Week 19

Shafiq flew off to Bromo this morning for a 4 day bro-trip. After sending him to the KTM station I went back home and decided to make myself breakfast. Boiled the water for some oats and while trying to reach something in the overhead cupboard my thigh accidentally hit the boiling kettle. Ouch. Now i have thing angry deep red burn on my thigh :/

Then while cleaning out a thermos I decided to rinse it with hot water (I tend to do that a lot. Germs. yuck) I started to shake the closed thermos but I guess the lid wasn’t secure so hot water kinda spewed everywhere. Good thing it was in a very fine spray so I didn’t get burned twice in the same morning =.=

I seem to be getting clumsier by the day. Dropped my phone a few days ago and the screen cracked. A few weeks ago things kept on slipping through my fingers. Pills, rings, glasses, you name it. I think it has to do with the amount of lotions and oils I’ve been slathering all over myself.

Today you moved around a lot in the afternoon. Maybe you miss your daddy as much as I do :'(

Japan Pt7 – Tokyo day 3: Tokyo West!

Part 1    |    Part 2    |    Part 3    |    Part 4    |    Part 5    |    Part 6

Many of the major must see places according to various sites and travel guides were clustered around the west side of Tokyo. For this leg of the journey a lot of the places were on the JR Yamanote line, so we had to purchase additional tickets.

Akihabara & Shinjuku

We decided to keep the main players of Tokyo for the full day with the boys, so after grabbing some breakfast and lunch at the supermarket near the hostel we headed off to Akihabara, the electronics and otaku centre of Tokyo. It was another scorching hot day but we braved the sun and headed over to Yodobashi camera, the huge electronics megastore because Munira wanted to get some instax film. We spent quite a while there, mostly on the toys floor trying out different games and toys that were sold. After that we walked over to the Tokyo Anime Centre, which was quite disappointing I think. It was just a small gallery in a big building. Maybe it was also because I’m not really into anime kot.

super huge (and this one was considered small) momo! it was sooo juicy and delicious and refreshing

out of place

no idea what most of the stuff here was. rasa mcm such a wasted opportunity. 

cute pirate ship thingies


finally someone I know!

trying out Mario kart at the Nintendo stations

I wasn’t very good at it but it was fun!

we all scream for toy ice cream

this one’s for my mom (no we didnt buy it)

my new friend

the quite disappointing anime centre

no idea who these are

the fan that saved the day

Afterwards we just wandered around the colorful streets looking for maid and cat cafes for the fun of it. I don’t know why, maybe it was store policy or you have to be a paid customer, but whenever we tried taking pictures of maid café promoters they’d always hide. Strange.

so bright! so colorful!

the only maid cafe maid we managed to sneak a picture of

We headed over to the Shinjuku area afterwards to go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Tocho) for a free 360° view of the Tokyo metropolis. There are two towers, and from my research it was said that the South tower had slightly more interesting views, so we lined up to take the express elevator all the way up to the 45th floor. Tokyo seemed to go on forever and ever! It wasn’t a perfectly clear day though, so we couldn’t really see Mount Fuji unfortunately. Still, I’d highly recommend going up to the observatory. It definitely helped me get my bearings and gave me a better perspective on how sprawling Tokyo really is. Me and Munira ate our onigiri lunches up in the tower and after refilling our water bottles at the water fountain we headed back down and took the train over to Harajuku.

cute car ^__^


traditional japanese armour shop

the cocoon

Tokyo Metropolitan Government 

huge central plaza

shinjuku skyscrapers

That patch of green is Yoyogi Park, next to which is one of the Olympic sites for Tokyo 2020


I think the altitude got to us coz we were so giddy and excited when we saw this mascot

Harajuku & Omotesando

Harajuku station on the Yamanote line was surprisingly very small, I had expected it to be bigger, being a major attraction and all. The station is right across from the entrance to Yamshita-Dori, the main street to visit. It was crowded with people, with a very high percentage of them being teenage girls. Well the travel guide did say that Harajuku was the go to place for young adult girls to see, be seen, and shop. Most of the shops there were bright pink, though scattered in between them were drastically different goth/punk shops too. We stopped by a Daiso to shop for some souvenirs and then headed on down the road.

don’t be fooled, this was a guy

takeshita dori

overwhelming pinkiness

any trip to Japan is incomplete without a visit to daiso imho

the only fully outfitted lolita girl we saw..and only from the back too

taking it all in

we didn’t go up

stopped by a very pink cafeteria and posed like japanese girls. we were trying to fit in :p


showing us how its done

much needed relief from the heat

the boys surely felt very out of place. everything was pink and 99% of the patrons were girls hahaha. tula nak sangat makan kebab

At the end of the road the small shops opened up into a wide promenade of multistory mega stores. Inexplicably, the streets were lined with people just sitting around doing nothing in particular. They didn’t even look like they were waiting for anything/anyone. Just…sitting. On the sidewalks. Like it was perfectly normal. Don’t get me wrong, I love sitting on the sidewalk too sometimes, but this was like, a whole other level. So many people were doing the same kind of nothing. Haha.

monster of an H&M store. didnt enter either

inexplicable loitering

spot munira!

We turned down a corner onto Omotesando street, where more supposedly a different kind of crowd would flock to, being lined with upscale brands much like Ginza. Obviously we didnt enter any of them. Instead we went to the Oriental Bazaar, which is kind of a deceiving name because its not so much a bazaar as it is an air-conditioned shop selling all manner of Japanese souvenirs, for the tourists who didnt feel like trawling through the narrow streets of Asakusa and bargain hunting. But being Japanese, (I recall something I read/heard about the Japanese etiquette of not undercutting)  the prices here didnt differ so much compared to stalls elsewhere, so we decided to finish off our souvenir shopping once and for all. We got t-shirts for the boys in my family and an antique silk embroidered obi for my mom. the obi was so beautiful and was quite cheap, only Y900, whereas new ones cost upwards of Y20,000 or more.

Shaded Omotesando

Pretty prints that were surprisingly not so expensive

Munira’s project

Tokyo Camii

Shopping done, we walked over to the metro station and hopped on a train to Yoyogi-Uehara, only a few stops away, to visit the Tokyo Camii. It was really nice to have a proper place to pray and relax for a bit, Alhamdulillah. The masjid itself was small (by Malaysian standards of course) but very beautiful. The masjid was built by the Turkish, and the lower floors of the masjid housed the Turkish embassy and gallery/shop. Inside the main prayer hall was the most beautiful masjid chandelier I had ever seen. It was quite simple, composed of arabic letters, but that’s what made it even more elegant. We spent quite a while at the masjid just resting and taking pictures and chatting with the Muslims who were there to pray. 

compact and wonderful

entrance to the gallery

you have to go up the stairs to get to the prayer halls


i absolutely loooved the chandelier

tgh jakun

beautiful Masha’Allah

door details

at the entrance to the main prayer hall

that wooden structure on the right is the stairway to the lower levels, where you can find the wudhu areas, toilets, and access to the gallery

taking a breather


After leaving we made our way to Shibuya, and by this time it was already dark. The first time we were in Shibuya we just lingered around the station and swarm crossing, but this time we actually crossed the street and explored the surroundings. It was Sunday night so it wasn’t super packed as I imagine Saturday or Friday night to be, but there were still so many people walking around. We were getting quite hungry so we stopped by a restaurant that Sue recommended back in Sapporo (Hanamaru) and sat down to steaming hot bowls of scrumptious Udon. We walked some more but ended up getting lost trying to find the train station so we backtracked to the Shibuya crossing and headed home after a long day out.

she needed to get 10000! i think we were number 2000something

cutie patootie

outside the shibuya station they were having a TPPA protest. This picture has nothing to do with that but i forgot to take a picture of the guy on the crate so yeah

dem bois

muka penat tapi happyyy

stopped by hard rock cafe sbb ade orang kirim tshirt


Part 1    |    Part 2    |    Part 3    |    Part 4    |    Part 5    |    Part 6

Japan Pt6 – Tokyo Day 2: Food, Fashion, and Festivals

Japan Part 1   |   Japan Part 2   |   Japan Part 3   |   Japan Part 4   |   Japan Part 5

Tsukiji Fish Market

A lot of people suggested that we go to the Tsukiji Fish Market, which I wasn’t too sure about because let’s face it: it’s a fish market and I hardly ever go to fish markets in Malaysia anyway. But since it opened early and so many people recommended it, and we wanted to get some food, we went there the next morning, but not super early to catch the auction because that would require us to be there at 3am O.o We went around 10 am, and it was definitely more interesting than i thought it would be. Most of the time there we spent in the outdoor market, where vendors were selling all sorts of weird looking creatures/plants/things. Everything was super fresh, and surprisingly didn’t smell of fish so much. I think the seafood section in Giant smells more.

