Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Samui Calling - Part 1

The day after Christmas, Pae and I, equipped with humungous raisin bread ham-and-cheese sandwiches, courtesy of dad, made our way to Suvarnabhumi for an early flight to Koh Samui. This was both our first flight together and first trip to Samui, so a big deal for us. We stayed at Nora Buri Resort and Spa on the eastern coast of the island, known as Chaweng Beach. Although locals informed us, apologetically, that the weather was less than ideal this time of year, just this year, we really weren't bothered by it at all during our entire stay. Most of the heavy rainfall we experienced lasted a whole minute! The one storm that did perhaps happen was considerate enough to happen when we were dog tired in our room. (Thank you, Mother Nature.) The truth is this trip was just about eating, sleeping, reading our books by the pool, taking turns carrying each other in the pool to the entertainment of other guests, and taking strolls together. Pure relaxation with the ocean as our background and soundtrack. 

Day 1: December 26th

Chaweng Beach, Samui
Stormy but beautiful, like Radiohead

Pae's great misfortune that he has me for dinner company. Both of me.

Some of our orders @ RockPool

I'm still thinking about this mesmerizing painting. If only it could have #fitmysuitcase.

The mixture: Jack Daniels, vanilla ice cream, and very fragrant caramel popcorn.

A little night walk around Central Festival, Samui.

He's getting us our Speculoos ice cream!
#instantfavorite #willbebackformore

"The Best" was down the road, but hey, "Very Good" is very good!
Came back from our night walk to this!
Earlier, the porter hadn't given a chance to say that we weren't newly weds.
#honeymoonspecial #NoraBuriwasprettyawesome

Upcoming: "Samui Calling"

Pae and I celebrate our 2 year milestone and long awaited year-end reunion visiting a famous getaway destination in Thailand we had both never been to. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Dad's Apology

The way my dad apologized for deciding to do the laundry this morning was pretty darn adorable. 

Today was our car pool day, and with Thai primary and secondary schools now on holidays, we get to relish in a few more minutes of sleep or time to do other stuff in the morning. Dad and I are both the time-to-do-other-stuff kind of people though. Me, I chose to make myself a richer breakfast this morning and get a little bit more of my assignments done with the extra half an hour. My dad, he decided to gamble with doing the laundry, which I'm afraid takes more than 30 minutes. 

At 7:30, when we were supposed to leave (for me to be able to make the 9 am class that gives "points" to punctual students), I wondered why dad wasn't already drill-sergeanting me out the door. Then it was 7:35. Still no panic. Something was up. And something truly was: the washing machine. 

I realized I had never heard the churning sound of clothes in the whirlpool on a regular morning such as today's. Intrigued, I walked to the back of the house where the silver and blue creature with the name tag "Electrolux" dwells. And there was my dad, hands on his hips, eyeing the washing machine like I do the water boiler when I need my coffee. 

"YOU'RE DOING LAUNDRY?!" My disbelief escaped me before I realized how unnecessarily rude I was being. He was driving me to university, after all. 

"Almost done," Dad replied, quiet with guilt.

"Oh, okay." I left in shame and went to do something trivial. I hate making my dad, of all people, feel bad like that. But I am like my dad - as you will soon see - and I have strange ways of displaying my remorse.

My second episode of guilt occurred at 7:50 when Dad started the car engine and 30 Seconds to Mars blasted from the speakers at a rebellious volume. Whoops. I forgot to turn it down when I parked the car in the garage last night. But to my surprise, not only did I not receive a lecture about the importance of concentration when driving, HE DIDN'T TURN IT DOWN, or turn on the radio!

We made it all the way to the middle of the expressway before he finally turned it down and then gave in to his need to listen to the morning news. It was as if my dad was saying,
 "I'm sorry for doing the laundry this morning, here's 30 minutes of 30 Seconds to Mars at the volume you like."
Know what? 
I'll take it!

Monday, August 11, 2014

"I never realize how much I like being home unless I've been somewhere really different for a while."

The title-quote is from the movie Juno (2007), which I am watching at this very moment because I randomly miss Ellen Page's character's humor. But this post isn't about the movie. I'm actually just here to say that I'm back in Bangkok and the homecoming so far has been warm and comfortable - not just referring to the weather. 

Here is the first picture taken of me after my arrival:

I missed my car.jpeg


Sunday, August 3, 2014


Update: with less than 200 MB of my phone data left, I must keep my writing for this one succinct and the next you'll hear from me here will probably be in 2 or 3 days when, for the first time in a year, I will be in Bangkok. 
Even though by then I will no longer be physically in Japan, there is still a lot I have to say and reflect about my year-experience in this country... You still haven't heard about my favorite place and my most memorable experiences in Japan after all.

