Travel: Japan Trip 2012 (Day 14 – Yokohama, Tokyo)

Travel: Japan Trip 2012 (Day 14 – Yokohama, Tokyo)

See: Japan Trip 2012 itinerary and summary

Day 14: December 9

On this day we visited Yokohama (Minato Mirai area), mostly taking it easy before a long day at Tokyo Disney Sea the next day, so this should be a short post. Enroute to Yokohama from Shinjuku, we briefly went to Shibuya (because that was the recommended travel route). So of course we went to pay Hachiko a visit, and made the obligatory walk across the famous Shibuya crossing.



Yokohama is where I spent half of my Japan exchange trip in high school, so it’s a special place to me. Minato Mirai is the harbour area of Yokohama and has lots of shopping complexes, an observatory, amusement park and museums (including the Cup Ramen museum). I’ve visited the Sky Garden Observatory and been on the large ferris wheel previously and think they are both excellent! On this day though, we just walked around the harbour and the shops. For lunch, we had doria and ramen.






We returned back to Tokyo for dinner. Again we got lost in Shinjuku station and got so hungry trying to find our station exit that we chose to have dinner first in a restaurant we came across that specialised in hambaagu (Japanese hamburger steak).

With more energy, we resumed our journey of finding the right exit and thus the way to our hotel. We ended up walking passed a small event for Japan’s bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, before retreating to our hotel ahead of our big day at Tokyo Disney Sea!

Unexpected life lately

I originally wrote the below post to go up before Christmas, but then the Monday before Christmas, we received news that my grandmother living in China had had a stroke. That night I packed my things and went to my parents’ house. Some time after midnight my dad received the call that his mother had passed away. The next day was spent running around getting flights and processing emergency Visas for my parents and I. Three years ago, also a few days before Christmas, we had to make the same emergency flight back to China so we were well prepared for how to get it done. We flew out that night and arrived the next night (after a horrible delay due to pollution resulting in a seven hour transit in China). It was a crazy and tiring trip. She was my third grandparent to pass away so I am now more or less prepared for Chinese death rituals, although my dad’s siblings kept this one really simple (we were able to sleep every night). The funeral was on Saturday, and on Sunday (Christmas day), I flew back home with my mum (my dad would stay another week). On that day I also got sick and spent the the flight and week between Christmas and New Years being quite sick. Such is getting sick in China. So that was my Christmas. Although it was an emotionally and physically distressing – not least because my grandmother’s passing was so utterly sudden and unexpected, there is peace to knowing that she lived a wholesome and healthy life without any illnesses, and although she went too soon, she was surrounded by friends in the local park when she collapsed (and not alone in her house) and experienced little discomfort while unconscious. May she rest in peace with my grandfather.


The last couple of months have been rather eventful. Job security isn’t really a reality in my area of science, but I had wanted to leave my current job regardless if my contract could be extended at the end of November or not. Of course it would be a huge risk to voluntarily leave without securing another job. I decided to go for it anyway and push myself out of a comfort zone. Since I already know I don’t want to stay in this job role forever, it was time to be proactive. I sent out about a dozen job applications. Surprisingly, I actually got two offers! The first was basically the same as my current job but in a better environment. The second offer was unexpected me because it was from industry and I only went to the interview for practice. I turned down returning for a second chat on account of liking my other offer more. They were rather insistent that industry was better and paid better (which is true but despite a $13k pay difference on paper, my current salary packaging benefits means I still earn within a few thousand of the industry pay) and asked me to come in again anyway. Once I did that maths, I no longer felt guilty about turning down a significantly higher paying job because it wasn’t. In the end I managed to firmly turn them down. My current boss also extended my contract for a few more months to finish off projects, so I will be starting in a new (but very similar) job mid February. Things ended up working out really well and I won’t be in a worse situation next year, although I’m not sure if the initial decision to leave was a good call (because of the risks) and it was probably very irresponsible. I would have loved to find a job which was more different, but I am so thankful for what I have lined up. Somehow all the pieces fell in to place and I’m counting my lucky stars.

I will also be studying a Masters course in 2017 at The University of Sydney by distance. I am resolved to do this full time and work full time. I never put enough effort into any of my studies in high school or undergraduate university. I can only own up to putting in effort for Honours. I owe myself at least one year of hard work. I hated my Bachelor so much and I still have no idea what I’m doing with my life so I really want to make this degree count. I actually applied for a mid year 2016 intake and was already accepted but decided to wait for the end of 2016 in the hopes of securing a CSP (Commonwealth Supported Placement) placement for 2017. This would effectively make my tuition fees two thirds subsidised. I had been wondering if it was even worth studying full-fee, as full-fee study is a difficult concept for me. I was fairly certain I wouldn’t get a place based on academic standing (poor university performance mentioned) so I had unhappily resigned myself to pushing ahead in a full-fee placement. What’s some five additional years of paying back student loans? However against all odds, I received news that I had secured one of the additional CSP spots! I was quite emotional at my work desk, crying silent tears (don’t worry, nobody saw). I’m not sure if it’s an achievement but somehow it feels like an achievement. I’m so thankful to be given a fairly competitive CSP spot. Somehow the pieces all fell into place again. Thank you, lucky stars!

