Asian dramas and languages

I came across this on Twitter today, which I really needed to see. I’ve been mentioning my shite trading the last few days, and I’ve been feeling rather dejected with my recent results. So seeing this has actually perked me up a little. Maybe I should make a printout of this and paste it up on the wall, so I can see it every day… ๐Ÿ˜Š

I finished my current Korean drama today, Devilish Joy. I really enjoyed the last episode – in complete contrast to the very first one! The first episode was so bad that I actually gave up on the series initially, but then decided to give it a second chance, as I couldn’t find anything else better to watch. I’m so glad I gave it a second chance, as every subsequent episode was way better than that first one! ๐Ÿ˜‚

But now I am back to feeling empty again, with no Asian drama to keep me entertained. I would like to watch a Chinese drama next, to help me with my listening skills. But it’s only the Korean dramas that are luring me in! Damn, why are their dramas so good?!? ๐Ÿ˜†

I’m reading Benny Lewis’ Fluent in 3 Months, it’s my non-fiction book at the moment. It’s given me a few tips so far, and is motivating me to push on with my Mandarin. In fact, it’s making me want to venture into Korean and Cantonese now as well! The former because of all these Korean dramas that I’m watching at the moment ๐Ÿ˜Š and the latter because we’re currently living in a Cantonese speaking city. And of course continue to improve on my existing Japanese knowledge. Never mind the fact that these three languages (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) are notoriously the hardest to learn (along with Arabic) for a native English speaker ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ Of all the languages in the world, why do my target ones have to fall into this hard basket?!? ๐Ÿ˜ฉ So let me continue reading his book and see what other tips he has about learning foreign languages…

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Goals, family and friends

I got my haircut today! I’ve been so excited waiting for this day to come. I didn’t even get anything drastic done, it was really just to tidy up my hair, since I hadn’t cut my hair in probably over two months, so it was looking rather shabby. It’s so nice to get excited about the smallest of things, it’s as if I’m a kid again ๐Ÿ˜Š

The hairdresser I got today was Japanese (although I think they all are at this salon?!), so I got to practise a bit of my Japanese again. He asked if I could speak Japanese, and I said (in Japanese) that I studied the language in high school. He was surprised that I still remembered some of it. I surprise myself too, as my recall for Japanese can sometimes be wayyy faster than my recall for Chinese, even though I’m currently studying the latter! And my sentences flow much better than my Chinese too, although there are a few Chinese sentences that are becoming much more natural for me to say now – particularly the sentence “can you/he/they speak English?” ๐Ÿ˜‚ I just need to practise more, I think. Hopefully it can be on par with my Japanese soon enough – which really isn’t all that good, so it’s not too high a bar to reach! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Trading today was shite, which was unfortunate, because I was hoping to end the week/year on a good note. I doubt Iโ€™ll trade next week, as I expect the market to be pretty quiet, so today was my last trading day for the year. Shame it didn’t end on a high, but what can you do. The market is what it is ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

And then in the evening, we went and had dinner with N’s brother and his friend, at this rather generous restaurant that handed out Jรคgerbombs like they were cups of water ๐Ÿ˜ฒ The place shouted our table two rounds of these cocktails, and that was on top of the bottle of sake that we ordered with dinner. Those Jรคgerbombs are pretty easy to drink! Very potent, but deceptively so. It certainly doesn’t give away its potency based on its taste! ๐Ÿ˜†

Weird sh*t coming out of my mouth

In complete contrast to yesterday, today I was full of energy. No idea how that happened! I was like the Energizer Bunny today, constantly on the go go go! I wish I was pumped with energy like this every day. Must be how kids feel all the time without needing caffeine ๐Ÿ˜‚

Ah caffeine. I think that’s what gave me all my energy! I remember now: I had a large cup of tea from Heeretea, this bubble tea shop here in HK. I wonder how many non-Chinese speaking people actually walk in there, because the guy who served me today looked nervous as hell having to converse with me in English ๐Ÿ˜‚ Welcome to my world, dude! You’re probably feeling what I’m feeling whenever I have to pull out my limited Mandarin! ๐Ÿคฃ I ordered in English, and he had to look over at the menu to check that he had entered my order correctly. I probably could’ve said my order in Chinese because I could actually read it for once, but instead “this one” in Mandarin came out of my mouth ๐Ÿ˜† It’s so hilarious how the weirdest stuff comes out of my mouth when it comes to Chinese. I don’t have the same problem with Japanese. That language comes much more easily to me in comparison! But I’ve known the basics of that language for a lot longer than Chinese, so it’s not really a fair comparison.

