First time and last time

I didn’t go pick up my package from the post office yesterday, so I planned to head over today. I decided to stop by the HK Tourism Visitor Centre at Tsim Sha Tsui first to pick up some brochures for my brother and sister-in-law, who are coming to visit HK tomorrow! Visitor centres always have cool suggestions for tourists, and sometimes even for residents like me. I was a regular at the SG equivalent on Orchard Road πŸ˜† It’ll be the first time they’ll be in HK, so I’m very excited for them 😊 I hope they don’t melt in the heat… πŸ₯΅

I then stopped by Nespresso at IFC, and then made my way home – completely forgetting the post office! I can’t believe I forgot to stop by! So now I have to go tomorrow. I’m so annoyed with myself! I had planned out my day perfectly, and then to leave out the most crucial thing… Arghhh! 😀

I heard that this season will be the last for the three Masterchef Australia judges πŸ˜” I guess this will probably be the last for me then, too, as it just won’t be the same with three different judges going forward. The end of an era regardless. They showed the grand finale in Oz tonight, but I’ve only watched the first half, so I’m staying away from social media until I finish off the season. Shannon Bennett returned for the final episode, which I was happy about. I missed him this season, he was great to have in the Masterchef kitchen, and his absence was noticeable. So I guess I just have the second half of the grand finale and I’ll be the end of this Masterchef Australia era 😞

A package and an item? πŸ˜‰

I had a package delivered on Saturday, but they came during the two hours that I wasn’t home. I atill can’t believe the timing πŸ˜’ Anyway, I had my evening all planned out today: I was going to head out and go and buy some Nespresso capsules, as I am currently running really low; head to the post office to pick up my package; and then go to the gym. But then I realised that I forgot to take into account the fact that the post office is only open during regular business hours πŸ˜” Grrr! So all I did was go to the gym. At least I ticked off one thing on my to-do list today! πŸ˜† So I’ll organise myself a bit better tomorrow and head over to the post office a little earlier in the day 😊

And I’m now officially caught up with Masterchef Australia. I’ve even watched the episode that was aired tonight πŸ‘ There is just the grand finale tomorrow night left, and then my life can return to normal πŸ˜† I still reckon there is something going on between Larissa and Derek… (I can Google now because I’m all caught up with the show!) They probably just can’t say anything because Larissa is still in the competition. Give it a week or two and the media will be all over it, if they don’t announce it themselves on social media πŸ˜† This is the sort of thing I watch the show for, not the actual cooking! πŸ˜‚

Food and continued protests

We went and had a Japanese buffet brunch today with a few of N’s workmates. There’s unlimited champagne available, but I opted out of that, as the one lone glass that I would’ve had wouldn’t have been quite enough to justify paying for free flow πŸ˜‚ So I just took one sip of N’s champagne, which was enough for me πŸ˜† But food-wise, I reckon I actually got my money’s worth, for once. I’m pretty sure I ate my fair share of oysters, sushi and sashimi πŸ˜‹

I then went home and watched some more Masterchef Australia. I was going to head to the gym, but I was still so full from brunch that I had to give myself a few more hours to digest first before heading down πŸ˜† So I just watched a few more episodes. And that meant that I managed to catch up with Australia today – YEAH!! I’m one episode behind – ie the one that aired tonight, as I have to wait for people to upload it onto the interweb so I can watch it. But for all intents and purposes, I have caught up – woohoo!! πŸ‘

N went to karate tonight, and as they started making their way home, they noticed the protesters making their way down Connaught Road at Central. Greeeat. We already saw the barricades earlier today as we were walking to brunch, which was also coincidentally at Central, so we had a feeling that protesters would be out later today. We were both a bit worried about him getting home, but luckily it was all ok. The protesters are largely quite peaceful, it’s just the small minority who are a bit more radical that worry me. But even then, they’re not really targetting regular people, so I’m usually not that concerned. But you never know if/when things will escalate, and you don’t want to be caught in the crossfire, figuratively or literally speaking πŸ˜”

My bizarre skill

I finally got my online Chinese lesson today. It was really good! Stressful as, but really good. She apparently had some stuff prepared, but once I introduced myself and gave her an idea of my level, she had to scrap her plan as she thought it was too easy for me, and so she gave me the harder stuff 😱 The lesson was probably 90% in Chinese, which was so full-on, as you can imagine! Especially since my listening skills are so bad, I was focussing sooo hard. But it’s probably exactly what I need to push my listening to the next level.