We decided to have brunch at the market, and popped into a sushi bar to have fresh sushi, and boyyy was it good! The fish was so fresh and delicious ahhhh! Energised and with happy tummies we continued walking through the market, which was full of people, both buying things, and tourists. A lot of the stalls had samples out and the vendors eagerly invited people to try their food. We tried some teriyaki scallops, which were of course delicious. Then we walked over to the wholesale market where the real pasar basah is, but since it was already late morning, most of the activity had died down and people were cleaning up after the morning’s activities.

so fresh and so clean

all manner of pickles

look at that delicious slab of fish! i think its tuna

make your own matcha

our deeeelicious brunch

the far left was lightly broiled tuna, sangat sedap!!

made on the spot just for you

the shop was called sushi zanmai, i don’t know if its the same one as the branches in malaysia. 

happy sushi eater

souvenir shopping

HUGE crabs

huge fresh oysters

teriyaki scallops testers so sedapppp

such a beautiful shoplady. Macam dalam anime

traditional pottery

cute chopstick holders

colors and patterns

the wholesale market


clams and such

huge squid

aftermath. le decapitated tuna heads

Ginza, Marunouchi, and The Imperial Palace East Gardens

We decided to take the train to Ginza just to see the glitzy side of Tokyo (yes, right after mingling with seafood :p ) Glamorous coats, dresses, and bags filled tall, shiny shop-windows. Fall fashion was starting to come in, my favourite fashion season. Of course we didn’t enter any of the shops because they were the likes of Gucci, Pucci, Chanel, Dior, LV etc. We went to the Tokyo International Forum afterwards, but not before getting a bit lost trying to find it.

felt a little bit like New York, or at least what I imagine New York to be like

ooh la la

fossil shop

cute boots

i think this was Diane von Fürstenberg. i liked the quotes

japanese, fashionable everywhere

we saw this building from afar and came closer to see what it was. it was a kindergarten. a freakin kindergarten. oh ginza you fancy fancy neighborhood

kereta kecil warna merah


another outlet of sushi zanmai 😀

tokyo international forum. like being inside a whale, or underneath a viking ship. me like!

none indeed. at the forum shop

It was noon and we needed to find a place to pray, so we decided to get on the free shuttle buses that looped around the Marunouchi area and get off at the Imperial Palace East Gardens. There are two gardens that are open to the public here, the larger Honmaru Gardens and the smaller Ninomaru Gardens. Munira really wanted to see a proper Japanese garden (one we could enter, because the imperial gardens in Kyoto we could only see from a distance) so we went to Ninomaru first. It was a bit hard finding a corner to pray though, since most of the garden is quite manicured. But we found some wooded area and took turns praying there.

Compared to the Imperial Palace gardens in Kyoto, the ninomaru gardens seemed a little sparse, but it was still very beautiful. After wandering around for about an hour we headed over to the Honmaru Gardens, which was quite empty. It looked more like an activity park because of the wide, open grass spaces. One thing that was really nice was throughout the gardens they have rest houses, which at first I thought were bathrooms, but actually they are proper rest houses. Little air-conditioned huts that sell drinks and ice cream and a small selection of souvenirs. Great for cooling down and resting after a hot sweaty walk through the gardens.

At the exit of the gardens there was a small museum, and because it was free and air-conditioned we went in. The exhibit that was currently being held was a collection of clothes worn by the imperial prince when he was a little boy. The furisode (long sleeved kimono) were so beautiful, and cute since they were tiny :3 too bad we couldn’t take any pictures there though.

Tokyo station

approach to the imperial palace east gardens

roofs 🙂


ninomaru japanese garden

2 old men had huge cameras with huger lenses and were stalking these butterflies at length


spot the tourist

photo by munira

one of the many photographers that spent so long patiently photographing everything


marunouchi business skyscrapers in the background, imperial gardens in the foreground


my sistah



free but ticketed entry

fashionable japanese ladies are fashionable

trains, ever punctual, ever reliable

super long paper mural on display in one of the train stations

Asakusa surprise

Muhsin and his friend were arriving in Tokyo that afternoon and we had arranged to meet at Sensoji temple, Asakusa, at 6pm. Asakusa is a district which is a part of old Tokyo, hence its known as the historic touristy part. We’d seen a lot of history-related things in Kyoto, so the real main reason for going to Asakusa was to check out Nakamise, the souvenir shopping street.

We got to Asakusa station around 5pm, and the station was crowded with people. We didn’t think much of it, being a weekend and all, but once we got to the ground level there were even more people! So many people lining the streets and music playing and noise and people and more people. It was very confusing. As it turns out, we had stepped right into the annual Samba Parade Festival. Haha! Totally unexpected being in the historic part of Tokyo.

i have noooo idea

tourist information centre that we didnt go to


We had an hour til we were due to meet up so we made our way to Nakamise. There were so many interesting shops selling souvenirs and delicacies but we didn’t really buy anything since we already got most of our souvenirs from Kyoto. I did cave in and get a small handkerchief for myself since I really loved the traditional Japanese printed fabrics.

Nakamise stretches for about 250m, and ends at the gate to Sensoji temple. So we walked around looking for Muhsin but we couldn’t find him. None of us had internet or phone lines so we couldn’t contact Muhsin, so we decided to sit down and wait. An hour later he still hadn’t shown up and we were getting worried, so we backtracked twice along Nakamise but we still couldn’t find him. Then I remembered the metro station had limited free wifi, so we went there and quickly asked Mushin where he was. As it turns out he just got to the hostel, since moving with super huge and very heavy baggage made their journey to the hostel much more difficult and time-consuming than we expected. But it was good to know he was safe.

About half an hour later they arrived and we showed them around the area while looking for a place for them to eat since they hadn’t eaten anything the whole day. Unfortunately it was already 8ish so most shops were closed. We did manage to find one, even though it looked like a bar, but it was the only one that had fish and plain rice, whereas other places had questionable looking meat.


window shopping commence!

pretty pretty fabrics

selipar jepun

hard at work making snacks

prints and postcards

non-foldable fans

paper lanterns


not so kawaii

i loooved the fans but sooo mahal

traditional fabric shop

umbrelly brollies

cute neko

more umbrellas


beautiful folding fans

making red bean paste filled kuih thingies called ningyoyaki

i was trying to look like him

at which point these groovy dudes were surrounded by cooing and kawaiiiiii
the cat looked like it was high
at the second gate, Hozomon gate
people lining up to…pray i think?

dusk falls, my favorite time to photograph the sky

love the colors

Sensoji Temple’s Hanzomon gate from Nakamise-dori

yay jumpa! yay makan! yay orang ambikkan gambar!

 We were thinking of going to the Tokyo Metropolitan Office observation deck since it closed late, but everyone was quite tired and we didn’t know if we’d make it there in time, so we ended the day just taking a relaxing stroll along the Sumida river park before heading back to our hostel.

Tokyo Skytree, the tallest broadcasting tower in the world i think


Total expenses:¥1430
Brunch: ¥730
Souvenirs: ¥200
Ice cream:¥100

Japan Part 1      

Japan Part 2 

Japan Part 3

Japan Part 4

Japan Part 5

Japan Pt5 – Tokyo day 1!!! Heat and Heaven

Japan Part 1   |   Japan Part 2   |   Japan Part 3   |   Japan Part 4

We landed in Narita Airport and my first stop was the tourist information centre where we picked up train maps, a tourist map, and a tourist guide book. The night before I researched the available day passes for Tokyo railways, and decided to get the Tokyo Metro Open ticket, since our hostel was on one of the lines and the Tokyo metro also operated most of the lines to the places we wanted to go to, and they had more lines than the Toei and JR lines. I was unsure which pass to buy at first, but in the end we bought the 2 day pass for ¥980, and it turned out to be an excellent choice, since we traveled a lot more than tickets worth.

as advertised

O.O thank goodness we went to Kyoto and Sapporo first. Rail-wrangling training wheels compared to this monster
very handy and very worn by the end our the trip. literally falling apart and only held together by some washi tape i bought

Feeling the heat

We didn’t expect this, but Tokyo was EXTREMELY hot. And this coming from someone who lives in hot, humid Malaysia. Tokyo was wayyy hotter. The first day we were there temperatures in the late afternoon was 37 degrees, and when we arrived at around noon it was so much worse. I have never in my life sweated so much just standing still, under the shade. Found out when we came back to Malaysia that apparently there were several cases of people passing out because of the heat in Tokyo that weekend. O.o

The hostel we had booked for our stay in Tokyo was Tokyo Backpackers, which had a lock out policy between 11am-4pm, around the time that we arrived. Thankfully we were able to drop off our bags and get on with the day. If you’re going to Tokyo, I highly recommend this hostel. It’s clean, has great facilities, convenient location, and is very spacious, almost unheard of in hostels and in Japan especially. the only thing missing was a water cooler for refilling our water bottles.

really spacious dorm room
Common area downstairs

We bought lunch from the 7-11 near the hostel, and since we were extremely hungry, stopped by Ueno Park just to have lunch. After wolfing down our onigiris we walked around the park, which was quite full of people. we headed to the International Library of Childrens Literature, mostly because it was air-conditioned, and because Munira works for Ana Muslim so I thought it’d be good to check out.

What we noticed immediately about Tokyo as compared to Kyoto and Sapporo was it was a lot bigger, and a lot grittier. the park had a lot of homeless people lazing around, whereas in Kyoto and Sapporo we never saw any. It was still clean, being in Japan and all, but more worn and grimy than the other places.

didnt get to go to Fushimi Inari in Kyoto, so made do with these torii gates

Sakura promenade. imagine this in sakura season *o*

International Museum of Children’s Literature renovated by Tadao Ando
traditional against modern. Museum designed by Le Corbusier

baru tengok sesak sikit dah jakun….


After Ueno we headed to Jimbocho, which was one of the places we would have missed if it wasn’t for the guide book we got from the airport. And thank goodness we didn’t give it a pass because it was HEAVEN! Jimbocho is kind of like the book district in Tokyo, there are over 160 bookshops selling over 10 million second hand and new books, all within walking distance. Most of the books are Japanese but there are some shops that sell English books as well. You can get books about anything here. the first shop we entered was filled with hentai, which we didn’t realize at first, but we quickly stepped out and went to see other shops.

