Lifestyle

Wild Olives @ Changi Airport Terminal 2 Staff Canteen

Meal
 

Wild olives is one of the more popular stalls at Changi Airport Staff Canteen.  During lunch and dinner, it is the stall with the longest queue. The stall is here for the past 12 years, but come 22 May 2016, it will crease operation at this location. 

According to its facebook, it seem like the new operator of the canteen, Kopitiam, put forward unfavorable and unsustainable terms and condition to the stall.

Continue reading "Wild Olives @ Changi Airport Terminal 2 Staff Canteen" »


Hanami (花見) - The Beautiful Season Tourist Guide (Tokyo)

Travel
sakura2

Each year, many local and overseas travellers travel to Japan to see Cherry Blossom. When the Sakura (Cherry Blossom) blooms, it creates a beautiful pink-white foliage. This also signify the beginning of spring. With the coldness of winter subsiding, it is common to gather with friends and family below the Sakura tree with food and sake while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Continue reading "Hanami (花見) - The Beautiful Season Tourist Guide (Tokyo)" »


Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Season 2016 Forecast

Travel
 

Sakura (Cherry Blossom)  Season is one of the most beautiful season in Japan. During this season, a festival Hanami (花見) is held. Hanami is a traditional festival where friends and families gathered to enjoy these beautiful flowers. Sakura only last a week or two on the tree before it starts to fall. This also means the timing is important. 

Here, we provide you with the 2016 Sakura season forecast with data from Japan Weather Association.

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Valentine Day - A day at S.E.A Aquarium

海外生活
 

Valentine Day in Japan is a day where we give chocolate to the guy we love to show appreciation. This traditional is unique within Japan culture. Come 14 March, it will be for the guy to return gift.

At the moment, been in Singapore, we still celebrate the same way as we do in Japan. On the Valentine Day, other than chocolate, we went S.E.A Aquarium.

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Hours after the Tokyo Snow warning...

Yesterday late evening, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a heavy snow warning in several prefecture and Tokyo is one of them. For many visitors and friend aboard who may not have seen snowing, may think that the scene will be nice and beautiful. It is beautiful indeed, but it did also bring about inconveniences. 

At Hachioji Station

At Hachioji Station image from twitter (@fumi_Y37)

This morning, due to the heavy snow, classes were cancelled and many were late for work due to the train delay. There are reports of passengers waiting outside the station up to an hour, this was due to the stations restricting the number of passengers entering into the station.

Yokohama Yokohama

Yokohama image from twitter (@eiskaffee700)

When the snow melt and the temperature remain low, ice will form due to refreezing of water. The melting of snow is rather messy and we have to clear them away from our doors and walkway. 

For tourists from the tropic, please enjoy the snows if you are in snowing area, it is rather rare for Tokyo to have heavy snow, the number of snowing day is definitely lower that the North-East and western regions. Please also take care, it is very slippery. I myself did slipped and fall in snowing day before.


Obento - A great way to clear festival food.

This Tuesday was the first day of work (aka hatsus-shigoto 初仕事), furthermore after new year there are always left over ingredients. This is a good time to make bento to bring to work. 


Obento with Hakusai, Enoki, Pork in Tare sauce

This bento is not difficult to make, it was just some egg with Pork and Vegetable. Maybe next time we will have the recipe for each of the items in the bento.

A bento is easy to bring to work or school, it don't need a lot of them to make also.  Making a good bento will ensure a balance diet and hopefully the person who you made the bento for will appreciate your effort.

I know overseas where I used to base don't have the habit. There are just simply too many food centre and food courts where large variety of food will be served. Even in school, every school has a school canteen. 


Hatsumode 2016初詣

A few days ago, we write about Hatsumode and the New Year. This year is the Monkey year, we pray that all our wishes will come true and everyone will be healthy and feels loved.

Maybe you would be want to know how is 2016 Hatsumode at the different shrine and temple in Tokyo, here we go.

One of our writers wrote about Tokyo Daijingu 「東京大神宮」on her column, Tokyo Daijingu is a famous shrine in Tokyo where many people would go and pray to have good marriage and love.

Tokyo Daijingu on 1st Jan 2016. Image by twitter user 88seshiru Tokyo Daijingu on 1st Jan 2016. Image by twitter user 88seshiru

 

The queue toward Tokyo Daijingu. Image by twitter user yuto28276322 The queue toward Tokyo Daijingu. Image by twitter user yuto28276322

Queue to Tokyo Daijingu Image by twitter user yuto28276322

According a few twitter users, the queue to Tokyo Daijingu was 2 hours.  The queue was all the way to the side of Iidabashi station. That is about 5 minutes walk from the Shrine. 

Next we see how is the hatsumode at Senso-ji. Senso-ji is very popular among tourist too.

image from pbs.twimg.com
Hatsumode at Senso-Ji. Image by twitter user torano_tubuyaki

If you are in Japan now, do visit and enjoy the New Year festive.

