Golden week

Apr 28, 2010

Japanese Golden week starts today. Which is the longest vacation period of the year in Japan. It starts from the 29th of April to the 5th of May.

What do we expect in Japanese Golden week? Here are some pointers.
1. People mountain people sea (人山人海) = Crowd, crowd crowd.

2. Traffic jams...worse than Malaysian balik kampung season. Expected traffic jam of at least 55km this year.

3. Expensive hotels/air tickets...The price can be 3~4 times more expensive than usual price.

4. Offices will be close for 1 week.

5. People will be asking ...what are you doing this Golden week? So if you have no plan, do plan to answer well so that the other party won't say something like...'Hah? No plans? How come?'

6. Don't expect your last minute plan to be a brilliant one.
3 years ago, we decided impromptu to go to the local zoo for a picnic. Ended up in a 2-hour-traffic jam. What worse, we didn't even get to the front gate of the zoo.

7. Lots of special events will be organized. If you are into partying, Go!

8. No crime or riots. Japan is a safe country.

9. Don't forget to bring omiyage/souvenirs for your colleagues after coming back from your trip...more so if you traveled domestic. Each prefecture in Japan is knows for its own trademark delicacies. Common sense in Japan!

10.Work as usual after the holidays. No 'malas-malas' (lazy) symptom in Japan. Expected to work 120%!

Oh yeah...for your information, while everyone is looking forward to this long vacation, I will be heading to UK for 'WORK' this weekend. And it is serious work!! I have to discuss with the prof there regarding my project. So, I will have to refrain this holiday mood and work twice or trice as hard (my boss warned that to me! No jalan-jalan!). Friends who knew about my rearranged trip all looked at me with kesian face (pity face).

'Owww....why can't they arrange a week later, blah blah blah...', said my colleagues.

'Oww...what is your family going to do without you around...pity your son...' said the secretary.

' is work, when you have to go, you have to go darling...', said my dear hubby.

'Mommy, where are we going this golden week?', was my son's reaction, still not understanding the situation. hahaha.

Whatever the reaction is...Though reluctant, my hubby and I are actually glad that I am going to this overdue trip because it is my responsibility to settle my research problem as soon as possible in order for me to come out with a good publication. Wish me luck!

An excursion

Apr 27, 2010

We had a yearly outing organized by my son’s nursery. It is called Ensoku(遠足) in Japanese which literally means, school excursion. We had to be there before 10am…stated in the leaflet distributed by the nursery teacher. Knowing the Japanese who are always punctual, we were there 10 minutes earlier. And yet we were among the few who arrived last. Tsk tsk tsk...After listening to the headmaster’s speech, we all walked in twos and marched away to our destination, the Shiinomiya shrine.

Shiinomiya shrine is famous for a type of flowery plant called Rhodondendron. And the main purpose for this outing was to create opportunity for the children to spend some time with family members during this lovely season. The Japanese are so always occupied with their work and sometimes forget to ‘layan anak’. They don’t get much time to spend with the kids. So I think it’s good for the nursery to organize such occasion for the sake of the children.

Once we arrived at the shrine, we were free to have lunch bento and later participated in some activities organized by the teachers. As you can see below, the kids really enjoyed the activity so much. So much that my son was actually reluctant to go back when it was time for everyone to leave.

Unacomplished mission

Apr 23, 2010

Never thought I would ever experience 'flight canceled' phenomena... Yeah, I was one of them who suffered from the Iceland volcano eruption. Knowing about the volcano, I was being extra careful that morning and checked the KLM website before I left for the airport. However the status of the flight was stated unknown. So, to be on the safe side, I went to the Kansai airport.

As I reached the airport, I quickly looked on the board and to my dismay, my flight was canceled. So, there I was, in despair...looked for the counter and queued up, together with other passengers who suffered the same problem. After like 30-min wait, I was expecting some explanation when I finally reached the counter. Instead, I was given a piece of paper indicating the airline hot line. Not much extra info was given. I was disappointed.

Then I remembered I should have informed my prof and the people in Birmingham. I wrote them an e- mail mentioning that my flight was canceled. As soon as I clicked the 'send' button. my mobile rang...huh? It was my dear boss! 'Adi! What happened?' I was pretty sure the mail was not sent when he called. Must be the psychic thing my prof had...I thought. I laughed and said, ' flight was canceled when I reached the airport. So I am thinking whether I should just head home.' He laughed and thought for a while, 'Yeah...I think you should just come home. There isn't much you can do there...Oh, I just received your e-mailed. Yeah...why don't you come home. Maybe you'll get a flight there tomorrow or the day after...' He being the usual optimistic. 'Ok, I will update you later...', I said.

I did go home after that... but not after a few hours later. After a hearty breakfast at the starbuck, window shopping at the Rinku outlet shop and Takoyaki treat for lunch to compensate my frustration! Not forgetting, a nice surprise at Coach boutique where I bought 2 coach bags with 70% and 50% off respectively. Found a nice jacket and trousers for my son at Osh Kosh. So looking at the bright side...all in all....not bad after all!

Trip to UK

Apr 3, 2010

I have been really busy for the past 3 months...
My experiment is not going too smoothly. Lot's of money spent but no good conclusion on my project. So my boss is not very happy with my progress.
Meeting him is like meeting a monster. Trying to avoid him in any possible way. Still, that's not likely because he would request a weekly meeting with me lately.

Boss went to Oz for a conference in the middle of last month.
When he came back, he called me to his office.
'So, how's your project going?'
'Not so good. I am still struggling with the technical part'
'Ok. You have been spending some time on this project. Time is running out. How do you think if I send you to UK? I talked to the professor who invented the method during my visit to Oz and he was more than happy to accept your visit to his lab if you are interested.'
'Huh? When?', I was obviously shocked.
'As soon as possible. With full expense supported by me.'
'Of course I am interested.' I couldn't hide my excitement.
'Good, I will tell him that you are interested and we'll arrange the trip'
So, suddenly...I am going for a trip to UK in 2 weeks time.
It may sound too good. But I have to keep in mind that there should be an improvement when I get back. If not, only God knows what kind of situation I will be in...
Life can be unpredictable...hopefully there is a solution to my problem.
Wish me all the best!