31 May 2008


Today marks the one-week anniversary of my surgery!
It has been a long and weary week indeed. Well, the first two days after surgery were actually OK, I could move a bit and eat food, just a little tired. But on the third day, my throat began to hurt badly. I think my throat was hurt during the General Anaesthesia (common side effect), making swallowing difficult. Quickly bought some lozenges to relieve the pain but I guessed it would take a few days for the throat to heal. Also experienced the other side effects like nausea and headache. With all these conditions, I totally lost my appetite although I felt hunger.
Come fifth day, I had mild diarrhea and worse of all, had excess gas and was bloated all the time. Couldn't digest my food at all. The excess gas got so bad that I kept belching but still couldn't expel the gas :( It was so bad that I vomited my food. Felt much comfortable after emptying everything... but definitely weak and no energy. Lapsed into mild depression as I was so frustrated. I thought that I was recovering well :(
Yesterday, looked very much forward to appointment with my OB-GYN so that she could perhaps offer some medical relief for my discomfort. She explained that besides the side effects of GA, it could also be the hormonal changes that are causing the wreck in my system, or even reaction to the antibotics (good thing that I am off it now!). Was prescribed a few types of medicine and had my stitches removed. Doc also extended my MC for another week and advising lots of rest.
The medicines are great! Gas has reduced extensively and could digest most of my food. Throat is recovering. Mood-wise also turned for the better :) But I'm careful to take small doses of food and slowly. Also started to drink some tonics (made by mum-in-law, she bought a whole lot of food/drinks etc for me - she's soooo sweet!) to nurse the system. Drank lots of 'red date' water and ginger water. Now I can understand to a small extent how those who went through the confinement period felt.
Overall, felt much better although I do get tired easily. Checking emails/playing PC games (aka staring at PC screen) for extended period gave me headaches. But already felt somewhat restless because I am such a multi-tasker and always rushing around to complete as many things as possible. Seeing that I'm coped up for so long, deary hubby brought me to watch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Good old Indiana Jones movie, go watch it :D
Well, I guess as my conditions improve, I may find more time to blog (clear my backlog) but will take things easy. During this week, received lots of well-wishes from friends and family members. And most importantly, hubby who had been so supportive and tolerant. Really felt very blessed and loved. Dear all, thank you.
P.S. Time to rest, starting to get headache.

26 May 2008

Rollercoaster Apr/May

It has been a rollercoaster ride for me these 2 months, physically, mentally, emotionally... Well, a few things happened, bringing me through some highs and lows. Nevertheless, I believe I'm coping fine at the moment...

The Highs - I went to Tokyo 2 times! The first trip was from 11 to 16 Apr, brought my mum, auntie and younger brother to Tokyo and acted sort of like their tour guide. Didn't take a lot of photos (realised that being a guide is not as easy as it seems) but will still do postings when I'm free.

The second trip was from 7 to 10 May. Hubby was on a business trip to Tokyo so I tagged along! First time I wandered the city all by myself :D Will do postings when I'm free.
The High-turned-Low - discovered I was pregnant! Quite happy since we just started our family planning this year. However, the happiness was very shortlived (only a few days) when complications kicked in and I was diagnosed with ectopic pregnancy. Had to undergo laparoscopy surgery to remove the sac otherwise could be life-threatening.
Surprising, I wasn't very badly affected emotionally. Guess maybe because the whole episode happened so quickly that I hadn't been too emotionally attached. Initally there was much anxiety while waiting for diagnostic result and was still hoping for miracle. Read a lot about the condition and had many discussions with hubby about possibilities. Felt a little sad and disappointed when the verdict was finally confirmed. Comforted myself that I was lucky to discover the condition early enough. I could have died!
Come to think of it, I was rather cool when pushed into the operating theatre. But later on started shaking non-stop. Haha. Afterall, this was my first-ever operation and also the first time staying in a hospital. Managed to calm down after several deep breaths and thought about re-furnishing my room and the next holiday destination :p
Now recuperating and hoping for the best when I go for my review in a week's time. Better to stay optimistic.
I'm really blessed to have the support of my sweet sweet hubby, mum and mum-in-law as well as my friends and colleagues. Life could be so fragile, I must cherish everything and everyone I have now.

01 May 2008

Shopaholic in Kansai

I enjoy shopping in Japan, mainly because the items are exquisite, unique and can't be found readily in Singapore. The zakka culture in Japan is strong and with many styles and designs available, I'm spoilt for choice and never fail to bring back a luggage full of zakka goods. Not to forget cakes and snacks as the Japs are also well-known for being creative when it comes to bake goodies.

