#204 那些年

到底那一年三百六十五天,一天二十四小时,一小时六十分钟,一分钟六十秒,是如何那么静悄悄的,如沙漠的沙子般瞬间的滑过我的指尖,一去不回。

时间不断的流逝,剩下的只是那有一些些模糊的回忆。

#201 Osaka

I think Osaka will always have a special place in my heart. Hahaha. I always feel v familiar with the places when I come to Osaka but when I go like those city areas in Tokyo I feel super lost. But actually I have only been in Osaka for one year as compared to being in Tokyo for 6 years lol. To me Osaka >>> Tokyo hahahaha. 

The Ferris wheel still look the same after so many years and my photo taking skills also still as bad after so many years. 

But anyway, I’m not here for a holiday but for work and I attended this long long lecture today from 930 to 1700 and am going to attend the part 2 tmr. Super super long and I think I am not used to listening to classes for such long hours anymore. I was totally dozing off after lunch cause of food coma and things were even worse cause the prof sounded like he was singing me lullaby. He super 咬字不清 so it’s like he talk cheek stuff I already v hard to understand plus it’s Japanese and somemore I still cannot decipher what Greek he talking. <- oops this is complain queen jasmine kwek speaking.

But there were also some interesting part and I guess I learnt some new stuff today. It would have been better if the profs didn’t spend so much time on their introductions cause most of them didn’t manage to finish teaching the stuff in their ppt and I have a feeling the parts at the back and the cheemer and more impt points. To say the truth, I was kind of irritated by some of them cause they just kept wasting time talking about the easy concepts over and over again. Oh wells, who ask them to be the prof and me the student. 

Anyway, the lecture was held at the kao building and I realized something v interesting in their toilets. Yes, you heard me right, toilets. They put so many of their products in the toilet I was really amazed and as the curious banana I am, I actually tried them and thought they were quite good.

One of the products I tried (which was placed iñ the cubicle lol) was some spray thingy for you to spray on the toilet paper so that you can wipe yourself cleaner and feel less discomfort cause it also acts as a lubricant to decrease and friction from the toilet paper. Ok I just searched for it on Google and realised that it actually came out quite long ago and maybe it’s even older than me lol.

They also had handcreams (nivea and atrix) and mouth rinse. I use nivea so I know how it feels like but it’s the first time I tried atrix. It was abit oiler and you can feel it there for a longer period of time. I think it’s good for people who like to feel their hand smooth and nice but for me I don’t really like the oily feeling so I think I prefer nivea. As for the mouth rinse, I just had to dilute it with water (they even have cups there for you to use) and it felt like any other mouth rinse I’ve used before.

That’s all for the Kao products hahaha. After the lecture, I went back to the hotel to check in. I booked this room on the girls only floor and maybe that’s why the room looks abit girly (the wallpaper). The room not v impressive but it’s only 10mins away from the Kao building the 3mins from the nearest train station Shinsaibashi!!!! So the location is actually super super good!!!

After that I changed and went out for dinner. Bought my cam along to take photos heehee. And of course I ate takoyaki!

The rest of the photos are in my cam. I feel lazy now so bye.

#200

Oh I’ve reached my 200th post!!! Hahaha. I think I’ve already exceeded it though cause I have some post which are like #xxx.5. Lol. Anyway, people around me have been traveling to cool places and making me abit 心痒痒 hahaha. I also wanna go Mogolia and Bali! And it also strikes me that I’ve to learn driving soon if not I won’t be able to travel around by car (so it will be super ma fan for me to travel to mountains and all the ulu pandan cool places).

I have also been feeling restless recently, like I don’t feel like doing anything at all except nuaing in bed and reading my book (and people who know me might say isn’t that what I always do). Feeling so super nua and wasting life away. Oh wells maybe I should just let myself nua while I still can cause you don’t know when you will suddenly become v busy. I am too lazy to even think about stuff to write in my blog. Lol.

Looking forward to Thurs cause I’ll be going to Osaka. Even though nth much to do, it’s still a change from my mundane everyday go lab life so I shall treat it as a 気分転換 and enjoy myself there.

#199 Culture and perception

Taking a short break from my kitchen timer session by blogging here. I have been speaking to my colleagues quite often recently and I have observed that there’s really something like ‘Japanese perceptions’/’Japanese way of thinking’. Ok, it obviously exists, but it’s just that recently I have been feeling it stronger than last time. It’s probably cause I have been thinking more into things and that I am going into my ‘rebellious’ mode where I just judge everything that is different from me. But anyway, there were 2 conversations I had that left very deep impressions me.

