Reached Japan.. Trials and tribulations so far

I flew to Japan on points from Singapore.. Touching down on 6 April 2017.

Originally, I was supposed to cruise from Singapore to Yokohama, the plan was to take my mum along with me.. but alas, I was too late to book it.

The most maddening thing was that the night after I booked the flight, the cruise was back on the cards! I can’t cancel the flight as I would lose the points and the money… so no go on cruise.. otherwise it would have been an awesome way to get to Japan, spending 2 weeks visiting several countries! 😔

The week I spent in Singapore I will not write, as it’s mostly catching up with friends and family.. not for sightseeing.

The flight I booked was with Cathay Pacific, economy. With 30kg bag allowance, I was way under. Even then; I was worried I was overpacked.. I would have loved to have even less items/clothes packed. 

The flight overlays in Hong Kong 🇭🇰. When booking, I dithered on should I have 1 hr layover or 3 hrs. I should have gone for 1 hr..

The reason was, my flight was at 8am from 🇸🇬, i was so nervous and excited that I couldn’t sleep! I was planning to nap for 2 hrs, then waking up around 4ish, leisurely shower, have the soy bean curd I bought the night before; catch the Uber I booked for 5am, getting to airport before 6am.. instead, I woke up at 5.30am to a message that my Uber was cancelled due to no show. 

I panicked.. jumped into the shower, got out in no time flat, took out the clothes and sheets I had put on wash and dry at my friend’s place, who offered a room whilst I was in town (whom I inadvertently stole a wash netting bag, sorry Jasmine!); packed and left the house about 6.15am.

Luckily there was an Uber 2mins away. Ther driver managed to get me to the terminal within 20mins! (Thank you Vincent!)

I wasn’t too late and was able to check in about 75mins prior to flight.

Got through the immigration checks and stuff, getting to the gate 50mins before flight.. by then I was sweating like a pig.. in an air conditioned environment…

Flight was reasonably on time, but I couldn’t even nap! I spent the whole flight watching 3 movies.. by the way, my JBL headphones were the best! Cups were so comfy!

The breakfast served on the flight was awesome! I should have taken pics but I forgot.. (I’m still a noob to pic and blogging game…).. I had 2 seats to myself!

When I got to Hong Kong 🇭🇰, I got to the gate in less than 30mins! I wasn’t attracted by anything enroute to the gate.. I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t meat that appealed to me (I was definitely not having a pub lunch, I was pecking; not hungry)

So I sat at the gate, connected to the free WiFi they have at the airport and shortly.. fell asleep!

When I woke up, it was time to board.. OMG the queue was so long!! I was hoping to score a free seat next to me but alas.. was squeezed with a Muslim family. I had the aisle seat, which wasn’t so bad, I had thought they would be getting in and out of the seats (which I wouldn’t have minded) but I think they didn’t wanted to disturb me (I hope they did not held it in too much.. not healthy to the body)

The matriarch sat next to me on the middle seat most of the flight, which was good; but towards the end of the flight, they swapped seats as the patriarch had gotten up for the loo. He sat on the middle seat.

Unfortunately, as both of us are not exactly small sized.. my torso ended up leaning in the aisle.. not the most comfortable way to end the flight.

We touched down on time around 8.25pm.. the immigration queue was horrendous! By the time we got out, all shops had shut down.. it was after 9pm.. I was hoping to get a sim WITH voice and data to tide me over as I am collecting my rented MiFi from Asakusa the next day (this will be another blog post).

By the time I left the airport (with a data only sim that should last me till I fly to South Korea in May, itinerary to date will be another post) it was after 10pm. I manage to buy a ticket to Asakusa for about ¥2200, which was really good. 

Raining at Asakusa by the time I arrived at the station, but I manage to walk my luggage through and found my accommodation via google map (so accurate with pricing too). Checking in.. it was close to midnight.. I really wished I took the earlier connecting flight!

This is where I’ll stop for now.. this is REALLY a long and rambly post..

Xoxo

Lazyvegexplorer

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Reading Exploration

Since young, I have been an avid reader. You name it, I read it.

It got to the point that my records for a reading program in school was hotly refuted by my teacher, until I told her to point out a title and author, I will there and then summarise the story for here. That put paid to her suspicions of me faking the records.

Gradually, as I progressed through the school system, I would like to say my reading habits grew. But alas! As homework and schoolwork piled up, the habit of reading became an escapism realm for me.

I also narrowed down my preferences. At first, I read everything and anything; then I gradually distanced myself from several genres. Not to say I will not read it exclusively, but just that I will not seek those genres actively.

My preference for writing styles had changes over time as well. I used to be able to understand and read archaic writing styles as I had the leisure and patience to work through it indefinitely (AKA childhood) but as I grew older, and my priorities changes, ease of understanding (AKA modern writing) became the writing style I gravitate towards.

At one stage of time (teenage times) I devoured Regency Romances (I still do, their grammar and particular usage of words still tickle my fancy). At another stage, I rabidly followed Arthurian tales and their spin-offs.

Novels and books are not only my preferences now. I have also discovered the realm of Mangas and Anime (Japanese, then Korean and Chinese).

So, long story short, this will be the corner where I share what I am currently reading, or had recently read. I will provide links where ever I am able.

And as always, if it is a fan translation or an amateur work, please support author and translator as they are, more often than not, paid little to nothing unless their work is serialized and picked up commercially.

Lazing around,

lazyvegoexplorer

xoxo

Spiced Chilli Strawberry Sauce

So, earlier this month a friend had organised strawberry picking event up at Gnangara on a Sunday.


Thinking this will be a good chance to make another variant of Chilli Strawberry sauce based on a relish recipe by giramuk on theFlavorBender.

