Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kyoto 2010

If you dont already know by now, hubby and I are real foodies. A friend was once amazed at the lengths we would go to get good food. Of course, we traveled more widely before the kids came for our food, from Changi to Balestier to Bedok to Serangoon, just to satisfy our local food cravings. This friend said that we were the sort that "Have mouth will travel!"

When we were planning for our trip, we asked our friends for recommendations on the good eats in Kyoto and Osaka.

A name that frequently came up was for this place:

Kikunoi Honten

When we searched it on the net, it go hubby really excited. We found out that it was one of the top Michelin star restaurants in Kyoto!! So hubby got inspired and went out to buy the book in my last post. And thus the itinerary for our travel was based quite a bit on that book.

Hubby called from Singapore to make reservations for a table at this wonderful restaurant for lunch for the day we arrived. I was worried that we wouldnt make it in time for our reservation, coz it meant that as soon as we arrived, we had to start finding our way to the restaurant. And if there was a flight delay ..... it could have meant that we would have to miss our meal at the restaurant.

Anyway, our flight arrived early, and as such, we made our way to the restaurant early as well. We got there before 12 noon, even though our reservation was for 12.30pm. The restaurant wasnt even opened yet. But as our taxi pulled up (we thought we would walk around the area as there were some museums, shrines and park around the area) the staff who was just getting the front door opened, looked at us and asked hubby if he were Mr ...! He then warmly ushered us into the restaurant and served us drinks. He then explained that the restaurant was not open yet, and they would serve us our pre-ordered meal once they were ready to start! What hospitality!! (You would NEVER get that in Singapore! They would probably glare at you and tell you to come back at the opening time!)

Well, we ordered the bento box for the children and this is what they got:

Hubby and I had the kaiseki lunch, a multi-course meal, that is the specialty in Kyoto. And this is how our first course arrived:

I shall not make you hungry by posting more pics of our lunch, but it was one of the most amazing lunches I have had in my life, and for the amount that we paid for it, it was totally worth every cent of it!

Well in Kyoto, this is what we saw:

An overview of Kyoto:

We visited the Imperial Palace:

Golden Pavilion

Kiyomizu temple (clear water temple)

We went to the Gion district for dinner one night, and we managed to see this:

Art on the streets

And a geisha and a maiko reporting for work!

Must say, it was an interesting trip!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How was your vacation?

That was what my friends asked me after I came back from my trip.

What you would answer for any trip would very much depend on what your objective of the trip was.

Previously, I would have evaluated my trip on how much we managed to see, do, experience, and whether we paid more than necessary. Also, whether the weather was good, whether we encountered any difficulties during the trip. It depends a lot on your expectations of the trip.

However, now with children, I look for different things on a vacation. Firstly , how the kids got along on the trip - eg whether the trip helped them to bond, how much quarrellings or fighting there was on the trip compared to any ordinary day. Whether the children learned anything from the trip. And most importantly - was the food good?

So what was my answer for this trip?

Excellent! Why? because I saw my children really bonding with each other, co-operating, and there was hardly a fight with each other. The first leg of the trip in Kyoto, saw my two older ones sharing a room, and for the second leg, the oldest and youngest in the same room. And they got along wonderfully with each other taking turns to shower, not fighting over the TV channels, etc

I was expecting some grumblings from the children over the number of temples and shrines we visited whilst in Kyoto. But there was not a single grumble! In fact, they told us that they enjoyed the temple/shrine visits .... and they want to do it again!!

And food wise - it couldnt have been better. Not when hubby planned the itinerary based on this book:

Well, you will have to wait to see my photos. I need to get back to routine before I have time to write my report!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Who can we trust?

Apparently, no one!

Sorry for sounding so harsh, but I am beginning to lose faith in people's honesty.

Hubby drove my car to work one Friday evening when he had to go back to work. And he worked really late that night, coz of some important developments in the US. The next morning, when I was leaving the house to send lil D for her music class, I noticed that the front of the car was smashed! When I later asked him about it, he didnt even know about it! He suspects the driver of the orange car that was parked next to him , but with no proof, what can we do? You would expect the culprit to at least leave a note with his number, not?

Last evening, as we were trying to get organised for our trip, we discovered that we couldnt find our video cam. This was a NEW video cam which we bought specially for our France trip last December. I last used it in March when I recorded lil D's class assembly performance. We know where we left it, on the counter top. But now it has disappeared. I do not suspect the maids .... even tho I have lost things before. Read here and here about it. Instead I suspect the air-con servicing guys. You see, at the last visit which was just a short while after my last use of the video cam, the air-con guys came to service our aircons. I noticed that our regular servicing guy had a new assistant. They go around servicing the air-cons without any supervision from us. That's why I hate it when they send new people! But with no proof, we cant wrongly accuse anyone or do anything.