Munira was looking for children’s books for her boss, and I was just browsing. One of the shops was a 4 story book shop with a cafe on the ground floor and reading balconies on each floor, so quaint! another shop, called The Bohemian’s Guild, was packed with arts and graphics and design books, and its upper floor had artwork for sale. There was a bookshop that at first we didn’t enter because it looked like a supermarket, which was true, but it turns out it was a supermarket for books. 6 huge floors full of books. I think we went a bit crazy there haha. Good thing too that we decided to go on the day that my brother wasn’t with us because I’m sure he would have been bored.

the calligraphy books were really interesting, they opened out into one long, folded sheet.

some shops had traditional art prints for sale

loveeed this place

bookshop + cafe

pop-up books

haven for design books

some of their art books

all along the staircase

the design books shop 

street called heaven

saw this place but didnt go in. i think it was part of a karaoke bar

Jimbocho Theater building

Awesome book showing Miyazaki’s original storyboards

cute 🙂

no i didn’t buy that bag…saje pose sbb mun suruh. this was inside the book supermarket (Sanseido)

Happy shopper – also, check out the Metro station art in the background. Books 🙂

We decided to pop over to Shibuya just for the heck of it (actually, to get our days worth of train rides as Munira put it, even though we probably already had) to see the famous scramble crossing. Friday night and it was definitely crowded. So many people eveywhere! So many bright (but surprisingly not blinding and quite pleasant) lights! So much going on! we just had to stand still and take it all in with huge grins on our faces heehee. Definitely an experience, being in the middle of so many people who, at the flick of a light, just mobilize and turn into a scrambling swarm. Incroyable. Night was falling so we headed back to our hostel to check in and have dinner (maggi) before passing out.


😀 yes I realize I still have sunglasses on my head despite it being night time already. haha


Total expenses for the day: ¥8780
Metro Open ticket (2 days) :¥980
Airport transfer ticket: ¥1200 (Keisei Main Line Rapid)
Hostel: ¥2100/night for 3 nights = ¥6300
Lunch: ¥300

Japan Part 1

Japan Part 2

Japan Part 3

Japan Part 4

Japan Pt 4 – Sapporo with Muhsin :D

Japan Part 1
Japan Part 2
Japan Part 3

After arriving at Sapporo New Chitose Airport we took the train out to Sapporo where we planned to meet Muhsin. The station was huge but thankfully Muhsin was there at the gates to meet us. It’s been three months almost, since we last saw him! Peluk tanak lepas >.< We dropped off our bags at Muhsin’s hostel, a 10 minute walk away, and after a quick onigiri lunch, we headed back to Sapporo station to go to Otaru. We bought the Sapporo-Otaru welcome pass, which was Y1500 and came with a one day subway pass and return tickets to Otaru, which is quite a deal.

traditional way of showing train destinations in Sapporo station, by hanging plates on wires along the platforms.

Otaru and Odori Park

Otaru is a seaside port town half an hour outside of Sapporo. It was the site of the first laid railway tracks to connect the canning and fishing town to Sapporo. The old canal and buildings around the town are quite different, we kind of felt like we were in Europe. It was actually quite interesting to see how a functioning industrial are/port could still be a tourist attraction. Spent the afternoon strolling along the canal, eating ice-cream, and catching up. I really missed Muhsin!

lompat separa-jadi

tour bus that we didn’t get on. Walking is the way to go for us

Yayyyy again 😀

one of the entrances to the canal

old cannery along the canal

students on a school trip. they were all drawing

trying to recreate the statue back there

yuppies off to board their yacht la konon

Otaru masjid

Someone’ magical backyard. Thats the old railway track, the first in Hokkaido


one of the port tycoon’s manors

manor and canal park

squished on to a swing 😀

Girl with the red shoes and her parents. literally thats the title of the statue

swimming in the canal

Muhsin belanja softu cream
walking through a dog park
pose and jump!
love otaru

by the docks
sights and activity around the docks

old architecture
some of the preserved buildings which were mostly canning warehouses, and the main crossing in Otaru, Victoria crossing

felt like europe

strolling along the preserved district

these cost a million yen, not kidding 😐
Some shop details around Otaru. Gigantic Takoyaki but we didnt buy it because we didnt know if it was halal or not, probably not. Recycled metal sculptures, Random cat statues, and beautiful stained glass.

resting our feet outside the stained glass shop.

Beautiful sunset scenery on the train back

We considered going to Sapporo Dome to indulge in Japan’s favorite sport, baseball, afterwards, but it was a bit late to get tickets so we decided to just go and have dinner and walk around Sapporo city’s Odori Park instead.

Muhsin brought us to a japanese place where we ate unadon and forgot to take pics beforehand because we were so hungry and it was mm mm goooooodd. Also managed to watch some of the baseball game we didn’t get to go to.
best unagi sushi I’ve had ever ever.
odori park and street performers. that ball of light is a fire dancer

light painting in odori park

In Sapporo we stayed at Muhsin’s friend’s apartment, the lovely Sue Yee. Such a lifesaver for graciously hosting both me and my sister The next day we didn’t really have anything planned. Actually for this whole leg of the trip I planned on taking it easy and going with the flow. So we followed Sue to the Hokkaido University that morning to meet up with Muhsin, who had some stuff to take care of. in the meantime, we walked around the beautiful campus.

Hokkaido University

Hokkaido University started out as an agricultural college before growing into what it is today, so they have large expanses of farming land for research, and even preserved a portion of the university’s original buildings into an outdoor museum which we checked out in the morning.

Some of the old barns and original buildings in Hokkaido University

There was a University Museum which was free so we checked that out. It was really quite interesting. there was a special exhibition going on, Giant Crocodiles vs Dinosaurs. Very cool. The museum building itself was really nice too, kinda felt like we were in Hogwarts.

The gorgeous University Museum building. We arrived the same time as a group of deaf Japanese schoolchildren coming on a school trip.
‘Boys, be Ambitious’ is the University’s motto.  Some of the exhibits: Sustainable models, The university’s nobel prize in chemistry, and some bugs.

Some awesome skeletons

More chemistry stuff. People used to have such nice penmanship!

Kuma, giant croc, more bugs, and a sweet deer

origami dinosaurs, looking at geology through a micriscope, and a cool exhibition about compressing numbers
University blueprints. All hand drawn and so precise and detailed hamek kau sectional detail

hogwarts hogwarts hoggy warty hogwarts (with dinosaurs)

Muhsin had shown us pictures of a sunflower field in the university so we set off looking for it, passing through a beautiful garden and into the Poplar avenue, but we couldn’t find it anywhere so we headed back to Mushin’s faculty for lunch and prayers at the International Students office, where we met some of Mushin’s friends who decided to show us where the field was. As it turns out though, they had uprooted the entire field just a few days before. :/ but looking at the cows was fun too 🙂

flowering shrubs garden

beautiful polar avenue

me and mun shared a bowl of yummy soba

didnt find the sunflowers but i got excited about the cows in the background

Shiroi Koibito and goodbyes

We decided to go to Shiroi Koibito Park outside the chocolate factory afterwards, and even though it wasn’t in peak bloom, it was still really beautiful and fun. And the chocolates we bought were deeeelicious! There was a free old toy museum so we checked that out too.

short side trip to ‘ol blighty

quaint english rose garden

the roses smelt wonderful, and thats a real apple!
come in, come in!
lotsa cute little playhouses around the park
hope dysentery keeps away

flowerbed, literally kinda


bubbles! bubbles! bubbles!



making candy

apparently every tourist place in japan has these commemorative stamp thingies. baru tauuu

yummylicious chocolate drink. so smoooth
hangin out with Mozart, Mona Lisa, and ‘ol Pinocchio himself

astro boy blueprints
astro boys
cool old toys

Stopped by a second hand bookshop on the way back from Shiroi Koibito, they have tons of them everywhere in Japan. Munira got a few books for her boss, and we went on our way to Maruyama Park (the Sapporo version, they re-use names a lot here) Our plan was to catch the sunset from the top of the hill, but it was raining, and by the time we got to the park it was already past dusk, so we just walked around. Went to the Sapporo Masjid for prayers afterwards, and then we joined some of the Malaysian International Students Association for a farewell dinner for the interns, including my brother. Dinner was delicious (the cheese naan was to dieeee for!!! the cheese was soooooo gooooood!!) but the company was just as enjoyable 🙂

Some members of MISA. Arigatou Gozaimashita guys for taking good care of my little brother 🙂 pic from Alfarina

Spent our last night in Sapporo at Sue’s place and got up super early to catch the bus to the airport for our flight to Tokyo. There was a bit of a panic phase where we woke up late and had to really rush for the bus, and then reaching the airport and forgetting one of my bags on the bus after it had left the airport, but it was all good, Alhamdulillah 🙂

Goodbye Sapporo, Tokyo, here we come!

Expenses in Sapporo: ~¥6000
CTS to Sapporo:¥1040
Lunch day 1:¥250
Sapporo-Otaru Welcome Pass:¥1500
Dinner day 1:¥700
Lunch Day 2:¥300
Dinner day 2:¥500
Chocolate stuff at Shiroi Koibito:¥650
Bus to CTS: ¥1000

Japan Part 1

Japan Part 2

Japan Part 3


Japan Pt3 – Kyoto Day 3: Arashiyama, friends, and stranded

Japan Part 1
Japan Part 2

For day 3 we were undecided whether to leave Kyoto for Osaka earlier or just have the whole day in Kyoto. We had to go to Osaka to get to the airport for our early flight the next morning, but we didn’t really know what to do in Osaka besides the aquarium and Universal studios, both of which were expensive, so we decided to just take it easy and spend the day in Kyoto.


Our bus route headed towards Arashiyama was apparently an old folks route, since our bus was full of cute old grannies and grandpas getting out and about with their daily business. Arashiyama is a district to the west of Kyoto, quite outside the main city area, but well worth the visit. Our bus passes didn’t cover the Arashiyama area but we could still use them, just needed to pay a bit extra for the journey out of the city. Once there, me and Munira rented bikes for ¥800 each for the whole day, and it was really nice and relaxing to cycle everywhere as the Japanese do. Bike rentals are easily available around Arashiyama, and we took the cheapest most convenient place we could find. Some places charged ¥1000 per day. It took a while to get confident enough to cycle on the roads, but after some practice runs in the park we headed to the beautiful bamboo groves.

cute teacher and schoolkids out for a morning excursion

me a lot of the time. logistics wrangling

obligatory daily selfie

cute old people :3

The bamboo groves are one of the main attractions in Arashiyama, and there is no admission fee. (¥A¥) Walking through the narrow pathways surrounded by the tall, swaying bamboo is an experience like no other. When the wind blows through the forest and the bamboo rustle against each other, it’s just like aaahhhhhhh~ The bamboo forest is actually a plantation, with bamboo there harvested and used for everything from building structures to souvenirs. We spent a few hours just walking slowly up and down the hills before stopping for some matcha “softu cream” at the Torokko Arashiyama Station, which was the next thing on our list.