You may want to read more about the Hatsumodo and Tokyo Daijingu 


Hatsumode 「初詣」

Other than Hatsuuri「初売り」, first thing to be done on a new year is always usually known as Hatsu-Something. Hatsu mean first in Japanese. So the first prayer at a shrine or temple is known as Hastsumode 「初詣」.

image from upload.wikimedia.org Higashifushimi Inari Shrine. Image by ITA-ATU, from wikipedia.

It is believed that going for Hatsumode is very lucky and will cleanse away the bad luck from the previous year and start a new year with better luck.

Japanese will visit the Shrine or temple to pray for good luck and buy lucky charm or items such as omamori, or any auspicious items. At the same time, old and used lucky items such as omamori are returned to the shrine for them to be disposed in a proper way.

image from upload.wikimedia.org

Praying at Hatsumode. Image by 大阪, from wikipedia

During this period, most popular shrine and temple will be packed with believers going to pray for a smooth sailing and a lucky year ahead. If you happen to be in Japan during the New Year period, maybe you could participate and enjoy it.

How to pray

This may vary with different shrine/temple. So if you are unsure, maybe you can follow the Japanese in front of you.

  1. Ring the bell twice.
  2. Toss you donation into the offering box. (Usually we use coins)
  3. Bow twice
  4. Clap your hand twice
  5. Make your prayer
  6. Bow once

Other than praying, maybe you want to try your luck to have your fortune told by drawing a stick or paper. You can also buy omamori for good luck and protection too.

We hope you could enjoy a memorable trip in Japan during the New Year.  


Apple Japan Stop Lucky Bag Sales 2016

According to Yahoo News Japan (http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20151226-00000029-zdn_pc-sci), it seem like Apple Japan will not have the 福袋 sales 2016

毎年恒例のアップルストア福袋「Lucky Bag」が、2016年は販売されないことが明らかになった。

-Yahoo News

image by from pbs.twimg.com

Queue outside Sapporo Store Jan 2015 Image by Twitter user @oojyo1021

So this coming year, we will not be seeing this scene at the Sapporo store. According to some twitter users, the Apple fan queue in the freeze cold, some the authority had came to check the health of some who seem to be asleep.

The reason given was that Apple wants to provide the same service standard throughout the world. It is further believe it could be due to the resale of the product in the lucky bags and some public order behaviours.

Sorry Apple Fans, no more Apple福袋. 

If this is reversed, we will keep you updated.

 


First Sales of the Year and lucky bag「初売り」と「副袋」

Right after the new year, many shops and departmental stores will have the first sales「初売り」 and lucky bag「福袋」 sales. The original idea of such sales come about due to a belief that there are good luck from the leftover (残り物には福がある). Furthermore, coupled with the superstitious belief that one should not start a year with unwanted goods, it brought about the New Year sales and lucky bag.

初売り(First sales). Wikipedia image by Wkatsuhiro
初売り(First sales). Wikipedia image by Wkatsuhiro

During the new year sales, goods are given a high discount and shopping can buy lucky bag from the store or these days even online. All lucky bags are packed and sealed, shopper will not know its contain until they bought the bag and open it up. 

Shopper are not suppose to open up the bag to see its contain before buying them. Doing so is rude and unethical. 

Queue at the New Year Sales. Image from wikimedia by Wkatsuhiro

Queue at the New Year Sales. Image from wikimedia by Wkatsuhiro

Usually the value of the items in the lucky bag are of a higher value than the price tag of the lucky bag. Therefore, during the new year sales, it is common to see long queue at the shops and department stores to grab up these bags and enjoy the discount offered by the stores.

Some stores will give out premium tickets in advance for their New years sales. These tickets will give the holder certain percentage of discount or an exclusive invitation to the sales. 


Premium ticket from ABC Mart

Such sales and lucky bags are not exclusively to Japan's companies, even Apple has News Year Sales and Lucky bag. Since 2004, the Apple brick and mortar store in Japan has lucky bag sales. Each bag cost around 35,000 yen, the value of items in them exceeded this amount.

image from Twitter user @taivas2918

Macbook Air in the lucky bag in 2015.Image from Twitter user @taivas2918

Items which are maybe included in the bag are:

  • Macbook Air (¥102,800)
  • Apple TV (¥18,400)
  • Beat earphone (¥20,600 )
  • Traveller Charger (¥5,800)
  • Mophie powerstation (¥8,800)
  • Air Jacket (¥5,400; estimate price.)

From what I can see in the picture, the total value is already ¥161,800 and that hasn't include the bag. It is already far exceeded the price tag of one lucky bag. Of course, this should be the most expensive items in the bag.

All lucky bags are packed with random items, but according to consumers who bought them, most would agree that the item value far exceeded the amount paid for the lucky bag.

If you are in Japan, maybe you want to try your luck? There are 3 stores in Tokyo, of which 2 are in shibuya and 1 is in Ginza.

Latest Update (30 Dec 2015):

It seems like Apple Japan is not going to have the Lucky Bag Sales 2016. Read more here