We got our shower curtain shortened at an alteration place, and I picked it up today. The woman gave me a nice plastic bag, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m used to carrying my own shopping bag now, so I didn’t need theirs. Plus I figured they would re-use it much more than I would, so it made more sense for them to keep it. So I returned it to them. But what came out of my mouth as I gave the bag back to her wasn’t quite as eloquent as that, of course: I said “not ours”. That’s it! OMG. I didn’t even construct a full sentence ๐Ÿ˜† Although complete sentences aren’t entirely necessary in Chinese conversation, so what I did say was probably ok. In any case, she did give me this bewildered look, which I didn’t quite understand. Was it because she was surprised I could speak Mandarin, even if it was broken? Or was it because I sounded so weird that she was taken aback, not having heard anyone with that weirdo accent before? Or maybe because native Chinese speakers would never actually say what I said? Was it because I greeted her with “hello” in English and then suddenly reverted to Mandarin? Was it because she herself doesn’t understand Mandarin?? Perhaps a combination of all of these things?? ๐Ÿ˜† Nonetheless, they did a nice job with the shower curtain, and it now fits perfectly in our bathroom ๐Ÿ˜Š

And then I spent the evening looking at Instagram and Pinterest photos for interior design and storage ideas. They’re good sources for ideas and inspiration, since I am pretty hopeless with that sort of stuff. While I was on social media, N half watched Legion (this looks interesting!) and half slept, as he’s still quite sick ๐Ÿค’ Bizarro world, as normally I’m the one who’s sick and he’s the one running around with all the endless energy! But Legion sounds interesting, I may have to catch up on the first few episodes that he saw tonight!

More HK experiences

Today was supposed to be all about culling and continuing to get the house in order. But we were both so tired this morning that we ended up taking a nap after breakfast ๐Ÿ˜† Probably receiving a lack of nutrients due to our upset stomachs these past few days hasn’t helped ๐Ÿ˜”

N woke up to a message from one of his karate teachers in HK, asking if we wanted to go somewhere with him for a late lunch. He actually lives nearby, so he popped in to our apartment first to check it out, and then we went to a Chinese restaurant in Sheung Wan called Star of Canton (ๅˆฉๅฏถ้–ฃ) for some pretty decent yum cha. It was around 2:30pm when we got there, so the crowds had already died down by that time and we easily got a table. Apparently it’s pretty insane between 12-2pm, so it’s better if you go during off-peak time, like we did. The only downside though is that their signature dishes might already be sold out by then, so you have to be prepared for that possibility if you go later in the day. Or maybe another alternative is going before the lunchtime rush and rock up for brunch instead ๐Ÿ˜Š

My stomach didn’t agree with yum cha, though, and about half an hour later, I needed to go to the bathroom to get it out of my system ๐Ÿ˜” I must’ve caught a bug at some point a few days ago because my stomach is still not quite right… I need to drink more fluids and try to flush out this damn beast from my system ๐Ÿ’ฆ So I just stuck to my bland dinner of potatoes and tea again for a second day running. Boh-ring ๐Ÿ˜

I finally got to play around with our new tv today. There are a ton of tv dramas available, and they are categorised into a number of categories, these were the ones that were of most interest to me:

  • Western
  • Korean
  • Chinese
  • Japanese

OMG, there are so many Asian dramas that they have to be categorised by country! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ The only problem for me, though, is that the subtitles are all in Chinese! But dramas are such a good way to learn a foreign language, as they use everyday language, with people just generally talking to each other about life, so it’s not like you need a whole ton of “specialist” words to understand them. So if I just watch a little every day, then hopefully my reading and listening will both improve. And then I could even start working on my Japanese too! But listening to Japanese and reading Chinese subtitles is too hard, so I think I’ll only be able to do this when I get to a good enough reading level with my Chinese. Which is aaages away! So I’ll just have to work on my Chinese first ๐Ÿ˜Š In any case, it’s probably a good thing that there are no English subtitles. Otherwise I may just waste hours upon hours watching these very addictive dramas! ๐Ÿ˜‚