Anyways, for now as promised,

The Stuff I Got From The Fes

Animal Illustration Pins
1 for ¥200, 3 for ¥500
¥500 for the tear, ¥1500 for the dog
This was my first purchase, the plunge.
Her minimalist comics are terribly adorable. Literally, sold.
(¥200 per card/envelope/sticker set)
One way to tell someone you care.
Another illustrator. My purchases came in this unique packaging. Let's see what's inside...
¥150 per postcard, ¥500 for the pin
I don't even like cats, thus this is amazing.
This artist makes accessories from small random objects, like volume knobs of old radios and
Hanafuda is a popular game in Japan and Korea. I used to play it with my Ojiichan when I was young.
I still have his deck. The game is obviously sentimental to me and a fond memory of my childhood;
I couldn't even question on what occasion I would wear these, I just had to have them.
Royal Freedom prices according to the specific piece you pick.
The "M" key was around ¥500, as opposed to larger keys like "Enter" which was around ¥900.
This "Volume" was around ¥900. As for the Hanafuda earrings (which you could also request to have made as pins),
are priced accordingly to card value. This is where knowledge of the game comes in.
High cards are ¥900. Low cards are ¥450. By the time I got there, there were only low cards left...
Maybe that was a good thing for my wallet. 
And I did find an occasion for them a week later.
#sumidagawaHANABItakai #camwhore
Disclaimer: I did not have any Twilight references in mind when I bought these.
If you guessed jellyfish, you were right.
Translucent folder: ¥300.
And a whole bunch of free papers for looking back or exploring forth.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014


          Two weeks ago, on a Sunday, I made my way to Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo's international convention center located around Odaiba, to reinforce my denial of everything going on in my life to catch the last day of the Handmade in Japan Fes 2014.
         It was really a last minute discovery and decision. When did I hear about it? The witching hours between Friday and Saturday. From where? Those typically distracting Facebook ad. When was the last chance to buy advance tickets for it? "Saturday" =  immediately went down to the conbini ticket machine in my PJ's. 
          Kids, most of the times, the decisions you make at 4 in the morning are regrettable. This just happened to be a fluke. I got to the convention at noon on Sunday, quite resolute about 2 things: 1) I'll walk around for an hour or two and then head back and actually try to prepare myself for finals week (*retrospective chuckle*), and 2) I'm no state to splurge or accumulate luggage, so expressive admiration will be my only currency today. What ended up happening? After 4.5 hours, I made myself go home, and let's just say postcards, pins, and other knickknacks ADD UP. THEY ADD UP OKAY. But actually, despite the resources I exhausted attending the event, I feel that the hundreds of artists there, who earnestly (and probably anxiously) put out their crafts which they've clearly devoted so much into designing and making, gave me something valuable I have misplaced living too seriously day-to-day: i n s p i r a t i o n .
          In short, it was eye-awakening. A reminder of why I love Japanese people. They care so much about the arts, about the beauty of details. They are adorably humble about what is indeed greatness, and they are overwhelmingly appreciative when you tell (or show) them their work is special and meaningful to you. You can't put prices on exchanges like these. That's why I didn't feel any bit tired after almost 5 hours.
          Here are my selections from the event. In Part 2, I'll show you what I got. An anomaly in Japan, photography of all exhibitions/purchasable goods was actually allowed, although I still felt incredibly "guilty" for poking my lens everywhere. Japanese politeness has successfully pwned me there.

The Venue: 

Convention Vibes:

Don't forget that coffee also qualifies as handmade art. (Plus, I love this girl's look.) 
The artist told me they are stained glass inspired.
Guess which design I bought. 
Just casually knitting away. 
This man is very humble about his craft which I find soooo amazing.
I'm a big fan of scrap-metal work. 
Guess which animal I bought.
Live art.
More live art.
Her medium is actually stained glass.
I bought something from her too.
(Personal note: looks like my friend, K.)
Is it a good thing or a bad thing that I don't own an iPhone...
I was already so tempted to buy this entire collection.
Receiving styling advice.
Microbeads + Sewing = Painstaking
"Sometimes I'll get a client who wants something fixed/changed/added.
I can do it, but if you pierce the cloth too many times, the whole thing becomes ruined."
As cute as their work.
Top: everything onigiri-designed, including the pouch for holding 1 onigiri.
Bottom: I watched the artist make one live. It was magical.
Right: I admit I wasn't interested at first, but the artist, seeing my camera,
told me to take a picture and post it on my blog. That makes this memorable.
There were also workshops,
for kids and adults.