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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The plan to go to Japan was always on the back of our (read: my mom and I) minds but we never actually went, because the tours were always ridiculously expensive - marketed at $2988 for 8D7N, which only happens to be 7D6N because they start counting from the departure time which may very well be 11pm SGT. Hearing all the stories about free and easy trips made me want to go on a trip, because all I've ever heard were great things about free and easy: how they were cheaper, how they could do whatever they wanted at any time of the day without getting restricted by the itinerary the tour agency had. That sounded like a swell deal and I really, really wanted to go ahead. But my mom would be apprehensive because who's going to plan the trip? What if we get lost? How are we going to find our way in a country that doesn't speak english? Her fears weren't unwarranted, of course, but those reasons didn't seem like they were enough to stop me from going free and easy. So last year, in 2017, when July rolled around, I casually brought up the topic about going overseas.

"Are we going anywhere overseas this year? Or next year? It's my only time to go before I start working."

"You suggest where you want to go la. Then we can go to the tour fairs to check the price."

"Er, I was thinking of free and easy this time."

"Oh. You plan lor."

That sounded like a green light to me, so I started my planning. It was not an easy feat deciding which city I wanted to go, but a quick google search led me to the usual three destinations: Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka and I thought, seeing that it was my first time in Japan, I wouldn't take the risk and go to somewhere more obscure so those three cities it is. I first planned it with only my mom and I in mind, so I've researched and found some cozy, but really tiny AirBnBs, only to be told three or four weeks later that I should consider my extended family (the usual suspects). Of course I didn't mind that they were coming, but that meant that all the prior researching would be for naught. I asked them, discussed, and they were open to the idea of free and easy (although they were much harder to convince than my mom) given that I knew how to plan properly. Pfft, I scoffed, and said that I was already a University student who took Japanese and I was perfectly capable of planning. I was stretching it and in my mind, I was stressed out because I didn't know if I could pull it off. But they agreed and the entire plan was now up to me.

Cue the endless research of affordable AirBnBs, tourist and non-tourist destinations, how long should we stay in each city, which airport should we fly to and fly from, etc. It was a whirl and I found myself scraping my plans every so often when I thought that it couldn't work out. I made a Google Sheets so that I was able to see it clearer and it also allowed me to share the final itinerary with my family. Once the base plan was done, we bought the air tickets and the AirBnbs (in that order).

The plan was now in the works.

I spent most of my idle time researching, researching and researching on "Top Places to Visit in Tokyo/ Kyoto/ Osaka" on Google, Reddit and the likes. It was arduous trawling through all the information and data (especially on Reddit, where people post itineraries all the time and others critique and tell them how to better improve it), but I made it out alive. Google Sheets was a total lifesaver.

Then it came to buying tickets - our entrance tickets for DisneySEA as well as Universal Studios Japan, then booking a slot for the Asahi Brewery in Osaka. I also bought a portable wifi for our whole 11 days: all from Klook. They were having a great discount of $100 off provided that you spent $400 in one sitting - which was not a feat at all because we had 5 people and a ticket to DisneySEA set us back around $90 per pax. So I managed to get the $100 off deal, on top of some SAFRA deal which helped us to get further discount on the wifi (go me!). But one grave mistake I did was to order the ICOCA card from Klook. Basically, ICOCA card acts very similarly to our EZ Link card in Singapore and is pretty vital for public transport since you don't have to buy a ticket every single time you wanted to take the subway or the train. However, I was under the false belief that I would be able to collect the ICOCA card from Tokyo, where we were landing. After I purchased it, I realised that it was only available for collection in Osaka. Bummer.

They didn't allow any refunds, so I thought I was basically doomed since I would be stuck with another set of 2000 yen EZ Link card on the last day, when were were flying off. (and I was, but I'll get to that later). But thankfully, that was only one of the two major setbacks that we experienced throughout the trip! The navigation was made easier due to the accuracy of Hyperdia and oh my god, I'm so glad I planned in advance. We didn't make any wrong trips *at all* throughout the trip, and I am so immensely grateful that I was being such a planner and planned everything down to the hour lmao.