Togetsukyo Bridge

Practice run around the islet park

Bamboo forest  


cute bamboo goods shop along the way


mystical swaying rustling bamboo

scale and proportion

waited to get a pic in this spot only for it to turn out with harsh shadows. oh wells

matcha softu cream with crunchy cinnamon biscuit. Yummmm

Another attraction in Arashiyama is the Sagano Scenic Railway, also known as Romantic train or Torokko line. It runs on an old portion of mountainous track to and from Kameoka and Saga-Arashiyama. We decided to take the return trip on the scenic railway so we rode our bikes to the Saga-Arashiyama station and parked them there, then boarded he JR line to the last Torokko station, near JR Umahori. along the way on the JR train we’d see glimpses of breathtaking scenery, deep ravines with swift blue rivers flowing through them. So exciting! From the Umahori station we walked past expanses of paddy fields (I admit, this was the closest I’ve ever gotten to a sawah padi >.< )

actually i was the jakun one…

chocolate mochi

lets go!

Romantic train has arrived


IRL it was 10x more breathtaking

traditional boat tour down the river, which we didnt take because of yens.

rafting down, also no because of yens. would’ve been awesommmeeee though.

one of several JR railway bridges

merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily

life is but a dream



through the forest

river/mountainside ochaya

train lady

 The scenic railway ride itself took 25 minutes, and that was way too short to fully take in the gorgeous mountain and river scenery. Definitely a must go if you find yourselves in Kyoto. The whole Arashiyama region actually, is highly highly recommended. Towards the end of the train ride one of the train conductors went through all the carriages slowly, singing a low, melodic folk song. I didn’t know what it meant but it definitely suited the whole atmosphere.

model town at the station

shinkansen tumpang lalu temple

After the train ride we decided to just cycle around Arashiyama, stopping at cute second hand book shops and pretty train stations, along the river watching people canoe around, to the Tenryu-ji temple and some interesting statues before returning the bikes and walking across the bridge again to the park to people watch, pray, and soak in the relaxing atmosphere.

our first second hand bookshop. instant love

how awesome is that breakfast at tiffany’s book?

the shop and our 2 red bikes



Arashiyama is apparently a popular break-up spot. i can’t imagine why..its so beautiful here

the bridge at late afternoon

pretty train station


pretty ladies

kawaiii again

skodeng dari jauh, and then

asked for a pic up close 🙂 we felt so selekeh next to them


air, water, earth

quaint (expensive) restaurant

Music Box Museum *saaakuraaaa*

done ferrying for the day


last ride
pretty train station again at dusk

Dinner with friends, Catalonia, and surprises

By this time it was nearing dusk so we got back on the bus to get our bags at the hostel and head to the airport. when we got back to the hostel though, we decided to have dinner first (maggi) since it would not only lighten our load, but also we didn’t want to have to look for food along the way. As it turns out, our hostel mates were planning on having a big dinner altogether, and asked us to join them, so we did. A Spanish/Catalan couple, Albert and Nuria, made a delicious potato onion omelets and tomato-olive oil toast. so simple but so tasty! our Japanese hostel caretakers made teriyaki chicken with eggplant, radish and other veg, but we only at the vegetables, which were also soooo delicious. Dinner conversations firstly revolved around food, and later I asked Nuria what the deal was with Catalans, what the difference was between a Catalan and a Spaniard, so we got into a serious and eye-opening discussion about the Catalan situation. Really interesting and learnt so many new things 😀 If we ever find ourselves in Barcelona, we have a home ready to receive us, and vice versa yayyyy!

our hostel mates 😀

maggi dinner hewhew

yuko, the main hostel caretaker 😀

In the middle of our discussion, I noticed the hostel caretaker was switching off lights, which was odd because we were all still in the living room. Suddenly it was pitch black, and out of the staff room, another caretaker emerged bringing 2 cakes! as it turned out, they planned a mini-belated-surprise birthday party for 2 of the guests, Albert and this other Japanese guy. we were all so surprised! so sweet of them ^___^ so we all had a bit of cake, but it was getting late and we had to get to the airport. so after saying our goodbyes to everyone and thanking everyone for their hospitality, we rushed off to the bus stop and literally had to run across the road with all our luggage to catch the bus. Barely made it!

Railway Rush

Got to the train station and bought express train tickets to Kansai but we were told the express train service was finished for the day, so we had to take the regular train and switch to another train in Osaka. After a whole debacle with the ticketing machine (you’d be surprised to know there are people, yes, people, behind those machines. I swear) we ran for the train (up and down stairs I might add) and just managed to make it through the doors before they shut. We were running really tight with the train switch, and there was a high chance we wouldn’t make the transfer, which ended up being the case. So we found ourselves stranded in Osaka, at Tennoji station. the last train to the airport had gone and the station would close in a few hours, opening again only in the morning.


At first we were kind of lost, wandering around the station thinking of options. we considered just waiting outside the station, but we didn’t know how safe that would be especially being so tired. my sister suggested finding a 7-11 and camping out in front of one since it was open 24/7. We asked taxis how much it would cost to get to the airport, and had a good laugh over the ¥10000 fare (after discount). then I remembered something I read about while researching cheap accommodation: manga/internet cafes or manga kissaten. It’s basically an internet cafe which is open 24hrs and you can stay there and surf the net/sleep/read manga for a relatively cheap hourly/packaged rate.

We asked the train ticket counter where the nearest one was and it wasn’t so far, so we walked over to see and decide our next move. after a loooong stare at the price menu, we decided to get the 5 hour night package for ¥980 per pax, which was the cheapest they offered. basically a desk cubicle with internet, and ours included free drinks, access to bathrooms and a free shower. It was actually not bad at all, if a little uncomfortable to sleep in a moving chair and at a desk, but if you wanted to pay extra, you could get a much more comfortable sleeping cubicle, which had more privacy and a reclining massage chair. not for us though.

The bathrooms were very clean, well stocked with soap and tissues, plenty of drinks from free vending machines (which I didn’t know how to use so I just drank warm water), for showering they give you a towel and a hairdryer and the shower has shampoo and soap ready for you, and the place was totally non-dodgy. Rows and rows of manga available to read if you like, fast internet, relatively quiet, felt very safe and even managed to sleep for an hour or two. definitely an experience, that.

our place kinda looked like this, but a bit brighter.

rows and rows of manga

The next morning we got up super early and rushed to the train station for the first train out (5am). there was no way we were missing another train, and we really needed to be at the airport asap to drop off our luggage and board the plane. Alhamdulillah we made it in time, and before we knew it, we were on board the cutest flight we ever flew, straight on to Sapporo.

Day 3 expenses: ¥6660
Bus Pass:¥500
Additional fare:¥400
Bike rental:¥800
Matcha Ice cream:¥150
Sagano Scenic railway:¥600
JR Tickets to Umahori:¥190
Books: ¥200
Train ticket to Osaka: ¥1830
Internet Cafe: ¥980
Train ticket to Kansai: ¥1010

Japan Part 1

Japan Part 2


Japan Pt2 – Kyoto day 2: Palaces, Castles, and Geishas

*warning – this is gonna be quite a looong post with lots of pics. You can read Part 1 here*

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Day two started off with a guided walking tour of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, which was free but needed advanced reservations and approval from the Kyoto Imperial Household Agency. Our tour started at 10am, so we decided to head out a bit earlier and have breakfast at the Imperial Palace Gardens. The outer compound was huge, and it took us quite a while to walk up to the entrance gates. The tour was conducted in English, and it brought us around the Imperial Palace grounds. Kyoto had been the capital of Japan for over 1000 years, before moving to Tokyo in 1869. The palace was actually destroyed by fire several times but always rebuilt in the same traditional manner and in the same location. Nowadays the palace is uninhabited and serves as a museum.
Morning happy faces


wide gravel promenades..You can just imagine imperial processions strolling through the park

gurgling stream in the peach grove

strolling through the Imperial Palace grounds

The Imperial Palace Inner Wall

Seishomon Gate, the entrance for visitors

The tiger room in the Shodaibunoma, the waiting area for courtiers on official visits to the palace

The Shishinden, the most important building in the palace complex. Used for enthronement ceremonies and other state ceremonies

Jomeimon Gate heading to the Shishinden. The vermillion colour is believed to ward off evil 

incredible detailing on the roof structure

I looove the roofs…

Shishinden and a glimpse of the base of the throne inside


more roof ogling

Kenshunmon Gate, the entrance for the empress, princes and princesses

Roof construction details. The entire roof is made out of cypress bark, hand laid in several layers. each piece of bark is pinned into place with a bamboo pick. 

The cypress bark is used because it has natural water resistance, flexibility to form shapes, and insect repellent properties. The thickened part of the roof near the front is just for aesthetics and is also made of cypress bark. 

Shunkoden, one of the most recently built buildings in the complex

more roof love

The Seiryoden, used as the emperors residence

Seiryoden, that white tent is where the emperor would rest

Keiyakibashi bridge at the Oikeniwa gardens

traditional Japanese garden, the idealized landscape

strolling garden for the royalty

Oikeniwa Gardens



Gonaitei gardens

path towards the empress and childrens quarters

our tour guide

Gonaitei gardens <3
During the tour, the tour guide explained that there was a period during which Kyoto was not ruled by the emperor, but rather by the shogun, leader of the samurai. The shogun did not reside in the imperial palace, but in Nijo Castle (Nijo-jo) instead. After some time, the 15th shogun Yoshinobu publicly and peacefully restored the sovereignty to the emperor. We thought it would be interesting to see the difference between an imperial palace and a samurai castle so we headed there afterwards.

