann Marie was in the UK for a few weeks. She was thoughtful enough to ask my snail mail address.

By the time she returned to Singapore, her postcard also arrived. It's a lovely postcard.

Having binged on Game of Thrones during the time it arrived, the first thought that came to mind when I saw the postcard was, "Wow, this is so Game of Thrones. Wonder if I can find Winterfell here." Hehe!

Meanwhile, the other postcard is from Tipz.

I have a Facebook album for postcards I receive from friends. When I saw Tipz's postcard, I had to pause for a minute to think if I should cover up a portion of the lower right quadrant or if I should leave it as it is.

A few months ago, Tipz sent another postcard, which I'm surprised didn't get confiscated by Singpost. Hehe! That one was rather controversial. Haha! I chose to post it without any blurs because I wanted to respect the artist behind the image on the postcard - Ai Wei Wei.

For the Byron Bay postcard, hmm I felt it would be a bit more hard to justify the image to my friends who are parents/conservative/prude. LOL!

I ended up putting a Pokemon Go ball on it. Hehe! Here on my blog though, I'll post it as it is.

Thank you, Ann Marie and Tipz, for the postcards! I'm excited to send new postcards soon!

Keep snail mail aliveeeee!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Flowers, flowers, flowers...

Here are some photos from the SG Garden Fest and the Orchid Show at the Gardens by the Bay.

Since Sunday was the last day of the Garden Fest show, it was expected that the event was going to be crowded.

There was a part of the exhibit entitled "Floral Windows to the World." The hall featured a showcase of flower arrangements that were designed by local and international floral designers. I found that to be the best part of the exhibit.

From the SG Garden Fest, we walked to the nearby Flower Dome to check out the Orchid Show. Again, it was packed but it was quite pleasant since the dome had AC. Haha!

The orchids were just pretty, really pretty. I guess it does take skill to grow the orchids. The flowers were really lovely to look at.

Our day ended with a much-deserved dinner and chitchat at one of the cafes at the neighbouring MBS. It was a good Sunday!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Weekend with friends...

It was quite a packed Saturday.

In the morning, it was over at Boon Keng for a BBQ gathering with Jon and my ex-colleagues Arlyn, Joann.

In the afternoon, I was in Mountbatten for a gathering with fellow museum volunteers. One of our friends recently gave birth so we dropped by to say hello to the new parents and their wonderful baby.

Sunday was just as busy. Hehe.

Jon had free tickets to the SG Garden Fest. Together with our other friends, we tropped to the Gardens by the Bay where the event was held.

Since it was the last day of the event, it was packed.

The tix also included a free entrance to the Flower Dome, where the current theme is orchids. The place was also crowded. Hehe! It was a bit of a challenge to appreciate all the beautiful flowers.

Tiring weekend but good one.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Hey, August...

Can't believe it's already August.

Come on, August. It's going to be an exciting month! :P