Thursday, 30 December 2010

Food and the cooking of it

I seriously think I'm using this as an excuse every day. I mean, every time I get tired of staring at the screen for some serious work (not surfing the net / watching stuff), I think about what time it is and whether it's time for a meal. I mean, how much more not dedicated can you be? This reminds me of my friend T who told me she skips lunch sometimes when she's working, simply because she's too absorbed in it...oh well. There you go. Some people are just good workers and some aren't.

It's sometimes a bit of a headache (I'm putting it mild here) when it comes to eating. Cook, or go out? We almost never order takeaway. For one thing, the food's probably not fresh when it arrives, and I like my food freshly made and presented in front of me right after it's cooked. And takeaway food is not always cheaper, though it saves you the trouble of getting ready to go out, going out, deciding on a place (after looking around for a good while), deciding on what to eat, waiting to order, ordering, waiting for food to come, waiting for dessert menu, waiting for the bill, and going home. This sounds pretty normal, but here this probably takes at least double the time it takes in HK. People are simply not very efficient, ahem, well, they're pretty laid-back and they like to take it slow. So having a quick lunch can take you 2 hours...yeah, I mean a quick lunch with no appetiser and dessert!

Though I don't like where I'm living now, I am quite happy with its location. It's not superb, but there are lots of restaurants around (by lots I mean 30+ if you really count!), and it's convenient for grocery shopping (and oriental food shopping / restaurants too). That makes it easy to just eat out, but sometimes I do cook. I'm by no means a good cook, really, but I'm interested enough and I like experimenting with things within my ability. Given the very little equipment I have in my small room (and the fact that we're actually not allowed to cook in the room), I have to say I've made every effort to make a variety of things! Of course, an oven would be great...

Well, we've started looking for a flat again, and let's hope I get a real nice kitchen with everything I need!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Boxing Day without...box(ing) :P

Today's a lot more exciting than yesterday. :) Well, nothing REALLY exciting really, we just went to see Gulliver's Travels, went shopping and went to the ENO The Nutcracker performance in the evening. Very tired at the time of writing but happy. :)



Gulliver's Travels is a great film for Boxing Day - a comedy, a bit silly, and suitable for all ages. Jack Black is the usual Jack Black, I don't particularly like / dislike him, he's okay. The storyline is quite silly, really, and of course it's not the original Gulliver's Travels, but as I said, you don't really expect epic stuff in a Boxing Day film! Well, it's actually not that, as I think it's in cinemas in the States a lot earlier...the UK is a bit slow. Ha.

After the film and lunch we went...shopping. We didn't want to, as we're quite scared of crowds, but S was curious about how cheap stuff really is, so we went to Oxford Street... it's just REALLY crowded, and I had no mood to do any shopping seeing all the people and the queues at the till...so I bought nothing! @_@ S got 2 pairs of shoes, which is nice, as he doesn't have many pairs (compared to me). We then walked all the way to the West End, as the traffic was terrible (as usual) because of yet another tube strike.

The Nutcracker is something both familiar and distant. I think I saw this ballet performance for a number of years, always at Christmas, but it's been quite some time since I last saw one. I love the music in it as I used to listen to it at home all the time (Dad loves playing those CDs when we're having dinner / after dinner...), and I remember most of the pieces. This performance, however, was not a great experience. Perhaps it's to do with our seats - we were at the balcony, quite far away from the stage, and in front of me was a very big guy. S said it's not the point anyway, as the seats aren't designed properly and anyone except a young child will block you. Then there are the people. As I said, I went to this performance mainly for the music, but there were a lot of people in the audience coughing throughout the whole performance, which is quite annoying. I mean, if you're so sick, you really shouldn't go out, let alone go to the theatre. It's just really selfish, as you are not only ruining your own experience but other people's as well! And then there are the seats...it's our second time in the London Coliseum, and I regret to report that the seats are really bad. They're really small seats, first of all, and if I find the seat small, I think a lot of caucasians would find it difficult to stay in it for 2-3 hours. The seats are also designed in a way where you can only sit upright with your back very straight, and that makes it a very unpleasant and unenjoyable experience. There's also very little leg room - again, for a small person like me, if this is the case, then I don't know how caucasians cope with that...