Nijo Castle

Nijo-jo was in fact incredibly different than the imperial palace. It seemed to have a darker, more heavy air. While the imperial palace only had thick outer walls, Nijo-jo had a succession of moats and high, thick walls. The gardens were not as dense and manicured, but the buildings were far more decorated. What was great was that unlike the imperial palace, we could actually enter into the castle and walk through it, though photography was not allowed. Inside the Nijo-jo compound there were actually 2 main buildings, the Ninomaru palace and the Honmaru Palace. 
details on the Kara-mon gate

Ninomaru Palace

i be flyyin like the birds

Across the outer moat

TIL: the roof ends are actually crests indicating the family/affiliation of the inhabitants. for the Imperial Palace its a 16 petaled chrysanthemum.

walking through Honmaru Gardens

Honmaru Gardens

Honmaru gardens and palace

Inside the Ninomaru palace the ceiling and walls were painted with vivid imagery, finished off with gold paint and filled with incredible detailing. One of my favorite parts about the building was the floors. The nightingale floors as they were called were specifically designed in such a way that when stepped on, would produce a small high pitched chirping sound, which alerted the inhabitants of movement and prevented any sneak attacks in case of infiltration.
interior painted screens. pic from http://maryamhmz.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/DSC00717.jpg
interior detailing. pic from http://maryamhmz.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2906565737_6f8fb91989.jpg
Pine tree motif screen painting. pic from http://alvinjani.mylovepress.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/dsc_0107.jpg
pic from http://alvinjani.mylovepress.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/dsc_0107.jpg
pic from http://maryamhmz.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/DSC00713.jpg
one of the ceremonial rooms. pic from http://maryamhmz.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/grand-audience-hall.jpg
Ceiling detail. pic from http://maryamhmz.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/1875786-Detali_of_the_ceiling_of_Ninomaru_Palace..jpg


After walking around the compound and gardens we decided to then go to the famed Kiyomuzudera Buddhist temple. Getting there was certainly not the easiest thing as you have to climb uphill for quite a while before reaching the temple gates. But the many shops selling souvenirs, delicacies and oddities certainly make the climb less painful. We kept on stopping every few metres to oooh and aaahhh at elegant fans, pretty purses, intricate kimonos etc. :p Once at the gate, you have to do a little bit more climbing up a few flights of stairs to get the actual temple.


more climbing to the gate

the gate! finally!

not sure if this was a beggar or what.

approach and climb

kimono yukata clad tourists

Kyoto~ 🙂

more stairs to the temple

Main approach to the temple grounds

we’re here!

sisters and partners in crime

prayer plaques maybe?

the magnificent view from up here

i wuz ‘ere

so was she

pavilion in the forest~

The place was crowded with tourists even though we went during non-peak season. Can’t imagine how thronged it would be during spring and autumn when the trees are all blossoming and full of color. from the temple we had a great view out to the entire Kyoto city and to the lush forested area where the temple was nestled. Stepping out onto the wooden stage is quite scary if you’re afraid of heights, because not only is it very high up with a straight drop, but the stage also looks like it’s going to fall off because its slanted slightly downwards. The entire temple was built without a single nail, and the columns system supporting the temple high off the hills was quite incredible.

tinkling bells welcomed us into the temple

more plaques

inside the temple


that’s the wooden stage out there

nampak je orang pakai kimono terus snap3..kimonos are so niiiice


At the foot of the temple there were these water fountains, from which the temple derived its name. (Kiyomizudera means Temple of Pure Water) People formed a long line to get a chance to drink from one of the three fountains, each with its own supposed benefit, such as long life, success, and a fortunate love life.
the three fountains down there
knick knacks otw down from the temple, along the main access road lined with so many tempting shops

attempt at kawaii-ness. fail

attempt at kawaii japanese pose. fail

scrum-dilly-dumptious matcha parfait with plenty of surprises under the cream and matcha

we didnt get to go to the Ghibli museum because the tix sold out…so we had to make do with the souvenir shops we found je

magical nook in a nondescript alley



ok la kawaii jadi sikit 🙂
Walking downhill from Kiyomuzudera we tried to find our way to the preserved streets of the Higashiyama district. We got lost after missing a turn but backtracked and it was definitely worth it. The streets were so quaint! we felt like we were walking through a movie set or theme park because it seemed so pristine and so cute!
Yasaka Pagoda i think…


such a charming place!

Beautiful street ^___^

doesn’t it feel like a movie set/theme park?


Japanese people are very into umbrellas. sold everywhere, and they’re so pretty too!

more ghibli goods

most delicious rice cracker i have ever ever eaten

happy shop keeper

wasabi rice cracker


cute purses made of traditional fabric with traditional print. 


neko art

ancient pathway

arrived at maruyama park and finding my way to Gion


At the end of the preserved streets we found ourselves at Maruyama Park, and passed through it to get to Gion, the Geisha district. 
Maruyama Park

worshippers at Yasaka shrine

i think these were like fortune papers

exiting Yasaka Shrine towards Gion

The main street in Gion is Hanami-koji, another preserved street just off the Shijo-dori shopping street, and we walked along slowly, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) or maiko (Geiko apprentice) we walked alllll the way to the end of the road with no luck, and by this time our feet were screaming, so we decided to just sit down by the side of the road next to Gion corner (a sort of performance house for all the traditional Japanese performing arts including geiko dancing) and people watch, which was definitely interesting.

Entering Hanami-koji

traditional machiya house converted into a restaurant/ochaya (teahouse)

most of the restaurants here are very expensive, thus the doorman. A lot of the restaurants/ochaya have geiko/maiko performances, but they’d all be indoors

kawaii fail..

dusk falling
After a while we decided to get moving because it was starting to get dark. We were walking back up Hanami-koji towards Shijo-dori, busy fumbling with the camera, when suddenly a maiko appeared! She was walking out of the Gon corner and into the street. We were so excited and tried to get a picture of her but she walked so fast! I don’t know how they manage to walk in full costume and wearing wooden clogs and walking daintily but incredibly fast at the same time. Most of our pics of her ended up being blurry, but we were thrilled nonetheless 😀
at which point i squealed to munira “Maiko Mun! Maiko!”

we were trying to keep up but gosh darnit she can walk so fast!
noticed this funnily dressed man earlier, and turns out he’s like, a geisha stalker. once the maiko emerged he ran after her and pulled out his big camera and snapped away like a paparazzi hehe :p
We ended the day walking along Shijo-dori again, just window shopping and taking in the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of downtown Kyoto. We decided to have maggi for dinner at our hostel, to save on money, but since we didnt have lunch, we shared some takoyaki. (tip: ask for no soy sauce, as we were told later the soy sauce might not be halal)
Shijo-dori at dusk


fascinating machine making little idk whats. looked like some kind of dorayaki

party scooter
expenses for day 2: ~¥3600
bus pass: ¥500
Nijo-jo: ¥600
Kyomizudera: ¥300
Rice Cracker: ¥150
Lunch (Onigiri 2 each): ¥250
Parfait: ¥650
Souvenirs: ¥650


Japan Pt1 – Travel and Kyoto Day 1

After a whole lot of planning (which I still felt was not enough, but I didn’t have time or much help) the day finally arrived: Osaka-Kyoto-Sapporo-Tokyo roadtrip commence! 😀 Our flight to Kansai International Airport, Osaka, was at 3 pm so we decided to leave the house at around 11.45. I thought that was ample time buuuuut we must’ve missed a turn somewhere and I had never taken the NKVE to LCCT before. In the end we arrived just in time to drop off our baggage and clear the security check. Thank God we checked in online earlier hehe.

Kansai International Airport (KIX) 

Our flight arrived at around 10.30pm local time, which was a bit late to catch the last trains into the city. Also, being the cheapskates that we are, we didn’t feel like paying for a bed just for one night, so we decided to sleep in the airport and get the earliest trains to Kyoto the next morning. Our flight landed in terminal 1 of KIX, which is the main terminal. It seemed pretty small but functional, which I suppose, is what Japan is all about. After reading up about sleeping in KIX from this website (backpackers best friend, this) I followed the reviews advice lead my sister to the 2nd floor next to Lawson. It was a pretty quiet and secluded area but completely safe and well lit, but not as bright as the rest of the airport, which was great. The airport has free wifi (another backpackers best friend) so I checked foursquare for any tips and found out you can borrow blankets from the airport information centre which was right next to where we were going to sleep. Perfect! the blankets were nice and thick, and blocked out light excellently. We slept like babies.

sleeping in the airport with yummy blankets

The next morning we woke up and headed for the coin operated showers in the airport lounge nearby. A shower was ¥500 per person (approx. RM15) and you get a changing room, shower cubicle, hairdryer and small basket to yourself. Soap and shampoo are provided as well. Once you start showering you are given 15 minutes of running water. Plenty of time for the most expensive shower I’ve ever taken.

the KIX lounge shower facilities. Jakun ok!

All Aboard! 