I guess we have ourselves to blame for this lax attitude, thinking that things in our home will not get stolen, and we can just leave it any and everywhere. We must learn to treasure our things more and have them under lock and key more often. Basic honesty expected from most is just not there ... and we should NEVER tempt people by leaving valuables lying around to make it easier for them. Sigh.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Was rummaging thru my cupboards, trying to find our old Kyoto photos, in an effort to get the kids excited about our upcoming trip there. Then I stumbled upon the scrapbook that I started 14 years ago.

It was for my daughter S. It chronicled her birth, and it had the front page of the Straits Times of the day she was born, including cards, gift tags, wellwishes, etc from friends, relatives, colleagues and some people whom I dont even remember now. I had kept all these "keepsakes" , including birthday cards,angpow wrappers, etc that she received up to her 2nd birthday, and put them into this scrapbook. I cant quite remember why I abruptly stopped working on it tho. Nevertheless she was thrilled with what I had done for her!

I then noticed my son's envy. I told him that I had the front page of the newspaper of the day he was born somewhere in my drawer together with his "Keepsakes" - just that I hadnt put it into a scrapbook for him yet. This was due to my very busy schedule after he arrived. I then told him that it would be my project for next year when Lil D starts school when I have more time on my hands.

Then I saw 2 big eyes looking at me ... and I wished at that moment that I was an ostrich. I just wanted to dig a BIG hole and bury my head in it. It was lil D looking at me in anticipation. But unfortunately, I hadnt done anything for her ... not even putting aside her keepsakes. But can you blame me? At the time of her birth, I was under tremendous stress ... if you dont recall or was not following my blog then, read here, here, and here.

I really dont know how I will make it up to her, but I must in someway. Poor lil D, always deprived, thru no fault of hers.

PS - I know why I could find the time to do the scrapbook for my oldest - I was working then, and I had time on my hands. I quit my job shortly after I had N, which explains why I never got down to the job tho I put aside things for his book. So I guess, I should get back to work to have time on my hands! Haha!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No late calls please!

As most of you know, I am early bird ... waking up that is. And also going to bed. I guess that goes hand in hand, coz I am usually so tired by evening, due to the super early wakes. But the stomach clock is such, that I cant seem to change it. Only way is to move to somewhere like Sydney or Melbourne, then my timing will be just right!

I am also a light sleeper. Any small sound, and I am awake. My baby (ok she's not a baby anymore, she's already 5+) only has to turn in her bed, and I am awake.

So what is this with people calling or messaging late at night. Ok, it may not be all that late for you night owls, but it is for us early birds.

I think there should be no calls or messages after 9pm. Why 9pm? Coz thats when I send my kids up to bed ... and I also prepare for my snooze. And everyone should have some personal time with their loved ones without any interruptions!!

My son has a classmate that used to call every night past 9pm (sometimes as late as 11pm), only to be told that N has already gone to bed. Fortunately, I think, he has gotten the message and calls less frequently at that hour now.

Just 2 nights ago, one of N's schoolmates' Mum messaged me at past 10pm. I had already gone to bed, but being the light sleeper, heard my phone buzz and went to read the message. She wanted some information on the meeting place and time in school for the children. I duly gave her the answer, and was about to go back to bed, when she decided to reply to my response ... coz she was unhappy with the teacher!! I was like "What?" I tried to cut her off with my curt replies (coz, why take it out on me when you are unhappy with the teacher?? And please, you are depriving me of my beauty sleep) but she still continued with her messages, expressing unhappiness with the arrangements, etc (in total about 6). Fortunately she too decided to call it a day at around 11pm. But I thought that was too much, dont you think?

Then again last night, I had a housing agent call me on my mobile at 10pm, coz he needed to get something done. He apologised for calling so late, blaming it on his busy schedule throughout the day, but HEY! I too had a busy day and want my peace, quiet and personal time. Cant it wait till the next morning?

My friends hardly call me at that hour, coz they know I need my quiet time. And I think acquaintances shouldnt call at that hour too. In fact I personally think that no one should call or message (AND expect an answer) after 9pm ... unless its an emergency.

(Guess you can tell from this post that a sleepy person is a grumpy person!)