My 12 (+1) Most significant moments in 2015

Oh my, what a year it has been. I think 2015 marks one of my most fulfilling years, where I set out to achieve a massive amount of milestones.

Here’s a #throwback for 2015.

1. Stepping out of my comfort zone

9 January 2015

I took one of the bravest steps in my life where I decided to leave my comfort zone and venture into the unknown. I had left my previous job making an active decision to take a break so I was not sure how would things work out.

I used to be quite a workaholic, I think. Luckily, things worked out okay, I had a month’s break before my new stint. I spent time hanging out with friends, chilling by the poolside and even…

Packed my sneakers.

2. Spoke at my first public speaking engagement

I organise and host a lot of public events for work but I am mostly backstage, making sure that all gears are oiled and in place.

This time, I was alone on stage, sharing a little bit of my team’s story and efforts. Thank you NAC and Matchbox for having me!

Source: NAC Matchbox

3. Moving into the next age group check box

You know what’s the best thing you can do on your birthday? Spending time with your favourite people and food.

Btw, I love having photographer friends!

Photo by Kelvin Chua

Photo by Kelvin Chua

4. Stepped into a new role

As a busker in the hotel lobby singing “You Are My Sunshine”.

No, not really but I took up a new challenge that is more in line with my hobbies and allowed me to harness my creativity. Initially, it was a rocky start, I felt like I was paddling in the deep sea like a poor swimmer. But hey, I kept my head high up. That said I have also:

  • Gone to MediaCorp more times than I had ever before
  • Met creative talents who are very hardworking and with laundry lists of accolades but remain humble and grounded.
  • Had the most fabulous reception food

5. Impromptu trip to Bangkok

Bestie and I have known each other since our NUS days but this was only the second trip that we have made together. So in mid-March, we decided on a whim that we should travel together this year and so we booked a trip to Bangkok and flew off on 1 April.

No April’s fool joke.

We discovered new night markets and my Talad Rot Fai Ratchada post has been the reason why my blog statistics have been on a rise.

P.S. I also found a new favourite cat cafe, Cataholic Cafe, in Bangkok.

6. Unexpected trip to Japan

While Bangkok was an impromptu trip, Japan was an unexpected trip that didn’t come up in my travel plans for 2015. I was activated for chaperone duties by my parental units and it was a zoom zoom decision.

Osaka and Kyoto were both familiar to me and I am back in my old spots in less than 6 months. But how can anyone get tired of Japan really?

7. Start of Flair Life Project

I was initiated into the Flair Life Project, which is a series of events in 2015, ran by a dance crew, The Flair Brothers. While I have been dancing for a while, seen bits and pieces of dance events work, I have not delved into the street scene before.

Freestyle, 7-to-smoke: all these were unknown terms for me.

The boys were all kind and welcoming to me, the new chick. I also spent some time with the girls crew (basically, the helpers and girlfriends), ensuring that the events run smoothly. In a year, I checked off 4 events.

8. Being a pseudo Stage Manager

I usually can take challenges (and all kinds of un-doable) thrown at me quite well. But being asked to be a Stage Manager, just a night before a production, was really no joke.

At that point of time, it was do or die and of course, I had to survive. I didn’t have time to think about anything else, save trying my best to do a good job. I was also thankful to the Lighting Manager, Evelyn for guiding me along because I would have died 100 times over without her. Much thanks to all the dancers who are all superbly encouraging.

I don’t think she’d read this but she has inspired me to take up a Stage Manager course next year.

Photo by Robin (middle) and Evelyn is on the right

9. Blast Presents: Out of Bounce

This is the new annual smaller concert by my varsity dance group staged in September each year. Prior to the concert, we usually begin rehearsals in May.

This is also the reason why I try to keep travelling before May and after September because I hate missing rehearsals.

I started out with one item with the alumni…

But ended up in 2.25 items in the end. The 0.25 item was the 30 sec in finale item.

Balancing multiple work events and a dance concert was a toll on my physical body and sleep. But hey, no one said this was easy.