Like to share some of the items brought back from the Kansai vacation.
DoubleDay is a zakka shop selling furniture, furnishings, kitchenware, stationery and general lifestyle goods.
Chanced upon this shop in the vicinity of Kiyomizu-dera. If we hadn't took that particular route out of Kiyomizu-dera, we would never have discover this shop. Lots of accessories, clocks made from colourful glass beads.

Zakka shop selling all sorts of stationery, tote bags, kids' stuff.
Renown cosmetics brand in Japan. I love the lip balm with yuzu smell, as I like yuzu very much.
Zakka chain with online shopping, sells everything from kitchenware to crockery, cutlery, accessories, clothing, stationery etc. A must visit for me.
Yuzu honey - my favourite! First discovered this honey brand during my vacation to Nikko in Dec 06. For this trip, I search its website for branches and was delighted to find a few stores in the Kansai region. Needless to say, I must bring back a few bottles of my favourite yuzu honey which can't be found elsewhere in the world Besides yuzu honey, there are other flavours like grape, maple, lemon as well as the usual flower honey.
Dolls, creatures, keychains, pouches etc made by Chirimen crepe. Soft wrinkles are a unique characteristic of Chirimen crepe. The wrinkles are created by alternating two types of silk threads, twisted in different directions, by turns in the weft. The woven cloth is at first flat but the wrinkles suddenly emerge after rinsing dirt out of yarn. It is an elaborate technique that was created in the late 16th century and passed down for generations.

Now looking at the food souvenirs - meibutsu 名物 (famous regional products).
Baked Yatsuhashi 八ツ橋 - made from rice flour, sugar and cinnamon.

Raw Yatsuhashi 八ツ橋 (also known as Hijiri) - has a soft texture and is often eaten wrapped around red bean paste or other flavours.Made from wheat flour, carbonated water and tasted of sugar and salt.
Assortment of financiers, madelaines, pound cakes and tea.

Specialty food items of Osaka are as colourful as Osaka, and often come in extra large sizes.

Lastly, our prized catches from the "UFO" catchers. These were our loot over the 11 days from Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. Impressive wasn't it? Some of these didn't come cheap as we attempted several times (and spent a sum) before finally getting them. It was the trial and errors and jubilation of getting the prizes that kept us going. Yep, we were a little obsessed but we noticed many Japs also did the same, some of whom looked even professional!

Kansai Day 11, 24 Dec 07 - Last day

Our last morning in Osaka was rather uneventful. We left our luggage at the hotel as there was a few hours before we take the bus from OCAT to Kansai airport. To kill time, we played at the arcade.
Why didn't Singapore have such nice gaming machines?
Our last photo at Dotonbori, yes in front of the Glico running man billboard.

It has been a great holiday for us, hope that we will be back some day.

Kansai Day 10, 23 Dec 07 - Osaka

Second last day in Osaka. Hubby and I decided to shop separately to maximise our shopping time. We needed our me-time to shop at places we like without boring each other out. So he went hunting for fishing tackle shops, whereas I went searching for zakka shops.
My first stop was Afternoon Tea, one of my fav zakka cum cafe brands in Japan.
Took the lunch set which included a pot of tea, sandwich special and a rasberry panna cotta dessert.

Then happily spent the entire afternoon shopping at various zakka shops.

In the evening, we met each other at the Namba Takashimaya food hall to buy some cakes as souvenirs. For our last dinner in Osaka, we couldn't decide on what to eat...
Finally decided on sushi (again). Since seafood is so fresh and afforable, why not? With a good meal of sushi, we ended our last night in Osaka, Japan.

Kansai Day 9, 22 Dec 07 - Osaka

Our last few days in Osaka already and that meant time for some serious shopping! Alas it was a wet wet day and we didn't have umbrellas so had to buy 2 umbrellas.

Hubby spent the morning at some fishing tackle shops whereas I went to Tokyu Hands.
After a few days of Jap food feasting, we decided to eat pasta at this Italian cafe called Pronto. We passed by several branches while walking around Shinsaibashi hence decided to try. The pasta was al dente and sauce quite savoury. Not bad.
For the afternoon, we decided to visit Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan 海遊館, one of the largest public aquariums in the world. Apparently, there is a Pacific Ocean tank inside Kaiyukan which houses whale shark, manta ray, bluefin tuna, sharks and other deep-sea fishes. There is even a Mola Mola sunfish.
Didn't feel too good after visiting the aquarium. Somehow, I didn't feel comfortable watching the sea creatures in tanks. They belong to the deep blue and I prefer watching them swimming freely. But then, don't think I would be lucky enough to spot the rare whale shark these days. I am contradicting myself.
Anyways, we made our way back to Namba and stopped by this ramen store to eat a bowl of hot, steamy ramen as the temperature dropped quite drastically due to the rain. Was attracted by the menu board when we passed by the day before so had made a mental note to check it out.
It was certainly a good choice! The noodle was al dente, meat succulent and I love the hard-boil egg with yolk still slightly runny. The gyoza was also delicious. Oishii!