We printed our air ticket confirmations, two sets of itineraries, tickets to the attractions, and we were ready to go.


As my Japan trip is pretty long, I will be splitting them up into parts :) This is part one! Stay tuned for the next part when I will be sharing with you about the plane ride, and Tokyo!

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The Greatest Showman
Friday, January 19, 2018

That movie's amazing. Tears were shed, hearts were beating, hopes were made.

Here's to reminding all of you haven't watched it yet to give it a watch in the theatres before it is taken off, and to myself in the future to watch it again.

It is the embodiment of hopes and dreams, and the never-ending process of striving to achieve the greatest one can attain in that particular window of time.

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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hi everyone! :) It's 2017 now and only a few more hours to 2018 (holy crapppp) so I figured this would be the best time to do a review of the past year :)

Let's start off with my resolutions for 2017, which are:

1. Actually get over the ridiculous inertia and cease procrastination. I'm not even joking; procrastination has almost caused my grades and my life so I'm never going there again. At least stop leaving things right to the last minute because that is a horrid habit that i do not want to keep.
I have to say for the above, procrastination actually hasn't gotten the better of me and I have learnt to keep my things in check - with the aid of my trusty journal which I write every detail, task, meeting that I have - so it kind of acts like my diary too! It hasn't done me bad and I'm thankful that I was diligent in keeping my journal used. Procrastination has drastically improved and now I don't procrastinate as much any more! :) Who knew I could actually overcome the inertia in 2017?

2. Skincare regime. Yes my girly side is taking over me right now LOL but seriously I need to stick with my skincare regime!!! Look at what happens to my face when it doesn't (basically, like all the time). Set a skincare regime and stick to it! Bring my products to Hall LOL
This has also been attained! I brought my toner in this small little container, and also my acne cream which has been super helpful when I have problem spots! Also, I have been doing masking twice a week for almost the whole year (which arguably helped quite a bit)!

3. Drink water regularly and stop skipping meals! My discipline is at an all time low especially nearing the end of 2016 for some reason or another so I will need to put in extra effort for this!
This has been on and off throughout the year :( I have been drinking significantly more water when I finally got to my new room in the later half of 2017, since the water jug was right beside me and I felt the need to drink water every time I see it (hahahahaha)! But for the earlier half of the year, I can't really remember but I will assume that I didn't drink as much as I did if I were to compare it to the later half.

4. Be friendly and more proactive with friendships! I realised that my sociable side has been fading off quick because socialising has been tiring lately... Next year I'd have 2 different semesters, with my second year in the later half (holy crap) so I'd need all the socialising skills I have!
Err... I mean I definitely have tried upping my socialising game and I can't say that I sucked at it throughout the year? But it's definitely not up to what I wanted so I would have to work even harder this year! Although for the later half of 2017, owing to the hall camp that I went to plus Ohmelette, I have been striking up conversations like a match so that kind of saved this resolution HAHA

I have to say, I have done a pretty good job with tackling my resolution throughout the year! Although definitely I haven't been placing that much emphasis on clearing all these resolutions (bc let's be realistic, after the first week of the year your resolutions just become blurry and you forget about its existence), I'm glad that I have still improved after 365 days and have not been stagnant! :)

One thing that I've learnt in December of 2017 after watching so many animes (lmao) would be to always be passionate in your work, and to never settle with mediocre and subpar work. Expect yourself to do better in order to break your threshold - and this is the way to improve! It's hard once you hit a plateau because it's times like those when you lose hope and faith, but healthy competition always does the trick and it spurs you on to do even better than you did before. So that will be my main mantra of the year of 2018: to seek improvement in myself.