Needless to say, 2017 is going to be a big, intense and very different year.

Review: ASOS vs TFNC pleated midi skirt

Left: ASOS | Right: TFNC

I was on the hunt for a nude-pink coloured pleated midi skirt for several months. I couldn’t find anything from my usual fashion retailers or pre-owned on eBay. Midway through November, there were a lot of click frenzy online promotions going on, and I used ASOS’s 30% off sitewide sale to pick up the ASOS Pleated Midi Skirt (Nude) and TFNC Pleated Midi Skirt (Light mauve) in my usual size 6 as they looked like exactly what I was after. I order from ASOS once in a blue moon and now with free-returns from Australia, I am slightly more keen to try things then return them (previously I would have to pay return shipping).

Unfortunately the TFNC size 6 was too small and I was unable to zip up and actually breathe. ASOS don’t do exchanges so I couldn’t get the same 30% discount for reordering in a different size (I even emailed to see if they could honour the previous discount code for this situation, but they couldn’t). However Black Friday came around so I just ordered a size 8 with their 20% off discount. (I note, as always, that Black Friday sales are not actually that spectacular online. I always find better sales throughout the year.) It wasn’t too big a deal. ASOS free returns are also really easy now!

Both skirts are 100% polyester and fully lined. The tag says hand wash only but I think that’s extremely silly and will definitely be throwing it in the machine. The TFNC lining is a thicker material and very elasticated (almost like a jersey material), which might make it more comfortable if I were to start sprinting, haha. Both have a waist band, side zip and hook and eye closure. The zip on the TFNC skirt is much stiffer and gives me a lot of trouble (both skirts that came had this same problem so it’s not an isolated problem). Both are also priced at $59 and available in a few different colours. They are not high quality but well priced to fill a wardrobe hole.

The ASOS skirt is noticeably longer by several centimetres. It’s kind of an awkwardly too-long-midi/almost-maxi length. For reference, I’m 165cm but have short legs for my proportions (damn) so even the TFNC one is probably a tad long on me and I may end up altering it (just look at it on the model!). I would have been happy to keep both though, as I really liked the two colours – the ASOS one is a peachy pale nude, while the TFNC one is a dusty grey-toned pink. They also have different weights and pleating – the TFNC one is heavier and has skinnier pleats. However I noticed that the lining of the ASOS skirt was bunched at the waist band and these folds showed through quite obviously since the outer layer was thin. I’m not sure if it was an isolated stitching problem, but it annoyed me a lot. Ultimately this made the decision for me and I decided to return the ASOS one (and the TFNC in the size that didn’t fit).

ASOS Pleated Midi Skirt (Nude) | TFNC Pleated Midi Skirt (Light mauve) (+ cashback via Cash Rewards)

Melbourne: Gingerbread Village by Epicure

On Saturday I visited the annual Gingerbread Village by Epicure, which this year is raising money for The Royal Children’s Hospital. I’ve been wanting to go for a few years now, but the lines are always long after work and on weekends, especially the closer it gets to Christmas. I arrived at 10am, which is precisely when the line grew to some thirty people, even though T said there was no line just five minutes before. Whoops.


It’s a small-ish room of people moving in a circle and they let in as many people as the number that leaves. Because the lighting was really dim and I had to keep moving along, my photos unfortunately ended up blurry.

Docklands and The Melbourne Star:



The Melbourne Zoo:


Albert Park and The Grand Prix:


St Kilda Beach:

Luna Park:


Flemington Racecourse:

MCG:

Melbourne Town Hall:

Arts Centre Melbourne:


And of course The Royal Children’s Hospital… the inside is so adorable! They even have the famous meerkats!





The Gingerbread Village by Epicure is located at The Melbourne Town Hall and opens 9am – 8:45pm daily from December 1 to December 24.

Beauty Empties: October & November 2016

beauty-empties-2016-10-11

Koji Line Beat 24h Long Lasting Liquid Eyeliner (black): I’ve gone on about this already. I actually used up two of these recently, because by accident I’ve had three in use this year (and not because the product doesn’t last long). This is probably my holy grail liquid eyeliner and because of that it’ll keep being purchased and used up.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation (52): I purchased this many years ago because a lot of the internet seems to recommend it. I think it was an okay colour match considering how rushed I was at the drugstore. Unfortunately I hated it the moment I used it, and forced myself to finish it in recent months because I’ve committed myself to doing so with all my products. Instead of blending into my skin, it slides all over the place. The finish is terrible on me – you can see streak marks, it barely covers anything and it totally accentuates dry patches. It’s been a horrible product and I had to really push myself to use it up.

Shiseido Revital Lotion EX I: I received this as a gift, and I never would have purchased this myself. It’s meant to be used after a toner, but the texture is incredibly watery and light so I assumed one would use a moisturiser on top (there’s no way this would have cut it for me without something heavier on top). That’s how I used it, and I suppose it did no harm but I would prefer a more traditional serum or oil after toning. This just felt like watery milk.

I Love… Mango & Papaya Nourishing Body Butter: This is one of my two favourite scents from the brand. Like the others, I find this a fuss-free and easy to use body butter that does a good job for the price.