The first one was when I asked my colleague about the newcomer who was entering the department in June cause the newcomer is his lab junior. So I was asking like what kind of person he is and my colleague replied that his junior has a gf. So I was like ‘huh?’ (what’s the link between what kind of person he is and him having a gf???) and he told me that since the junior has a gf, he should be a normal guy. And I was like oh I see. In Japan, it’s like a norm for people my age to have a gf/bf, so if you don’t have one, they see it as either you just broke up or you are just too weird to get one. And in my case, I think I am being judged for being the latter. Lol. It’s really amazing how most people around me are attached. (But come to think of it my sg friends are mostly attached too lol.)

The second one was when I told my mentor I wasn’t going to the drinking party (nomikai) and he started interrogating me about why I wasn’t going and preaching me about how I should not skip nomikais (cause they are so goddamn impt in his opinion). He started saying about how people will start thinking what’s wrong with me (and to make it not so harsh he said people will start worrying about me (like wtf he think I 3 year old kid what people worry about me <- sorry a bit too emotional here)) if I keep skipping those nomikais. To them, not attending nomikais (even with a(n effing) valid reason) = something wrong and it’s amazing how they cannot think that there might be a possibility of someone not liking nomikais. I was ranting about this to my sg friend (who also works in a Japanese firm) and she told me that she faced a similar situation today at work. #woesofagaijinworkinginjapan

I would like to emphasize the fact that we are not obliged to attend outings after work cause those outings are not listed in our job scope. If it’s a must, please write it down in black and white and don’t expect me to ‘read the air’ or ‘teamplay’ or whatever they like to call that.

Luckily instead of getting angry at such frustrating situations (I mean the second one cause I have no probs at all with the first one), I get my dose of amusement from them. #becoolandtreatthemasjokes

 

#198 Putting into words

Had this recurring conversation with my mentor again about how there should be proper explanations about how I plan my expts. I used to think that some stuff are just based on feeling (凭感觉) and I always say ‘somehow I just feel that way’ and ‘I don’t know why buy I just think it will work that way’ etc. But recently I started thinking differently and leaning more towards the ‘there’s always a reason for everything, including how you feel and there’s a high chance that the feeling can be explained by an experience, some fact and figures or other sources of information’ kind of mentality. It makes more sense to live this way cause you will be very clear about what’s happening around you or, more importantly, to you. It’s part of my journey to search for some sense in/to life.

I was thinking and I thought there are two main reasons why people resort to vague explanations their actions/plans.

  1. Cause they don’t know the exact words to use (inspired by djd’s post on imprecision) to convey their thoughts (I always face this problem cause my vocab is v limited).
  2. Cause they still haven’t sort out their thoughts (I get this v often too cause my thoughts are always all jumbled together and v messy).

I guess I should do something of these two points like building up on my vocab, training my brain to auto-sort my thoughts and maybe even banning myself from being vague (is this possible? lol). But anyway, I have always been a bad researcher and have always been recording my results ambiguously and today I though I should learn to quantify everything and make everything clear so that other people can also understand when they see my notebook.

Points to take note on from now on:

  1. Be more precise.
  2. Sort out my thoughts.
  3. Provide reasoning for actions/plans.

Maybe I need more time to sort out my thoughts on this topic. I am still a little confused.

#196 Priorities

Not in a good mood today because I don’t really know why my expts don’t go well. I am quite sick of doing the same things over and over again only to fail and not know why. I mean I don’t mind failing but I need to know why so that I’ll know what to do next but now I am just stuck that confused and irritated. I didn’t even have time to think about anything and I had to go home cause it’s no ot day today. Oh wells. Try harder tomorrow. It’s kind of sad May ended just like that.

Anyway, not in the mood to think about things but I just wanted to write about what’s on my mind today. I was thinking about how people live very differently because they have different priorities in life and whether there’s a need for me to rethink my priorities. Recently I started to realized how limited time is (cause I am growing old) and I don’t know if my current lifestyle is ok. Maybe there’s no right or wrong to way of living (unless in extreme cases) but somehow I just feel like there’s a need to live a more meaningful life. I don’t know, I feel like I am just wasting life away reading novels and watching dramas (like I shouldn’t be doing my productive stuff like learning new things and stuff) but without them I can’t imagine how boring it will be. My conclusion is that only people who enjoy self improvement can live a meaningful life happily. (A lot of fallacies here perhaps, but it’s how I feel right now at this point of time.)

Sacrifice is a concept we all have to accept. To gain something, we always have a sacrifice something. I have always believe in the concept of 等価交換 (a Jap term I learnt from full metal alchemist lol). Maybe it is cause I am a libran. Actually seems like the ‘price’ (価) is dependent on your priorities.

This is a highly messy post cause my thoughts are all over the place but I am just going to leave it as it is. 