I think she was also quite impressed with my reading. Believe it or not, though, I can “sound out” a lot of words in similar vein to English, I just don’t necessarily know what it means. Much like a kid learning to read! πŸ˜† I know that’s mega bizarre, since we’re talking about Chinese characters and not an alphabet, but I can somehow do it. It’s sorta like seeing “car” and “ton” and knowing what these two words mean, but then I see “carton” and then I don’t know what this new word means. It’s the closest analogy to English that I can come up with! πŸ˜‚ The difference is that I just do this with Chinese characters. I don’t think native speakers understand how I do that – and to be honest, I don’t know how I do it, either! So I think the teacher thinks that I’ve just forgotten a lot of words through lack of practice, but really, it’s just this bizarre skill that I seem to have πŸ˜‚

But overall, notwithstanding the stress at the time, it was a really good lesson! I’ll definitely want to continue the lessons. I’m still wondering, though, whether I need to be learning new materials at this stage or whether I should just continue practising what I already know and internalising that. I might ask her about that.

I went to the gym afterwards, and then spent the rest of the evening trying to catch up on Masterchef Australia episodes. We’re in finals week, so we’re at the tail end of the competition πŸ˜… Which means I will soon be finished with this season and I can resume watching my Korean dramas! πŸ˜‚

A tough day

It was a tough day for me today, I was feeling quite down for most of the day πŸ˜” I spent a lot of time on my trading, probably to distract myself, otherwise I probably would’ve just wallowed in my sorrows and taken the day off and put it down as a mental health day. I haven’t needed one of those in quite a long time; today would’ve been a good day for one. I didn’t even go down to the local sports bar to watch tonight’s State of Origin with N and a few of his colleagues πŸ˜” Hopefully I’ll feel a little better tomorrow.

I watched a few more episodes of Masterchef Australia instead. I reckon something is going on between Derek and Larissa, but I don’t want to Google this possible relationship in case any of the results that come up give something away from “the future” πŸ˜‚ So if anyone out there is also watching this season’s Masterchef Australia, do let me know if something is going on between these two! πŸ˜†

Learning Japanese in a Chinese speaking city

I decided to go to Causeway Bay for brunch today. I wanted to go to this particular cafe as they apparently serve scones, and I like scones πŸ˜‹ But can you believe it, they open at 12pm! This city is sooo not for morning people πŸ˜‚ I got there earlier than I expected to, and so I just wandered around the mall that the cafe was in. A few of the stalls in the mall weren’t open either, so I guess most places in this mall don’t open until later in the afternoon. I hung around until 12:30pm before I left, that was the longest time my patience could handle waiting. Such a shame that I didn’t get to try the cafe – and I didn’t get to have scones! Boo πŸ˜’

After I found a substitute place for lunch, I decided to head over to Eslite, one of the bookstores here in HK. They have Japanese language textbooks – written for native Chinese speakers. So all the explanations are in Chinese 😲 I was sooo tempted to buy one, but looking through the textbooks, they’re actually at quite a basic level, so if anything, I wouldn’t be learning much Japanese, and if anything, more likely to be improving my Chinese, since all the explanations in the books are in Chinese! πŸ˜‚ But having said that, what I do like about the textbooks though, is that they have no English whatsoever! I will effectively be forced to think in my two target languages, even if the sentences are at quite a basic level. But that’s not a bad thing! I can see how sentences are said in both languages. Hmmm… Maybe buying one of these books may not be a bad idea after all…! πŸ˜†

A page in one of the textbooks I was flicking through at the bookstore πŸ˜†

So when I got back home, I spent some time going through my actual Japanese textbook – a textbook written for English speakers πŸ˜† None of the grammar is new to me, so I’m really just refreshing my memory of what I had learnt – omg – a quarter of a century ago 🀣 I still can’t believe how much of it I have actually retained after all these years. Now I’m just going through and trying to internalise the harder and longer sentences, and learning more vocab of course, continuing to refine my Japanese that little bit more.

