The Odaiba Co-Incidence

Over the last weekend, I ended up spending the entire Sunday afternoon watching old Japanese dramas on youtube (until my eyes started to hurt from staring at the laptop screen :P). On another note, it does feel nice to finally watch a drama proper as I have not been doing so for the past 1/2 year at least (even to my own surprise).

Ended up randomly clicking on With Love – an old old Japanese drama way back from 1998!! This was also the very first J-Drama that I watched (starting from NUS Days) – to which I even bought a VCD Boxed Set from a NUS Bazaar (back then there was no youtube, PPS, PPTV etc.). This was also the drama that I found Yutaka Takenouchi so drop dead handsome, hee ……

And this was also the drama that begin for me a life-long love affair with Odaida. I have visited Odaiba for my last 2 Japan trips, and will probably do so again once my 3rd trip (planned for later year) is firmed up. Yes, not only Love Generation has filmed at Odaiba (at the beach next to the Marine Park) ….. With Love also boasts of scenes right at the iconic Statue of Liberty replica (this Statue is a recurring theme/prop throughout the series) and with the Rainbow Bridge right in the background. A small pity will be the unclear youtube resolution (hopefully PPS/PPTV has clearer videos) ……..

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Leslie Cheung 张国荣 – 想你

Feeling the slight wave of nostalgia as I continue to blog my Hong Kong travel entries.

So I went through some of the songs that I synced to my iPad, and came across one of Leslie Cheung’s old ballads – 想你 …… and started replaying it all over again!

As this song is more of a B-side, rather than a lead track – some of Leslie’s newer fans may not know of it. However, this ballad was one of Leslie’s earlier self-composed tracks – from his 1988 Virgin Snow album. Despite it being a good 26 years old – it still sounds classic and timeless, all thanks to the arrangement of the track, and the beautiful lyrics.

There is a back story behind the lyrics here. The first few lines definitely made the song a very memorable one:

呆坐半晚 咖啡早渗着冰冷
是否心已淡是挂念你的冷淡
难合上眼 枕边早垫着冰冷
夜深不觉冷但似躺在泥滩

Wrote up a Leslie Cheung dedication entry last year as well here ……

Japan 2013: Day 8 Last Moments In Kyoto & Back To Tokyo Part 4

DAY 8 (CON’T)

Reached Shinagawa station around 630pm. Nothing much to ‘see’ as the sky would have darkened by then. Tried to hunt for the JR ticket office to get the JR Kanto Pass + reserve my train tickets to Mount Fuji for the next day (Friday) …. but wasn’t able to locate the office as Shinagawa station is so big. Thus decided to proceed straight to Hamamasutcho (via the JR Yamanote Line) and to hotel to check-in and put down my luggage.

This is where my irritation starts to creep in. Looked through the map on Hotel Villa Fontaine’s website and exited the station at the south exit.Walked all the way till the end, only saw STAIRS and zero escalators …… Which means I have got to lug my luggage down the stairs! After carrying my heavy luggage down the stairs, I ended up at a tunnel!! A tunnel where trains travel on top! Goodness!!

Walked on further and managed to see a supermarket, and so went in to ask for directions on how to get to Villa Fontaine. Walked out to the main road, spotted a Lawson’s (as directed by supermarket guy), but couldn’t locate the hotel behind the Lawson’s! So after walking along the road rolling my luggage like a headless chicken, walked back and went into Lawson’s this time round to ask for directions …. again! The china worker manning the cashier seems equally blur as well, sigh …… But finally found Hotel Villa Fontaine Hamamasutcho after following a small sign and walked 2 streets in. When you have a hotel’s frontage facing an apartment block (rather than a main road), plus unclear directions from the hotel’s website itself, it is very little surprise that the place is hard to find.

Checked-in and rested in my room for a short while before heading out again – this time to get the JR Kanto Pass + make reservations for the train to Mount Fuji. Walked back to Hamamasutcho – but instead of walking back out to the main road, walked straight across and ended back in front of Toshiba Building – which is just right at the South Exit of the station! Bravo! Saw a JR ticket office at Hamamasutcho and decided to reserve the Fuji tickets there …… only to be told that they don’t do reservations of tickets at the office ? Strange (miscommunication perhaps) …… so wasted 15 min there and decided to head to Shinagawa station (2 stops away on JR Yamanote Line). Wondered is it that my brain is not thinking right as I ended on the wrong platform …… and back on the other side of the Yamanote Line and to Tokyo Station instead!