I realised that I'm no longer who I was a year before (everyone says that but I believe that it is true for everyone): I have learnt, grown and experienced so much that some of my perspectives have changed and I learn to tackle more challenges. Remember how I said I loved challenges in 2017? That is still unwavering and I would love to take on more challenges in 2018. It is the year which I will have my professional attachment, and the year which encompasses the beginning of my final year in University. It will definitely not be a walk in the park, but because of my desire to seek improvement in myself, I will take on the challenge gladly.

2018 will be my best year yet.

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Friday, December 29, 2017

I know I said that I'll be tougher

and I will get tougher

but that doesn't mean that

it will happen




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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Hey guys! Merry Christmas to everyone and happy Boxing Day too! Oh, and happy new year in advance as well :)

It seems like 2017 has passed by in a flash - we say this all the time - but this year, it actually felt really quick. It has just been a year of academics without much time to slack off (unlike 2016, when I basically went to USS weekly for like 3 months or something) so everything just felt like a whirring pool of memories or something. It felt so fleeting that it just went past with a blast.

but yet at the same time, it feels like 2017 was also slow. It slowed down in certain parts when the going was tough, and when events and special occasions happened that I really want to remember. I'm glad that I replay it slowed down as compared to usual school days, as that would mean that those would take up more of my memory space and thus be more significant. Do I even make sense? I haven't been writing in the longest while and I have to admit, it is getting more difficult for me to write properly nowadays :( All I've been doing is texting (lol) and I haven't been continuing my novel (which I'm not even sure any of you guys remember) and I haven't been reading extensively.

But anyways, this is just a quick kinda review/ thoughtpost / dump? Initially I wanted to talk a little bit about motivation (hence, the title) but I just kinda rattled off tangent and it soon became like a wrap up of 2017, haha.

I've been watching Haikyuu!! two days ago and I really, really love the anime. The plot is simple and easy to guess, really, but yet it gives you this adrenaline rush and makes you feel like you're part of the volleyball team as well. Their enthusiasm is so addictive and I find myself yelling YOSHHHHAAAAAAA and like IKUZOOOOOO when the team is having their match and all of that - I know it sounds really stupid lmao but I feel that excitement when I watch Haikyuu!! and it hasn't happened in such a long, long time. Many times, I feel so down because it seems like I've already hit a plateau in dance since years ago, and I have stopped improving. This just makes me feel so unmotivated and my passion just drops, a little practice at a time, to the point where sometimes I find myself going for pracs just because I'm obliged to. Recently, however, I found myself looking forward to pracs, trying my best to stand in the front row because I want to learn the first-hand movements and mimic Deesiow, instead of getting the second-hand, third-hand, fourth-hand movements from the rest of the dancers. I know that this may seem a bit selfish because I am the dance captain and I'm supposed to be looking after the dancers, but I just can't help but feed this selfishness that I have to want to improve and be better. Urban isn't my strong genre - heck, even contemp isn't my strong genre - so I know that there is already a giant gap between myself and other dancers like Josiah and Guei. They are so amazing and I can't put into words how strong their movements are, and how solid they look when they execute a set of choreography while I just look like an octopus flailing around because of the lack of strength. An has already improved leaps and bounds since joining funk movement in SMU, and the other dancers too have been trying their best to improve. Then what about me, the captain? Shouldn't I be doing my best as well and be the motivator? Shouldn't I let them know that we should always be improving, and to never ever be satisfied with the status quo? I should set an example and always bring my 100% to pracs, such that the dancers whom I believe are able to feel it will be inspired and put in their 100% too. That's what a captain is and I should never let myself be conceited.

Of course, saying the above is easy but actually doing what I preach is a whole other matter. I feel like Haikyuu!! has once again made me realise the importance of teamwork, and trust. Even though it is slightly different because they are a sports team, dance teams also require the same, if not more, amount of teamwork between the dancers as we need to know each other's strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, preferences before we can dance as a team. If not, we are all better off dancing as individuals. We need this team spirit that cannot be fostered overnight, in order to propel us to top 5 for HOCC. That's Guei's and my goal for HOCC 2018. For us to be back in the top 5 and improve as one team.

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