430: black and white (白纸黑字)

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

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379: 可惜时光不会逗留,转眼飘走

It always strikes me as somewhat strange, the way age changes and defies logic. Over time, the wrinkles appear and the cheeks sag. Voices become rustier, more hoarse, tired from years of screaming at children. Movements are slower, the legs stiffen, backs bending increasingly over the weight of dreams. Recently there have been so many movies dealing with age and loss, as if the two must come together, but increasingly one accepts that the two are necessarily inseparable. With time comes loss comes age, and a painful process of maturity; age becomes wisdom becomes regret.

grandfathers

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341: i’m going to linger till dawn, dear

I’m back! For awhile, after a month on the road. The bus driver looked surprised when he stamped my bus ticket and noted that the last stamp was dated four weeks ago. And strange again, because I came home to an empty house, with a load of mail waiting for me. I’ve unpacked all my things, knowing that I will have to pack them again pretty soon, which is fine by me, except that I have a shitload of laundry to do by Monday. 

This past month has been good. From being with friends to meeting friends of friends, though somewhat randomly and by tenuous connection (one always marvels at how Facebook improves communications by leaps and bounds), we covered London and Paris and then Portugal — which I loved — Lisbon more than Porto, but still lovely all the same.

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333: fireworks in lake michigan

As usual, I have not done anything (much) today. I have an exam on Monday but I’ve barely started studying. This would be better if it were actually graded so I could feel more fear, or written so that I could feel less. As it is, it’s an oral exam. I’m scared shitless and yet not, and my brain is continually pushing waves of apathy towards me. 

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332: where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about

… we’ve got so much to do, but only so many hours in a day. And we can dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true.

I have decided to update this post everyday for a week with the things that make me happy everyday. It is time for some POSITIVITY! Also, strange how they say people only blog when they are either 1) very depressed 2) very free 3) very busy. I suppose this must be true, because I do it all the time. 

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326: look what love gave us

These few days have been better, but it might have been all the alcohol.

Everyone is going home soon, and it’s hard to fathom that one semester has already passed us by. In these three months so many things, good and bad, have happened, sometimes changing our lives irreversibly. Whatever it is, whether it’s the people we’ve met or the people who have left or are leaving, this exchange year is shaping up to be an unforgettable one.

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313: i swam across, i jumped across for you

So. Last weekend we went to Utrecht, with 5 other people from various countries. We met up with Gary, Zhiming and Crystal, who’d just arrived that week. It was lots and lots of fun. Utrecht is a beautiful old city, and because it was really the first of stereotypical Netherlands that we saw, it was great. There are lots of canals, boats, people cycling… 

I almost didn’t go, though, because I didn’t eat breakfast and we were late, so we cycled hard and fast to the train station. Then I felt really dizzy and couldn’t walk straight, and ended up sitting down on the floor after awhile and eventually missed our scheduled train. We did manage to get on one 20 minutes later, after Val forced chocolate down my throat, but I still felt queasy till we actually got to Utrecht and ate some breakfast. Hmm.

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312: rain rain go away

We went to Amsterdam yesterday. Woke up at the insane time of 6am (unthinkable in this weather) and cycled all the way to school where we took a bus to Amsterdam. It was raining the whole morning and for the better part of lunch, but the weather cleared up marvellously in the afternoon. It would’ve been a great day if I didn’t lose my contact lens at the end of it.

But oh well. Here are pictures of my room from a very long time ago;
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296: japan: kyoto contradictions

Some think Kyoto is all quaint shops and beauty. It is, but there’s so much more than that. Maybe it’s because it’s the old capital. Nowhere else do you feel the contradictions more strongly: time-honored tradition living next to modern amenities; something as mundane as seeing two geisha clad in kimono walking next to a taxi. The men who frequent Gion have changed their clothes as the times pass, yet till now it is the wealthy businessmen who look to entertain and be entertained, in their dapper, dreary business suits, that sing and laugh with geisha in the comfort of the teahouses overlooking the river. Not everything Arthur Golden says is true, but it’s not all false either. As tourists throng to the temples frantically snapping away with their cameras, there remains the crowd of people that stays the same, going back to the temple year after year, month after month, praying for this or that. The wooden plaques always say the same things; human nature changes very little. Many things have changed, but there is still hope. 

Here, young girls still guide their hopeful friends, hands clasped and eyes closed, towards the sunshine and in search of love.

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293: japan: osaka city riots

18- 21 May.

So, finally, here is Osaka. Most of what they say about Osaka is totally true. It’s a merchant town, and it’s filled with people who love food, love being happy, love being loud and funny and living life. It’s kind of like being Hokkien on crack. Being Japanese, they’re naturally polite, and really really willing to help. They’re the sort of people that, when you are standing alone on the train platform surrounded by your luggage, an elderly lady will totter over to you asking, 大丈夫か? (Are you all right?). At this point most of what you can say merely consists of ああ、はい (Ah, yes) which is really rude now that I think about it. Yet the same elderly lady, when getting onto the train, will fight you tooth and nail to get in and give you a not-so-friendly push if you dawdle too long at the entrance. Osaka people are always hurrying everywhere; not in the same way as Tokyo or the big cities, where everyone needs to look like they have something very important to do. Here it is pure unadulterated rush. 

We spent four days in Osaka, and they were a good four days. We visited temples and parks, castles, got lost, did lots of shopping, checked out Kennedy’s wildly expensive t-shirts, gawked at more wildly expensive merchandise, ate and walked, and ate, and ate non-stop. 