And then I just spent the rest of the evening continuing to watch Masterchef Australia. I’m up to the top ten! So I’ve caught up on a ton of episodes! πŸ˜† Once I’ve caught up, my tv habits can go back to normal and I can resume watching my Asian dramas πŸ˜‚ But for now, it’s all about binge watching Masterchef 😳

This city is foodie heaven

If you’ve been reading my blog the past few days, you’ll know that I’ve been watching Masterchef Australia like a madman πŸ€ͺ OK maybe not that crazy, but I have been watching quite a lot of it. So I’ve been tempted to eat a variety of cuisines, and so I’ve been trying a few different restaurants the past few days 😊

Someone cooked a spaghetti alle vongole and so I wanted to go for Italian. So I went searching for an Italian restaurant in the two districts that I tend to go to for food: Central and Causeway Bay. These are the results that I got:

How insane is that?!? How can there be that many Italian restaurants in just these two districts?? And in Asia! And if you don’t know HK, just to give you an idea of the distances we’re talking about here, these are the distances between the circled places on each of the above pics:

Sheung Wan to Central Station in the first pic is 850m. Less than 1km!

Causeway Bay to Cookies Quartet in the second pic is less than 500m 😲

So hopefully that gives you an idea of how dense this city is – and just how many restaurants there are here! It is insane! It still makes me wonder how all these places stay in business when there are so many other competing restaurants. And these are just the Italian ones. Can you imagine just how many Chinese restaurants would come up?!? 😱 Actually, let’s do that, just for fun 😊

It turns out that “Chinese” is too broad a category! There must be so many that they had to split them up into various categories. You actually have to specify what type of Chinese food you want – eg: Sichuan; dim sum (ie yum cha); Shanghai; HK-style; Guangdong; hot pot etc etc 😲 This city is sooo gooood for foodies, especially those who like their Chinese food!

Food and geography

One of the contestants on Masterchef Australia cooked an Indonesian fish curry in one of the episodes that I watched last night. And being so easily influenced when it comes to food, I went searching for an Indonesian restaurant in HK πŸ˜‚ I found one, and went there for lunch! I might write up a post on that in My Non Foodie Life (which I haven’t touched in months, unfortunately… πŸ˜”) so I’ll leave the review of the restaurant for that post. Maybe I need to watch more food shows to get me exploring different restaurants in this city 😊

Another episode had the contestants cook fried chicken, and one of them cooked Korean fried chicken πŸ— I still haven’t satisfied that craving, so I’ll have to do a search for that soon. And with Korea being so close to HK, surely I’ll find a place or two to go for that too?! I don’t think I’ve ever had Korean fried chicken, so that will definitely be a first for me, regardless of where I go! πŸ˜† So I’m happy to hear of any recommendations 😊

N flew to Japan today, to Okinawa specifically. I discovered two things on the map as a result of his flight today:

  1. Okinawa is wayyyy down south and is quite far from what I consider to be “Japan”. In fact, it is closer to Taipei than it is to Tokyo!
  2. Hanoi is wayyyy higher than I thought it was, and is pretty much in line with HK! So perhaps a short trip is in order… πŸ˜‰

My geography is clearly stuffed! There you go, you learn something every day. I just happened to get a geography lesson today πŸ€“

Indoors

It rained pretty much all day today, I assume from the remnants of the typhoon warning from yesterday that continued pretty much overnight, so I just stayed indoors.

I was hoping to continue reading one of the bajillion books that I have on the go at the moment, but instead, I binge watched Masterchef Australia πŸ˜‚ I finished Nigella Week, and started watching Legends Week. I’m still making my way through the earlier episodes, so I’m busily watching as much as I can to catch up with where Oz is. I don’t think I’ll ever catch up, but I’d like to get as close as possible 😊 There are a few people that I like this season, which is more important to me than the cooking – I watch the show for the reality tv aspect of it πŸ˜†

N got home very late tonight πŸ˜” He has taken the rest of the week off, so he needed to get some work out of the way before finishing work for the week. It’s a bit of a shame because I was hoping to spend some time with him tonight before he flies to Japan tomorrow, but that wasn’t meant to be πŸ˜” Oh well, such is life πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ He’s actually in Japan the entire weekend, so I’m thinking I might get through a ton of Masterchef again then πŸ˜‚

Probably won’t be an early night…

Had quite a relaxing day, which was a nice way to end the long weekend. N and I both did some work in the afternoon, but then just took it easy the rest of the evening.

I was watching Masterchef Australia and was thinking of heading to bed early when I heard that the protests at the Legislative Council building had escalated, and protestors had managed to smash their way into the building. I couldn’t even finish my Masterchef episode, I wanted to see what was going on. The police are nowhere in sight as I write this, and so the protestors have unleashed inside the building. Crazy scenes right now, I’m feeling stressed and saddened as I watch the mayhem unfold on tv πŸ˜₯ This is no doubt travelling all around the world right now πŸ˜” So rather than an early night, I may be staying up to watch this…