All freshened up we headed to the Kansai airport train station to get our tickets to Kyoto. While planning for the trip, Hyperdia came in extremely handy in working out which trains I could take and how much/how long it would take. Printed out the relevant results and lugged them everywhere hehe. But as useful as it was to know which train to take and how much it would cost, we were still stumped when faced with the ticketing machine. Spent quite a few minutes prodding the screen trying to pick our destination before asking someone for help. As it turns out, you don’t choose your destination on the screen, but rather, on the huge board showing destinations and how much they would cost. then at the machine you insert that amount of money, and a ticket will be issued. Quite confusing at first but towards the end of the trip we got the hang of it, kinda. The printed out sheets also helped a LOT.
1.check fares to destination on that big map. 2. purchase tix

me and my trusty file o’stuff. 

success! sorta kinda
The view along the way. paddy fields interspersed between urban development. Interesting juxtaposition

Kyoto Day 1 – Temples, Shrines, and Philosophy 

The train to Kyoto took about 1.5 hours on the direct express train. Once in Kyoto, we got ourselves the day passes for the local bus (¥500) and headed to our hostel. We stayed at Hostel Mundo, as suggested by Afi, since it was the cheapest we could find, and as an added bonus, it was in a traditional house:D The tatami room was taken though, so we had to settle for the double bed room, which was very comfortable if a little tight.

Huge Kyoto Station

Home for 2 nights 🙂
The room we stayed in. Cosy!

After dropping off our bags there we started our sightseeing. First stop was Kitano Tenmangu, which hosted a flea market every 25th of the month, so we couldn’t miss that. There were so many interesting things on sale, pottery-ware, food, knick-knacks, and second hand kimonos, which were quite cheap! Munira bought a silk autumn kimono and obi for ¥2000 (~RM65) which was a steal.

flea market goodies. The lady trying the yukata on was so prettyyy..as were most people in Japan

Around the temple

bertambah jepun 

Next we walked towards Ryoan-ji, the Zen temple, and on the way stopped by the Kyoto Prefectural Insho-Domoto Museum of Fine Arts because it was free and air conditioned :p Ryoan-ji was surrounded by beautiful greenery, very peaceful. The Rock garden itself was a bit small and I was more interested in the building and surroundings honestly. At the entrance we were given some seaweed tea, which I thought would be like green tea but oh boy was I wrong! it was extremely hot and salty, kind of like drinking boiled seawater. but the after-taste was quite good, and you definitely feel refreshed after a few sips. Just not my cuppa tea though, literally.

Onigiri – a staple for us in Japan. Cheap and filling 🙂

Beautiful approach to the temple

Green green moss – felt like lying down and falling asleep here but this place couldn’t be entered. they protect their grass and moss here 

our first torii

calligraphers booth

part of the small zen rock garden

sumi ink painted screen doors

amazing detailing and workmanship

cypress, my new favourite tree. the temple was made primarily using this wood, as were most temples and palaces in Japan. Its such a wonderful wood, ages beautifully and has highly visible grain~

across the pond
The next place we visited was Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion. It was much smaller than Ryoan-ji, in terms of surroundings as well as the building. But visiting it in the afternoon was great because the sunlight glinted off the golden walls and made everything seem shiny~



we thought it was a statue because it stood so still for so long…

Japanese forests are scary, dark places. beautiful, but so so dark, even right at the edge like here.

matcha shaved ice to cool off 🙂
The sun was setting but we had some time so we decided to go to the Philosophers Path on the other side of the city. Had we made it there earlier, we could’ve visited Kinkakuji’s sibling, the Silver Pavilion Ginkakuji. But as it was we reached there around 6, which is when it closed for admission. So we strolled down the Philosophers Path instead, which is a 2km long path along the old Kyoto canal. In the spring the cherry blossoms lining the path make it a very popular cherry blossom watching spot. Me and Munira tried to be all philosophical…but most of our made up sayings (which honestly consisted mostly of streams, fish, paths, lights, and life) were either funny or didn’t make sense haha!

plenty of these around tourist areas, but we didnt get on one sebab kesian and cheapskate

warm afternoon sun

“in life, it is not the path you choose, but the direction you take that matters”

principal philosopher

“in life, you will meet some big fish, and you will meet some small fish. do not be afraid of the big fish, and do not disregard the small fish..All fishes have a part to play” huge carp. about 1 meter long

a very graves-esque house

more traditional homes

“stream over a stream, is like a dream, over a dream”

made it!
At the end of the path we found ourselves slightly lost, but managed to find a bus stop and hopped on to get to Nishiki Market, Kyoto’s Kitchen, for some dinner. We got there, but it was quite late and most shops in that street had closed. we ended up walking through the arcades along Shijo-dori instead, gawking and ogling all the interesting shops. At the end of the arcade, still hungry, we came across a shop selling udon for quite a reasonable price, so we popped in not expecting much. But it turned out to be suuuper delicious! A small bowl of udon, which was topped with chopped spring onion, salmon roe, half boiled egg, seaweed, and prawn tempura cost ¥500, which is about as cheap as meals in touristy areas get. A loooooong walk and short bus ride later, we got back to our hostel for some much needed rest and planning for the next day.

Shijo dori *o*

Teramachi arcade *o*


we ate here. Can’t read the name of the shop though :p

total expenditure per pax for the day: approx ¥10,520 
Shower: ¥500 
KIX to Kyoto train: ¥2770 (can get for ¥1830, but we took the express train) 
bus pass: ¥500 
Hostel full payment(2nights): ¥4500 
breakfast and lunch (bread and onigiri): ¥400 
Ryoan-Ji: ¥500 
Kinkakuji: ¥400 
Shaved Ice snack (shared): ¥250 
Dinner: ¥500 
Drinks: ¥200

See Japan Part 2 here

Car-karaoke + scatterbrained kinda day

Today while driving ABBA’s Chiquitita came on and i started singing along but ended up almost crying. like seriously. I think its such a touching song. And singing along to ABBA is always, always fun.

then otw back i had a very scary panic attack because i couldnt find my parked car even though i was sure i parked right by the exit. walked around and around frantically for almost 15 minutes and was almost in tears when i decided to re-enter the building and try to calm down and gather my thoughts and trace my steps and it turns out i was on the wrong floor.
back in the car i was still recovering from the panic so i turned on the radio and sang along to imogen heap and michael buble which helped me calm down a bit then michael jackson came on and of course singing along to beat it and billie jean – how can you not feel awesome singing along to those?

Butterfly week

The Holidays have started and I intend to make the most of them. This week has been filled with activities, going out and socializing and meeting people and going places and doing things. not my average week, but definitely enjoyable 😀

4-7 June – Pulau Perhentian Kecil

more pics below 🙂 most perhentian pics from rahsia studio and phy

A lot of uncertainty building up to the trip but boy was everything worth it. From ramai jadi sikit until I was the only girl then nego2 til there were 5 girls on board. I didn’t know what to expect from Perhentian, of course there are those glossy tourism pictures but I’ve been let down by advertorial images too many times to believe what I saw on the internet.

But Perhentian was really really breathtakingly beautiful Masha’Allah. Air macam lumion. And it was nice to not have to be the one organizing things, as I’m very prone to doing. can’t really help it…I just like making the most out of my travels. like when we went to Hong Kong and Melbourne, no one else seemed to know where they wanted to go but I researched the hell out of everything, and Alhamdulillah, both trips were quite enjoyable. But I digress.

Perhentian was delayed a few times, because the days leading up to it were jam-packed full of finishing up thesis reports and external portfolios and whatnot. Once we got going at 3am though, minus a small but scary hiccup early in the journey, we got there safe and sound. We stayed at Maya Chalet, and for our 3day 2 night package which included island transfers, snorkeling trip (equipment and boat) and accommodation, we only paid rm140, which was a total bargain.

Our chalet was on coral bay, the chill, quiet side of the island, good for food and chilling out, but for swimming and playing on the beach, a short trek across the island to Long Beach is recommended. Long Beach is kind of the party beach though, so by dusk it was starting to get rowdy with bars and loud music and dancing, so we made our way back to our little haven where it was jack Johnson and calm waves all night long. Mafia wars that night after dinner and for the first round I was the mafia, and in the second round I was the angel. Fun times.

The next day after a morning stroll on the beach with Puteri and breakfast of twiggies and roti potato on an upside-down kayak, we hung out on Mye’s balcony and had second breakfast, before getting our flippers on and heading out for our snorkeling trip. This was by far the best snorkeling trip I’ve ever ever been on. Felt like I was swimming in an aquarium, so so many different types of colorful fishes, coral, and even sea turtles! we went to the shark point but unfortunately I didn’t see any sharks since I was too scared of swimming near the rocks (takut terhempas dgn ombak). swimming was so tiring but so completely absorbing once you got into the rhythm of breathing and paddling and following fishes around.

After snorkeling for a few hours we headed back to our island and had lunch, and then had some rest before hanging out on the balcony again. towards the late afternoon we all decided to go explore one of the other beaches, a more remote one called Romantic Beach lol. It wasn’t that good for swimming since there were lots of sea cucumbers which kind of grossed me out. Didn’t want to step on those slimy things. so I just sat on the beach, borak2, chilllllllll~

That night we had a bbq dinner, and it was deeeeelicious! I had shark (of the non-endangered boleh jumpa kt giant variety) which was soft and succulent. Cheap too! RM15 for the bbq set which included a meat of your choice (barracuda, barramundi, squid, blue marlin, stingray, prawn, lobster, chicken, etc2), choice of dipping sauce, rice, big slice of juicy watermelon and pineapple, a slice of banana cake, and drinks. Nyummmms :-9

That night we played ‘kotak beracun’ which is kind of like a pre-prepared truth or dare + hot potato. It was hilarious and I definitely learned a lot heheh. The next day we packed up and after a last bit of pictures-taking, headed back to the mainland.