I did change a little on the recipe though to give it a South East Asian twist.
Growing up, I noticed that most popular snacks have a combination flavour, which is not common for western flavours. What I meant by combination flavours are combining two or even three distinctly flavours, like sweet and sour; or sweet and sour with saltiness.

Women around me (myself included) tend to gravitate to these taste, this is especially more so with pregnant women, which salted preserved dried plums are used as a cure for nausea, much like graham crackers with weak tea.

I have applied this concept to the sauce, combining sweet, tart and spiciness (per recipe above) but also incorporating a touch of saltiness.

What I have discovered in making this, is that no matter how runny the result is, you can also use the jus for a variety of ways.


Feedback on the sauce was encouraging, various friends and colleagues tried and all loved the taste. Mum particularly loved the mulled wine made from the jus. (see notes below)

Without further ardo, the recipe as below:

2 kg strawberries (hulled and chopped to bite size

½ teaspoon salt

2 cup red wine (whatever you want to cook with)

½ cup malt vinegar

4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

500 gm brown sugar

1 medium lemon worth of zest

2 tablespoon lemon juice

15 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

4 medium-hot chillies (or less to your taste)


Directions:

1. Sprinkle the salt over the strawberries then mix it in, let it sit for a few minutes.

2. Lightly smash the cloves to better release flavour when cooking. If you do not want the cloves in the berries, have them and the cinnamon stick in a small cotton pouch and add it into the pot. (warning – the pouch will turn red as wine… will only be usable thereafter for food that is okay with red wine….)

3. Add all other ingredients (except the sugar) into a 5L pot. If you have a pressure cooker, now is the time to use it….

4. Bring it to a rolling boil (in pressure cooker, after a few whistles; then stop, de-pressurise, open and back on burner).

5. Add sugar and start simmering in low heat for 1hr.

6. Once reduced, ready to jar up in sterilised jars (they will keep for a longer period of time if sterilised and kept in cool dark place)


NOTES

1. Given the low pectin content of strawberries, it will not gel up unless you have pectin, hence after reduction, the sauce will be a bit thick but no where as gel like as a proper jam. If you want it to gel up like jam, you will need to add 50g of pectin.

2. The recipe above will have a lot of liquid, I had extracted about 2 cups worth of liquid (jus) which I then have 1 cup mixed with red wine to make warm mulled wine, it was delicious on a cold night! I plan to use the liquid next time as Sangria base for summer, watch this space…….

Please comment and let me know on your thoughts 🙂

Cheers as always

LazyVegoExplorer xoxo

Lists – Keeping up with…..

Attractions..

Another list that needs to be considered when planning for an extended trip is to consider what you can see during the said trip as it will impact HUGELY on itinerary, the order you visit different places and may, to some extent, impact on decision to actually visit the country during that period.

I am planning an extended trip to Japan (hopefully all around from Hokkaido to Okinawa, finance and time permitting)

My goal is to see as much as I can, absorb as much as I can culturally (tradition and modern). One cannot visit Japan and not visit some keys places (especially if one is a self professed Otaku — Ghibli Museum, I am talking about you).

Recently, Facebook has told me (actually a friend’s post did) that some of Japan’s major attractions are under maintenance and renovations for extended period of time. I can’t link the post (article and in Mandarin, which I am NOT proficient in reading) but I have done the next best thing.

Google search tells me (via japan-guide.com) tells me that there are quite a few attractions in Japan that are impacted, ranging from minor impact (where you can see alternate parts or where renovations/restoration are part of the attraction) to total closure (Ghibli Museum: May to July 2016 and periodically).

I urge readers (you), if you are planning to visit, to take note. If you are already in the know, have some ‘connections’ or recommendations, please comment or message me!

Watch this space.. Laters, fellow Explorers!

Hello, it’s me…. & T-minus <365 days

I’ve done it! I have now taken a step to official documentation of my journey.

This is my very first post in a blog because, as you can see, I’m a virgin blogger, who, with this post, is no longer a blog virgin.

I will keep this post short and sweet.

It’s my way of saying hello, and that I will populate it with a proper ‘About Me’ page stating the purpose of this blog.

If you are confused whilst reading this, don’t worry, you are not alone, and hopefully we will all clear the confusion soon!

Now lemme go laze now…

Lazy Vego Explorer

Tasks to do when planning a long trip..

Top of which is to put a list of tasks to think and to action, especially if planning for a trip over a long duration. Since I am planning to be away from homebase for more than 6 months, I will need to find a way to feed myself whilst travelling, given I am not a trust fund baby and I’d like to travel a bit better than shoestring (read NO hostels, not always).

I will also need to plan an itinerary, whilst taking the chance to catch up with as many of family/friends/aquaintances as possible (Singapore….)

So without ado, below is a list of general things to think about:

  1. Job – I currently is in a role that is very land locked, and does not allow me to travel on the job, hence I will need to look for a part-time role that is not land locked. I aim to work about 4-5hrs a day and that should get enough to cover the essentials. (Suggestions are very welcomed!!)
  2. Itinerary – I still have not locked onto dates as yet as I would need to look at flights.. which I am still investigating. (Come on frquent flyer points!!!)
  3. Accommodation – Currently, I am looking at a few sites, workaway.com for homestays and wwoof.net for farm stays. Airbnb.com for when I have people joining me on that particular leg of the journey. I also want to look into staying at various traditional Ryokans and Onsens as I am a big fan!

These are very general and vague but I got a feeling that once I am able to land a part-time work anywhere role (read internet based role) then I would be more focused on other aspects of the list.

Watch this space, more to come.