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Kansai Day 8, 21 Dec 07 - Osaka

We had barely digestd the previous night's dinner; it was time for breakfast again!

Yet another big breakfast, which we couldn't finish most of the time.
Breakfast was served in a dinner room. Here we were, dressed in yukata provided by the ryokan.

After breakfast, we lazed around for a bit before checking out. Decided to visit the bamboo forest located 30 minutes from the ryokan before heading back to central Kyoto, then back to Osaka.

The serenity of the bamboo forest.Soon, we made our way to central Kyoto and fetched our luggage that was left at Kamogawa-kan (because we bought quite a lot of stuff over the past few days). With our bags of souvenirs, we took the Keihan line from Keihan Sanjio Station to Yodoyabashi Station Osaka, then transfered to Midosuji Line to Shinsaibashi Station. Finally, we were back in Dotonbori!
There was some time before we could check in, so we popped by Dotonbori Street for some snacks :p What else but the Osaka Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki? These two stores were the more popular stores in Dotonbori and always had long queues.
Played more "UFO" catchers before heading towards Dotonori Hotel for check-in.
Stayed at Dotonbori Hotel again as we had conveniently left our main luggage bags at the hotel before we went to Kobe and Kyoto. The room for the next 3 nights was a double-room.
As we were tired of eating out, we strolled to Namba City where there was a basement food hall and packed some food back to the hotel for dinner. On our way, we saw a movie theatre and decided to buy tickets for "National Treasure 2" at 9.25pm. So after dinner, rested a while then went to the movie theatre. The seats were spacious and comfy, I say better than the ones in Singapore.

Kansai Day 7, 20 Dec 07 - Arashiyama, Kyoto

Second day's breakfast at Kamogawa-kan. Another big breakfast :d~~~ After breakfast, we packed a bit and checked out as we were going to Arashiyama to stay for one night.

We made our way to Nishiki Market 錦市場. Nishiki Market is also known as Kyoto's kitchen where local specialties, both raw and processed food like vegetables, fish, dried food, Japanese pickles, tea leaf and etc are sold. Nishiki Market is about 6 blocks long and runs east-west, from Teramachi Street to Takakura Street, located one block north of Shijio-dori. To catch a glimpse of the local food culture, this is definitely a must-visit place! We took time to stroll along the market, taking in the sights, sounds, smells and bursts of colours.

Time for lunch. I had craving for some Chinese food though I don't really like Chinese food in Japan. Luckily this restaurant located inside a shopping mall served pretty decent Chinese food.
Time to go to Arashiyama 嵐山, a mountainous district on the western outskirts of Kyoto. Initially was hoping that it would snow and we could enjoy the scenery of a snowy mountain but winter was late this year.
We took a tram on the Keifuku Arashiyama Line from Keifuku Omiya Station to Arashiyama Station. This was my first time taking a tram, interesting to be travelling on the road along with other types of vehicles.
The journey took just 30mins and we reached Arashiyama in no time. Along the roadsides, we saw this berry plant which looked ever so sweet. Wonder what is this plant?
We strolled along the banks of Katsura/Oi River in search of our ryokan. This is the Togetsu Bridge.
Spotted our Ryokan, Arashiyama Benkei 嵐山辨慶.
Board showing the guests staying at the ryokan for the night. And I spotted my name! LOL.
After checking in, we were led to our room. This is the view from our room. Splendid!
Although the size of the tatami room was not as big as the one at Arima Onsen, it was good enough. I was satisfied that we had a very good view of the river.
Went for a soak at the onsen. Was slightly disappointed as both the outdoor and indoor public baths were quite ordinary. Nevertheless, it was always soothing to soak in hot springs which are rich in minerals.
For dinner, I arranged for Kaiseki Ryori (tea ceremony dishes). Have always wanted to try an authentic Kyoto Kaiseki Ryori, so had been looking forward to this meal. The menu already made us drool.
All the courses were served one after another by the Okami into our room, allowing ample time for us to finish one dish before serving the next. All the dishes were exquisite, typical of Kaiseki Ryori.

It was certainly a feast for our eyes, nose as well as our tastebuds.

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