We stopped by Kuala Terengganu to buy keropok lekor at Kg. Losong and then Pasar Payang for a bit, then started on our journey back to KL, which turned out to be quite the adventure. Kak. Fiza’s car started acting up, or rather, wouldn’t start, so we jump started it but it kept on dying, even after driving. That happened a lot of times and nighttime was closing in, and they couldn’t turn on the headlights because the car would die and we took the kampung road so there weren’t any rest stops along the way. Managed to slowly drive in convoy to meet up with An’s uncle who bought a replacement battery in Kuantan, and after that the car was ok, Alhamdulillah. Eventually reached KL at 3am, just around the time we left 🙂

8 June – textbook meeting which I came late to because I was so tired. eh wait. that’s true but also because I had to go meet our course coordinator and receive the bad news (will talk about this later)

9 June – Helped Salmoon clean up their new house. Tiring. Then Haneef has been wanting to get his glasses made, and for some reason insisted on waiting until I was available to go with him, so we went. That night we went to Mariam Sano’s Henna party. Dance dance. Well not so much. haha

bebola ikan said salman…

 10 June – Went to clean up the studio while waiting for the studio mates yg nak pergi visit Jannah and her baby in Shah Alam. Convoy around 7 cars because everyone was going home straight afterwards. Stopped by Faiz/Yeop/Paih/Boss’s house first where it was like raya, makanan penuh satu meja, kuih raya bagai. Nyums. Ate til our stomachs were bursting then headed over to Jannah’s to coo and gush over baby Qurratul Hayah.

kuih raya~
posing with the sleeping baby shhhhhh
little angel~

11 June – Finished cleaning up my stuff at the studio and loaded them up into the old Volvo, then makan2 and jalan2 at Wangsa Maju with the baby brother, then visited Yang at her house, chatted for quite a while, then drove brother home, then headed over to Ayesha’s for a surprise bday party bbq sleepover. Successfully manned the BBQ and it was the best bbq chicken I’ve ever had, hehehehe. Potato salad was scrumptious, and lots of laughs all around. Singing and eating and laughing, Good times.

muka selekeh semua orang yg baru habis berbbq

12 June – Went to UIA to settle some more stuff (more on that debacle later) then went back to Ayesha’s and just hung out. went to Dr. Cafe in the afternoon, then back to Ayesha’s for dinner (we call her house our holiday retreat. bliss!) then picked up my mom from work, and finally headed home where I finally got to talk to Muhsin who’s in Japan for three months, yay!

my girl, talkin bout myy girllll

13 June – ran around doing errands and driving people around and then finally got to the initial plan of the day which was the long awaited DOCTOR WHO MARATHON finallyyy!!! Picked up some (fake) jammy dodgers, lychee soda, and fish fingers, drove over to Aziza’s and made custard and fried the fish fingers, and made the TARDIS blue drink. Fish fingers and custard was actually not that bad. an acquired taste perhaps. then it was time to catch up on the last 4 episodes of the season. OMG.

jammy dodgers, homemade bounty bars, fish fingers and custard, tardis lychee drink, and episodes 😀

14 June – More driving people around and errands, had to save my mum from ISTAC because her car battery konked out. Felt extra manly this week because of the barbecues and driving and battery changing. Went to watch Man of Steel afterwards with Ilham, Nadiah and the Khatibs, can’t say I enjoyed the movie really. Actually felt quite bored.

15 June – Don’t know what got into me but I found myself in SS2 Mall early in the morning to attend an Improv Workshop held by AI:IA. Maybe because someone said it probably wasn’t my kind of thing I felt challenged:p maybe because I really was in the mood to try new things, maybe because the place was near food foundry and I’ve been wanting to get my hands on some mille crepe. I didn’t know what to expect at all, and came in to find people stretching like they were going to go for a run. erk. Turns out the stretching was a good idea because it turned out to be very..physical? I’m really glad I went though, it turned out to be really really fun and it was nice to meet new people and just be crazy with random strangers for a bit 😀 I enjoyed the last exercise the most, and apparently I was quite funny heehee ^_____^ Food Foundry afterwards where we split a smoked salmon sandwich and a pulled beef sandwich and ALMOND SALTED CARAMEL MILLE CREPE :9

pic from @iedilputra http://instagram.com/p/akQLS7xNXH/
heavenlyyyyyy..pic from http://lwinlee.blogspot.com/2013/01/mille-crepe-indulgence-food-foundry.html

16 June – lazy dayyyy~ Spent most of it either online, asleep, eating, or reading. Picked up ‘The Prisoner of Heaven’ around 2.30 and finished it (including an hour long nap in between) at 6.30. Good books really are too short oftentimes. played the flash version of portal after maghrib but got stuck on level 14. researched Japan and got :/ over how expensive it is, then chatted, then played Zelda: A Link to the Past but kept dying although I did make progress and got to fight the boss before dying again, battery of the gameboy micro was dying and it was late but I felt like writing, and here we are.

Ethan keeps on dyinggggg

A fun, fulfilling, but very tiring week. it was awesome 🙂


My sister getting married last September made me realize that I was always part of a Force, it was always me and my sis, the Hamzah sisters, part of the Hamzah Family. Of course her getting married kind of changed that and now I’m just lonely me.

In our school, a lot of our friends were those kinds as well, a Family Force. There were the Khatibs, the Preeces, the Joneses, the Radwans, the Soualhis, the Sanos, the Ismaiels, the Manafs, the Khans, the Abullais’, the Shafiqs, the Tauseefs, the Ashours, the Elkhaldis, the Ghassans, etc.

And now we’re at that age where we’re starting to become the people who will be family friends ourselves. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that’s how I see it.

Last weekend my brother’s best friend got married to my sisters best friend. It seems kind of impossible that they didn’t know each other before Munira’s wedding, but that’s where they first met. 8 months later and they’re happily married. So surreal. Throughout the whole wedding weekend it felt like my actual sister was getting married to my brother, as weird as that sounds. Because they really are like family to me. I couldn’t be happier for them both 😀 Congratulations Zati and Lutfi!!! I had fun being a self appointed bridesmaid and unofficial photographer 🙂

more pics in the slideshow below 🙂

Today we had an appreciation bbq for us fifth years, as a way to say thanks to our supervisors and ‘assistants’. It was fun prepping the bbq, cooking, eating and chatting with my studio mates. cakap pasal macam2. Some dah secured jobs, some are applying, some are starting to look for houses. My plans after graduation are kind of sketchy, but mainly consists of chilling and traveling. maybe a small job just for fun. I’ve always wanted to work in a bookstore, or an assembly factory.

Towards the end of the night, we all gathered round for a game of mafia wars (which you can read about here) and even though I was already ready to go home, I decided to play one round. I’m quite proud  that my first guess was absolutely spot on. too bad no one really believed me so the tyrant lived well into the game.

But sitting in that misshapen circle and staring people down made me realize that, despite everything, I know I will miss this crazy bunch.

Its the final final stretch to the finish line, just have to submit my report and Insha’Allah I’ll be done with my thesis. Final presentation went alright, but more on that later. 🙂

Beginning of the end

*brushes aside cobwebs and dust*

I suddenly feel like blogging again. I probably won’t but it’s just a feeling. It’s the final stretch of my Final Semester of my Final year in B. Arch, 3 more weeks till I have to submit my design thesis. I’m nowhere near done and I don’t know if I will be come the 16th of May. In all honesty I should be working on it now but today has not been a good day.

I woke up late because last night I was up till quite late, trying to get a chapter written, and then my friend pinged me on gtalk and we talked about River and the Ponds and how complicated river’s timeline is.

River Song and the Doctor’s Timeline
L=R: Rory, Amy, Doctor, River

Didn’t really help that I was woken up in the middle of the night by my mom asking me where my brother’s overalls were. (?)

Woke up proper and found out our last kitten got hit by a car and had died.


That’s probably why I don’t feel like doing any work. My thesis is about animal welfare, but all our cats keep dying. Makes me feel like a phony.

In an attempt to make my life more interesting and to take my mind of Things, my weekends have been pretty packed as of late. Hanging out with friends, playing games, cooking, climbing up Tabur, white-water rafting, karaoke, concert-going and movie watching. It’s been fun, but at the same time, once the weekends are over, I sink back into stress and depression. it’s been getting slightly better but things happen and it triggers all the emo switches.

Beach and ikan bakar outing with the girls at bagan lalang

kfc and egg sandwich picnic. L-R: Nadiah, Ilham, Aziza, Hannat

watching the sunset then praying on the beach 🙂

Pies are quite leceh to make but very delicious. In conjunction with Pi-day (March 14th) Kd, Muz, Nirman and I baked some pies. the Tomyam chicken pot pie was especially tasty. we also made banana-mango pie and lemon cheese pie. recipes were taken from various online sources and tweaked.

If you’ve never played rockband, I think you definitely should. it’s a lot of fun and good for stamina and dexterity lol. I was terrible at drums but I think I did ok for a beginner on the bass..

Subuh on one weekend a bunch of friends and myself made our way up Bukit Tabur a.k.a the dinosaur in my backyard. this was my second time up and it was a lot of fun. It was great to be able to organize it and ajak my friends along too. Will definitely go again.

ulu kelang dam from one of the peaks
Me and Yang the trooper 🙂

I dont have a fear of heights but i admit, gayat sikit duduk sini

Photo by Umar Mita

After the descent from Tabur, went for some eats then got home and popped right back out again to make my way to KL Central where me, Ilham, Aziza and Hannat drank obscenely priced coffee at the Hilton cafe and Ilham casually asked Nick Carter for a quick photo like he was our friend or something. Then we dashed off to KLCC for the Twin Towers Alive 2013 concert and to fulfill our adolescent dreams. BSB were A M A Z I N G obviously, but what really surprised me was the number of males in the audience. I’d have thought it would be full of screaming fangirls, but about half the crowd were guys.


shockresistant7's BSBTTLive2013 album on Photobucket

Went white water rafting with Ilham and Nadiah in Slim River, Perak. It wasn’t as challenging as I thought it’d be, and I came out of the 3 hour session not really tired. It was a whole bunch of fun though, would definitely recommend it although it’s a bit pricey at rm180 per person..

one of the stops along the way
Nadiah and I

At a hot spring we stopped by otw back. L-R: Sian Tze, Ilham, Me, K.Nini, Nadiah

after the last crit session Mye, Jedot, Mimi and myself drove off to Danau for some stress relief in karaoke. the place was super cheap but it was still ok. I didn’t sing too much firstly because I needed to save my voice for Sunday and secondly because I didn’t know half the songs they picked. aheh. the next Sunday I went for karaoke again, this time with ilham, hannat, aziza and nadiah at redbox in pavilion. a lot nicer and fancier but also much more expensive. they had a buffet which was good, and we were there for 4 hours singing our hearts out. It was actually a surprise birthday party for aziza, which I forgot about and was taken by surprise when a birthday song started playing all of a sudden and some guy brought in a cake. Loads of fun.