#195 Mondays

I want to be cool and say that I have no Monday blues but actually I think I do have Monday blues. I find myself v unfocused and inefficient and v irritable on Mondays. Hahaha. But it’s ok since things are going to get better on Tuesday. Since emotions are relative and not absolute, I believe that it is important to have sucky days like Mondays so you can be more thankful for Fridays and Saturdays (Disclaimer: I believe that emotions being relative is a true for all statement, while the notion of Mondays being sucky/Fridays and Saturdays being great is merely a personal opinion).

But anyway, I don’t really have much to write about (wanted to write about relative vs absolute but I realized it will take my alot of my brain cells and time so maybe I will write next time when I got more patience and inspiration) but I just though I should blog today since I haven’t being blogging for quite some time (and I wanted to write sneak preview of my relative vs absolute post (see above) cause it’s my current topic of interest). Hope I will be able to pen my thoughts down properly on Wednesday cause I think my thinking cycle is at its peak on Wednesdays (after analysing my blog posts).

#193 Kitchen Timer Reflections

Finished my fifth kitchen timer session today. Have been doing it since last Thursday (skipped it on Sunday though). Actually my sessions are actually adaptations from the actual one cause ‘my project’ isn’t about writing but on other stuff that requires the internet. So instead of switching off internet and use pen and paper, I switched off data and WiFi of my phone and made sure I only visited sites related to what I was working on. I made changes to the actual system, but at the same time made sure I kept the essence of it (or what I think is the essence of it). 

  1. Do not be distracted when doing work (especially using social media)
  2. Make plans the day before (what to do and how long)
  3. Keep to the time (no longer nor shorter)

Maybe there are more to it, but I have picked these 3 points to be the things that I die die must follow.

Anyway this is supposed to be something to stimulate creative juices or sth like that, but I didn’t feel that way at all. Maybe that’s cause of the kind of thing I have been doing (researching on stuff, packing my room, etc) lol. However, I have definitely feel better efficiency (since I won’t ever do them if I never execute this thing), and it’s really no stress since the aim is not to complete what you’ve planned but to keep to the duration of the session and make sure you don’t get distracted. It works well for me since I am easily distracted, like I will find myself at some YouTube video when I actually wanted to use the com to book hotels or find myself looking at ig when I actually planned to just reply an email. Also it helps that recently I have be really into controlling my life and sticking to things I’ve decided for myself (cause I am really bored and the only person around to entertain my ridiculous plans is myself). Basically right now I am working on reducing my coffee intake (to only once a day in the morning), preparing lunchbox and reading news for 15mins during lunch break.

And so I digress. But anyway, kitchen timer has proved itself to be useful to me and I shall continue it for now!

#192 The meaning in life

This is something I have been thinking about for months already, ever since I went back to Singapore last Dec. I see friends around me grow up, do what they want to do/know what they want to do, be successful in life, have some kind of achievement in life, go forward in the stages of life, etc. But I find myself still in the same spot as I was 8 years ago. Still so lost, so confused and still doing meaningless things. So since then, I began desperately trying to find some kind of meaning in my life but I am still quite clueless about it.

Anyway, I chanced upon this TIME article on facebook (looking through facebook does have its good side) and thought that it was quite useful/enlightening so I decided to add it here for future reference. Hahaha.

(source: http://time.com/4524909/4-ways-to-find-more-meaning-in-life/?xid=time_socialflow_facebook) <- oops from the link you can tell I got it from fb.

The title is very clear and the article is simply about the 4 ways to find meaning in life. The photo they added to the article really fits it imo and hopefully I can be like that person and be enlightened soon.

The first method they gave was to belong to a group. And true enough, over here in Japan, I never really felt like a belonged to any groups. With my classmates/batchmates, I feel some kind of distance between us because of the different background, like there are often times I don’t get what they are saying (cause of both the language and the culture barrier). Things got better as time passes (likely due to the decreasing language barrier), but the difference in background will always be there. And by background, I mean a mixture of habit differences, music preferences, shared experiences and so on.

Next they mentioned is giving purpose to your work.

Purpose is less about what you do and more about how you see what you do.

Sounds like a psychological thing to me very similar to brainwashing. But to think about it, since purpose is now something tangible, we have to define it ourselves and I guess in this case, you decide the purpose to your work instead of having others define it for you. To me, naming the purpose to my work isn’t something that difficult since there’s an aim written down for me for my research. What’s hard is to look at the bigger picture and to feel that I am doing something bigger.