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Went to the resevations office (Marunouchi side) …… and promptly bought the JR Kanto Pass (to be used over the remaining 3 days in Tokyo and outlying areas before departing Tokyo on Monday morning). It was a good thing that I went Tokyo Station instead as not only they close later, there were also more English speaking staff there, and I managed to pick up some very handy information on Fuji Five Lakes and Karuizawa (was considering to go there for a day trip but ultimately abandoned the plan). Then made the 2nd strange decision of the night (must be the stupid stairs climbing that is messing with my brain and causing all these laspes of judgement) – reserved my train tickets to Fuji Five Lakes for Saturday 24th instead of Friday (next day) as I decided I wanted to sleep in a bit instead rather than waking up early to get to Shinjuku to do the 2 leg journey to Fuji Five Lakes.

Got that done and was feeling thirsty (bottle of mineral water finished as well) and so decided to hunt for a place at Tokyo Station to sit down for a drink + maybe a dessert/snack as well (not really that hungry after eating so much sushi on the Shinkansen). Ended up walking rounds around Tokyo Station after trying to look for this restaurant that serves beer (which I saw on Day 1) …… before coming back to Gran Roof (Yaesu side of the station) and to this small Italian eatery that I came across on Day 1 as well – Vittorio Pomodoro Tsukiji.

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Decided to just settle down here for a cold ice-lemon tea (to quench my thirst) + since the pastas here were very reasonably priced at 780 JPY, no harm ordering one to try as well despite not being that hungry 😛

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Very very long 25 min wait for my tomato soup clam pasta (its either they kind of forgot my order or just took their time to cook it, which is not a bad thing) while I occupied myself reading the literature on Fuji Five Lakes that I have gotten from the JR office. Even I am surprised by myself for being so patient and not complaining/losing my temper, heh …… Thankfully it turned out to be the latter as it was piping hot (as what I needed for a proper late dinner), the tomato soup was really delicious and the pasta al dente! Vittorio Pomodoro Tsukiji is probably very under-rated but this definitely gets my thumbs up, as far as Japanese style pasta go ……

Spotted another outlet of Vittorio Pomodoro right at the other end of the food street. This outlet is more spacious, and serves a more upmarket menu ……

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Tired and didn’t feel like going anywhere else so took the train back to hotel. On my way back, it was Yutaka Takenouchi galore all over JR trains (most likely Roots Coffee bought all advertising slots on JR) 😛

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Sprayed too much air freshener in the room, and room smelt funny – another case of dubious judgement (the 3rd in the night) …… Unlike the last 3 hotels I stayed (Hotel Kinki, Kobe Meriken Park Oriental, First Cabin Kyoto), Villa Fontaine does not have wifi in the room. So showered, channel surfed a bit (same as last Thursday back in Tokyo, it was Dokushin Kizoku showing on Fuji TV) …… and then went down to the lobby to use the wifi, check my whatsapp and do some research for tommorrow’s plan (now that I decided to go Fuji Five Lakes on Saturday instead) ……

Reminiscing: Jacky Cheung 1/2 Century World Tour 27th August 2011

As I was typing out the blog title, turns out it is just a difference of 2 years (+ 1 day) from when I watched this concert LIVE!! And still remember cabbing home from Plaza Singapura after the last train stopped at Dohby Guat MRT ……

As blogged previously, have pretty much abandoned KPop and back to listening to old school Cantopop, particularly the 90s songs which was pretty much the golden era. Cantopop flows more smoothly especially when I am working in the office ……

In addition to my previous round-up entry here, very recently have started to hunt for above live cams of the concert on YT as I really treasure this piece of memory. Furthermore, this was definitely one of the VERY BEST concerts (out of the meagre 4 to 5 concerts) that I have ever watched in my lifetime …… and in a way, has set a very high benchmark in terms of repertoire, performance, creativity and professionalism as well as future concerts are to go! 😛

Anyway, whilst tracking back on some of the songs performed in the concert, I sort of re-discovered this song – 你是我今生唯一的传奇

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYk1jLgmNtc

The above YT concert link is actually part of the 1st act – which is the musical about falling in love and sort of living happily (and not happily after all). Unlike Jacky’s classic ballads such as 吻別, 每天愛你多一些, 只想一生跟你走…… this song may be lesser known to those more familar with his mandarin work, but nevertheless very refreshing change as it has a very relaxing beat, and very dreamy and romantic at the same time. The literal English translation is “You Are The Wonderment Of My Life” …. Hehe

Then I realised that the below picture that I took during the concert itself (in 2011 entry as well) as part of this song! Amazing right!! If only I had a better camera and/or used my iPhone to capture this moment instead …. Ahhhhh

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For the HK concerts, based on what I saw from YT, they actually have Jacky & the dancer sitting on the bench that swings across the background – which in my view the effect is better. Guess they have to change it to static bench for the Singapore and Malaysian concerts for logistic and safety reasons.