Its election season now


Got a message this morning from Lily who I met in 2010 while she was on holiday in Malaysia. She is a lively Parisian who has been travelling all around the world on her own, making friends along the way. We don’t talk often at all, but every so often she would drop me messages and they are really the sweetest things. She sent me a postcard once, out of the blue, from when she was in Bali. and every ‘Eid, new year (Islamic and Gregorian) she would email me wishing me and my family all the best and hoping that our paths will cross again.. For someone I only met for a couple of weeks, its really nice of her to still remember me and take time and effort to write me emails and send me Parisian bisous <3

Hani, Lily, Lina, and Maryam, Summer 2010

Twenty Twelve

I had planned to write a recap of 2011, I already took down notes for January and February, and a little bit of march. But in the flurry of busyness surrounding the last few months at my job and the nonstop busy during my semester, it didn’t get done. You can read the half baked blog post at my scraps blog for posts that didn’t make it, here.

Also, not that I was any good before, but my writing skills seem to have dwindled down significantly. Probably because of lack of practice. Maybe I should work backwards, start with where I am now. The new years. As it so happens, I’m currently procrastinating. I should be studying for my exams that are just around the corner but although I find economics and all the related stuff fascinating the horde of new concepts and specific terms tend to confuse me, just like it did in high school. Business studies was the only subject I ever got a C for and because I just couldn’t grasp what was being taught I dropped it the next semester. Also perhaps because our teacher was pretty lousy. I still sat in through the classes though, because I was the only one in my grade who wasn’t taking business studies, so even If I did have a free period, there was no one I could hang out with. As it turns out the next semester we had a different teacher who was slightly better but then if my memory serves me right he felt underappreciated because people didn’t respect him in class, so one day he exploded and never came back to finish the syllabus. I mean exploded in anger.

Oh. I should mention that I’m having exams because I decided to continue my Part 2 in architecture. It kind of a difficult concept to explain, whenever I say I’ve taken up studying again people always say, oh, you’re doing your masters? And I have to try and explain that it’s not a masters degree even though it’s at the masters level. For the benefit of anyone randomly traipsing through the web and happened to find my blog by searching for Part 2 bachelor of architecture in UIA (IIUM) I’ll break it down

In Malaysia, to become a licensed architect you need to pass three parts or stages. The first stage is Part 1. In IIUM, Part one is called Bachelor of Science (architectural Studies). It’s mostly the same for other public universities in Malaysia, except some universities combine part one and part 2 into a 5 year course. But in my case, after completing part one; you would have graduated with your first degree.

Then you can either choose to enrol in Part 2 if you want to continue immediately or work first (as I did) or just not continue at all, or continue in other fields. With a part one degree your position in an architecture firm would most probably be that of an assistant architect, though the specific workload you’ll receive as well as the pay differs from firm to firm. I worked for a year before deciding to continue my Part 2.

Part 2 in IIUM and generally most public universities in Malaysia, again, is called Bachelor of Architecture. Even though it’s technically almost a masters degree level/postgraduate course. Well actually, it IS a postgraduate course since we already graduated the first time around. But anyways. In Australia, part 2 is called masters of Architecture, whole in the UK, they don’t have a standard name for the degree, which I think makes it even more confusing, in some universities it is a masters course, while others might call it a postgraduate diploma, postgraduate degree, etc. I guess the confusing part is just the naming. Because it is another undergraduate degree in the eyes of the university, but at postgraduate level, while we have to register as double degree holders. Yeah I don’t think this is helping very much.

Anyway, after completing part 2, you graduate again, and have to work in the architecture industry for a minimum of 2 years before you are allowed to take the part 3 professional exams. There’s no official course you have to go through (I don’t know of any anyways), although there are study groups conducted. If you manage to pass the part 3 exams (if I’m not mistaken there are 2 parts of the exam, written and an interview/oral exam) then you finally become an architect with an Ar. In front of your name. I’ve heard many horror stories about the part 3 exam, and they all seem to be true, the passing rate for the exam is less than 10%!!

Erm yeah so that’s basically it. I can’t be entirely sure what I’ve written is 100% correct and I know it’s definitely not comprehensive, but that’s what I understand anyways.

Where was I? Oh yes. Part 2. I decided to continue part 2. Like my first degree, I planned to do it elsewhere, to have a different experience and to move out of my comfort zone. Applications were filled; certificates and transcripts photocopied, and sent to various universities and scholarship organisations in Australia and New Zealand. My dad told me to try for the UK as well but I found their application systems to be confusing so I didn’t. One by one the offers came through, each one bringing up a little sparkle of excitement which I had to squash down in order not to be thoroughly disappointed like I was in 2007. Didn’t really work because I got disappointed anyways. So again, I sent in local applications, and UIA accepted me and I went. I don’t think I’m quite over it though, because whenever I hear of people flying off, I get a little pang of jealousy and yearning that brings my whole mood down.

The first semester of part 2 proved to be extremely extremely trying and tiring. The stream of assignments never seemed to stop, and the expectations were very high. I don’t think I coped well at all. After having gone through one semester of it, I’m seriously wondering if I want to continue or not. I’m seriously considering quitting. Because even though I like architecture, I appreciate it and all, I don’t see myself enjoying any aspect of it in terms of a job. I wanted to continue my part 2 to see whether I’d want to really be an architect, and to learn the things I needed to know to become a good architect in the field, since when I was working, there was so much that I didn’t know. But now, one semester wiser, I think I might be inching closer to a definite answer. I don’t think I’d want to be an architect like the ones I have worked with/for. If I was to be one, I don’t think I’d open up my own form or even work in one. I’d work on projects that I liked, without chasing clients and so on. I don’t know if that’s a feasible model to work on but I don’t think the stress of the whole architecture industry would suit me. Not just the stress, but the whole business side of it. From what I observed, the priority in the architecture industry was to make money, not to design functional and beautiful buildings that would benefit the community or help people. Of course that’s a narrow perspective having only worked in one firm and heard stories from my colleagues/classmates who have worked as well. Maybe I’ve just yet to find a firm that suits me, and whose main aim isn’t just to make money.

Well I think this post is long and rambling enough as it is, so I’ll save my abstract thought for another time. I have to get back to studying anyways.

I have kitties available for adoption if you want one! they are all super cute and cuddly 🙂

l-r: 1. BonBon Mignon, the curious adventurous one
2. DimSum (not available for adoption) the cuddly fluffball
3. Souffle, the blue eyed boss
4. Kimchi, the little cutie with puss-in-boot eyes
5. Truffle, the handsome, active and playful one


Well, I changed my blog design again. Its pretty much based on my soon to be defunct trial site, but this one was a lot harder to make. Its a lot less polished, and I couldn’t figure out how to make the smooth drop down navigation menu thingy. Anyone know?

We didn’t get to paint our studio, in the end, because they didn’t buy the paints yet.

Long Holiday!!! Happy New Hijri Year everyone!!


Does a soundtrack make or break a movie, no matter how good the movie is? Not sure myself, but I’ve come to realise that the movies I list as my favourites all have elements of music in them, more than just the soundtrack. In fact, you could almost say they are musicals. Firstly, the is the magnificent Phantom of The Opera. If there’s one thing that fascinates me more than music, its multi-talented individuals, in this case, its actors/actresses who can also carry a tune quite impressively.

Among my other favourites are Les Choristes, Paris je t’aime, Corpse Bride, August Rush, and In America. Not your typical blockbuster line up, thats for sure. But the melodies that these movies weave together with their stories makes them that much more memorable. Music has an inexplicable way to it, to touch you in places you never thought you had, drawing out forgotten emotions and pricking life back into a lifeless being. It paints a picture full of a thousand rainbows for you to immerse yourself in, even if you aren’t a synesthete. Bad reviews aside, a movie that I’ve been dying to watch is Across the Universe – only because it features some of my favourite songs.

Recently I was reminded of the quiet awesomeness that is Iron and Wine while doing some research about the movie Twilight. Teenage vampire love stories are quite far from palatable to me, but on account of the magnificent “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” suggested by actress Kristen Stewart (who plays Bella Swan) I am actually considering watching it. Only for the end song lol!

I’m not happy with this blog. Thinking of redoing it somehow. For starters, there’s a lot of real wasted space, and it takes forever to load. And school starts too soon…

Bye Bye Birdie…

I had my last exam today, it was Land Surveying. I read through everything a zillion times, paying close attention to engineering and construction surveying and GPS. The first two parts of the paper were easy peasy, i finished it in less than 20 minutes.but then i turn the page and read question # 3, and all my hopes of an A start flying away….
doesn;t help that i think question 4 was faulty, but when i tried to ask sj he said it was right. ok then…
anyways i’m done with my exams,
i still have homework can you believe, even when the semester is over. which we’re gonna do on friday.
this is for a non-credited course. huh.

my parents came back from umrah today. my dad is flying off to sudan tonight. a waste of time i you ask me, flying from saudi to malaysia and back that way to sudan. but he needed to restock his clothes and get some stuff from his office..

so i edited my blog design…probably gonna be tweaked/revamped again sometime soon. have the ideas, but not the time/patience and/or skills!