Anyway...that's the price you have to pay for tradition, as S says! The building's probably very old (like most theatres here) and they don't like to tear down old stuff and build something anew unless it's absolutely necessary. Oh well!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Food pics

I don't see the day I will quit taking photos of my food, whether it's the food I make or the food I eat. It's just my way of remembering things - I take pictures of completely random things so I won't forget. Perhaps this doesn't make sense, because if something is memorable it will stay with you, supposedly, but I don't trust myself on that. I forget easily, much more easily than I like to admit. Photos are important.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Xmas pressies!!!

Soooo happy (and surprised!) to have received two pressies in the post today!



Lovely and pleasantly scented stuff from Janet... love this kind of stuff as I used to have a house full of all these in HK...



And this is from S...we came back from lunch and he got this parcel, and I kept asking him what it is...haha. So this is my xmas pressie! He's actually been talking about giving me this for ages, I just kept refusing coz I already have a camera. My present camera's a bit old and not functioning well sometimes, but it's still usable. Now I don't know what to do with it... This one is a 'newer' model of the S95 model, I heard. Don't know how 'advanced' this is though!

:) :) :)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Good morning (to) the world



We managed to make it on time to Good Morning to the World at BAFTA today, despite the horrible pre-Christmas weekend traffic (we eventually got off on Oxford Street and walked all the way to Piccadilly). Good Morning is an indie film by a 23-year-old Japanese film student, and we were told before the film began that it's already won a number of awards worldwide, and the director's already been approached by different film companies though he has yet to graduate. All these set our hopes high; and as great expectations always do, the film left us quite disappointed.

The synopsis of the film and more info can be found here; what I want to comment on is not the rather low technical quality of the film (which can be excused since the film is actually a school project of the director's), but the rather boring way it is filmed. Many, or should I say, most of the scenes are unnecessarily long, and quite a number of scenes or shots are rather unnecessary in my opinion. We don't need to see the boy walk around for no reason for a few minutes, and trust me, I think many in the audience shared this feeling.

And one more thing: why do Japanese films / books always depict characters who commit suicide? I know the suicide rate is quite high in Japan, but the fact that it's depicted in almost every single film / book makes it easy for Japanese people to be stereotyped.

Friday, 10 December 2010

You are what you read...?

There are loads of publications you can read here if you have the time, and many are free, but being the magazine slut I am, I still find myself buying those glossy mags all the time...sometimes I can't even finish reading them! (Sometimes I can't even finish the day's newspaper...so I actually quite like the concept of the i paper - for the time-poor!) This month I've got these two so far, and when I brought them home I was struck by the contrast:

 

The contrast is just too...startling. One shouts 'cheap!' and the other, I think, shows more 'class'. But to be honest, the way I read them is quite similar! I actually don't like those beauty / fashion spreads that much... nor do I like those 'self-help' stuff or articles about relationships...they're mostly quite cheesy. Last month I got Cosmopolitan and I couldn't help asking when in the middle of it, 'Why...why do I think nothing in this magazine concerns me?' Supposedly, I fall into Cosmo's readership...supposedly - well, I don't really know, I just assume I belong to their target age-group. But everything in Cosmo is so juvenile! The HK edition of Cosmoplitan (not to be confused with Cosmo in HK which is a magazine for teens), on the other hand, is quite different - I used to have a copy every month, and the stuff inside is a lot more 'mature' than the Cosmo here.

There are actually a number of free publications here which are quite nice. ES magazine, in my opinion, is even better than Glamour or Cosmopolitan in terms of content, and it doesn't consume as much time; there's another one which is for men which I can't remember the name of, and I like it though it's for men! There's a lot of artsy stuff in it, and it was only when I was in the middle of one copy and having glanced through many ads for men that I realised it's a magazine for men...honestly, it's quite good for a free magazine, and in my opinion, much better than some of the ones you have to pay for. But it also got me questioning...why do men's magazines (this type, not the porno type) have so much interesting content while in women's magazines it's always just fashion, beauty, sex and relationships? To be honest, I'm not really that interested in those topics...and I find this quite sexist!