I swapped over my winter and summer clothes today – ie basically my entire SG wardrobe has now gone into storage ๐Ÿ˜” Boohoo… I miss my endless summers! I haven’t needed to swap seasonal clothes like this since living in Sydney! Melbourne was almost always winter gear, and SG was always summer gear ๐Ÿ˜† It seems HK weather is closer to Sydney weather, so I’m going to need to build up my winter wardrobe again. And in particular, shoes! I just don’t have many good shoes for cold weather anymore. So in the meantime, I’ve just been surviving on my cold weather gear for when we go on holidays to somewhere cold, which consists of very little items! So shopping for winter gear may be the next pressing item on my to do list…

Unsettled, and settled

N and I have had pretty unsettled stomachs these past few days, and as per usual, N’s is much worse than mine. It kept him up last night, never letting really get a proper night’s sleep. It was better today, but we tried to eat more bland foods anyway, rather than testing the limits of what our stomachs can handle.

We went grocery shopping and bought potatoes, bread, saltines, tea and apple juice. What a lovely diet for the weekend ๐Ÿ˜†

While we were at the supermarket, I remembered a few more things that I’ve noticed recently about grocery shopping in HK:

  • The supermarkets near us do not have self-service registers, so queues can be out the door at peak times. I would have expected the city to be much more efficient and streamlined;
  • They don’t hand out plastic bags automatically, which is a good initiative. And if you do need a bag, they charge you HK$0.50 (S$0.09) for it. It’s not much, but it’s enough of a deterrent for me (and hopefully others) to remember to bring my own bag;
  • They sell ready-to-eat sushi and sashimi in one of the main supermarkets here! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ These were only available at Meidiya in SG, so to have them readily available here is pretty damn good ๐Ÿ‘
  • There are tons of cute things everywhere, like Gudetama on bandaids!
  • And speaking of kawaii things, there are a lot more Japanese products available here compared to SG, I guess because it is closer to Japan. I wonder if there’s a larger Japanese expat population here too, and hence, more opportunity for me to resume picking up my Japanese…? ๐Ÿ˜Š

We finally got our internet connected at home, woohoo! And internet also means tv! It’s all starting to come together, it’s very exciting ๐Ÿ˜„ Every little piece helps to bring the place together, making it feel more and more like home.

We applied for a HK library card today. It’s free, which is what I expected, unlike the ~S$50 fee that I paid in SG. But having said that, the ebook collection in HK is atrocious. Well, at least the English collection is, I can’t comment on the chinese collection, obviously. And that’s pretty much all I borrow! ๐Ÿ˜” So despite having paid S$50 in SG, I got to read so many more ebooks and audiobooks there than I think I’ll be able to here, simply because they’re just not available. So I’m feeling rather disappointed with that. I’m hoping that I’m just not searching properly, or accessing the wrong database or something, I’ll have a better look in the next few days… ๐Ÿคž

Go forth and be grateful

I flew back to SG today. The flight itself was one of the smoothest flights I’ve had in a long time. I think the pilot has had to switch on the seatbelt sign at least once on almost every flight I’ve taken this year. But the sign wasn’t switched on at all today, so for once, I actually felt ok when I stepped off the plane!