10. Blast Alumni Movement on Sundays

On Sundays, I spend my afternoons trying to get groovy with a bunch of other fogeys. My alumni friends that is. This is a new initiative a few of us have mooted.

It was challenging to keep it going because of the administrative issues and also, participation rates. Sometimes, you just got to keep it going. And we did for 2015.

We wrapped up the year with a showcase at Blast Camp and I wore my new H&M sweater.

11. #meowgeroo15

Saving the best for the last, this is my epic trip of the year! This is one of my longer and more ambitious trips. We travelled for 11 days and had a 5D road trip driving from Sydney to Melbourne.

Great company, good food, lovely sights and perfect photos. That reminds me, I need to get my blogging mojo on.

What else can you ask for? More trips in 2016!!

Photo by Camistry Lab

12. My first staycation

My girls and I don’t spend a lot of time together due to our clashing schedules but its always a good time when we see each other.

We booked a staycation at Festive Hotel, spent the time lazing by the beach, watching TV and enjoying breakfast with each of our personal reads. We’re so close such no one bats an eye when each has their own personal breakfast routine.

13. Upgraded: I’m an aunt!

Ha, bet ya didn’t expect this. My family welcomed an addition to our already huge family.

Travis said “hello, world” on 17 December.

Having a serious conversation with my nephew

Osaka: Rinku Outlet Malls – Sports Depo and Rinku Tempura

So… you can’t resist Rinku Premium Outlet at Osaka. Since you’re in the area, there are two other spots that you should probably check out too!

Pro Tip: There is a shuttle bus from Kansai Airport to Rinku Premium Outlet at 200Y per adult. I’d suggest for you to leave your luggage at Kansai Airport’s luggage hold if you’re flying on the same day.

Sports Depo

If you haven’t already guessed it, this is a mega sports warehouse just a few minutes from Rinku Outlets. It probably takes about 5-10 minutes to stroll over.

If you’re in the Fit Fam Bam, this is the place for you. Lots of sports gear here!

They even have camping gear

 

Attraction Sports Depo
Address 3-27  3-27 Rinku-Ourai Minami, Izumisano City
Opening hours 1000 – 2100
How to get there Nearest train stations: Rinku Town
Google Map Sports Depo Rinku Town

Tempura Store

After you’re done shopping and is hungry, grab a bite at the Tempura store for a satisfying meal. The portion is huge mind you, I think one meal can feed two perfectly. A typical meal is about 1,500Y.

There isn’t a name for the store but it’s on level two, near the restaurants, right by Lacoste, you can’t miss it.

Attraction Tempura Store, Level 2, near Lacoste
Address Rinku Premium Outlets,

3-28, Rinku Ourai Minami,
Izumisano-Shi, Osaka, Japan
598-8508

Opening hours 1000 – 2000
How to get there Nearest train stations: Rinku Town
Google Map Rinku Premium Outlets

 

 

Kyoto Sight: Nyan Chu 2

Nyan Chu 2 is the second outlet of the more popular Wan Nyan Chu original outlet and is next to hostel that I was staying at.

The price was steeper than the other two cat cafes in Kyoto that I have been. It was probably because of the central location and that, it was riding on the coat tails of the popular original cat cafe.

I wasn’t there but I heard the cafe recently launched a kitten room where you can purchase some extra time with kittens.

As compared to the Cat Tail and Neko Time, Nyan Chu offers drinks and a sweet pastry. The hot drinks are refillable, go for the hot roasted green tea!

The cats are more sleepy than friendly but still fun to hang around.

This is also one of the bigger cat cafes, made up of two spaces.

 

Attraction Nyan Chu 2
Address Kyoto-shi, Nakagyou-ku, Isayacho 354-1, Kyara Bldg, 3F East.
Opening hours 1200 – 2100
How to get there Nearest train stations: Kawaramachi
Google Map Nyan Chu 2

 

Kyoto sight: Kyoto Manga Museum

If you’re a manga fan, you’d probably enjoy this place. I still wonder why is it named a “museum” when it is more like a cafe. There are no exhibits if you want history about how manga started, however, there are plenty of dated comics.

There are even comics from before World War II.