Since Singaporeans did not get a series of encore concerts (but he did perform 5 sold out shows in year 2011 itself – very unprecedented record that will not be broken in a long while, considering that despite the hype of KPop, many of the KPop concerts here are not even sold out) ….. that reminds me, gotta get my hands on the DVD soon!

Some news of the DVD here:

http://music.yahoo.com/news/jacky-cheung-thinks-concert-album-worth-wait-071347322.html

http://www.yesasia.com/global/jacky-cheung-1-2-century-tour-3dvd/1033723791-0-0-0-en/info.html

十年了 ,永远的哥哥 – 张国荣

Watched a HK drama in the past which comes with the classic phrase – 人生有多少个十年!Time truly files – it has been 10 years since a great HK legend Leslie Cheung has left us ……

With 1st April being the 10th year of his passing, lots of commemorative events and news going on , which makes it a truly Gorgor month! And of course, have to blog about this before April comes to a close!

Not only that, after being immersed in all things K-entertainment related for the past 1 year or so, thanks to Gorgor – started to surf fanatically for all news, YouTube videos of his music & live performances, started watching (and re-watching) his movies, and got back into Cantopop again. Come to think of it, Cantopop was truly in its prime in the 80s and 90s – with the infamous Leslie & Alan rivalry, followed by the golden era of ‘Four Heavenly Kings’. Of course it is a much different scene today – when looking back, makes one miss the ‘golden era’ a lot more ……

Leslie’s Music

My 1st encounter with Leslie was with his music. His peak came in the 80s – with an intense rivalry with Alan Tam and his 1st retirement at his musical peak in 1989.

The very 1st song I heard on VHS (video casette recorder). It was a taped HK variety show/charity show.

This is an MV version of 無心睡眠. Still remember being mesmerized by his singing and dancing on stage when I 1st heard this song. I was only in Primary 1 (7 years old) at that time. Ha! Found another performance version here which will show you he’s the real deal ….

As mentioned earlier, with his 1st retirement in 1989 (when he was only 33 years old, pretty young on hindsight) …… Next came the era of the ‘Four Heavenly Kings’ aka 四大天王 when transiting to my teenage years. As Leslie returned with multiple hit movies, he came back to music and made many more memorable hits too!

Such as 追 – the theme song from ‘He’s A Woman She’s A Man 金枝玉叶’ …… The movie came out in 1994 – 19 years later, this still remains a very timeless classic and probably most of my generation (borned after 1980) will be a lot more familar with as compared to his 80s hits ……

Rather than posting up the MV version, picked out this live version instead from his 1996-1997 concert series. Love the rousing arrangement and from here, you can see that he’s a much more confident performer after he made his 2nd comeback to music! When watching the same concert series on my iPad, I noted also that his live singing voice is a lil’ more raspy and thinner than his recordings, must be the auto-tune (very prevalent for studio recordings) – I guess which is why watching a live concert is such a priceless experience (having watched Jacky & Lee Hom live, can definitely attest to that) …… The bittersweet thing here though is that I will never ever get to watch a Leslie live concert in my lifetime ……

Leslie’s Movies

Majority of my generation would probably be more familar and acquainted with his movie work. Myself included. Going into the 90’s, Leslie focused a lot on his movie career and filmed count-less memorable roles and performances.

Can you remember this smoking hot scene?

This was one of the 1st introduction scenes of ‘Days of Being Wild 阿飞正传’ ….. This was Leslie truly at his prime – dashingly charming and debonair. If you ain’t charmed, something’s off … heh

Another classic – a bird with no legs. Recalled reading the backstory of how these 2 scenes were put together via editing – truly amazing and no wonder this movie is such a cult classic!