Monday, 6 December 2010

A flea in her ear - a farce



I almost forgot to write about this matinee performance we went to at the Old Vic on Saturday. It's the first of the 'preview' performances, so we were really 'lucky' - there were hiccups, naturally, before and during the performance, but really, it's quite an enjoyable experience overall. I don't like the seating of the Old Vic though - it's quite hard to avoid having your view blocked by the people in front of you, which is quite common in cinemas here, but it's the first time I experienced this in a theatre, and it's quite upsetting! Being an Asian who is petite by even Asian standards, I usually get blocked in such seats...last time we almost had that problem at the Odeon Panton Street, and eventually I had to move to the front row. @_@ It's lucky there's only one row in front of me this time, but this kind of seating is still very problematic, and I don't understand why they don't look into it! (Last time at Odeon Panton Street I overheard a lady telling her friend how half of the subtitles were blocked by the person in front of her...it's a Japanese film, so subtitles were essential! Poor woman!)

Anyway, it's a hilarious performance... though at some point I couldn't catch everything the characters said. Perhaps it's a language issue? And I just looked it up...the English version of this play was translated by John Mortimer in 1966, to be performed in exactly the same venue, and the current production uses exactly the same translation! Interesting...I wonder if that's why I couldn't catch everything. (Or it could simply be my bad listening skills, haha!)

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Be All and End All, and Norwegian Wood



The Be All and End All is a film about the friendship of two teenage boys. I didn't expect much before seeing the film, as I knew it's about how one of the boys helps his mate lose his virginity before he dies, but this seemingly silly subject matter is treated quite well, and the friendship is really touching while not being too sentimental. Recommended!



And tonight we just went to see the preview of Norwegian Wood, as I got two last minute tickets this morning because of cancellations due to the tube strike - I even wasted my original Onassis tickets for this! The reason for my eagerness to see this is that I read the book by Murakami (repeatedly) when I was a teenager, and I read most of Murakami's other works when I was younger. (I'm not following his recent works so much now...guess I've passed that phase!) It's one of those much-hyped love stories with a cult status, and it's one of the more accessible works of Murakami's. I remember understanding the whole thing when for me at that age Murakami's quite hard, especially his series of Wild Sheep Chase!

Much as I liked the book and was excited to get preview tickets for the film, I wasn't really expecting much, knowing what most artsy Japanese films are like - though this is not exactly a Japanese film, as it's filmed by the French-Vietnamese director Anh Hung Tran. Turned out the film's about what I had expected - slow, artsy, with lots of close-up shots. It's beautifully filmed, and aesthetically appealing - I was particularly drawn to the fashion of the time, which is the 1960s - they have very retro (in today's standard) shirts and dresses, and most of them look quite lovely! I especially like the clothes worn by Reiko (played by Reika Kirishima) - isn't it hard to imagine why a psychotic patient has such a beautiful wardrobe? Anyway, fashion is not the focus, but really, the film is probably more appealing aesthetically than in substance.

Side note: One thing that makes me realise I've really grown up (and have become so practical) is when I wonder, 'Wow, this boy can just study and read and do nothing else...I wish I were that kind of student again!'

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Onassis...finally!



I'm so happy that I eventually got to see this!!! Not so much because I'm a fan or anything, but because of the different hiccups...and finally, tonight. The seats weren't the best - first row, which was what I got for Shirley Valentine as well, and it's really not that good as I could see the pantyhose of the actresses clearly, and at some point I got water splashed on my face, but guess I can't complain!

The acting's quite good in general, but I thought there would be more on Maria Callas. I also found Jackie Kennedy's accent or way of talking a bit strange...very not American, almost European I may say. But all in all it's an enjoyable performance. We had pie and mash for dinner at Covent Garden, and cookies and hot chocolate to follow before the play...nice evening. :)
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