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291: it’s a bright, bright, bright, sunshiney day

I must say; it’s so hot it’s not even funny. I can just sit here and start sweating for no reason. I hate hot weather. And summer. And whatever arghhh.

I haven’t done anything these few days. I met Nurul to do our nails yesterday so now my nails are grey. It looks cooler than it sounds. I think. Other than that, I’ve only been meeting J for dinner and making full use of my Internet’s temporary connection to Megaupload (I have never been able to download anything from there before. Ever. J says it’s where all the porn is stored and MU has probably cleared all its servers so that horny Singaporeans don’t get to access it anymore…) to download 34689475968 episodes of everything. 

I now have on-going series (what is the plural?!) of Osen, Zettai Kareshi, Last Friends, and Nodame Cantabile. Also I found the subtitled version of the Hana Kimi special. GO ME! I now have a drama collection to rival Isaac’s. Who is obsessed with Nakama Yukie. Watching Gokusen for all the wrong reasons. Tsk.

Pictures of the super wonderful bento/don I ate the other day:

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289: japan: yokohama city lights

It’s early in the morning now, and as usual, I can’t sleep. The sky is red and you know what they say about red skies in the morning and red skies at night. Tonight the moon is full, as it was last night, but tonight the moon hung low behind the tree outside my house and I had to look harder to find it. It’s just like most things, which disappear without you noticing in the hope you’ll look ever harder for them. 

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This post is about Yokohama, with which I think I might have a special love affair. This is not to say that I didn’t love all the other cities I went to, but that they mean different things to me. Tokyo is the place of childhood and dreams, mainly because I went there so many times when I was younger, though as you grow older you discover its ever-increasing adult attractions. Osaka was all about food and relaxation and just generally having fun doing everything and nothing. Kyoto was full of history, but Yokohama…

Yokohama is full of lights and romance. Yokohama is the place you bring girls to when you want to impress them. It doesn’t seem like much because it’s so near Tokyo and it’s so easy to overlook, but it retains that particular, off-centre, sort of feeling. It’s near but not too near. It has its own voice, its own attractions, its own history. Some people say Chinatown wasn’t too interesting; sometimes you just need to know where to look. Stepping into Minato Mirai is fascinating precisely because we’re at an age where we can appreciate it, still: the free theme parks, ferris wheels, lights across the sea, the red brick warehouses and the smoke curling up from beneath the windows. It seriously is the number one place to bring a girl on a date. It is so romantic you can choke. 

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284: photo blues

Randomly, I am getting annoyed with the lack of good, free photo hosting sites. Does anyone have any suggestions? I need:

1) Nice layout

2) Slideshow feature

3) Unlimited photo storage

4) Preferably easily uploadable

5) Can be shared publicly without people having to sign up/be emailed, i.e. the URL can just be given

6) FREE

I uploaded 225 photos onto snapfish only to realise that I have to email people to share my pictures. Which is not what I want because it is so troublesome. ROAR. Someone please help me :(

123: and all the lights that light the way are blinding

it’s been altogether too long since we’ve met. in between lots of things fly by unrecorded. some are things you want to remember, and the rest you can’t decide either way. the week had a few bright points, though it drove both of us to insanity (along with many other people) but anyway chinese new year is coming and i’m very glad i started doing my memorial early — the number of msn nicks relating to memorials is mind-boggling, and the admin person in NUS who came up with the great idea of placing the deadline on reunion dinner day is clearly not chinese. it’s been a long road.

in any case, these two weeks have been stressful. i seem to say that after every assignment, but it seems just to rise to unprecedented heights each time. but it’s a steep learning curve, maybe, though they say in law, it never ends. there are more white hairs on my head in the past few months than i’ve had my whole life; maybe my coasting days are over. one day i got so crazy and frustrated over memorial i took off and sulked in a corner of the school, and today at 4pm i was still scrambling to mark citations and the day seemed to pass in a blur. i don’t remember much of this week, aside from going to school at 9am every day and working on my memorial the moment lessons ended till school closed, then going home to work on it some more. LAWR is taking up a crazy part of my life and really should be 8 credits for the amount of work we put in it. my crim and contract readings are left on my beanbag to rot the rest of their natural lives away. sigh. J estimates that during memorial season he spends an average of two nights a week at my house. since it will forever be memorial season, i suspect we’ll be seeing much more of him in the future.

in other news, my new year clothes are very pretty. but they are all in some variation of black! oops.

check out the crazy antics we get up to when we’re stressed out.

on 04 x fanfare the moment dennis walked in while patrick was reading joseph constantine day

note how i look like a rockstar whereas patrick just looks gay. i present my mooting partner, everyone
and guys, the best way to studying: eat your paper

actually the only reason why this series of pictures came about is because my mother bought mini mandarin oranges for chinese new year (and i love them, i keep eating them, they have no seeds) and they’re so mini and fascinating i just had to blog about it to show everyone the splendour of its miniscule size. nevertheless it degenerated into a photowhoring session on a wonked-out sunday night

`

on another note, picnics kick ass. island life, we love it

that day we worked for the first half of the day. later on in the afternoon i was made to hide my head under a jacket (or some other similar visually-impairing action) all the way while he drove on and on to forever and neverland, and made to walk down an interminably long slope with my eyes closed. later that night i realised valentine’s day is pretty amusing to watch on the streets. all the guys had flowers in one hand and their girlfriend in the other. well, all except for one angmoh kid whose t-shirt said:

i’m with stupid
(insert x number of derogatory adjectives here, cos i didn’t read)

i’m single