Today is the last day of the academic calendar in Japan.
So, it is time to say goodbye to colleagues who are retiring.
I was particularly sad to see an old colleague leave today.
His career spanned 42 years; assuming he is 60 now, he must have joined the university when he was 18.
Today is also the day when I say goodbye to a few blogs that I have created but have not been able to maintain.
Thanks to Blogger, even an internet-semi-illiterate like me can execute the export-import functions.
I did the proverbial 'hop-step-and-jump' over three blogs and have decided to return to the original blog, pulling together all the posts into one single address.
And surprised I was, to see that I have accumulated 420 posts since 2004.
Through the process, most of the comments have unfortunately been deleted by Haloscans.
Had to let them go although I would have liked to keep them.
Tomorrow is 1st April, the start of the new academic year.
I am ready to start afresh...
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
After the few days of strong gales, the skies rained for four straight days.
Very unusual to see so much rain in March.
My vegetable garden was soaked with water, which is not a bad thing.
Requested my missus to try the 'mee rebus' recipe again.
This time with 'proper' ingredients such as bean sprouts (my favorite), chopped green onions, boiled egg, and oven-toasted crispy bean curd.
We actually used leftover fish (sea bream) curry for the base and added potatoes to thicken the gravy.
Normally we try to avoid fried stuff whenever we can, so no 'cucur udang' (prawn fritters) this time...
Wooh, I think the taste was as near as we can get to the real thing...
I ate and I howled...
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Vicious gales scraped past the Japanese archipelago over last weekend, howling and screaming... Wind velocities of over 80 kph (in Kyushu) killed people, stopped trains, cancelled flights, and blew away my precious layer of leaf mulch in the vegetable garden. The serene Japan Inland Sea saw waves of up to 3 meters when it is 0.5 meters on a normal day as ferries remained docked and fishermen were reduced to watching television at home.
Along with the winds came the yellow sand clouds all the way from the deserts in northwestern Chinese and Mongolian deserts. Visibility was reduced to about 3 to 4 kilometers, and the islands off the beaches seemed to have disappeared from view...
With a three-day weekend, still managed to do quite a bit despite the less than friendly weather... such as going to an 'environmentally-friendly' jersey cow dairy farm to collect a few bagfuls of cow dung for the vegetable garden. It was not well fermented yet so handling was a bit messy though. Then, along with some fellow villagers, we went collecting rubbish in the hills as part of the regular community service activity. After which, planted tens and tens of geranium into pots big and small. I plan to 'strategically' place these potted geraniums on the vegetable beds as part of companion planting, hoping to confuse the pests-insects.
And on a windy, better-to-stay-indoors like this past weekend, we looked up some recipes on the net. With potatoes from the last harvest, why not do something with them, we asked ourselves. We have been eating potato salad almost everyday, but still several kilos remain and 'eyes' are appearing on the potatoes.
Aha, why not Mee Rebus from PigPig's Corner? With no prior shopping for ingredients, we made do with what we have in the house... There was no bean sprouts, no chicken stock... Overall, it turned out to be an interesting first experiment and although the taste was of course far from what we would expect from Mee Abu of Alor Star, it was delicious enough. As we were very generous with potatoes, the gravy turned out to be very thick.
Good reference for experimenting on the next windy day...
Monday, March 22, 2010
While at Brisbane, had a good time eating out at the restaurants.
There are plenty of choices, but naturally, my preferences go to things Asian.
Tried Philipino bitter gourd rice, Korean seafood spicy noodles, Bologna spaghetti, Turkish kebabs, Chinese chicken rice, Indian vegetarian curries, Lebanese salad rolls, and several types of sandwiches...
It was interesting to note that many Asian restaurants sell an overly wide spectrum of food.
For example, you can get Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, and Malaysian stuff from the same one restaurant.
I was rather skeptical that a single restaurant can offer such a wide variety and be good in all of them.
I once asked a waitress where the cook came from.
'Korean' came the reply and luckily enough, the Korean dish I ordered was pretty authentic.
Stayed at a really convenient location at Brisbane.
The well designed service apartment offered excellent night views of the city.
Night photography has always fascinated me.
The picture above was taken from the balcony of the service apartment.
Would have loved to bring my Nikon SLR with me if not for the extra weight.
Had to do with just the aim and shoot compact...
Still, managed to enjoy myself walking the streets at night, shooting away...