Recalled watching this movie on a Saturday evening (Channel 8 used to show HK movies on its Sat night timeslot) …… I was in my teens then and actually dozed off some 40 minutes into the movie. At that point in time, it was overly abstract and artistic for the 14-15 year old me, haha …… Got inspired to re-watch this movie again when C posted the one minute friend clip on Facebook – as a way of commenerating Leslie. With the help of wikipedia, and 10 odd years later, at the grand old age of 33 – I finally understood what the movie was all about. Yuddy is truly one of Leslie’s best performance (and the only performance that he won a HKFA Best Actor for) ……

After a couple of memorable works with Wong Kar Wai (with ‘Happy Together 春光炸泄’ being their last collaboration) + the tremendous success of ‘Farewell To My Concubine 霸王别姬’ – another groundbreaking role for Leslie …… Post 1997, Leslie further diversified his working relationships with other collaborators and made more memorable movies, notably ‘The Kid 流星雨’ …. ‘Double Tap 枪王’ …. ‘Inner Senses 异度空间’ – which showcased different versatility, range and his total commitment in being ‘the role’ himself. Among his newer works, went back and watched ‘Double Tap 枪王’ after reading about the good critical reception online. He plays a psychotic killer in this – another 360 degree turn from his earlier hit roles. Not only he totally outshone the other male lead Alex Fong Chun Sun, it is also ‘criminal’ on hindsight that he did not win any awards with this role. Where performance is concerned – he breaks new ground in his acting …. no longer relying on looks but simply exemplifying the character himself …… A peerless actor indeed!

For the past month, apart from ‘Days of Being Wild’ …. ‘Double Tap’ …. ‘He’s A Woman She’s A Man’ …. ‘Moonlight Express’ etc …… Will put  ‘Happy Together’ and ‘Farewell To My Concubine’ on my to-watch list next ……

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Whatever works mentioned as above are just the main highlights of his extensive career (too many classics to state all out lah!) and I have probably touched only the tip of the iceberg ……  As he was talented in both singing and acting – Hong Kong has seen no other true superstar like him. 果然独一无二! And sadly, there’s no other as well ……

His memorial concerts on 31st March and 1st April + the Times Square Exhibition were the key highlights of this 10th year anniversary rememberance. Wanted to blog on the Miss You Much concert next but decided to continue on a separate entry instead before this gets too long.

Long Weekend Productively Spent

Took a quick look at the public holiday calendar before starting this entry … Not counting the National Day hols (was using that period of downtime to complete my M8A & M9A papers), this will be the last long weekend in a while (till end Oct) ……

Hari Raya Puasa which falls on a Sunday – means that the following Monday (yesterday) was a much welcome public holiday as well 🙂 …. My long weekend began with work appointment on Saturday late morning/noon … Lee Hom’s concert in the evening (Huge Highlight of the weekend) … HUGE siesta session / plentiful catching up on sleep … Another work appointment on Mon afternoon (ok can finally settle this case) followed by more tv-ing & slacking around to end off the long weekend ….

Some highlights in pictures ….

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Had the famous Ah Lim Mee Pok along Upper East Coast Road after Sat’s meeting … This is one ba chor mee with minimal bar chor and plenty of prawns …. Delish!

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2nd Highlight of my Sat – Wang Lee Hom’s concert … The Singapore stop of his ongoing Music Man II World Tour ….

Instead of catching up on my Bridal Mask/Gaksital backlog over the long weekend, chanced upon an old Japanese drama ‘Love Generation / 恋爱世纪’ – a rerun of Takuya Kimura dramas …. Has been long since I watched a Japanese drama, so gonna put this on my to-watch list since the last time I watched it was 11 years ago (back in year 2001) 😛 …… Takuya Kimura was really young back in those days ….. times files indeed!

So that’s how my long weekend went! Feels good having the various activities that filled up the time and breezed by …….

Find Your True Colour

Taking some precious time out from office work to post this up! (Note to self: meant to do it yesterday evening but as usual, got distracted by other stuff :P) ……….

I have tweeted about this really cool video one or two days ago but I thought I should post it here ag0 as it is really that cool (and that good) to deserve an exclusive entry ……

I particularly love the monolouge because it is so reflective of our daily day-to-day grind ….. and combined with the kick-ass music and colourful sights of Hong Kong (one of my fav cities!) ….. and not to menion the slick movie style editing ….. which makes this video the best video (IMO) in the whole series that was commissioned by Cruiser Volka together with alivenotdead back in 2007 ……

It starts off with some atpyical city sights and ends off igeniously admist a tank of goldfish (filmed in a artistic manner of course) …… which gives the idea that although all the goldfish looks similar, each and every fish is unique in his/her own entitly …. so I guess each and every of us has our own ‘true colour’ in that literal sense ……

Some snippets of the monolouge by Terence Yin ……

How do I get here today?

Everyday … same … wake up …. starts all over …….will things be different? ….. a better day …..moving fast ……all looks the same …..

(at this point, you must be thinking, this is so typical of our everyday lives)

if you ask me now, today is how you look at it …. take the time find the beautiful colours …..find your true colours

The story behind this work can be found here and here ……

Perfect ending to a truly kick-ass video that sets me seriously thinking to want to take time off and find my true colour 🙂