Next was about storytelling, about how we should ‘end it (our story) with redemption, not contamination, and become the superhero of your life’. I didn’t quite get this point and now I still don’t but I guess it’s about doing something about (negative) events that happen in your life instead of just accepting it and moving on. To me it sounds like it’s trying to tell me to make a change/be more active/to have more control over my life, and not just be a passive person and follow life as it is. It might be hard to accept that bad things have happened but to me it’s much harder to accept it and then do something about it so that you can change your future (even if it’s not a big change) for the better. I will learn to be more in control and stop being one who just goes with the flow.

The last point is about transcendence, to feel awed about the vastness of the world. It’s true that when you see the bigger world out there, you find yourself knowing how small you are (like what people always say), but I don’t really get how it links to finding meaning in life. Seems a bit contradicting to me cause if we are small, our lives would not be meaningful? (Or is a just a fallacy on my side?) Or does it mean my problems on being not about to know the meaning in my life is actually a very small problem so I should just move on with life and do things that I want to? I am still a bit confused about this point.

But anyway, to conclude, I guess this article has triggered me to think a little deeper into things and hopefully I am one step closer to finding the meaning in my life. (And I am secretly very happy that the fourth point actually justify my desire to travel – to look at how big the world is.)

#191 Trip planning

I kind of found a new hobby, trip planning. It’s kind of a fun process, especially when there’s an informative and easy to use website with almost all the details you need. And when planning a trip in Japan, I highly recommend japan-guide.com cause it is so informative! I am very dependent on it now for all my trip plannings!

Trip planning is especially enjoyable when you are planning a solo trip because you can DO WHATEVER YOU WANT! And since I am a really indecisive person to start with, things are worse when I have to consider others’ needs, especially when I am not that familiar with their travelling styles. So when travelling with others, I try to shy away from the planning and just go along with what others have decided on. That works for me cause everything feels enjoyable to me if I haven’t done it before. And it is definitely the easiest to follow cause I don’t have to use my brain at all. I would recommend it if you are a busy/lazy person.

I used to think like what’s the point of planning especially if there are other people doing it  a for you. But after my trip planning, I realized that planning a trip yourself brings that ‘enjoyable’ to another level. It increases satisfaction level to the maximum and it’s definitely worth the hassle.

1. It allows for complete control over your trip

Maybe it’s too much to say it’s a complete control due to unforeseen circumstances and stuff, but you will have control on where to go, where to stay, what trains to take, where to eat how long to stay at one place, going to some ulu place just for taking one photo and so on. I truly believe that people do, in some sense, desire for control over things they do and this helps to satisfy that desire. You get to decide how to allocate your budget too, like you want to spend more on food and less on transport or things like that.

2. Less blaming

I don’t know whether this is applicable but I do feel that planning trips yourself prevents the irrational blaming of other people when the trip fails/when you have regrets on the trip. (My angmoh not good enough for my to explain this properly.) I don’t know if it’s cause of the planning or cause of travelling alone but since you are responsible for the planning, there’s nothing to do but to accept it when something goes awry. Sometimes there are cool places that you didn’t get to visit and you will be thinking ‘we could have gone there…’ and start (maybe subconsciously) blame the other person for not thinking about that and planning trips yourself prevents that from happening.

3. It allows more higher levels of anticipation

With the pre-trip research, you get a rough image of what you are going to get, allowing you to be excited about it before the trip. It means that you are going to experience longer periods of happiness (I am sorry if the direct relationship between being excited and happiness is a fallacy but to me it kind of works that way). For me, it also provides me with some form of distraction from the stress from work.

4. You know what you are missing out and why

It’s not always ‘yay we get to do everything’ for all the trips you plan. Sometimes because of the season, sometimes cause of the assessibility of the place, sometimes cause of your lack of budget and there are tons of reason for you to be NOT ABLE to do things you want. Planning trips allow you to not what you are missing out and allow you to feel regretful (and to me this is not entirely a bad thing cause I like to be in touch with all my emotions, be they bad or negative ones). Another thing is at the same time, you get to KNOW WHY and to someone like me, the reason is something that I always want to know.

5. Sense of satisfaction upon return

Last but not least, post trip satisfaction is also something to look forward to. Since you are involved in the whole process of researching, planning, making arrangements, executing and post-trip reflecting, it’s like completing one whole (big) project (all by yourself if you are going alone). Different from those projects you do at work, this one has much less pressure since you are responsible for yourself (and your travelling companion if it’s a pair/group trip). 
On the downside, you might find yourself wanting to go to many places after looking at all those nice places while doing research so this hobby might drain your pockets if you let your travelling desires ran too wild. But then again, it’s part of the package to know your limits (budget, energy and so on) when trip planning so I guess that doesn’t really count.
Try planning your trips and you might find yourself gaining a lot more from your trips!