The main segment of the Museum is paid. Place your belongings in the locker and get a ticket!

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Kyoto Sight: Nishiki Market

I love exploring markets. It’s always one of the must-do things for me when I go overseas. Immersing myself in a foreign country’s functional daily life makes me feel like one of their own.

Although Nishiki seems to be more of a tourist than local spot, it was still fun to explore, look around and stuff ourselves with the street food. Don’t eat breakfast before you come here, there is so much food to taste.

Nishiki Market spans across 2-3 streets probably.

One of the shops that is often mentioned online

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Kyoto sight: Kinkakuji

I’ve heard tales about how beautiful this temple is. It has also been ranked one of the must-visits on TripAdvisor.

Is it really worth the hype? Not really, in my opinion. Basically, you squeeze with 10,000 other tourists, view the golden temple from afar and look at old living spaces of priests.

If you’re feeling rich, have a drink at the tea house outside. I imagine it must be very scenic and picturesque in autumn and spring. I was sweltering in the summer heat, sorry no pics!

Tadah, you’re done with the attraction and also, 400Y poorer.

Perhaps, it was such a scorching day, it was unbearable for me. Coupled with pushy tourists, I doubt I will ever be back. I hope you would get to visit Kinkakuji on a nicer day, with fewer tourists!

This time, it’s not that my photo is crooked, it is a LONG walk uphill

I guess you’re paying for this ticket?

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Kyoto sight: Neko Cafe Time

Not interested in the hike at Fushimi Inari?

Love cats?

Your answer: Neko Cafe Time.

Compared to the other cat cafes I’ve been to in Osaka, Neko Cafe Time feels a lot homelier and humble than the other cafes. The cats from Neko Cafe Time are all rescued cats, hence, you don’t see any of those Russian Blues or Ragdolls but the everyday cats that you’d spot on the streets.

It depends on what type of cat cafe experience you’re looking for I suppose.

Me, I just wanted a cool place with air-conditioning (while waiting for my sister and D to hike) and maybe a drink to hide out from the terrible heat. Even better, if there is wifi. Make my day better-er with cats!

Price available on their website.

Cafe overlooks the river, such a pretty sight!

I think the cafe will be even prettier in spring with cherry blossoms blooming.

As with most cat cafes, you’re required to place your shoes outside and sanitise your hands.

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Osaka / Kyoto: KATE

Simple way to travel between Osaka or Kyoto central to/fro Kansai airport: KATE.

  • Multiple locations and timings from convenient pick up / drop off within Osaka. Stops are available in Kyoto and Nara even.
  • Easy and fast ride, there’s even wifi on the bus!
  • Porters help you with your luggage

Purchase your tickets

English announcements available

 

Comfy seats all around

Kyoto sight: Fushimi Inari in 2014 and 2015

Are you a repeat traveller? Would you go to a holiday location that you’ve been before?

Typically, I wouldn’t.

I was in Japan in September 2014, having extended my trip as part of a prize, courtesy of F&N then again in May 2015, well courtesy of the parentals.

You know me, I can’t say no to a subsidised trip.

Fushimi Inari is one of the most iconic locations in Kyoto. The temple is dedicated to the Gods of rice and sake. The shrine itself is located at the bottom of a hill but the orange Torii gates form a trail up the hill.

I’m using a mixture of photos from 2014 and 2015 hence, the vastly different weathers visible in the pictures.

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Kyoto food: Katsukura

I stumbled here back in 2014 and Katsukura was one of my must visits in 2015.

When I was back in Singapore, I was desperately looking for a good (and affordable) Katsu place like Katsukura but nothing beats the real deal here seriously.

I loved that:

  • The bread crumbs were fried to a crisp
  • The pork had no nasty smell nor is hard to chew
  • The sauces are customisable to your preference.

It was such an authentic eating experience too, you get to grind your own sesame seeds.

There are multiple locations across Japan, with three in Kyoto. The most accessible location would be the store in The Cube, a mall on top of Kyoto Station but we were at the Kawaramachi outlet.

One of the smaller stores, it was split into ground level and basement.

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