I watched Book Club on the flight, which turned out to be better than I had expected. I wanted a light-hearted comedy and that’s exactly what I got ๐Ÿ‘ There are has some big names in the movie, in comedic roles that I don’t normally associate them with, so that made it all the more fun to watch ๐Ÿ˜Š

I actually first started watching Inside Out with Japanese dubbing and a Chinese subtitles, just to work on my language skills ๐Ÿ˜ฒ I thought that’d be a good movie to watch in a foreign language, because I’ve seen it so many times and I know the story really well. But that failed miserably ๐Ÿคฃ All I ended up doing was listening very intently to the Japanese, and paid next to no attention to the Chinese subtitles! Maybe I should just stick to learning one language at a time… ๐Ÿ˜† And because watching a movie in a foreign language takes effort, I could only do this for so long before my mental energy was depleted, so that was when I switched over to Book Club where I could just relax and enjoy the movie ๐Ÿ˜Š

I’m feeling all pumped and ready to go through all the clutter in our apartment tomorrow ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช Let’s see what I can get through. Even though we have two months to vacate, we’re aiming to have sorted through all our stuff by the end of October, so we don’t feel so rushed in the last few weeks that we have left in the country. Today is T-58… ๐Ÿ˜ณ Not long to go. One way to truly put you in the moment and to appreciate what you have right now is when you know it’s going to be taken away from you very shortly. Appreciate what you have right now, because you never know when it will be taken away from you. That’s my lesson for today, peeps. Now go forth and be grateful ๐Ÿ˜Š

The conversion begins…

I continued to run around like a headless chicken again this morning, making sure I ticked off everything on my imaginary checklist before I flew out this afternoon. I took Kitty to the vet again this morning, and as soon as we got back home, I suddenly remembered that I forgot to ask for a new batch of anti-vomit medicine for her ๐Ÿ˜ฑ Since we were going to be away for one whole week, I couldn’t do without it, since I can’t have her vomiting while we’re away ๐Ÿคฎ So I had no choice but to go back, adding to my stress of making sure I get everything done this morning.

But somehow I managed to do everything I wanted to get done. I don’t know why I stress out about it. It would be so much better for me if I just calmly worked my way through my imaginary checklist ๐Ÿ˜Š

I flew Cathay Pacific today. The switch from everything SG to HK begins… ๐Ÿ˜ฑ Cathay Pacific flies in and out of Terminal 4 at Changi Airport, so it was my first time in the brand new terminal. And because it was new, everything was clean and purteee ๐Ÿ˜Š It was very quiet when I was there, very few planes must’ve been flying at the time, so I got to soak in the surrounds in peace. Although Changi generally is very peaceful and calm anyway, despite the thousands of people transiting through the airport each and every day. Ah Changi. I’m going to miss you as my home base airport ๐Ÿ˜”

Everything in the terminal is electronic, I barely had to talk to any airport personnel. Even boarding was electronic! It was all so high-tech. The conveyor belt in the customs area was pretty funky too. After each tray was scanned, it would stop at a fork in the “conveyor belt” road and the person scanning would determine which road a particular tray will take: the “ok” road, where you can just go and take your luggage and off you go; or the “needs manual intervention” road, where a customs officer will need to go through whatever suspicious things there are in your luggage. It is so cool! Although probably not so cool if your luggage gets stuck in the “manual intervention” queue ๐Ÿ˜ณ

I got a brand new plane โœˆ๏ธ So exciting! Singapore Airlines always uses old planes to fly the SG-HK route – well, I always seem to get the old planes! So being on a brand spanking new plane was awesome ๐Ÿ˜Š The food was really good too, I was very pleasantly surprised.

I watched a Japanese anime on board: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (ๆ™‚ใ‚’ใ‹ใ‘ใ‚‹ๅฐ‘ๅฅณ). I like time travel shows, so as soon as I read the storyline of this movie, I just had to watch it. They had both Chinese and English subtitles, which was PERFECT for me, so I could listen in Japanese, and read in both Chinese and English. The dialogue was very conversational too, so it’s the perfect type of movie to watch for language learning. Problem is, it’s hard to find a movie where the subtitles are in two languages like that. And is it even possible?? It was a good learning opportunity anyhow. I wish I could do that more often.

And then when I finally made it to the serviced apartment, I started looking online for apartments that I wanted to have a look at over the next few days while I’m here. Even if we don’t like any of them, at least we can get in touch with a few property agents and hopefully start getting to see some other places that they may have on their books, which they may not have listed online yet. Fingers crossed we can find something half decent and at an ok price…! ๐Ÿคž I’ve emailed a few agents, so let’s see if any of them come back to me tomorrow…